Photo Shoots

First Time She Didn’t See the Wheelchair

Me Ra Koh

First Time She Didn’t See the Wheelchair – Dallas Frisco Portrait Photographer – Me Ra Koh

Meet an AMAZING Rising Phoenix! Amanda is a single mom with a rare form of muscular dystrophy called Congenital Myopathy. She was able to walk but during her pregnancy had a bad fall. It forever changed her mobility status and left Amanda as a full-time wheelchair user. Her words are powerful, “A sacrifice I still mourn but would do all over again if it meant bringing this happy, healthy kiddo into the world.”

Portrait of single mom in wheelchair and her daughter. The First Time She Didn't See the Wheelchair, Rising Phoenix Experience celebrating resilience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh, Sony Artisan.

This amazing woman entered our big Rising Phoenix Anniversary giveaway. When I talked with her on the phone, she said “huge joy” is rising in her! “Feels like I’m in bloom! Things are sprouting. I’m not even clear of what the future holds, but I know it’s filled with new beauty. There is more to come.”

Talk about a Rising Phoenix! It was a honor to present her with the $1000 Gift Certificate!

Little did she know, this would be the first time she didn’t see the wheelchair first in photos.

Every Mom Worries She Messed Up Her Kids

I’ve talked to enough moms over the years to learn, we ALL fear how our pain or limitations may impact our kids. I will never forget the moment Amanda saw this portrait. Tears came to her eyes. She looked at me and Brian, “I never knew Avenly was that happy behind me.” Amanda’s been in a wheelchair all of her daughter’s life. Since she has limited mobility in her neck she imagined Avenly being more sad or missing out on something. Amanda never saw the truth of how her daughter really feels in such a powerful way!

Portrait of single mom in wheelchair and her daughter. The First Time She Didn't See the Wheelchair, Rising Phoenix Experience celebrating resilience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh, Sony Artisan.

Are you crying yet? We were ALL in tears! I’m crying just remembering this moment!

Seeing Avenly’s JOY explode, realizing THIS is how full her daughter feels, how complete she is with her mama, was TRANSFORMATIONAL for Amanda.

The First Time She Didn’t See the Wheelchair

“This is the first time my wheelchair isn’t the first thing I see. I see the JOY!”

Portrait of single mom in wheelchair and her daughter. The First Time She Didn't See the Wheelchair, Rising Phoenix Experience celebrating resilience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh, Sony Artisan.

I asked Amanda how seeing that joy would impact her day-to-day life. “Oh gosh, this is a very pivotal season of being on the other side of COVID, divorce, etc. Everything has shifted in how Avenly and I live our lives. I feel more healed and whole, finally shifted into the correct trajectory. This wall art will be a beautiful reminder of the beginning of this season, a visual tether. We’re rebuilding on a more solid foundation and coming back to childlike joy. Whatever we build from here will be a lasting reminder of where we started.”

What Her Daughter Loves about Mama

“My mom actually understands me. If I have anxiety, emotional problems, she never asks me to snap out of it, but has strategies. She really cares and takes good care of me.”

Portrait of single mom in wheelchair and her daughter. The First Time She Didn't See the Wheelchair, Rising Phoenix Experience celebrating resilience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh, Sony Artisan.

“And she has a really good sense of humor!”

I also asked Avenly what her mom’s superpower is, and her answer is amazing!

“My mom’s superpower is her ability to make people smile, be happy, make other people appreciate life. She’ll also break out into a song and make me laugh and smile!”

Life is Still in the Ashes, in the Burning

Robin, one of Amanda’s best friends from college, shares “I would’ve never chosen a person in a wheelchair to be my best friend because I’m so active. But you forget she’s in one, it’s not her identifier anymore!”

“People forget how life is still in the ashes, in the burning,” says Robin. She remembers her dad burning a crop, and the field being completely blackened. But two weeks later it had new life. “Amanda is a vision of that! I couldn’t have asked for a better best friend! Because of Amanda and her disability, she’s always shown me how to ask for help.”

