Life is moving in all the right directions lately. I’m making strides in my photography business, and loving this time of year. Unfortunately, many times this kind of progress comes with sacrifice. Stephen and I haven’t been seeing quite as much of each other lately. But we’re learning how to make it work. little notes and texts help quite a bit.
But none of this is the point. I want to tell you a story. a really exciting story.
I’m a big fan of Ben Arment. He’s the founder of Story Chicago and author of a new book called Dream Year. He comes from a corporate background. He was working what he thought was his dream job. but spending the majority of his time with people other than his family, and not being quite satisfied in the work he was doing, he decided to make a change. He worked his butt off to write his first book, and now he spends his time teaching others how to follow their dreams. right up my alley, right?!
Story Chicago is a conference all about dreamers. Its design is to inspire creativity for a cause. So it’s pretty much a bunch of people in the same place who think like me. I belong there. and 5 years ago, when I heard about Story, I knew i needed to be there. the problem? It’s not cheap. and in this newlywed, trying to start my own business world I’m living in, it was a distant dream.
So here’s where it gets good. Last spring, I heard Ben was doing a tour for his new book. He was doing a kickstarter type funding campaign to travel to different cities around the country with what he called “Dream Year Pitch Nights.” Basically, a group of people in the same area getting together to discuss their dreams. The moderators picked 5 people to “pitch” their dreams to the crowd, and it would be an evening of encouragement and networking. And Ben would speak. I was pumped.
I bought my ticket to Cleveland’s immediately, and patiently waited to see if it got funded. It did. So i printed my ticket and counted down the days.
The day had come, and I went by myself, anxious to meet new people and hear Ben speak. I got to listen to Jon Guerra and the other dreamers in my city. Then Ben spoke. He talked about how he was feeling before he left his job in the corporate world.
Like there was something more.
Like there was something missing.
Like there was something better.
And the more he spoke, the more I related. I am feeling now everything he was feeling then. And i was so encouraged.
At the end of the night, the small group of us left were all learning more about each others’ dreams and soaking up all the advice Ben had to give. With the purchase of the event ticket, we all got a copy of Dream Year. He was signing books, and when he took mine, he asked my name. I told him my name was Allison and he asked for my last name. Why would he need my last name? I told him and he said “I know you.”
WHAT? How in the world do you know me?
"From twitter." He said.
I mentioned Ben in a tweet. A SINGLE TWEET. months ago.
and he remembered.
We talked a little about what he spoke on and I told him how much it resonated with me. He asked what my dream was. and I told him how passionate I am about seeing creativity in the church and seeing Christians embrace the creativity in them. I told him about how I want to see believers leading the way in the Creative industries.
He asked if I’d ever been to STORY. I told him I hadn’t and he asked why not. I told him I simply don’t have the money. He told my he’d stay in touch and we parted ways.
I spent the rest of the night trying not to read into things, but doing it anyway.
I woke up to this.
The rest of my day was spent squealing and hotel searching.
And I’m going to STORY.
If it’s not too late for coffee
I’ll be at your place in ten
We’ll hit that all night diner
And then we’ll see
If you know me at all, you know that I love change. This weekend has brought a lot of it. Last Saturday marked one year in our cozy little home. Since we moved in, I have dedicated a ginormous portion of time to making our beige walled, industrially carpeted rental look and feel like a real home. We have art on the walls, a decorated fireplace mantle, and candles candles candles. But Stephen and I both agreed that it wasn’t until this weekend that we succeeded.
1. We can watch TV! Now this may seem super insignificant to some. But it’s a bit of a big deal for us. I haven’t had cable since I was in high school. And I like TV. a lot. I’m not into movies. and I spend all day at work on a computer. So when I get home, I like to relax with a little Teen Mom. But for the past few years, we’ve both had to watch what we can find on our computers. As a photographer, my computer is crucial. and I think with the combination of all the work I need to do, and the tv shows i watch, i’m overusing it. So it’s nice to be able to have a TV on which I can record shows to watch whenever I want them, and to still enjoy the unplugged life I’ve come to enjoy the rest of the time.
