Yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment and when the nurse took my blood pressure she asked if I was nervous. Normally I get excited when my blood pressure is taken because I’ve been told it’s excellent and, apparently, I think there’s a special place in the world for Blood Pressure Valedictorians. If there was a blood pressure team, I’d be captain. But yesterday? The nurse told me to take a few deep breaths to calm myself.

That’s been a reoccurring theme in my life lately: taking a deep breath.

As I left the doctor’s office, he reminded me to take things easy. I promised him I was different, I wasn’t the girl he took care of in the emergency room a few weeks ago. He asked me what changes I made and as I listed them, he nodded his head with approval. The biggest change, however, was bringing an assistant with me to weddings.

In light of keeping my health a top priority, I invited Kendra to join JD and I at a few recent weddings and I’m incredibly thankful to have her at my side. I used to babysit Kendra and her two sisters (and raid their pantry for fruit snacks and popcorn), but she’s now a college student studying photography.

I invited Kendra to join me and hold my camera gear, but she’s since morphed into my right hand. She’s kind, considerate, and one of the hardest working girls and I’m honored to have her at my side.

When I told the doctor about Kendra, he patted my back and said he was happy for me. As captain of the Blood Pressure Valedictorian team, I was too.

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  1. rich

    July 25th, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    so awesome that you’ve made this change for your own health! i think a commemorative plaque is due to crown you captain of the blood pressure valedictorian team!

  2. Liesbeth

    July 25th, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Good for you, for taking an assistent with you! It makes life a little easier!

  3. Christy Tyler

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    AWESOME! So happy you’re putting your health first finally! Also – your dress in that last shot. So. CUTE.

  4. Alex

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Jasmine, you are the cutest. I love the way you right. AND, what a great addition to your team! Kendra sounds amazing, and I can’t wait till I’m at the stage in my business to add someone to my own team 🙂 What an inspiration. LOVE IT! Rock on, girl!

  5. B

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    I LOVE Kendra. And the Cook girls. And you. Glad your learning to take mom’s advice! 😉

  6. Chris Grave

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Welcome Kendra and Congrats Jasmine for knowing your limits.
    Always be true to who you are.

  7. Maggie Fortson

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Such a sweet post 🙂 Always great to have extra help along … especially a friend!

  8. Juan

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Congrats to Kendra. It sounds like she’s doing an amazing job 🙂

  9. Lisa Cour

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I’ve very disappointed to learn their is another reigning champion of the Blood Pressure club….I really thought I held that title….its always a very proud moment when they take my pressure and express surprise. 🙂

  10. Amanda Skiba

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    What a great opportunity for a photography student! Congrats on letting in help 🙂 I’m right with ya there on the blood pressure! Mine is always great – so is my pulse, they always as me if I’m a runner – I guess I better start running to keep the standards up!

  11. Joel

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Good for you. You’re giving her some great experience and yourself some peace of mind.

    Breathe in. Breathe out.


  12. Sandy Adams

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Yes sometimes we all need to let go of some of the little things in order to take care of the big things.

    So proud of you, I am!

  13. Dawn R

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Please do take care of yourself, Jasmine. Welcome, Kendra!

  14. Tami Paige

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    So glad to hear you’re taking care of yourself and SUPER excited that you found yourself and amazing assistant!! She’s a lucky girl too, working with you and JD!! Take care of yourself!

  15. Somer Anne

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Congratulations to you, JD and Kendra! Here’s to lower BP! 🙂

  16. Natalie Tuggle

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I’m really happy for you! As my photo business grows into a full time job- and I’m still working my day job-I can’t see how you survived without an assistant! Congrats!!

  17. Gail

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I am SO so proud of you, J. This is HUGE for you! And I have no doubt this is going to help you tremendously on this path of yours to slowing down and taking deeper breaths along the way. xoxo G

  18. Carrie K

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    What, JD hasn’t been enough help for you? 😉 What fun to take a special gal under your wing!

  19. desiree

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    How awesome! Kendra is a lucky girl!!!

  20. Nanette Gordon-Cramton

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Sounds like a win-win for both you and Kendra! And…she’s adorable! Enjoy!

  21. Whitney Dupuis

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Lucky Kendra! How wonderful for her to be able to work with such an amazing photographer. Heck, it is amazing that she knows what she wants to do at such a young age. Good for her!!!

  22. Kim Renee

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Congratulations Kendra!! And Jasmine I’m glad you have support 🙂

  23. Meghan

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Congrats Jasmine on being in a place where you need to hire an assistant, you busy, in demand lady you 😉 Kendra congrats on the honor of joining Jasmines team! I’m sure I can speak for a lot of people out there when I say I’m waaay jealous!! Can’t wait to hear more about you!

  24. Bekka

    July 25th, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Thats my best friend right there 😉 I’m so excited for the both of you! 🙂

  25. Aimee Dreiling

    July 25th, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Can I be next in line?!
    KIDDING! What a great opportunity!! I’m SO jealous 🙂

  26. jaimi allen

    July 25th, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    so many people are going to be and are jealous over your new assistant’s responsibilities. inlcluding me. Yay for you Jasmine! you deserve what eases your blood pressure 🙂

  27. nancypantsgirl

    July 25th, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Good for you! I HATE shooting alone. I really must have an assistant or second shooter or I just feel too rushed (and too much like my own beast of burden). I’ve been bringing my husband along lately and we both love it.

