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Every Photographer is Born Naked: And proof that you can make it in this business

So, I have a massive backlog of work to show you - and I’m soooo excited about it! After basically falling off the face of the earth for a year, I realize there actually was quite a bit of work that I accomplished under the cover of darkness. I know. that may be slightly dramatic, however its  also partially true. Once I had it in my mind to back off from my Passion (read that story here), I hardly featured anything of a professional nature on my blog. But don’t worry. I’m only too happy to have a years worth of content to write about. 

How’s that for convenient blogging? 
Last year one of the most enjoyable events I was honored to be a part of, happened to be a Lighting Workshop with my incredible friend Erin Wilson Staples. This woman is a dynamo! We met at a Olympia based photography workshop that I was teaching with IPS (basically the most amazing technical school for the photographic arts), and we have been fast friends ever since. 
Erin really sought me out in 2011 when she asked me to host her in Manitou Springs for my first intern intensive. For 3 days we worked together one-on-one, filling the time with hands on photoshoots for portrait lighting with flash, editing solutions, and critiques. It was such a blast! Last year everything came full circle when together we hosted a lighting workshop for her local photographic community. Since then, Erin has hosted several of her own workshops of different techniques and focuses, and is a constant source of inspiration to her students and colleagues.
In just a few years, Erin basically has become a business dynamite. Now, she is one of my favorite collaborative partners in crime, idea developer, and of course, a dear friend. 
When you’ve been an instructor for several years, it is a crazy proud moment when you begin to see your students making careers for themselves in this craft. I always feel like a proud Mama. I know I have little to do with their success - most of the time only a small piece of their development - but it is a very personal feeling of satisfaction. I couldn’t be more proud of Erin. She has taught me so many things as I’ve watched her journey from photographic novice to professional authority
It is important to pay attention to stories like Erin's, because this industry can be a professional landmine. It can be very challenging to stay mentally strong and encouraged as you move forward with your development. There is always something else to read, someone else to admire, more editing to complete, another client to find. Most of the time when you are growing your business, this massive mound of to-dos follows the end of a long "day job". Fact: Its really tough to keep perspective that you can "make it". 
But here's the truth: You can make it. 
How do I know? Because I've seen it. My friend Erin and countless others are proof. 
The next time you wonder if you really have what it takes to be a photographer, keep these perspectives in mind. 
1. Everyone starts at the same place: Square one. No one is a pro their first week of the journey. I know sometimes it can feel like it, but that is not the case. Some people were born with artistic sight, and the ability to find something beautiful no matter where they look. Others catch on to technique the way a mathematician does equations (trust me, I was not in this category). Others have the personality to make fast connections and woo people to giving them and their work a fast chance. And then, a few lucky individuals have a couple of these gifts. No matter where you fall, you will always be starting at square one, in at least one of those areas. This means you are in fantastic company. (Others have put this concept a little less delicately with the phrase “everyone was born naked”. It certainly accomplishes the same idea!)

2. No matter where you want to go, you have to work very hard, and very deliberately. Absolutely none of my former mentees or students developed full time photography businesses easily. Each and everyone of them, like all of us, put intense time, effort, energy, thought, and heart into their business development. Perhaps the one difference i see with the ones who really, really succeed, are the ones who nurture a passion for being a business person - not just a photographer. That is a very tall order for most artists, but I have seen this make the difference. (For those of you who struggle with falling in love with the business side, fear not. I am working on a solution. Take a sneak peek here!)
3. When you feel like you’ve invested more than you’ve seen back, that’s probably when you are about to see dynamite. Previous statistics documented that photographers who developed their businesses over a 3 year period saw results only after that 3rd year. How many photographers actually got to that 3rd year before dropping out? Only 15% of those who first started. Its a really horrifying and sad statistic, but I think it warrants a critical point. You have to keep going. You have to be in it for the long haul. You have to be committed to seeing results tomorrow, more than seeing results from today. It takes reliance and commitment. Artists are infamous for living in the moment. While it fuels our passion, it can also inhibit our long term track record. Bottom line: Don’t quit. And don’t quit until you know that you’ll never regret knowing what could have been. 
You will see more of Erin in upcoming content, but go on and send her some blog love by visiting her site and leaving a comment!
Have you struggled with the idea of giving up because the going is tough? You’re not alone. How have you overcome that in your journey? Share your story below! Or pass along this article to someone who may need encouragement in their business journey today!



