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Last weekend, I went away with an awesome group of local women entrepreneurs. We brainstormed and vented and gave suggestions and talked marketing and business and health and goals and dreams. While I went thinking "I don't really have much to work on," I left with so much inspiration and lots of new ideas and realizations. 1. Surrender - last year, I went into the year discouraged and wanting to book more weddings and specifically destination elopements. I wanted it so badly and it seemed like there was absolutely nothing I could do to book these sessions. By May, I was distracted by our home build. Once again, it was all I could think about and all I wanted. I went after it with every fiber of my being - claiming that getting what you want is all about being willing to work hard enough and do whatever it takes. I did everything I could and eventually the stress basically sent me into a mental breakdown. And in the end, it was out of control. We would have to wait, and I would have to accept that this was going to be one of those things we can't will into existence. So I let it go and focused on my health. Just like I let go of my bookings. All that to say, the past 6 months have become about surrendering my dreams to God and accepting His timing and that I wasn't ready for the things I wanted so badly. As I go into this year, my year is fully booked with weddings, more than any year in the past, our build is slowly moving forward and looking more attainable. Nothing is happening as fast as I wanted it to, but I am learning to be okay with that and let go.

Oh, and I DID do destination weddings this year. Remember the one in Marquette and the one in Suttons Bay?

2. After realizing that, I also noticed that the goals I had written down this year compared to last were much more health and life oriented than trying to be the busiest, coolest wedding photographer - and I feel like this is a much healthier place to be. 3. The comparing game is almost completely gone from my mind. At the beginning of last year, I was honestly consumed with jealousy and felt worse and worse about myself and my work as I looked at other photographer's work. And then I stopped looking and here we are. The point is that I am trying and learning and growing and am in a much better place without even realizing it. It is so important to reflect to see your growth and continue to grow from there. I know that this year will hold awesome things even if they aren't what I want or expect. ✌ Keep growing and share about it!

Hey look - it's me photographing an elopement at one of my favorite local chapels (Celebrations Wedding Chapel in Horton, Michigan). It might not be a mountain top. It might not be in the desert. It might not be the model couple - but it is STILL what I love to do.

And you know what? Speaking of the compare game - when you feel tempted to compare or doubt yourself or feel defeated, look at back at where you started. For me, that would be with my very first engagement session ever (8 or so years ago) and then back to where I am today. I feel foolish for being so hard on myself now...don't you?

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