You are probably looking at the title of my post and wondering “Is that even possible”? The answer is, no. Probably not completely. My world has changed quite a bit the last few months and I have realized that I can do better in certain areas. I am a girl who has made A LOT of mistakes, I have disappointed and fallen short in many people’s eyes. I am far from perfect. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t keep trying to move forward and correct my mistakes. That is, until you realize that some things can’t be corrected and then you start thinking differently.
One my greatest dreams was to be a mother. I was so blessed to become a mom 4 years ago. Words can’t describe the peace and joy I felt holding my sweet little boy knowing that I would give and do anything for this little angel. 7 months ago I was blessed again with another sweet bundle of joy and my life has been richly blessed by two of God’s most choice spirits in my home to raise. I have always considered myself to be a good mom. I am very active with my children and in a weeks’ time you will have found us going to the zoo, water parks, the park, dinosaur museums, playing chase, play groups, baking etc. We kind of go non stop. But earlier this year I realized that even though I was a “hands on” mom, I wasn’t giving them my full attention. I wasn’t giving them “ALL” of me. We could be playing and of course K man would see a huge smile on my face but in my mind I was stressing out. I was stressing out about the 15 business emails I needed to return, the 4 sessions I had to edit by tomorrow, making sure the laundry and house was done and wondering when I could find the time to do it. I didn’t believe in working when my kids were awake so my evenings were usually when I hit the ground working to try and get caught up. My husband is such a great sport because “our” time got cut into almost every night. If it wasn’t on the calendar then it didn’t happen. I had to schedule in date night with my husband or even laying on the couch watching a movie time with him.
I have learned in my life that God works in mysterious ways. With his help we can accomplish anything. He also has to slow us down to make us realize some important things in life. I started my business 3 years ago. It’s kind of amazing to think how fast it all happened for me. My first year in business I had done almost 43 sessions. I have traveled to many destinations in the US and Mexico, attended workshops, taught a few workshop classes, lots of photography meet ups and met some of my most treasured friends through photography. So many blessings have come through it. When I picked up a camera and started shooting I felt like I found a piece of me that I had been searching for. It allowed me to express myself without words. To have a glimpse into my heart of what I desire or what I treasure most. It completed me.
Around March I started having this feeling to “slow down”…but of course I ignored it. I love to stay busy and I had the hardest time saying no. When your phone is ringing constantly and you are receiving dozens of emails of people who want to hire you to photograph such special memories for them, why would you shy away from that? Our family was going through some difficult times in our life right then and I knew that my income would be a huge help. So I continued to move forward. I so strongly believe that our Savior warns and guides us and we have to be strong enough to act on it. I continued to get some feelings that I should try to slow down in July & August. Believe it or not, I listened. Kind of ;) I had booked 9 sessions for July and ended up referring 12 to different photographers. One of the hardest things I had to do. But in July my health took a huge turn. I was struggling really bad with a dozen things that were making it very difficult for me to even function. I was getting dozens of blood tests, everything was out of whack, trying different medication, and there were times I couldn’t even get out of bed. I honestly struggled because this was SO NOT me! Truthfully, it was a blessing in disguise… The days I couldn’t get out of bed, I would grab my two boys and we would snuggle, read stories, play games and just laugh. I wasn’t stressing about who I needed to respond to or what I needed to get done. I was actually living in the moment. Their moment. Creating memories with them that were small and simple but profound for me. I didn’t have to stay “busy” going 100 mph to create memories with them. I did it when I was forced to shut everything else down around me and literally my day was focused just on them to make sure I could meet their needs (because some days even that was hard for me). I believe that God was preparing me for the following month…
August was busy like everyone else’s. I was getting ready for a crazy week and had 4 sessions the week of August 12th. In the 3 years of being in business I have only had one cancel their session with me due to weather and them being from out of town. However; by 10pm on August 11th I had had all 4 sessions cancel on me for that week. I was so confused and was taking it personal. My books for that week were all over the place and trying to schedule things perfectly and then it instantly went to nothing. I was kind of dumb founded by it. Monday morning, on August 12th I was coming back from taking the boys to 7 peaks when I received the most horrific call from my sister telling me that my brother was found dead in his apartment. Shock stung through my body. Fear. Anger. Sadness…. and then Regret. I started yelling “No he hasn’t met Jace yet. He needs to meet Jace”. My brother had been living in St. George for a little over a year. Some of that time he was in rehab and then life got busy with us and a newborn. My brother didn’t have a drivers license due to having a few DUI’s. We would constantly text or PM and he loved pictures of my boys. He would always tell me how much he loved them and said he couldn’t wait to meet Jace. He begged me a few times to come see him and I never did. I kept thinking of how busy life was and I never made it a priority. Life was busy! Life was crazy for our little family this last year! Regret is what I felt and it is such a horrible feeling.
