We wanted to give you a glimpse into the life of little Javier Santiago Restrepo. He is a delightful 4 1/2 year old little boy who fought hard to beat leukemia. On July 25, Steve and I were blessed to meet their family, photograph them, and video their most precious moments before Javi went to be with the Lord on Friday, July 31, 2009.
It began when I received a call from a dear friend and client, Coach Sherri Coale, saying she wanted to give them this priceless gift – a photo session and a gift certificate for prints… I cannot agree more. This is absolutely priceless. Thank you, Coach Coale, for allowing me to be a part of recording these memories.
Our family and our dear friends lifted up this specific photo session in prayer… I want to share those prayers with you and show you how faithful God was in answering them.
1) We prayed for the weather – it was supposed to be 100 degrees this day, but I really wanted to capture him outside if possible. The Lord brought us cloud cover which cooled it off a bit and made us feel safe to bring him out on the porch… and, I could not have asked for a better location. The backdrop of their home was amazing and beautiful. They had a big wrap around front porch with a swing and rocking chairs… The direction their home faced was even a blessing from a lighting perspective. We were able to shoot on their front porch, their yard, and then in Javi’s room. Javi’s room was even perfect…
2) We all prayed for Javi to have strength, happiness, and joy. It took him just a little bit to get warmed up, but once he took me to his room I felt like his new friend. He wanted to show me everything that was important to him… his sailboat, his backpack, even his closet. He was so good at interacting with his family as if I wasn’t even there… this made for true, intimate moments.
3) We prayed that God’s Spirit would work through us as artists… giving us perfect conditions, fresh eyes, and wisdom for a new aspect that we brought to the session – video. We’ve wanted to eventually incorporate video into a few family sessions but had never done it before. He was faithful… the end product is more than I could have ever dreamed up myself. God set everything in its perfect place. I am so thankful that we incorporated video… to see the way his Mama plays with his hair, the way he “bonks” his Papa on the head, hearing his sweet laugh, and just hearing his voice.
We have spent countless hours editing and examining these images over past 10 days (thank you to our clients who graciously waited while we put our efforts here, first)… we’ve cried buckets of tears as we got to know their family through these images. We hope you watch this so you can get to know Javi a little bit better… and we pray you see how faithful God is. Please keep praying for this wonderful family as they enter into a new chapter.
There will be a new photo of Javi added to this post each day for the next week, so feel free to come back and visit… the new images will appear under the slideshow.
***If the video does not run smoothly turn the HD option “off” in the player.
Oh, how I admire Heidi’s strength. Everyone who mentions Heidi to me, mentions how strong she is. She loves that little boy so much… you can tell it in each image. And, I love every image I took of them together. It was wonderful for her to be so “unaware of me”… I just felt like I was a peeking in on all of her sweet moments with Javi and was able to capture so many unprompted moments. These images are a true picture of how much they love each other.
In this first one, Javi was a little sad and went to hide in a little corner of his room. His Mama came and picked him up and comforted him. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect place for them to stand.
True happiness. I’m not even sure what they were talking about… this corresponds with one of my favorite video clips in the slideshow.
And, Heidi’s favorite:
Javi with his big brother, Diego. They are such a fun pair… the best of buddies.
I love these next two images. Javi shows me his sailboat and tells me all about it. In the second image, he runs his fingers over the treasure chest. I love the detail of his hand. Haven’t you memorized the hands of those you love?
A proud Papa watches his sweet little boy. Their relationship is so cute… Santiago (Javi’s dad) makes me just stop and laugh – as I’m sure you can tell that through the photos and video. I can tell he brings laughter and hope to this family… I am thankful that Heidi and big brother Diego have that right now.
Javi playing with his Etch-A-Sketch