I have started about 20 posts in the last week or so, and I naturally start on a particular topic but, before I know it, the topic quickly fades and I start rambling about why I've been absent from blogland. It isn't because I'm lazy and it certainly isn't because I don't have the content. Trust me, after this year, I have enough content to write a book and that is not a joke.
What is important though is having the faith and the constant prayer to get you through tough times. Never giving up I say. Getting up when life kicks you down. Getting up over and over again when it holds you down and plants your face in the mud. I just get up and thank life for the facial.
That said, something really, really, AWESOME happened recently.
I got a new job.
As in... I. GOT. A. NEW. JOB.
And not as in ANY JOB...but a JOB that will LOVE. It will be FUN. It will be CREATIVE. AND I get to work with three really awesome people.
As most of you know, I am a photographer and that occupies all my evenings and all of my weekends. For the last three years (even before I started the photography journey) I have been working for a marketing company in Austin Monday through Friday 8 to 5. On the side, I have worked as a wedding coordinator for a small little wedding venue, as well as an assistant creative photographer for Be Inspired Events & Design with my dear friend Nycia. On top of all that, I still have networking events, meetings, e-mails, social media, etc going on...AND the important things like family & friends who actually like me and want to spend time with me. ;) Needless to say, I'm pretty busy...and seriously exhausted. I don't know how many nights I stayed up til' 4 in the morning trying to meet deadlines, only to wake up at 7 and get to work at 8 and then TRY and be productive at a semi-stressful job. Way too many to count. Trust me, the wrinkles on my face are PROOF. *WOOF!*
I have been tired. I've lost my sparkle and I was going through the motions day in and day out. I almost lost sight of the true meaning of LIFE and LIVING IN THE MOMENT. I've been so wrapped up with just doing, that I forgot to live.
Most days I go to work with a wet bun on my head and not a lick of make-up looking like a zombie. Friends and family would see me and say, "SHAY! You look awful!" or "SHAY! You have to take care of yourself sweetie!" or "Shalyn Lanaeeeee, you look dead!"
Not kidding y'all. I've received a lot of stares and "You look tired" comments this year. On top of the work related stresses, I've had a bad string of luck and a couple of serious family emergencies that have without a doubt taken me through a loop hole of stress.
I've had talks with Drew this past year about just quitting my job and taking that leap of faith to be a full-time photographer. However, with the curve balls life has thrown our way, there was just NO way financially to float on his income alone. Drew works so hard, and I work so hard, surely we could figure SOMETHING OUT right?
All I wanted was my life back. My sparkle. My smile. My zing for life to just come back.
I've been wanting to take a leap of faith for a really, really long time, but we just haven't been dealt the best financial cards, which left me with the three jobs.
Eventually, I told Andrew there was just NO way I could keep the three jobs, and thankfully, the wedding venue didn't really need me anymore since they ended up hiring someone full-time for the weekends.
So, then there I was. With two jobs. One job that paid the bills...and one job that I without a doubt loved with my whole heart.
Starting a business isn't cheap, and well, the bills still have to be paid. We've had our share of hardships come our way and there just isn't anything we can do but continue to work our butts off and make ends meet.
That's when I handed it all over to God.
Y'all...I've been praying so hard. LONG and HARD for A REALLY, REALLY long time for an answer to all of this. Do I quit this job that I knew wasn't my dream job and not pay our bills and solely focus on photography and hope and pray that the business takes off? Or do I stick it out and just hope and pray something comes my way that will bless me in more ways than one and allow me the opportunity to LOVE my job again?
About two weeks ago, it was about 3 a.m. and I was sitting at my laptop at the kitchen table. I had cried a lot that night because things just kept going wrong and I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel that I so desperately needed.
Drew was in bed, my Mom was sleeping on my couch, and Piper and Furlee were sleeping next to me on the bench.
I was playing around on Facebook and I saw a Facebook post that Hey Sweet Pea had posted and I remember thinking to myself, "Now that would be a FUN job. How cool is it that she gets to brand people's dreams?"
I browsed her Facebook page a bit looking at all of her logos and designs (feeling inspired because I am rebranding my business right now) and just thinking, "SHE ROCKS!"
I left her page, and kept scrolling around other friends status's from that day, liking the ones that made me smile or laugh, etc.
At about 3:45 a.m. I went outside to let the dogs out. I don't know what made me want to sit in my chair outside and look at the sky and pray at that moment. But I did. I prayed HARD. I asked God for forgiveness for being impatient with him and constantly WANTING things that I didn't even know if I deserved. I mean, I thought I deserved them, but I felt selfish for WANTING them. I prayed for peace and understanding for all these lessons he's given me this year. I prayed that I get my soul back because I was tired of living this lifestyle.
I walked back inside, watched the rest of my photos export, and yawned my way to my bed.
That next morning, I woke up late. I had an emergency with my Mom, and I had to text my boss to tell her that I would be late. I drove my Mom to my brother's house, and while I was waiting for her, I sat there with my phone in my hand. I was crying at the time because it was a really rough morning and it seemed that everything was spinning out of control. More tears flowed down my face (this was becoming too normal for my liking) and I just remember looking up and saying, "I NEED YOU."
