Dreams do come true


Vietnamese woman-johatcherretreats

Don’t ever give up on your dreams.  Sometimes they come true when you’re not even thinking about them.

Years ago, I was visiting a winery in Napa Valley. In the showroom there was a photographic exhibit of women in India. As I stood in front of each picture, I felt touched and mesmerized by the faces I saw in the photographs.

I wanted to know more about the women and about the photographer who took the photos.  I felt moved and inspired. The colors caught my eye first. The rich intense colors seemed to match the beauty of the women.

I decided then and there that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to make photographs of women around the world.

Immediately the inner critical voices said to me. Jo, you know that’s impossible.  How in the world would you do that?  How could you have the money or the expertise to photograph women in another country?

That was 5 years ago.

As many of you know, I was recently in Vietnam. When I returned home and looked through my photos, I had the most incredible aha moment.

There they were…the Flower Hmong women at the weekly market.  Their ruddy faces, worn by the sun…staring back at me from my computer.  There in front of me were women dressed in colorful hand sewn outfits.

Flower Hmong woman-johatcherretreatsThese women touched me. I was unable to communicate with them except for when I took their picture, I showed them the digital photo I had just taken and received beautiful smiles back.    

It was at that moment of seeing these women afterwards, at home, that I realized my dream had come true.  I was the photographer, the woman that had dreamed of capturing the essence of  women so completely different than me. My dream came true.

I hope in some small way these photos will inspire you to imagine how these women live, what their days are like.  Their faces say so much.

Here they are.  Take your time and really look at each one.

Flower Hmong woman-johatcherretreats

Flower Hmong woman-johatcherretreats.com

Flower Hmong woman-johatcherretreats.com

Old Hmong woman-johatcherretreats@gmail.com

Flower Hmong woman-johatcherretreats.com

Hmong basket woman-johatcherretreats.com


Flower Hmong woman-johatcherretreats.com


Flower Hmong woman-johatcherretreats.com

Flower Hmong woman-johatcherretreats.com

Baby on the back-johatcherretreats.com

Water buffalo woman-johatcherretreats.com


What do you see in these women’s faces?

When have you been surprised by your discovery of your dream actually coming true?

Join the conversation in the comment box below.

I’d love for you to share with anyone you feel would like to see these incredible women.


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  1. Simply beautiful! Yes dreams do come true,

  2. Hi Jo,

    Their faces, posture, engagement, power, presence, colors, such bright beautiful colors, contrasts, connections … all come through. Thank you again for sharing.


  3. Wish I had more time to share a story here–but wanted to let you know I stopped by and marveled at your dream turned into experience! Yes. I can relate in so many ways!


  4. Lovely photos Jo! Your story & question immediately brought to mind my experience of realizing my dream of being in a dance company came true. I had danced many years in classes, performing, eventually teaching. The university dance instructor I studied under created a dance company and ask me to be one of the dancers. It was such an easy transition I guess I didn’t realize, fully, it had happened… During a rehearsal break I was chatting with my fellow dancers and verbalized how one day I wanted to be in a dance company. Naturally, one gal said “You are in a dance company!” Of course, I thought… but I still remember that moment. A dream come true! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. A fine memory indeed!

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