Lifelong Learner is the Epitome of Perseverance – Dallas Frisco Portrait Photographer – Me Ra Koh
Meeting Jackie was incredibly impactful for our team. Once you hear her story, we know you’ll feel the same sense of ‘awe’ at her fierce perseverance and love for others.
PROVING ‘AGE IS JUST A NUMBER’
Breaking age barriers and stereotypes, Jackie Friedrikson’s fierce determination saw her accomplish a long-term goal that she’s been working toward for over 5 years. This year, Jackie, at 74 years old, graduated from the University of Phoenix with her Doctorate in Health Administration.
Dr. Jackie is not only an inspiration for her perseverance and focus, but she attained her doctorate despite a decade-long battle with Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) and the death of her husband of 22 years, Mart.
Either of those events is enough for anyone to justify ‘quitting’ and ‘giving up’. But Jackie’s grit is hard-wired into her DNA – proving time and time again that set backs and hardships are not an excuse to lose your zest for life, but rather become the fuel that propels you forward.
For over a decade, Jackie felt so much shame while working through MPD. Coming to the realization that shame was only holding her back, is a testament to her resilience. After stepping on the other side of shame, Jackie began asking, “How can my story help others?”
The sheer size of her heart is truly a wonder to behold. Like a true phoenix, Jackie has emerged from the fire stronger than ever, with the intent to use her pain and hard-learned lessons to HELP others through this life.
BATTLE AND TRIUMPH OVER MENTAL ILLNESS
Jackie credits God for her battle and TRIUMPH over MPD. “Going through all the struggles with MPD, there’s so many times I threw my hands up saying, ‘Why can’t you make this go away?’. God said to me, ‘You have to go through this and you will. I’ll be there. And when the work is done, it’ll be good.'”
Her emotion was palpable and we shared her tears as she reflected on God’s grace. We loved hearing from Jackie’s friends and family how her faith has affected everyone around her. Whether she’s sharing the gospel with a friend, or actively being the ‘hands and feet of Jesus’ through her profession of massage therapy, Jackie and her love of the Lord is a gift.
LOSING HER BEST FRIEND
A year ago in May 2022, Jackie lost the love of her life and best friend, Mart, after 22 years of marriage. This has been a year of grief and immense transformation. Knowing there is a purpose in life, Jackie has been trying to discover what her new purpose is without him here.
This season of life is pivotal for Jackie. The newness of living this life without Mart is staggering at times and she doesn’t know exactly what the rest of her life holds. But she is moving forward with a spirit of gratitude and love.
The above portrait is so moving when you hear what Jackie hopes to see.
WHAT JACKIE HOPES TO SEE
Jackie told us she wants these portraits to be a reminder that she’s truly not alone. God is there and God loves her. She wants to honor her struggles and that she didn’t give up. “I want to look at these and feel peace and calm and love. I want them to be a reminder of God’s promise, ‘It’s going to be okay and in the end, it’ll all be worth it.'”
FINDING PURPOSE THROUGH THE GRIEF
Fueled by her passion for life and loving others, Jackie has been able to embrace and work through the grief of losing her husband. She understands that grief is a natural part of life and a side-effect of truly loving others. Grief has not stopped her world from turning and she continues to live a life of loving and giving. With her doctorate, she hopes for the opportunity to continue to provide for others in grander ways than she’s ever been able to before.
Jackie’s word of the year is ADVENTURE. Having climbed a steep ‘mountain’, riddled with struggles, heartbreak and darkness, she is now standing on the summit, looking at the rest of her life with clarity and clear blue skies. Adventure awaits and she is meeting it with open arms!
Even flying to us here in Frisco, Texas from her home in California was an adventure she embraced FULLY!
WHAT PAUL LOVES ABOUT HIS MOM
When we asked Paul about his favorite qualities about his mom, the first thing he said was, “she keeps moving forward, even with all the chaos.” Next, he emphasized, “If you come to her for help, she’ll help!”
“I told her, “You don’t need a PhD. Because you’ve been through all of this, you can help people right now. But she still finished it; even after her husband died. Nothing stops her! She keeps going.”
We asked Paul what he thought his mom’s superpower is and he echoed his earlier statement, saying, “She keeps moving forward.. AND she can do 4 things at once! ” Laughing, he adds, “She’ll have one foot on the gas pedal, and her knee on the steering wheel.” When we asked what Paul learned from his mom, he naturally said, “Driving with my knee.” Ha! Don’t worry Paul, we won’t tell anyone your hands aren’t on the wheel.
Paul also speaks fondly of his mother’s sense of humor. Someone in the family will jokingly ask, “Have you done any burnouts leaving the driveway lately?” – referring to when Jackie would drive away angry when he was a kid. There’s also a running joke (we love those!).
We love Jackie’s sense of humor!
WHAT ALICE LOVES ABOUT HER MOM
Alice’s top 3 qualities she loves about her mom: she’s resilient, she gives opportunities to grow and have experiences that she didn’t get herself, and she’s unapologetic. Wow, powerful!
“At the end of my parents’ marriage, Jackie sold the house, I lived with mom and my siblings went with dad. We all moved back together into a rental and she bought a hot tub. We also all went on a cruise to Mexico/Catalina. Mom didn’t care what was happening around her – she just wanted us to be together.”
We asked Alice what she learned from her mom and she said, “to keep fighting for what I want and believe in”. Alice said Jackie’s superpower is her determination. “She went away a lot. But she kept coming back and kept trying – trying to get better. She keeps trying.” We asked her what she hopes her mom gets from these portraits and she said, “She is enough! She is not alone! All the experiences lead her to this point in life that makes her who she is/the person she has become. Enjoy where you are, even though you have challenges.”
