The Value in Your Effort

“Just as long as you keep trying,” I said.
His big blue eyes showed impatience and frustration, how many times do we have to try before we get this right? The value I see is in your effort, and doing your personal best.
No one is required to be perfect.

I’ve been asked why I started blogging again after an almost three year hiatus and the answer is…I honestly don’t know. I just went through my blog one day, deleted a bunch of photos that I didn’t want to display anymore, and saw that I had room for new photos (paired with words!) that I could add and maybe even contribute to someone else’s life.

They say “To, begin—begin!” and it rings true. Sometimes you don’t know what direction you want to be headed in until you have started walking already. Just start.

I don’t know what my niche is, or if I’ll ever find one. There’s obviously photography and photo tips, and there’s self-help and personal growth. But… I tend to ramble, which maybe the mark of an amateur. I promise you, I write exactly how I speak–rambling, all over the place, random, and sarcasm that you’ll second guess.

I didn’t see stopping blogging as giving up, more of taking a hiatus. At the time, we were in a hard season. Pots were boiling over and needed to be attended to. (how good are you with…3/14 , anyone…) Weddings were getting shot and completed, but not blogged because that took away precious family time and activity time and away time. I wasn’t writing personal posts because my alone time was basically nil when we both started working from home.

We dove into reconstructing one of our properties, and it was literally “Roll out of bed, put hair in a ponytail, swallow coffee, and start sanding floors and ripping out plaster and lathe.” Everyday. Was it easy? No, not at all…but it was worth it. I took breaks when I wanted…both for fried fish sandwiches (which we split, because I’m watching my figure) and for a case of beer (no longer watching my figure) to complete schoolwork, to clean up juuuust in time for a shoot, or to help lay a tile floor two hours before I shot a wedding. WHEW. Srsly.

To say that blogging (and personal journaling) took a backseat for a while would be an understatement, but it was completely necessary for the life we have today. It needed to be hung up for a bit. It needed to stop. I needed to sleep and not be exhausted to write. In fact, now that I mention it, how knows how long this stint will last?? Life changes in an instant (or a week if you are good with dates and are counting) and is unpredictable, and I’m doing this for the things that catch me off guard such as:
It’s having him come home from deployment and not touching my camera for a month.
It’s watching him garden with our boys and bringing him another Sierra Nevada.
It’s spending a weekend at our friend’s house eating way too much and loving it.
It’s heading down to the city and feeling like you have a small getaway.
It’s putting a major effort into the season you’re currently in.

Your season. Your time now. Whatever phase this life as you in at the moment. It will pass just like all the others.

This evening I walked into my gym locker room and smelled hairspray that a teen girl was using and it triggered memories of being in my own gym locker in 9th grade. I’m pretty sure it was Rave brand, actually I’m 99.8% sure it was Rave brand because I was immediately transported to talking with one of my favorite friends in the locker room, with her watching me meticulously put on eyeliner after swimming class, and asking how I got my eyeliner so close to my lash line, and me giving her a mini-tutorial. Italian girls know how to apply liquid eyeliner as an instinct, it’s not something we’re taught, we just DO IT. So I’m giving her this tutorial in the high school locker room mirror, and she’s got it all over her Norski blue eye, and we’re laughing and crying at the same time, and I’m trying to help her wash it out when I realize that I’m in 2017 and that this time has long since passed. In a split second I was taken back to a time where we laughed so hard that we had tears in our eyes (although my tears hurt much less) and that we had an intimacy that surpassed anything that wouldn’t have happened so easily and naturally. A few sprays of this chick’s hairspray brought back years worth of memories. This season. One smell that brought back an entire season to my mind.

Our lives are composed of hundreds of seasons. Typically, our brain thinks of seasons as “just four”, citing them matching with the weather and climate season changes. What we don’t realize is that seasons apply to any stage of our life that has a change, whether that change is gradual or abrupt. We may go through a season where we graduate and have to find a job quickly. That fast paced, intense season is enough to catapult us into overdrive. We may go through a season where we have multiple children at a very young age, and one winter seems like a year. It is a contrast of a slow season, where you may have energy but only until 7pm.

The key is–keep trying. Your seasons will always change YOU have to remain steadfast through all your seasons. That is the challenge–staying true to yourself, and your needs and desires through whatever season you’re in. It may require you letting go of things you love for a time, or it may let you dive into things you love.

Your effort is your greatest resource. Your ability to keep trying will sustain you and bolster you through the lean, hard times of barren inspiration and work overload. You do not have to be perfect, you don’t have to have it all together, you just need to keep trying.



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