My Identity Crisis & The Secret Ingredient to a Healthy and Whole Woman

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My Identity Crisis & The Secret Ingredient to a Healthy and Whole Woman

AcaciaStudiosIdentity
Could our identity really be that fragile that it is based on something we cannot control nor anticipate?

Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you? You just lay there with terror, literally struggling to survive as your body scrambles to remember how to breathe. Its an awful helpless feeling.

I can remember it happening a few times as a kid on the playground.. One time in particular I remember watching my friend getting bullied AGAIN, and deciding to ride the adrenaline this time and make the playground terrorist wish he'd stayed home that day.... it was only after regaining my breath while looking at the sky...  i had only one thought...I really wished i had NOT worn a dress that day.  Or another time, with the image of a feather clad Brave Native American Warrior in my mind... I leapt off my grandmas neighbors impossibly tall fence, onto the back of the biggest, prettiest, fastest horse in the pasture. I don't think I even got a full 8 seconds on that wild bucking bronco before i was gasping for air from the bottom of the pasture clutching the grass for dear life. It seems funny now, even a bit exciting. Of course the adventure is the focus when I retell this story, but the pain was real in the moment. Today I wish things were as straightforward as those stories that I tell my kids.

I have been going through personal struggles that have pulled the rug out from underneath me.  It has come like a punch to the core... so hard that it knocks the wind from my lungs... but without the fun heroic story to tell at the end. And I've been left gasping... unsuccessfully, for what seems like an eternity.... but in the grand scheme must only be a few terrifying moments. In this time when my world is spinning out of control around me, I am confronted with a very basic fundamental question: Who am I? What am I worth? 

Who Am I, and What am I Worth?

  Where does our identity come from? What happens when you receive comfort and affirmation and acceptance and validity and security from other flawed humans? What happens when they turn their attention elsewhere? Be it work, or hobbies, or a beautiful woman, or an addiction, or friends. What happens if the one you love betrays you for another? What when you leave all that you know in pursuit of what you could know… when the entire construct of your life rearranges before your very eyes? When you lose your job? When your child moves away? What then of your security and your identity? Could it really be that fragile that it is based on something you cannot control nor anticipate? Something as whimsical as the weather. Something that does not even know it’s own motives, it’s own intentions, it’s own fickle heart… What delusion we must subscribe to in order to receive anything vital to our mental and emotional existence… from something temporary and unreliable? 

What if INSTEAD

What if instead we derived all of those things... all of those Essential ingredients to a healthy and whole woman… from something more? What if we look to a creator God, an all knowing, all compassionate, all gracious, all empowering, never changing, all encompassing, Creator God? Do You know who I mean? I'm talking about The One that created the weather, The One that created man, The One that created Your heart with all its intricacies with all its complexities, knowing full well that the same heart would be wounded, betrayed, discarded, misused, mistreated and battered along the way. But knowing full well that He could fix the broken and damaged places if only we would allow it.

What if we got our identity in Him? What could shake us then? Could sickness, could the trials of life, could tragedy, could death, could financial ruin, could broken relationships, could our fluctuating size, or "imperfect" weight, or dress size, or hair color, or naïve Youth, or increasing Age, or crinkles on our forehead, under our eyes,  age spots on our hands,  stretch marks on our bellies, veins on our legs, Or even the beauty of another... that perceivably surpasses our own? Could the loss of a job, child, a career, a spouse, a dream… Could these unpredictable, unreliable, ever-changing things destroy our hope if our identity is firmly rooted in THE Unchanging, All Loving God?

So Im gong to ask YOU, hopefully before tragedy comes. Do you know who you are when all else fails? 

 

It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.
— Rick Warren

Feel free to share your own struggles and victories in the comments below, someone might read your words of encouragement, and be forever changed.

In Love,

Jen

 

*This post was written in spring 2018 when I was struggling with these questions, and a year later I find myself at a different place entirely but still asking some of these same questions of myself as we have moved our family across the ocean, rebuilding everything from the ground up.

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As women, we ask ourselves these questions

I want to challenge you to answer yourself as your own best friend. I want to challenge you to see yourself as complete, as you are right now. Not 10 pounds lighter, not after braces, not once you fall in love, not once you find that new job, not once you win that big court case.... but NOW! 

