both worlds | at home with bb | wedding woman | also just woman

i really live the best of both worlds. i just didn’t know it until very recently.

i thought the one world was the only option. the world of business and wedding industry and always climbing for the top, more money, more name recognition, more about me, high energy that never stops, and endlessly stressful. when i lived in just this world, i wasn’t a version of myself that i liked. and i never slept. and i never relaxed. and i never enjoyed the best parts of my life. which does include the wedding industry, but it’s just not ALL of me.

the other world is the slow life. the waking up early to snuggle on the couch in the morning light with a cup of amazingly hot coffee. the slow life of walking around the neighborhood, knowing our neighbors, being invited to take food from a friend’s garden, enjoying fresh dinner around the table with loud kids and fun, adventurous, creative friends. watching our friend’s kids and being their auntie b and uncle e, cooking dinner for people in need, girls night on their front porch after the babes are sleeping, getting involved with our community doing things that have nothing to do with our business but everything to do with growing a healthy community, buying someone’s groceries, worshiping and breaking bread together and refocusing our hearts on what truly matters in this world.

some weeks i live in both worlds several several times.
this weekend i came back to my slow life from being on a high of the fast life and it took me a while to adjust back. but it’s possible. i know it’s possible now. i can be in the fast life in the morning and the slow life in the afternoon. i used to not be able to do this. i was fast life all the way, baby. no one’s gunna stop this train. but that train was a wreck. an exhausted wreck.

when you’re building a business you have to be a little crazy all of the time.
it’s a lot of work. and depletes a lot of energy. you’re basically putting yourself out there and begging people to want to work with you over someone else. and they have to have a good reason. but what i didn’t stop to appreciate until recently is that we’ve done it. sure, it has to continue and the hard work doesn’t stop, but it does sort of start to glide into a smooth rhythm. but i didn’t realize i had found mine. this sweet rhythm of hard, fast work, and slow, sweet living.

i can really have both.

friends are so important. friendly encouragement and support.
the best encouragement i’ve received in a long while was the P.S. section of my dear KaS and her blog post about me, about us, about women. she is so inspiring. and i didn’t ever realize that i could be inspiring to someone. that what i’ve done and have worked so hard for, someone else can see and says “hell yes, she’s doing it and that’s awesome”. she and i have thanked each other numerous times throughout our relationship and this is only one more small thanks. thanks never seems like enough. but i think over time, the relationship of thanks proves itself with the behavior and the sacrifice and the willingness to do anything for your people. so i hope and anticipate that being the case with KaS. this is what she wrote :

read the whole post here.

P.S. B. Burt intimidated me at first, too. She’s incredibly talented and loving, and her light shines SO BRIGHTLY, even on her darkest, most painful days. She’s living my dream of supporting herself with her camera and her words. And you know what? Instead of trying to one-up me with her talents and awesomeness, she encourages me to run toward my dreams and gives me advice every single time I ask for it. She is a mentor and a leader. She and E. Burt (her awesome husband) are some of the most genuine people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. They are the kind of people you just want to know more of. Read her stuff.

“supporting herself with her camera and her words”
i have read and re-read those words so many times.
and they have played in my heart since the first viewing.

what a support of what i do. i actually love most how simple that sentence is.
a lot of people don’t get what i do. they don’t understand how this is a job. they only understand getting a degree and working the same job that makes sense and the company takes care of your taxes for you kind of job. but this is more messy. i (we) have to do all of these things ourselves. we are every single department of a working company. and just this year we were able to bring on some more people! we are expanding BURTco. and it’s crazy cool that it’s grown like this. way beyond my dreams of just wanting to shoot a few weddings with my husband and be together all the time.

the point is, it’s possible. and soon KaS will absolutely be supporting herself with this dream job that i have. it’s not unobtainable. i did it having zero know how! literally. it’s laughable!
and just because i’ve obtained it doesn’t mean i should hoard that. or that there’s no more room for anyone else so i should stick my tongue out at you and not let you in the door. no. my help or mentorship or advice will only be a tiny, TINY, part of your own success. it’s mine to share, and it’s yours to do what you will with it. your own determination and behavior and decisions will be what gets you there. i reached out to several people when i started. i got shut doors, tongues out in my face, incredibly willing mentors who are still my friends, and people who fight for my business and support me to the end. you bet i would choose the latter for you.

ethan worked three jobs for over a year to get us here. i worked 12 hour shifts and waitressed to get us here. it wasn’t easy or pretty. we moved in with pops (ethan’s dad. my dad, too. he’s the best) to save money when we were NEWLYWEDS, you guys. when you’re especially supposed to live alone. we missed each other for what felt like a long time and dealt with some really scary health issues with me in that time, but since 2013 we’ve been together every single day of our lives, working together and kissing in the mid-afternoon. it’s what we wanted to do with the little time we have on earth. togetherness, seeking the betterment of others and ourselves. how can we help? what can we do? well, people need people and no one is available because everyone wants more money and more vacation time and they are stuck in their day jobs. we said no. so we took the risk, jumped, had faith, all that jazz, and here we are today.

