This week I prepared for a glamour photo shoot. I had a long week of 7 days straight working a trade show, so it was Tuesday before I had a chance to prepare for this shoot for today. This is something new I am trying and I asked a friend to help me out with the shoot. She gets portraits and I get the experience shooting in a different style and portraits for my folio. About 95% of my photography is done on location, so God provides the backdrop. This time, I am making the backdrop. So, that being said, I waited until yesterday to work on the backdrop itself. Many other things were in place so I was confident that all I had left to do was complete the backdrop and buy some food as she would be traveling straight to work after and would be with me during lunch. By this morning I could really tell this wasn’t going to work out. The primer had been completed last night and all I had to do was apply the final coat this morning and all would be well. Not so much! The paint I had picked did not come out at all as I had planned and therefore, the backdrop looked terrible. At this point I felt that I was faced with two options. I could either wing it and while her pictures would be good, they would not be the caliber I had planned. Or, I could call her and explain the situation. Mind you, this was not a regular situation so I should have given myself more time. I know the “should haves” and the “could haves” and the “would haves” should (there is that word again) not enter our vocabulary, however I clearly had procrastinated. Therefore, I found myself in this awkward position. My heart told me the only thing I could do was be honest. So, I made the phone call and she was more than understanding. She had not gotten ready yet, except for laying out her clothes. She said “I will hang them back up and they will be beautiful and ready when you are.” What an angel! I cannot wait to produce some perfect portraits for her within the next couple of weeks. I know we will both be pleased that we waited. I took her to lunch today and we had a great time. She is an awesome woman of God and I am blessed to have her in my life. So, since that was all done it was time to survey the situation and decide what went wrong. Why did I wait until the night before to begin such an important part of this shoot? Was it fear? Was it confidence? Was it denial? I thought long and hard and I believe it was fear. The fear that I might not do it right. The perfectionist in me that says “If you can’t do it perfect, don’t do it at all!” I learned a valuable lesson today. Not only is it important to hold our end of the bargain, but it is okay to try something and not get it right the first time. Had I started on Tuesday, I would have definitely had time to research and try again multiple times before today. Thank God for amazing friends who love us no matter what! And thank God that He is willing to help us through the tough lessons and show us the way. Here’s to change! Blessings!
This is what I am thinking as I lay in bed realizing that I have almost missed writing for today…shoot, shoot, shoot! I remembered earlier and forgot again. I have been busy all day preparing for tomorrow’s portrait shoot. Lots to do and always seems like so little time to do it. It’s really not. It’s just that sometimes the ideas and creativity don’t get flowing for me until I really get into action. So, as it would be I have procrastinated a little since I have been super busy with other things. Now we are down to the wire and there are still many things to be done. The polystyrene board has been primed and now I am waiting for it to dry. Next will be the chalkboard paint that will be used as a backdrop for many of the outfits my client will bring. I also have a painted board that is painted a peanut shell color. It practically goes with everything so it will be quite useful. In addition I have the small board with the flowers made of coffee filters. It is a beautiful board. Today I bought a Jasper colored spray paint to use on the flowers. However, I did not like it so I am leaving them white. I still have some work to do as the board is not completely covered. I will need to finish that in the morning as well as the final coat of paint. I can’t wait to do this glamour portrait shoot. She is such a beautiful woman, inside and out and she always makes such a beautiful picture. When I am done with the shoot I will be posting in the Facebook group for my class. I have seen many beautiful pictures so far and am a little nervous to share. I will though as this is what this is all about. Learning and sharing and helping others. It will be a blessing to finally get caught up as I have been lagging a little behind. Then I will be onto the next weeks lesson and ready to get moving again. It has been a blessing taking this amazing class and learning from such a master photographer. I have not only learned about photography, but about life. How to be happy. How to love myself. How to give myself the approval to be worthy of making good money and selling my art for a fair price. We are who we really believe deep down we are. We must value ourself before we can expect others to value us. That being said I know that I am on my way to a lifetime of success. Blessings!
