Friday, December 16, 2011

One Year Ago, Today...

...I stepped out on a limb and made a video to submit for the SOAR scholarship. Thanks to some great friends, Mike and Robin Parma, I had learned about the program a few months before and had been eagerly awaiting the application notification, checking the SOAR website randomly. Somehow, I found out about it when there were only six days left to apply. Once I realized the application process was open, my mind was blank. I could not come up with the words to say to express my need for confidence. Or my desire to change an aspect of my life that was not right.

As I've written about before, the words came to me while driving to work, listening to a song about not letting the colors and moments of life slip away. God spoke to me through the song that morning, and a peace came about me as I realized what I wanted to say.

So I wrote a script, and on a Friday afternoon after throwing my son's Kindergarten class the most awesome Christmas party ever held - in the history of all Christmas parties, I stood on my back porch and filmed myself talking. THAT was nerve wracking. I felt totally out of my element, not comfortable at all. I understood then, that this was both the biggest test and biggest accomplishment in the application process. It did not matter if the judges liked my video, or selected me, what mattered the most was simply making the video. Because it was FOR ME.

As my friends and family, you know that I wasn't selected for the SOAR scholarship. You also know that this past year has brought me a lot of changes and blessings. One of the most important blessings to mention was the gift of time, to be with my children on a full-time basis. This gift of time also allowed me to figure out what things are right, what things need work, and what makes me happy.

Turns out, photography is one of the things that makes me happy. Sure, there's a lot of pressure behind capturing someone else's life (and making it look like they remember it feeling). But I can handle pressure. My problem, causing the confidence issue, was that I could not wrap my brain around the art and science of capturing light - which is, by definition, photography. ISO, f-stops and shutter speed made my heart race and brain shut down. You throw in difficult lighting situations and I was a mess. For people who "get it," it is hard to remember NOT getting it, I now understand. For me, even though I had heard the explanations and read the explanations over and over, it wasn't sinking in!

And then, in November of this year, I went to the Confidence Workshop put on Me Ra Koh and her husband, Brian. I've decided that these two are either magicians or that God truly works through them. They took more than twenty women, of varying backgrounds and abilities and camera models, and in two days' time, taught us how to "shoot outside the green box" (auto mode, for you non-camera enthusiasts), effectively changing each of our lives. I know it did for me, and for so many other awesome women I met that weekend. I finally GOT IT!!!! I kept thinking to myself, "Really?! That IS it!" I walked away from that weekend with confidence for sure, new friends, a skip in my step and a determination to do more.

{just one picture from the Confidence Workshop - here's Me Ra, in the pink, giving us tips on using natural lighting, even indoors, with a beautiful baby as our model}

I have had so many great opportunities to take pictures of families this fall, and the biggest obstacle has been juggling all the balls of life. I found that I committed myself to too many sit-down-at-a-desk kind of jobs, for a Mommy of a 4-year old at home and a 7-year old. I found that I miss having an office to go work in. I found that I miss having co-workers. I found lots of ways to fill my schedule, between volunteering, photography, and running Mommy School. Said my sister, "You are the busiest unemployed person I know!" I found that I love, love, love doing this. But I know that this isn't something I can sustain for the long term, not as it currently is.

Please visit my website to see all of the great families I've been blessed with capturing this fall - the galleries are mostly locked, but there's a slideshow at the top of some of my favorites. (not all of my favorites, so if you're not on there, please don't be sad!)

If I don't get to post again before Christmas, Happy Christmas, everyone. May God be with you and your families during this special time of the year. And take some great pictures of all the fun things you do!

Love, Heather