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the man behind the munchkins

© Tina Vega Photography

Many of you are familiar with bits and pieces of Jose’s story, the parts that intersect with my own. I refer to his children as #hemunchkin and #shemunchkin on Instagram and you will find their sweet faces scattered throughout my blog as well. Jose was married to my sister which is how we first met back in 2007.

Jose is an immigrant from El Salvador. He made his way to the United States more than 20 years ago. He knew nothing of our language and learned how to read and write on his own. He worked hard to support his family back home, his reason from coming here in the first place. Jose’s story is fascinating – everything from his childhood in El Salvador to his journey to our country contrasts sharply with everything I have ever known.

People often wonder why I chose a relationship with Jose over a relationship with my sister. Honestly, I felt I had no choice. Jose needed help. The children needed help. Jose and the children were not safe. My parents, siblings, spouses, and grandmother stood beside Jose at an Order for Protection hearing against my sister because we had to do what was right.

I was not brainwashed. I was not tricked. I was there because of what I had witnessed and all that I had experienced firsthand.

I say all of this because there is a lot of misinformation being spread about Jose. Huge, over-the-top, unbelievable things that might be easier to swallow if you’d never met Jose. Or had the facts of what happened.

When I met with Jose last week, I asked him if I could begin sharing pictures of him on my blog. I want others to see the type of man and daddy he is, to view things from my perspective as an everyday life photographer. Jose said yes!

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

He asked if I could begin by extending an invitation to a weekly bible study he teaches in Minneapolis. It takes place every Wednesday night at 7:00 pm. If you would like details, send me a note and I will forward the address. He said those needing prayer for healing are especially welcome.

Krista Goodwin - April 9, 2018 - 9:37 pm

I still remember the evening at Scrapcamp when we shared some of our stories of struggles with our siblings. I feel for you, Tina. I also have a very good friend who immigrated to the US from Mexico, so I have compassion and admiration for Jose too. Thank you for sharing a little part of his story.

Tina - April 9, 2018 - 10:51 pm

Thanks Krista!

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relationships are part of a flourishing life

© Tina Vega Photography

Flourish is my One Little Word for 2018 and as part of growing in this area, I am working to be more intentional about relationships I often take for granted.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

Relationships with extended family members. Friendships. The relationships I have with my husband and children. IF:Table.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

We were wired for community, wired for meaningful relationships with people – in fact, I found an interesting article that discusses the link between social connections and happiness (click HERE for details). The bible instructs as Christians to be a light for others, love each other deeply and show hospitality, discuss plans with others and be open to feedback, not give up on meeting together and encouraging one another, and tells us we keep each other sharp.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

I remember touching on this MANY years ago in a painful spot, wanting to hide from the world. While I may still feel like that from time-to-time, what I really need is the encouragement, support, laughter, prayer, and wisdom of people in my life. And they might need me too at some point.

© Tina Vega Photography

Therefore, I am trying to make myself available to the people God has placed in my life. Make time for the people who are important to you. Make time for the friends who have your back. Make time for your spouse, your children, and God. 

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

We only get one shot at this thing and I hope to make the most of it.

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kelli’s maternity session | minnesota lifestyle photographer

© Tina Vega Photography

I so meant to share these BEFORE her child was born.

© Tina Vega Photography

But better late than never, right?

© Tina Vega Photography

Those closest to Kelli know her story. The loss that preceded this pregnancy. The waiting, heartbreak, and sorrow gave way to AN EASTER BABY!!! So fitting. So beautiful.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

Just like this momma.

© Tina Vega Photography

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter, I cannot wait to meet her!

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a winter mini with my oldest

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

Anytime, anywhere sessions are one of the many perks of having a photographer mom.

© Tina Vega Photography

Our oldest landed an internship that has him spending time at Minnesota State Capitol.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

He wanted a few shots capturing this season.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

Winter in Minnesota is a waaaaaaay underutilized backdrop in my opinion. Bright colors and subjects just pop! Thanks for the fun afternoon, Emilio.:)

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