Saying Yes to Humility: And How to ReDiscover Your Passion

Back in April - almost 6 months ago now -  I wrote a two part article series on Why I Quit Wedding Photography. I wrote this lesson from the depths of my heart, from a place that was really scared and wounded. I had contemplated writing this article for about a year, but I just couldn’t bring myself to go public. My husband implored me to just take a break. My family and friends said I should not throw away my expertise. I really can’t tell you why, but their words fell on deaf ears.

The truth was, in my heart, something changed. My passion - this previously burning energy and desire - was no longer on fire the way it had been. I couldn’t accept clients with that feeling. I knew it would influence my work, and I felt too much responsibility to my clients to allow that to happen. For a year I was torn about this, ripped apart by the decision to stay in, or leave.

I made my choice, but it was a naive one. I announced that I had quit photography and that I was only shooting for friends and family. I thought my choice was sure, but in the back of my mind I really didn’t know how long I would be able to stay out of the Craft.

Six months later, I’m eating some humble pie.

I’ve finally admitted to myself something that I was trying to push away previously: I can’t quit wedding photography. I can't walk away from this industry at all.

It’s a humbling thing to say. Over a dozen people told me that I shouldn’t quit. But I simply couldn’t believe it on faith. I had to experience it for myself.

So yesterday I watched the Gabby Douglass Movie (I’m a sucker for gymnastics and inspirational movies). Something very interesting took place in Gabby’s life about a year before the Olympics. She actually wanted to quit. In fact, she did quit, very similar to the way that I did. Quite suddenly, her passion became a haunting shadow of what it once was.

Everyone in her life was aghast - appalled even. She had invested everything into her passion. Thousands of hours. Immeasurable amounts of energy. Quite literally, blood, sweat, and tears. And she was prepared to lay it all down and walk away when her dream seemed so near to her grasp.

Now I am not saying that I am the Gabby Douglass of wedding photography because that would be completely absurd. But I will say this: I completely understand what Gabby felt in those months. I experienced it with my passion too. It’s hard to describe to people who are on the outside - to people who haven’t been in the arena the way you have. Sometimes, when you fight intensely for your passion, it becomes so much of your identity that a single failure affects you in more personally than it should.  

And like Gabby, I didn’t know how to discern that sometimes, you just need a break from your passion in order to rediscover it.

For six years I spent everything that I had to develop my passion. It was a long, slow, deliberate road. And in the process, I gave up more than I should have. I took on more than I should have. My passion simply couldn’t bear that burden.

This entire season has been a huge learning experience for me. And along the way, I’ve gained some knowledge about Passion that changes everything.

1. Never Give Up Your Passion: When something is your passion, it is a very special piece of you. I’m not saying your passions don’t change. But what I have seen is this: Passions have an ebb and flow. In my life, my passions haven’t died as much as they have expounded. There are certainly times when it has felt like my passions have died (as in this last year for photography), but you always come out of those seasons at just the right time. Be steady. Don’t abandon your passion, because passion is always what saves your love for life.

2. Protect Your Passion with Boundaries: Like so many other photographers, I built my passion into an 80+ hour workweek. Working on my passion was really fun; But I didn’t engage in proper boundaries to protect my passionate work from taking over my life. I have seen this time after time in we photographers. Send an email at a stop light. Edit while the family is watching a movie. Write a blog post instead of going on a run. Developing new marketing strategies instead of having quiet time. We have all been there, but I am here to tell you that after 5 years of this intensity, you just burn out. Your passion needs boundaries, or it will suffer.

