Hello out there internet! I come to you today utterly exhausted, sleep deprived and oddly full of joy! Why, you ask? Let me explain…In the portrait photography industry the months of September through the beginning of December are what we refer to as our busy season. This is because many of our clients love to get their family portraits done in the fall, with the leaves, and in preparation for sending out holiday cards and using portraits as gifts. If a portrait photographer also happens to shoot weddings, like I do, over the Spring and Summer months then this time is even more crazy with editing weddings (which let me tell you is no small task) and designing albums, filling orders, etc. So, as you may be getting, these last few months have been INSANE for me!
The funny thing about running your own business is that you get into it to do something that you love, that you are (hopefully) good at and that people want to pay you to do, but you end up doing all kinds of other things you are in no way prepared for or interested in doing. When I started my business 12 years ago in 2001, as a young and terribly naive 21 year old new wife and mother, I had absolutely no clue where this business would take me, how hard I would work and most of all how amazingly blessed and privileged I would feel to be able to work with families and make people smile, for a living. I have been on this journey now for a dozen years! I cannot even fathom how many images I have captured, especially since I went digital, or how many hours I have spent on the computer editing, doing the books, planning marketing, etc etc etc.
I have had an admittedly rough time over this past year in particular keeping up with my workload, I have needed help in the worst way. My late nights on the computer editing, designing, etc, are not good for my marriage, my parenting and most importantly my relationship with God! I had felt utterly buried and stressed for a very long time, and that is not how I hoped owning my own photography business would make me feel. If you have ever read the business book “The E Myth” then you can relate me to Sarah the piemaker, someone who loves what she does but cannot do it all alone, and will burn out if she has to.
This summer I attempted to bring someone on as an assistant full time and she and I both worked very hard to make that work. In the end it all comes down to whether or not I can afford to pay her what she needs for her time, because, like all of us, she has bills and a family to provide for, so, for the time being it going to be just me running things for a while longer. And this really stresses me out!
So, what does a photographer, business-owner, mother & wife who LOVES what she does but feels herself losing her grasp on sanity do when she has been burning the candle from both ends for too long and is about to burn right out? I will tell you what I did, I got down on my knees and I prayed! It’s no secret that I am a Born Again Christian, I don’t try to hide it, I make no apologies, and I will be very open and honest with anyone who asks, or brings up the subject, about how I feel about my Savior Jesus Christ, I LOVE HIM!! I know that not all of my readers agree, and that is okay, we all have free will, a gift from our Creator, and we can exercise that in any way we choose. We can choose to seek out our Creator and connect with Him, we can choose to fulfill our spirits in other ways, it’s our choice. I choose to have a personal relationship with the Creator of all things who made this world and me and who loves me and will never leave me 🙂 If you don’t agree with me please know that I don’t judge you, and please, read on anyways, I am not trying to force religion on anyone, I am just sharing my heart and my story.
I was in a desert, spiritually and emotionally, so here’s the prayer that came pouring out of me in a flood of tears, I could barely speak the words, but He understood me!
LORD, I can’t do this anymore, I can’t work this hard taking two steps forward and then three steps back every day! I can’t live on 3 hours of sleep, miss out on another school function or family gathering. God I am at my limit, how can I do this any longer, I feel lost, I don’t feel YOU anymore! I know that you are with me Jesus but I can’t see anything but this insurmountable mountain of work ahead of me and I am afraid that if I stop climbing it full steam for even one moment that the whole thing will come crashing down in an avalanche and bury me alive! HELP ME LORD! Help me to balance my life and my work, help me to make YOU my priority and let everything else fall into place where You want it to go! Most of all help me to cling to You, to rely on You, because You, oh Lord, are all that I really want and all that I need!
This is my prayer every day, as I move forward in this adventure. His answer has been clear, He has renewed my spirit, and my commitment to Him is stronger than ever and with the strength He has given me I am able to keep going and know when to slow down! He has given me joy again, in everything I am doing, even when I am totally exhausted I feel joy! There are some changes coming on the horizon, some things I need to do differently so that I don’t wake up one day and realize that I don’t love this anymore. Ultimately the biggest change is my renewed commitment to putting God first in my life! He is the reason I do this, He is the one who gave me my gifts, and talents and the desire to use them in this way. He blessed me with circumstances and open doors that lead me here, where I am now, and I am trusting Him on the journey ahead!
It’s now beginning to wind down, just a little as I make this last push for the “busy” season and then I will have some time to catch up on much needed rest, family time (and some other things I have put on the back burner like another book). As I look back on this past year I have learned so much, and I am so thankful for all the beautiful faces who have been in front of my camera this year! Thank you to everyone who gave me the opportunity to spend some time getting to know them, I love you all so dearly!
I pray that my beloved clients, friends, and family who read this as well as anyone else who happens to stop here for a while will feel the love and the Joy of this special season. I adore Christmas for so many reasons, number one is the chance to slow down and thank God for the gift of His precious Son Jesus. I love the time with family, the food, fellowship and the music. I adore the smells and the lights, the snow and the cozy evenings at home. All my love and wishes to you this year, Merry Christmas!!!
And here are some images from some of my recent sessions that I have not had time to blog yet. There will be many wedding posts coming up later this month too, so much to share when time allows. For now enjoy these shots of beautiful babies, adorable kiddos, couples in love and families spending time together. What could be better?