Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hey...it actually works!

I have a confession to make, one that makes me feel pretty silly and girly and ridiculous, but I want to share this with you today. It feels necessary.

I've been off on vacation for the past five days, and they've been so very wonderful...waking up when my body is naturally ready, playing some games, having some lunch, playing some more games, working on some photos, taking some photos, having dinner or fun times with my family and close friends, relaxing some more before bed, and repeating. For five glorious days. I didn't go anywhere fun like the zoo or a show like I had planned. I didn't do too much of anything most people would consider fun or productive, to be honest. But it was absolutely perfect for me.

So this morning, when I realized that I had to get up to an alarm and go to a day job (which, I should mention, has been very good to me and for me and absolutely realizes that I have value) that my heart really isn't in...I cried. I didn't want to give up the cushy lifestyle I'd lived for the past five days, even though it was only possible because of the day job I have. I didn't want to stop hanging out with Jon and my sweet furry babies. I didn't want to go back to not having a computer at home and being able to work on my photography. I think it was pretty natural that I was going to tear up. And I should let you know, I'm not talking a full out breakdown cry here lol...just a steady stream of my eyes welling up as I got ready.

So as I'm standing there, getting ready with tears filling my eyes, I made myself refocus my thinking. I reminded myself that this should be more fuel for my fire, that I should take the feeling of loss for my sweet vacation and use that to help me push myself more in my day job, so that sooner rather than later I can get back to my ideal life. I've already made my decision to go for that life - I just had to remember that I'm not there just yet, that I have to walk a little farther first and get some more things straightened out before I can confidently do what I want to do.

This thought helped me a little, but not quite enough. And then my memory verse for this month popped into my head - "Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." And with that verse running through my mind, the tears dried up. I needed to be joyful today. I needed to remember to be thankful for the situation I'm in and the good I can do here and now, the benefits I can gain and the knowledge I still have ahead of me to learn. I needed to say yet another prayer that morning - that I could focus and remember what I'm working for, and not be discouraged as I work, but instead keep my head up and my eyes on my finish line and the start of the next chapter in my life. And it honest-to-goodness helped me refocus my thinking and dry up my tears.

I think I know the frustration a baby must feel, when they've learned to crawl yet want to walk so badly. I want to be able to just run straight into the life I'm feeling lead to, yet I know that I'm not prepared for it yet. I'm still in training, still learning, still growing, still strengthening. If I tried to go for it now, I would fail. Without a doubt. I'm meant to be where I am right now, doing what I'm doing. And I decided to turn my thinking around and be thankful for it.

It may not have totally changed my feelings and my mind - I'd still much rather be enjoying myself at home right now. But it helped correct my thinking so that I can still be productive today and feel good by the time I get to go home. All because I had something positive to refocus my attention on. It does work, my friends. :) I hope you can find the positive in your day today, that can help you keep moving forward!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On Second Thought...

I want to share and get these thoughts out on "paper" before I forget yet again. :) I've been thinking that I might have been a little too rash in my blog titled "Anything is possible if a person believes." I most definitely have the same drive inside me, but I've since tweaked my game plan a little bit.

I'm choosing to stick it out with the steady paycheck for a bit longer than I at first decided. Mostly, I want to get myself to a position where I feel a bit more comfortable before I jump into the completely unsteady territory of having my own business. So, here are my new plans:

* My Care Credit balance will be paid off before the end of the year, and hopefully sooner than that. The past few months I've been paying what I can over the minimum to get it down faster, and so I really think it's possible it'll be done by August or September. But regardless, it will be paid off by December, and able to be a medical backup should something bad happen.

