I am not one that spends time watching viral videos or reading the latest popular articles circling around the internet; but today in search of some things, I came across this video. It hit home for me in a few ways. In coming to post it, I noticed that the last time I wrote on here was around New Years. Reading my thoughts and goals of wanting to simplify and prioritize my year for what and who matters most only makes this that much more applicable:
I’ve been thinking a lot about this very topic lately. My life is a roller coaster. Some days, weeks, or months I’m on top of things (for the most part) and feeling accomplished and full of life. Then I get in a slump. The struggle of feeling like I am barely making it – if even at all.
I get down about my self-image, about my roles as a mother and a wife, about my photography and my business, about pretty much any or all aspects of life.
BUT. I am remembering again and again that the more I actively make God a priority and part of my life. To include Him in every aspect… I find myself on the upward climb. Or even cruising at the top. As His child, His love for me is perfect and unending. He wants me to be happy, successful, and make my dreams come true. None of that is possible without Him though.
I’m continually learning to trust. And to hand my life over to Him. Working hard, staying humble, and serving as He would have me do.
And then I notice that things start to work out. Life is full of hope. And satisfying joy.
I’ve been thinking about myself a lot lately. Not in a self-centered mentality, but in a “What do I want to do with my life?” kind of way.
I’ve noticed some patterns. Not all that I’m proud of, but I’m sure I am not alone:
1. I’m a perfectionist. If I’m going to do something – I have ridiculously high expectations of how it should turn out. Which is probably why I often just “dabble” because I’ll compare myself to “the ideal goal” and get frustrated.
2. I’m a day dreamer. I have visions of things I’d love to do – a person I’d love to become – things I’d love to learn and have time for. And I’ve always dreamed big!
3. If my heart’s not in something – I quit it. That can be viewed as good or bad. It explains why my college career lasted on-and-off over so many years with constant changes in my major. And why I never finished and still don’t have a degree. You know what though? I don’t regret it. I get bothered when I’m told that I will regret never finishing. But no, no I won’t. I learned a lot in college! I took enough classes across the board that I feel well-educated. What I WOULD regret is if I made myself miserable finishing my degree in something I realized I didn’t want to pursue. College made me pretty dang neurotic because I never felt like it’s where I belonged or what I actually wanted to do. I did not like feeling like I HAD to spend so much of my time, energy, and money doing something because it’s what I felt pressured to do or because it made others happy with my decisions…. I want to be HAPPY and PASSIONATE about MY decisions and the path I choose.
My whole life I always enjoyed art. Painting, drawing, doodles, crafting… CREATING was what I loved. I tried something new & took a film-developing photography class my Senior year in high school and LOVED it! Suddenly, I itched to take my dad’s old 35mm film camera with me everywhere I went. And I practically did. It became my dream to one day be good enough to own my own business doing what I loved.
Though… the art world is full of a lot of intensely passionate people – especially once I reached college levels. Sometimes their passion, drive, skill and unique creativity would scare me because I didn’t feel like I was on the same level; however, it was inspiring. Getting accepted into and being a part of the art departments at my University was terribly competitive. Seriously though – only being able to apply/submit your portfolio once a year and cross your fingers that you will be one of the dozen chosen out of hundreds of applicants… It was nothing short of disheartening.
I chose to focus on other things in my college studies – though the art-based classes were always my favorite. My parent’s surprised me and bought me my first Nikon SLR 35mm film camera for Christmas one year. I carried it everywhere and spent a lot of money on rolls of film! Paintbrushes, canvas, craft projects, and my drawers of developed negatives were what I loved far more than my school studies. I dreamed about but lacked the courage to do something great with my passion.
Skipping ahead – over the years I’ve had a handful of different jobs, life experiences involving travel, and many learning opportunities. I have met a variety of very different people and been inspired in many ways. I’ve gotten married and gained a companion that is a doer and 100% supportive and by my side. I honestly feel that because of him, I am starting to become the me I always dreamed of.
