This announcement has been a long time coming. I always thought that I would be heartbroken to share this, but in truth, I share this with joy in my heart and hopeful anticipation in my soul. Now this blog will have some real, painful, and heart-wrenching details about my life over the past several years. But, Please don't feel sorry for me. I have an amazing life! Beautiful family, terrific children, a husband that I adore, and for years I have been able to work in a field that I love. Well, that last part is ending for now (And I say for now, because my soul still aches to capture images and create art. I do hope to return to this passion and work that I love someday). But for now I have to focus on rest and healing for my body.
Now for the stuff I am always so hesitant to share. If you follow my personal social media page you likely already know a little about whats been going on with my health over the last several years. I have been dealing with some autoimmune conditions that have really disrupted my life in big ways. Big enough ways that I have to finally close the business that I LOVE. I've tried to push through, time and time again, but thats only left me sicker and more depleted. Some back story on my personality: I am a doer, a go-getter, a real product of growing up as a girl in the 90's. You know those commercials from the 90's- the ones that told girls they could do anything they wanted? Ones like Nike's "Anything you can do I can do better"? Well those ideals somehow, somewhere, really sank in with me. I always thought I could do anything I put my mind to. I remember in 5th grade having to write a big essay about what we would do when we grew up. I wrote my essay on how I would be the first woman president. Clearly I had no lack of confidence. But this attitude of striving for success has not served me well over the last decade. You see, as it turns out your body needs more than motivation, coffee and energy bars to run on. You need actual REST and nourishment (like real food, not just the energy bars and zip fizz I would stuff down at weddings to keep me going, or keep me awake at my computer while editing all night).
Over the last few years as the health struggles got harder it became apparent that I needed to slow down my business. So I stopped taking on weddings. Oh this was painful in many ways. I adore weddings! Everything about them. I am a hopeless romantic. I always have been. I love capturing every emotional detail and moment. I love being a part of such an important day in couples lives. And it helped that I literally had THE most amazing couples as clients. Seriously, the best ones. Giving up weddings was difficult financially as well because this was a huge part of my families income. Weddings were my work, and they were mostly what I was known for professionally. This was the first really difficult thing to give up. It became too hard for my body to take on these full day events. And honestly, if I couldn't do the very best job for my clients I didn't want to chance taking on such an important day for them. I went through periods of not being able to take on any work at all. If you were a client that I had to cancel on last minute during those extremely hard and sometimes scary health challenges, then I am truly sorry. I can say that canceling on you was probably harder on me than it was on you. I hate to let people down. Plus, I really whole-heartedly love my clients. So many of you have become like family to me. Capturing weddings, then first pregnancies, first babies, watching those babies and families grow each year. It has been one of my lives biggest honors.
I went through seasons of doing considerably better. During these times I wanted to do it all (here is that extreme, can't sit still, must be doing and accomplishing spirit of mine again). So I took on work again, not as much as I had in previous years, but still way more than my body was ready for me to do. My thinking behind this was only partially misguided (or thats what I thought). I thought, "I am doing good. I will take on a bunch of work. I will shoot those sessions I had to cancel, and I will get a bunch of doctors bills paid off." These all seemed like noble and good reasons to be working again, but I knew it was too much still. As much as I love my clients and love what I do, in reality I was mostly just taking on all the work again to pay off bills that I had acquired from all of my treatments. I've been traveling back and forth between Seattle over the last few years seeing specialist. Plus I have seen countless specialist in our local area here. That paired with a new Autoimmune diet, every possible supplement that was promised to help, and many other therapies-and you can just assume at this point that I have tried most things to get back to health. Let me just say that getting sick is not cheap. So when I was feeling up to it, I really tried to take on more and help lower the financial burden that all of this was creating on my family. But as you can guess, more work, more stress, and more than my body could handle only led to more serious issues in a body that was already really struggling. But I'm a slow learner so that cycle of crashing- canceling everything- lots of doctors, treatment and resting- feeling a little better- to trying to take on the world- to crashing again has gone on several times now over the last 2 years. I'm finally at a spot where God has made it clear that I'm not supposed to be taking on work right now. I guess I am putting this all in words and putting it out there to keep me accountable so that I stop taking on work for the time being. I don't know how long that will be. I do know that the God who put these passions in my heart will be faithful to bring them to fruition in his time and for his glory.
So where does that leave me and my family in the current season? Well, we have a big move ahead of us. My husband has taken a job with a new company out of Salt Lake City, Utah. He starts first of the year so we are busy packing and getting ready to move our little family across states for the first time ever. I am still working hard to get better, and by working hard I mostly mean resting, eating right, and doing various treatments therapies that are helpful to my recovery.
Through all of this there have been some huge blessings. I have met some amazing friends who are also fighting for their health. I couldn't imagine getting through these last years without friends and family to encourage me on the hard days, and cry with me on the days when there were just no words to make it okay. I have started to live life at a slower pace. I cannot put into words how much this has changed my life. For so many years it has felt like I was in some sort of daily race. Always running to catch up. Always behind. I would find time for my family, my clients, and the never-ending list of things that had to be done- both in my business and in my household, but I rarely made time for my soul to breath. Now, If you know me personally you also probably know that I believe in Jesus Christ and that I desire to put him first in all things. So, I did love God, and I did make room for some very rushed bible reading and prayer time in my mornings. We attended church pretty regularly as well. But God wanted more, he wanted my whole heart. And God had been nudging my heart for years about what was important in life, and about the amount of time I was spending pursuing success vs. the amount of time I was spending pursuing HIM and loving others. But, like I said earlier, I'm a slow learner. It has taken all of this for me to see that these challenges, though extremely painful, are a blessing, and maybe even my saving grace. Life is not about work. Work is only a small part of life. I do believe that we can use our work to touch the lives of others, but in an industry like photography it is easy to put your work on a pedestal and make it into an idol that takes over your life. God has been gracefully dealing with me on the ways that I have put my work above him and above my family at times. Being home has also opened up the door for me to spend countless more hours with my children that I adore with my entire being. I am loving being able to do more cooking and cleaning. It's funny how I'm finding contentment in big ways being at home doing all of the the small things that seem so unglamorous about being a stay at home mom. These small things that consist of faithfully raising and loving a family I'm finding are really the big things in life.
Above all of this I have a heavenly father that loves me and is taking care of me. During this season, I am parking my thoughts on his truths. I am resting my heart in his love. Don't get me wrong, I have my days of tearful frustration and exhaustion, but God is bigger than those days. His plan for me isn't finished yet. And thank goodness for that!
My hope is that this blog will explain to clients and friends why my return emails and texts have been so delayed at times, or in some cases non existent. I will be taking down my website and client galleries within the next few months, so please do make sure that you have downloaded all of your images. I am also offering 50% off prints and any unpurchased galleries while images are still up. Just use the code closing50 at checkout. Please feel free to email me with any questions about orders. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to every single person that has supported my business over the years.