I just want them to know
That I gave my all, did my best
Brought someone some happiness
Left this world a little better just because, I was here
I was here, I lived, I loved, I was here
Sometimes, when pulling together the final story to share on the blog, I close my eyes to feel and get caught up in the lyrics of a song, allowing the music permission to carry me away even for just a few minutes. It not only awakens a deep-seated creativity, but interestingly enough, it also often takes me back to actually remember the expression of the woman I currently photographed, the person I am writing about. It reminds me of her story, who she is as a woman, the richness of her who she is a person. How she looked as she arrived at the studio, how she shared small bits of who she is, who she is becoming, what and who matters to her, and even more importantly, why.
From her favorite color, to the details of this season of life she finds herself in, to what she likes or dislikes about herself, to how she feels about her family, her friends, this life.
How she feels about being photographed.
Her excitement and nervousness, the look on her face when she sees her heart show up in these images.
When she sees that her smile is her best feature.
Melba's life is rich. Rich in many, many ways. And yes, in reflecting upon that, the lyrics to Beyonce's song "I Was Here" seemed more than fitting for this beautiful woman, this wife, this mother, this grandmother, this friend, this sister, this human being.
You can immediately see the passion Melba has for life, the deep love she has for her family, the joy that radiates from inside her heart when speaking about her husband, her children, her grandchildren, her friends and the overall colorful tapestry of experiences and memories that make up her life thus far, from a young girl, to a grown woman today.
Her life is a beautiful testament to what shaping a legacy of family, life, and love look like - a legacy of love given freely, deeply, and without boundaries. And it is my privilege and honor to share a piece of who Melba is with you all here.
"There are so many more countries I want to see! I was blessed to travel with a longtime friend during 2015 [to Europe].
She made the arrangements since she had lived in Europe and the MIddle East. We visited Paris, took a train adventure through Austria and Switzerland."
Who makes you laugh the most?
"My hubby, Tino - we make each other laugh everyday.
Even when bad things happen we find a reason to laugh."
"Since I [entered] my 50's five years ago, I've been trying new things. I took my husband, my youngest daughter, Ariane and her then-boyfriend, Quinn, tandem skydiving over Hollister. [I] could see Monterey Bay from 15,000 feet. A few weeks after that, I went scuba diving in Monterey Bay.
Still have more I'd like to try. Honestly, the most recent was this photo shoot.
I was very nervous and had no expectations - just knew I didn't feel comfortable having my picture taken. But it was amazing and I'm so grateful."
What do you think makes a woman beautiful?
"Her laughter, her honesty, her caring actions."
What is one piece of advice you would give your 18-year-old self?
"Concentrate on finishing school, full time work can come later."
What do you most appreciate about your life now?
"Grateful for my husband, our family,
and the opportunities to share new experiences."
If you could meet anyone in history, who would that be and why?
"I've always liked math and science - [so] Albert Einstein!
"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein
Photography: Heartbox Photography
Hair/makeup: Kalani Brown