Love is in the air! There is something to be said for young love. It reminds us of a simpler time when all was well and the worries of this world did not burden us. When we knew we could do anything and everything we set out to do. We did not question ourselves or stand back in fear. We did not wait to see what the weather would be like or if we felt like going somewhere. We assumed that we would feel like going and we knew that no matter what the weather was like we would still want to go. Times have changed, but I still remember these times as if it was yesterday. And, we are on our way back there. Not to the youth that we once had in years, of course, but to the attitude we had about life. The joy in adventure and the surprise of a ‘spur of the moment’ adventure that takes us to places we have never been. My husband and I have the opportunity to attend my nephew’s wedding this year in Florida. Our room is booked and our plans are made. Instead of just driving or taking a plane, my husband came up with an amazing plan. We will drive the car and pull the motorcycle on trailer to Orlando. From Orlando we will park our car at his friend’s home and we will ride the motorcycle down to the Florida Keys. Amazing, right?! I cannot wait! We know it may rain. We don’t care. We know that it is not as safe. We don’t care. Life is meant to be lived! We will ride with abandon and enjoy the beautiful feeling of being free! We will capture moments as we go along and return to that youthfulness that we have missed. Falling in love all over again! Showing our kids what is really in store for them as they grow older. No planting ourselves on the couch for us. No sir! We plan to enjoy this time God has given us. It’s as if life has opened up again. The kids are adults and we are back to just the two of us quite often. Do we miss those days of taking care of our kids and spending almost every moment with them? You betcha! But things are different now and life goes on. We have seen way too many people give up at this point. Get settled in their ways and never try anything new again. Well to that I say “No Way!” Oh and by the way, the next trip planned is a motorcycle rally! Yes, that is right! We shall ride like the wind and thank God for all the new opportunities in this chapter of our lives! So, I encourage you, no matter your age, to get up and get moving. Find something new to do and do it. Gather together with friends and let the good times roll! Life is short my friend! Take a hold of it and run! Blessings!
She was beautiful! Her face was radiant with love. Her skin was thin and almost like paper. She was still quite aware of herself and life. She was 105, but she was not dead. She loved life. She had fulfilled her bucket list and more. She had done the one thing she always said she would do…photograph someone older than her when she turned 100. Turns out it was her husband. Not even a year older, but that didn’t matter. He was still older. He was still extremely handsome. They both got around really well and loved to explore life. Their great grand kids were in awe of them as they were very strong and together for their age. They had lived a beautiful life, finally getting that lake house he wanted and beautiful studio space she had dreamed of. While he did fishing guides, she would photograph her beautiful clients in her studio and around the beautiful lake area. Her career skyrocketed in her early 50’s and so did his. They traveled all over the world, pulling the boat and the motorcycles with them wherever they went. Camera gear in hand, they hiked new places and explored places the ordinary person would never go. While he did woodworking she wrote children’s stories. They were published and she dedicated them to all her grand kids. They were stories that their children, grand kids and great grand kids would enjoy for years. Their kids were close by and they would see their family often. Every chance she would get she would read. It was always better than television and she couldn’t understand why others did not love a good book as much as she did. Her whole world opened up each time she read. This is why she had to start the little store for book lovers. This store containing all odds and ends to make a book lovers life amazing. The only thing it did not contain was books. There were so many book stores all over. Big ones. It was tough to compete. But, accessories of all magnitudes were hard to find. So one day she began designing little plates and knickknacks and all kinds of cool products with book themes and before she knew it she had another business. She sold the business at 95 because, let’s face it, who wants to be tied down to anything at that age. She made a great deal of money and this is how they traveled the world. Never worrying about money. They didn’t have to. God had blessed them beyond measure. When the time came for them to depart this world, they died in each other’s arms peacefully in their sleep. They entered the gates of Heaven walking hand in hand to meet the Lord. No moment could have been sweeter for them or their family. They knew they would all see each other again some day. And until then, they would have the amazing memories that would bring them joy and comfort.
