Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cultivating Confidence-Carol's story

I am an impatient person. All my life I have searched for how to get there faster, how to skip that step, how to get the answer without reading all the details, skim the rules and get started, cut to the chase. If you ask my mother she will say this is still a real problem for me.

Getting "there" faster can catapult you to the next fun, exciting thing and can give you a constant barrage of new things to focus on but the quickness robs you of enjoying the moments that got you there and will most likely cause you to miss out on deep, meaningful connections with those who may be on the journey with you. You definitely don't have time to look back and keep up with those you bonded with in the past. In my particular instance, it cause me to make some mistakes and miss opportunities I may have achieved if I had not been moving so fast.

I cannot say I have been cured of this issue but I can say that I have learned to slow down. Once my twenties were officially a thing of the past (and they really did go by in a blink of an eye), I had an awakening that kind of sounded like this: "WHOA!! How do you slow this thing down?? There is NO WAY I can be 30 years old."

Something happened. I needed my friends more than ever. I needed my parents more than ever. I need to make more money!! And it hit me: the priorities must be in line. Now! I started to slow down and become aware of what mattered to me. I started to take the time to do the things I wanted to do--taking that painting class, getting a dog (that tethers you to the house for sure-talk about a slow down), spending some time alone and not running errands. Being still.

I feel I now have a pretty decent sense of self. That is not to say that I even remotely think I have it all together. It just means that I am more accepting of the twists and turns that come my way instead of running so fast and trying to control it all. I do think that I have been able to slow things down and enjoy the moment and those who are in it with me instead of looking ahead to the next moment. However, it is sometimes a daily challenge to make those decisions.

I think that friendship, especially women-to-women it is extremely important. I think that women are in a state of unprecendented roles. We don't have mothers that have seen the world that we face. Now, more than ever, we have to rely on our peers as support and to show us the way. I have witnessed a lot of competition between women that ends up tearing each other apart instead of helping each other out. I have been so fortunate to have some incredible women as friends who have always beens supportive of my crazy ideas, actions and alway been there to hug me, let me vent, cheer me on, etc.

Most recently, I have spent quite a bit of time without my friends as most of them are just starting their families. As most of you know, that can be a defining moment in a friendship. People start to lost touch and move on to friends with more in common. I have been brave and putting myself out there with some other groups of women and it has been eye opening. Some other women are just mean to each other! The competition of what car you drive, whether you are married, whether you have children, whether you will work or stay home, where you got your clothes, etc. is ridiculous! My message is-be kind to each other and support one another. It makes life so much better.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I heart faces-let them be little challenge

This weekend we had my company picnic. The kids were playing and having fun so it was the first thing I thought of when I saw this challenge. Be sure to check out the other amazing entries at iheartfaces.

Let them be little.
Let them get their face painted!
Let them get their clothes dirty.
Let them believe in Santa and the tooth fairy.
Let them them play with your jewelry.
Let them know life is good!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

He needs your vote!

One of my clients was chosen as a finalist for America's hottest husband in Redbook magazine. I was so excited when I saw the picture they used for his write up was one I took. Please vote for him! Click on this link.

Cultivating Confidence-Stacy's story

I grew up in a small North Texas town where I truly lived a cross between Mayberry and Friday Night Lights! There is a lot to be said for growing up in a town where everyone knows you – a place you could safely ride your bike and leave your house unlocked. We were at church on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights. During this time I don’t really remember ever thinking that I couldn’t do or be anything that I wanted. There was a lot of time spent with family and friends. It was a great place to grow up, and I am blessed by the experiences I had there.

Somewhere along the way – I think around middle school or maybe high school – I started hearing things that made me pause. Things like: “Wow, you are a lot bigger than your Mom.” “You are built just like a fullback.” “You definitely are well endowed.” “You don’t need to eat that.” I don’t really think these things individually bothered me so much at the time. I was active in sports and school organizations, spent a lot of time with my friends, and truthfully was probably too busy to think too much about it. I do, however, remember wanting to be pretty. Like many girls my age, I wanted to enter the SEVENTEEN magazine model search. I filled out the form, had a friend take my picture, and prepared to mail the application. You can imagine my surprise when I was encouraged not to mail it because I “wasn’t the type of person” they were seeking. It was certainly a case of a loving person trying to shield me from disappointment, but it was then that I really started questioning some of the other comments that I had heard.

After high school, I went off to college. It was here that being the “nice” one was reinforced. I somehow always fell into the “nice” category – never the “pretty” one. I had experienced a bit of this in high school, but it was definitely magnified in college and shortly after. I was the person who was the guy’s friend and helped set them up with my prettier, more desirable friends. This discouraged me, so I tried dieting and running only to have my body fail me. I couldn’t maintain the limited calories and exercise schedule without passing out or getting sick, so I had to give up the control. That summer break, I heard, “I guess weight can look okay on some people”, and “you would look a lot better if you could lose about 10 pounds.”

As I progressed from college into the real world, the comments continued. “Why don’t you get the mole removed from your face?” “You should wear your hair differently so that your face doesn’t look so round.” “You do not need to wear sleeveless shirts because your arms are too big.” “You really don’t have the body to wear that.” And finally my favorite: “I have never seen boobs so big in my life. I told my wife you made Dolly Parton look like a teenager.”

Just before and right after I was married, my body failed me again. I struggled with health issues that affected my fertility. After I married, I had two painful miscarriages, and I wasn’t sure I would ever be blessed with a child.

I have struggled since high school with my body image. What can I do to make myself feel more beautiful, and will I ever see myself the way God intended are two questions that I constantly ask myself. I know that I am created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). I also know that He knows the number of hairs on my head (Luke 12:7). If He took the time to make each of us this unique and knows us so intimately, then shouldn’t we value ourselves as much as He values us? Why do I and so many others give the devil this foothold?

I’d like to say that I am confident in my beauty and have overcome the struggle. I have not; however, I am striving each day to remember that I am here because of a God that loved me so much that He died for me. Since God loves me so much that he made no one else like me, can’t I try to love the way He made me a little more? My pastor Ed Young recently spoke about this and termed it living with “Godfidence.”

My story has a happy ending…God blessed my husband and me with the most precious, healthy son seven years ago. My body didn’t fail me then. I have also learned that the struggles I have experienced are in part so that I can empathize and encourage so many other friends who have also dealt with insecurity and infertility. In the end, my daily goal is to strive to view myself the way my Creator made me. I want our entire family to exude “Godfidence”, and I especially want my son to know the eternal definition of beauty!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14

Monday, October 10, 2011

I heart faces-raise your hands challenge

This week's challenge at iheartfaces is "hands." My entry is also a sneak peak to a new project I did to challenge my own creativity. I love that the girls are holding hands while laughing so hard. Be sure to check out the other amazing entries this week!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jack is one-Irving, TX children's photographer

I love this story. Jack's parent have some awesome friends. They looked up photographers and ran across my website. They then gave Jack's mom a gift certificate for a session with me. Coolest.Friends.Ever! So if you never need a unique gift idea--a session gift certificate is available!

Mom decided to use the session to document Jack's first birthday. This guy is the cutest. They also brought Fred to the session-Jack's faithful companion. There is just something about a little guy and his dog.

This is mom's favorite!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thank you for voting at I heart faces!

I wanted to sincerely thank everyone who voted for me at iheartfaces. My photo won fourth place overall. I honestly was astounded! I appreciate your vote and the fact that you enjoy my art!