Sunday April 11th, 2021 9:35PM

You know that one word your friends and family use to describe you, the one that sums you up? Stacy and Crazy are two words that have seemed to always go together. I've never taken it as an insult, I've proudly worn the crown. 

And here's why: I'm crazy passionate, I'm crazy energetic, I'm crazy adventurous, I'm crazy creative, I'm crazy intense, and I'm crazy kind hearted. Have there been points in time that I've acted as a person who could use a straight jacket and a padded room? Absolutely, but this kooky concoction has given me the strength, knowledge and motivation to pursue my purpose and walk my path. 

Photography is something I am most definitely passionate about, but above that is my service to my community. I believe we each have talents and skills that we can share and use to contribute. Am I talking about free photo sessions, gift cards or credits? No, if you have the physical ability to lend a hand, ears to listen even for a minute, a shoulder to lean on when the weight gets to be to much or quick words of comfort, any of these is more than enough. Too often we hear stories of division, hate and suffering and though these things may not directly be happening to us, our families or our friends they're very real and do play a part in the way we see the world. 

I've seen for myself some of the kindest hearts turn cold, mine too froze up for a bit. It's hard to avoid with all of the struggles we face internally and externally. But I still found hope and I've been holding tight to that hope for the last few years. And now... I see hope in the hateful, in the broken and in the heartless. Do I know all of the answers or carry all of the cures? Nope! But, I realize this little glimmer of hope I've been carrying in my pocket can be shared, it can be multiplied and it can find just the right person at just the right time. 

I'm not a rich woman, I'm not a lucky woman lol but I am blessed to not only live life on my own terms but to live it in a community that has instilled moral values within me that have become stronger than steel and have made me ultimately unbreakable. I grew up in the small town of Rockford, when I started going to school the towns population was roughly 2,700. It's grown drastically, some for the worse, some for the better. The one thing that has always remained true about this community; it is the one place on earth I feel 100% comfortable being myself. This village raised me and to say I was a handful would be an understatement. Not everyone showed love and support but those that did, I won't ever forget. Now again, I don't have a bottomless bank account or much of anything to give, but I do have heart and I do have determination so with those two things I decided to do what I could no matter how big, no matter how small. 

I realized there was a void within me that had to be filled, I was sick of watching all of the depressing sh*t going on around me and I had to do something, anything. It started with Wright County Christmas Angels, I found a small family, a single mother and her son who I thought I could help out, I set aside 50% of my holiday session profits for a full month and I tracked down those toys from the list, found those fuzzy slippers and collected the smaller every day needs that no family should go without. I drove my dirt covered trailblazer clear across the county and I delivered those gifts to a woman who was more than deserving and even more appreciative. On my way back home, I felt good, who wouldn't after doing something for someone around the holidays. But this was a different kind of feel good. One I knew I needed more of. I quickly realized this dream, this business, that I was using to survive could also provide me with opportunities to give back and be a contributing member of the "village". The following spring CRR Fundraising Sessions began. I found the organizations and the causes that meant the most to me and set goals to raise donations and funds. I was doing not only what I loved (Photography) but I was filling that void and serving my purpose. Now a days things have gotten a bit more personal, there are tragedies hitting close to home and loved ones passing who leave behind families that are trying to cope with their loss and manage everyday life. We can't mend those wounds but we can show our support and do our best to help lessen the load. 

So, to those of you who came out to support the first fundraising event of 2021, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I loved being able to see some familiar faces and was blessed to meet some amazing new families as well. 

This was my first go at the "Pay What You Can" sessions and I look forward to scheduling more fundraising events in the future. Our current fundraising efforts for the family of JD Ramirez will continue through July 31st, 2021. If you are a fan of our Red, White and Blue Sessions, please stay tuned on Facebook and Instagram! I very much look forward to these sessions every year and cannot think of a better way to honor my friend. 

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