I went through a bit of a period early last year where I was struggling with myself.  I know there’s the valid struggle of creativity, of wanting to stretch and grow and learn, of wanting to push past places that I was getting too comfortable.  However, there was also the struggle of comparison that was completely unfruitful (as it always is). I felt the pull of measuring myself against other photographers, both in style and in achievements and it left me feeling not great (surprise, surprise). I finally engaged with what was rumbling around in me.  In the places where I was wanting growth, I’ve been giving myself the time to take some classes and read tutorials on the things that I’ve been wanting to learn.  I’ve loved having the time to do that and have had some real “aha” moments, usually about things that are remarkably easy but I just didn’t know.  Typically, the more I’ve learned, the more I’ve realized I don’t know so now I’ve started a list of those things so I can dive into them when I have time. It’s nice to feel some forward motion.

In the other places, I’ve done some honest evaluation, giving myself permission to be myself and to put my time and effort into what fits for me.  I also had to come to grips with what I value.  We have a full life.  I have four children, a husband, and as much as I try to simplify our calendar, there are lots of things we are involved in. While I love shooting, editing and blogging, there are things involved with promoting a business, or submitting materials to websites that I really don’t have time for during this season…and that’s okay for me.  With two of our kiddos in school full time, one halftime and one bouncing around me like a puppy all the time, I want to make sure that I am present with them when they are with me.  I can’t do that when I feel pushed (by myself) to do more than what fits in the hours that I’ve given to photography.

That’s why I don’t shoot on Sundays, and why I map in lots of time for family and date time with my husband.  In fact, doing my daily Project 365 is an ongoing reminder that these days are precious and changing and I want to be available to them. I love my bunch of crazies and don’t want to miss conversations because I am glued to my computer screen.

However, I also recognize that I absolutely love photography and the creativity and interaction with wonderful people that it affords me.  It feeds my soul. I feel so lucky that somehow I end up photographing the best people and feel so deeply thankful for that.  I want to be able to grow in my abilities and give my all to the ones who are in front of my camera.  I so enjoy teaching classes and seeing people really take off in confidence and abilities. I love the ability to volunteer where I want to as well.  I’ve also had the opportunity to meet several local photographers that I greatly admire too and appreciate their generous spirit and encouragement.

I guess balance is ever the key, as in a lot of things that we do, and figuring out what is right for me and what works for our family.  Right now, I’m feeling really good about it….and I’m really excited about what is ahead this year.  I’m feeling settled and happy about the balance and contentment that I’ve found. Probably not much is different in what or how much I’m doing on the outside, but I feel far more satisfied on the inside.

Capturing true connections and genuine images will always make my heart sing.  I am so glad to be able to focus on that again.