Apart from my husband, I cannot overlook certain people that have been placed in my path in the last couple of years. The tiny decision of who I chose to be our engagement photographer in 2012 has significantly impacted my life. I could go on about how that one decision randomly snow-balled into many great things, but for now, I just will focus on one. Lora Grady very quickly became a close friend of mine. We clicked & lucky for us, also shared similar interests. She taught me so much and motivated/pushed me to just START! Between her and my husband, I gained the courage to finally create my photography business despite my OCD of wanting everything perfect from the get-go. Everybody has to start somewhere. I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned in just 2013 because I decided to just start.
Now, it’s the beginning of 2014. I started making a list of my “Desires for the New Year” over the holidays and it looked like this:
I’d like to visit NYC
Having married into a family that gets everybody together frequently, I’d like to see all of my family together in one place for a change.
I’d like to have time to garden
I’d like to improve on meal planning and budgeting
I want to go on more dates with just my husband
I’d like to make more time to invest in my photography business
I’d like to work on my personal creative goals
I’d like to spend less time staring at a computer screen
I want to go on more walks
I want to finish a few paintings
I want to have time to enjoy reading books again
I want to send more snail mail
I want to be present for my family
In staring at my list, I thought to myself. Why aren’t these things happening now? My two big factors were…
#1 – I have a full-time day job where I stare at a screen all day.
#2 – I’m pregnant, so at this stage in the game, by the time I get home from work… I have no energy for much other than my pillow.
Making decisions has always been hard for me, but this time – It was surprisingly easy. Although I have been blessed with a great job, steady income, and excellent health insurance – I opted to give it up. WHOA – I know! I feel like lately I’ve been given many opportunities to learn, grow, and get help living my dream that I’d be dumb not to take the leap of faith to go for it. I need the time to make it happen. I’m ready to be my own boss and take charge of life.
So, even though we have a baby on the way and my current steady income/great health insurance/benefits would seem like the “wise” thing to stick with – I feel the opposite. I’ve put in the word and come the end of February, I will no longer be employed. Now is my time to REALLY start doing what I want to. Now is the time to get things going BEFORE my baby comes. I’m excited about the time I will have to invest in my business and passions. I’m blessed to have a supportive husband. It definitely will not be easy, but I have not felt better about such a decision.
Coming from someone who has been the QUEEN of procrastination, insecurity, and indecision – Just GET STARTED LIVING YOUR DREAM! Now is the time because “tomorrow” rarely comes. I am a firm believer that if you want something bad enough to work for it – it will be yours. Do not settle.
As a girl, I like to shop. DUH! And sometimes browsing… even only online satisfies my cravings! So I can’t help but share some of my finds that I’m loving this summer…
…Kind of loving this reusable tote. Super farmer’s market friendly, no?! I can think of a few people I know that would love it too. West Elm.
..I’ve been eying the Modernist Bowls at West Elm forever. They have cute mis-matched sets of cereal bowls…And now they have a grey & yellow one! In a larger size. I kind of really like it. I also think it would go great in my sister’s grey + yellow kitchen. Birthday present maybe??
Cute idea I found to pretty-up an IKEA dresser. Look Here.
..Way cool poster that would be perfect for my office at work. DoMyOwnPestControl. #bugsputfoodonourtable … Found on ETSY
…And some ideas I’ve found for upcoming photo shoots…
I will need to have a fresh flower headpiece in a photoshoot soon! I love them!
…I’m suddenly obsessed with the idea of stylish little girl photo shoots. I already have one little model in mind! Can’t wait!
I just need Georgia to calm down on the weather front. What’s up with this non-stop rainy weather??!
Also, when time and funds are available, I’m going to start developing a collection of photo backdrops for newborn and child sessions at home. So much on the to-do list lately and hardly any time or energy to do it all! Yikes.
Our “home” is coming along. We finally have EVERYTHING unloaded. We’ve cleaned out the garage and front rooms once already just to make room to fill them up completely AGAIN with more boxes and storage! If it would stop raining… I see a garage sale coming up.
Being married and grown-up (sort of ..haha) ..life is expensive! Between car insurance, life insurance, health insurance, mortgage payments, utility bills, internet & tv, groceries & all that jazz…. not to mention the costs of trying to keep up a house and yard now & paying off our carpet/basement updates… James & I have had to put ourselves on a strict budget. Especially when we’re also trying to keep up some savings for emergencies and other things in our future. Goodness. Life!