* I have a few things I want to buy before I'm on my own, and a few things to get started. I've even got a general idea of when I want to have these things by, though only God knows if it'll actually happen when I want or if my goals are a little too high. At least I've got a goal to aim for. :)
I want to get a new portable hard drive to keep with me and have my photography library on (then the larger drive I'm using now and our other, older portable can be backups and kept somewhere separate so my photos are safer). Goal - get this by the end of the year.
I want a new computer for myself (my work is trying to get me something to use at home until then, but even that will take awhile, and I really need something all my own and reliable to work from). Goal - get this by the end of 2012.
I want to save up enough money to cover at least 3 months worth of bills before I'm all on my own (3 months isn't a ridiculously long time, but at least then I'll have a little less to worry about while I'm adjusting). Goal - start saving more after we move, and keep saving as much as I can until I leave.
I want a new car. My current car gets me from place to place, and it's nice that it's paid off so I don't have a car payment right now...but the ac simply can't keep up with this Texas heat, and it was used when I got it and I'm hard on my cars...so it's healthy but pretty worn in. lol And I've had my heart set on a new VW for a long time. Lots of the ones I'd like wouldn't be too hard to fit into my budget either, especially after we move and Jon can get more firmly settled financially somewhere. Goal - get this before summer of 2012.

* I also would like some more photography gear if possible before I start my own business...I know there's at least one or two lenses I would like to get, plus I'd like to make sure that all my current equipment is still functioning well and won't need to be replaced. The longer and harder I work here, the more I feel I pay off the equipment they've already bought me anyways. If I can at least get one lens before I leave, I'll be happy.

* My other plan is to start doing some photography on the side after we move at the end of July - I'm hoping I can start in either August or September. I'll be starting with my child and pet photography, since I already feel that I've got a good handle on that side of my photography and a lot of the ones I want to shoot are getting older all the time! lol I'm going to take the time to set up my own brand name for it and have a little site set up to share on, and I'm going to start pretty reasonably priced - just enough mostly to cover my expenses to get there and the process of shooting and processing the photos afterwards. This will give me a little extra money each month (hopefully) to start saving and using for the items I mentioned above, and also get my portfolio and some client relations started, and ease me into interacting with clients and the like there, a chance to figure out what works and what doesn't on a reasonably low key scale before I go full hog on it. It's going to mean a lot more work from me, but it's work that I truly enjoy doing, so I don't think I'm going to mind. I will have to have a computer at home before I can start, so somehow I'm going to have that figured out by then, at least something temporary since my photos always stay on my own hard drive. But I think if I hold off on this too much longer, I'm going to miss some great chances and hurt myself more than help myself. I will find a way to make it work and get it started. :)

So...yeah. lol Sounds like a lot, huh? Yet it's really just day to day life, simply making myself be better about saving and spending wisely to advance where I want to be and what I want to do. I'm excited to see where this road is taking me...I definitely feel good about it, even though I know I'm going to struggle some, even though I know that it may not happen right when I'd like it to. The process feels right, and I have to follow it to the end. :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Some quick info...

Hi friends! Just a quick little blog post here, that will hopefully help me win an iPad2! :)

There's a blog I follow called MCP Actions...the lady seems really sweet, and they usually have pretty cute photoshop templates and actions designed just for photographers. And since we all like to try and help each other out and share, I wanted to share this sweet little giveaway with you! I could really use an iPad...it would help me with inventory work at my job, and also by having something at home to play around on and possibly even help me keep up with my photos! All in all, a win win for everyone...if I win. lol :) But a gal's gotta try!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's Time.

The time has come for me to step into the unknown. (Cue Sara Bareilles' song Uncharted. lol)

I know I'm being dramatic, but I don't care. lol Sometimes some drama is called for. I'm loving myself and who I am. I'm going to let the real me completely out of her cage, trusting that those who truly love me will only love me more, and that if things and people don't stick around I will make it through that as well. I'm choosing to see the beauty in myself, choosing to see the confidence, choosing to believe in them.

Sometimes bad things happen, things you don't want or don't like. Sometimes we're stuck in situations that seem unfair, or situations where we wish we could just hide our heads in the sand until they pass us over. I'm refusing to think like that. Not anymore. This girl is going to change hearts, one day at a time. Problems don't go away by ignoring them and hoping they will. You have to face them head on, with truth and love and confidence, and work your way through them no matter how painful, no matter how bad they might make you feel. Only then will things start to get better, start to heal. If you run away, you only leave the wound open to keep getting infected and keep dragging you down. You have to close it off so that it can heal.

