Healing from Childhood Trauma: Creatively and Spiritually – Dallas Frisco Photographer-Me Ra Koh
Katie was referred to us by another Rising Phoenix. From our first phone call, I knew this experience would not only change Katie’s life but mine also. You can’t hear a story like Katie’s and walk away unchanged. She is a shining example of healing from childhood trauma both creatively and spiritually.
Riddled with Scars
Katie’s body is riddled with scars. As a toddler, her biological father threw her against a sheet metal wall, cutting her stomach open, and left her for dead. The scar on her left finger was from a machete. The scar above her right eye is from being hit by a rock when kids found out she didn’t have parents and was being raised by her older sister. On her right ear is a scar from a haircut given by her sister because they were too poor to go to a salon. Around her lip is a scar from being attacked by a dog on her 13th birthday. She spent two weeks in the hospital for facial reconstruction.
But her deepest scar that needed healing from all the childhood trauma was internal. It was the scar of fearing abandonment and not being able to overcome survivor’s guilt. In her heart, she believed that if she hadn’t been born, her birth mother would still be alive.
Sweet Golden One Coming Up for Air
Her given Thai name is Lasoy which means “sweet golden one”. Katie told me it was a name she reluctantly accepted because she didn’t see her value. But God did. “I never saw worth in myself, so I never used that name…during those years, God was with me, guiding me, even when I didn’t want a relationship with Him. He wanted a relationship with me.”
Then she talked about her powerful experience of being baptized last year. “I felt like I was coming up for air. I could finally breathe. The path was so clear. I was happy to be alive, like God came and gave me new windows vs the dirty ones. And I didn’t see the ugliness of my scars anymore. I was worth something and truly beautiful.”
During her Phoenix Shoot, I asked her what it felt like to be baptized and come up for air. What did it feel like to finally embrace Lasoy? That she was named “Sweet Golden One” by accident but for a purpose. Lasoy closed her eyes, lifted her hands, and I sat in awe as I captured the rebirth of this beautiful woman.
I asked Katie what it would be like to see Lasoy, Sweet Golden One. “It would remind me that other people need to hear my message. That I have purpose and renewal. My story can help other’s overcome survivor’s guilt. I am worth something and truly beautiful.” She is such a beautiful example of someone who has found healing from childhood trauma.
BTS: Mourning into Dancing!
What Her Husband Said
Van chose the word “archangel” to describe his wife. First time I’ve ever heard someone use that word to describe a loved one. Wow! He said, “Katie is resilient. She’s tough and can bounce back from anything. And she’s an archangel. She has such good purpose for so many things, but if you mess with her family, friends or causes, she’ll lay waste. Katie isn’t afraid to go to battle for the right things.”
Her husband’s words inspired this Rising Phoenix Portrait.
Van hoped her Phoenix Portraits would reminded her every day that she’s not only found healing from her childhood trauma, but she is a BEAUTIFUL survivor. Her life hasn’t been easy. But she is still one of those people who will do the right thing when no one is watching because it’s the right thing to do.
What Her Teenage Son Said
I asked Patrick what his mom has taught him that he’s going to take to college. His answers are so powerful. “My positivity has come from my mom. She has imprinted it on me.”
Dedication was another word he used to describe his mom. “She doesn’t give up, she doesn’t stop. Even with all the challenges she’s experienced. My mom is also very compassionate, even if she doesn’t know someone’s backstory. She just wants to help. And if she doesn’t know how to help, she’ll figure out a way.”
“Even when life is hard, she’s taught me to never give up. Even when I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, to keep going.
And my mom is so friendly with everyone!
She’s like a friend to me. We can joke around. I like to lock her in the pantry when she least expects it.” 🙂
How beautiful freedom looks.
Katie’s Phoenix Experience was so powerful and transforming, she now goes by Lasoy. Through her baptism and then seeing her true self in her Phoenix Portraits, she has been set her free to embrace the name and identity of being “Sweet Golden One.” She has overcome survivor’s guilt. There are no words. My heart is speechless.
Katie’s Phoenix Portraits leave me speechless. These are not poses a photographer tells someone to do. It’s a story, a song, that their soul begins to sing. And I’m just lucky enough to have the camera to capture it.
What Her BFF Said
Thank God for those special friends who see the beauty in us even when we can’t see it yet. Michelle is a friend like that. She wrote a letter to Katie for me to read on the morning of her Rising Phoenix Experience. I don’t think there was a dry eye.
