Five years ago today, I began sharing words and photographs on the world wide web.
When I sat down on our living room couch and presented the concept of a custom website and blog to my husband in early April 2012, I thought I knew what I was in for. The truth is, I had no clue. Absolutely no clue.
I had no clue I’d publish 455 posts in the next 5 years, 95 unpublished drafts on top of that.
I had no clue I’d attend 4 writing conferences in 5 years. No clue I’d be brave enough to meet with a literary agent. “Go do it, I want to see it,” she said. No clue that even with her encouragement, I’d be scared to write and send that book proposal. No clue that I’d write and thoroughly edit two children’s book manuscripts instead. No clue that an author of 36 books would give me the time of day, listen to my story and tell me “you’re more ready for this than you know.” No clue that her words would rattle in my brain every day for three years, wondering if I was TRULY ready for this. No clue that I’d stand face-to-face with her three years later and tell her “I THINK I’m finally ready for this now.”
I had no clue I’d join a writing group. No clue I’d break down half of our meetings because the dream was simultaneously buried and about to burst out, but was all twisted and tangled up inside. No clue I’d edit a book with one of those writing group brothers.
I had no clue that I’d travel to Haiti, Dominican Republic and Kenya, writing my way through each mission trip. No clue that a dream would come true 10 years before I thought it was even possible – an invitation from Compassion International to write my way through a trip with a bunch of sponsors and three other writers.
I had no clue that birthing a blog would lead to me leaving a 14 1/2 year career in speech-language therapy. No clue that it would take 3 full years to make that decision. No clue how much of a battle it would be to trust God and His call on my life to write and photograph instead of doing the “right thing” and earning regular income for my family.
I had no clue that my desire to “explore professional photography” would lead to so many photo shoots. No clue that people I didn’t know would want me to take photographs for them. No clue I’d be asked to photograph newborns, seniors, engagements and even a wedding. No clue that I would need to rethink God’s plan and purpose for my life, that there might be more to this photography thing than I ever would have imagined.
I had no clue that I’d “rebrand” 4 1/2 years in, that I’d take down my original website and redo the whole thing from ground zero. No clue it would take 4 months. No clue how hard that would be. No clue how much of a relief it would be to merge my love of photography with writing and storytelling. No clue how difficult it would be to keep the vision while working the plan…day by day by day.
I had no clue that I’d write through my husband’s eye cancer, and decide NOT to write through my dad’s lung transplant part way in. No clue I’d launch a three-year Special Mamas series. No clue that I’d write prolifically through THREE 31 Days series. No clue that I’d teeter to the other extreme, feeling blank, void, wordless, with nothing profound to say but once a month. No clue I’d remain nearly silent through one of the most transformational periods of my life. No clue that I’d have to look long and hard at this writing calling, this photography calling five years in, and ask myself ONCE AGAIN, is this really what I’m supposed to be doing, is this really who I am?
Yes. Five years ago today, I began sharing words and photographs online. For NINE years before that, I dreamed of writing publicly and becoming a published author. Writing and photography are the ONLY “hobbies” I’ve had since I was a little girl. I have proof in the camera carrying, the piles of pictures, the journals, the tiny and overly-filled pieces of paper with words that mean something to only me.
Yes. It took five whole years for me to realize that telling stories through writing and photography isn’t MY dream and MY dream alone. It’s God’s dream FOR ME.
It’s as simple and as complicated as that.
The longer I travel this road, the deeper I go, the more my writing and photography dreams become reality, the more I realize that this is totally hard, seemingly impossible, and totally NOT in my hands half of the time. That’s because this is God’s dream FOR ME. His way of bringing my best gifts to light in order to bring light to the world THROUGH ME.
As hard as it is, as unlikely as it seems, this is the truth I’m coming to believe. My “Plan B” was God’s “Plan A” all along.
So how about you? What seed, what dream has God planted in you?
Maybe you buried it deep. Perhaps it’s just below the surface.
Maybe it’s something you’ve always thought of as a “hobby.” Perhaps it’s a wild hair you had one day…what if I could do this someday?
Maybe it’s totally do-able. Perhaps it’s impossible.
Maybe that dream crossed your mind once and you disregarded it as “crazy, far fetched, no way that’d ever happen.” Perhaps you can’t stop thinking about that thing, that one idea, that spark of brilliance you just can’t get off your mind.
So what’s your seed? What’s the dream that’s tugging on your heart?
Today, in honor of five years of sharing words and photographs online, I’m asking you to consider…
What if your dream is God’s dream for you?
I’m not asking you to ditch Plan A for Plan B.
I’m just asking you to consider…
What if your dream is God’s dream for you?
Today, in honor of five years online, in honor of God’s dreams for me and God’s dreams for you, I’m giving away ONE 1-HOUR PHOTO SHOOT to ONE READER ($100 value). Winner MUST live IN the Minneapolis/St Paul metro or be willing to travel TO the Minneapolis/St Paul metro for the photo shoot. Winner will need to schedule the photo shoot between now and Sunday, September 24, 2017. Any number of subjects are permitted for the 1-hour photo shoot (you choose…head shots, family shots, extended family shots or anything in between), but the winner MUST be IN the photos! Photos will be outdoors, on location. Winner will receive ONE CD of professionally edited photographs. A sampling of my favorite photographs from the winner’s photo shoot will be featured on my website! Photo shoot is non-transferrable. Enter to win in the Rafflecopter below! Winner will be randomly selected and announced on my Facebook page on Wednesday, August 2, 2017.