My Photography Journey
Anyone who asked my little brother what he wanted to be when he grew up always got the same answer: a dump truck. As silly and adorable as that was, he was so sure of himself and so confident in his answer, it was almost possible to start believing that it was a viable dream. 
I, on the other hand, was the exact opposite. I was painfully shy and had no idea what I wanted to be or what I wanted out of life. 
When it was time to choose a major in college, I couldn’t put off deciding what I was going to be any longer, and I chose teaching.
My high school sweetheart, Aaron, proposed to me the summer after I graduated, which just so happened to be right before I traveled to India for a year-volunteering for a nonprofit organization that was starting a school for underprivileged kids in a city slum. We were married the next summer, following our very long-distance engagement! 
For the next five years, I taught third and fourth grade at the same small, private school that I used to attend, right here in Hood River, Oregon. I loved the kids, I loved their families, and I loved the teachers I worked with! It was an amazing environment, but once my first daughter, Isabelle, came along, I knew I needed to make a change. Time all of a sudden felt like it was flying by at a blinding pace, and I was missing out on so many important moments with her. I decided to put my teaching career on hold and stay home with her the following year. It was wonderful being able to slow the pace of life and spend more time in the moment with my daughter! 
At the same time, I felt a nagging need to do more, and maybe even give myself a chance to explore my desire for developing a creative outlet. 
Shortly after the birth of my second daughter, Olivia, my dear friendtographer, Laurel, suggested that I give photography a try. Thanks to Laurel’s gentle prodding, I bought my first “real” camera and started watching every instructional YouTube channel and reading every educational photography blog post and forum that I could find. (BTW there are a lot of them!) 
All of a sudden, this whole new beautiful, amazing, colorful, glorious world was opening up to me. 
It’s like in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy enters Oz and everything is all of a sudden in color. My life started coming into focus…no pun intended. Ok, maybe it was a little bit intended. Seriously though, I feel like I have found the piece of the puzzle that has been missing all this time. It took me over thirty years, but now I have the answer to that question that used to completely stump me as a kid, and I want to tell everyone about it!
I absolutely love everything about it! (Ok, fine, I don’t particularly care for the bookkeeping, numbers, and taxes side of things…but I love everything else!) 
I LOVE being able to freeze precious moments with my family in time so that I can look back on these memories with crystal clarity for years to come. I LOVE that I will be able to pass that on to my kids, and I LOVE that I get to do the same thing for other families! 
Time goes by so quickly, and I truly enjoy helping people capture these fleeting moments with each other, from pregnancy and birth to birthday parties, holidays, and special family times together as the children grow. Then before we know it, it’s on to high school seniors sessions and graduations, followed by engagements and weddings. As those young entrepreneurs go out into the world to make their mark, I want to be there then, too, helping to document and highlight their business achievements and the results of their hard work for the world to see. 
I’ve been told that to be successful in the world of photography, I need to have a niche. The specialization I choose is what will set me apart and bring me success...but I can't bring myself to totally buy into that. I believe I am already successful at photography because I love it and it brings me joy! If I can share some of that joy with the people around me by helping them capture moments in their lives that are important to them, then I consider myself REALLY successful!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about my story thus far! I am still just getting started, and I can't wait to see where this journey leads. 

Post Script: My little brother did eventually give up his dream of becoming a dump truck in favor of becoming a teacher, and he currently teaches in that same little classroom in which I used to teach, in the same little school in this wonderful little town we both love. 

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