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2018 in review

How is it that there are 10 days left of 2018? This year, as nearly every year since becoming an adult, has flown by. I am reflecting upon the past 355 days, as I tend to do every year around this time. What a year it has been.

January – My grandma and one of the dearest people in my life passed away. Business was slow.

February – Business picked up some. Court ordered a G.A.L. be appointed.

March – I did my first wedding of the year, along with several other sessions. I was prepping for my daughter’s second birthday party. I met with the G.A.L.

April – My daughter turned two! It was fun celebrating her birthday! I did my second wedding, got it last minute, on my husband’s 30th birthday. He had a fun celebration with friends and family.

May – My mom turned 60! Business kept coming. I photographed my first 50th Anniversary party. My hubby & I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. Three years in!

June – Business was fairly busy, with three weddings, a family session, etc. We wanted to get a camping trip in and then never got the chance. I had to take my son to summer school that was over an hour away every day he was with me and it made for long days.

July – I had to get my son to summer school some yet. He nearly failed the one class, but I got him to turn things around. I worked with his teacher to figure things out and got him to study. I had two more weddings. Court for placement wasn’t fun. I asked for an appeal. I did a couple weddings.

August – I did a wedding and a lot of sessions. We made time to go to the parks and swim over the summer. Too bad we didn’t make it camping though.

September – I think this was my busiest month for business. I did three weddings, a Quinceanera, a Sweet 16th, senior pictures, etc. My son started sophomore year. Hubby drove a lot of Uber hours. Life was so busy.

October – We celebrated six years together as a couple. It was a busy month for business too, two weddings, four senior picture sessions, etc. I got to go to Florida and ride on a plane for the first time ever, witnessed my cousin’s wedding. It was an incredible experience!!!! We took the kids trick or treating. I finally got to see the otter exhibit at the zoo. It was prep time for my son’s 16th birthday party.

November – My son turned 16!!!! He had a lot of family and friends come by. It was crowded in our house. 😉 He had a great time! Business was still fairly busy, but wedding season was finally over, except for the editing part. The appeal for court went fairly well. I get placement over the summer and should all go well then, there’s a good chance I get to keep it into the school year. I am PSYCHED! We have been fighting for this for years! Here’s hoping!!!

December – I turned 40 a few days ago. I have had quite the month so far! My hubby took me to see Lindsey Stirling and while away, I also got a spa package at the amazing hotel he booked a room at. It was a wonderful time all around!!! I got to see my friends this past weekend and that was fun. I got to sing karaoke! I started bowling every other week with friends. I did Santa mini sessions in my studio, for year number three. I wish I had booked more. I am finally making a dent in my editing.

There have been some struggles throughout the year, largely financial, but we keep plugging away. God helps us keep going. The kids are healthy, we all have one another, a roof over our heads, plenty to eat, clothes to wear, etc. We are also surrounded by family and friends. As stressed as we have been, honestly, things could be a lot worse. I think we are actually fairly blessed. 2018 hasn’t been great money wise and we have lost people we love, but it hasn’t been a BAD year. A lot of great things happened. I am looking forward to seeing where 2019 takes us though!!! 2019, here we come!!!!

 

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Another year gone, another just beginning…

2017 is over, wow. I remember the 1980’s, how is it 2018 now? *shakes head* Last year was a roller coaster of highs and lows, as I suppose is true of every year.

My son has been struggling. He’s been getting into trouble, so much acting out and defiance. He’s unhappy at his dad’s, which I know is part of the reason he’s been in trouble. I think he’s got mental health issues, which his dad isn’t dealing with. Part of it too is he’s just not making good choices. We have court soon to try to switch primary placement back to me. I’m hoping the judge sees that a change is needed, that him coming home is what’s best for him. In the end, I think it’ll be what’s best for everyone. I’m tired of watching my son suffer and I’m tired of watching him throw his future away. I hope 2018 brings change for the better for him. He’s a bright young man that can have a wonderful future, but things need to get turned around somehow.

My daughter turned one last year and now she’s nearly two. She’s grown, learned, and changed so much. She’s so inquisitive and I love watching her figure things out. She’s gotten sassier, those terrible two days have come. But even with the challenges, it’s been a great year with her. I love spending my days with her. Her laugh is contagious! When she smiles at me, wants to cuddle, plays with me, shows me she’s understanding what I’m saying, or does something new, it makes my day better. I can hardly wait to see how she grows and learns this year.

My marriage hit a couple of bumps, as have our finances, but we’ve tackled everything head on, together. We’ve faced loss, the death of his grandma hit his family, the death of my aunt hit mine and I’ve lost friends. It’s been hard, but we’ve helped one another get through each day. Marriage, parenthood, and all relationships are maintained one moment, one day at a time. I think 2018 will be better, because we work to make it so.

