Taking Stock

I’m not one to choose a word-of-the-year (I think I’ve mentioned that before), but if I had to choose one for this year, it would have to be “incredible”, and this is why:

1: I’ve journeyed so far out of my comfort zone that I can’t even see it anymore.

2: I’ve learned to take a deep breath, plunge in and swim for the deep end.

3: I’ve decided upon my goals, wrote them out on a pretty piece of note paper and thumbtacked them front and center on my bulletin board above my desk for me to see every morning.

4: I’m slowly allowing myself to believe that I am good, damn good, at photography.

5: I hit upon my “style” this year and the things I love to shoot: bright colors, joyful scenes and people, deep shadows, negative space, and a clean edit.

6: Mountain bikers are some of the coolest and happiest and most encouraging people I’ve ever met.

7: MY HUSBAND PUBLISHED A BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

8: When I’ve felt overwhelmed and pressured by commitments, I’ve learned to ask for help. Nothing wrong with leaning on family and friends for an assist.

9: It’s also okay to say no if I simply can’t (or don’t want to) do something.

10: I’ve begun to stop worrying about the “what-ifs” . Those only get in the way and cause me to lose track of my end goal. In fact, I’ve begun calling the “what-ifs” “The Middle Man”, the guy that stands between you and what you want. I have to remind myself daily to not focus on The Middle Man, and I’m slowly beginning to listen to myself.

11: I’ve discovered that I love to photograph Life - - - my kids (when I can), scenes around town, the camaraderie of bike festivals, local parades, the girls at the sorority house and so much more. All those bring me such joy and lift up my spirits.

12. The thing I learned the most this year is that the only person holding me back is myself. Once I figured that out, everything got a little easier, still scary, but easier to walk into a business and leave my card, easier to write those “cold call” emails to race directors, easier to walk up to strangers at a photo session, smile and introduce myself.

13: On December 31, 2018, for the first time in my life, I’ll be able to look back over the year and say that I finally accomplished what I set out to do. And that’s a pretty incredible feeling.

I can only wonder what 2019 holds for me, but whatever it is, I’m ready to take it up a notch and swim even deeper into this wonderful life I’ve been granted.

Wishing you all the Merriest of Christmases and the Jolliest of New Years!




Fat Bottomed Girls Cupcake Shop

Last week, I explored the cutest little cupcake shop just up the street from where Meghan lives. It’s a new-to-me shop, having opened up last year, I had just never ventured inside until last week.

I have no idea why it took me so long.

The store smelled delicious, was bright and cheery and had seating right next to the window so you could people watch while eating cupcakes and drinking coffee. They not only had cupcakes, but also kitchen towels with snappy sayings, little trinkets that would make great stocking stuffers, different flavored syrups and chocolate candies wrapped up in pretty little packages.

Lilly, the store manager, let me poke around and take pictures with my friend for as long as we both liked and we both walked out of there with cupcakes to bring home (my friend later texted me letting me know that her cupcake didn’t even make it that far, that she ate hers in her car on the way home!) and definite plans to visit the store again, but this time I won’t wait so long.



Auti

The week leading up to this portrait session was rainy and dreary and cold, an early winter moving in. Auti’s mother and I were frantically texting back and forth days before, going back and forth on whether the sun might shine or if we should postpone yet another week. I was gung ho about moving forward, confident that the weathermen would be wrong (I have yet to meet a weatherman that is actually dead on with his forecast), but Auti’s mother was still a bit hesitant, but decided to trust me.

Meg was going to be my photo assistant for the shoot, Auti (and her mother) being good friends of Meg’s through her martial arts school she attends. Auti and her parents showed up just minutes after we pulled into the parking lot of the park we had decided upon for the shoot, and lo and behold! the sun broke through the clouds halfway through, casting beautiful golden light on the hills behind us and making the whole world glow.

Auti was a delight, always smiling and joking around. She’s a middle schooler attending the same middle school that my kids went to, and she’s into everything: gymnastics, running, martial arts . . . you name it, and she probably does it. I just had so much fun taking her portraits, and just like the sun making the world glow, so does this child. She just makes everyone happy to be around.