I first met Brie after she won my April photo shoot giveaway this past year.  She was so excited and wanted her photos to be perfect.  She told me so many times how blessed she felt and how she never won anything.  When they pulled up and she hopped out of the car with her sweet smile and gathered her children in her arms, I knew it would be a special time.   

It was SO windy and we had to hide out behind brick walls, crouch in protected areas and even wander down sheltered alleys to get the shots we wanted.  We chatted the entire time, her husband Eric quietly following and leading his daughters by the hand.  She lamented that Eleri wanted her pacifier so much and I tried to assure her that paci or no, the pictures would still be cute and so representative of "this time" in their lives.  I remember it was challenging to photograph both of them together as Eric was so tall and Brie was so dainty.  He picked her up at one point and she beamed and laughed….so happy.  

Our friendship was casual and new.  We met at Chik-Fil-A and let our girls play as we chit-chatted about this and that.  That is the day she told me she was expecting a third baby.  So excited and a bit nervous, she wanted to know how three children were…was it a hard transition from two to three?  how did you do this and that? and other questions a new pregnancy brings.  Her girls played with Gillian,  they got in spats, we all ate chicken nuggets, we spilled a lemonade in the play area, we were scolded by the chik-fil-a ladies for breaking the "no food and drinks in this area" rule, we giggled it off as we sopped up lemonade with thin napkins, we hugged and said goodbye.  

I had no idea.

I've been hesitant to write this blog post.  Mainly because I haven't known what to say. How do you describe the impact a person makes in a mere blog post?  How do you explain something so tragic?  How do you begin to process these thoughts?   How do I describe our brief time together in short, succinct paragraphs?  How do I describe this sweet person that came into my life and then quickly entered a new one?  My heart aches for her children and husband and yet I am also so glad that she is dancing before her beloved Savior right this moment.  Her smile is so bright.  

Our brief friendship affected me.  She showed me love and life.  She showered her friends with encouragement and support.  She took the time to send sweet notes of happy thoughts.  Her blog is full of beauty and truth.  She smiled and was thankful.  She wanted the best for her family.  She loved capturing moments through her own photography and words.  

She loved Jesus and worshipped Him.

And as for winning a prize, it was me that won that day.  I just didn't realize it when I pulled her name out of the hat.   And for that I am so blessed.