1) First of all, I'll blame it on my perfectionistic tendencies. Oh, you laugh, but that's a real thing. When a perfectionist can't do something perfectly, s/he will often not bother doing it at all. Case in point: can't find time to blog every day, and not sure anyone reads when I do blog. So? Don't blog. Also, see my house for another fantastic example. Can't keep it looking like a page out of Southern Living? Oh well, might as well ignore it until the dust bunnies threaten a hostile takeover. Like the mess, my blog will (presumably) still be here when I get around to it.
2) It's just a teensy bit overwhelming when you haven't blogged in two months to just jump right in and right something. What do you write about? Why you haven't been blogging? Or do you attempt to catch up on every single thing that's happened in the past two months? Because my memory just isn't that good. I remember that we took a two day mini-vacation to Tweetsie Railroad and Grandfather Mountain, and that was pretty awesome. But do you think I've even put pictures of that on Facebook yet? Nope. Want to know why? Because basically, the last two months (read: all summer) have been the same ceaseless whirlwind of activity that we experience during the other three seasons - only maybe more so, because people assume that everyone is "taking a break", and therefore more readily available, during the summer. Not so. And that is why I have chosen the "where have you been" theme for this particular blog post.
3) Blogger. It's changed around a lot in the past few months, and I just plain don't like it. It keeps messing up the spacing, and that just drives me nuts.
4) LIFE. It just gets in the way of the fun stuff sometimes, which is sad but true. Like moms everywhere, I juggle the children and the household stuff and the errands and the planning for this and that and the other thing...and it all piles up, and sometimes the juggling is hard. Sometimes it's downright impossible. And sometimes, just when you think you have a handle on your current commitments, something else BIG comes along that just has to be worked into the mix. Maybe even something you hadn't necessarily planned on adding in the first place.
Well, this seems like a good enough opportunity to explain a Facebook comment that a few people have been questioning me about. A week or two (or three, I don't have a very good concept of time these days), I commented on Facebook that GOD IS GOOD (which is true ALL the time), and that I'd expand on that comment later.
Of course, God is good in so many ways that I can hardly begin to list them here. But it's amazing and overwhelming when He drops blessing after blessing into your lap, and you can SEE what He's doing and KNOW that it's no one but him.
Let me back up just a little. I've always been a bit of a camera hound. My stepdad, Joel, was a great photographer - he had this HUGE brown leather camera bag full of lenses and film and flash bulbs and I don't know what all, having only been a little kid and not understanding the half of it. What I do remember are piles and piles of envelopes, all of them full of pictures and negatives, from everywhere we ever went. He took beautiful portraits and stunning landscape shots, and I'm not sure he ever attended a wedding where he was only a guest and not the photographer. When I had to invent something for my elementary school's gifted and talented program, I invented (and Mom sewed) a canvas "basket" that attached around the legs of his tripod, so he could have everything handy during a shoot and not have to dig through his camera bag for it. Santa made sure I had a camera when I was in kindergarten, and my parents never complained about the cost of developing my film - even when the pictures were of the dog or a stack of stuffed animals.
In high school, I was on the yearbook staff - and part of that job was getting good pictures for the yearbook. The advisor (who to this day is one of my favorite teachers ever) told us to get right up on the action to get good close-ups. I'll never forget the day that I was photographing a basketball game and positioned myself on the court, very nearly under the net, and was pretty sure I was going to die when the guys came running my way. And for that matter, if they threw the ball at the camera, it would be just as well for them to take me out too, lest I die a more painful death over the ruined equipment. We still used film cameras, and developed the photos in the school darkroom, which was both stinky and amazing - a privilege granted to a select few.
And then I grew up and took pictures once in a while...and THEN, along came Rachael. All of a sudden, I could not take enough pictures of this little pink bundle of cuteness. Some people take pictures of their babies once a month, and that's fine - I was in the portrait studio every month of her first year myself. But beyond that, I took a picture of that baby every. single. day of her first year of life. She changed SO quickly - I noticed that even in her first two days of life, between birth and coming home from the hospital - and I didn't want to miss one single change. So yes, I have a year's worth of baby pictures, plus professional shots for each month. And when Milly came along, nearly four years later, I did the same for her.
Gene called me insane. I took closeups of tiny hands, ears, feet, bellybuttons. He didn't see the point. He didn't understand how fleeting those moments were. Already, those tiny, curled fists are gone forever - they are now 4-year-old hands that are remarkably adept with a pencil, 8-year-old hands that capably handle llamas nearly twice her size. But I still have those little hands, in my pictures.