i stopped shopping. like, fully. i’m serious, ladies. he never shopped to be fair, but he stopped buying games and electronics and broken down computers to fix. we sacrificed. we did what we had to do. you literally cannot have it all. so something will have to give if you want this life. you will get so much more in a way you never expected but maybe you won’t afford the house you wanted. because i don’t understand buying above your means. i just don’t. you can never get ahead that way. we have more freedom because we worked harder up front. we bought a foreclosed house. it’s still not fixed up, everything goes back into the business. we save more than enough for taxes so there’s no surprises. going out to dinner is a LUXURY. and now only happens when our parents give us extra money for dates. (which is a really nice thing for parents to do). we make our own snacks to take to a picnic date, not eat out, no matter how good the restaurants smell as we walk by, OHMYGOSH. we do spend our money on coffee. that’s something we didn’t want to sacrifice. and two small coffees plus hours at a shop with dreaming and dating fills us, so it’s basically a necessity. we don’t buy things unless we have cash for it. we garage sale and thrift. we minimized a lot. and it’s been so freaking worth it. it feels so good to have less, be more available, and love our job.  

it was lofty. but we did it.

and now we are adding even more lofty goals for ourselves. for our business, for new businesses, for personal joys and goals and challenges. and it’s lofty. we are in a new lofty risky time. but i love it. and i’m at peace. which is a beautifully new feeling that i welcome. i know how to swim the unknowns now. and the dark murky water is no longer scary but almost comforting.

my friend and her words brought me back. they reminded me of where i came from. and i think that is one of the greatest gifts a friend can give. when you first start in the photography industry and then you sort of make it, or make it big, you’re supposed to be ashamed of the work you first did. “oh, gosh! don’t look at any work before 2013!! we were horrible! it was so bad!! trust me, i’ve grown a LOT!” i truly hate that. and i refuse. i’m proud of every single photograph we’ve taken. i was terrified but i did it anyway. i love every couple from the beginning to the now. the beginning trusted us when no one else saw. we didn’t have a website. we didn’t even have previous work to show off. they just met us, and said yes, we’ll take that risk. WHAT!? WHO ARE THEY EVEN!? amazing humans, that’s who. we think about them all the time. our very first wedding. how the groom played for his bride and the bride’s dad had the best smile we’ve still ever seen of a FOB. how the bride was stunning and relaxed. exactly my dream bride. and how that whole day felt. looking at ethan. him being the only other one who knew i was terrified, and he was, too. and yet at ease later in the day. like we really can do this. we are doing it. and the in love-eyes and smiles i got from my own groom all day long. and that first couple is still with us. they now work with our family photographer we added to our team last year. they’ve done session after session with our new girl and i could just squeeze them and kiss their faces forever for continuing to trust and use and love us. i will not forget this ever in my life.

i was just a girl with a stupid disease that couldn’t see past today’s pain.
i was stuck at home in pain, watching gilmore girls reruns on my couch and texting my husband how much i miss him while he has to work for us and how i hated my life (and breaking his heart). chronic pain is a really crummy thing and does awful things to the mind process. that was the roughest year of our life so far. (2011)

now i am stronger, learning exactly what my body needs to take the best care of myself while living with this horrible disease. i get to see my husband every day, for several hours, and hear things like, “i love running a business with you” and “you’re such a boss” and “you’re beautiful” several times a day. i still live with chronic pain but i have officially stopped feeling sorry for myself and have embraced the life that is fully mine to live. on the dark days i still can see the benefit to this pain-filled life. and i truly believe i will be better one day, and i will continue to do the hard work of picking my brothers and sisters up and helping them push forward to their own best life. we let this disease (or fear or doubt) run us for far too long. we can take back control and find our best life despite the pain (or fear or doubt). i am a living testimony to that.

i live my slow world every morning.
i wake very early so i can be alone with cat burt on the couch with coffee and snuggles. and a book. or notebook. or laptop. whatever the spirit moves me to do that day. i give up my own life, and do what i feel in my heart i'm being told. today it’s writing this. i woke up with this melody in my heart and i rose to write it down. for me, for you. just to have done it. to remember. to look back on when i forget.

the morning light is gently sweeping into my home, filling up my slow life and inviting me to rest.

i will work hard today. i will rest hard today.
that is my balance.
i have finally tasted balance and it is so rich, so delectable. so enchanting.
i will stay here a little longer before i get up and girl boss this day.

photo by ethan b in may 2017 at a lovely wedding day.

photo by ethan b in may 2017 at a lovely wedding day.