Lindsay Hart is a woman of many talents, and she’s put them all to good use. As a Spanish speaker, she has helped build up Spanish-speaking branches in her area. As a photographer, she photographs children with terminal diseases for a non-profit she founded. She’s also acted as foster mother to her cousin. She’s working towards her own version of her personal best.
I was born in Provo while my parents were students at BYU. A few years later our family moved to San Diego, which is where I grew up. I went to BYU Idaho (then Ricks College) for two years, then served my mission, then finished up at BYU and graduated in public relations with a minor in dance. During my college years I got to travel a lot with the contemporary dance company: I went to Ukraine, Fiji, and New Zealand and I loved my experiences.
You served a mission in Bolivia. Tell us about that.
Yes! All the traveling I did at BYU made me very interested in a mission. I wanted that crazy, middle of nowhere jungle experience, and that is exactly what I got. Bolivia is a third world country, so it was very humbling. There was a lot of walking, and the heat was intense. There was amazing reception and incredible people.
Toward the end of my service as a missionary, I was up in the Amazon on the border of Brazil. Women would go to the river to wash their clothes and the missionaries would sometimes go there to help and also give discussions on the side. I didn’t realize that that is where all the mosquitos are. I ended up contracting malaria! I spent a month in the hospital, and I almost got sent home, but I promised the Lord if I could just stay and get better I would do anything. I finished my mission, and when my parents came and picked me up we were able to take the first family I’d baptized to go through the temple in Cochabamba. That made all the hardships I had experienced with malaria worth my staying.
When I got home I reconnected with Blake, a really good friend from before my mission. He had served his mission in Spain, and I’d always thought it would be neat to marry someone who spoke Spanish as well. We got married a year to the date of my return.
My husband and I moved to North Carolina so he could go to graduate school. Once we located to Charlotte, our stake president found out that we both spoke Spanish, and asked if we would be willing to serve in the Spanish branch. Blake served for 3 years as a counselor and 3 years as the branch president. Our first two children were born there, so it was great to be able to raise them in that environment; everything was in Spanish: primary, Sacrament meeting, etc.
And around this time you also started your photography business?
Yes! It was a crazy time for us. And to add to that was the start up of my business. I’ve always loved photography. I wrote for the school newspaper in college and got to cover the Winter Olympics and take pictures. I’d also taken some photography classes. I love being creative and I wanted to do something to help contribute to my family, but I also wanted to be able to do it on the side so I could keep my family my top priority. I opened my photography business: Hart to Hart Digital Photography & Design. I also love to teach photography and over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to be featured monthly on a local television program called “Charlotte Today,” where I get to teach segments, such as “taking better photos” or “decorating with pictures” etc… I also love that my job allows me to teach my own children by example. Sometimes when I’m photo editing I’ll have my 7 year old come and sit on my lap and I can let him see how I do things. My business continues to grow, and for that I am so thankful. I’ve begun to go international and even shot a wedding in Italy last year. Next stop Dubai!
Will you explain the non-profit work that you do as well?
I have a non-profit part of my business called “Photography with Hart” where people can nominate terminally ill children to have their photographs taken. It has been a touching experience to help these families capture that time. I remember receiving thank you letters from the family of a child I photographed. He had recently passed away and they were so grateful to be able to have something beautiful to remember him by.
Through this part of my business I became involved with a group called the American Mothers Association; an inter-faith, non-political, non-profit organization that strives to recognize the invaluable contribution mothers make to the future success and happiness of children and society. I entered some of my work in their National Graphic Arts Competition and won first place. I was able to go to New York to accept the award, which was a great experience.
I understand you took in your cousin as a foster-child.
In the summer of 2011 I flew back to California to attend a funeral. My 13-year-old cousin, who I didn’t know very well, was there too. He came from a very challenging home life with a number of problems. I felt very strongly that we needed to take him home with us! It was another crazy time in my life. I was pregnant with my third child and my business was really taking me off and keeping me very busy, but still I felt like we needed to do this. So we had my cousin come live with us. He had never been to church before. After living with us for just a few days he said, “Man, you guys pray a lot!” It was such a wonderful experience for our family to be able to share the gospel with him. We didn’t want to push him but he did go to church with us. It was hard for him to learn and understand as we still attended the Spanish Branch, and so we were released from the branch and began attending an English ward. He was eventually baptized and has since returned to live with his mother.
You have so much going on. How do you keep it all together?
I just do the best I can. I’m lucky to have a husband who is so very supportive. As women, we might read another woman’s blog or see something on the internet and feel a little overwhelmed or insecure… like we don’t measure up to others. It’s difficult but we need to try our very best to not compare ourselves. We’ve all been blessed with different abilities and talents. I am grateful for mine and my goal is to be my own version of my personal best, and to work the hardest I can to make my dreams and my family’s dreams come true. I also know that, no matter what happens, I’m the only one who can choose my own happiness and attitude. I love the thought from Eleanor Roosevelt that happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product of a life well lived.
At A Glance
Location: Charlotte, NC
Marital status: Married
Occupation: Business owner, photographer
Schools Attended: Brigham Young University, Ricks College
On The Web: www.harttohartdigital.com/
Interview by Katherine Wilkinson. Photos used with permission.