Photo Shoots

Courage to Step Forward

Me Ra Koh

Courage to Step Forward – Dallas Frisco Family Photographer – Me Ra Koh

courage to step forward 
FIORIA by Me Ra Koh

There are some seasons in life when we feel unshakeable courage and other seasons that leave us feeling lost.

After great loss, it takes great courage to step forward.

Interrogator in the Middle East

Meet Michelle. She is definitely someone who has known great courage. At one time, she was an interrogator for the US military in the Middle East. This 5’4 woman knows confidence.

Ex-military Interrogator finds courage to move forward
FIORIA by Me Ra Koh

But two years ago, the loss of her mom changed her life.

I know loss well. It leaves you in a deep fog. Your soul feels cast out to sea. Someone can be standing right next to you talking, and yet you feel a thousand miles away. Your body feels physically tired all the time. The loyalty of your love wrestles with experiencing joy again.

During a Therapy Session

In a recent therapy session, Michelle’s counselor suggested she have professional photos taken of her–so she can see who she has become since her mom passed away. Michelle said the idea of having her picture taken terrified her. But that night, she opened up Facebook and a friend from work had shared how much they loved their recent FIORIA experience with us.

Michelle had never heard of FIORIA or my story. She looked at our website, read my story, and felt like what we did was exactly what she needed.

She Saw Her Joy Again

And it was healing to see that her joy is real and beautiful.

courage to step forward 
FIORIA by Me Ra Koh

Michelle Saw Her Strength Again

Ex-military Interrogator finds courage to move forward
FIORIA by Me Ra Koh

What Her Best Friend from College Said

I had the privilege of talking to one of Michelle’s oldest friends from college. When I asked her what she loves most about Michelle, she said “Shel is the most generous, giving person with her time. She’ll drop everything if you need her. She’s adventurous and BRAVE! Always takes a challenge like after college going to the Ukraine and learning another language. Competent and Intelligent. Always seems to know what to do next. She gives the most amazing advice! “Here’s your action steps!”

Inspires People to See Their BEST Selves

When I talked with a more recent friend, she also said the most beautiful things about Michelle. I honestly got off the phone and was like “I’m so EXCITED to have this woman in my life!” (Shel, you are stuck with me now! LOL!)

“Shel has the ability to see people for what they can bring to others—inspires people to see their BEST selves. She picks up on one thing in each of my family members and inspires them to see it. For example, Shel came alongside my husband’s dream to paint and said, “What if you did this? Tried this?” She sent him a YouTube video, posted his painting on Instagram and 25 people liked it. And everything changed!”

This Next Part was so Powerful

Jennifer said “She plants ideas and then celebrates how “BRILLIANT” you are!” Isn’t that one of the most beautiful qualities you could ever hope for in a friend? She doesn’t take the credit for the idea because she simply wants to see you win.

courage to step forward 
FIORIA by Me Ra Koh

“She’s a secret most of the world doesn’t know about, but we get to experience her—and she inspires ALL of us to be MORE!” said Jennifer.

Courage to Move Forward

The loss of a loved one can make the strongest person feel uncertain–even someone who once interrogated people in the Middle East. You struggle with courage to move forward. Your confidence is shaken.

When Michelle and I talked on the phone, she said “I want to own my confidence again. I feel like I used to have a much stronger voice.” She was ready to take flight while also feeling grounded again.

Portrait of Rediscovered Joy
FIORIA by Me Ra Koh

Giving herself the Portrait of a Phoenix Experience felt incredibly vulnerable and even a bit scary. She could tell from our phone conversations that I was a safe person and this would be a safe experience. But it was more the vulnerability of what the experience would bring–the anticipation of how it might transform her.

The Unexpected Transformations

Five weeks later, I called Michelle to tell her that her Phoenix Collection had shipped from Italy! It was on it’s way! What came next moved me to tears. She said that since her Phoenix Day, she feels more grounded than ever. The experience brought so much unexpected clarity. It’s changed how she interacts with people! She is so much more calm at work.

“I now see the calm, confidence, all the hard work I’ve done, and it’s real. It’s me! I feel like God sent you to me,” she said. Brian and I feel so honored to do this work. The transformation that happens in people’s lives always leaves us in awe.

Reveal Party with Friends!

When her Phoenix Collection arrived, Michelle invited some of her closest friends to see it for the first time with her. It was such a rich evening. Brian and I talked about why we lit her Phoenix Portraits in certain ways based on the words they had all shared before her shoot. Michelle shared what the experience and Phoenix Portraits meant to her. And then Brian installed the collection in her bedroom while the rest of us talked, laughed, and celebrated Michelle over wine and appetizers. Oh my goodness, what a magical night!

Haunting Need…

Michelle recently shared on Facebook what this experience gave her. I thought it would be powerful if you heard her own words how her courage to step forward and have the Phoenix Experience impacted her.

