Baby Addison + My Faithfulness

I really didn’t know how to start this post. In my heart, this story has been written a thousand times over already. The story in my heart is so dear to me that I didn’t want to ruin it with words. 

Baby Addison was born with a heart condition and cancer cells in her body.  At first glance, you would never know she was going through any kind of treatment.  

I met Addison for the first time back in March - Sojung and I were in Houston for the weekend with our friends, Amy and Scott. After a night out, we came back to our hotel around midnight. As we crossed the parking garage to the hotel lobby doors, we ran into a young couple, Jose and Jennifer, with Addison seated in a stroller and several suitcases.  Their suitcases were fairly large and looked as if they were planning on staying at the hotel for weeks. I couldn’t help but ask if I could help, so Scott and I each grabbed what we could and helped them to the elevator.

We quickly learned that they were also from Dallas and that created an instant connection.  Expecting them to tell us they were vacationing or visiting family, we were shocked to hear that they were in Houston for Addison’s radiation therapy. My heart seemed to stop for a moment. Addison looked so normal - just minutes before, I had been joking about how Addison must be a night owl because she was bouncing around and smiling in her stroller.

By this time, we were in the elevator, going up. In that short moment, I didn’t know what to do. I felt very compelled to do something, and I found myself struggling to open my mouth. I wanted to say, “Will you allow me to tell your story?” I was mad at myself for whatever held my tongue. The elevator stopped on their floor and we said our goodbyes.  As the doors began to close, I heard God say, “GO! Be faithful!” and I stuck my hand out to stop the elevator and ran out to them.

“I am a portrait photographer and I feel very compelled to tell you this. Could I invite you into our studio and photograph Addison? I would love to tell your story.”

I was sweating; what if they thought I was being crazy, or worse, being rude? 

Fortunately, they were very excited and we exchanged information and promised to keep in touch.

A hope I have for my career is to tell meaningful stories. But honestly, offering up my photography in faith is hard - my brain takes over my heart and I wonder if I’m good enough, if my photos will tell their story well. However, I knew that it wasn’t just coincidence that we had met them in the elevator. Addison’s story is filled with their love and courage and I wanted to share it.

The rest of the trip, I couldn’t stop thinking about Addison. I set up an email reminder to follow up with the family on a weekly basis.  Even Sojung wanted me to make sure to keep in touch with them; Amy and Scott also wanted to help out in any way they could.  This young family had touched all of our hearts.  

A couple of weeks later, Jennifer emailed me:

"Would you be available on Saturday, April 12th? Addison's last day of radiation is the 8th and she starts chemo in a few weeks. If it's possible, I'd love to have pictures of her with her hair. It's been a long time since her hair was this long and she'll lose it with the chemo…”  

I was so excited to see them again.

The time we had with them in the studio was unique. There were smiles and tears from Addison. It was a very new and different environment for her in the studio. At the beginning of the photo shoot, Addison was afraid of me and my camera. Her main doctor is an Asian man; as I approached her with big black object she’d never seen before, she immediately associated me as being just another doctor that might hurt her in some way.  She burst out crying.

Thankfully, I have learned a lot about how to make young children comfortable so I can photograph them in their natural state. I put my camera aside for a little while and played with her. I quickly learned that her attention level is amazing. Amy had brought some bright colored boxes and confetti for Addison to play with - it was such a great idea! Addison loved playing with the little pieces of paper and was able to concentrate on one thing like I’ve never seen before.  I work with a lot of kids and this is unusual.  

Later, Jennifer told me that Addison has learned to play with limited toys and space for long periods of time because she often does extended stays in the hospital.  

For everything she’s been through, Addison is full of life and character, so much personality. She has this fake laugh. It’s so adorable and I can’t describe it with words - you just have to see her do it. And when she actually smiles at you, your heart will melt. I still smile just thinking about it.

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Addison loved playing with the confetti and the boxes...

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but had no interest in any of the toys we had brought for her. She literally threw them aside.

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Thank you for being such a great model, Addison!

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Keep up with Addison and how she is doing by liking their Facebook page, Pray for Addison Grace.

Floral Crown made by the talented Amy Kerstetter. Contact us if you would like to get in touch with Amy or learn more her work.

my birthday adventure.

Last Wednesday was my 27th birthday and I feel like I am now officially in my late twenties.

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Something about turning 27, being in my late twenties, I feel the weight of adulthood.  There’s such a bad connotation to the word “weight,” “heavy.”  I don’t see getting older, being an adult, as a heavy burden.  Maybe the more fitting word is “depth” - I am beginning to see more depth in my life, able to see who I am today because of my past experiences.  

Looking back on the last 10 years, I see how uncomfortable I was just being me.  I was always so hard on myself for not being social enough, not thin enough, not pretty enough, not creative enough, not smart enough - nothing was ever enough for me.  I saw that bleed into my marriage during our first year, where I never felt lovable enough and consequently, my husband felt like he was never enough for me.  