“May you lay dormant and silent no more! May you be released from the strongholds you’ve endured. You could have easily been led astray, held captive and defined by your oppressed, persecuted past. But out of the cries of your anguish you’ve overcome it all. God has emerged and renewed your life…You’re a vessel of enthusiasm and produce unmeasurable strength. Not to mention, you’re a 5’2 force to be reckoned with, a FIRECRACKER!”
Helping Trafficked Women Find Healing
Katie is a Board Member for Treasured Vessels Foundation. They are “devoted to providing a long-term safe place for healing and growth to individuals impacted by trauma from exploitation in sex trafficking. We provide food, shelter, education, and trauma care for survivors of sexual exploitation. We have a passion to help restore purpose and value to each person while providing a holistic and comprehensive approach to therapy for a sustainable future.”
Her Birthday and Reveal Party Raised $40K+
For her birthday, she decided to host a beautiful fundraising dinner where we revealed two of her Phoenix Collection artwork and raised money for Treasured Vessels Foundation (TVF). It was such a honor to help Katie visually tell the story of who she is today. We raised $40K+ for TVF! AMAZING!!!
Her story breathes hope into women at TVF and everyone else. Katie’s own healing journey from childhood trauma is what drives her to help others find healing.
“No other agency in North Texas can match Treasured Vessels Foundation’s program with intensive, long-term mental health services and supportive programming that focuses on developing stability while increasing capacity for greater autonomy and long-term sustainability in the future.
You can support TVF too by CLICKING HERE to donate
Japanese Art of Repairing Broken Pottery
If you look at Katie’s Phoenix Collection in the photo and video, you’ll notice that the borders are a custom gold. Katie remembers hearing about the ancient art of Kintsugi. Day after day, week after week, stage by stage, the pottery is cleaned, groomed, treated, healed and finally enhanced. Kintsugi, literally means “golden joints” repairing broken pottery by highlighting their cracks with golden powder.
The gold celebrates and rejoices the history of the pottery and what it’s been through. The break is something to remember, something of value, a way to make the piece MORE beautiful rather than something to disguise.
Katie said “The symbolism hit me like a bulldozer. It has helped me heal and have peace in accepting the journey God has for me. It is worth being vulnerable, sharing my flaws, if it will help others find hope and heal. Sometimes our imperfections can be the birth of something new.” WOW.
Healing Deep Wounds Through Art
I love how creativity, art, and God can bring such deep healing from childhood trauma. I’m a firm believer in counseling and have been in it myself for 30 years. But I’ve also experienced the power of my own Rising Phoenix Portraits on the wall. Seeing what is true every day (versus trying to remind or convince yourself of what is true) has access to bypass the head and bring profound healing to the heart.
Finally Seeing Her Scars as Beautiful
When Brian was done installing Katie’s Rising Phoenix Collection, he invited us to come see. It took Katie’s breath away. She looked at me and said “I’ve never seen my scars as beautiful until today.” We both started crying.
One of Katie’s gifts is that she is an amazing hostess. She wanted a powerful visual of her story that would cause guests to lean in and want to know the meaning behind her Rising Phoenix Portraits. It already worked last night!
Patrick, her teenage son, had a bunch of friends over. Two of them turned the corner and were stopped in their tracks at seeing her wall art. One of them said “WOW!” And Katie began to tell them the story behind every scar, the meaning of her sword, and how God has brought deep healing to her childhood trauma. Two teenage boys stood in awe, as she planted seeds of hope in their hearts.
What is a Rising Phoenix Experience?
This is about you finally seeing the truth of who you are. Seeing your resilience every day changes you from the inside out. Just read the following stories. When was the last time you did something transformational just for you? And isn’t it about time? You’ve most likely given to everyone else. It’s time to give something transformational and lasting to 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 (read Jamie’s inspiring story of never going back after significant weight loss). Maybe you’ve overcome a serious illness, been promoted in your career, pivoted with resilience in your career, or found healing from something painful in your past? Like Katie, do you need healing from childhood trauma? You’ve done the counseling but still struggle to see the truth about who you are. Or maybe you’re turning 40, 50, 60 or 70+ and feel the need to reflect on who you are and what this next season of your life has in store?
The first step is to fill out our Phoenix inquiry; CLICK HERE.
Michelle Found Courage to Step Beyond Grief
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.
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 two years ago, the loss of her mom changed her life.
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.
All these women 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 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:
- Signature Phone Calls with You and Loved Ones
- 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 Cinematic 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 inquiry and begin your Phoenix Experience!
Can’t wait to speak soon!
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