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Losing My Voice

May 14, 2014

When I first started my blog, the purpose wasn’t to share photographs, or connect with an audience, or to even build a business. I began writing, and fell in love with written word. It was an outlet, a stress relief that has provided solace unmatched. I wrote our story, shared our adventures, and chronicled the days leading up to our wedding. Looking back on it, I am so grateful I took the time for those words. I am so thankful to have a small corner of history carved out just for us, and a place to return to relive it.

Two years have passed, and I would never have been able to predict where we would be. I would have never been able to imagine the ways we have been blessed, the ways we have been tried, the ways we have fallen and picked each other back up. It’s amazing how time can change things, heal them, make them different, yet better than you could have ever thought they would be.

Looking at my blog recently, I have realize something that makes me a little sad. I’ve lost my voice. When I would sit down to create a post in the past, I would carve out the time to let magic happen. I would write the way my heart felt. I feel as though recently I have done anything I could to just get a post together and published. Just finish it. Hit Publish. You have a million things to do. Move on. 

This is a trend not just in my blog, but in several areas of my life. For the last year, I have been simultaneously running my business and teaching full time. My Masters is in education, so when I graduated last May, it just felt like the obvious next step would be to find myself a home in a classroom. I returned to my beloved preschool where I assisted part time through college, and was gracious to receive a full time position as a lead teacher. The last 8 months have been rewarding, challenging, exhausting. I have struggled to keep up with lesson plans, classroom management, parent-teacher communication, assessments, all while trying to grow a successful photography business. I have tried to make it all seem really beautiful and like it hasn’t been hard…but y’all. It has been so hard. This has been one of the toughest years of my life so far because balance is a word seldom used in my vocabulary. I am a passionate person, and when I really believe in something I throw my whole heart into it. So I would end an 8 hour school day and come home to immediately begin culling, editing, blogging,  posting submissions, answering emails, maintaining a workflow. I would barely stop to make dinner. Matt would have to plead with me to stop working to have a meal with him. That part devastates me. My husband would literally plead with me for my time.

I began searching my heart and have recently started to be honest with myself about the following hard truths:

  • I want to be present in my own life. I want to make time to write, and be with my family, and make my own memories. We want to travel together, we have house projects we want to complete. I can’t do these things if I work 80 hours a week, it just isn’t possible.
  • I need to take care of myself if I want to be able to serve others. Sleep, eating right, and maintaining our house aren’t exotic luxuries. I will have nothing left to give to anyone else if I keep putting these things off.
  • I need to put The Lord and his will for my life first. I have to let go of the things I thought were meant for my life. If that means I have a degree in teaching but I’m not going to teach forever, than I have to be okay with that. I know in my heart of hearts what The Lord is intending for me, and I see the incredible things he is doing with my business.
  • There is nothing on my to-do list that is more important than The Lord or my husband and our family. 

After months of planning, looking at our finances, and my husband watching me struggle to just barely keep up with my workload, we have finally decided that it’s time for me to leap. I don’t know if it will be forever, but we have faith that for right now this is the right choice. I will be taking this summer off to focus on my business full time. 

After what feels like an eternity for waiting for this, I am so excited about this next chapter. And I have to be honest, I’m scared. This is a scary decision, full of uncertainties. But there comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to do the scary thing. You know what they say, sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.

So if you’re prayer minded, please pray for us. I pray The Lord will allow the right clients to cross my path. I know he is the God who provides, so I find refuge in that.

Nikki Santerre Phootography_Virginia Fine Art Wedding Photographer_Jeremiah 29-11_0001

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for you to prosper and to not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11

  1. Amy says:

    Nikki,

    I love this post! It is so honest and real. Congratulations on taking that next step. I am so happy you are following your heart and know that you have amazing things ahead!

    xoxo
    Amy

  2. Caitlin says:

    so happy you’re taking the leap- you’re too talented to put this on the back burner. so excited for you!!

  3. Sara says:

    If it makes you feel any better – I have degrees in Political Science and Russian language… don’t use them much with regards to what I do now but I’m cool with that. Have you thought about going part time with teaching?

  4. Beth Lawson says:

    Nikki,

    I don’t know you, but my daughter Anna Lawson plans to have you photograph their wedding. As you say, I am doing a million things at once too, so since it’s late and I have to be at work at 7 am, I just want to comment your resolve and your faith. Thanks for being so open – I know that is hard!

  5. Natalie says:

    I remember when we talked about this an Envision and it was just a dream… Now you are taking the leap. Making this big and instrumental change that (I believe) will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!!! You are a gifted photographer who the Lord has blessed with an ability to connect with people, share their stories, and document their histories. I know you are going to LOVE being full time this summer and I pray that it becomes a stepping stone towards making a LIFE for yourself that is full of your passion!

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