My first year in business went far beyond my expectations. I met so many wonderful people, some of whom became friends. I’ve learned a lot and aim to continue learning. I expanded my studio, so I can accommodate bigger families. I started doing weddings, newborn sessions, cake smash sessions, adult milestone sessions, etc. I hope to add more styles/types of sessions to my repertoire. I’m excited to see where 2018 takes me and my business.

Here’s to an incredible year we’ve left, may the lessons we’ve learned and great memories we’ve made stay with us. Here’s to a great year ahead, may we continue to learn, grow, and enjoy life while we can.

What Happens When You’re Busy…

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WordPress notified me that I just celebrated five years! Wow, it’s been that long already?! I noticed it’s been quite awhile since I have posted. I kept meaning to write and then I’d get distracted. I apologize for not touching base in a few months. I hope all is well in WordPress land!

I mentioned awhile back that I started my photography business, been doing a lot to get that going. Today, I even created a WordPress business site: https://carissagrayphotography.blog/ Please check it out! That has been keeping me pretty busy, that and being with my family. My daughter turned one in April and my son graduated eighth grade in June. They’re growing so fast! My son passed me in height recently, leaving me both happy for him and a little sad. He starts high school this fall. When did he get to this point? It’s hard to believe some days just how grown up he is getting. My little girl is growing ever more comfortable on her legs, walking all over the place and learning to climb onto things. She talks a lot, can’t understand much of it, but some words are clear as day, like stop, even says it when she’s done eating.

Summer is already halfway over and yet it feels like it just begun. We have made it to a couple Brewer games and had a couple cookouts. I hope to do more before the summer is done, but we shall see how things pan out. What have you all been up to this summer? Have you done anything fun? Have you taken any trips? Share with me your adventures!!!! I want to live vicariously through my readers. 😉

I hope to hear from you all soon!!! Please show me you read this by commenting, let us chat! I miss our chats, lovelies! Until then, much love!!

Confidence Breeds Success, Conceit Undoes It.

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There is a difference between being confident and being conceited. Many suffer from a low self-esteem, myself included. It is good to see the good within, to love yourself, and take pride in what you do. But there is a fine line between having a healthy sense of self worth and being arrogant.

Something else that troubles me sometimes is when people feel the need to tear others down to build themselves up. There isn’t a need to do this, not even when say businesses are in direct competition with one another. That is part of why I hate to watch political debates or ad campaigns. Even simple advertising for products we all buy put down the competitors. Why can’t people or companies simply put their best foot forward and let their work speak for itself?

Comparing your work to others to make a sale or win a vote seems to be a smart move,  but when doing so blatantly puts the others down, that honestly just takes away any interest I may have originally had in you or your product. Everyone has their own philosophy, but mine is, if you want my business, you will earn it by being hardworking, respectable, honest, and be able to show me the talent you possess WITHOUT putting down the talents of others.

 

Oh Snap!

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I haven’t posted in over a month. It feels weird! I’ve been so busy, trying to jump start my photography business and still have time for my family and for myself.

What a crazy and wonderful two months it’s been since this all began. I’ve done 12 photo shoots, most of them being this month. Getting to work with and know these amazing people has been such an incredible experience.

I’m looking forward to seeing where this venture takes me. I’ve been dreaming about doing this for years, but my doubts and insecurities kept me from trying. But, now here I am going for it with all I have. I want to be someone my kids look up to. I also want them to see that going after your dreams is worth the risk.

There’s never a “right time” to begin, to try. The time to believe and do it is now. So, with my heart full of joy and excitement and my mind fully determined and ready to take on the world, I take another step forward.

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A New Venture

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I have been passionate about photography since I was given my first camera, which was my mom’s old 35mm. For quite some time now, I have been thinking about having a photography business of my own. Capturing lifelong memories is an incredible thing, in my mind. Over time, our memories fade and pictures are one way to revisit and renew them for us.

Well, I finally decided to go for it. I created a Facebook business page for my work, been putting the word out to family and friends on there, and now I am reaching out to my WordPress family! Help me spread the word and get my business going! I want to capture precious moments for as many people as I can.

My mission statement, if you will, is to create lifelong memories and to do it with honor, integrity, and love. I want my heart to show in every picture I take and for everyone who has my work on their walls and in their photo albums to know that they’re more than just clients. Each person I work with will be treated with respect and compassion.

My goal is to be a great photographer, always learning and to be a good mom at the same time. I have a four and a half month old daughter that is my light. I didn’t spend nearly enough time with my son when he was small and I regret that. I want to make sure she has that time and energy. I feel this is a job I can work around my husband’s work schedule most times and also be able to take her with me when I can’t. I want her early years to be full of memories of time spent with me, learning and growing. I also want to do something that will help add income to our household at the same time and feel good about myself and the work I do at the same time.

Thank you in advance for your never ending support. You, my amazing friends and family, inspire me daily to do and become more. Every step forward is partially in thanks to each of you.

Here is the link to my site if you want to check it out and share it with others: Carissa Gray Photography

Now, go out and make the most of today! Capture each precious moment!

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