Portrait of single mom in wheelchair and her daughter. The First Time She Didn't See the Wheelchair, Rising Phoenix Experience celebrating resilience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh, Sony Artisan.

I asked Robin what she hopes Amanda’s Rising Phoenix artwork reminds her every day when she wakes up and first opens her eyes.

Phoenixes Die Many Deaths

“Phoenix’s die many deaths, and live many lives. But they come out of death every time to live a whole new life. Just knowing Amanda’s story, every trial, tribulation, defeat. Being a parent, there is always life on the other side. It won’t be the last time we struggle, but there is always life on the other side.”

Amanda’s Superpowers

Both Samantha and Shannon say that Amanda’s optimism is her superpower.

“She faces every challenge with such optimism,” says Shannon. “Everything could be collapsing around her but Amanda will say “Here’s the good thing – the house is on fire but at least we won’t be cold.”

“Strong – Gosh, Amanda is strong! Maybe ironic because she has a muscular disorder. Before her I didn’t have friends with disabilities, but watching her not give up, no matter what anyone says…I remember Amanda saying “I want to have a baby, be a mom.” And she did!”

Portrait of single mom in wheelchair and her daughter. The First Time She Didn't See the Wheelchair, Rising Phoenix Experience celebrating resilience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh, Sony Artisan.

“Strength is also her superpower. Amanda’s ability to lift other people, communities up, people going through things, there isn’t a task too heavy for her. She makes everyone a better version of themselves.”

Shannon’s adopted son is blind. She said Amanda has had a powerful, direct impact on her making the decision to adopt. Amanda was there to talk her through the adoption and variables of him being blind. Their friendship changes lives.

This Kind of Realness is Dynamic

Samantha spoke about how REAL Amanda is–a dynamic realness. She can tell Amanda anything, and Amanda’s soft spoken voice will have this calming effect on her. Amanda’s realness was also impactful when they were in college, new friends, and laughing hysterically as Samantha tried to help her in the bathroom. Samantha was so sure she had the situation under control until they fell into the toilet! LOL

Reminded of Everyday

Her friends told me how they hope Amanda sees this JOY every day and is reminded, “She is beautiful, her happiness. On her hard days to see it and go, ‘I have this light, inner joy that can’t be put out because I’m going through this situation. That she is a bad ass who continues to accomplish great things!”

And for Avenly to say “My mom is super cool! I want to be just like her!”

What Amanda Wants Avenly to be Reminded Of…

“Adoration. I adore Avenly. When I’m with her – I love it! There’s no other place I’d rather be! She’s such a marvel to me; I’m always in awe of her. Society says, “I’m the parent, I need to take care of her.”

“But we have more of a partnership, walking hand in hand. She helps me too. I hope Avenly sees this every morning and knows I’m always there, always cherish these times, that this visual representation would pull her back to who we are. We have a unique and beautiful relationship, and I will always be there.”

I asked Amanda what it’s like to wake up to this joy every morning. Her answer will bring happy tears! “Every day I’m reminded of God’s grace, and His promise to make beauty from ashes. I love starting the day in love with this season Avenly and I are in, with hope for tomorrow!”

Honor to Know Amanda

I’ve witnessed this amazing woman in our local community. Amanda is ALWAYS there to cheer on new businesses, raise support for worthy causes, and so much more. I think it’s safe to say Amanda is one of the most beautiful, incredible gifts in Frisco, Texas! She is a GEM to everyone who meets her!

Amanda, you are an inspiration to so many of us! Thank you for being so real, optimistic and strong. You choosing to rise above every challenge lifts us all. You are a beautiful Rising Phoenix!

Are You Ready to Rise like a Phoenix?

This experience is about you seeing the truth of who you are. When you see your resilience on the wall every day, it transforms you from the inside out. If you are overwhelmed with all the reasons why you shouldn’t invest time or money in yourself, I want you to pause and think of all the obstacles and challenges you have overcome in your life whether it’s a weight loss journey, depression, knowing you are enough, you are worthy, anxiety, cancer, seasons changing with kids leaving the nest, loss of a loved one. Have you been promoted in your career or pivoted with resilience?