Fear comes and fear goes. It is a fickle beast and is sometimes useful, but most of the time it is there to hold us back. Fear has been said to be “False Evidence Appearing Real.” I believe there is a fear that actually works to protect us. That moment when we know something is wrong. That moment when we realize we need to leave a situation or seek help. Then there is that fear that comes to destroy what God has planned. It is that fear that keeps us from soaring to great heights, from trying anything new and from exploring the world. It is the fear that holds us back and keeps us down. The best way that I have found to combat that fear is to face it head on. To go after what I want and not let the thoughts of fear and negativity pull me back. Moving forward, in any amount, helps to conquer those feelings of fear by giving me confidence. It shows me that I can make progress, even if it is slow. The more progress I make the more my confidence grows and the more my confidence grows the more progress I make. It is much less daunting to tackle something when it is not a huge monster. I section off the project so that it is in manageable parts. I also encourage myself a lot! In Samuel 30:6 David found strength in encouraging himself in the Lord. I must do this every day. Every day is a new day and I only have grace enough for that one day. That is why God’s word tells us in Lamentations 3:23. God’s grace is new each morning. I know that I must rely on God’s faithfulness and grace in order to complete anything. I must put Him first and all else will fall into place. Now I confess, I do not always follow what I know. And then I find myself fearful and losing my way. This is because I have replaced Him with myself. I have decided, whether consciously or not, to abandon grace and go for it on my own. This never works out! God is a merciful God and His ways are right. He tells us in Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” So, that being said, tomorrow is a new day. It is a day to decide again to always put God first and then do the very best that I can. Let God be God. There is a Christian song out now that says “You are God and I am not.” Sometimes that is hard to remember when I think I have my life all under control. So, I must take a few steps back and take a look. Am I starting my day with Jesus? Am I giving it all to Him? Am I doing my very best? Am I moving forward a little at a time to conquer the fear and gain the confidence? All of these are necessary for me to succeed. Share below what works for you! I would love to know. Blessings!
It is easy sometimes to get discouraged when running a business. It is also discouraging at times to find yourself questioning your purpose. There are times when you will want to quit. There will even be times when you will come to believe that you should “cut your losses and move on.” But, if you are committed to the journey, you will always find a way to hang in there one more time. A way to learn something new. Give it another try. Do something different. Fall in love again with your passion. Renew yourself. We are jewels to God. Malachi 3:17 “They shall be Mine, ‘says the Lord of hosts.’On the day that I make them My jewels.’ For me, committed time to learning is the key. I know that if I can work toward increasing my education at any and every level, I will have a chance to succeed. I know that when I engage, good things happen. Creativity opens up. If I will place myself in a quiet or a creative space, ideas will begin to soar. I do not need to succeed to someone else’s level, nor do I need to worry about exceeding others for the purpose of being “better than” someone else. What I must do is focus on me. I must be in agreement with God that I am worthy of success. That God did not make a mistake when He made me. That I am beautiful and amazing and talented and that I have something to give in this world that someone out there needs. I must believe in myself when no one else does. And as someone who works alone a good portion of the time, I must learn to discipline myself in all things. I must work hard, but also learn to play. I must be my own encouragement and also my own fair critic. It is only right to critique myself in love as I would anyone else. I must give myself pep talks and know that I am worth taking a chance on time and time again. I must see myself as God sees me, not how I see myself in the flesh. We are not finished products. We are constantly in a state of work. We are ever evolving into the person that God wants us to be. We need not be afraid to try and fail and try and soar. We will learn from our mistakes and hopefully we will teach others who will learn from our mistakes. They will go on to make their own and teach others, thus passing along the beauty of being. There is much to be said for staying the course. There is very little to be said for giving up. If one gives up and the passion stays, and it will, after we give up we just have to start again. It is better to go at a slower pace than begin again. Momentum is lost and time is wasted. One must try every day to keep the momentum and creativity going. Choosing to make success a habit will always bring us closer than we ever imagined. And when it is all said and done at the end of the day we will know that, even if we wanted to give up, we were willing to try “One More Time!”