After his funeral services I went with my parents to St. George to help clean out his apartment. I left my oldest son with my Father in law during the day and took Jace with me. When I entered Ryan’s apartment I started to bawl. I walked in his house and whispered “Ryan I made it. I am 7 months too late. But I want you to meet Jace…” I couldn’t stop the tears for quite some time. We worked for hours cleaning things up and then later that evening my mom asked if I would go to turn off his utilities. I got in her car and punched in the address on my phone. It took me 15 minutes in the opposite direction of where I needed to go. Finally I called to get directions from my grandma but in the mean time my mind was being flooded with thoughts. I kept having this feeling come over me that said “There is a time and a season for everything”….why was I feeling that? Why wouldn’t it go away? My thoughts have been towards my 4 year old son lately. He needs me and I have felt that more than ever the last few months. I have thought I have been giving him everything he needs but my heart and my Savior is telling me more. I continued to drive wondering what that meant..why was I feeling that about it being a time and season. As I continued to drive the song by Carrie Underwood came to my head “Jesus, Take the Wheel” I haven’t heard that song in forever. I couldn’t control the tears and said out loud “Jesus, guide me. My whole purpose is to serve you. What are you wanting me to do?”
That evening I went back to the hotel with my parents. I watched my mom sob for hours as my dad and I were trying to console her. She grabbed my sweet baby Jace to cuddle him and within seconds was crying rocking back and forth whispering “I had a little boy once. I had a little boy and I would give anything to have my little boy back” I watched and sobbed and knew right then what I needed to do. My boys needed me. Especially my oldest. This is a very crucial time in their life where they are completely mine to nourish and to teach and to instill core values. I can’t have distractions. I can’t have interruptions. He will be going to school soon and the world will have an influence on him soon enough. This is my time with him. God trusted me with these sweet spirits and I need to give them my all. This is a time that I will never get back. So with that being said I have decided that I am going to be put my business on hold for awhile. I am letting God lead me as I keep thinking “There is a time and a season for everything” I know I won’t question when that time is for me to be able to come back and hit it full force again. I won’t be putting my camera down. I will continue to shoot for me. I will continue to learn and grow with the art, but I will be stepping down from running a business with it. I already have quite a few scheduled for the rest of the year and look forward to those sessions. I am excited to have these cherished times and memories with my boys and give them my complete heart during this time. I have learned that if you don’t follow your heart, you have regrets. My heart has been telling me that I am needed here right now. My family needs me and so do my friends. I am the happiest when I follow my heart and not my head. This has been a HUGE battle for me wondering if I am crazy for thinking so, but I have felt peace in this decision. Plus, I realize you can never be wrong when you put your family first. This is something I have control over and I am grateful that I have such a supportive husband who stands by me and said he will be ready to help me go strong again when that time comes. Thank you for your love and support. I am sure I will continue to share random nature scenes on my FB page as a camera is healing for me and I will continue to shoot. Thank you to those who have believed in me and continue to believe in me. I cherish your friendship and look forward to your kind words and comments. They seriously have lifted me. I am sure God will lead me to new and exciting things in my future that I get to share with all of you. I feel it. I feel I am being prepared for something really amazing that he has in store….
“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”-Abraham Lincoln
Here are a few pictures I have taken the last few days with my brother’s passing that have been healing for me.