3. It’s OK to Take a Break: I am not a vacation person. Let me clarify. I am a workaholic. I like work. I enjoy being productive. Taking a day of rest or two out of the week would find me in a coffee shop reading through blogs or the latest business book. Those things are not bad at all and maybe they give some people rest. My problem was that I never took the time to really invest in things that made me feel refreshed. I now know that coffee dates are life blood to me. Or browsing through paintings for a new artistic inspiration. Or writing in my journal for no ones eyes to ever see but mine. I’ve learned that taking a break from your passion to invest time into other things that make you refresh will only add to your passion in the long run.

4. Passion is Priceless: I truly believe now that passion drives us. For passion, we are willing to overcome the limits of our humanity and pursue things only others could dream of. It’s incredibly sad to me that not everyone lives a passionate life, but its’ true. When you know you have a passion for something - photography, people, quiet time, serving - allow yourself to live in those passions. Passion will change your life in the most dynamic of ways. Just think about this: Have you ever heard anyone say that they wished they had lived their life with less passion? That’s what I thought too.

5. Your Passion Can Be ReDiscovered: It’s true that sometimes you do need to walk away from your passion for a little while. During that time, you can focus on other things that you find enjoyment in. I found that closing the doors on “official business” and photographing only for friends allowed me to set the terms for my own involvement for a little while. Working with friends renewed my excitement. Whenever I picked up my camera, it was like coming home to a safe place that I found nowhere else. Taking this break allowed me to rediscover that photography and visual communication will always be a core part of my life. Of course, the passion may change shape a little bit and grow out from there. Nonetheless, when you are willing to push pause and take a risk, it may be that you find a lot more than you expected. I know that is very true for me.

6.Your passion is a part of you - but it is not all of you: To photographers, our job is, to a degree, a lifestyle. We can’t deny it. The life of an artist drives us, and the beauty that we can capture captivates us. There is a slight problem with this: When our passion becomes our identity - outside of our relationship with God - we can lose focus on the other really important things in life. Friendships. Family. Serving. Health. Passion makes the difference, but Passion isn’t everything.

Over the summer I spent a lot of time re-evaluating my life. I discovered some amazing things including the directions that I believe I need to go. A lot of these directions are influenced by my health limitations. But some are the direct result of me taking the time to walk way from photography for a little while - just long enough to see that it wasn’t my Passion that was the issue. The real issue was that I did not realize how much my Passion needed to grow and expand.

In the next two months there are huge projects in the works that will, quite literally, change everything. I am so thrilled about these things and I wish I could tell you what they are! But we both have to wait for that! I can promise they are big and very cool.

And just in case you think I’m bluffing, let me prove it to you: My new site Designer is the incredible Micah J Murray. My business coach is the fantastic Caitlin Anderson. My Graphic Designer is the sweet and lovely Samantha Egan. My book mentors are Jeff Walker via Product Launch Formula and Neil Rackham via Spin Selling. And two out of ten of my fellow collaborators include Sarah Bradshaw and Erin Wilson Staples. Just to mention a few of many others...

This is what it looks like for me to be back in the ring. It may look slightly different than before. But my Passion is about to boil over in brand new and worthwhile ways.

Oh. And if you want a really quick sneak peek, head over to Facebook and "Like" Business Craft BootCamp!

Have you recently struggled with Passion? How has Passion influenced your life direction?

Know someone in need of some encouragement? Share here!


[No] Fault In Our Stars

My sister Natalie's 14th birthday was last weekend, and what a celebration we had. This girl is a riot. She was not even 7 years old when we began discovering her unique humor and outlook on life. She cracks me up more than any other person I know. Her sarcasm matches that of any adult. She's one of the most sentimental and caring people I know - and the first who will tell you to go and get back into shape. Her tough love is strong and loyal. She is a gem and enormous blessing to everyone in her life. Especially me.

