Mama Mitchell's Pound Cake: A Southern Summer to Remember
A southern summer, a family gathering and Mama Mitchell’s Pound Cake that brought it all together. As I started to plan my trip back down south for Mama Mitchell’s annual photoshoot, I knew I wanted to find a way to capture a heartfelt story through photos. I had a goal to recreate the memories I vividly remember growing up with Mama Mitchell and our southern summers with family down in Waukeenhah, FL. As the days drew closer for me to find the exact location for where this would occur, I began searching for a home, a front porch and a yard that would bring to life the images and the story I knew was possible.
How the next few days unfolded was something I could never have imagined, planned, or hoped for.
Shortly after searching, I found what I had thought was the perfect home. I reached out to the homeowners and within minutes, Karen replied with a resounding “YES! How else can I help make this fun day a success for you?” The next few days, we continued chatting, texting and planning for my upcoming visit to Charleston, SC. By the time I arrived the following week, it’s almost like we had already known each other forever. It immediately felt like home when Karen and Steve greeted me at my car, gave me a great big hug and helped me get settled in at their beautiful home on Johns Island, SC.
The first full day was spent baking and talking with Karen in her kitchen (which she graciously let me use). She and Steve had opened their home, their heart and said they believed in what I am chasing. We talked about family memories, life lessons and conversation that was simply good for the soul. In the days leading up to my visit and while baking with Karen in her kitchen, she shared the journey that her daughter-in-law had been on.
However, this was one journey that no one should have to go on. Amy, Karen’s daughter-in-law, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Hearing about how Amy has persevered, endured her chemo treatments, continues to battle each day and will start six weeks of radiation was honestly beyond challenging to comprehend. A beautiful woman, an incredible mother to 4 handsome boys, a wife and so much more. As I went to bed that night, I couldn’t help but be overcome by emotions. I knew the next day would be special because Amy was coming, her children would be there, and I was determined to make this a day the entire family would never forget.
A day we would never forget is an understatement.
The morning started at 8:00 a.m., scoping out the yard, the inside, the props and every little detail that had been so strategically planned for weeks was ready to unfold. We captured our lovely, early morning Mama Mitchell’s Pound Cake photos and before we knew it, it was lunchtime, and the family was arriving.
The kids were hopping out of the car, running to see their grandparents and bright-eyed with all the exciting things that were happening around them. The southern summer family table I had dreamt about for months was ready. Angela (my incredibly talented prop stylist), Josh (Mama Mitchell’s brand strategist and designer), Alex (my friend and non-profit business owner of Be a Mentor Now), and my go-to, couldn’t do it without him, rock-star photographer, Andrew Cebulka, had set the scene. It was beautiful, delicious and perfect. My vision had come to life right in front of me.
As the family gathered at the table, I sat and I watched. This family, who were all strangers just three days ago, has now taken up a massive part of my heart. I couldn’t and will never be able to describe this exact feeling. My Mama Mitchell’s Pound Cake had brought them and us together.
Amy, with her beautiful smiling face, the eight adorable children and grandchildren were all there. This was it. This is what I had envisioned bringing to life. It’s like I was back in Waukeenah, FL, at the Armstrong House with Mama Mitchell and our southern summers on the old front porch.
This Mama Mitchell’s Photoshoot will be a day I will remember for the rest of my life and these photos we'll cherish forever.
The joy of watching others create lasting memories is the pound cake story. This is what Mama Mitchell’s represents. Life is good. Life is short. Life is better when strangers become friends. When kindness radiates a room and when we take the time to listen to our heart and the hearts of others.
Who would you share a slice of life and Mama Mitchell’s Pound Cake with? As always, pull up a chair; we’re glad you’re here and know you’re always welcome at our table.
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