Friday, December 17, 2010

Craziness, Looming Christmas, Witnessing and How a Lotus Grows

DISCLAIMER: This is me at my stressed out point. Read if you want to hear me whine and then be grateful. Get sassy, then feel guilty. And tell you how much I have learned from this Christmas season. Read at your own risk. Wear a shield for the mood swings. Not. even. kidding.

I thought it was appropriate to let you all in on some of the things that have been going on in my life & business. Because YES, THEY ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS. Seeing as I am HUMAN, and not a robot. I do not live my life turned on, plugged in, and available to every ones whim 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Though some people (obviously those that are WAAY better at this than I am or have a team working for them) claim to do or be in their business.

The view my 10 month old daughter has been seeing from October until now is from a playpen in front of the tv, or a walker. Why? Because I am in a rush at all times and am working. I'm too busy to hold her. Too busy to play. Too busy to be anything I always said I would never let my business make me be. I believe this is what my second blogpost ever jt Photography: playplace">was all about. What have I done?


I have let everyone else's "wants" take over my family's needs. And it's taking a toll on me, my kids, my family, my health. I am starting over now, I am not going to do this to them, to myself, anymore.

As a business owner, I assume that you come to a point to where you draw the line. Do I continue to bend over backwards for everyone or am I at a good enough point to be able to tell people "no"? I'm still feeling as though that line is blurry. Though I believe I am at a really good place in my business, am I willing to make sacrifices at my family's expense? Am I willing to short-change myself and how much I regard my work to be worth? Let me ask YOU a question...

In comparison to our careers, please look at it this way and then take a walk in my shoes...

In your job would you let...

-your boss ask you to stay over 3 hours to wait on an email, customer, or phone call? Oh and by the way, you are not getting paid for that.

-your boss call you or text you at 9:00 at night on a weeknight?

-your boss yell at you for something you explained in detail and he signed?

-Your boss ask you to do all the work you normally do and only do it for half your salary or hourly wage?

These are a SHORT list of things that aggravate me. Of course you wouldn't. But just because I work for myself (Which should be even more reason NOT to do it!) everyone expects me to be their stepping stone.

Work is not the only thing that has been piling on me, as family issues & illnesses, my dads recovery (Which is so so much of a happiness in my life, but I feel like I was just on the Gravitron of emotions.), friends who are struggling and I want and need to help, my own demands at home (which I was NOT accomplishing), and not taking any time for myself. I was starting to see that black cloud descend on me again. That d-word. I found myself crying in the shower. Yelling for no reason. Snapping at everyone I love. That damn d-word.

I finally broke down last Saturday. Someone broke their word to me and it sent the already irritated and cracking stone Jamie into a tirade. I sounded like a whiny baby. I was straight up bitching. I am not afraid to say that. I was BITCHING.


Who was I bitching at? Was I upset at the person who broke their word to me? Yes. I still am a little bit. But was that why I was so angry? Was that why I was bitching? No. Who was I pissed at, then? Myself. Why had I let things get this far out of hand? Why did I short change myself once again? Why was I crying over my kitchen sink about this one stupid little trivial detail in the bigger and worse things that could have sent me into this tirade? Why was I acting like a total fool? Because I had made it that way. I had over stacked my shoulders. And now I just have to suck it up and get over it. And I will. But sometimes writing it out is better than bottling it up. At least for me.

Why do I need to make this public? Because I need those who are on my back to cut me some slack. Put yourself in my shoes. Because while I am working so much on making sure you get everything you want, I am missing this...



... and I can't get that back.

Christmas Day is only 8 days away. I finally do have all of my Christmas shopping done as of yesterday. They are all wrapped and put together and hidden away until "Santa" brings them on Christmas Eve. (If you still believe in Santa, erase that last sentence from your mind.)Before I had any of that done, I was despising Christmas. I was really upset that I was no where where I needed to be by that day as far as workload and responsibilities to my kids. And I should have expected it because I do this to myself every year. This year was just a lot more exaggerated because of how much more business I got this year. (Which I am COMPLETELY GRATEFUL FOR!!!!!)
After I wrapped the last present yesterday I sighed and really felt the load fall off my shoulders. I actually felt the Christmas spirit slip into my heart for the first time this season.

