Click For Hope

motherhood

Inspiring Friends | Karina of Metts Photo

Inspiring Business, Clickforhope, Inspiring FriendsJasmine LopezComment

Photos by Metts Photo

Who is Karina Metts?

I'm a wedding photographer with my husband in the Chicago area. I'm a homeschool mom to two pretty cool kids, and while it's not easy, I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Share a bit about what you do. What is it? How long have you been doing it for?

 I'm a wedding photographer, but beyond that I'm a storyteller. My husband and I have been capturing stories together since before we were engaged. We have officially been a husband and wife team for 7 years. My husband started the photography business in Michigan when he was a teen. He always had a love of photography. He went to school for visual storytelling and interned at a newspaper in a nearby town. I started my journey with film photography in school. Michael bought me my first digital camera and taught me how to process photos on the computer. I started shooting with him and realized it would be so fun to be able to do this together on a more regular basis. My father is an entrepreneur so my entrepreneurial spirit comes from him. He's passed down his drive and ambition, and I love it


How can we stalk/follow you on social media?

I'm most active on Instagram I have a business one @mettsphoto and a personal one @karina_mettsphoto. I also periodically post on twitter when I'm feeling witty, or want to get something off my mind. @karina_metts  I also recently launched http://www.focusyoursocial.mettsphoto.com/ which has a FB page: https://www.facebook.com/mettsphotoworkshops/
 

What's your favorite drink?

I'm pretty vocal about my love of coffee. Mmmm I enjoy my daily cup in the afternoon. I also like to splurge on a mocha every so often.

What makes you laugh?
My kids. They're silly, and hilarious. 

What does a typical Sunday look like for you?
We typically start our Sunday at church. We then have a new tradition of going to Spilt Milk in Oak Park for a cup of coffee and a treat for the kids before we go grocery shopping for the week. If we don't have any photo sessions scheduled I sometimes spend time working or just gearing up for the week.

Motherhood, homeschooling, several businesses?!?.....could we chat about that for a minute.....can you share how you organize your day?
How do you get it all done?
How do you setup yourself up for a successful day?
How do you ensure that you have intentional time with the kids? Hubby?
 

Yes, I do a lot. Sometimes I have no idea how I manage to do it all. I am really intentional about being organized and strategic. I stick to a schedule and have a strict schedule for the kids too. We typically spend the morning together. I wake up, go for a run, and get back to wake up the kids before Michael leaves for work. I get them ready for the day, the morning is left to focus on reading and school stuff. Nap/quiet time is after lunch which is when I get started on work. Since I have a limited time, I'm very focused when I sit down at the computer. Michael comes home, we have dinner together (unless I have an evening meeting or event), and I finish out the evening with more work. I try not to go to bed too late since I get up early. Before heading to bed, I plan out the next day. I plan the tasks that need to get done so that I'm ready to go in the morning. It's worked for us so far, and as long as we are keeping lines of communication open with everyone it goes pretty smoothly most days. 
 

What do you love most about what you do?

I love being able to serve our couples. To go above and beyond. To get to know them and pour into them as a couple, and be an example through our marriage.

What keeps you excited about what you do?

It's so amazing getting to document a couple's most important day in a unique way. Every wedding is completely different with different situations. I love thinking through that and creating beautiful images for them to remember 50 plus years from now.

What are you most passionate about in life?
I'm passionate about empowering others to achieve their dreams. I love encouraging others in finding their passions and helping them figure out how to achieve their desires. I especially like to encourage other mom entrepreneurs that they can live a life where they are pouring into their children while building a successful business.

In what ways do you give back to the community?

We serve in the children's ministry at our church and volunteer our photography to them for special events. I really enjoyed photographing the children's summer camp last year and seeing kids just having fun and learning new sports, crafts, and making new friends.

What was the scariest part in deciding to start your business?

I'm not sure I even thought about starting a business as being scary. Like I mentioned, it was a normal lifestyle growing up, so I just went right into it. 

Can you share a time you wanted to give up, or a struggle that you encountered?

How did you overcome it?

Yes I come across these feelings often. Haha! Every day I'm like what am I even doing?! Seriously. However there are so many people depending on me, the fact that I don't want to let them down keeps me pushing through.

What encouraging words would you tell a Momma or soon to be momma who wants to start or already owns a business?

