30A Photography Education & Healthy Living » 30A editorial photographer inspiring women to savor life through learning about photography and healthy living. Serving 30A & Panama City Beach, Florida.

life, simplified (welcome to the new site!)

After months of thinking/talking/praying about it, I felt that it was time to simplify life by streamlining my online presence.  For those of you that don’t know, I’ve run a photography business for the past nine years and three years ago started a side-gig, Safe & Happy Family.  But since then “life has happened” and I’ve decided to focus more on what really matters to me – family, food, faith, fitness and photography.  Those are the things that are most important to me, but yet they’re also the things that I’ve struggled with the most.

About two years ago now I sat down and took an inventory of the way things were – I didn’t do it alone though, I talked to my husband, kids, and family. Turns out, they all felt it too. By trying to do it all, I was failing at what I cared about most by being distracted and just… busy.  So I started to make changes. Slowly. I had no idea what exactly it was that I needed to do, I just knew I had to do something. So I started shooting fewer weddings.  Spending more weekends with friends. Sleeping more. Getting a tight hold on my finances and living less on a month-to-month basis.  As I did these things I realized that the dream life I’d been chasing wasn’t really so dreamy, and the behaviors of those I’d looked up to (working all night, never seeing family) weren’t so healthy.  Looking back, I can see how perfectly clear God’s plan for this chapter of my life was. He knew what was to come…  The struggles. The joy. The pain and relief. The sickness and health.

(Photo by Emily Huff)

I still don’t have it together – not even close. I’m wildly, shamelessly, perfectly imperfect.  I mess up a lot and have weeks where I allow myself to fall into my old habits of working too much and allowing myself to be distracted. But then I see the look on my kids’ faces and it jolts me back to reality, so I ask for forgiveness and start all over again. What I’ve learned is to stop beating myself up so much when I do mess up. (Which I’m grateful for because I really mess up a lot!) The thing is, we are inherently flawed.  Every one of us.  But it’s our responsibility to try our hardest to see past our imperfections, not let our struggles define us, and do what we can to use our talents and our voices to make the world a better place. We are allowed to have bad days. God guarantees that we will. But it’s not those struggles but how we deal with them that define us.   And thank heavens for that! I’ve been widowed. I’ve been paralyzed. I’ve lost friends and even lost my faith – but fortunately I found it again.

This site update is an outward reflection of the inner journey I’ve been on. It’s my way of trying to focus on what I care most about and sharing my journey along the way. It’s taken me over a month to bring together all of the websites/blogs I’ve had and turn them into a single, cohesive entity.  Doing so has given me a chance to reflect upon the topics that I really want to focus on – what is nearest and dearest to my heart.

(Photo by Emily Huff)

Photography – The art form that has gotten me through it all. Photography has helped me document my children’s lives and allowed me to witness the most intimate moments of other’s lives. After years of saying “maybe one day” I’m finally making it a priority to help others learn how to document their own lives. I plan on continuing to take limited editorial and commercial commissions, but my heart is being led to spend more time documenting my own family and teaching others to see the light.

Food – One of the few things that we literally cannot live without. I had never given food much thought until both my son and I were diagnosed with life-threatening dietary issues.  Now our family spends an inordinate amount of time preparing meals and talking about food.  I love all things food – photographing it, writing about it, and sharing some of my favorite dairy, peanut, tree-nut and gluten-free recipes (I promise they’re tastier than it sounds!)

Health  – Something we all take for granted until we don’t have it – until you’re laying in bed unable to move or your friend from work is fighting cancer… I’m still on the road to recovery from Guillain-Barre Syndrome and I have found writing about health and fitness (although I’m not a doctor!) incredibly cathartic. I’m not naïve enough to think that I can cure GBS, but I hope that together we can continue to raise money for medical research and awareness of food allergies. We’ve raised almost $2000 so far – how crazy is that???

I hope that you continue to follow along.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store next!

– Holly

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