2. We bought a rug. The carpet in our place is not ideal. It’s not soft, it’s not a nice color, and it has some spots that we can’t seem to remove. So since we moved in, we’ve been on the hunt for an area rug that we both loved. a few weeks ago, i was browsing Society6 for a throw pillow or two, when i noticed they added rugs! perfect. Now all we had to do was agree on one. (that’s a little tougher.) To my surprise, we both picked THE SAME RUG. we ordered it, we got it, and we love it. but the one thing that really makes this place feel like home is…
3. Lola the kitty.
She’s our first furry friend and we love her so much already. Stay tuned for a few too many Catgrams.
Lots of love from our little home to yours.
I haven’t written lately for fear of becoming redundant. The passion I’ve talked about so often is all that I can think about lately. I’m learning, and getting better and enjoying every second of taking pictures. I know this is where I’m supposed to be. I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to. and it fills every part of my head. and I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about that. So I guess I’ll just talk to you later.
Recently, I had a conversation with an old friend on Facebook. We went to high school together, and haven’t really kept in touch since. We’ve “followed” each other on Social Media since then, but haven’t had much reason to interact.
After the usual pleasantries, he made a statement that really made me think.
He said that I seemed happy.
We haven’t spoken. All he knows of the life that I live right now is what I choose to share with the world through 140 characters, or an informal Facebook update. And from what he sees, I seem happy. That told me that I’m doing something right.
Because I am happy.
The internet is full of complaints and criticism. And I want to be the happy that people see. Because I can’t think of one reason not to be.
Babe, there’s something lonesome about you
Something so wholesome about you
Get closer to me
This weekend Stephen and I went camping with eleven of our favorite people. We all met in college, and despite hundreds of miles between us, we’ve stayed close through break ups, moves, marriages, and soon to be babies. We’re a family.
It was so good seeing all of them, and so sad leaving. And I’m sure that in a week, when I’m still thinking about how much fun we had, I’ll think of more to say. But for now, I’m sad so let’s look at some pictures.
This is Jesse. He’s in a band.
yes, that is bacon you see.
it’s summer already! and 2014 is officially 49 % complete. I think the theme of the first few months of this year has been “settling.” Stephen and I have been settling in our fairly new home, and our somewhat new jobs and figuring out the balancing act of our changing schedules. and It’s been great. But with the [welcome] change in temperature comes a whole lot of busy. Wedding season is kicking in, which means a lot of travel for me personally and professionally.
Last month, I celebrated my 23rd birthday with my family in the rolling hills of Amish Country.
I also had the honor and privilege of traveling to Connecticut to be a part of my dear friend Katie's wedding. It was wonderful to spend time with some of my favorite girls for a weekend, staying up late and talking about where life has taken us all.
I shot my favorite engagement session to date. And I’ve crossed state lines for the majority of weddings this season. I spent the entirety of last week counseling High Schoolers at a church camp I grew up going to. I lost my voice, laughed way too hard, and lost hours ridding myself of mud and paint. But saw God move through the youth around me in a way that I could never forget.
In the few weekends we’ve spent in Cleveland, we’ve done a whole lot of exploring. We visited the Cleveland Flea, and found a few new cheap date spots.
We’ve spent a ton of time outdoors, enjoying the beautiful rivers and lakes God has given us. Stephen’s been doing a lot of fishing and I bring a good book to enjoy my time by the water.
And this week, Stephen and I leave for a camping trip with our very best friends. A week under the stars & in the woods is the perfect way to end these last few months of travel.
I love the changes this warm weather has brought so far. I love the travel, and breaks from our routine. I love spending time with the people that I miss so very much, and meeting new friends, too! Most of all, I love doing it all with Stephen.
But I also love coming home. I love our life and where we live. I love learning about new people and places right here, in Cleveland. I’m so grateful for the life that we have, and the things we are able to do together.
I hope the next 6 months bring as much joy and excitement as the past 6 months have.
I leave you with a little note from Stephen that I found when I got home from camp last night. It’s good to be back.