Lori and Val | Home Of The Brave

Written, photographed, and published by Danny Miller | HOME OF THE BRAVE SERIES

While lying on my back in a beginners Yin yoga class recently, the instructor asked us to “surrender to our mats.” She wasn’t asking us to give up (to raise a white flag), she was encouraging us to let go.

Normally I would visualize releasing a balloon into the bright blue sky whenever someone had asked me to “just let go.” But in my yoga class that day, instead of envisioning a floating balloon, I felt myself (for the first time ever) letting go and falling into a net. “Is this what it feels like to surrender?” I remember asking myself, followed by “I wonder what surrender actually looks like?

When I asked Lori to choose her sanctuary for her Home of the Brave portrait without hesitation she replied, “my sister Val.”

I grew up with Lori and Val in our hometown of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. I don’t see them as often as I should these days but I couldn’t count the number of times we have been in each other’s company at house warming parties, birthday parties, class reunions and celebratory Friday beers.

These days Lori and Val publish a weekly humour blog called SANGRIA SISTERS where they write about an impossibly diverse range of topics from ‘80s fashion trends to The Top 10 Reasons Women Love Wine! The Sisters have also been busy volunteering for the non-profit aid society Mealshare whose mission is to end youth malnutrition and hunger.

Right now, at this exact moment two of their posts stand out for me: their beautiful, poetic description of depression and a touching Father’s Day card to their father Don and to Lori’s husband Scott who bravely fought a cancer diagnosis.

When I took Lori and Val’s portrait this past July two things stood out for me. First, I had suddenly realized I had never been alone with the Sisters before and second, how humbled I felt by their spontaneous, unconditional love and acceptance of one another. Taking their portrait was effortless as they moved into each pose with tenderness, humour, and grace.

So this is what surrender looks like! Emotional and physical honesty in the presence of unconditional love.

To feel safe enough to cry when we are sad, and laugh when we need it the most.


Danny Miller | SAIT Instructor | Photographer | Visionary behind ‘Home of the Brave’

Danny’s ‘Home of the Brave’ series features people who have been impacted by mental illness, or as Danny describes them, “some of the most courageous and inspirational people I know.” The project was lovingly crafted in an effort to reduce the stigma of anxiety, depression, and mental illness.

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Join the discussion

  1. Jodi

    This is beyond beautiful. His words are so true. The love between you sisters is so apparent. Something to cherish so so much. I love you both so much and feel so much gratitude that we have met. Love to both of you and have an amazing day filled with love

  2. Moi

    Well said! Hugs to all.

  3. Lesley

    I love this. I was sad when I got to the end of it. I wanted you to teach me ‘surrender’. I could read beautiful things like this all day long. Sending Love and Strength to both of you.

  4. Kathy

    The words, the picture, the subjects … everything about this was beautiful.

  5. Dawn Pighin

    Beautifully written. I can’t tell you how I felt reading this, it was an amazing feeling. Love it! Miss u two xoxo

  6. Danny Miller

    Thank you everyone for your wonderful feedback about Lori and Val’s portrait and post. It was such a pleasure to work with them. They make me look so much more talented than I actually am!

  7. Jodi Bobenic

    Wow. Incredible. We all love you so much

  8. Bonnie

    I love this Danny! ❤️

  9. Rache

    Amazing article. Great job Danny. Val and Lori are doing such a wonderful job with this blog and their lives . I am in awe of them . Congrats to all for talking about things we don’t want to!.

  10. Norma

    Beautiful Danny … your connection and inspiration travels thru your words and pictures…

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