I wanted to take this opportunity on #americanbusinesswomensday to share my journey of becoming an American Business Woman – from a teenage California girl with a crazy dream to take photos for a living, to a Texan wife, mom, and woman of God serving in ministry while growing the photo business of my dreams.
My photography journey began after taking a photography class as a homeschooled freshman. Pretty quickly I knew I found my passion, and started capturing memories for friends and their families at the age of 16. For my first job, I also worked at JCP Portrait Studio, where I learned about studio photography and worked with a variety of clients.
After graduating high school, I continued my education at CSU, Chico and received my Bachelor of Art with an emphasis in Photography in 2015. During my college years, I studied all types of art (figure studies, drawing, painting, sculpture and more) along with ins and outs of photography...it's history, working with film and using a darkroom, different artistic perspectives, along with how to use a camera and various editing programs.
While in school I also met my husband Robbie. After I graduated, we escaped California in search of a place that matched our ideals and our rural/country lifestyle, and by chance, we found ourselves on the outskirts of Waco, Texas in 2017.
Our move to Texas has been filled with amazing blessings, but has not been without many struggles along the way. We moved here only with the things we could fit in our two vehicles and less than $2k to make it all work. We spent our first weeks eating only PB&Js and showering in a truck stop bathroom while set up our utilities and found jobs. We spent our first few months living in a house that should have been condemned....but, it was OURS. Together, my husband and I have known what it was like to be broke, living on nothing more than our hope for tomorrow.
Fortunately in the midst of these hard times, we were invited to Top Hand Cowboy Church, where two people who hadn't attended church in years (and certainly never together) immediately found our church home and family. It clicked for both of us exactly why we were called to Texas. Just 6 months after our move, we were baptized in Lake Waco and were married in the church the very same day. On this day, I placed my trust in Jesus, and decided that even through the hardest moments, that I knew who's hands we were in, and that we were exactly where we were meant to be.
It wasn't until the devastation from the sudden loss of my job at 6 months pregnant with our first baby (less than a month after buying our house), that this trust in God was really put to the test. After a few days of prayer (and a little wallowing in self pity), I realized it was the opportunity to turn my part time photo business into my full time gig, something I had always hoped for but never had the courage to quit my day job to pursue. Sometimes, what seems like the worst day of your life can turn into the biggest blessing you have ever received.
So in the midst of what felt like the end of the world (especially to someone who struggles with severe anxiety and depression), I took it as an opportunity to chase my lifelong dream. I started to grow my photo business, slowly but surely. I was also blessed with the opportunity by a dear friend to create social media content for her real estate business and was able to supplement my income while things took off.
Not long after this, while running my business, creating content, and being a stay at home mom to my sweet baby girl, I felt a calling to serve in the church ministry as well. So, I volunteered to help with their print and social media as well.
About a year later, we welcomed our second baby, and shockingly, I felt overwhelmed with responsibility. My photo business was doing amazing, I was staying home and caring for two babies under two years old, while also running and creating content for multiple social media accounts. Eventually, I broke down and realized something had to give. I talked to my husband, prayed a lot, and then talked to our Pastor about my situation. I decided that I needed to follow my passions, and realized that this meant continuing with my photo business (of course), and joining the church ministry full time, and let go of the things that I was not passionate about.
So, that is how I got to where I am today! My dream of being an American Businesswoman may not look the same as those who desire to shatter glass ceilings and climb the corporate ladder, but it has allowed me to grow my photo business, support my family while staying home with them, and also serve in ministry (which I never expected to do).
If you want to be able to follow your passion or “do it all” – stay at home with kids and run a business – I want to encourage you! Although I may not have all the answers, my inbox is always open if you need a little encouragement or advice. I promise it is not easy, but with hard work, dedication, and whole lot of prayer, it is possible.
"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" Philippians 4:13