  28. brandi

    July 25th, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I’m so jealous of Kendra. She is one lucky girl to be able to work with you, Jasmine!

  29. Kate Neal

    July 25th, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Love this! So sweet!!!

  30. Julie

    July 25th, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I always have an assistant with me. They are a godsend and younger than me!

  31. dan!

    July 25th, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    she sounds lovely. Go team jasmine!

  32. Shauna

    July 25th, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Good for you!!

  33. Nancy Ramos

    July 25th, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    That is wonderful. Having an assistant at your events besides a second shooter helps so much. I always wondered how you managed not to work with one.

  34. Ashley Goodwin

    July 25th, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    YAY! Kendra!! I met her along with Zoe’s cute self in LA…so sweet!
    WHY DID IT TAKE YOU SO LONG? 😉 Happy you’re healthy and strong. Now, get to yoga and get that breath under control.

  35. Whitney Lane Arnett

    July 25th, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    What an awesome opportunity for both of you!

  36. Rebecca Grennan

    July 25th, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    I know what it is like to be a work-a-holic, remember God gives his beloved rest. You are his beloved Jasmine, and Kendra is the Lords provision for your rest. Keep up the good work and make sure you delegate and rest when you can. God Bless!

  37. Alexis

    July 25th, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Jasmine Star, I’m happy you’re healthy again, please continue to make time for you/take care of yourself. Just think of all the future brides who NEED you! 🙂 I’m happy you’ve posted about hiring an assistant and making more time to take care of yourself! 🙂 Kendra is blessed to have the assistanship of a lifetime! What aspiring photographer wouldn’t want to be able to note you on their resume? A-mazing! Happy for you both! 🙂

  38. Cristen flores

    July 25th, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    As an assistant for Jesi Haack, I had the honor to meet Kendra when I had to go pick up some crafting materials. She is everything you said she is!’ hope we can work together soon

  39. Suzanne Haggerty

    July 25th, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    I need a Kendra. I’m a one-armed photographer and my pain specialist is insistent I get an assistant ASAP. Sigh …

  40. PAPI

    July 25th, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Well, IT-WAS-ABOUT-TIME!!!! And "Kandy"? She’s like family. Love you, Ken!

  41. Kirk

    July 25th, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Congrats, i was still hopping for a Polo job position but ohh well i guess someone has to look after the house while you and JD are away.

  42. Faith

    July 26th, 2012 at 3:04 am

    Jasmine – You have found a star. Kendra has photgraphed my family pictures for two years and we are not easy to shoot. My barely walking, 87 yr old grandmother and two children see to making the shoot an interesting challenge. I am always amazed by the final product. Kendra is a gifted photographer.

  43. LEOLAK

    July 26th, 2012 at 3:23 am

    Congrats!!! That’s awesome! So glad you are feeling better and taking steps to keep that up! Congrats to Kendra…great opportunity! Jasmine…the styling lady….you are always on point!!! Work it!!! =)

  44. Life with Kaishon

    July 26th, 2012 at 3:52 am

    She looks like a winner to me.
    I am sorry you are so stressed. I was sort of stressed earlier this year when my job as a social worker was coming to an end. And by sort of I mean I was crying day and night. I tried to get myself together because everyone said it was going to be fine…but nothing seemed fine. It is still all a little shaky. I can’t make the sad feeling go away.
    I hope your stress keeps diminishing. Lots of love, Becky

  45. Amelia Rhea

    July 26th, 2012 at 4:17 am

    Having someone you can count on for helping you out at weddings is priceless, and so well needed at times!

  46. J. Todd Coomans

    July 26th, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I sure wish I would have know a position was open to be your assistant. What an awesome opportunity for Kendra working with you. Also, very good for you to find someone to rely on. That is very hard for us type "A" personalities that want everything just so to rely on others, when we really should. Have a great week and take some deep breaths just because…

  47. Jessica Reynolds

    July 26th, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Oh my, Kendra has grown up so much since I last saw her! I use to babysit her and her sisters too! Kendra you are so beautiful and incredibly lucky to be working with the one and only J* congrats to both of you ladies.

  48. cassandra-m

    July 26th, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Kendra (as she surely already knows) is one lucky girl. She has the MASTER teacher and thats something to be thankful for. I am sure she will soak up your knowledge and make you proud in the future. Its nice to have a mentor like YOU. xoxooxoxoxox.

  49. michael anthony

    July 30th, 2012 at 7:10 am

    That’s one lucky girl! Good luck to you and Kendra!

  50. Melissa

    July 30th, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Can I be the Blood Pressure Saluatatorian? I too love the feel of having the lowest blood pressure possible:)

  51. angie

    July 31st, 2012 at 3:09 am

    awww…if you need a second assistant, I am available!