it started out as the most exciting opportunity...
my new Be Your Own Beautiful…girls, teens and women's seminars, are doing just lovely….actually, they are doing more than that. they are nearly exploding in my hands…the response has been unreal!
and an invitation to go to NYC and present at this wonderful national event….
i couldn't help but be excited, and all "WOW" about it :))).
but leading up to the event, things were far from lovely.
i got really sick….i mean really, really sick.
i was thankful that i was getting it when it came on, instead of when i was scheduled to arrive in NYC, but i was anxious about getting over it in time to leave for the trip.
then 2 of my kids got it. chaz came down with it.
and have i mentioned the weather?
if you are from this area, you know EXACTLY what i'm talking about…if you aren't, this is what it looked outside our house… (excuse my poor iPhone photos)
the snow was unreal…more was on it's way…we wondered if we could even get to the city….
but i was on a mission...
the mission that God had placed on my heart….
i needed to go to NYC and everywhere else to shout from the mountaintops this message:
Psalm 139:13-16 (MSG)
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out...
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever...
i had a total of 9 people leaving for NYC from DUBOIS to attend this event.
I was honored, humbled, excited...
i hitched a ride with my great friends, buffy and ang..
buffy and ang each brought their teen daughters to attend the seminar.
we arrived…we shopped, we lost our car (ALWAYS take selfies where you park your car so you can go back and put together where you parked your car!)…and just took tourist photos :)
i met up with my pal krissy later, and we grabbed a bite to eat before heading back to her brooklyn apt.
heading to bed that night, i was thinking of the conference the next day.
there were a lot of changes made at the last minute...
and as much as i have done public speaking and performing (singing, acting or a live photoshoot), i started to find myself nervous and insecure….
krissy and i had a long talk about striving for our dreams and accomplishing our missions in life.
how could i start to feel that i was beginning to sink? wasn't i at the beginning? wasn't this supposed to be exciting and easy now that i had a direction??
krissy reminded me that the closer i get to what i am called (and what God is calling me) to do, the more resistance i will get. it all made so much sense.
and the next morning, with ample amount of time to spare, we headed to the conference.
from brooklyn, we took the subway to wall street...
well, we tried to take the subway...
the trains were all running on a crazy, insane, frustrating holiday schedule since it was President's day.
we kept switching trains to catch the right one…and each time we switched, we hauled all of my camera equipment and computers….
ummm...it went downhill quickly.
20 minutes before the conference was to start, we gave up and grabbed a cab.
we arrived (whew), and i ran inside to greet my new friends, and to get set up as quickly as possible.
from here, things were far from what i had planned in my mind and on paper.
in my head, things were out of my realm of control.
in my mind, my mission got fuzzy and my "performance" felt strained.
and i looked at my dear friends (krissy & buffy ) and they reminded me to look back to my mission.
and what is that? my mission…my goal…my message?
it is to reach hearts and souls...
it is to show throughout the tangible evidence of a photograph that YOUR MIRROR LIES…that there are traits inside each and everyone of us that are miraculously, and beautifully and uniquely made, and that they are EXQUISITE.
it is to show girls, teens, and women alike that their value and their worth come from the very place in their souls that was created by their loving heavenly father who created this breathtaking world that we live in, and if HE could create a universe that looks like this, how much greater is the beauty that He planted in each and every one of His children???
it is to show women of every age that the perspective that they see themselves from is FALSE…that if we can learn to change our perspective, (just as a photographer grows in their craft by changing their perspective), that our view of ourselves will be more magnificent than we could have ever imagined.
and that the view and the perspective i am striving to show them is TRUTH.
that is my mission.
not how eloquently the words flow from my mouth...
not how many people think i am cool, or interesting, or even how recognized my photographs or my name becomes. it is leading girls…it is teaching teens…it is revealing truth to women.
my mission, i accomplished.
and not to my glory, but His.
no, not for me...
but for Sarah…for Delfine…for Marieanna and for Alexis…for Sunni and Alliyah and Kassandra...
and for each of those girls that heard and saw.
and maybe the best way to conclude is through the words of Mother Teresa:
"I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that He will guide me to do whatever I'm supposed to do. I used to pray for answers, but now I'm praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things."
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