Saying No and Turning Pages

Personal

Last year I made a few mistakes in regard to my business. The biggest one was not setting time aside for me. The non-photographer side of me. The person who wasn’t glued to her computer all day, who read more, who slept more. The person who took deeper breaths.

One of my goals this year was actively pursue a balanced life with relationships in this order: God, JD, family, friends, me, business. You see, this six-armed tree bore only five arms last year and it really affected the trunk, the core of who I was. Because I was so busy with everyone else, I kinda forgot about making me, me.

This year I’ve learned to say No and set aside time to indulge in life’s simplest pleasures. Mid-day walks, late night movie repeats of Gladiator, reading. Doing these things is not easy, as I’ve been known to simultaneously have a heart-to-heart with a friend, catch up on email, fold laundry, and flip through the latest W Magazine. I’m the walking love child that OCD and Multi-Tasker bore 20-something years ago.

It’s almost July and I can honestly say I’m SO much happier this year than I was last year. Fear, trepidation, and stress have packed most their bags, leaving in their place a fresher, lighter view of life. I hope that next year is only better! A special Thank You goes to JD, my family, and friends for constantly reminding me that the world will not end if I don’t complete every task on my To-Do list. And if it does, I can place the onus on them!

Here are two books I just can’t rave enough about…
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. I just finished “Grace Eventually” by Lamott and I laughed, cried, and loved the world a little more after her stories. She’s one of the best writers around and her voice is so real. Touchable almost.
Late last night (it was actually early this morning), I completed Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. It left me breathless. Lahiri is probably my most favorite writer of all time and I love her work so much I can french kiss each page. It’s just that good. Her short stories are the best in current literary publications. She’s nothing short of amazing.

And a very, very special Thank You must go to my best buddy, Polo. Everyday we share a quiet breakfast together, the crust of my sandwiches together at lunch, and a sliced orange every night together. He literally brightens my life and I love him more than I love Ben&Jerry. And that’s a lot.

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  1. Bobbie

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Wow! Am I the first to comment?! Looks like it so far unless someone beats me to it before I finish this! Well, let me just say that I am so happy that you are happier this year and that you are making time for yourself. You not only inspire me with you pictures, but just this story inspires me to stay true to myself. Just last night my hubby told me that I have to slow down, take a breath and stop worring about the things I don’t get done. He says it is not good for our un-born child! Then he took me to play golf with him! (well, he played, I watched and drove him around on the golf cart!)

  2. Bobbie

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Um, I almost forgot to say that I LOVE these pictures!!

  3. Heather Costa

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    It’s funny to hear you talk about such amazing writers when you are one yourself! Your wonderful personality comes across in your writing so much-your heart and honesty come through in every post-thank you for sharing you!

  4. Betsy McCue

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Amen, sister! Good for you that you’re making more time in your life to enjoy it and make the most of it!! I struggle with the same thing… Quirky’s always trying his best to tear me away from my "to do" list… *Sigh* I’ll totally have to check out the reading recommendations. Also, since you’re a dog person too, highly recommend "The Art of Racing in the Rain". A nice, light read that you’ll power through in a day or two. You’ll never look at Polo the same way!! 😉 Happy Summer Reading!

  5. Chakriya Chatti

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    jasmine, I’m glad you’re taking time to read. I finished "The Last Summer of You and Me" and it was a great summer read. Every summer I always read "To Kill A Mockingbird" best book ever.

  6. [C+D] Cathy and David - Photographers

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Agreed! 😀 Charlotte-Anne (Charlie), our lovable kitty, keeps me company while I’m editing and brings me toys to make sure I get distracted enough not to go crazy. 😀

  7. simone

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    thank you for this refreshing post. i, too, am a business owner and there are days i am glued to the computer for 14 hours – why? not sure – fear that i’ll miss something.

    but alas, i am now on a first name basis with my local librarians. i love to read (like 400 pages in one day read), so they hold my fave authors for me – one of whom is Ms. Lahiri. I have not read this one yet so I cannot wait.

  8. Jordana

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    "No" has never really fit into my vocabulary. I’m a pleaser! My to do list rages on and I hate to go to bed without check marks next to each item. Note to self – it’s good to decline on occassion. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. Tammy Marcelain

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    I too love Anne Lamott, the next book I am waiting on from Amazon to read is "The Shack" can’t wait to find it in my mailbox today or tomorrow. Just finished Walking with God, by John Eldredge, amazing.

