Captured by the Sea

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A gift from Haley Miller Captures Photography and Shannon Symonds, Author of the novel “Safe House”

An artistic collaboration

to illuminate healing from abuse and capture hearts!

Please consider the photographic art a gift from our hearts to capture yours, because we believe the world can be changed by touching one heart at a time. It is our desire to go beyond the book, “Safe House,” beyond the photographic art and share the beauty of survivors, our belief in healing, the need to share the story and speak about hard things.

Copy, share, contribute to “Captured by the Sea.” We welcome your poems, safe stories, questions and thoughts. Comment here.

The Advocate by Shannon Symonds

There are no words for the feeling.

You have to have stood on the cliff looking down at the fall,

Sure you can’t survive,

Sure you will be pushed off,

To begin to grasp what your heart in your throat

Feels like.


Today she believes she will go on.

My faith is strong, I have been to the precipice and come back.

You can almost see the view from the edge.

You carry hope you will go on,

But it doesn’t take away the fear,

The pain.


Again, standing on the precipice beside her.

Will I have the strength to watch her go

With all the grace

She needs from me?

Do I actually have anything to offer her?


A hand to brush, but not hold,

Shoulder to shoulder on the edge,

A sideways glance,

That gentle comfort of the familiar

As you fall

To the unknown.


“Even when we feel broken, even when the world feels broken, We are never alone and even though we may not understand it, there is a plan for you and for me.” – Shannon Symonds


Trust Fall

I can’t see the summit,

I have lost sight of the beginning,

But not the sweet feeling that sparked this climb.

I don’t know how much longer I can hang-on.


The tips of my fingers are wedged in a fissure,

Bloody, calloused, numb,

Every muscle shakes.

Edging along seeking protection where there is none.

Free climbing,

I know the risk,

I’ve lost hope of a reward.

You dangle.

I am your anchor,

And I have reached my crux.

Gripped, straining to hold your struggling weight.

You swing like a barn door on the rope,

Trying to find the route back to me.


I keep striving,

But I can’t see the summit,

And I see the beginning differently

From this view.

Exhausted by the weight of the baggage

You carry,

I want to cut ties,


But here I am,

Bloody fingers on the face.


Let go and I could fly.

Let go and I could fall.

Let go and I might just land on a ledge,

only to start the climb again,


Or worse,

Watch you,

A screamer drop.


Philippeans 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

The Survivor

They treated her like it was a disease.

Hushed whispers,


Friends who went away.

Until the only people left

Were real.

In the mirror,

And found on her knees.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. 

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.


“She felt her bruised head…looked around her immaculate kitchen. She really loved it. She knew she needed to leave him and her beautiful home…She figured she was up to about two hundred dollars. It wouldn’t take much more… if she decided to go…”

Safe House by Shannon Symonds


Have you ever felt broken? As an Advocate, I have heard survivors use the term over and over.


Beautiful Broken Heart 

What you didn’t know

When you shattered me

Is you left my heart wide open,

Making space for hope to get in,

Letting passion burst through the cracks,

Blinding sun

Lighting the way to a better life.

I choose to keep the myriad fractures,

Places to look out from within,

Space to see other broken.

Let them in.

Patterns mapping the way,

Beautiful broken symbols revealing my power,

The power of survival.

Shattered designs,

Only visible to the broken,

Survivors carrying the gift of seeing out,

A glance,

A nod,



You didn’t know when you shattered us

You improved our view,

And now,


We all see you.

There is no place to hide from the broken.

All of our pieces bring us together.

And when the mosaic is complete,

We will be more beautiful,

More powerful,

Than ever before.

By Shannon Symonds


After a particularly difficult day, I once again said to a family member, “I feel broken,” while driving to Washington to hear Jeffrey R. Holland speak.

Holland began his talk, and then stopped midsentence. He said he felt inspired to talk about something else, and then he said the words that will forever be written on my heart. Frantically I typed them on my cell phone, so I would never forget.

He said, “God loves broken things.” Those words struck members of the congregation, silencing the room. He went on to explain, “He loves a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” A contrite spirit is someone who feels guilt and remorse.

Shortly after Hollands talk I wrote this article for FamilyShare: Why God loves broken things

Embrace your unique heart.


I may be a little unraveled, like a dress caught in the rip tides of the cold Pacific Ocean, weighed down by sand and coming undone, but I survived. And even if the tide comes in again and tries to drag me back to the cold, dark sea, I will survive. I have learned to swim, I have learned to navigate the currents. If I can just reach God’s hand someday, I will learn to dance on top of the water in celebration of finding the joy beyond the horizon of endurance.

There was a time when I spent my nights watching the moon and moving stars, anxiety rolling me over and over. Then I realized, I could travel with fear or faith, the outcome was always better with faith.

When I looked at my life through the lens of fear, the sun never seemed to rise and the day was a chain of storms, and energy spent trying to control an uncontrollable universe.

When I finally let go and swam, I looked up at the Son, and let the mighty waves carry me to shore. I learned that I arrived at the almost the same destination, filled with joy. In the light of hope and faith, I saw the miracles which had been there all along. I was delighted by the blessings laying scattered on the sandy beach. In the watery reflection of each day, I caught a glimpse of Heaven.

New Testament, Matthew 14

28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Independence Day! From Survivor to Advocate

Many times I have spent long hours with men and women who came to my attention as victims and then decided to become survivors. Every once in a while I see a survivor come out of their own personal storm and become an advocate, fighting for the rights of other survivors, sharing their stories, and celebrating their freedom. When I see that spark of fight,  that fiery survivor and warrior say, “No more!” I have been known to smile and declare, “Happy Independence Day!”


More soon. Photos may be copied, shared, printed or used by anyone for the purpose of healing and spreading joy. FaceBook link here. Instagram here. More about Haley Miller and Captures Photography here. More about Shannon Symonds novel “Safe House” here.

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