On June 13th 2006, I wrote the first sentence to my first blog post;
“My first blog…the pressure almost makes you never want to start one. But here I am because I know I’m going to love this once I get the hang of it!”
Can you hear the anxiety in my voice? I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But after five years, ONE THOUSAND posts, and 22, 960 of your comments, I have come to LOVE this daily conversation with you much more than I could have ever imagined. As you can see from my first blog sentence, the idea of starting this (whatever “this” would become) felt daunting, but I thought it might be a wonderful way to combine my love of writing with my passion for photography. In those first months, I had five visitors; Brian, me, my mom, me and me. Five years later, there are 50K plus unique visitors a month who meet me here, every morning, as we push through our doubts and fears to live our dreams.
With today being the 1000th post, I spent some time looking over the blog’s last five years. Wow, what a transformation. The most rewarding part is that the transformation has not only been in my life but many of yours too. I want to start today’s special 1000 post by celebrating some of you.
Do you remember Shawna? I will always remember this amazing mom who shared her story of having her car repossessed right before her first photo shoot. Everything inside her wanted to quit, but instead she borrowed a car and went for it.
When I feel intimidation loom over me, I think of Shawna and she gives me strength. You can read Shawna’s inspiring story here!
Lynda Kennedy’s video is another story that sticks out to me. She is a woman determined to beat all odds. Even though she didn’t win the SOAR! Scholarship, she pushed through her disappointment and found herself soaring with her photography dream.
When I feel foolish for pouring my heart into something that doesn’t pan out, Lynda’s story reminds me that our honest efforts are never wasted, not one second of our time has been in vain. If you haven’t, you must watch Lynda’s video, an amazing story of determination!
Last year, we took the kids and did a photography workshop for an orphanage in Cambodia. I will never forget the experience of trying to explain Aperture through a translator. The most GLORIOUS fun! Sreyown Sun was the only female student. As we went into the city for some hands-on learning, I watched Sreyown light up with the camera.
The only camera understanding she had was our last two hours of teaching. Her photos were AMAZING–completely out-of-the-box. When I feel intimated by all the things I don’t know to pursue my dream–when those lies come and say “You aren’t qualified ENOUGH to pursue that”, I think of Sreyown’s raw passion and joy–two things that are more powerful than any knowledge we can possess.
As I look over the last five years, I am so deeply moved and thankful for all of you. We have approached the looming mountains of our impossible dreams, looked at each other, and have decided to still give it a try. Because how will we ever know if we don’t try? Together, we have made the word “try” a sacred practice whether it’s the new mom who emails me her results from a Photo-Recipe from Your Baby in Pictures or the 20 plus women
Authenticity has been at the heart of my vision for this blog. A safe place to grow and flourish has been my hope for our community that gathers here. If you are new to the blog, I welcome you with all my heart. I am so excited for you to journey through past posts and meet women, like yourself, who are living their fullest, creative lives.
To all of you who veteran visitors to this blog, thank you for journeying with me. Thank you for every comment–yes, I read them all and they mean SO MUCH! Thank you for giving me a place to be transparent as I try to climb my own impossible dreams.
It’s been wonderful to look back at the different posts I’ve written. As much as I love writing the Photo-Recipes and Photo Tips posts, I treasure the posts under Personal Reflections and Inspiration for Artists. In those categories lives the stories of all the nerves that were pulsing through me before my first Nate Berkus Show appearance. Or the posts about taking the kids to Thailand to live in the jungle (and how that has TRANSFORMED our family) to Dealing with Criticism, the Guilt and Lies Moms Face, Regaining Our Power When We Feel Powerless, a Woman’s Power During Uncertain Financial Times, Working at Not Judging Our First Flights and Learning How to Swim with Sharks.
As photographers we sometimes get caught up in striving to have sharp photos–placing the photo’s value not on content but clarity. And yet the creative journey, the path to allowing our creative selves to expand, is often unclear. We face our dreams with a blurred photo in our hand of what we think we are pursuing.
There are no guarantees. At times we look foolish and don’t make any sense to those around us, even ourselves. But if we quiet ourselves, our nerves, our anxious thoughts, our second guessing, we will hear the strong, unstoppable pulse of life that is underground. Creation always starts in the dark–whether it is the baby growing inside our womb or the seedlings breaking through the garden’s soil–we are more prepared for this journey than we realize.
We are stronger than we know.
And we have each other to help us go forward when we forget all these truths.
Thank you for being here through 1000 posts. Cheers to 1000 more to come!
All my love and appreciation,
p.s. The Street Portrait Challenge conversation is gathering on the SOARORITY forum with your fearless leader, Ariane Hunter, at 5pm PST tonight! Upload your photos, be inspired by what other people shot and experienced. And a big hug to Ariane, another woman who leads this community in living our fullest creative lives!