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don’t settle for a life of mediocrity {living a great story}

© Tina Vega Photography

One of my hopes in undertaking this 30ish-Day Challenge was to regain a sense of purpose and direction.  I am not content simply filling time; I want to make the most of what God has given me by giving the best that I have to my work and the people in my life.  It’s so easy – so VERY EASY – to get caught up in things and lose time.  Lots of it.  And before you know it, a life is spent.

© Tina Vega Photography

I want to spend what time I have doing things that matter.  I don’t want to look back and think, “Why in the world did I spend all of my time doing _____________________?”  I want to live out God’s unique plan for my life.  Figuring out what that is can be tricky because there are LOTS of great things within my grasp.  But not every opportunity or activity is for me.  Just because it’s good, doesn’t necessarily mean it is part of His unique plan for my life.

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I have been reading the book, “Own Your Life” by Sally Clarkson, and it is been a valuable tool in this regard.  After several days of journaling through the questions at the end of each chapter, I had a huge moment of clarity:

I am not meant to continue photographing weddings.

If you are under contract with me for 2015, don’t panic – I will be there for your big day as promised!!!  It’s just that my body has changed since surgery.  After working two events this month, there has been a load of swelling that has me concerned about the effects of working long hours carrying 8+ pounds of equipment.  There is a high failure rate associated with pelvic floor reconstruction and the risks associated with further surgery could mean the end of my photography career as a whole.

As I mentioned last month, my website will be undergoing a massive redo.  Turns out the timing couldn’t have been more perfect with this recent revelation.  I just wanted to get word out now because who knows who long this massive redo could take!  So for the record, I will not be taking on any new wedding clients from this point forward. 

Changes like this can be sad but I want to remain a photographer for the long haul and will do whatever it takes to make that happen!

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the birthday girl turned five & had a party

© Tina Vega Photography

Not just any old party, mind you.

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But a SUPER COOL camp-themed party!!!  Overflowing in such detail, it created a serious flashback moment to my days at Camp Tanadoona!  Mom, owner of Fancy That Studio, is the ultimate party planner.

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And details are obviously her thing.

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The kids had a blast exploring the site.

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Grown-ups, too!  Here are several more of my favorites from the day:

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Thanks again, Kelli, for allowing me to capture the fun!

Kelli - May 21, 2015 - 4:20 pm

Tina. I am literally crying right now. Once again, you captured so much more than I could have hoped for. Your gift for seeing love, laughter, hope, joy, and precious moments through your lens is truly a blessing. Words really can’t express my full gratitude, so I will simply say thank you.

Krista Goodwin - May 21, 2015 - 4:59 pm

Great pictures as always! Super excited about the impromptu shots of our little family. So fun! Thanks, Tina. You rock!

Tina - May 21, 2015 - 7:14 pm

Love that, Kelli. I feel so grateful to have been there. Thank YOU!

Tina - May 21, 2015 - 7:15 pm

Thanks Krista! It was so nice seeing you again!!

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cultivate real-life relationships {living a great story}

© Tina Vega Photography

I think in this flourishing digital age, we need to be careful about the time we spend interacting on social media.  It should never become a substitute for interacting in the real world.

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To live a great story, we need to be intentional about using our time to cultivate real-life relationships.

© Tina Vega Photography

This sometimes means stepping out of our comfort zone.  And saying ‘yes’ even if we are a little bit scared.

© Tina Vega Photography

It means opening yourself up to someone else’s story and learning much along the way.  It also means having fun. :D

© Tina Vega Photography

Try initiating a real-life connection with someone you enjoy virtually.  Make time for neighbors you rarely see.  Visit your grandparents.  Pour into the children that enter your home.

© Tina Vega Photography

Because people – and moments spent with them – are at the heart of a great story.  [Thank you, thank you Crystal & Kelli for making this day happen!]

Crystal Satnik - May 18, 2015 - 4:51 pm

Thanks for a super fun day! I love seeing things through your eyes. Glad we had this opportunity. Any time you want to get together – I’d be more than happy to see you!

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contact me to schedule your session

© Tina Vega Photography

I just discovered that the mobile version of my blog does not have a contact form (or a drop-down menu, link to Facebook, or ANY OTHER WAY TO REACH ME!) – go figure.  So I thought I would add a post for that purpose.  If you are on a mobile device and looking to schedule a photo session, you may do so two different ways:

1.  Go to www.tinavegaphotography.com and enter the HTML site.  Click on the “CONTACT” tab and fill out the form.

2.  Send an email direction to “tina at tinavegaphotography dot com” (type as usual with appropriate symbols when sending the email).

I do my best to respond within 24-hours.  (If you contact me over the weekend, you might not hear from me until Monday.)  If you have any questions, let me know!

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intentional living for the directionally challenged {living a great story}

I began the 30ish-Day Challenge to work my way out of a rut.

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My internal compass simply stopped working.  And instead of moving forward with purpose, I began to wander.

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Until I found myself a bit lost. :(

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Looking back, it seems my focus was knocked off-kilter by stress that began last summer.  Life was in a holding pattern because of health issues before surgery – and for several months after – as my body healed.

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Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), I have had LOTS of experience getting stuck/unstuck over the years and thought I would share some of my best tips/tools for getting reoriented:

1.  Go to the library and look for books to feed any and all current interests.  I look for things that fire me up, stir my soul, grab my heart or head in some way.

2.  Listen to podcasts.  My #1 go to for inspiration is The Accidental Creative (by Todd Henry).

3.  Pursue creative interests/outlets.  For me this means baking, scrapbooking, embroidery, writing, books and magazines related to my passions, and checking out new restaurants.

4.  Connect with inspiring and encouraging friends!

5.  Take in some visually interesting scenery.  Reclaiming BeautifulBibelot or Patina.  The Minneapolis Institute of ArtsWalk along Summit Avenue in St. Paul.  Go for a bike ride.  Visit a flea market.  Hang out at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

6.  Revisit books that have helped in the past.  My favorites include:  The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, Experiencing God:  Knowing and Doing the Will of God by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King, How Then Should We Live by Francis A. Schaeffer, God Moments:  Recognizing and Remembering God’s Presence in Your Life by Alan D. Wright, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story by Donald Miller, and Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff.

7.  Create/keep an ongoing art journal.  A place to write down inspirational quotes, a place to dream and explore.  I clip words and images out of magazines, print up encouraging emails and stories – pretty much anything and everything that tugs at my heart.

8.  Spend time journaling about your last clear heading.  What has since changed?  Am I running away from something or do I sense God leading me somewhere else?  What interests me right now?  How might God be using me even in this unfamiliar place?  What dreams do I have for my future?  (Don’t be afraid to dream BIG, this is exactly how Paris became a reality!!!)

9.  Do something out of the ordinary.  Bake a pie.  Go berry picking.  Spend a day in Stillwater.  Bless a neighbor with some treats.

10.  Clear the clutter.  Remove anything from your closet that you have not worn in two years.  GET RID OF IT!  Do the same with your drawers.  Your basement if on a roll.  There is something extremely cathartic about eliminating the excess in our surroundings.  It can bring about a sense of peace and much-needed clarity.

How about you?  Where do you go for help in sharpening your sense of direction?

jan - May 19, 2015 - 10:18 am

SO needed this. Thank you for sharing. Going to start doing a few of these things, and for sure at least ONE of them today ????

Tina - May 20, 2015 - 9:42 am

I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately, Jan. So wanting to hear how the college transition has been for YOU! Lunch or pool or coffee soon??????

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