You're not alone. It's so important to find a friend or friends who you can talk

Photos by Metts Photo

An Aneurysm Brought Me To My Knees

Aneurysm, Family, ClickforhopeJasmine Lopez3 Comments
“There came a point when I had to decide: will I let this break me or will I let this grow me? And if I'm honest, it had to break me first in order to grow me. But today? Today I survive on faith.” -Alice

 

I can do this.

I say this to myself at least five times a day. When I’m out swimming, biking, or running- training for Ironman Wisconsin, I say it about every ten minutes. 

I can do this

Let me backtrack...towards the end of 2015, while at home with my two girls, I lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital. After months of tests and doctors’ visits, I was told that I had at least two different issues – possible partial seizures and an incidental finding of a right PCA brain aneurysm. What this means: about four days out of every month, I feel faint. I feel faint standing from sitting. I feel faint standing from laying. I feel faint just standing.

My doctors don’t really know what this means since every test except the MRI has come back normal. All I know is, I had an episode that left me unconscious with my then almost three year old standing over me and my six month old screaming after being dropped from my arms. This moment is seared into my brain – and it terrifies me. 

The MRI showed a small ballooning of an artery in my brain directly behind my right eye. The finding of this aneurysm brought me to my knees. For the first time in my life, I couldn't (and still can't) fix the problem. I can’t just keep my head down and power through. I can’t run through the pain. There aren’t studies to read about thirty something year old active and otherwise healthy Chinese females developing brain aneurysms either.  So, at this point, we are playing the "wait and see" game.

To help prevent the aneurysm from rupturing or leaking, I was told to avoid activities that raise my blood pressure. What does that mean? Doesn’t the simple act of living life equate to the rise and fall of pressure?

 And yet, I am training for the Ironman Wisconsin.

Yes, there are obstacles.  Swimming, biking, and running don’t come naturally to me. My body hasn't always been able to go the distance. I’m not fast. I’m not particularly strong. I have terrible knees and joints that seem to add to my pain list with each season of training. But I do all of this because I can. I do all of this because I enjoy setting goals, reaching them, and seeing my progress. 

I can do this. 

Since having kids, my inclination towards setting these physical goals has grown; I want my daughters to know they can accomplish anything they set their beautiful minds to. I want them to see the work I put in, the failed attempts, the pain, and the celebrations of getting there.

With this diagnosis, I have oscillated between hiding and fighting. There are days I am frozen with fear that I will leave my children motherless; leave my best friend and husband a widower. These are the days when I want to stay in bed, I want to stay quiet, I want to watch my girls play and memorize every detail about them. These are the days I want to close my eyes and only see and hear my three favorite people. But then I remember that this life, these loves, they are all gifts from above. And to hide is to squander all that I have been given. 

I can do this.

While I have a deep fear of my aneurysm rupturing and drowning during open water swims, I am doing it. Because my purpose on this earth is to be the best wife, best mom, and best person I can be. And to do that, I need to live. I need to set goals and work towards them. I need to fail. I need to pick myself up. And I need those finish lines. So on September 11, 2016, I will be swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles for my partner and best friend in life, my girls, and myself. Because I can do all things through Christ.  

I can do this.

How has your story shaped who you are today?: My circumstances have forced me to grow in my faith. There came a point when I had to decide: will I let this break me or will I let this grow me? And if I'm honest, it had to break me first in order to grow me. But today? Today I survive on faith.

Why were you compelled to share your story?:  I hope my story inspires my daughters. I hope one day, my story will teach them perseverance, strength, and endurance. I hope they will know I lived my life because of my deep love for our family. And along the way, I hope it touches others to do more and be more.

What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?: We are all braver than we believe and stronger than we think. And despite our situations and circumstances, it takes grit, guts, hard work, and faith to go after our goals. So go after them.

Emery Hope's Legacy

Clickforhope, Family, LossJasmine Lopez1 Comment
"They say losing a child changes you and I would say that's definitely true. I am not the same Skye I was and I don't think I ever will be. And I don't necessarily feel that the new me is a bad thing."-Skye

Please share your story: 

Where do I even begin?

My husband and I have three precious little girls - one is in heaven. We were pregnant with our second and I knew then I wanted another one, he wasn't convinced. It took 3 years to convince him to have our third.

I got pregnant with Emery fairly easily, just like I had both Makenzi and Addison. But somehow early in the pregnancy I knew something was not right. I immediately started having problems very early on. I made it to almost the halfway mark and was in and out of the hospital. There was always something wrong and they couldn't figure out what was going on. The doctors always diagnosed me with a threatened miscarriage and would send me home after a couple of nights in the hospital to just be on bed rest.