  10. e

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Ahhh. I come here to see Polo 🙂 So sweet.

  11. Tara

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    I love Jhumpa Lahiri too – I love that she is a second generation Indian who grew up in the US like myself. I love her writing style and it hits home like none other. Thats also the problem – sometimes her stories are so real and sometimes so sad that it its too much to bear reading, does that make sense? For that reason I haven’t gotten through Unaccostomed Earth yet…but I hope to. I’m glad to read that you love her work so much as well.

  12. Melissa

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Very well-written. It is so important to take time out for yourself! Love the photos too!

  13. AaronofAHS

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    live it up!

  14. julie

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    it’s so nice to see other’s striving for balance in their lives. you go girl and keep encouraging us to do the same. julie

  15. Cristina Thornburg

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Polo is SOOOO cute!

  16. christin

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    I can so relate to this, because I did the same thing this year. Mine wasn’t necessarily planned out like yours – it was more by force, because of my husband getting cancer. I was FORCED to say no, to drop all my commitments, and to take care of him.
    That’s when I realized – when did I ever see him before that? Why was I so stupidly busy that I didn’t have time to just waste time – with him? Not to mention myself.
    It has been the best thing on earth for me, and I can hear it in your writing that you feel refreshed too. I am glad I’m learning this now, and not 50 years from now…so all that to say, I feel you sister – and well done.

  17. David Pascolla

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Drink it in Jasmine. This is why kids love summer so much. Take off your shoes and play, read, relax and enjoy all of God’s delights and gifts….you deserve them.

  18. abriana chilelli

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    i LOVE anne lamott!! have you read bird by bird? awesome.

  19. Rodolfo Arpia

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    "I’m a slave, what possible difference can I make?"

    I’m going to read your post again, and again, and again.

  20. Shelley Weber

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    ONG reading this is what I needed. I have myself sooo busy this year. I should have said NO a few times. I have to have time for me..I will do things differently next year..actually today!

  21. emily griffith

    June 26th, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks for being a life and photography inspirer! Your awesomeness continues to encourage me!

  22. Crystal

    June 26th, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    I can so empathize with you. It’s so hard to take time out for yourself. I give you credit for making an effort for you!

  23. Tunji Sarumi

    June 26th, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    On the same pace. Pulling 40 hours a week working full time and spending another 40+ hours with my business is kinda crazy. I will have to streamline my day-to-day activities…

  24. Amy

    June 26th, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Great post Jasmine! I can totally relate to this and am so excited to be settling into my own rhythm as well.

  25. Shannon

    June 26th, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    I can’t wait to go grab these books!!

  26. Frances

    June 26th, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Hi Jasmine.
    Just an FYI.. Oranges can cause stomach irritations in dogs in large amounts.

    http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=pro_apcc_ask_peoplefood

  27. nicole green

    June 26th, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    i love how crazy you are about your pup. 🙂 i’m the same way!

  28. Whitney Clark

    June 26th, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Ah, I just L-O-V-E your writing. I think YOU need to write a book!

  29. carrie@urbanbaby

    June 26th, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    i can totally relate…i, just a few days ago, posted something very similar to this. it is my goal right now to find the balance, and make ME more healthy ;). thanks for the book recs!

  30. Erin Youngren

    June 26th, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    I almost choked and dropped my lunch when I read the name Jhumpa Lahiri! She is a STUNNING writer and her collection of short stories holds a very special place on my shelf! I thought nobody had ever heard of her! If you like Jhumpa and Anne, check out Annie Dillard. A lot more mystical, but as a study in writing, she’s fantastic.

  31. Jeff, La Vida Creations

    June 26th, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    OCD and Multi-Tasker were a scorching couple. I now can see where you get your stunningly good-looks from. 😉 Hooray for making time for yourself! You deserve it!

  32. Dennis

    June 26th, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks for the books suggestions as I struggle with all the things on my plate also. Say hi to Polo!

  33. Ashley

    June 26th, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks for the insight Jasmine. I find myself sinking into that same rut because I’m ALWAYS at my computer and trying to check off my large to-do list when I don’t have enough time. Now I have a new goal!

