Motherhood is a journey of a lifetime; however, maternity time is over in the blink of an eye. I am continually astounded by God’s design to grow a little life and transform an expectant momma, on so many levels, but most apparently physically. Click here to contact us re your own custom portraits.
Mary is one of those many mommas who entered motherhood during the pandemic, only she did so pulling double duty with the arrival of her adorable twin boys, Emmanuel and David, almost 1 1/2 years ago. A first pregnancy with twins is no joke and the thought of portraits never even crossed her mind. Yet, as she and her husband Jordan are preparing to welcome their little girl, she knew she wanted to mark this time. Realizing they had no professional portrait coverage of their little family of 4, she wanted to mark that down before they became a family of 5. We will be featuring her whole family in an upcoming blog, brace yourself for a cuteness overload!! But this blog is going to focus on honoring expectant Mary, the woman of God, the mother, the wife, the impact maker.
Mary was born and raised in Alaska and it seems her life has been on mission since her start. She grew up at the end of the road system and was 5 hours from the closest grocery store in Anchorage! (and I think Eldersburg seems too far to go for necessities at 25 min away!) Her whole family of 8 kids (2 sets of twins) all hunted, fished and camped on a sustenance based lifestyle. They played instruments and looked to each other for their friendships. Their home group churches was their soft place to land and where they grew to know the Lord.
Today Mary’s sister and mother are her best friends. Never did she dream that one day she’d also bring identical twins into the world. Even still today as they approach 1 1/2 she can hardly believe they are hers when she sits back and watches them. Grateful seems to be Mary’s life word. She hopes her twins share the same bond she does with her sister as they grow to be young men. This tight knit frontier lifestyle grew in Mary a strength of body, mind and soul for which she is also grateful today. This strength has been a blessing to countless others whose lives Mary has touched as she lives on mission. (more about that in an upcoming blog)
Mary and her twin sister played ice hockey growing up together. Entering their senior year of high school they were recruited to play hockey at D1 schools. However, Mary shattered her femur so they switched sports to rowing and both got recruited to row for Syracuse. Mary’s twin was given a full ride and she was given a 90% full scholarship. By her senior year she was physically able to try out for the Syracuse hockey team and did so, but after prayer and deep consideration she decided to run track that year instead. Rather than allow that injury to be the end of her story, she chartered a new path for herself. As a Division 1 athlete, she was savvy at adjusting to obstacles and writing new chapters to her story. Switching gears to row Cru meant she could compete alongside her twin. Mary was a dual sport athlete at Syracuse and and loved those college years of training and competing at a high level.
Mary was an Exercise Physiology major and went on to coach Division 1 strength and conditioning for many elite schools including Yale, Harvard and Boston College. She created programming for all Olympic sports except football and loved what she did. Watching athletes excel and grow in strength fueled her.
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It was not without its challenges being a female in predominantly male dominated field of strength and conditioning. The community is not known to be relational and Mary is relational to her core. It took some time, but eventually athletes saw the results they were hoping for and found they thrived in her style of relational tough love. She’s a fitness guru who challenged them physically, mentally and spiritually and this was a new approach for most of her athletes, but one she knew they would thrive in.
This career she loved had her at 5 different universities, working 12 hour days. She earned her masters degree while working these long days for 6 years and loved it, but felt a sense that the next stage of her life was about to emerge…that’s when she met Jordan. I’m going to save that love story for the next blog featuring their whole family. Here’s a tiny sneak peek of that awesomeness!
This outtake to create the portrait above cracked us all up and these boys—ADORABLENESS overload coming in their family blog! Till then! 😉
[…] The Richards family is preparing to welcome the addition of a very eagerly awaited baby girl. (Mercy Jo was actually born yesterday!) Emmanuel (aka Manny) and David are about to get a little sister who will surely add a new dimension to their constant activity and play. Last week we featured just Mary on our blog focusing on celebrating her stunning maternal state as it’s in its literal last days. Click here to see Mary’s maternity portraits. […]