S is for Sister-in-Law

Written by hootenannie on December 1st, 2008

In September of 2007, I was cruising through Kansas as a part of The Big Trip, en route to Nashville. My über-talented sister-in-law, Ashley, gave me the gift of some pictures to use for promoting my music – we spent hours in a field, and then at a barn, and then in a parking lot with a fabulous red brick wall, taking hundreds and hundreds of images. There were wardrobe changes, there were smiles, there was fabulous hair. The Annie that was captured is hopeful, warm, vibrant.

Just over a year later, I look at those pictures and think, “I feel like a completely different person.”

This past weekend, I talked with Ashley, and told her about what’s been going on in my heart. There has been a cold wind blowing through, and the death of some dreams. At times, it has felt like my life is a stark and barren wasteland. My heart has been broken, my spirit stripped, and I’ve been confronted with my many limitations. It’s been a dark time.

And yet, somehow, hope remains. There is a resilience in my will, and a warmth in my chest.

I told Ashley that right now, I feel simultaneously the happiest and the saddest I have ever felt. Odd, but true. So we decided to try to capture that in some pictures.

Can I brag on my sister-in-law? Ashley Parsons is a true artist. Creative, soulful, truth-telling. She allows people to be exactly who they are, and encourages them to take off the mask. She has this unreal ability of using a camera to capture something more than just a picture – she captures life. She takes the time to get to know her subjects, and has a deep desire to tell their story through photographs.

I don’t know anyone else like her. And when she laughs, I can’t help but feel absolute joy.

She has become one of my best friends, one of my favorite people – and she has set the bar high for those who might someday join the Parsons family. My younger sisters and I cannot marry duds, because Jeremy sure didn’t.

Thank you, Ashley, for sharing your gifts. And of all of the beautiful pictures that you took, this one speaks the loudest to me. The happiest and the saddest I have ever been, all at the same time.



For more stunning images from the Parsons Photographers, see their amazing blog. And then hire them for all of your photography needs – you will not be disappointed.

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