When we come to  love ourselves as we are now, it gives us permission to grow and be free! Those pounds will fall off quicker, that smile will get wider, and love will be attracted to us! 

In the words of Elsa.... "Let it Go!".... you know the rest ;)

xoxo

Jen

You Can Capture The Every Day | My Little Boy | Erie, PA | Photographer Jen White

Capture a series of images that tell the story!

Capture a series of images that tell the story!

There is so much beauty in the everyday moments that bring joy to a mom's heart!  For some reason I always think that I will capture these moments in my memories and preserve them forever.  Only to be shocked when looking back at my kids baby pictures, I think to myself... "I do NOT remember them looking like THAT!"  What happened to my passionately in-love with their every detail memory?! It slips away. It fades. What is a mom to do?

Now that your crying (maybe your not... but I sure am! lol).... I don't want to leave you wallowing in your mommy guilt, I want to give you some tips and ideas to equip you to be a faithful friend to your future self.  I want to challenge you to pick up your iphone or your camera and make sure that these vivid moments live on forever, not distorted or details lost to the senility of time and busyness of everyday messes and momentum. 

 

Tip # 1. STOP THE "PERFECTIONISM TRAP"!  

It doesn't have to be perfect to capture the essence of the moment! In all reality, you are capturing these moments for yourself and your kids... for 2,5,10,50 years from now... you probably will not be selling them for stock photography or displaying them in your home.  So relax! Enjoy the process... and cut yourself some slack! And BESIDES, isn't it the imperfect uniqueness that causes your heart to race, to catch your eye, to cause you to thank God that he chose you to be this child's "mommy"?! Just do it!!! (You CAN do it! And I will tell you how..)

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” 
― Ecclesiastes 11:4
"Bathroom is messy"... so what! If I would have thought that... I would have missed this sweet kiss!

"Bathroom is messy"... so what! If I would have thought that... I would have missed this sweet kiss!

Tip #2 Change Your Vantage Point/ Get On Their Level! 

This one tip will not only change the look of your photographs, it will change what you are able to see and it will change how you tell the story! Thats what we are doing, telling a story to our future self... the best story of all, OUR STORY! Dont be afraid to look like a crazy mommy... lay down on your tummy, put your camera next to their face and show the viewer what your kid is seeing. Show the camera what the world looks like from their view! 

Dont believe me? lay down on the ground and look up at your baby, and your surroundings, at the world from their vantage point. It's a starkly different experience that what you and I encounter.  What a difference!

It takes a 5 year old real focus and hand eye coordination to do even simple things... how quickly we forget. One day he may be using these hands for surgery, or writing books, or healing the sick.  But today... they are trying their best to get the toothpaste on the brush without flicking some in his eye. ;)

It takes a 5 year old real focus and hand eye coordination to do even simple things... how quickly we forget. One day he may be using these hands for surgery, or writing books, or healing the sick.  But today... they are trying their best to get the toothpaste on the brush without flicking some in his eye. ;)

10 years from today, I will want to jump through this picture and kiss and reassure him that he will be ok, and to keep gently rubbing the eye... that the stinging will go away soon. 10 years from now... when he no longer needs me to cuddle him when a toothbrushing mishaps happens I will be so glad that I captured this image. 

10 years from today, I will want to jump through this picture and kiss and reassure him that he will be ok, and to keep gently rubbing the eye... that the stinging will go away soon. 10 years from now... when he no longer needs me to cuddle him when a toothbrushing mishaps happens I will be so glad that I captured this image. 

Tip #3 Read This Blog In The Future (for more tips to come)!! 

:)

Erie, PA| Photographer|Acacia Studios| Guest Blogger on Why we need a "professional head shot"

 

I was looking online yesterday about why the experts think that a professional headshot is so important. I had my own opinions, but to read it from someone with unbelievable success and traction made me think about a few things I had overlooked. Read what she had to say!!!

 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melinda-emerson/the-importance-of-a-profe_b_8818560.html

The Importance of a Professional Headshot for Your Small Business

by: Melinda F. Emerson

Do you realize? You as the business owner are the face of your business. That’s why having a professional headshot is so essential. Every fall, I have the tradition of having a photo shoot to update my visual brand. Taking a photo with your phone’s camera just doesn’t cut it. Read on to get tips for your visual brand.

