I had a great evening with Jenn & Buddy taking their engagement photos! We started the evening off in Vittoria meeting up at Buddy’s parents place the is surrounded in beautiful green space, and then stopped on the way to Port Dover for a few photos in the beautiful wheat field (who’s idea was that again? LOL!). I may be a bit obsess with wheat fields right now, but they are just so beautiful in the evening light :). We wrapped up your session on the beach in Port Dover with ice cream. What can I say… it was a pretty perfect evening!

Congratulations Jenn & Buddy! Can’t wait for October!

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After 12 years of building and running my own business, you’d think I’d somewhat have it figured out. The business plan, next steps, goals, achieving, and re-goal setting… Isn’t that how it’s supposed to go? Aren’t we supposed to feel our direction, build a business plan, take the next step and just keep moving forward? I think this was always my plan, but then 9 years ago something changed in my life.

Nine years ago, just 3 years after starting my business, I encountered the ‘job’ of mothering, and I guess it sort-of goes without saying that nothing has ever been the same. ‘My’ goals and plans were made less of a priority and my focused changed to securing my children’s lives and future. Everything shifted and my perspective changed on many things. My thoughts, my prayers, my conscious choices in life all seemed to come from a different place. I struggled with the right thing, the right thoughts, the right words, and the right choices. And, you know, I still struggle with these things daily as I tend upon the needs of 2 children while trying to nourish the good life with my husband. My soul can tire and my head feels heavy over my shoulders many days.

It was about 18 months ago that I decided to take a big step in my business that I was fiercely excited about, but if I’m being honest, I also had a lot of hesitation. I moved my business out of my home and decided on a new approach than I had in the past. The long and short of it is that it just didn’t work out the way I had hoped it would. There are many reasons for this, but I think that the biggest one was that I wasn’t being honest with myself from the get-go. The truth is that this business of mine has always been lead by my heart for people. I’ve never really looked at it as a business, but more of a way of reaching out into peoples’s lives and being gifted by their experiences. I love relationships and the biggest blessing has been the long-lasting friendships I have built through the years of photographing people’s life events. I’m obsessed with people, with knowing them, loving them, and wanting to share in their joy, and even their sorrows. If I could, I would invite every single one of them over, and we would have coffee while my kids ran tirelessly around us. I really believe that life is all about relationships and any time I have the opportunity to build one is a great day for me.

The last year and a half, something changed with my business… I started to miss the roots of what I had built. All of a sudden, it was a business. It wasn’t about the relationships as much. I wanted it to be, but I was consumed with thoughts of how to make ends meet, how to grow, systems, being able to provide for employees, and keeping up with the trends of what everyone seemed to be doing. My head was scattered and my heart was sinking in a messy loss of myself. My thankfulness for each day was fleeting. I was shutting down, and I know that’s not right, but it was happening. I’d let go of the peace I once had, the love for my job was dwindling, my passion and creativity felt empty, and the humble honest voice inside was hiding. I gained 13 pounds, looked like I was carrying a big storm cloud around with me, was putting my family in debt, let great friendships dwindle, and felt horrible about myself.

It sucks big time when things don’t turn out the way you think they will. It’s hard adapting to the broken path you took. But what I’ve realized is that there is never reason to lose hope. Things may not be working out quite the way I thought they would, but through the tears and grief of what my decisions had brought, there is also much peace in the recognition that this is leading me to something better, more suited for me. It may not be the goal I thought I was working on, but maybe that was not the right goal all along. Maybe there is something more fulfilling coming my way and I just haven’t opened my eyes enough to let it come into vision.

It was a path I had to take to appreciate what I had, and what I still have. I’ve made choices that haven’t worked out the way I expected, or hoped. I try to take it all in as education. I’ve learned, and learned, and learned again. God has filled me with lessons in life and even more love for it. I believe He is using these situations to remind me that this season of my life is a season in which He wants to do work in my home, my heart, and my body. Realizing this has been freeing. I’ve lessoned the distractions, and embraced wholeheartedly my life with my family again. I realize the world will not fall apart if I make a poor choice, as long as I am doing the best I can and the truth is that I’m probably doing better than I think I am. I realize that the grass is greener where you water it. I’m finally nourishing the areas I want to see grow. I’m in love with my life for all the mountains and the valleys it’s shown me. And this family… This sweet little life of mine is so beautiful.

My God is still pursuing my story and I know He wont let me get off track for long as long as I am keeping my eyes open and my heart true. I do love my work. I love it a lot. But I’ve learned that if I’m not careful it has the power to take over my entire world and that’s not who I am, nor who I hope to be. I want my life to inspire my children. I want them to see all the ups and downs and know I carried on because I have hope, and faith. That I can make mistakes and learn from them, and that I can adapt to change. I want those boys to look at me and be able to say, because of what I saw in you, I never gave up.

They say the grass is always greener on the other side, but I believe that the grass is greener where you water it. Just don’t forget to water it! Water those areas of your life that fill your heart. Love yourself and know that your work is good work if you are doing it from the heart.