Since the beginning of October alot of things have happened. Some not directly to me, but to those in my personal universe. Friends have had tragedy, family has had emergencies and panic, and some great things have happened as well with my own family, and friends that are experiencing joy. Through these last 3 months, my faith has been tested, restored, shaken, restored, and tested and restored. Remember the emotional gravitron I was talking about? Yeah, that's what I mean. It's not that when things go bad I stop believing in God. That's not what I mean at all. Just those times when something goes bad and you wonder "Why are you doing this?" or "How could you let this happen?" But i am reminded again and again in His love every time I am tested or shaken because of the little or big things he puts in front of me or in my path. God winks are what I know them as.
I pray a lot. Like UHH-LOT. And one day I just prayed that I wanted to be given the opportunity to witness. I believe this was after a photo session with Leigha's Mom, Olga. Olga went through Leigha's loss, and although she is still working through the hardest parts, she witnesses through song. She travels to different churches or places of worship and fellowship and tells her story.
Later that week I was at home on a Monday, and received a phone call from a Senior clients mom and we got on the subject of my blog about my dad, and how she had went through the same thing with her dad but her dad, sadly, had perished to the illness. We talked for every bit of 45 minutes on faith alone. How much faith can give you such a rush, and how telling others about it makes you feel awesome for days. All she was calling about was how to place an order on the gallery,a nd we got into this whole wonderful conversation on faith. I think that was God's pep talk. My own personal pep rally, if you will ;) He was like, are you ready for this? The only thing missing was the entire Jock Jams album playing in the background ;) I was pumped.

A two weeks later, we had 3 family emergencies in one weekend, and also a couple friends of mine were faced with a terrible tragedy. Was I ready for this?! Thanks alot, God. What a time to be a witness. Everything is GOING WRONG. How do I witness to someone who is going through THAT kind of pain? SO I took a step back when I should have taken a step forward. I still can't find the right things to say. But God gave me another chance.

There's this guy. And he is a friend of mine. And has been for a long time. One of those friends that you have lost touch with and reconnected and every time you reconnect, they are different, but your friendship is the same. Do you know what I mean? Well, my friend called me out of the blue one day asking for advice. I really didn't know what to say because he was kinda stuck in a hard place. Without going into too many details, the guy is bottomed out. He's fed up, has had enough and was feeling ready to quit. And usually when you get to that point is when you start saying, "Why me?" Why, why, why? I had no intention of witnessing to him. And especially to HIM. I didn't think he even believed in God at all. I wasn't sure if I could go there, but my mouth just opened and out came, "When people are at their lowest is when you usually find your faith." I remember the conversation afterward and I can tell you that I was being God's messenger, because the wisdom that spewed out into formed words was not my own. I made him have an ah-ha moment and i will regard this as one of the best days of my life because God gave me the right words to say and explain faith to someone who needed it. The after effects of our conversation are even more proof that God was talking through me that day. The God Winks for my friend were one right after the other. I am so happy for him.

Ever since then, I have been trying to listen to my heart and reach out to those that God puts on my heart. Others have done this for me before and I am so appreciative and grateful for that. Now it's time to pay it forward.

I started this blog post out unhappy and ended it with joy that makes my heart sing. Such as life, huh? It's like a lotus. To get the lotus, you have to have mud. You have to encounter and deal with the nasty stuff to get to the beautiful. Nothing is easy. And if it's easy, you just haven't gotten very far.

There will be more days ahead where I will be bitching. I know this. I know that just because I have faith and that I am spiritual that its not rainbows and sunbursts from that point on. It's hard, if not harder, because of the social stigmas we put on believers. But I am brave. I've been in the mud. I don't want to go anywhere but up. And I want to blossom on top of the water, just like that lotus.

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