Luckily, both James and I are employed with solid jobs & James is a good match for me in the stressed-out/frazzled state I get in so often lately. What a blessing – marriage – to know there’s always someone on the journey with you!
I have been super anti-social since we’ve moved back to Georgia. Only because there is so much to do when I’m not at work that I haven’t had much time to think about fun summer outings and get-togethers. That, and our house is such a mess still – I would rather not be inviting anyone over. ha.
For those who care: At church they have James busy with the deacons and as Assistant Scout Master. It’s already taken him away for a week at scout camp and every tuesday night for the weekly activities. As for me, I was thrown right into Primary as the Chorister – Something I would have never picked for myself, but it’s turning out to not be so bad. My singing voice is horrible and I don’t know all of the songs that well – so let’s pray that in the next few months we’ll all be ready for the Primary Program. Yikes! I’m also trying to not stress myself out by going overboard on visuals and games. Right now I don’t have time to do much more than keep it simple.
Other news: My parent’s house has sold & is being closed on tomorrow! It worked out perfectly that it was purchased by a young little family that is good friends with James and me. Kind of weird going over to visit and ringing the doorbell at what WAS “my house”. Exciting though, nonetheless! It’s in good hands.
Concert Happy: At work we are a tad spoiled to have access to the company Suite at the Gwinnett Arena & have a few upcoming concerts we get to attend in the next few months … Beyonce. Muse. Macklemore. ..Should be entertaining!
One of my very good friends, Lora Grady, invited me to go “location hunting” with her on Sunday. She is an incredible photographer (she took our engagements and bridals, and I mention her often on here) & always on the look out for the perfect photoshoot locations. I took her up on the invite on Sunday, obvi! I like to think of her as my unofficial mentor who has been there to motivate me along and answer any of my questions when it comes to photography. Like I said, she is pretty bomb.com : ) She also invited another photographer friend of hers, Diane Moncion, to come along as well. Diane is so fun and a complete Jersey babe as you will soon find out!
We got on the interstate and headed south for about 1 1/2 hours. Lora was like a kid in a candy shop getting giddy over the perfect setting sunlight, rollings hills, and green that we found. Her passion for natural clean light makes me smile!
ANYWAY…it didn’t take us long to figure out that Diane is so drop dead gorgeous & has such a beautiful style that we’d be using her as our model til the sun went down.
So, here are a few of my favorites that I shot from Sunday evening’s outing! …
1. My sister, Tamaron, had her first baby! A little boy. Ok, not too little…8.8 lbs! Named Conrad. The 8th grandkid for my parents. He is just too too cute…
and it kills me that they are in Arizona, so I probably won’t see him until maybe this summer…
2. Lesson learned: Sometimes expensive is often cheaper. AKA: Buy once and buy GOOD! …quality that won’t break the pocketbook too much or need to be replaced soon or ever.
3. Other lesson learned: If you give your children everything they want, they will grow up always wanting.
4. My LESS-STRESS thinking lately:
i hate school, but i’ve decided to learn to learn, not to pass a test. it’s helping me enjoy classes more and not worry so much about the perfect A.
let things go. forgive. i know of no one who is perfect, especially myself, so why point fingers or criticize? no matter our age, we are all still making mistakes just like the next. talk about a stress reliever//burden lifter …let your grudges GO!
again…NO ONE is perfect or has it all together. stop comparing. stop judging.
my stress and frustration only mean i need to quit thinking about it. i need a breather from myself! so… think of someone else, do something thoughtful or nice for them. pay a visit. make a phone call. listen. be a friend.
don’t be blind. open my eyes to the world around me. family. friends. other people have feelings and needs too. not just me.
money doesn’t grow on trees, i know…BUT, as one of my “Guatemalteca” mission companions once told me, “if you’re always worried about money, you’ll never have enough!” …think about it.
…and make your dreams happen!
i’m hating utah snow right now. can i please have a mini greenhouse?!
7. i love my husband. everyday i realize just how lucky i am for someone SO patient with me and SO forgiving of my quirks and crankiness and SO affectionate.
……look! …it’s us and kitty. …atop our future house in the country?