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Bonjour! My name is Melissa and I'm a wedding and portrait photographer in the Pacific Northwest. This blog is where I want to tell you the beautiful stories of my clients, share their weddings, and give you a behind the scenes peek of this crazy business that I love. Grab a glass of champagne, snuggle up, and get lost in love stories... xoxo

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Vulnerability, Crying, and Life Changing Moments

Filed in: Personal

Sometimes moments in life change you unexpectedly. I grew up living with 4 brothers and 1 sister. My middle school and high school years were spent in gymnasiums and on stadium seats cheering for my brothers as they played football and wrestled. And no, a lot of the time I wasn’t happy about it (I was a teenage girl, throw me a bone.). In fact, if I’m being honest, after awhile, I had become resentful. At the time, I saw it as my parents were forcing me to waste my weekends away sitting on bleachers, surrounded by the smell of sweat, and listening to them scream their support at their top of their lungs, “I’m so proud of you!’ “You can do it!”. As I had devoted most of my after school time to dance classes, drama, and jazz choir… most were forums of bright lights and polite clapping. Even if my family was there, I didn’t know it. In all of my teenager-ness, I felt it as unfair, and my parents liked my brothers more then they liked me.  Only because I had never heard them verbally cheer for me. I KNOW I KNOW, totally not fair of me to assume this, especially given my extracurricular activities. I GET IT NOW. I was SUCH a teenage girl. I love my parents dearly, and of COURSE they love me more than my brothers (hahaha, I kid, I kid).

As some or most of you know, I started going to crossfit about 10 months ago. I started with the encouragement of my brothers and sister-in-laws who were already avid crossfit-goers. And I fell in love with it. It has forced me to mentally dig deeper within myself than I ever have before. It has forced me to believe that my body is capable of great things. And in this process, I have adopted an amazing crossfit family. Trainers and friends who have pushed me, and fought alongside me in our pursuit to be better. It’s a community like none-other and I have fully come to understand the meaning of “drinking the crossfit kool-aid.”  It has been an amazing bonding experience within my family as well. Even though we don’t live in the same area, we encourage and push eachother to our fullest potential. It’s incredibly special.

Yep, this is me and my crossfit siblings circa 2012.

Yep, this is me and my crossfit siblings circa 2012.


Most of us have been participating in the Crossfit Open these past few weeks. If you’re not familiar, there is a competition each year called the Crossfit Games, to find the “fittest man and woman on earth”. The Open is the preliminary competition that you need to place high in to continue on to “Regionals” and then from there, “the Crossfit Games”. Most of us sign up for the Open to see where we stand against the rest of the world, and it’s a great way to gauge improvement over time. For 5 weeks, one specific workout is released each week and you have a few days to complete this workout in front of a judge. It has been an incredibly vulnerable, terrifying, exhilarating, and joyful experience. For the last few weeks, I have completed these workouts in front a judges and fellow athletes. Some workouts were hard and I didn’t make it very far, while others I felt okay about (it’s ALL hard and I’m not that great at ANY of them in comparison to the rest of the world.) 🙂 .

Yesterday was an experience that touched my heart. My siblings came to my box to compete in the Open with me. And not only did they come, but my parents, nephews, husband, and kids came to cheer. For the first time ever, I competed next to my family. I heard the screams of my parents. I could hear my kids chanting “GO MOM! GO MOM! GO MOM!”. My friends kneeled on the floor in front of me, screaming at me to keep going. I pushed myself harder then I ever have before. The second that timer was up, and I dropped that bar, the tears came streaming down my face. I wish I could bottle that moment forever of having my family and friends pummel me. Of seeing the tears in their eyes. They were right next to me that whole workout. They fought with me. And we could both feel the joy afterward of leaving everything you’ve got at that bar.

This blog post was for me. So that I will never forget that feeling. And at the end of the day, I know that being vulnerable is rewarding. My best is always good enough. And everything is always better when you surround yourself with an incredible village.

My Dad!

My Dad!


Me and my awesome siblings!

Me and my awesome siblings!

Every good workout needs a prior chest bump. Or in the case of my brother, a belly bump, because he's way bigger than me. :)

Every good workout needs a prior chest bump. Or in the case of my brother, a belly bump, because he’s way bigger than me. 🙂

IMG_7024It all started so well…. 🙂


I love my crossfit girls ( And the looks on their faces during my turn). Things were starting to get hard.

These are my crossfit girls. Jenny coached me through every step and I am SO grateful for her, she’s an incredible motivator.

I know this is an awful picture of me. But I love it. I love the struggle. I love the fight. And I love that you can see my parents yelling in the background.I know this is an awful picture of me. But I love it. I love the struggle. I love the fight. And I love that you can see my parents yelling in the background.

My friend Jenny, coached me through this whole workout, and I am SO grateful for her. This was one of my favorite moments.

 Seeing Jenny’s face when I was done was one of my favorite moments.

Future cross fitters of America.

Future cross fitters of America.



Thanks to my sister, Jeana, and my friend Michelle for the pictures! I treasure them!

comments +

  1. Kate Breuer

    March 18th, 2014 at 12:39 am

    GO GIRL! I love the “not pretty” picture of you. It shows how much you struggled and fought. It’s amazing.

  2. Amber Herlocker

    March 18th, 2014 at 4:34 am

    Love this and love you. So proud of how far you have come!!

  3. Kelley Toppin

    March 18th, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Melissa, I’ve been a fan of yours since your CreativeLive appearance and you never disappoint! I absolutely LOVE this blog post! What an incredible experience. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Jodi

    March 18th, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    THIS is everything! I love it!

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