Thursday, February 13, 2014

needing and finding

my little sister's husband is a programmer. he is probably one of the top programmers in the state and loves what he does. he's able to change jobs on a whim because companies are lining up outside his door. they will never have to worry about money. ever. they go on extravagant vacations around the world, have a beautiful home, and talk of living abroad someday. they are also amazing examples of being generous and giving with their resources. i'm sure there are plenty of ways that i don't even know about in which they've given their money but, just as an example, they are the youngest couple to be consistent scholarship donors for BYU. pretty amazing. i love them and am so proud of them both.

but sometimes it's hard. it's hard to not compare our financial situation to theirs and know that we will never have many of those luxuries. it's hard knowing that instead of abundance, we have to carefully watch our bank accounts every month to make sure we can make ends meet while also trying our best to get out of debt. it's hard knowing that if we don't bring in additional, supplemental income each month via freelance work and/or photography, then we'll have to dip into savings.

i for sure don't mean to sound ungrateful or make our situation out to be some dire, awful circumstance. because it's not at all. we work hard and we are greatly blessed. we've had the opportunity to exercise our faith more than once in this area and are always surprised at how things have worked out so well. we live very comfortable lives and have enough for our needs and wants. it's just interesting how so much can suddenly seem like so, so little when compared to another.

the other day, chas jokingly said to me, "wulp. i'm sorry that i'm not a programmer."
i quickly responded, "i'm so glad you aren't a programmer. because of you and your work in film, i've discovered my love for photography. and i wouldn't give up the creative drive, fulfillment, and happiness that photography gives me for any amount of trips to paris or nicer cars. my life is better because of it."

and it's true!

throughout my life, i've always needed to be doing art. for years and years, i did painting and drawing- even got my BA in it. but then, after hero came, i found it more and more difficult to find the time to get out my paints and get to work. and then my desire to paint began to wane slowly. and then i just stopped painting altogether. and it was alright because i knew that i didn't want to paint solely because i felt like it was something i "should" do. i wanted to do it purely for the love of doing it. and that love had gone.

instead, focusing all my attention on my new baby was bliss but also unsatisfying in some ways. i discovered that i needed more than one dimension to fill my days. i yearned to be working towards something creative for myself but wasn't sure of what that was. eventually, our little film company, kelly arts films, was born from this desire to DO something and to work from home while being creative.

about 9 months after we started making our films together, i was asked to shoot some high school senior photos. i'd been operating a camera for 9 months but that was video- could i also do photography? i somewhat nervously gave it a go, and LOVED it. not only did i love the experience of shooting the photos but was also pleasantly surprised at how good they actually came out! i was hooked. i immediately did a mentorship with a local photographer so i could learn how to edit in lightroom and then began shooting as much and as often as i could. first, just friends and family who were willing to let me practice on them briefly. and, as i did so, i continued to be surprised at how naturally it all came and how very happy every one was with their photos. win win!

i've worked my bum off the last year and have managed to build up a good-sized portfolio of images that i am immensely proud of. and- what's more- i'm continue to try to learn and grow as a photographer. there's so much more to know and so many ways i can improve. i'm participating in a small all-day workshop with my photographer idol in april and have bought a film camera and even had my first all-film shoot a few days ago.

photography has been such a fun and unexpected blessing. it's given me an outlet for my creativity and drive to work while also providing us with some great extra cash flow. in fact, my photography work played a huge role in allowing us to purchase our house!

so while we'll likely always have to be "worrying" about money to some extent, i'm glad for it. out of the need has sprung a wealth of amazing opportunities for chas and i to work hard together and grow together- both individually and as a team.


zben said...

So glad you are back writing Sam, you are a strong brilliant woman married to a strong brilliant man, and you are making strong brilliant babies! I love you all!

This post really resonates with me. C's older brother is a programmer and makes triple figures and switches jobs all the time because EVERYBODY wants him. And we are in a similar boat to you, struggling financially, and having our boat rocked by some tough work stuff that while no fun, has made us both look long and hard at what we really want to be doing, and to work harder for that, and trusting in the Lord.

Jenna Foote said...

I love your work and I'm glad you guys aren't fancy programmers. :) Not that porgrammers aren't useful, but we need art in the world too. I've always said it's best to be happy doing what you do, no matter how much or how little money it brings in. My husband would be a very successful salesman but he hates sales to death so he stick with operational work. We don't make much but we're happy! And I know I could have been a great anchor, reporter, producer, musician, etc ... but I have chosen to stay at home with my children right now and freelance a little on the side. And I'm happy! So yay. Good for doing what you love and being happy about it.

Maddie said...

We're in a very similar situation. It's really hard to not have the gimme's sometimes. You're such and example to me of being able to meld the "stay at home mom" with doing what makes you feel fulfilled as a person and working to support your family. We've been trying to figure this out and it's been really hard sometimes feeling like I have to say no to everything or that we'll never have the nice things that I dream of.

Janssen said...

Sam, you are such an inspiration to me in so many ways. I wish we were neighbors so I could soak in your awesomeness in real life.

Thanks for this post. More than you know.

Amanda, Jack, Corban, Gabe, and Chloe said...

I have LOVED seeing snippets of each of your shoots! You truly are a natural. I think that part of the reason you are so completely amazing at it, is because of your solid grasp of lighting. You began as an artist, painting and manipulating light you were creating with your brush strokes. In some ways you are still manipulating light with your hands, and camera. And it's coming across beautifully. Thank you for sharing!!