I really don't like feeling useless, and having to stand by and watch while others I love are struggling and in pain. Yet I know that the most I can do for them is to love them, be honest with them, and let them know that no matter the outcome of their situation, I'm not going anywhere. I stand by those I love. I have always tried to do this, though in the past I've fallen short. I get up and do better next time. And I hope to encourage others to do the same, to pick themselves up from their mistakes and try again, to heal the past mistakes and do their best not to repeat them. Hope is possible - recovery is possible. A new life is possible. You simply have to be open to seeing it, and going for it. Believe in yourself.

"What do you mean, if I can?" Jesus asked. "Anything is possible if a person believes." -Mark 9:23

Monday, June 6, 2011

But I am Le Tired...

I'm tired today, friends. Tired of having to wake up to an alarm every weekday morning. Tired of having to be somewhere for a set amount of time, when I would rather be tons of other places. Tired of feeling like I'm on a treadmill with my life and not an actual road that can take me somewhere. Tired of feeling like I'm the only one working to make things better. Tired of feeling like I have to make things better, like I'm not worth anything the way I am now. Tired of knowing that I'm right and yet refusing to believe myself and make the changes necessary. Tired of feeling like I constantly have to change. Tired of just about everything, to be honest. And I'm not a fan of this feeling.

I want to enjoy waking up in the morning. I want to know that what I'm doing the majority of my day each day is something that can bring a smile to someone's face, help them see things in a brighter, more positive way. I want to be able to do things on my time schedule, at my pace, not someone else's. And I just don't know how to get to that point, or if I'm really capable of making it last in this world.

The world we live in is so oriented around money it's ridiculous. Most days, I really wish money didn't matter for anything, so that I never had to think about it, never had to worry about working for it. Yet I want my own place with my man, I want a new car, I want a computer at home again so I can stop feeling like I'm falling more and more behind each day. And of course, all of these things require money.

I'm so tired of working for money, thinking that one day I'll be at a point where I've got all I want and can stop striving so hard. Money is always going to be a factor, though. It's always going to matter. Do I think it's the most important thing there is? Of course not. But that doesn't stop the need for it to get what I want. I'm tired of vicious circles. All they do is wear you down and hold the heart hostage.

I've made the decision, for the millionth time, to eat better and take better care of myself. I've got lots of great foods that I'll be trying to keep prepared and easy for me to take each day. Hopefully I won't get bored of it too easily, I'm trying to find ways to switch things up a little. I'm trying not to focus on losing weight and all the fad ways of being on a diet, and instead focus on eating the foods I know my body needs and getting myself a bit more active, and trusting nature to do it's thing. I'm hoping this will give me more energy as well...maybe if I have more natural energy, it will help me to not care so much that I have to keep getting up early and going to a job. We'll see.

I want to actually help my company be better, and I know that what I've decided to do will move that forward. It's just a struggle to keep on top of it all, which I knew it would be. I'm trying to keep pushing forward, keep improving, keep on top of it all, trusting that with time I'll stop feeling so overwhelmed and I'll be able to handle it, trusting that I'll stop wanting to run away because it feels like too much. I've got to stick with it. At the very least, I need to so that I can leave this place better than when I came here. There are so many things I'd like to have, and I know that sticking it out will eventually give me the means to gain those things. It's just so tiring, and I can never seem to get enough rest.

I could sure use any prayers you can send my way, or positive feelings, or kind words, or what have you. I can't seem to fill myself up with happiness and compassion enough to share with those that I really want to share with. I want to be able to give more of myself again...yet I can't even take care of myself. So I apologize, here and now, for those of you that I care about who I've flaked on, or who I simply can't seem to be myself around right now. It's only because I'm so internally drained that I can't overflow. And yes, I do realize that might not make sense. But it does to me. lol Please know that I'm doing all I can to get this under control, so that I can be the friend I want to be again. I just need some help and love. I've been fighting my insecurities and trying to free myself from my past for months now, and though I'm definitely making progress...it's draining, and I'm feeling mostly on my own. My determination to be free is still holding on, still pushing me forward...I'm just shouldering most of this on my own, which slows me down. But I'll get there. Please don't give up on me. I love you all, more than you'll ever know.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Anything is possible if a person believes...