Natalie is my sister who is determined to find recipes that will result in things that I love. She sees my dietary restrictions as fascinating challenges to overcome. Grain less tortillas? She made them. Grain less and dairy free onion rings? She's brainstorming those too. She is determined to make something delicious no matter the obstacles. She's ambitious too - even considering going to culinary school to make a living out of making food for people like me. She's been a hero and encouragement of mine like none other - in some ways she leads the charge for the other girls of my family to find ways to support me. I am so happy she is my sister!

In hard times, a lot of things are boiled down to the most important. It's when other elects of life are stripped away that you hold tightly to the things that are true. For me that's been family. 

Last week my Honey and I went to a movie that reaffirmed all of that in a very deep and profound way. I had been warned that "The Fault In Our Stars" was a movie that will make you weep in your seat. I'm not accustomed to weeping in a movie, but this basically fit that bill. It's a movie about the realities of pain and sorrow. It's a story about how to live fully even when life seems to constrain and burden and limit you at every turn. 

"Fault In Our Stars" is about a girl with terminal cancer. As much as it sounds impossible that a movie with such a storyline could be uplifting, it very much is. In an unapologetic fashion, watching this movie forces you to confront the painful realities that you face - and the way in which you deal with those realities. 

My reality is this: I am by most accounts, a practically functioning person. My body is broken on the inside and inhibits my energy, my food freedoms, my flexibility, my focus, and the capacity of how much I can handle. But I can walk. I can see. I can hear. I can hug my sisters. I can talk to my Mom. I can work my job. I don't have a terminal disease. I don't have to live at the hospital because my body isn't functioning in vital organs. I saw a perspective that only this kind of a story could convey: That even in the most intense physical conditions you can still experience hope and joy by centering on what is most important to our souls.

I know this may sound lame, but managing my current physical issues has been incredibly challenging from a mental standpoint. I say "no" to more foods every day than I say "yes". Over and over again I see what normal people eat; I see what healthy people eat; I see good food that is healthful. And I simply can't put that in my own body. Food that God intended for humans to have, my body rejects. I watch propel go about their daily lives, racing from one thing to another, and I simply can't keep up. I don't have the energy or stamina to participate in half the daily things that normal people can. That is so discouraging - and oftentimes I go to bed early just because I'm tired from the daily challenges I am facing. 

I was so encouraged when I walked out of "Fault in Our Stars" because it proved something to me; that even in pain and burden and sorrow, life's relationships are worth holding on to.

This movie pushed me to begin something that I had been contemplating for a bit now. Life is all about relationships, and sometimes  those relationships are the only difference between making it out of a situation or not. As I have written about my struggles with allergies and SIBO and weight, I've discovered so many others with similar issues. We are a minority, but we are more than we think. I want to reach out to those who are in need of support and those who understand my story, and band together for strength.
So I started a FB Page called "Multiple Allergy Support Network". I am hoping that this can be a little piece of the internet that will allow people like us to share our struggles, recipes, and life. I won't belittle the support and relationships we have around us - people like my baby sister Natalie who want to help and encourage - but who will understand better than others in the midst of the fight? Then maybe it will be a little bit easier to find Joy in the midst of what we live through every day. 

If you or someone you know has a similar story, you are welcome to this Group. I hope the community will grow and become a blessing.

And if you haven't seen the movie, go. I promise that you will walk away deeply moved.


[Know someone who may need a dose of encouragement today? Pass along this article here! What ways do you stay encouraged in the midst of health battles? Share below!] 


