carried in the stillness...

did you have a brother?  or a cousin or friend that you used to go swimming with? 

for me, i had a little brother by 2 years.  enough to be younger than me, but not young enough that i was any stronger or bigger than him. 

we had a pool at our house.

i remember when we would be swimming together, so many times, he would jump on my back and push me under.    oh how i hated that!

he'd hold me under, long enough for me to start to be afraid, then he would let me up.  i would gasp for air, look around, and wham, he'd push me under again. 

i remember trying to figure out what to do. 

if i called my mom, she wouldn't hear me.  she was mothering our 3 younger siblings inside. 

if i fought back, he would do it again and more. 

so by trial and error, i realized that if i stayed under, not fighting him, and just let it happen, that i was less scared, and i wasn't giving him satisfaction either.  that is what made him leave me alone. 

this isn't a slam on my brother ( i love him dearly!)

this is the only way i can describe what life has felt like for me, for a very long time. 

i hate drama.

i love being happy. 

i love everyone i love being happy. 

i like to fix things, and help people, and i like to look good and feel good. 

but in reality, the past 3 years have not held much of that in my life. sometimes i feel like a broken record that is stuck on a scratch that it can't move from.  i've been pushed down under the water so much over and over again, that i feel i've lost a sense of reality, and a lot of times, have a hard time judging a crisis because crisis has been so seemingly eternally present. 

a lot of time, i have even asked those closest to me.."is this really that bad?  or am i making something big out of a little thing?"  but those who love me, assure me, "oh yes...the stuff that keeps happening is real.  this is hard stuff...." and a lot of times, tears and hugs accompany those words. 

listen, this isn't a pity party.  but reality - it has been hard. 

most recently, life has held quite a bit of loss and serious illness.  again, pushing me under the water, as i thrash around trying to figure out what to do. 

and just like i learned in the pool, fighting my brother, i find now, that it has brought me to a point of stillness.

even with my business.

(DISCLAIMER - i am still booking and shooting tons and tons) 

BUT - i'm a planner, and an organizer, and a dreamer, and a do-er, but my spirit has just stopped all of that for awhile.  and you know what?  i'm totally ok with it.  

i'm under the water, and i'm releasing the instincts to push back.  lately, i've been learning that while i'm under there, that i need to move out into the deep even further.  the longer i'm under, the farther i go, the more i allow myself to feel, but to release my own strength, and i find myself being carried.  

there's a scripture in the bible that tells us that in our weakness, he is the strongest. ..

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 corinithians 12:9-11

in no way am i saying that i enjoy the hurts, the loss, even the fear i have sometimes of the unknown, and what is to come, but what i am saying is that in this extended time of brokenness, my heart has been filled with so much love, so much joy, so many tears and pain, but yes, even so, a peace.  

from people who love on me, and those that i love. 

from watching the strength of my mom as she walks and show us what to do in the deep.

to forgiving the deepest hurts i thought i could ever endure.

and in embracing the blessings of the husband and children i have and the privilege of loving them. 

oh - what does this have to do with joelle watt studios?  i guess, it's an update if you will. 

i'm here...shooting and loving what i'm doing.  i'm fortunate enough to say that what i do for a living inspires me and fills me with much joy.  but if you notice a stillness in the events that in the past i have been always planning and creating....if you see a quietness in the community projects i'm involved in...it's not because i'm going anywhere....it's because i'm being carried for awhile.  i'm riding the waters that envelope me for a bit.  i'm going only where i'm led to go, and there's no fight against it.  and that's a good thing.

recently, i spoke at a meeting for teens, encouraging them to find and do what they love.  

i used my career as an example - and oh my, it opened my eyes!

i've gone and done and been and shot....

and, well this is highlight of the career that i have loved...bits and pieces that were easy enough for me to find pics of :)

some highlights 

i’ve sang on tv
i’ve competed in pageants
i lived through my parent’s divorce
battled an eating disordrer

and i chose

i found my camera
i’ve shot amazing people with diablitlies
and i have had the opportunity to teach and work with my own kids
i have shot Best selling NY Times author’s photos
i’ve photographed a church in colorado and
a real life cowboy on a colorado ranch
i’ve shot on the shores of lake erie
and a wedding on the patomic river
i’ve shot countless weddings all over the country

and ones close to home
i’ve had the opportunity to photograph my dying father
and even babies that died before they were born

i’ve shot at the NYC RCA Recording studio
and for billboards in dubois, pittsburgh and colorado

i have shot at events overlooking the nyc skyline
writers, actors, doctors, psychologists, models from LA and even one
of the richest men in the world
i’ve photographed orphans from africa and charity events for beloved friends
I've shot an italian recording star
and both of my sisters’ wedding
i‘ve documeneted  weddings in missouri, maryland, virgina, texas, new york,and d.c. 
to name a few
i’ve learned my craft along with friends
i’ve photographed the pennsylvania teacher of the year
and mentored students from around the area.
i’m a big sister and an aunt

i have my own photography studio
and i have lifelong friends
i spoke and shot at an international teen event
and i said i’m a wife and a mom right?

i love what i do. 
and i’m anxious to see what can be done in my life as the waters carry me on.