I have never felt more helpless in my life. I really wish I could expand on things right now, but I just can't. Some things need to be private but just trust me when I say things have been downright HARDDDDD. I tend to get on my phone a lot when I'm nervous or bored (I'm normal! haha) and I hadn't been on twitter in awhile, so I opened up that little white and blue bird icon on my phone.
*Scroll* *Scroll* *Scroll*
I see a tweet going on between Ruthie & Elise about Elise and her husband Scott relocating to Austin. I remember thinking, "Wait, is that Elise from Hey Sweet Pea!?"
Sure enough, it was. I didn't think much of it, so I continued scrolling with my finger tips and then BAM. At the very top of my tweet deck, there she was:
"We are also looking for a Project Manager so if you know of anyone, send them my way."
At this moment, time stood still. What are the chances!? I was just looking at her Facebook page the night before!?? The tears on my cheek dried up, and I felt like I was having a moment in a movie where the clouds cleared out and the sun came out to play.
Corny and dramatic, I know, but when I saw that, for some reason, it sent chills down my spine and I KNEW that this was my job.
I worked for a creative company when I lived in College Station part time when I was working for a Bridal Magazine and I LOVED IT. I have always LOVED design and I am obsessed with helping people, inspiring people, and I am extremely organized.
I immediately texted Ruthie the screenshot of the tweet and said, "PLEASE TELL ME YOU KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS!? OMGGGG!!!!"
Ruthie then replied immediately, "OMG SHALYN! YES! I will e-mail her immediately, CC you on the e-mail and introduce y'all.
I drove to work, with HOPE of PRAYERS being answered. This had to be an answered prayer. It had to be. I was so scared it wouldn't work out, but when I got scared I knew that if it was in His plan, then this would be it.
When I got to work, I realized that I hadn't received an e-mail (it had only been 30 minutes haha) so I got brave and I messaged Elise on Facebook about the position.
Shortly after that, I received the e-mail of introductions from Ruthie, and Elise responded, I responded, she then Facebook messaged me, and I messaged her, and then she followed up with an e-mail about the job position that was MUSIC to my ears.
SWEET BABY JESUS I thought. THIS JOB IS PERFECT. BEYOND PERFECT. It's exactly what I've been praying for to a "T" y'all. Everything it required, I could do. I felt my fire come back. My eyes sparkled and my heart was pounding through my chest.
I e-mailed her back my resume. Everything just fell into place. We interviewed over Skype and y'all...I LOVE ELISE AND SCOTT. I just wanted to reach through my computer and hug their necks.
They offered me the job on a Thursday via Skype, and as soon as I got off the interview, Andrew was eavesdropping in the hallway and we just bolted for each other and screamed! He picked me up and I just screamed and jumped on my couch in excitement. You think I'm joking, but I'm really not. I put my two weeks notice in that Friday at my company, and thankfully, everyone is super happy for me. People have been coming up to my desk this past week telling me Congratulations and that they will miss me, which is a good feeling knowing that I've made some really great friends. I even had one of the directors at the company take me aside and he hugged me and got teary eyed because he was sad to see me go. He has been a fatherly figure for me at the company since day one. As sad as it is to say goodbye, I feel at peace. This Friday will be my LAST day at my marketing company. It's bittersweet because I am going to miss my friends at work and interacting with them on a daily basis. I will miss them so, so, so much. However, I know this is the path I need to take. I'm walking on Faith and I just can't imagine all of the wonderful things that are to come. I'm jumping and I'm going for my dreams. :)
I feel honored and I feel blessed. Who would have ever thought I'd find a dream job via TWITTER!? See y'all!? Social Media ROCKS! There is a little more I'm not elaborating on (probably wouldn't have thought that since this is already a novel post), but seriously, it's just crazy how everything fell into place. As of now, I will be working for Hey Sweet Pea and Shalyn Nelson Photography. This opportunity will allow me to work on photography and contribute my heart and soul to the things I love the most: BEING CREATIVE. I may even get to join the cool kids club and go to bed at a decent hour!??! OMG my eyelids are so happy. I will be working FROM HOME (PERFECT) until Hey Sweet Pea has their studio here which literally makes me want to break dance like a fool! Noooo lie! :)
I can't help but just shake myself and ask, "DID THIS REALLY JUST HAPPEN!?" It really could not have happened at a better time. It was a true gift from God, I honestly believe that. This job is going to be awesome and it will allow me the chance to do what I love. What is better than that!? I am so thankful and so blessed. Want to know something crazy too!? Elise told me that she was PRAYING for someone who used smiley faces in their e-mails!? Um, I'm the queeeeeen of smiley faces (I overuse them in fact, no shame!?) and I ended my Facebook message with a "P.s.) I am sorry for all of the smiley faces! I tend to do that when I get realllyyyy excited!"
Tell me this isn't fate!? Or just an awesome answered prayer.
HEY SWEET PEA <----CHECK IT OUT.