  34. SJ Styles Photography

    June 26th, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    I just wanted to say…YOU inspire me!

  35. Deb

    June 26th, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Crazy that I’m reading this on your blog. I’ve basically been blogging about this for the past 3 days now…about taking a break, finding myself and breathing. Nice to hear that it works…saying ‘no’, that is. Ha…and then my husband goes and breaks his cheek bones in 5 different places, while out of town. Nothin’ like mixing things up a bit. Anyways, thanks for posting. I’m a huge fan! Deb

  36. Cathy Crawley

    June 26th, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    I have the same problem, but as I only started my business 10 months ago I haven’t yet learnt how to shut off the computer at night, or how to stop thinking about the next thing I have to do when I’m with my family. Hopefully, I’ll be able to sort that out and find some of the balance that you have found. I think when my office is finished next week it will be a step closer.

  37. Christopher

    June 26th, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    The dog on the book says it all. Very funny. You look at that and say "I need a break". And who doesn’t.

    I think I am going to go tickle my boys nowz

  38. Cara

    June 26th, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Thanks for the recommendations Jasmine! I’ve been having terrible insomnia lately and I just heard the other day that "good fiction is the best sleeping pill". I plan to check these books out and read a little to "settle my mind" each night before I go to sleep.
    🙂

  39. Mark Leonard

    June 26th, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Anne Lamott is hilarious. If you’re ever looking for a similar writing style, I recommend checking out Kathleen Norris. Her humor is more understated, but she is incredibly poignant. Norris wrote a book called Dakota that I love.

  40. Nena

    June 26th, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    Just when I thought I couldn’t love you more than I do! =-)

  41. Shy

    June 27th, 2008 at 1:15 am

    MORE than Ben and Jerry?! Thats blasphemy! 😉

  42. Jasmine Marie

    June 27th, 2008 at 1:18 am

    Polo just keeps getting cuter and cuter. I am so happy that you’ve found a great balance in your life. 🙂

  43. Noelle

    June 27th, 2008 at 1:35 am

    this is so how i fell right now…

  44. Jenna

    June 27th, 2008 at 1:58 am

    I love Jhumpa Lahiri! I took a creative writing class this last semester where I was introduced to her and couldn’t put her short stories down. Way to go on making time for yourself too! It’s so hard sometimes, but so worth it!

  45. Mike Allebach - Philadelphia

    June 27th, 2008 at 2:00 am

    Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors! She is so crazy, free and honest and I love that about her.

  46. Amanda Auer

    June 27th, 2008 at 2:09 am

    Hooray for finding your balance! It seems like such an important part of life! Sometimes, emails make it hard to remember that life doesn’t stop for them. I’m not willing to have the years fly by without noticing. I want to soak in life to the last grain of sand!

  47. Heather/OneShotBeyondPhotography

    June 27th, 2008 at 2:32 am

    Him standing on your books is a crack up! He must be a darn obedient fellow…b/c my Zelda Bell wouldn’t stand still for a 1/4 of a second.

    Everybody seems to be looking for balance and peace in their life right about now…I hope you truly have found it for yourself.

    It is life’s greatest & most valuable gift.

  48. Shelia

    June 27th, 2008 at 4:09 am

    That is what I am working on right now too! The balance of it all! The image of Polo on the books cracks me up!

  49. Jaqueline Fronters

    June 27th, 2008 at 4:21 am

    There’s a lot to be said about a woman who loves her dog more than ice cream…Alot!

  50. Trista

    June 27th, 2008 at 5:27 am

    Good for you Jas! I need to make time to read too…seems like all I read these days are blogs and Us Magazine! Shame on me!

  51. kymberli q.

    June 27th, 2008 at 5:47 am

    Jasmine – you have got to read "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein. TRUST ME ON THIS. Copy this and check it out:

  52. kymberli q.

    June 27th, 2008 at 5:49 am

    It didn’t post the link! >:/ Look up the trailer on YouTube. THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN.

  53. Lara @ SWS

    June 27th, 2008 at 5:53 am

    Traveling Mercies and her recent book, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith are my favorite books! I laughed, cried and loved every second too! : )

  54. Natarsha N. Wright

    June 27th, 2008 at 6:09 am

    Taking time to enjoy life’s simplest pleasures is the best….Always make time for yourself and it will make everything else you do fall into place. I am learning that you definitely need your sanity and peace of mind to accomplish goals you set out for.