Even though I appreciated the importance of pictures well before I had children, they cemented it for me. A picture, reasonably cared for, is a memory captured forever. And so I took pictures...and pictures...and pictures.
I suppose that when you practice anything for long enough, you will improve at it. And when two people asked me to photograph their children before their prom, I was flattered. And scared. TERRIFIED. Memories are important, remember? What if I messed theirs up?!
But you know what? I didn't. Oh, they weren't all great...and none of them were perfect. But they definitely weren't bad. And a few of them - dare I say it? A few of them were actually pretty good. I also discovered that, although I was a nervous wreck before meeting the couples and taking the pictures, it was actually a lot of fun.
Not long afterward, I did a series of half-hour photo sessions as a fundraiser. Once again, all of the shots weren't perfect. I'm not exactly a natural at posing, and some of them didn't work. Sometimes kids were crazy. Sometimes junk crept into the background. But overall, the day was a success - people were willing to hand me money to have their pictures made, and were pleased with the end result. Win for the fundraiser, win for the folks in the pictures, and win for my confidence with my camera.
People started asking me...why don't you start your own photography business?
Well. It had occurred to me. But it occurred to me before I made a good friend who happened to be a photographer. I am not in the habit of competing with my friends - although between the two of us, there is very little in the way of competition. She is incredible. I feel like I get lucky a lot. :)
Still, I thought about it. And prayed about it. I didn't have time to start a business. Between homeschooling and church and Girl Scouts and 4H, I barely had time for anything else. I just didn't see how it would work.
But while I was thinking and praying and deciding and un-deciding, someone told a friend that they should ask me to do their family portraits. And they told someone else. And they told someone else. So here I was, with a camera and a few customers that told me, unbelievably, that they liked their pictures.
So, largely without my meaning for it to happen, 2:12 Photography was off and running. And upon this realization, my fervent prayer became, "Lord, keep this OUT of MY hands. If you want me to take pictures, then make it happen. Because I just can't manage one more thing." (Not that I can manage anything on my own. But this, this felt especially overwhelming.)
I already had a Facebook page for my photography - the better to display and tag the people that were in the photos, my dear. Someone suggested that I have a quick "summer sale" to get my name out there. Well, okay. People would either see it and schedule appointments or they wouldn't, and that wasn't up to me. I put the ad out there. And boy, did the people respond.
I bought an appointment book and watched in amazement (and trepidation) as date after date was filled.
I ordered business cards and bought a few necessary props for the pictures that people were requesting.
|Blogger REFUSED to let me put this picture where I WANTED it to go, so here it is.|
I bought twotwelvephotography.com, which I still have not managed to link up to my actual site. (Also, I still haven't pretty-fied said site to my satisfaction.)
I donated photo sessions to a couple of good causes, and my heart smiled when they brought in more than I would have been able to donate out of our own bank account at the time.
I spent way too much on a shiny new external flash that truthfully, I needed to avoid shadows in portraits.
And even though I've had to "spend money to make money," I've tithed every single penny I've been given from those very first prom pictures, and I rejoice every Sunday that I'm able to put "my own" money in the offering plate. Because first and foremost, I want for this little photography business - whatever it is, and whatever it becomes - to be for HIS glory, and NEVER for mine.
I don't know what will happen next. I do know that I have ten photo sessions scheduled in the next few weeks - one of which is a wedding (JOY!!) - and lots of requests for fall photos that I just haven't scheduled yet. I worry about whether my laptop will keep up, because already Photoshop is dreadfully slow in the editing sometimes. I'm thinking ahead to Christmas pictures and wondering where on earth I'll do them, since I don't exactly have (nor plan to have) a studio. And I haven't the first clue how this will all play out once our little homeschool is back in session next week. But you know what? It'll work out. It certainly has so far. And even if it doesn't, even if my camera falls in a lake or no one ever schedules another photo session ever, it's still all good. This was never my idea in the first place, and I know that this venture is in the best of hands.
There you go...that is why I have not been blogging. Maybe now that I'm "caught up" again I can keep it up - although now, there are lesson plans to be made, a house to clean, the Girl Scout year to plan, errands to run, library books to return, meals to cook and a (digital) pile of photos to edit. It doesn't leave a lot of time for anything else. I miss some of those things, like spending time with friends. (Note to self: do that soon!) But this is the season that I'm in right now, and I'm learning to accept my limitations. To say "no" sometimes, even if I don't want to. And to trust God even in the things that continue to blow my mind daily.