My big announcement is that on September 1st, I will be moving my business out of the space on Main Street in Port Dover. I’m moving back into my home. It will be very similar to the set up I had 18 months ago in my home, only we’ve converted our double garage into the studio space now. It’s amazing the gift that a little perspective can give you. It took all this moving, change, investment, and time to realize that what I always had WAS the ‘REAL DEAL’. Life’s lessons happen. A year and a half of intentionally chosen choices lead me back home to where it began. One big circle! It’s hard not to chuckle at myself a bit, but it is what it is :). I have much to be thankful for through all of it.

If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking it out through this post. I’m excited about the future. I learned not to have any specific expectations now, but my hope is that it will be just as good as it was before. Please come visit me back at my home space at 14 Scott Drive! I would love to see you!

 

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  • Rachel - Aw Andrea! What a wonderful article !! So true, family always comes first, and you are all about relationship ! Hope everything goes well for you!

  • Rachel - Sorry those were supposed to be exclamation marks!

  • Carolynne - What a very inspiring blog post. . .and here you are, at another “NOW” 🙂
    I’m so glad you are following the road that you need to be on, and I can’t wait for you to photograph my son’s wedding later in September <3

  • Carrie - Great Post Sis !! Sometimes it takes making a change to realize what we already had was just perfect. I have also done this this year….it feels so good to follow your heart. Xoxo

  • Amy - Very eloquently put Andrea! This post has such a lovely message that I think many moms, myself included, can relate to. I wish you all the best in your new space!

  • Tricia - Andrea, so glad you have got to this point! I did this too this past year, stopped my 45 min commute after 11 years of doing so to work in my home region and although financially it wasnt the best choice,my stress is significantly decreased ,my family life is better balanced and life wise,such the BEST decision I have made in awhile. All the best to you!( as always!)

  • Cassandra - <3 the most perfect words and truest thoughts come from the heart. Loved reading your post–you have spoken words we have all felt at some point of our lives. It's what makes us all feel connected to you- your honesty, your truth and your kind heart. Life is a journey. At the end of each day, doing what makes your heart happy and full is what we all aim for. It IS possible to find balance– it just seems to change when we finally find it. Our children grow, our friends move, our spouse finds a new job, our relationships constantly change- meaning we are constantly in a state of flux to maintain that balance. Sometimes what feels right one day,at not feel right the next day. Congrats on keeping your family and happy heart balanced.

  • Tracy - Beautiful!

  • Sarah Roberts - You are awesome Andrea. I love your honesty & following your heart! I love you & your family.

  • Kathleen Smid - Such a wonderful article Andrea! So happy for you to begin this next chapter and return to your roots. Those precious boys are so lucky to have such an amazing mom. The relationship you build with all your clients is evident in the many of us who return to you for every precious moment! We are so thankful that you’ve been apart of ours. Sending you much love!! 🙂
    The Smid’s
    Xo

  • Andrea - Thanks so much Kathleen! I am sod grateful for you guys sharing these moments with me. It’s a huge gift! Love to you, Mark, Adalyn & Chelsea:)

  • Andrea - Love you guys too Sarah XO 🙂

  • Andrea - Thanks so much Cassandra! I’m sure you understand the ups and downs more than most! Thanks for the sweet words and for ALWAYS being so supportive… even when you are grinding us at the box ;). Miss you like crazy. Can’t wait to get back there!

  • Andrea - LOVE this Tricia! It’s so interesting how we always strive for more financially and materially and yet it never seems to fill us. It’s so nice to hear that others share the same woes with me. Thanks for sharing with me :). Love you guys. Give Craig and those kiddos a big hug from me!

  • Andrea - Thanks so much Amy :).

  • Andrea - I’m so very excited for the wedding in September Carolynne! Looking forward to spending time with you and your family at such a beautiful milestone in your son’s life.

  • Andrea - Thanks Rachel! Family first… always 🙂

This was such a beautiful day to celebrate with Jason & Sarah in Norfolk County, where they would marry in Sarah’s parents country property filled with beautiful antique farm equipment and just all the right touches to capture the vision that this lovely couple envisioned. Sarah and Jason came to meet with me several months back now about their July backyard wedding in Norfolk County. I was quite excited about this wedding because it pulled in a few people from my childhood. Jason and his family lived about 4 houses down from my family growing up. I saw the little boys, Jason & Gerald regularly as our families became friends. Years later the Shea family moved to Waterford and I haven’t seen them for so many years. It was quite the treat to be able to share in such a special day with them.

Sarah parent’s property made a beautiful backdrop for this stunning country wedding. So many beautiful details were pulled together to create the perfect vision. One of my favourite parts of the day was the moment that Sarah & Jason did a ‘mach’ ceremony and actually saw each other prior to the real ceremony. They had their family friend, Mark, perform a heartfelt, yet comical ceremony to take the nerves off for them a bit. It was a completely unique experience for me to watch :).

Thank you so very much Sarah & Jason for allowing us this pleasure of sharing in your beautiful backyard wedding. We had such a great time with all of you!

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Click the “play’ button below to see a slideshow of Sarah & Jason’s wedding!

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