Save $80k and Ramp up Your Business in 30 Minutes a Day

I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. As a teenager there was nothing on my radar beyond a vague impression or curiosity. I wanted to be this or that, but at the end of the day I had no idea if I would be a musician or an artist or a writer or business person. For some reason though, books on starting your own business always intrigued me. I remember picking up a business book at 17 and couldn't put it down. I would get stacks of business books at the library and read through them over and over again. For some reason, it all just made sense to me.
Over the years, I have read a lifetime portion of books on Business and Entrepreneurship, but I do have my list of authors who warrant "automatic must reads". These authors include Seth Godin, Malcom Gladwell, and Chris Guillebeau to name a few. As I read these books early on, I am fairly certain that my mind was trained to be an Entrepreneur. Life and Business was natural. And I love every minute of the practical outcome. 
I have had the honor of being a business mentor to help dozens of small business owners develop the mindsets and practical skills to run their businesses. I have no doubt that my arson of business instincts were grown because of this list of books. 
If I were to advise someone how they could become a great business person, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend what may seem too simple to be true. And yet, with 30 minutes a day and a dozen noteable books, I firmly believe that someone could avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in school debt, and emerge quite an impassioned Entrepreneur. 
1. The Education of Millionaires: While this book just came out last year, it was hands down the best business book I have ever read. Mixing business theory and practice to a perfect balance, this book will give you the edge on what you don't know about business - and resources to help you get there.
2. 100 StartUp: I am certain this book will go down in history's list of business classics. While there is not a ton of theory, the main point of the book is to offer individuals the understanding that they can take a talent or resource they have, and capitalize it in a dynamic way. If you want to start a business, this is a must have for your library.
3. The 4 Hour Work Week: Just about everyone knows Tim Ferris now, and this book is why. This book describes specific step by step guidance to building a business, but beyond that, it also provides examples of individuals who have built business that work for them - not the other way around. In a world where Entrepreneur's work a minimum of 60 hours a week, this book gives an excellent perspective on keeping your business from running your life.
4. Tribes: Written by Marketing Ghandi Seth Godin, Tribes is a tiny book about building a following with a meaningful message. I read this book in one single day and when I was done, I could quite literally contain the excitement that it invoked. 
5. Outliers: I am sure most people wouldn't classify this as a business book, but quite frankly that's exactly how I feel about it. Outliers is full of historical stories, illustrating how success is never built on just your shoulders. In fact, there are factors beyond our realm of control that, if we can harness to our advantage, will be the conduit for success. It's genius.
6. The Tipping Point: Oops. Another book by Malcom Gladwell. Yes he is a personal favorite. This book is for someone who wants to understand Social Movements, and  what you need in order to build a social movement yourself and your brand.
7. LoveMarks : I absolutely love the premise of this book. If you want to understand why the great businesses reach their peak, and why we love them, read this book. An amazing example for anyone who wants to build a business that people love for more than just the product.
8. Start. Jon Acuff is an Entrepreneur himself and he knows a thing or two about the long haul of starting a business. But what I love this book is the lists behind every chapter that guide the reader through the steps and processes needed to start your business.
9. Purple Cow: Seth Godin really made his name to me in this book. This was the very first book I ever read that introduced me to what it really means to be a marketer. I know that modern marketing has a really bad rap, but Seth Godin teaches you how to market in such a way that your customers connect with what you offer - because that is exactly what they want and need. 
10. Spin Selling: I have been reading this book and wow. Just go buy it.   
11. Great Work : What is the difference between "paying your dues" and doing the work that really means something? This book gives examples of how you can impact your customers in ways that not everyone may try. If you want to learn how to make the random and ordinary something special, read this book. 
12. Good to Great : Of course, this book is on just about every classic business list, but it is for good reason. More about business theory, this book shows how the great companies made it, and the principles that they applied to get there.
13. Quitter: This is another awesome book by Jon Acuff - just in case you need incentive to start your own business.
BONUS: For Photographers
Fast Track Photographer by my dear mentor Dane Sanders. This book will break down exactly what you need to pull out of your soul and be a successful business photographer.
VisionMongerers: The most vital must read for photographers. Most people don't know what it takes to do photography as a business. And for that reason more photographers will fail than make it in the business. This book will give you a compete reality check on what you need to be a business photographer. 
[What books have you read that made the big difference in your business? Comment below - I'd love to add more to my list! Know someone who is trying to start a business? Share this article with them!]



How to Survive a Drastic Dietary LifeStyle MakeOver [and avoid a midlife crisis]

Quite frankly, I’m beginning to expect change. 