Believing and trusting that I am fearfully and wonderfully made took me a long time.  Now, I know that the standards I have set for myself do not matter.  I have to be comfortable with who I am or life will be miserable and I will be useless and a burden to those around me.  

Within this last year, I have also become more accepting of my introverted personality.  I used to fight against it, but I’ve learned to simplify my life so I can embrace it.  My birthday was so perfect because it was simple, no fuss.  Hoyoung and I spent a quiet afternoon together, taking time to savor a delicious meal and coffee afterwards.  The day was absolutely gorgeous and perfect for walking up and down the streets of Lower Greenville in Dallas.  With just our iPhones and our Instax camera, we had a blast.

We started with lunch at HG Sply Co.  They believe that FOOD = FUEL; the dishes are fresh and delicious and portions are generous.  It was definitely birthday-worthy food!

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We walked up a block and stopped by favorite coffee shop, Mudsmith.  The lighting is absolutely gorgeous inside by the window.

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We also found some cool snap-worthy spots in the area.

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We ended the day with our nieces.  We made cupcakes together; 2-year-old Skylar did a great job mixing with the help of her uncle and a makeshift pastry bag.  We each got our own cupcake and candle to blow out together.  At the end of the night, I even got a special manicure from 5-year-old Shiloh.

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All in all, I had a great birthday.

Thank you for all the best wishes, everyone!

a new start.

When we were planning for our wedding, Sojung and I both knew that if we dropped tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding, our hearts would ache. Instead, we wanted to devote our marriage to giving and loving on others. Of course, people had their opinions, and even commented on our less conventional honeymoon destination to Seattle.  But we stood firm on our decisions and did what we felt was right for us. I created a website and named it SOHOSTORY; through the blog, we shared how we were going against the norm. After the wedding, we shut down the website knowing that SOHOSTORY would continue on as something more.   

Within the first six months of our marriage, it was clear that I was not meant for a 9-5 job. With much prayer and consideration, we knew it would be best for me to quit my career as an accountant and become a professional photographer. So I setup a new website under the name SOHOSTORY.

For the past two years, SOHOSTORY has been known a photography business. When Sojung decided to quit her job as a teacher to pursue illustration 8 months later, she registered her business name as Merelypaper. She assumed that I wanted SOHOSTORY to be a photography only business. This was never my intention; I just never communicated this to my wife.

Our name tags from the ECHO Conference in July 2013, when Sojung had been freelancing full time for only two months.

Our name tags from the ECHO Conference in July 2013, when Sojung had been freelancing full time for only two months.

It was out of pure insecurity and not being honest with myself that Sojung did not know.  In my heart, I was against her going in her own direction with Merelypaper, but I couldn’t say no because I didn’t want to change what I had already built with SOHOSTORY as a photography business.  And partly, I thought it was a good idea to separate ourselves. So many people told me that “a husband and wife should never work together.” I should not have listened them.

Sojung started freelancing in June of 2013 and as the year went on, I knew something was wrong.  As our separate business grew we were also growing apart in both marriage and business.  Don’t get me wrong, we work hard on our marriage and we have a pretty awesome relationship.  However, since we weren't working on the same projects and ran on different ideas, it took a toll on our personal lives.  We had completely different schedules, communicated less, and got caught up in our own busyness.

A couple of months later, I apologized to Sojung and explained that doing our business together was what I really wanted, that we should have from the beginning.  After a long and honest talk, we made the decision to combine our businesses and formed an LLC together, co-owners of SOHOSTORY LLC.  At that point we had no idea what that meant so it was simply about sharing a business name and adding another joint bank account to our names.

I had the idea of working together in my head, but I was way too insecure to really do it.  Being a former accountant doesn’t help either.  My mind operates very logically and making huge changes to work together just didn’t seem like the logical thing to do.  So we went about our ways as one photographer and one graphic designer.

Photograph by Trey Hill

Photograph by Trey Hill

After a day of goal setting and business planning for 2014 on the first Saturday of this month, we both left feeling very uneasy.   Later that night, Sojung shared the video of Megan Gilger’s talk from the Circles Conference.  After watching it, I felt completely helpless and didn’t know how to deal with it.  I sent an email to Sojung explaining my fears and insecurities.  I started off with "sorry about not being able to really tell you what i want.  i still feel like i am alone in this. it’s not easy telling anyone how i truly feel. in my head all this is not possible.”  I went on to explain that I want to create and work together but my head fights against it daily.

With constant prayer and many conversations, we decided to make a big change in our business once again.  I am sure we will make many mistakes and tweaks along the way, but we will always share our stories of oneness as a married couple through SOHOSTORY.  

Photograph by Trey Hill

Photograph by Trey Hill


SOHOSTORY is not just a business; it is our story.