You Need the Right Support Team

When it comes to creating great photos, I always hire a stylist to work with me to plan the photo shoot and pick the looks. This year, I hired Skai Blue Media stylist Javier Alonzo to serve as the Art Director/Stylist. He reached out to Saks Fifth Avenue Philadelphia to borrow a few things for the shoot. We also pulled a few looks from my closet, and used my personal jewelry and shoes for the session. I am a big Ralph Lauren and Karl Lagerfeld fan, so there was plenty to choose from. My hair and makeup were done by makeup artist Briahna Yancey of FaceArtistry.Jasen Hudson Photography handled the toughest role during the shoot. He took over 1000 photos in color and black & white.

Creating new publicity photos was especially important to me this year. I recently lost over 25 pounds and two dress sizes, which is a big difference. The most important reason to update your brand photos is to make sure people recognize you when they meet you in person.

Make it Easy for the Media

In addition to trying to get that perfect headshot, we also took full body shots and family pictures that we’ll use for media interviews. Often times when magazines do feature articles, they request at least 4 photos other than a headshot. They know I’m a mom, so often I am asked for a picture with my son. Having my son present makes the photo shoot a lot of fun. It becomes a family affair and it’s a great excuse to get our annual Christmas card photos at the same time.

I decided to give a sneak peek of my three favorite photos. When Jasen turned on the wind machine, I did channel my inner Tyra Banks. There’s something about having wind in your face that will make you feel like a supermodel!

Making Your Headshots The Best Possible

If it’s time to update your headshots, you might not need as elaborate a photo shoot as I had, but consider these steps:

  • Hire a professional photographer and makeup artist. A photo from your iPhone will not do.
  • If you need to tweak your style, hire a professional stylist to go shopping with you to pick out a few outfits that would be flattering in a headshot.
  • Select at least two looks to be photographed, (pick a colorful jacket or tie and avoid black or white).
  • Plan on spending at least $500-$1000 for what you need.
  • Be sure to get .jpeg and high resolution .tiff files so you can use them online and in print.

 

It’s important to have a visual brand that presents you in the best light, with an up-to-date look. Invest in a new headshot today; it could do wonders for your business.

Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady is America’s #1 small business expert. She is an author, speaker and small business coach whose areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. She writes a weekly column for the New York Times, publishes a resource blog, www.succeedasyourownboss.com, which is syndicated through The Huffington Post. She also hosts a weekly talk show on Twitter called #SmallBizChat for small business owners. As a brand, she reaches 1.5 million entrepreneurs a week on the internet. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. Forbes Magazine named Melinda Emerson one of the #1 Woman for Entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. Melinda has been featured on MSNBC, Fox News, NBC Nightly News and in Fortune, The Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Black Enterprise.She is the bestselling author of “Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works,” and the ebook How to Become a Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.

 

Follow Melinda Emerson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/smallbizlady

I'm NOT photogenic!

 

Problem:. I dont have many (or any) good photos of myself... AKA I'm "not photogenic" 

Solved: It is my MISSION to photograph you in a way that changes how you see yourself.  If these words have escaped your lips, then you are my client. If you or someone you know hides from the camera, then I am your photographer.  I am honored to take you on a photographic journey to discover your God given beauty.

 WHY do I need a professional photographer? Why cant my friend who has a good camera just take my picture?

 A professional photographer has, in most cases, spent YEARS studying how the body works and how best to pose it in order to make you look your absolute best. We have learned about the types of equipment to use to flatter your specific body type and style.  We, from years of experience, have great advice on clothing and wardrobe options.  Generally speaking most professional photographers come from a fine art background, and understand color theory (what colors say about you, and how they make you feel when you look at them), how to create mood in an image, and how to tell a story visually.

While your friend is watching "Dancing With The Stars",  a professional photographer is watching yet another course on how to pose the female body in the most flattering way. :) lol. When someone is a professional, chances are... they eat. breathe. sleep. dream. read. watch. listen. talk about. practice.... photography/posing/body language/how to help someone feel at ease/photoshop/ etc. 

This is my life. It's my passion. It's my pleasure to learn all that I can to make sure that I can serve you in a way that will change the words that you say and the way that you think ABOUT YOURSELF. 

I look forward to changing your verbiage from "I'm not photogenic" to... "wow, I really am beautiful

xoxo

Jen White

www.iloveacacia.com