The way my life seems to be running recently, I should be a “adaptability” pro. I always thought I was decent at adapting and finding solutions. But I can’t lie, its been pretty tough to adapt to the continued changes in my life. Believe it or not, I’m not talking about moving, or adjusting to new friend groups, or even road trips. I’m talking about health challenges. 

Two days ago I received an email from my doctor that started out with “but you're probably not going to appreciate my feedback”. You know there’s something up when you read those words from a doctor. I braced myself for the news and to be honest, I wasn’t surprised by her words. I was pretty disappointed though.

The last month I had been doing pretty well with all the health challenges. I got off my recently discovered allergens (beef, eggs, pineapple, beans, green beans etc). I established a new routine. I was doing really well. Physically my energy was returning somewhat nicely. But I emailed my doctor because the bloating, inflammation, and abdominal comfort continued with a vengeance. I had sent her a log of my diet, asking for suggestions. Low and behold, she had a thing or two to say.

Apparently my joyous experience with SIBO is continuing strong due to the sugar in my diet. Now let me preface that the amounts of sugar I had been eating were on average less than 25 grams per day, including fruits and veggies, and anything else I might consume. I had been really careful to go very low with my sugar intake, but apparently, my doctor thinks its not enough.

In her words, my further healing will be halted unless I cut sugar out of my diet completely. She didn’t mean just sugar. She meant anything that the body uses to turn into sugar: All grains. Fruit. High sugar veggies. And also fake sugars like splenda or stevia. 

I stared at her words and my heart sank. Another huge lifestyle adjustment ahead. My usual morning Green Smoothie / Protein shake with just 1/2 blueberries and only 3grams of sugar? Out. My morning sugar free almond latte? Out. A quick “Kind Bar” when in a pinch on the road? Out. I know these things seem so small, but they were staples that I had worked into my routine. It’s not so much that sugar must be eliminated; It’s the idea that the things I’ve worked into my life - the replacements of replacements - now must go. 

SIBO feeds off sugar. But when it gets really low amounts of sugar, it goes dormant, using the little sugar in the system to just survive even if it doesn’t flare up. In order to get rid of it, I literally have to starve my system entirely of sugar. Otherwise it will remain in my system, and could flare up again later. 

Even still, with this news I know that the Lord is working in my soul, because I don’t feel the intensity of disappointment that I would have felt two months ago. The only intense thing I feel is the possibility that I could go to such extreme lengths and have this not even bring about the desired outcome. It takes so much work to live when you have these kind of conditions. Most people don’t remotely understand what it takes. 

About 10 minutes after the email, my mind went to a very health place. I thought: Yes, I was disappointed but the practical side is what I felt stress from. I needed a plan. If I have a plan, I will have food. If I have food, I won’t cheat. If I don’t cheat, I will feel empowered. If I feel empowered, I will settle into a routine without too much emotional chaos. No, it’s not easy. Yes, it takes a boatload of work. But for all my adapting I think I have finally found a process that will help me get past the Dietary LifeStyle changes without feeling like my life is falling apart. 

1. Realize the situation i.s. a big deal. You will have people tell you that food shouldn’t control your life. You will feel like, if you are fully functioning, can walk, talk, breathe, and live on your own, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Truth is, in this kind of transition, food d.o.e.s. control your life to a degree. For example, having these limitations and being on the road is next to impossible to manage. The amount of mental and physical stress that is caused from having to wonder where you are eating, if they have something that won’t make you sick, or what store can facilitate some organic produce or uncultured meat - those are no joke questions to face every.single.time. you need to eat. With the new changes in my diet, my husband and I are contemplating canceling our great summer road trip - simply because my food lifestyle requires a great deal of planning, and prep, and work.

On the flip side of this, I have friends who have similar conditions to myself, but they have a lifestyle of travel. And they struggle because the two conflict at every single turn. These lifestyles are a BIG DEAL. Acknowledge it and give yourself some grace.

