Happy New Year!!!! Or I guess I could I say Happy New Decade!!! LOL
It is crazy to think how quickly the last 10 years have flown by. Time is something I don’t think we understand or appreciate till we are older and wiser. I am just now starting to realize how precious my time here on this Earth is.
January starts most of us on a path of reflection over the past year. 2020 brings a whole new kind of reflection….the reflection over a decade now come and gone. A lot can happen over a decade, or a lot can not happen - it depends on where you are in your personal journey.
I’d like to chat a little with you about the last 10 years of my life. I think it will give some perspective and a glimpse of who I am as a person today in the year 2020. It will help you get to know me as Lindsay the Photographer and Lindsay the mama.
Ten years ago I was graduating college, I was married to my best friend, and I was going to change the world one ag student at a time. I was going to start a family and have a long happy career teaching leadership skills to students through FFA. That was it… that was my plan for my life. It was safe, and it was boring. Well, teaching teenagers is rarely boring especially as an Agricultural teacher and FFA advisor. So, that’s what I set out to accomplish. I landed my first teaching job in Crossville, TN, and I went in with some huge ideas and goals. However, it was a lot harder than I thought. I was not from the area, kids didn’t respond well to my expectations, and I was just so new and green. Kurt and I found out we were expecting our first baby the spring of 2011 - not what you really need in your first year of teaching. By October of my second year, I was miserable. I was sick from my pregnancy, and I wanted out. Our dear girl was born in November during Thanksgiving week, and my hubby received a great job opportunity the same day. We would decide to move within 4 short weeks, and by January 3, 2012 he was starting a new job in a new state, and we were living with my parents with a newborn. Man! Saying that all out loud is really mind boggling. I quit my teaching job and became a stay-at-home mama, something I NEVER intended to do, but I loved it. We moved to Hopkinsville in May of 2012 and made lifelong friends.
Fast foreword to 2013 where I began teaching myself photography. I used our baby and dog as my subjects, and soon people started asking if I would take their portraits. I was like, “Sure…” Thus, Lindsay Hodges Photography was born. I never in a million years dreamed I would own my own business and be working with some of the most talented photographers shooting weddings and meeting so many wonderful families and people along the way, but looking back, it has been one of the most pivotal yet rewarding choices I have ever made not only for myself and my clients, but also for my family. More on that in just a bit.
Also, in 2013 Kurt switched jobs, and we decided to sell our home in Hoptown and move back towards Middle Tennessee which turned out to be an ordeal as it took almost 10 months for us to get an offer on our first home. During this time, Kurt was commuting from Hopkinsville to Nashville (over 70 miles one way!) 5 days/ week. Crazy! Around Thanksgiving of that year, we also thought it would be a great time to start trying for our second little one. Little did we know God would bless us just one month later with a positive pregnancy test and a contract on our home shortly after. So, in April of 2014 we moved back to White House, TN to be close to Kurt’s work and our families. In September of 2014 we welcomed a bouncing baby boy in to the world. I went through postpartum depression and laid the camera down for a little bit. This was a trying time for Kurt and I, but, thankfully, I had a family who supported me and helped me get back to doing what I truly loved.
So, in 2015 I went all in and started really working towards making my business profitable and worth the time and effort I was putting in. I am so incredibly thankful to my friends and families who were there in the beginning and let me practice and learn on their kiddos and families. That is how we learn, by doing. I can say now that I am an experienced portrait and wedding photographer. Am I the best? NO WAY (despite what my adoring husband tries to say to pump me up)! Is there more to learn? Absolutely. But, am I good at what I do? YES I AM, and it is because I CARE about each and every person who steps in front of my camera.
There have been so many ups and downs throughout this journey not just professionally, but personally as well. In 2017 I began my journey to better health. I began working out and watching what I was eating. Despite all that, in 2018 my marriage almost fell apart. Even though I finally got on the fitness train the year before, my husband had started on his own weight loss path in 2014. He had started out running 5Ks, and then he decided to get into triathlons; so he was either biking or running in the early mornings and then swimming on his lunch breaks training up for an Olympic triathlon in August 2015. During this time, he had also been keeping a close eye on his nutrition, so he slimmed down from 260 lbs to 195 lbs!!! He confessed to me later that he had hoped that him losing weight would make him more attractive to me and also motivate me to get in better shape as well. While I was blown away by how great he looked, my insecurities about my appearance actually made his transformation have the opposite affect. He was now so lean and sexy that it made me even more self-conscious of myself. I couldn’t see how he could find me attractive, so I withdrew from him and gave a lot of pushback on making strides to better my health. This caused a tremendous amount of resentment, frustration and disconnection between the two of us. It is by the grace of God, counseling and self awareness we were able to make it through, but we did! We are closer now and better than we have ever been. However, this story isn’t all sunshine and rainbows yet.
In May 2018, I fell while shooting a wedding and broke my leg and had to have emergency surgery. I was basically out of commission for 3 months. If it hadn’t been for Kurt, my family and friends, I don’t know how I would have made it through that. I was so angered that life had been going so well - my business was great, I was losing pounds and inches and gaining strength, and Kurt and I were rediscovering our love for one another. Now, it felt like I was having to start all over again. That really wasn’t the case, but I still set my mind to doing just that LOL! I got right back to work and began rebuilding momentum in my business. I went on to photograph 3 more weddings that year. But during this same season my sweet hubby was going through the hardest job he’d ever had. It was emotional and mentally draining for him. Now this brings us to 2019.
The year started off seemingly great, but then at the end of January our world was turned upside down. Unexpectedly, my husband lost his job. We were so scared we were going to lose everything, but God had other plans. All the while, He had been grooming us and our marriage for something bigger. My father-in-law owns his own business, and for years it had been Kurt’s intention to get back there and help run it with his dad. However, life had taken us down a very different path, or so we thought. Looking back now, all those other jobs had taught him valuable skills that he could bring to the table to work for his dad. It was an adjustment for sure, and there are always fears and hesitations when going into business with family. But, I can honestly say I am so thankful for that opportunity, and it has been the biggest blessing for our family. We might not be richer, but we are so much happier doing what we are doing now. Life is funny that way - the lessons it teaches us when we least expect it.
So I can say we are better people, healthier people and richer in the the things that truly matter now than we were in 2010. God has been good to us and has never left our side. Even when we were scared we might lose our little girl at birth, He was there. When my mama was sick with cancer, and we were scared, He was there. When there have been family hardships and difficult relationships, He was right there seeing us through it all. I can look back now and see all the ways God has helped us, taught us and led us through the good times and the hard times.
It is so important to see those, because as Christians, God doesn’t say life will be easy, but He promises He will be there. He tells us the Holy Spirit will be there to intercede for us when we don’t have the words. Sometimes when we are in the pit of darkness, we have trouble seeing the light, but when we have a grateful and thankful heart, it is much easier to see all the good and glory in our lives. He lifts us up and carries us through the darkness into that light. I read recently 1 Peter 5:10, “After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” God is saying He has saved you and He will bring you through to the light.
I hope that in this year of 2020, you see the light, you feel its warmth, and you can bask in the promises God has shared with us in His word. I pray not for the fantasy that life is easy, but that He will direct your path and make all things new. I am choosing to live in His word and light this new year and decade. I want to look back in 2030 and see all the ways He carried me through and was there for my friends and family. I want to see growth and strength not only in my physical body but in my spiritual life and relationships.
I want to thank you all for supporting me in my business. Most of you are not just clients but you are friends who have been there for me in more ways than I can count. I pray for you, and I am thankful for you all!!
Happy New Year!!! May it be a blessed one!!!!!
PS I think it is time for a new photo! LOL