It begins.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Some days your life changes in very unplanned ways, other days like Friday, December 20th, were counted down for weeks, months or years.

It was a dream realized.

I left Capella, 8 years in the corporate world, 7 years downtown Minneapolis.

I am self-employed.

I've tried writing this post several times and have put it off several times, but I have to write something, even if I don't feel like it will do justice.

What began out of desperation, just short of 5 years ago, when Isaac was born and the idea of returning to work in a position I despised, at a company I disliked even more, has now allowed me to stay home with my children. 

In December 2008, we combined our Christmas bonuses to purchase a Canon Rebel XS and two kit lenses. Reading back, I was surprised to read that it was Tony who teared up when telling me it was what we should do with our money and how proud I was of those 10.1 mp. Two quotes immediately stood out to me:

In what may prove to be the worst money management decision that we have made to date . . .  

It's the most illogical decision we've ever made, but I think that the results will far outweigh the cost!

What I didn't anticipate however was that my pictures wouldn't magically appear professional with just the click of the button. I shot on Auto for a few weeks, but grew increasingly more frustrated, discouraged and ultimately embarrassed, so I put it away.

The pieces didn't start to come together until after I met Gina for a maternity session at 29 weeks pregnant, while she was offering studio mini sessions. It baffles me how much God has accomplished in our lives through our friendship in the last 5 years. Truly baffles me.

With her encouragement and our budding friendship, which only took me a few months to realize that even though we weren't hanging out weekly, the girl kept calling me daily, my desire to pursue photography was reignited. We went from high school rivals to a genuineness and authenticity that astounded me. I honestly never believed a friendship could be so beneficial, uplifting and challenging. From the beginning we didn't stay surface level, we were honest and that honesty has been nurtured since.

The single largest catalyst was when Isaac was born. I was absolutely beyond desperate to change the course of our lives and cried out to God to hear my heart, as I was not in any position to do so. Just prior to having Isaac, my pay had been cut in half, leaving me to change jobs at 5 1/2 months pregnant. Tony and I weren't living extravagantly, but suddenly the income we relied on had been stripped away. Our need to budget became acutely painful and we slashed our bills severely. Our grocery budget for our little family was $30 per week, for all meals. There were some days that I ate a can of tuna for lunch, and that was it.

And there I was, with the pipe dream of starting a photography business.

Tony appealed to my Mom, who was already helping us by watching Isaac at daycare, without charge. He came to my Mom and stressed how much I was floundering and the depth to which I hated being away from Isaac and specifically my job. My Mom in turn picked up an extra daycare child and bought my first nice lens, a 16-35mm, allowing me to shoot sessions indoors.

Tony believed in me, especially when I didn't.

There were so many times I questioned why I was pouring myself into something that clearly would never come to fruition.

But Tony never once, in action or word, ever cast doubt on my dream. He never once uttered a word to undermine my efforts. I find it absolutely astonishing that, even through some truly dark days, he didn't ever lob an underhanded comment. 

I had so much to learn, but Gina helped me at every step, from creating my business, emails, client interactions and letting me 2nd shoot for her. It wasn't a mentor relationship. Our friendship strengthened nearly every day and I'm so grateful that God paired us.

Without a shadow of doubt, I wouldn't be here today without Tony, my Mom and Gina.

I'd be remiss not to mention the dozens of friends and family who early on and have continued to put their faith in me. This blog has also played a part, as I've met several blog readers, some of who have even become real life friends. Thank you.

Last Friday I cried several times.

Not once was it out of sadness.

There wasn't a tinge of bittersweet.

I cried out of feeling inferior to receive such a lavish blessing, or I should say blessings, year after year. Oh, their were hardships of course, but so many more blessings.

I cried to remember how much effort it took to finally be able to say, "I quit." The late nights that started with earlier mornings to edit essentially around the clock. There were months where I didn't get a day or night off.

I cried to think of how much our marriage has survived, how thin Tony and I have stretched ourselves, but especially our relationship, in order to be in the house we are, and the ability to say that I am a full time photographer. I thank God that through it all we chose to find our way back to each other.

I cried to reflect, to actually let my heart hold the weight of so many memories that led to this day. The depth of the panic, desperation, failures, pessimism, all of which shrank in comparison to the effort, encouragement, successes and wonderful connections that led to this day.

I don't know what the future holds.

But I'm not afraid of it.

God has shown His provision and faithfulness, despite our lack of understanding of the circumstances, and I trust in His plan far more than the ones we put together.

I quit, but it only just begins.


Molly said...

Oh, how I love your story Leah. It is such an inspiration. If only I would be so blessed. But unfortunately, I'm going back to work at six weeks with no end in sight. It pains me. My heart breaks. But I have to believe that maybe, just maybe, there is something else for me.

Sara said...

Leah, your hard work, dedication and love for your littles is truly amazing. I found your blog unexpectedly years ago and have been following ever since. Silently. I can't wait to watch your talent with images and your love of mama hood really come to life now that you have that freedom. Congrats! CAn't wait to see 2014 for your family!

Heather Laura Clarke said...

I'm so happy for you, Leah! I, too, quit my corporate job after having my first child, and now make a living by working at home as a freelance writer/editor. It's challenging, but I'm so grateful to be at home with my son and daughter. You're going to love it.

sierra said...

I've followed your blog for a while and I am so excited for you! I, too, knew I wasn't cut out to be a "working mom" in corporate America and it hurt my heart to leave my baby and go back to work. I feel so fortunate to have been able to realize my dream of being home with my kids after the birth of my second and I love every bit of it.

You're going to do great and you will love having more time with your kids. Congrats!

Jessica said...

An absolutely beautiful story of God's faithfulness and the strength of your family. Congrats on your new chapter :)

Gina Horkey said...

So excited for you! Continue to trust.

The Edberg's said...

Yahoo! I am so excited for you, Tony and the kiddos. You are a wonderful photographer and are sure to be successful. You can do this!!

Rose said...

This is a perfect example of God's!! It is not something we can earn or buy, it is a gift that he gives to us even if we are undeserving!

That said, you have worked so hard and you DO deserve this! Wow!! I am so excited to see what the future holds for you and your beautiful family. You have been in my thoughts since the 20th and I can only imagine how high your spirits are. I love seeing how God's light shines through you.

Looking forward to going on the ride with you! Thank you for sharing this new tick on your lifeline with us.


Julie S. said...

I have been rooting for you for what seems like forever, and you are such an inspiration to me! What a beautiful post!

Kier said...

I have been eagerly waiting for this post. Leah, I am so proud of you and all that you have accomplished. I look forward to seeing you grown in this new position and flourish. It is an absolute honor to call you my friend - just remember that when you become a world renowned photographer! ;)

Joi said...

What a journey! Now for the next leg of it! I believe in you! xo

Gina Zeidler said...


Unknown said...

I've followed you off and on for several years now and was so excited to see this dream become a reality for you as I came to check in :) I am very blessed in Canada to have a full year maternity leave and a husband who agreed having me home was important so now I have quit my job and am WAHM - it is a joy every day! Enjoy:)

Unknown said...

Children are the blessing of God. I pray every one should have this blessing in their homes. Get here professional dissertation writing when you are going for solve last year research paper in university class.

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