Behind the scenes

Paul and I have been talking a lot about our family values and what are our priorities are.  We have needs as a family as a couple and as individuals and we want to maximize the richness of those relationships.

As we talk about the kind of family we want to create, time together is at the top of our list.  Time to talk, to play, to teach, to encourage.  We want to pass on our living and active faith to our children.  We want them to see by our actions and how we spend our time that they and the Lord are important to our family's foundation.  You need time to create that understanding.

So one of the first things we did was evaluate our time and careers.  How can we maximize our work effort with increasing our family time?  We are both very aware of how quickly our children are growing up, and neither one of us wants to miss it.  These next 10-12 years are going to fly by and we have agreed that we want to be as present and wholeheartedly there for our children as possible.

The only way though to decrease Paul's work load is to increase mine.  I have been a stay at home for the last six years and it is both of our intentions to keep it that way, even with the children in school.  I do however have a passion and small career in traveling every couple months to go speak at conferences and retreats.  It's perfect because it keeps me at home, but allows me a weekend away every once in awhile.  Well, to increase my job means to get more gigs and travel more.  That, however goes against our priority and value of family.

So...what to do.

After taking much prayer time and vision planning, I came up with a plan.  If I am going to speak, than I would prefer it to be while Paul is at work and the kids are at school.  This means local gigs in schools, churches and mom groups.  These are usually simple and no more than 30 min.  They would take up limited time and if my goal was to do one a week, that would increase my work load by 100%.  So the goal is twice a month to start out.  I even hired a gal to help me with the booking so that my time would still be free to write and develop the quality of talks I want to deliver.  This and spend time doing my family responsibilities.

Doing local gigs while not taking away family time is step one.

The other piece is that while I love to travel and will continue to do it on a limited basis, I do want my ministry to extend past the Twin Cities.  This is where the book comes in.  The book is a beautiful way to get my heart on paper and put into the hands of people who need it.  It is the beginning step.  I like to write but really wasn't sure I was capable of a book.  Now I have ideas for the next three I want to write.  Ha, crazy right?  There is also dreams of some other great ideas that keep me at home, but put my ministry out there for others.

I felt like things were coming together.  I was excited about the way I could continue to do my ministry, while really not taking time away from the kids.  It means I manage my time a bit more, and right now its all still a theory, because nothing has changed, but it gives me a goal and vision.

It also allowed me to own my ministry and take responsibility for it.  For the last few years I just kind of let it happen.  If people call me, I take a gig.  I have a website, but its my transitional website till I took the time to develop it.  I didn't seek out gigs.  I didn't know how to talk about my ministry because it was always an after thought.

Then Paul challenged me to step up to the plate.  He is my biggest supporter and was sad to see me not developing my heart for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So in order to branch out and get new gigs, I need the marketing materials and the language to talk about who I am.  The last few months have been quite the identity crisis.  Much of my ministry has been me praying about who I am on stage, what is it that I want to say to people and how do present myself to potential clients and my audience?  It's been hard long hours of research, journaling, and discovery.

So I had a meeting with Guy from Vision Van Gogh, who specializes in helping artists develop who they are. He met with me and we talked about the importance of the professionalism of your website and press kit.  It is the first thing people see about you.  It is how they determine if you are capable to be hired by them.  What do I want them to know about me?  And a lot of that is based on photo's.  A website is built around photo's as well as your press kit.

So now I sat with all this information.  I now understood that I need great photo's that will allow people to connect with me, create professional materials that will allow me to get new gigs with new clients locally while my kids are in school, to help make that little bit of extra money for our family, to keep Paul from working three jobs, so we can all spend more time together building a family based on faith and trust and love.

If we connect the dots, the first step is pictures.

I have a really hard time designing a website for myself.  I understand that people need to see me on my website so they know a little about me and it creates a connection. Connection is the base of what I do. But I don't want a website that just has photo's of me.  I think it's weird.  So I need a photo where I am a part of a picture, and the picture communicates to you, who I am, but it's not me all over the place.

One photo that tells you who I am.  That doesn't sound hard?  Ha!

It took me a couple months looking through band photo's, actor's photo's, singers, performers, it didn't matter.  I was researching websites and head shots and press kits, all trying to see what others were doing to find my own way.  I couldn't find a location that I liked, or an idea for a photo that felt like me.

And what I realized is that I don't want a website that is just for my speaking.  I want a place where my blog can fit, where people can find out about the book, where I can start an Etsy account for the art I make.  So now, my website is not just for my speaking career, but its also for me.  All the ideas for locations for a photo shoot seemed like they were only a part of me.  I didn't want a city landscape because even though we live in the city, it is only a part of us.  I didn't want a family photo, because even though they are the biggest thing in my life, I am someone outside of them.  I didn't want to be out in a barn or country scape or railroad crossing, or brick wall.  All those things didn't feel right.

So I came up with something that felt natural, real, comforting.  I want to create an inviting and creative space.  I wanted a nook of trees that had elements of our home in them.  I love the unexpected, and little surprises.  So I brought our antique rug outside under the trees to create warmth.  I love details that add a little flair of fun and drama, and so I draped the trees in all my scarves tied together and spent time cutting my old crafting paper and stapling them into rings.  I didn't need Christmas lights because we did the shoot in the evening when the sun is low and magical and adds the effect that was perfect.  So if I was going to spend time out in the wood, I want this magical little reading corner.  Since it doesn't exist, I created it myself.

But then what to wear?

Again, if this is a place that I wished existed, then I would be wearing what I wanted.  Since I can't find it anywhere, I decided to make a very natural makeshift skirt that resembles the drama of a time piece skirt with my kind of twist.  One that is homespun and tacked together full of different textures and fabrics.  There are flowers hidden in the skirt and fabrics only I could see.  I love adding those little surprises.  The color scheme fits me.  I sewed on a little star on my plain old tank top to tie it in to the skirt.

Every little detail was thought through and intentional.  Every little thing was planned there for a purpose.  I even had a little fairy tucked into my old wooden book box.

So, here is the result of my photo shoot.  The photo shoot that was needed to start creating marketing pieces for my ministry to help my husband and family so that we could spend more time together.

See in my world, everything has a purpose and serves our goal.

Everything comes back to my faith, my family and growing our children into strong men and women of God.

Even this.

* A business side note: I used Katrina with Studio Laguna Photography and Brett Dorrian for hair and makeup to make sure I got the dream I wanted.  My vision could only go so far and I would only trust this idea to these two women.  They took my idea and Brett turned my face and hair into a work of art that was perfect for this shoot.  Katrina used her very honed talent and captured exactly what I wanted.  She has this beautiful eye and helped me by finding the dream in my head and making it a reality by capturing it with her camera.  She helped guide me and pose me so that everything was perfect.  I knew I could trust these ladies, I just didn't realize how dramatic and beautiful their art was when it was all said and done.  I love working with these ladies, and I would suggest using them for any of your family or wedding or business needs.