Finally around 23 weeks I started seeing a high risk specialist and he couldn't figure out what was wrong either, but could tell something was wrong by the look of the amniotic fluid. He wanted to just keep a close watch on me. I saw him on a Tuesday (after being released from another hospital) and by Friday I was in the hospital very sick. That weekend my water broke and he was going to do his best to keep me pregnant as long as he could. By Monday, we welcomed our sweet Emery Hope into this world at 24 weeks.

She was 1lb13oz and beautiful in our eyes. She was extremely premature. We were told we were in for a long ride in the NICU to be prepared.

Our long ride lasted 23 days. She fought so hard in my pregnancy that in her short time on this earth it was difficult. She had a major surgery because her intestines perforated and she just kept getting infections because of the intestinal perforation. It was all in her body and bless her sweet soul, she just couldn't recover from it.

They tried everything they could. We prayed so many times during my pregnancy we just felt certain God was going to pull her through this. He did but not on this side of glory.

On a Wednesday morning, they told us the words you never want to hear as a parent "it's time to hold her and unplug her." We had to make the decision to hold her while she was still alive (only by machines) or unplug her and then hold her. I had only been able to kind of hold her the night she was born, so I asked to please hold her while she was still alive so I could feel her heartbeat and feel her breaths (even if it was machines). My husband and I both held her. I held her all morning. When they first placed her in my arms, her stats went up higher than they had been in days. She knew she was in her Mama's arms. I was able to hold her until her last breath. The machines still weren't helping her and she was fading fast. I told my husband "please go tell them it's time. She needs to just go to heaven, so she can be at peace." He did and they unplugged my sweet girl. I had them remove her tape so I could see her beautiful face as she took her last breaths. She breathed two short breaths and smiled the sweetest smile. I know in that moment when she smiled at me she met Jesus. She was finally at peace and in no pain.

My pain had just begun. I had lost my baby. My baby girl. The baby I prayed for and prayed more for than I have ever prayed for in my life. I just wanted her to survive. I don't understand why God took her from me. I never will. I just know I never got mad at Him. I trusted His decision even if I didn't understand it. I wanted her here and I still want her here with me. I found Hope in the Lord through my Emery Hope. I know one day I will see her again and what a sweet, sweet day that will be.

It is still raw for me. Emery has only been with Jesus for 3.5 months. I long for the day I can see her again. My arms ache and my heart breaks in a way I've never felt before. But God has gotten me through my toughest days. I have never felt His presence in my life more than I do now. He comforts me just as He said He would.

I miss her so much I can't even put it into words! But I am so thankful for the promise the Lord gives us. I want to continue to share my Emery with the world, and bring people to Jesus.

How has your story help shape you into who you are today?:

Losing Emery Hope has brought us much closer as a family and brought us closer to the Lord. It makes us stronger and even when days are tough we have each other.

They say losing a child changes you and I would say that's definitely true. I am not the same Skye I was and I don't think I ever will be. And I don't necessarily feel that the new me is a bad thing. I realize how short life is, I love harder, I cling tighter to my husband and my girls, and I realize these precious girls God loaned me He can take back in the blink of an eye. It will forever be in me and I will forever miss Emery.

What compelled you to want to share your story with us today?:

I want to share my story to bring Hope to others that have lost children. I want them to find Hope in the Lord's promise. I want to share her story. I am proud of my sweet Emery Hope, even if I don't have her here to show I want to share her story and how she brought so many to their knees praying and that she continues to work miracles by me sharing her story. I want people to come to know Jesus.

What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?:

I won't say it gets easier. In all honesty, it does not. I miss Emery more today than I did the day she went to be with the Lord. I find my strength in Him. I hope and pray that those who face losing a child like I did find Hope in HIM. I pray they go to Him for comfort and for strength. I know without Him I would be lost more so than I am now without Emery.

I would hope people that are facing a NICU roller coaster wouldn't look at our story as the final outcome. In some cases, babies pull through what Emery did fine. The NICU is an amazing place. It's not a place I loved being but I've never been around more caring and thoughtful people.

I pray that people don't feel their life is over when they lose a precious baby. It's hard and it's difficult. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her. But I have Hope in my Lord and I know that one day I will see her again! We will be reunited and I pray that if anyone does go through losing a child they find comfort in knowing that truth.

I continue to share my story and my journey on my personal blog - http://www.butterfliesandpinksunsets.com . I want our journey to be shared so people can get help and comfort through our journey.