"What do you mean, 'If I can?'" Jesus asked. "Anything is possible if a person believes." The father instantly cried out, 'I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!" -Mark 9:23-24

I've become fed up, and boy am I ready to make a change. I've got to remind myself that these changes won't happen overnight, at the snap of a finger, simply because I desire them...there are some plans that need to be set, some actions followed, to get me there step by step. But I'm so very ready now.

My job has been very good to me over the past 4 years...they've helped me pull out of the financial rut I was stuck in, get myself back on good grounding, get some long needed bills paid off, and they've helped me grow my photography skills...but I'm so sick of how things work around here. I'm tired of hearing all the talk about making things better, about improving and trusting and working together, because no one ever acts on it. I'm tired of knowing that I'm only wanted for answering the phone. I'm tired of having to deal with making up sick days or foul weather days, of having to worry about vacation days and what time is free and who else might be gone. I've even taken on more responsibility, in the hopes of getting myself out of the role I have now and helping things run smoother. Now I know it's only been a week or so since they gave me the go ahead to try things my way, and I knew that the receptionist role I have now wasn't going to just be taken away from me. But I can tell that the struggle I'll have to go through to get to where I'd want to be is going to be more of a headache than I really want. I know in my heart that I don't want to be stuck here at this job the rest of my life. Doing this is not where I belong.

So I'm setting the basics of a plan. I want them to be able to supply me with the new computer I want and some small extra software & hardware things I want. And I'm going to take the responsibility I asked for and really get it into shape, make it so clean and so organized that when the time comes to hire someone else for my position, the new person can transition in as easily as possible. And then by this time next year, the beginning of June, I want to be able to leave this job. I wouldn't mind getting paid to take photos for them still, I wouldn't mind helping out with that aspect...but I'm not interested in the rest of it. I don't want this for my life.

So I'm going to try to save up some each month once we move, and have enough that I can happily take the month of June off next year just for me and really enjoy myself, give myself some fun for my 30th birthday. Something about being sick the past few days has really fueled this in me...this desire to not be working a regular day job for someone else. When I'm sick, I need to be able to reschedule things and take care of myself. I want to be in control of what I do and when. I don't want to be a 30 year old receptionist. I just don't want it. And so I'm going to do all I can to not let that happen. I've also been unable to save up for my birthday in years....I really dislike being the one to plan my own birthday festivities anyways, but when I have next to no money for myself anyways...I want to do something fun and special for my 30th.

I'm also going to attempt, yet again, to become healthier. I'm choosing to focus on the idea that as long as I get back up and try again, I haven't failed. lol I want to look better, naturally, but that's not what's motivating me. I simply want to FEEL better. I want to feel better during a normal workday. I want more energy, and to get sick less. And I'm starting to actually feel in my body when I haven't been eating well for awhile...I can feel myself breathing worse, feeling worse, and I don't want it. I want to breathe better, move better, be better. I have a big battle ahead of me with this, but I think I can do it. Heck, I've done it before, I KNOW I can, but I wasn't so aware of my shortcomings last time. I'm going to struggle with food....with getting stuck on a few staples and getting bored, with finding variety that I like, with learning how to actually cook so I can make my own food and not always need something already prepared. Learning to cook is going to be really rough for me, but I'm going to try to blog about it some, about how things go in the kitchen for me and try to take photos as well, so I can make it a little more interesting for you all. :) I will definitely need your support with that!

The main thing that holds me back in regards to taking better care of myself is going to sound silly, but that can't be helped. I have this deep, rooted issue with caring too much what other people think. I know that might seem to have nothing to do with anything, but if you stick with me for a few minutes I'll get you there. I simply care too much what other people think.

