Tuesday night was a huge night for me. Not to get all drama on you, but I seriously nearly passed out.
When Charley was born I took 6-months maternity leave. And, the winter prior to that I took 4-months trophy-wife leave. So, from November 2009 to January 2011 I had 10 months to just do a whole lotta nothing. And, it was awesome (minus the weight I gained from being so lazy)! Doing little productive externally, I’ve learned, is when I am most productive internally. It’s when I grow the most as an individual and when I’ve grown the most as an entrepreneur. So, during that year I dreamed of all the ways I could grow my online workshops.
In 2011 I scaled down on mentoring and shoots, focused on being a mom and continued to do what I knew best: my workshops. I taught five and with every one my desire to do something a bit different, a bit more grew with intensity. I spent all kinds of time brainstorming, dreaming, writing and wracking my brain. I considered teaching another more advanced workshop. I considered hosting a live workshop here in Cincinnati. I considered all kinds of things, but none of them made me very excited.
Finally, one super random night last November the idea came to me (or more so, the Lord felt it fit to reveal it to me). All along I had been thinking so streamlined, so unoriginal. I knew I wanted to do something different and more, but I was also growing so tired and despondent about the industry I have seen evolve in the last 4-5 years. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to continue forward or move on to something else all together (i.e. work at Home Depot which I still plan to do before I die). But, on that seemingly random night it occurred to me that I didn’t have to do either. I could continue to foster artists in a way that was life-giving, but not play a role in the “who’s cooler than who,” “whose website and logo is fancier,” “who edits better than who” way.
I don’t want to be a sourpuss. And, I don’t want to disrespect what the camera means to me. Unlike most every other professional photographer, I had no idea I was more of an artist than anything until COLLEGE. After Corey and I were married was when I started to really see how much life I got from creating things. The camera helped me see not only how much I loved to learn new things and create pretty images, but also how much I loved to paint and build and tile and sew. My whole life I was trying to be a mathematician or scientist when all along I should have been taking art classes and majoring in photography (although ultimately I’m glad I didn’t). This is what has fueled my passion to help others find those untapped creative pockets.
I believe God makes each of us creative to help us come to know Him better. And, we can only know Him better when we are exercising our creativity in a way that is authentic to who He has created us to be. When I thought of the idea for an online photography school, I simultaneously envisioned people growing into their own, finding healing through creating art and making a difference in the world they and we all live in.
I have made some really poor decisions in my life and I’m also a bit pompous, hot-headed and stubborn. I only want these attributes to come out when they are relating to fighting for justice for someone. Otherwise, I wish them to stay buried. So, I spent deliberate time in prayer when first laying out the groundwork (something I don’t do enough) for Define and God said again and again (even in a crazy, wild dream one night where I woke up and saw a tiger our room!) to be generous. That was when I had the idea to have the school support non-profits. If ever I want the school to succeed for monetary gain I will undoubtedly grow weary. But, I believe wholeheartedly that if I desire the school to grow with wild success so that we can all make an impact on our world then I know I am operating out of a meaningful place.
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Tuesday night is when the site went live and the announcement was made via newsletter, Facebook and Twitter. Define is so personal to me and I have put so much time and energy, tears and high-fives into it. I was convinced it would not be well received. I felt so much excitement, but it was laced with an immense amount of inadequacy, fear and sadness. It was quite strange actually. Wednesday, I woke up and still felt an overwhelming mix of emotions so I decided to fast from the internet for the day and just be with the girls. Best decision ever.
I woke up Thursday feeling totally revived and enthusiastic about what God has in store for this school. I did not get every teacher on board I originally had in mind, but the ones that I did are exactly the type I hoped for. They have all been carefully chosen and I feel so blessed to have a team of 11 people who are passionate about the art, love the idea of teaching others and want to see the school make a difference in our world, even if it’s just a small one.
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I could write so much more about what I’ve experienced and learned these past 6-months. And, I plan to do so. But, for now I wanted to make the announcement here for those of you who may not have heard.
You can see the site here, including the classes being offered and we would be indebted if you liked us on Facebook and connected to us everywhere else (pinterest, twitter, tumblr). Oh, and of course (like, duh, of course) we would be most thrilled if you signed up for a class or two or three when they open for registration.
Feeling so blessed for having even more of a reason to connect with you all…
p.s. because giveaways are fun some lucky person who links to us on any of our social networking will be given a $1000 scholarship to the school to be announced Friday, May 25th. Retweets, Facebook shout outs, etc are considered an extra entry.