new year personalblog

I’m excited about all the possibility that 2014 brings.  When the clock struck 12:00 the slate was wiped clean and a new year began.   The ability to make wrongs right.  I am ready.

I recently wrote about a very special gift my parents gave our family for Christmas and how that gift turned into an “ah-ha” moment for me.  It is no mystery that I have been struggling in a couple different areas of my life over the past couple months.  I felt pressure to figure them out and find conclusions so that I could start the new year with an open mind.  I was searching for answers.  If you happened to run into me over the past 2 months I probably said something like, “I am really worried about Graces future.” or “Running a small business is a lot harder then I thought.” Believe me I think I speak these phrases while I sleep.

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They both very much go hand in hand in my little world.  I am a planner.  I have six kids and guess what? was very much planned.  I start preparing for Halloween in August and Christmas in October.  I can’t help it.  I plan.  I am very much aware of the opportunities (or lack there of) available to my daughter when she is an adult and I have had very real conversations recently discussing the problems with the employment opportunities for individuals who have disabilities in our country and the verdict is not good.  These young adults and their families essentially have to beg for volunteer opportunities.  You completely read that correctly.  They have to beg to volunteer. Well this breaks my heart.  Not just for my daughter but for all the people in this world living with an intellectual disability.

The exciting thing is that I have some control over this.  I created my own personal business.  5 boys + 1 girl = 6 Photography was created for a lot of reasons.  Art, imagery and human connections are my passion.  Photography fits like a glove and the creative process as well as the business offer my daughter a launching pad into the professional work force.

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I have learned so much over the past 2.5 years, good and bad.  I have a new respect for my family that is filled with entrepreneurs that I would never have had without opening my own business.  My biggest struggle has and continues to be managing how much I give of myself and the ability to help my husband support our family.

It is important to me that 5 boys + 1 girl = 6 Photography is successful.  Not only for my own creative needs but to help raise these 6 amazing kids as well as provide my daughter a future.  With that being said I had to make some tough decisions as I looked at the bottom lines and realized I gave way more in 2013 then was able to.  I had to make a promise to my family and myself that I would treat my business as just that a business.

I had a conflict in my heart because sharing my love of photography in support others is who I am.  I just could not figure out how to make that happen and help support the future of our family.  Friends and family gave me great advice but nothing seemed to sit the way I wanted it to.  My heart struggled because I just could not come up with the best solution for myself and the future of 5 boys + 1 girl = 6 Photography.

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This past weekend my parents gave each of us a gift of money and challenged us to use it in honor of JOY.  Use a little for Jesus, a little for others and a little for ourselves (yourselves).  What a concept!  It was the answer to my prayers that I unfortunately did not pray for enough for.  God heard my worries even when I was not asking him for guidance.  He once again gave me an opportunity to make this right for myself and my family.

Because of my parents and JOY – Jesus, Others and Myself I am starting “Project Joy”.  I am taking a portion of my Christmas gift and I am using it to provide a limited number of free sessions through out the year.  I want to hug and high five other people who give a portion of themselves to others.  I want to continue to support all people who happen to be living with a disability by showing them just how beautiful they are.  I want to give families struggling with lifes challenges a moment in time they can forever cherish through pictures.    We all need those fist bumps and big human hugs to fill our cups up.  Guess what?  THAT is what makes this world a better place!

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To continue to support my “Project Joy” I will be taking a portion of the money from each of my booked sessions in 2014 and allocating it for future gifts to deserving people!  Every 10 full sessions I book will equal 1 gifted session to a deserving family.  As long as I am growing my business I can continue to support others who are a part of what makes this world beatuiful!

I want to start today.  I want YOU to write in and tell me about someone who has made an impact on your life.  Someone you work with or someone you admire because they radiate JOY.  Maybe that person is YOU.  Maybe YOU make the world brighter.  I wanna hear about it.  I will be sharing these stories with my husband and children.  My family together will choose the person/family at the end of January that will receive a full session including images.  (All sessions will take place in the Palos Park, IL area.)

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I can’t wait!  I am so thankful that my parents gave me the opportunity to share my love for photography with others who share themselves and make this world a better place!  Its the ripple effect!  YOU can support this project by booking your own session!  All the details are on 5 Boys + 1 Girl = 6 Photography and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for all the updates and future opportunities to nominate deserving people throughout the year as well as stories of JOY!!  I look forward to capturing your memories!

My neighbor heard about my parents project and she brought over a beautiful book called Christmas Jars and a jar full of money.  She believes in the beauty of JOY and wanted our family to help her spread it to others this year. (Insert a flood of tears)  This is what new beginnings are all about, spreading JOY together.  It is contagious.

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Happy 2014!  Cheers to a successful year of caring for ourselves, others and serving Jesus.


Special thanks for Jessica from Lemongrass Photography for the beautiful pictures of our family.