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the one about honesty, and why I failed marketing 101

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As I got ready to announce my new website and the new type of sessions I am offering, I began thinking of ways that I could engage people. Ways to show them the importance of having photos of the every day things that we often overlook. Now marketing is definitely not something that comes to me naturally, but I did come up with an idea that I thought it could really be cool to be a part of. I hammered out the details for a few days, pestering friends and family for their opinions as I went along. I was excited to post it and hoped that everyone else would be just as excited to join in. Then life happened. My 2 year old decided that naps were for chumps, followed that up with staying up until 1:30 am. Needless to say, my announcement post didn't get written. When I woke up this morning, something was different. My excitement was gone, and fear had taken its place. Maybe it was better that I didn't get my idea posted. Maybe it was awful. Maybe no one would care. Maybe no one would participate and I would look stupid. I began to talk myself out of doing the project at all. I told myself I could do it some other time, when I had more followers on Instagram or when I was sure I could make it work. I got into a text conversation with a friend, and she said, "I typically do my bravest moves at the 'screw this' moments."* And it suddenly occurred to me that maybe it was my moment to be brave. Now surely this isn't most people's definition of being brave. I'm not running into a burning building or anything. But I have a long history of closing up shop when faced with the possibility of failure. I absolutely hate being embarrassed, and I relive incidents that happened to cause me to feel embarrassed for decades. Literally. I wish I were kidding. And considering how socially awkward I am, I have a lot of memories to work with. So, not hero-level stuff to face this fear, but brave to me.

And I realize this is just about as horrible of a marketing and promotion blog post I could possibly write. There is almost a formula that photographers use when posting this kind of thing, and I could have gone with that. But that wouldn't really be me. And it wouldn't be authentic. And I don't know about you, but I really value honesty. In fact, that is exactly why I love these types of sessions that I am now offering. They are honest and real. They show your family exactly as you are. The chaos. The mess. The quiet moments. The love. And it is beautiful. It really, truly is. But believe me, I know it is not always easy to let someone in like that. To show your house, with toys littering the floor, or the kitchen tile you absolutely hate. To have someone see that you let your toddler watch tv so you can eat a few cold bites of your lunch, or see how much your kids bicker. It's scary to let down our guard and not worry about what people think. But I think we all know that life happens between all of the highlights that we post on facebook. Shining smiles, and clean, happy kids doing fun things are an awesome part of our story. But they are not the whole story. I, for one, think the whole story is beautiful. The day to day moments of our lives, the perfectly imperfect moments.....this is our story.

Here is the description of these new sessions from my website....

You never get the same moment twice in life. How effortlessly we forget this. We allow the rush of responsibility in our daily routine to dim the magic swirling all around.

But the magic is there. It surrounds us at every hour. It's disguised as dirty faces at the dinner table. Hidden in the cinnamon sprinkled on toast before school. Waiting in the untied shoestrings by the front door that offer freedom.

Something happens when you choose to see the beauty in your little world; when you take the time to hear the sound of those tiny footsteps down the hall at 6AM, you realize this is it. This IS your life. It's happening. All of the planning and saving and hoping for a better future could never take the place of what you have in this moment.

If you're reading this, let it be your little reminder to find the happiness in what you've been given. It may not be spotless or fancy, but it is yours to keep.

Show me the snacks and spilled milk, the after-bathtime snuggles, the under covers kisses and your nightly crusade to bring everything back to one before it begins again.

These sessions are for seeking beauty in the ordinary and finding the magic in the seemingly mundane. Every photo, a pause in the perfection of what is.

My heart is truly invested in helping you and your family stand in awe at the love in your life.

This...is everything.

I call these sessions This is Everything sessions. Obviously, I encourage everyone to schedule one for their family. That is one bit of marketing that I have a grasp on. But....beyond that, I encourage you to make an effort to document these moments in your own daily life. Almost all of us have a camera right in the phone in our pocket, so we are in a time when this couldn't be easier. I would love it if you would join me in sharing some of these moments. Over the next week, I am asking if you will share images of some of the lovely, honest moments you have. Tag me in the image if you share on facebook, instagram, or twitter and use the #thisiseverything. At the end of the week, along with all of the awesome moments you were able to capture, you will also get a chance to win a free photo session. The full details of the giveaway can be found here.

*some quotes may have been edited for profanity :)

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