Ten Days to Serenity

November 15, 2018

Ten days ago, I decided I’d had enough of our dirty, messy house.

We rearranged two rooms. We rearranged wall hangings. For ten days, I took room by room and decluttered. I dusted. I vacuumed. I swept. I’ve kept dishes and laundry going.

Ten days ago, I was depressed. Ten days ago, I decided to do something about it.

I don’t know how to describe the mental headspace having our whole house clean and neat and straight has given me. Serenity is the closest thing I can come to a description. I feel like I can face the world. I am no longer depressed. I feel a sense of pride in my living space and belongings. I feel a sense of pride in myself.

Dining Room
I am under no illusions. I understand habits have to change. I understand that in order to maintain my serenity, I will have to work daily. I am ready to commit to that change. I’ve already kept the sweeping up for a week and a half, almost, daily. I feel ready for this change.

It is almost intoxicating, the balance this clean space brings to my brain. I am thrilled.

Must remember this on harder days.

I Love Photography

October 8, 2018

This is mostly a copy/paste from a personal Facebook post published on October 5, 2018.

On December 26, 2016, I wrote in my journal, “I want to photograph a wedding. “

I had mostly stopped taking pictures and wasn’t doing terribly well mental health-wise at the time. I’d stopped taking pictures a few months prior and was considering graduate school again, in a subject unrelated to art. Jared gave me a camera scarf and a journal with cameras all over it that Christmas of 2016, in the hopes that it would remind me to get out and take pictures. He told me to write my dreams for my photography in the journal. He told me to dream big.

But, it was more than just the wanting to photograph a wedding. I dreamed of being in business with my photography.

I’d had a business license for my photography in 2015. I never did a thing with it. Not a single thing.

But in April of 2017, I set everything in motion all over again. I marketed. I spent more money on business stuff than I ever will admit to anyone other than Jared, who supported my dream more than he worried about the money spent in pursuit of that dream.

And so, here we are in October of 2018. By the end of December of 2018, I will have photographed fourteen weddings between May of 2017 and December of 2018. I’ve done way more portrait and engagement sessions than that, and I photographed one proposal.

I realized that dream of photographing a wedding. And the dream of having a photography business.

However…my dreams for my photography have shifted. I’ve found as I take more pictures for clients, I take less pictures around the house. I have all but stopped the still life photography I loved so much for a while. I don’t get out the camera just to play around anymore. We don’t have many pictures of the kids from the past year. I rarely get to Johnny’s shop to take pictures of his art— one of the highlights of having a camera in all the time I’ve had one. I’ve found myself procrastinating to take photos for church. I find myself longing for the energy to get back into fine art photography.

While I’d say it’s very unlucky in most respects, there is one benefit to being disabled. My SSDI status, which has withstood two separate reviews now, affords me a certain amount of freedom to choose whether to work. There was never any danger, income-wise or with the amount of hours I was ever able to work, that I would ever have worked my way off disability through photography. So, the choice of maintaining the business was always just that— a choice, not a needed part of our household income.

And so, it comes back to the fact that being a hobbyist photographer isn’t so bad after all.

I’ve waffled on this decision for months now, going back and forth as to what to do. However, it comes back to the fact that I love photography itself far more than I love being in business for photography. As such, with a full and grateful heart, I won’t be renewing my business license in 2019.

photography limits

June 21, 2018

I do limited photography for clients. Those limits are about to get even more constrained.

For 2019, I will only commit to a max. of five weddings jobs, no more than one in a month. I will also do no more than a dozen portrait sessions, no more than one a month as well.

I’ve found working more than this causes too many stress flare-ups and doesn’t leave enough time for me to work on personal photography work.

I considered shutting down the photography business altogether and for a time I thought I would do just that. But really, there’s no need. It’s just I need to refine and work within my unique limitations.

Tackling My Elephant

January 11, 2018

So as I referenced very briefly, I am not working outside the home anymore other than photography. What that means is that I am in the process of establishing a routine and niche for myself at home.