My first real experiences with cooking, all I can remember is wanting to ask my mom a bunch of questions, sometimes even double or triple checking something before I do it, and my mom getting so frustrated with me that I'd eventually be sent from the kitchen. Even cooking with Jon is difficult...they both simply know so much more than I do about how to prepare food, that my slowness and uncertainty always lead to them taking over and doing it all, leaving me standing on the side watching. I honestly won't cook in front of anyone if I can help it, because I just KNOW in my heart that it'll be taken over from me because I just can't do it well enough. And I know feeling like this is silly. I know that making me feel incompetent and afraid to even step in and try to help was never their intentions. Yet it's there, and it's real, and so I have to find my way past it.

I stubbornly don't want to work out or do things a certain way either, simply because I know others I care about feel that's the right way to do things, and something in me just doesn't want to give in to them. For some silly reason, I want to do things MY way, not the way someone else thinks I should. This is the silliest part for me, honestly. I don't know why what someone else thinks should matter AT ALL when it comes to this, much less keep me from doing something good for me simply because I don't want to admit to being wrong or lazy about something. Yet it's there as well.

I don't know exactly why I struggle so much with what people think just yet. I've been attempting to dig into it some to figure it out, but it's painful and it'll take me some time. But this is a root of my overall insecurity that is one of the main reasons that keeps me where I am, and it's going to have to be the first real root that I pull up and get rid of. There simply has to be a way of honestly wanting to know what others think and feel about things, without letting that desire and those opinions rule what I choose to do. The only way I can think to start is to simply jump in and do those things I know I need to do to be healthier (learn to cook and take care of myself), without letting myself give in to worrying if my friends and family will approve or try to sway me to some other way of doing things. I have to learn to not care if I screw up. (My other huge root of insecurity deals with a crazy fear of failure and screwing up...but that's a whole other blog we're not getting into right now. lol) Somehow, I have to learn how to be my own person with my own brain, who can care for others without being absorbed by others.

I want to have my own photography business. This is an idea I've naturally been playing with for awhile, but over the past day or two it's really cemented itself in my brain and heart. I really, deeply feel that somehow, I'm meant to be a beauty photographer. But not what you'd naturally think when you might hear that - I could care less about fashion or stick thin models. I need to find a way to do photography packages for women to help them see their real beauty they already have. Too, too many women are so hard and simply MEAN to themselves about how they look, and I can't stand it. I do it to myself as well, and I can't stand it when I do. I have to find a way to help women see just how beautiful they already are, to remember to look at themselves in a healthy light every day. And I really love to take photos of little ones as well...whenever I'm around a little kid, my hands start itching for a camera and the approval to shoot. I simply can't help myself with them. I have to be a photographer who can help the world see just how much love and beauty and truth there is already in the world. I don't know quite how it'll work out yet...but the pull inside me towards this is too great to ignore, and I don't think the world can do without it. I have to be able to help spread hope and love and an abilty to see real, lasting beauty. I've got about a year from now to figure out how I'm going to implement this, because once I take next June off, I'm going to be ready to start right in with my new career in July. :)

In order for me to really pull this off, I'm going to need Jon's help financially as well. But I know he'll be behind me, and he'll help me work out the details and get things going. Eventually I want us to both work for ourselves, taking photos together...yet I think that will be farther down the road. I simply know that as long as I have his support, I'll be okay. And if, heaven forbid, I have to go it all on my own, I'll find a way to make that work as well. I simply can't keep sitting where I am, day after day, with no end in sight. I have to fly.

"It is sometimes a mistake to climb; it is always a mistake never even to make the attempt. If you do not climb you will not fall. This is true. But is it that bad to fail, that hard to fall? Sometimes you wake, and sometimes, yes, you die. But there is a third alternative. Sometimes when you fall, you fly."
-Sandman, Fables and Reflections

P.S. - if any of you wonderful people actually read all the way through this and were able to grasp even a bit of the uncertainty and determination I tried to share, please let me know. This, I know, ties in with my inability to separate sharing and being myself without needing to know what others think...but I really do need to know that I'm heard and at the very least coherent. lol :)