Honoring Our Oldest Rising Phoenix – Dallas Frisco Photographer-Me Ra Koh
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.
A couple weeks ago, Oma passed away. Brian and I want to take a moment to honor our oldest Rising Phoenix by sharing parts of her inspiring story and legacy.
Cargo Boat to Train
Opa told Oma he wanted to move to Africa or America, so Oma chose America. The Catholic Church sponsored their two week journey. On a cold February day, they arrived in New York City by cargo boat. That same day, they boarded a train for St. Louis. Can you imagine traveling by sea for two weeks just to get on a train? Can you imagine being pregnant and not speaking the language on top of all this? What an amazing, brave woman.
At first, Opa worked as a window washer and didn’t speak any English. But together, they began a new life and built a family legacy of faith, joy and strength.
She is the Heart of the Family
We had the privilege of doing calls with both Oma’s daughter and granddaughter, Krista. I asked them what the legacy is that Oma has cultivated in their lives. Their answer was so beautiful. “The gift Oma gave us is the JOY of children, having them and enjoying them.”
Maria told me to mention her great grandchildren when I took Oma’s photo. “You’ll see that twinkle in her eye when she hears their names. She loves them so much.”
The Legacy She Cultivated
There is nothing that brings Oma more joy than her family.
Krista said her Oma enjoys EVERY minute of it of being with family. At Thanksgiving, she would sit with all the grandkids and great grandkids around her just watching them play games. Her face gentle, proud and so happy–there is no place she would rather be. Oma always said that she couldn’t believe how smart, big, and intelligent her grandkids and great grandkids are. She’s so proud of each one.
Faith is a Way of Life
Faith is also a way of life for her. She breathes faith in and out and would always tell Krista’s mom “God sends a little angel to help me whenever I need it”. There is a wonderment in Oma’s eyes when she talks about her faith, a firm belief that God is always for her and her loved ones.
“And we can never forget how much she loved her Lipton tea served in a teacup and saucer with a little silver spoon and butter cookie.”
Trusting Us with Dementia
Maria, Oma’s daughter, wasn’t sure about doing this photo shoot. She came so close to cancelling several times. Oma had dementia and was already living in Alzheimer’s/Memory Care facility. Unfamiliar places and activities often triggered stress. But Krista encouraged her mom to still do this Rising Phoenix Experience.
My call with Maria was so special, being able to hold space for her to reflect on all the amazing attributes her mom has shaped in her, her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Even though Maria was nervous about how Oma would do, she expressed wanting to have these portraits before it became to hard for her mom to leave the facility.
I’m so thankful Maria took a risk and trusted us.
Maria messaged me after her sweet mom passed away and said, “I will always have the beautiful pictures you took as a wonderful memory hanging on my wall.”
These portraits are treasures that will live on forever for their family.
Creating a Safe, Familiar Environment for Elderly with Dementia and Alzheimers
We’ve had a handful of elderly parents come to our studio with dementia or Alzheimers. I know this is a big endeavor for the family. Our whole team works to create a personalized atmosphere that feels safe and familiar.
When Oma walked in the front door, we had her favorite classical music playing. The hot water was ready to pour her Lipton tea. We moved the whole studio downstairs so she didn’t have to walk upstairs. And even though Oma didn’t speak any English, she just kept smiling at her daughter and granddaughter so happy to be with them.
The One Thing Oma Wasn’t Sure About…
Oma has never had her Hair & Makeup done. And we all got a kick out of watching her scrunch her face as Ginger did her makeup. Oma wasn’t to sure what she thought about that part. LOL But she was a trooper and went with it. I’ll never forget Krista and Maria laughing as Oma snapped at Ginger in a foreign tongue. What priceless memories. Hearts were full. Laughter filled the studio.
Honoring Our Oldest Rising Phoenix
This beautiful 4’8 woman graced our studio with her presence. Even though we didn’t speak the same language, her whole being radiated strength, joy and deep love for her daughter and granddaughter. Oma faced impossible odds coming to this country. She left all that was familiar and comfortable for a dream in her heart.
She and Opa built a beautiful, simple life that was filled with love.
Maria talked about how close Oma was to her family, how hard it must have been to leave them not knowing when she’d see them again. But love for Opa and a dream gave her courage to trust that God had something for them in a new land.
There is no way to count how many times Oma must have chosen to rise above the challenges she faced. She didn’t know the language, have a job, and was about to have her first baby without any friends or meal train around. And through it all, her family describes her as pure love.
Maria and Krista, it was a honor to have captured Oma’s resilient, loving spirit. Her strength, joy and love for family lives on in both of you.
We celebrate Oma’s beautiful life and legacy with you.
still we rise, Me Ra
What is a Rising Phoenix Experience?
This is about you finally seeing the truth of who you are. Seeing your resilience on the wall every day, reminding you of who you are, 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 you have overcome in your life whether it’s a weight loss journey, depression, anxiety, cancer, the seasons changing with kids leaving the nest, the list goes on and on.
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.
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?
Do you relate to Tiffany’s story? Maybe you need a deeper 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, 70 or like Oma have an elderly parent in their 80s and feel the need 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 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 two years ago, the loss of her mom changed her life.
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.
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 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!
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