2. Keep It Simple. Now is not the time to find the most culinary adventurous recipes to implement every single night. That’ll cost you an arm and a leg, and produce extra stress - especially when a recipe doesn’t turn out (and trust me, on these diets there are plenty that don’t). You need to think through individual foods you can eat, and then which of those foods work well together.

For example: I love deli turkey with tomato and avocado. I literally smile when I eat that. Simple. Satisfying. I know that if I find a health food store, I can get those things and be ok. These are the things that aren’t gourmet. They aren’t exciting. But they get the job done and I don’t feel like I’m signing away my life to make it, or my pocketbook to pay for it.

3. Realize you eat for energy first and for most. Anything else is an added plus. Phillip is the most laid back eater I’ve ever met. Of course, he has foods he really likes, and food on his favorites list (sushi, sushi, and more sushi); But he will literally eat anything. I didn’t understand this right away, so he had to explain. In his mind, anything that wasn’t an MRE was great. If it had nutrition and substance, he was down. It was that simple. This is one of the most difficult transitions I know. But in my experience it’s the only way to get away from the mindset of what you “can’t eat” to being grateful for what you can.

4. Create a Daily plan and Menu. Above all, make a plan. If you don’t, you will fall. Plain and simple. Ask yourself questions like this: What meats do you like best? What ways can you cook them that are simple and not crazy time consuming? What veggies go well with those meats? What combinations of veggies do you find satisfying? I personally love sautéd mushrooms and onions. If I have those two things with any combination of meat, I’m good. I can’t do food on the fly right now. It doesn’t work. A weekly menu overwhelmed me, so I just create a day by day plan. Sunday night I plan for Monday. Monday night I plan for Tuesday. etc. This eliminates the stress that comes from wondering “what is my next meal”?

5. Do your prep work: Remember the health food stores that have pre-made fresh food in the refrigerated section? Why do we like those? Because when you pick them up out of that fridge, all you need to do is eat it. Doesn’t get any more simple. When you have a full work schedule, you need the ease of that, otherwise no good will come. Nothing feels better than when I’m in between appointments and can reach in the fridge to pull out my quick already made lunch, waiting for me to eat it. You need that. (Check out this incredible post for a detailed walk through of Food Prep)

6. Set up Accountability. I have two friends who play this role in my life - outside my honey of course. My friend Hannah has seen pretty much every health and physical experience under the sun, so when it comes to working through the emotional issues tied to my food lifestyle, she’s the one I call. She helps me know I’m not alone. And when I know I’m not alone, I feel stronger. When I feel stronger, I much less likely to succumb to depression or temptation.

My other friend is the one I text when I fall of the wagon. Kristi is a gem of gems. With similar dietary lifestyle necessities, she knows how I feel when I text her that I just ate something I shouldn’t. The way God works it, half the time we both fell off the wagon on the same day so we can acknowledge our indiscretion, and laugh about it. Then we encourage each other to get back on the wagon, and we know we are getting on together.

7. Find Support. My family is incredible. My mother - a sort of Jedi Master when it comes to food and all things kitchen - trained my sisters to be culinary masters themselves. (She tried to teach me but I gravitated to baking. Defintely should have stayed with cooking). When my sisters and Mom found out the news all they wanted to do was hunt for recipes that would be aligned with my new specifications, but still be delicious. I am so grateful for this. Sometimes having support rather than figuring it all out on your own can be the difference between feeling like you can handle it vs. being caught in a downward spiral of depression. 

Finally, the biggest lesson I am learning about this adaption process is the importance of taking things day by day. To be honest, I can’t think about living this way for 3 days, let alone 3 months. It’s beyond overwhelming. But Jesus tells me that my heavenly Father knows my needs before I do. Jesus tells me that I don’t need to worry about tomorrow. Jesus tells me that all I need to do in these times is cast my burdens on Him. I can’t carry these issues and the repercussions to my lifestyle. But He can. And He will. 

And I am so beyond grateful for that. 

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