“Mom always says ‘You’re late.. that’s because you were born late!”, Alice laughs. “I was due in January but born in February. Mom was still gardening ’til I came. I’m always late.”
WHAT MALINDA LOVES ABOUT HER MOM
The top 3 qualities Malinda used to describe her mom are – caring for others, determined and driven. “She helped audit my documents and assignments before turning them in for my nursing degree. She got her doctorate. Her drive proves you can do anything at any age.”
“She taught me to be independent, self-sufficient and not to depend on others.” And her superpower according to Malinda? She’s a good listener! Malinda says she’s easy to talk to and gets others to open up. A rare gift, indeed.
Malinda hopes these portraits remind her mom of her independence. “She can be alone, but she has support around her. I want her to be happy with herself.”
We love this inside joke between the two of them: Malinda says her mom will say to her, “You were born in the wrong country”. When they would talk on the phone, Malinda would slip into Spanish. She’s fluent, having picked up Spanish as an adult, being married to a Spanish-speaking spouse for 20 years.
WHAT LINDA LOVES ABOUT HER SISTER
Linda, Jackie’s sister, describes her as very caring. She always has a desire to be better, do better and be a life-long learner. She says Jackie spent 5 years working on her thesis and she speaks proudly of her having recently graduated with her PhD. “She’s gone through so much over the years and is always learning from her experiences, growing and caring about her family and church. She is always trying to be the best she can and caring about how others are doing.”
Linda speaks fondly of Jackie’s heart and kindness. “I was our mother’s caregiver. Jackie would consistently come every month to spend time with her – watching movies, having pizza, popcorn and fun together. They would just laugh and have a good time. Even after mom and Mart passed, though she had hard days to get through, she would still move forward. She went back to work as a massage therapist. She just keeps on keeping on.”
Linda gave us a couple of different superpowers for Jackie. She says her Mental Strength is that she is a fighter and her ability to keep hanging on and digging in. Her Spiritual Strength is the special relationship she has with our Heavenly Father. She includes Him in all of her life decisions, turns to Him for direction. Jackie has always been spiritually gifted with kindness and knowledge the ability to learn. She is dynamic!
“I hope Jackie looks at her portraits and says, ‘I am an extraordinary daughter of God – I am rising to my potential – my full potential! I am a dynamic daughter of God.'”
WHAT DAEDRA LOVES ABOUT HER FRIEND
Daedra was a neighbor of Mart and Jackie’s and has become a dear friend. She describes Jackie as an ‘amazing, strong, resilient person’. “I’ve watched her go through some of the challenges that she’s been through and she just keeps going; she makes life look effortless.” Next, she describes Jackie as graceful – she doesn’t look to stand out, but you just see her standing out because of her strength. Then, she talked about how caring and loving she is. She says Jackie’s caring and loving nature carries across the board to everybody that she encounters.
“She’s not a very boisterous, loud person, but who she is just shows in what she does, her character, in how amazing and strong she is, and how loving and caring and giving she is. In example, her strength and resilience during the time after Mart’s passing, and in getting through that and she still went through and got her doctorate, and continues to work despite losing best friend and life partner.”
Daedra describes Jackie as a healer, healing not just people but she’s a spiritual healer as well. “My relationship with God was very broken.. she brought Him back into my life and helped me piece back together my relationship with God.”
GOD IS WITHIN HER; SHE WILL NOT FAIL
We asked Daedra what she thought Mart would say as Jackie embarks on this new season.. her response was enthusiastic: “He’d be so proud of his wife! He wanted this so much for her. He’d say, ‘Go out there and do it!’ He wants her to be happy and well taken care of. I can just see him with his hands up – he’d be cheering, ‘Run, Jackie run!!'”
After such incredible conversations and insight into Jackie, we are reminded of Psalm 46:5 ‘God is within her; She will not fail.’ Her resilience and perseverance is a testament of her beautiful faith and spirit. We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to get to hear her story and see her hopes for the future manifest through these Rising Phoenix portraits.
Her Response to the Wall Art
My heart soared when I got this text from Jackie;
“Me Ra, the wall art looks wonderful! I will send a video and picture later. It is such beautiful pictures of me and my feelings and emotions. So glad I did it! So awesome to have this wall art to see every day…Thanks for the beautiful work!!”
After reading this woman’s amazing story, don’t you want to know her personally? Give her the biggest hug? She’s planning to fly in for our new studio’s Grand Opening! I can’t wait to introduce her to all of you!
ARE YOU READY TO RISE LIKE A PHOENIX?
8 out of 10 clients are SELF-CONSCIOUS about APPEARING conceited or vain.
To have a big portrait of themselves in their home office, their bedroom, even their front entry, they don’t want people to get the wrong idea.
Cherie came from TN. We interviewed her friends and family. They all said she is STRONG! Every single one of them used that specific word to describe her resilience, what has risen from the ashes.
But she said, “I feel like if I put photos of myself on the wall, people will think I’m conceited.
I know people say I’m strong, I guess I just don’t see myself that way.”
The Difference Between Knowing the Truth about You and OWNING It
But Cherie’s friends and family want her to do EVERYTHING it takes to be reminded of it. They actually said, “When Cherie sees these photos on the wall of herself, we hope it makes her FEEL strong.”
That she OWNS it.
When you know it, you need to be reminded of the truth.
When you OWN it, you have an ENDLESS WELL to lend.
YOU GIVE TO EVERYONE
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 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.
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
Own their Rising Phoenix within.
Through our Rising Phoenix Experience, they not only did something special for themselves but also experienced transformation.
We 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!
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