First up: tame the house. Family came and helped me clean the house before Christmas and it is a disaster already. Instead, I’ve been tinkering with photos. or crocheting a beautiful new shrug (this latest one has a hood!) Or reading blogs. Or listening to podcasts. Or napping. Anything to avoid the elephant in the room– the laundry and the messy house.

I look at blogs and get home envy of all the people who can have stark white walls. This house though, lovely as it is, would look too sterile with its wood trim and bright white walls. It just wouldn’t have the same effect. And while the wood trim could be painted over, this house’s character, so much of it, comes from the wood trim accents all over the first floor. I am removing the panels of fake dividers over the windows. That is a project is in the process of happening now, and I love the effect. The house looks much more modern, much more like us.


A New Year, A New Blog

January 1, 2018

It’s a new year!

I have resolutions, but one of them, at least, is best kept for my eyes only. These resolutions aren’t particularly revolutionary and they are things that are in line with my goals as they were anyway, so I’m not even sure they count as resolutions. Some, like lost 20 pounds by June, are things I am already working on. Others– like doing more around the house– are things I know I should do to make our house a more peaceful one.

I could have seen the identity crisis coming. With a full-time job not centered around photography comes the question: am I really a photographer? My brain says yes, my heart is questioning. It’s time to listen to the brain.

It’s time to turn this space into a photo blog. I have little to say that the photos wouldn’t say anyway. I think a photo blog would be far more interesting and productive than my stream-of-consciousness blurbs.



December 28, 2017

Life is looking really different than it did a couple of months ago. I have a job outside the home in addition to the photography gig.

Words cannot describe how good it feels to have a job again. I honestly didn’t anticipate that this day would ever come. It also means Oliver is now in daycare full-time. He had a rough first week but he is doing much better with it now.

The transition has been pretty smooth for me, though. I haven’t had a hard time getting myself up in the mornings to get there and staying all day has been just fine. My schedule is the same as Jared’s, which makes coordination for the boys much easier. The big boys can go to after-school and getting at least some of their homework done makes the evenings easier. Bedtime comes earlier than before I was working but I see that as only a good thing.

Having a job changes my outlook on my life so very much.

Jared is, of course, supportive as always. He is quick to remind me that the job does not define my identity or my worth.

I am still highly invested in my photography, as well. However, now I feel like I can relax about client acquisition, which makes the whole process so much more enjoyable.

This is the season of thankful. So very, very, very grateful for my life right now.

Stream-of-Consciousness Chatter to a Project

November 7, 2017

So, I’m feeling all well and good this morning. The light box is evidently working because at 9 pm last night, I was sleepy with none of the nagging feelings of lament that usually go along with me being sleepy. Slept soundly all night and had little trouble waking up this morning. I have noticed that I can’t keep it on for much longer than 30 minutes or I get a headache.

But then, I open up my email this morning and there is LinkedIn spam. And so I follow it because it says there are two new network requests.

One of them is from my former therapist.

It irks me because I know she should not be looking me up on social media. Jared says that it may have been one of those accidental “oh no I LinkedIn-requested my entire email address book” things– stranger things have been known to happen to this particular therapist– but I don’t know about that. It’s the second request I’ve gotten from her– the first one came while I was still her client and we were connected on LinkedIn for a while. She endorsed my blogging, even.

But then I realized I’d stalled big-time in my therapy progress and sought out a new therapist. New therapist was like, “yeah, that connection, along with several things that happened within that therapeutic relationship, were violations of the ethics code,” and I got a brief education on what an ethical therapeutic relationship should look like.

*sigh* It’s just irritating. I’ve blocked a whole passel of people on social media recently and now, I’ve added this person to the list.

Today my aunt has Oliver for the afternoon, which means I can go vote in peace and do housework or photo-fiddling or whatever I want. Which means I should do laundry. But I would rather have the camera out. I am on the hunt for a personal project subject but it’s driving me slightly crazy. My mind is blank. It needs to be outside of my family. It needs to not be my house or belongings.

Maybe the leaves would be a good personal project. A year of ACROS-processed leaves. That one may be sticky.

Rainbow Tulip
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