Once upon a time there were three sisters. Now there is one. Losing one sister was bad enough. Losing two is practically unbearable. So what brings this up you may ask? My oldest sister passed away when I was eight. We did not spend much time together as she was 26 when she passed. My other sister passed away July 10, 2016 at 1:10 a.m. It has been very difficult and lonely. We talked almost every day! We went on trips together, we encouraged each other and we fought. We did all the things sisters are supposed to do. The memories are now all I have left. Of both of them. Today I worked with a couple of ladies at a trade show. They were sisters. Beautiful, creative, smart business owning women. I asked if they were sisters, even though I was sure they were. They looked so much alike. Just like me and my sister. There was a part of me that wanted to share my pain. To say to them “Having a sister that you are close to is amazing! Make sure you know how precious these moments are. Make sure you take time for each other and do all those wonderful things you have planned.” But I knew that would be a mistake. Why transfer my pain onto them? They do not need to live in that shadow. I mean, don’t we all know how to be? Don’t we all know that our siblings are important and that life is short? I feel that we do. I also know that we forget. We forget just how fragile life can be. I think we also think this will never happen to us. Taking this all into consideration, it was still not my place to taint their experience. So, I enjoyed the moments and the fun they were having together. One of the sisters was also on the phone talking with their dad. Just another stab to the heart since dad passed away June 13, 2016, a mere four weeks before my sister. Some days I wonder how long the pain will last. I suppose, to some extent, forever. Everything reminds me of them. On the way home from work I passed by the street that leads to my dad’s house. The very house I grew up in. For a split second I thought “I should go by and see dad.” It’s really crazy when that happens! Or when I think “Oh, Cheri would love that!” And then realizing it doesn’t matter. I have heard of people who actually dial their loved one’s phone number, only to remember that they are no longer here. I know healing takes time and it has gotten easier, however I know it will always be hard. Every person is different and therefore we all deal with life differently. And that is okay. I am definitely blessed to be a woman of faith. I know that my Dad, Mom and sisters are up in Heaven and happy. I know that one day I will see them again. In the meantime, I will take every day as it comes and remember all the amazing times we all were so fortunate to have together. Blessings!
I recently accepted a job working at a trade show. I did not know for sure what it would entail, but as it is a slow season for my personal business I thought it would be a good addition to income. I am in love! Walls and walls of beautiful products that just call my name all day long! Just being in a place like this opens up my mind! My mind just flows with amazing ideas. Ideas for backdrops and props of all kinds. Ideas for crafts and beautiful works that could bring in extra income throughout the entire year. I take a few pictures when I can and make sure to make notes when not busy. Though it is not often that I am not busier than I had imagined. So many buyers to assist and they move quickly. They know what they want. They do this all the time. At first I was completely in awe at how they made so many decisions so quickly. Then I began to think about my business and how I can make decisions in a split second. Why? Because I do it all the time. And so do they. They are extremely nice people and it sure makes for a wonderful day. I leave home around 6:40 a.m. to make sure I arrive shortly after 7 a.m. I do not need to report for work until 8 a.m., but it is extremely helpful and so wonderful to get a decent parking space. Arriving too much later would result in parking in a parking garage across, and down, the street and then riding a shuttle. So far I have been very blessed that I have not had to do that. The day begins at 8 a.m. with breakfast while we work and wait for buyers. It is very nice that they provide food for us and the buyers. Once we walk around for hours, and I do mean hours, we can sit with the buyers and eat a little and chat. It is hard work, but also a very relaxed atmosphere. The buyers will purchase as many items as they wish in four categories; Christmas, Halloween, Fall and Everyday. Everyday is considered Spring and Easter. They will receive certain discounts based on their average of recent purchases. All will receive 20% and some as much as 50%. Once their order is complete, the buyer will receive paperwork showing their purchases along with a picture on the left side of each item. The show will only be open for eight days and then will be open by appointment only. Another mini show will be done in March to complete the Christmas and Fall Season. In June another show will be done that will highlight all of the Spring merchandise. All of the Christmas, Halloween and Fall merchandise will be moved out. I can tell you that even though it is so tiring and a lot of work, I really would love to work for these lovely people again. Oh, and as a side note, I have made three photography connections! God just keep opening doors! Thank you Jesus!
