Lots of people make comments about Carl and I traveling so much. It's true. We do happen to travel a lot. Whatever word you'd like to use, "lucky" or "blessed" (ew...I don't like that one) or "fortunate." I don't like any of those actually. They all make it sound like somehow Carl and I were "chosen" to live a better life than others. Not true. We work hard. But we have figured out how to do what we love AND do it together. I would call that a major bonus that no financial bonus can beat. Carl's dad told Carl about 2 years ago, "Do what you love and find out how to get paid for it." We did! It's been an amazing journey so far and we're really really really glad we took the leap last year into full-time photography.
Here's the story:
Carl submitted his resignation from his position at our church on May 15th of last year to be effective August 15th. My seizure was on the 20th of May. Awesome timing right? Nothing like quitting your job, your wife having a medical emergency 5 days later, and then to find out your wife has a medical condition in the months following. Um, what?
Shortly after we got married (back in 2007) we had a rousing experience with Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. We moved out of our rent house and into a scary, skanky apartment. (Why did no one tell us how crappy it was?!?!) PS, I was sick the entire time we lived there. We lived on a tiny amount of money, we saved every penny we could and eventually moved to another apartment right behind the church. It was high-roller penthouse compared to where we were before. We were able to live just fine and still save lots of money. We were trying to build up our savings for a car to replace my blessed Toyota. We had a nice stash. Then...seizure! If you didn't know, medical bills tend to be spendy. (I know. Shocking.) Because we'd be so vigilant in saving, we were able to pay cash for every test, every doctor visit, every MRI, and my short 6 hour hospital stay. We know that's not always the case, but sure are glad we made sacrifices to save for the unknown.)
Of course everyone was asking what we were going to do. I couldn't drive. I couldn't work. Carl had quit the church. What were we going to do? Oh yea, the stock market crashed and the economy was "in a recession." We had many conversations in the weeks and months leading up to Carl's last day in August. We decided that we would stay firm with our decision. I believed in Carl's talent and ability and had a feeling that the more time he/we were able to put into the business the bigger it would get. Carl was a little more hesitant. Bless him. He had a lot riding on this business risk. We had set up goals for the 2009 "season" as far as bookings and different things he wanted to do/try. By late February he had reached his bookings goal. Turns out people still get married in a struggling economy. (It also helps that we happen to live in one of the top recession proof cities in the US.) :)
This year has been awesome. Our business has/is blowing up. Opportunities have landed in our laps (not literally...but how funny would that be?) to try new ventures and travel to shoot weddings, families and friends all over the place! We're very happy to have these opportunities now while we're child-less and have the ability to check the calendar and go. It's an amazing feeling to look back at the last year, see how far we've come in all aspects of our lives, and look ahead to the future. We know that not every self-employed/small business owner experiences such a fruitful first year of full-time business. We know that not every business starts off debt-free. We know that every "season" or year is different. We know that we could experience more health problems or who knows what else. For now, we're enjoying the ride and absorbing every drop of each experience we possibly can.
So...where am I going next? Well I'm actually sitting on the couch in Carl's parent's living room. He's shooting 2 weddings; one on the coast (at a lighthouse!) and the other on a vineyard outside Portland. So we're spending time with his Mom and family, 2 weddings, then we're headed up to Seattle to visit his Dad and family. We've been looking forward to this trip. Carl always loves a chance to go home. I don't blame him. The Northwest is a beautiful place with our favorite weather.
Coming Up: We're moving! (We have a tendency to do this a lot too...this our 5th place in 2.5 years.) I know! But this one is a keeper. I promise. We may even get to buy it!