trash & treasure

7 Mar

I heard an amazing illustration from a speaker recently; Danny Wuerffel, who was a Heisman Trophy winner as a quarterback from the University of Florida, played 6 seasons in the NFL, then retired in 2003 & moved to the the Upper Ninth Ward in New Orleans to work with Desire Street Ministries (, focused on serving some of the poorest of the poor in our country.  Then Hurrican Katrina happened in 2005, and along with all of their neighbors, the Wuerffels lost everything.  When they returned to start gutting houses, Danny said he remembers looking up & down his street, and all he could see were these empty shells of homes, with their muddy, destroyed contents in gigantic piles along the road.

All he could think about was how, just a couple of weeks earlier, all of this trash, including the pile in front of his own home, had been someone’s treasure.  And literally in what seemed like the blink of an eye it was all turned to worthless garbage.  Even his “precious” Heisman Trophy.  It was devastating, but he said in that moment, he was thankful that everything that truly mattered to him the most on this earth- his wife, kids, and close friends & neighbors- were there by his side.

Why am I sharing this?  And what does this have to do with photography??  I write this as a public reminder for myself & for others of the message from Luke 16:9- “Here is the lesson: use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends.  Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.”  I know that the photos I take won’t last forever.  My goal as a photographer is not to try to convince you of all the huge, fancy prints & products you should buy to clutter your home.  Do some of those things have an appropriate place in your home?  I believe they can.  But I hope the purpose behind them is to 1) display the genuine love captured in those photos, and 2) to encourage others by the loving example your family lives by.  My parents, for example, have a huge wall in their living room covered with the wedding pictures from all 5 of us kids.  And in the center of those photos is a large sign that reads “FAMILY: All because two people fell in love.”

What are the most important things in your life?  I hope they are your family members, and I hope you continually pour everything into their lives.  That’s what I want to capture with my photography.  I believe it’s so important to use our material possessions & talents to bless others & strengthen relationships, otherwise they are completely meaningless & when they’re gone, they become useless trash.  This is why I so love generational photos, and photo gifts for grandparents or parents… it’s a thank-you & a “I love you more than words can say” for the years of sacrifice & love they have poured into you.

It’s photos like these that make me choke up because of the significance behind them: (these are from a shoot awhile back with our dear friends Ryan & Lisa, (and their little angel Lorelai,) who recently moved to San Antonio to be closer to family, and we miss them terribly…)

All because two people fell in love. :)

In His Grip,



8 Responses to “trash & treasure”

  1. Jill March 7, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    something interesting…I went to middle school with Danny W….we were :going steady” briefly… what a small world! I admire your take on this Laura!

  2. Anna Kintigh March 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    Such a good thing to remember. As I do design consultations, I always try to remember to make each item count, but more is not always better. I do have to say though that I love a good family picture to design around above most items. It can set a beautiful tone for a room. In your post, the pictures with the baby toes are my favorite. Can’t get over those tiny toes!!

    • laurapaulescu March 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

      the teeny-toes pictures are my favorite too! I just love that they will NEVER be that tiny again! And how amazing that those tender, smooshy little feet will grow so big & take them so many places! I’m so sentimental right now… I’m gonna be a total mess when I get pregnant someday! lol

  3. angela March 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    What a touching story.. and that Luke verse is a good check on our reality today. Glad everything turned out for them.

  4. Andrea Shannon March 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    Wonderful post.. I have to admit, I am constantly looking at your amazing work, It’s true the pictures might not last but making the memory, and capturing the very moment.

    Andrea- Friends with Maggie & Tess Morgan..and tait :)well all the morgans. :)

  5. Breanna Tan March 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Very much a great reminder. I have many plans for my life that pertains to giving back to others. Including volunteering, adopting an orphan (or 2), and just making other people’s days happy. You are a great writer and photographer!!

  6. Judi and Bob March 8, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    I don’t have your talent for writing, but I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face!

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