“I don’t often share personal experiences in the public domain of Facebook. Today though, I want to share how the beautiful Me Ra Koh and her husband Brian Tausend are working together to support individuals and families process their emotions and document their journey with FIORIA Photography’s Rising Phoenixes.

For many like myself, it is a healing but ultimately it is a celebration of life. I found MeRa Koh by fate or a gift of God depending on your choice of beliefs. I was in my final sessions of yet another round of grief counseling for complex trauma (lovely diagnosis, isn’t it?) and given the task of getting photos taken of myself. It seemed a daunting task. Who was going to understand the haunting need that was precipitating this request? Then I was scrolling FB and for the first time ever, I see Rising Phoenixes with Me Ra Koh in my FB feed.

Reading about her history, her art and how she learns about the people she photographs to capture what they feel. I knew immediately I needed her to help me. MeRa Koh spoke to my friends. We talked extensively before the day of my photos. Everything was done to make me feel comfortable. More importantly MeRa Koh helped me see and hear what my friends see in me, and what I feel to be true. She grounded me in a reality I have not felt in years. Thank you MeRa Koh??????

One of My Favorites

courage to step forward by FIORIA with Me Ra Koh

I LOVE this Phoenix Portrait of Michelle. There are several favorites and this is definitely one of them. I love the motion in her hair as a nod to her life moving in new directions. The cut of her hair speaks to the precision and detail she is able to hold for others. Her eyes SHINE with this breathtaking hope and joy of what is ahead. And yet, there is a depth in her eyes that speak to all she has witnessed and experienced.

Shel, you are such a powerful, beautiful Rising Phoenix. Thank you for the honor of being a part of your healing journey. What a gift to help deliver the transformation that has been within you–growing from all the hard, heart-work you’ve done. This next season is sacred for many reasons. My spirit waits with anticipation to see how the goodness of what is to come unfolds.

still we rise,

Me Ra

What is a Phoenix Experience?

When was the last time you did something transformational just for you?

If you are overwhelmed with all the reasons why you shouldn’t invest time or money on yourself, I want you to pause and think of all the obstacles you have overcome in your life.

Have you achieved a weight goal, overcome a serious illness, been promoted in your career, pivoted with resilience in your career, or found healing from something painful in your past? Or maybe you’re turning 40, 50, 60 or 70+ (yes, all those age groups of women have come!) and feel the need to reflect on who you are and what this next season of your life has in store for you? 

The first step is to fill out this Phoenix form. CLICK HERE.

Kristina Overcame Cancer

Meet beautiful Kristina who overcame cancer! Even though she was thankful to have defeated this enemy, she struggled with seeing the scar that remained. Once she stopped to think about all of the incredible obstacles she has overcome, she realized that now was the time to celebrate the strong woman she is today. The Phoenix Portrait Experience allowed her to celebrate not only the healing but also embrace this scar. Now every morning Kristina wakes up to see that brave, powerful woman on her bedroom wall. Nothing will ever stand in her way again.

Click Here to see her Phoenix Portrait Experience!

Crystal drove to us from Las Vegas.

A single woman who has always been known for being responsible and quiet, yet there is another side of her that wants to come out. A side that is brave and takes risks—that believes she is worthy of doing something special not just for others but for herself too. Every time Crystal looks up from her computer in her home office, she wants to be reminded of that part of her who is beautiful and brave.

Both these women have something in common, they were ready to …

Rise above the ashes of what other people have said
Rise above their fear and doubts
Rise above what life has thrown at them

… and embrace their beautiful Rising Phoenix within.

Through our Portrait of a Phoenix Experience, they not only did something special but transformational.

I want to invite you to experience it too!

The Portrait of a Phoenix Experience includes:

  • Professional Hair & Makeup
  • Wardrobe Consultation & Vision
  • Phoenix Photo Shoot with Me Ra Koh (Sony Artisan, Disney Host, and Live with Kelly & Ryan Guest Expert—You’re in good hands. I will pose you, drop shadows and light on you in the most flattering way that radiates your Phoenix Rising.)
  • Same Day Reveal & Custom Design Session with our In-House Design Specialist
  • Beautiful Artwork of Your Phoenix Rising, Custom Designed for the Best Place where it will Speak Truth to You Every Day.

CLICK HERE to fill out the form and begin your Phoenix Experience!

Can’t wait to speak soon!
Me Ra


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  1. Kim Schuh says:

    This is so Beautiful!!!

    • Me Ra Koh says:

      Thank you so much Kim! Jamie is such an inspiration and talking with her family was so special! They are ALL so proud of her! What a wonderful milestone to help her celebrate in such a meaningful way! I’ll never forget her first seeing the portraits, the look of shock on her face. She couldn’t believe that was her and nothing had been edited or retouched. Straight out of the camera, BEAUTIFUL both inside and out! I LOVE seeing that transformation happen in people! Can you tell I’m EXCITED? LOL! xoxo