Life is full of challenges. And we so often struggle to celebrate ourselves in a meaningful, lasting way.

The list of how we rise like a phoenix to overcome the odds goes on and on.

You Give to Everyone Around You

You’ve most likely given to everyone else. The time has come to give something transformational and lasting to you. Just read the following stories.

Losing 150lbs and celebrating it with a special Rising Phoenix Portrait Experience at FIORIA by Me Ra Koh.

Have you achieved a weight goal? Read Jamie’s inspiring story of never going back after significant weight loss.

Maybe you need deeper healing from childhood trauma. You’ve done the counseling but still struggle to see the truth about who you are. You may relate to Tiffany’s story.

Jajuan flew from Seattle for his Rising Phoenix Experience! He wanted his daughters to see not only who dad is but where he’s come from. Sony spotlighted Jajuan’s Rising Phoenix story as one of the Best Of portraits in 2022! See Jajuan’s powerful story.

Or maybe you’re turning 40, 50, 60 or 70+ and want to reflect and celebrate who you are and the possibilities of what this next season of life holds? 

The first step is to fill out our Rising Phoenix inquiry; CLICK HERE.

Michelle Found Courage to Step Beyond Grief

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. But the loss of her mom swallowed that confidence.

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. Maybe you relate to Michelle’s story.

Meet Our Oldest Rising Phoenix

She was in her 80s and never had her makeup and hair done. I’ll never forget the giggles we had over watching Oma that day in the studio. This beautiful 4’9 woman came to the United States with Opa when she was only 23 yrs old and pregnant with her first baby. All they had was $50. Leaving behind family and all that was familiar in the Netherlands, they boarded a cargo boat and set out to make a new life.

Krista, Oma’s granddaughter, had a FIORIA family experience with us last year. When she saw us launch the Rising Phoenix Experience, she thought of her grandma. Oma is the heart of their family and lived eighty plus years as a rising phoenix.

Click Here to meet Oma, our oldest Rising Phoenix!

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. A year after her Rising Phoenix Experience, she sent us photos of her traveling solo in Europe! She told us how much her life has changed from seeing who she is every day when she looks at her Phoenix portraits!

What truth do you need to be reminded of daily to unleash your purpose and potential?

Meet Our Youngest Rising Phoenix, a Miracle Photo Shoot!

CLICK HERE to see the most miraculous Rising Phoenix portraits!

This is the first time Isabella has ever looked at the camera and smiled. This was a miracle photo shoot.

I’ll never forget my first Discovery Call with Isabella’s mom. She wasn’t sure this was a good idea because Isabella is very sensory sensitive. Photo shoots have never gone well in the past. She felt very hesitant to believe this photo shoot could be a success.

I felt her words on such a deep level. I didn’t want to set them up for disappointment either. But I just knew that there was something so special about this whole thing. I told her, “There are many doubts and fears I can struggle with, but this is something I am confident I can do.” She borrowed that confidence, and we witnessed a miracle photo shoot.

All these people have something in common, they were ready to …

Rise above the ashes of what other people have said
Rising above their fear and doubts
Embracing their Rising Phoenix within.

Through our Rising Phoenix Experience, they not only did something special for themselves but also received something transformational.

I invite you to experience the transformation too!

Your Rising Phoenix Experience includes:

  • Signature Phone Calls with You and Loved Ones (collection of words that give you life)
  • Professional Hair & Makeup
  • Wardrobe Consultation & Vision
  • Rising 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, and Brian will drop shadows and light on you in the most flattering way that radiates your Rising Phoenix.)
  • Same Day Cinematic Reveal & Custom Design Session with our In-House Design Specialist
  • Beautiful Artwork of Your Rising Phoenix, Custom Designed for the Best Place where it will Speak Truth to You Every Day.

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

I can’t wait to speak soon! Still we rise!
Me Ra


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