My house is completely silent right now. Aside from the buzz of the washing machine in the basement and the 5th client disc burning in my computer, dead silence. This is the first time I’ve had this much quiet in weeks. Kevin has the day off today so he graciously took Veda to the local museum to blow off some steam and give me space to continue to work on the endless list of galleries and orders to get out the door. We’re making a big push to finish things up. Here’s why…
Do you see this picture below?
The very first one. Scroll down, take a look at it and come back to me.
Do you notice something about the visibility of the items behind that dirty old window? Well, not only are they a bit blurry due to focal length, but the film on the window is making it even more challenging to see what’s behind there.
A few weeks ago when I was spending some time in God’s word and praying, I got these two overwhelming words: “Dirty Window.” Not once, but three different times. And of course, when God speaks something, how true is it that soon after, we start to see little reminders of those words. Veda’s hand prints smeared across all the reachable windows in our house, so much dirt on our tiny upstairs window I literally crawled out another window onto the roof to wipe it off. Then a few nights ago, as I was (once again) editing the afternoon and evening away, the sun was shining straight in the double window in our back room and the hand prints, dust, raindrops…yuck. It was a sight.
2015 was a bit of an eye opener for me. First of all, I hate odd numbered years because they are just unsettling to my mind, but aside from that, my lifelong love of celebrating busyness turned into a deep hatred this year. After over a decade of giving myself high praise for packing my schedule, booking as many sessions as possible, making money, money and more money, now all I can think about is slowing down to clear my line of vision. Meet a friend in a store, and she says, “How have you been? Busy?” Like it’s some kind of joy to be running around like chickens with our heads cut off. Yeah, I’ve been busy but can’t say I want to keep this pace for much longer. I pick up my camera, and sometimes (quite literally) feel like I am looking through a dirty window. Like there’s a slight haze that is keeping me from seeing the picture clearly.
Next year, I will celebrate 10 years of Amber Sue Photography. As many other photographers can attest, I think I’ve seen just about everything in 10 years: glamorous seniors, borderline bridezillas, snotty noses, sweet newborns, wanna-be-photographer wedding guests, joy-filled mothers, missing teeth, abounding kindness, and miles of captured emotion. It’s a privileged to be invited into a hospital room when a baby is brought into the world. It shows a great deal of trust and appreciation when a couple asks you to document all the joy of their wedding day. It speaks deeply to my heart when clients call me each year and say, “We loved what you did last year for our pictures. Let’s do it again.” With any vocation, in order to be able to really appreciate what you are doing and in order to continue to do it well and get better, a break is needed. Continuing education, creative recharge, rest.
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. [John 15: 1-5 NRSV]
It seems imperative to the future of my business that I take a few month of sabbatical rest. Months away from the e-mailing, editing, countless hours of screen time. Time to be spent wiping clean the dirty windows in my home, abiding, preparing myself for a new outlook and a new future as we head into a celebration of 10 years! I realize this may mean missing some milestones in the life of my customers (yes, I’m sad to miss them), but I am certain the outcome of this intentional resting will be a benefit to us all. The pictures you are seeing here are a glimpse into a room in our house where Veda and I will be spending much of December-March. When I enter this room, I get giddy at the possibilities that await. Bins of crayons, yarn, buttons, paper, fabric, paint, stickers, flowers, glue, markers, patterns, note cards. This room will be the inspiration for my ASP rework. Cutting some things, adding others. All in an attempt to wipe clean that foggy window and start year 10 with a new set of eyes.
This post is getting long. To summarize:
1. ASP will not be taking any additional appointments for photos from December-March (aside from the lovely wedding we are shooting in December). If you are already on my books for a newborn session, we will still get you in.
2. I will be checking my ASP e-mail once a week.
3. Client galleries are up! If you’ve had your photos taken this summer/fall, you’ve been sent gallery information. Orders and payment are due no later than Dec. 1st. Please e-mail me ASAP so I can help take care of any existing orders before the first of the month.
4. Destash. I have props, chairs, backdrops, headbands, hats, and blankets galore. If you are starting a photography business and want to claim what I will be destashing, you can come and shop anytime.
5. You’ll still see notifications popping up from me regarding my Matilda Jane business. A brand both Veda and I love wearing, that gives us the opportunity to bring people together around colorful things that make us all smile. If you miss me in these 4 months, stop by for one of my open houses and we can reconnect while you shop.
6. I like even numbers, so we have to end with #6.
Friends, 2016 will be a great year of celebration! I am excited to be able to start my 10th year of business coming off a great time of abiding. Time with my family, time with Jesus. But now, time to throw on a sweatshirt, head outside, the shrubs get pruned back today and the outside windows get cleaned. John 15 in the flesh. Pruning, abiding, bearing fruit.
Have a very blessed Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day. See you around Easter,