J + J + the cutest Winston you will ever meet

The very best part of choosing to be a photographer over 14 years ago, is the friends it’s brought into my life. Some of those friends have been in front of my lens, others a seat in my classroom and others (fellow photographers) shooting alongside me. Many of you fall under one of those categories-and I am so grateful ❤️ Jamie and I met because of our mutual love of photography. I have had the privilege of capturing this trio several times…and I have loved every minute of each of those opportunities. They are beautiful to the core…inside and out. These are some images we created in and around Snowbasin Ski Resort.

Thank you friends for spending a beautiful fall Saturday morning with me.

poverty doesn’t define me.

I recently finished the book YOU ARE A BADASS AT MAKING MONEY by Jen Sincero. I loved the book. (If swearing isn’t your thing, know that there is plenty of it in this book.) I gained so much insight, and it has given weeks (if not months!) of journaling|self reflecting work to go through. One of the first insights I gained, in my history with money, was my attitude toward it. I would never have consciously said this, but I had an almost fearful disdain for it. In fact, I held a belief that there was valor in poverty.

My father was born in 1931. He and his family were nearly overtaken by the depression. His mom raised her seven…and then eight children as a single mom for the majority of it. She has been revered for this, as she should be. She worked in cotton fields, orchards and sewing rooms. She often worked more than one job a day. She brought home a meager existence. I can’t imagine the struggle.

The struggle she went through is something I will always admire, but I took a long with that- an idealization of poverty. Her hardship, her poverty is what adds character to the story we re-tell of her. In our minds, it added honor to her mistakes and her triumphs. What if instead, we chose to see that hardship as a circumstance but not the value. What if we saw greatness in what she gained instead of what she lacked.

left to right: Aunt Vivian, ME, Granny, my mom, and my sister Dede on her lap

My new story will be this:

I come from a line of hard working women. They bring tremendous value in the world. Their work is worthy of support and money. They created income and put a roof over our heads (including MY mom for me). They found many ways to feed themselves and the people they loved. They strived to do their best, and grow and learn. They knew that the money they created made them more of who they are, and not less. Poverty doesn’t define us. The value we put into the world and in our own lives does.

As Ms. Sincero teaches masterfully in her book, I know that the words we say do create our reality. And the thoughts we think about money feed those words. And the beliefs we hold, even the well intentioned ones, are the foundation of those thoughts. I know we can all benefit from considering what is contributing to our reality today. YOU ARE A BADASS AT MAKING MONEY helped me take a giant leap in that direction, and I am grateful.

6 benefits of quitting sugar

I am over half way into my 100 DAY CHALLENGE that I shared yesterday. I don’t want it to end, which is crazy…because you don’t know anyone who loves ice cream and chocolate more than me. But this challenge has created a shift in me that I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR. I want to share 5 benefits I’ve seen from quitting refined sugar.

#1 CONFIDENCE, Each day that I color in a square, I reaffirm to myself that I have my own back, that I do what I say I will do, that I can count on me.

#2 HEALTH, my clothes fit better. My BMI was at 26.4 before I started (normal is between 18-24). I have lost 6 pounds. Weight isn’t my objective, but it is now going in the right direction. I hope to see this improve gradually over time.

#3 ELIMINATE EMOTIONAL EATING, the drama is gone. (I want to shout this from the rooftops!) This is my favorite aspect. Previously I had a lot of chatter going on about what I should eat, especially where treats and sugar were concerned. It’s gone. Infact I have noticed that almost all cravings, wanting certain foods from specific places is significantly diminished. Frequently we celebrated little things with ice cream…or going out for treats. Now, celebrating life’s little things are definitely more about celebrating than treating. Food has become fuel, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

#4 EXAMPLE, I am a mom of three daughters. I have no drama about sugar. I am not shaming anyone for eating it, but they are watching me. And their sugar intake has gone down (definitely not completely) because we aren’t making it part of our routine’s or celebrations. AND they are watching me complete a goal!

#5 ALL SHIPS RISE, there is a saying, “A rising tide lifts all boats” It doesn’t matter what goal you choose to conquer…as you excel in one area, the other areas of your life follow. Have you noticed that when you focus on financial health, you tend to start eating better? OR when you improve time management, your house and organization improve…which helps your relationships. I have seen growth in: finances|spending, time management, personal & professional development, exercise & strength, and family relationships. In most of those areas I had been feeling stuck. I feel like walls and barriers are crumbling and clarity is rising in my life.

I haven’t decided what to do about sugar after the 100 days are over. I will either stay with it…or give myself an option of a treat once a week (planned at least 24 hours in advance so that I don’t lose my progress in eliminating cravings and urges.). I’ll let you know when I get there!

quitting sugar

I was tired…physically tired, YES, but even more tired of the excuses.

  • ‘If it is dark chocolate-it’s good for me’
  • ‘what is a life without ice cream…or cookies?
  • ‘I’ll start Monday’
  • ‘Is it really that bad?’
  • ‘Can I be a good mom if I don’t make homemade cookies?
  • ‘I don’t want to be obsessive or fanatical’

Honestly, I was ready for a challenge. I was ready for change. Diabetes, heart issues, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and ADHD run in our families. I finally felt motivated to do this for me.

On July 24th, 2019 I began a 100 day challenge. 100 days of no refined sugar. I have been pleasantly surprised (relieved!) at how easy it has been! I will share my TOP FIVE TIPS FOR QUITTING SUGAR:

#1 WHY! Clarify your WHY. Be careful that your WHY comes from a loving place. Don’t begin if it come from a place of negativity- hating your size and feeling down on yourself. Make sure your reasons are based in health, goals, and self improvement. One practice I learned from Rachel Hollis really help me understand my why. It is the 10-10-1 that I talked about HERE and HERE.

#2 CHART! I did a google search of 100 chart and printed off the first one I liked. I placed it on a clipboard and wrote the details of my goal. I colored in a square for every day of success! It is crazy how much this meant to me. I had at least four dreams where somebody had gifted me or handed me chocolate and I popped it into my mouth without thinking. My first panicked thought in these dreams was “OH NO! MY CHART!” For a visual person like me, coloring that square is a reward and powerful.

#3 FOCUS! Initially, I had 4 things listed on my chart that involved exercise and organization. I realized pretty quickly that tracking ONE goal is much more powerful than having a list of goals. Once I let go of the list and kept my focus concentrated, the rest of those items on my list improved without any extra effort.

#4 CELEBRATE your successes! Each time you check a square, lay your head on your pillow after a day of no sugar…congratulate your progress! Have a reward on the line once you meet your goal.

#5 NOTICE how you feel! As you progress through the days- notice little things about how you feel after you eat. I have had plenty of experiences to reflect on how I have felt after eating poorly, remember those too. Food is fuel, and this exercise has reinforced that for me.

Tomorrow I will share my FIVE favorite benefits I have experienced being on day 62 of a no sugar challenge! I know these tips would apply to almost any goal you choose for a 100 day challenge. If you began a 100 day challenge, what would you do?

a haircut

I was sitting in church on Sunday. I have been lucky enough to attend the same congregation for over 14 years. As I looked around I realized at least 3/4 of the women I know here have kept the same hairstyle since I have known them. I am a hair changer. I think I change my hair so often because I am never thrilled with how it looks.

But this girl of mine had a haircut this week that she loves. She came home looking like she had almost a foot removed! We couldn’t love it more…and it helps her bangs (almost) grown out!