On June 13, 2016 my earthly father moved to Heaven. Just a short 4 weeks later, my sister joined him. It was a devastating time and the wounds are still very deep. I have only known one other person who has had a similar experience. Until today. Today, I met a woman at a trade show. A woman whom I would come to share my pain. I had no idea, until we conversed for a while, what she had been through. She seemed happy and no one would have known what she has been going through just by looking at her. As we talked and got to know each other a little, I shared with her that I am a photographer. She looked at me and said “My daughter was a photographer. She was killed in a car accident last year.” Her daughter was only twenty-six years old. My heart was broken for her as she talked. She told me more about her lovely daughter and we both cried. She then shared with me that her father had also passed last year. He had Alzheimer’s. And then, she shared with me that her sister passed away this month, January 2017. I shared with her my story of my father and sister and we cried again. As hard as last year was for us, I cannot fathom how it was for her. And in addition losing her sister this year. I was overwhelmed and I still am. Her daughter was amazing. She did missionary work and loved the Lord. She was a photographer and also worked with Fair Trade to help support disadvantaged countries. She was a light to all she met. Sometimes there is surely no rhyme or reason to life. Why do the good sometimes die young? Why would someone with such amazing talent and love for Jesus and His people not be given the opportunity to stay here and help those in need? Certainly it would do this world some good to have people such as her and my sister. Maybe this place was just not good enough for her anymore. Maybe it was not good enough for our fathers or our sisters. Our sisters, by the way, were both 55 and we are both 53. Ironic? I don’t think so. I don’t believe in irony. Today’s meeting was not by chance. This I am sure. I believe that God will fill the holes in our lives by bringing the right people at just the right time. I believe He will do everything that can be done to help us connect, especially with those that we have so much in common. I believe He will catch us as we fall and set us back up straight and lead us on our way. Will it be difficult? You betcha! Will it be overwhelming? Absolutely. And here is what happened at the end of our meeting. As she departed, she said to me “Don’t worry about my tears. We are people of faith…” And to that I say “Amen!”
I don’t always follow the prompts given for writing assignments, but this one I could not pass up! The prompt for today is to write about something we believe in. The statement says “this needs to be a hill worth dying on.” So be it! That is exactly what Jesus did. He was crucified on a hill named Golgotha. Mark 15:22-24 :And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. 23 Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. 24 And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take.” It was definitely a “hill worth dying on” to all who believe. I believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I believe Jesus died for my sins so that I might have eternal life. I believe the bible; both testaments. I believe God chose me first! John 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” I believe that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven and intercedes for us! 1 John 2:1-2 “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” I believe that God sent the Holy Spirit and that if we will just listen intently we will know what to do. Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” So you see, the Bible contains many stories to help us understand God and follow Him, but there is one thing it doesn’t do. It doesn’t go forth and develop that relationship for you. You must do that! John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” I believe we are loved by God and cherished by God and we are the apple of His eye. I believe He gave everything so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. I believe He made me and that He has always been here for me and He always will. Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” I fell in love with Jesus when I was 17 years old. This last year, right after my earthly father moved to Heaven, and right before my sister moved to Heaven five weeks later, God told me “You are really going to have to trust Me” And I do! Blessings!