    That darn, Polo is toooo cute!

  55. Mieng Saetia

    June 27th, 2008 at 7:32 am

    Jasmine, your dog is hella cute.

    Polo, dude your mom’s hot.

    haha!

  56. Amy Watson

    June 27th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Hey Jasmine! I know you get TONS of comments from a bunch of people, but I just wanted to say that I looove reading your stuff! I also had the chance to read some of the posts you had at the VERY BEGINNING! I’m kind of at the same place you were at that time, and I love to be able to read about someone that started at such humble beginnings and was totally brought to higher places by the grace of God! that means i have a chance! I hope I’m like you one day 🙂

  57. Kelli

    June 27th, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    What kind of dog is Polo-he is so cute

  58. Val McCormick Photography

    June 27th, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Wow, some powerful words put together here. I am having such a hard time with taking more time off for family and friends. Thanks for the reminder. Your little doggy btw is so adorable. Love the shot with the paw on the books. Creative and cute 🙂

  59. Rae Barnes

    June 27th, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Good for you! If you liked Traveling Mercies, you should read Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. I love Anne Lamott!

  60. mom

    June 27th, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Jasmine, so wonderful to read that you are taking Dad’s advice. You need to do this………FOR YOUR SANITY AND PEACE OF MIND. "NO" IS NOT A BAD WORD! We love you.

  61. jackie wonders

    June 27th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    ok, you’re mom is adorable leaving that comment.. and i needed to hear/read this post bad, as my husband has to beg me- wait- peel me away from the computer all the time. being obedient in this area is definitely a discipline..thanks as always.

  62. Gina

    June 27th, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    yahoo for you! QUESTION: Do you do your vignette-ing with an action? If so, can you share (name/vendor) if it is one you purchased? Thanks for sharing the secret!

  63. Jasmine*

    June 27th, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    @Gina: I don’t use a vignetting action. When shooting at a f/1.2, you get an awesome natural vignette and I’ll also use the burn took to enhance it. @Mom: I love you! @Kelli: Polo is a maltese 🙂 @Amy: You go girl! I can’t wait to see all the amazing things you’ll do in the industry! @Frances: I read the article and it said oranges were fine for dogs as long as they didn’t eat too much. I give Polo very little, but it’s enough to make him looove me! 🙂

  64. Frances

    June 28th, 2008 at 1:24 am

    Hi Jasmine!
    Haha. My dog, Buttercup loves carrots, apples, and peanut butter. Have you tried those Kongs before? They use them at the local shelter. Needless to say, Buttercup loves that too.

  65. cassandra m

    June 28th, 2008 at 2:55 am

    another favorite post with Polo. I love your baby. But I must also comment on how your intro touched me and made STOP and think. I am at that stage of fear, stress, anxiety & questioning everything about my photography & my business. The fact that you went through these same feelings is very comforting…and inspiring. Although I too multi-task like crazy too, I can see light at the end of the tunnel just by reading your words. Thanks for sharing how you’ve balanced things this year. I look forward to reaching that sweet gentle place one day.

  66. Ali

    June 28th, 2008 at 2:56 am

    We had Maltese dogs growing up and they were wonderful! I think that breed and probably Yorkies are my favorite small dog to have around kids…my husband, however, wanted something a little bigger so we ended up with an English Mastiff. Still a great dog to have with the kids, but at the expense of ginormous poo.

  67. Karey Michelle

    June 28th, 2008 at 4:28 am

    SO TRUE!! What a great post, I definitely feel ya. I’ve been wanting to stop by and say hi since it has been quite awhile since your awesome Starbox lunch and let you know I think you are awesome and keep shining bright!

  68. Joan Solitario

    June 28th, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Gosh! You have the cutest pup I’ve ever seen! Polo is so adorable… just looking at him relieves some of my stresses heheh 😀

  69. Matthew Savill

    June 28th, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Not to be bitter / jealous, but yes, it IS nice to be able to say no to work after you arrive and just *one* wedding can pay an entire month or two’s bills. Again, not to be bitter or jealous. I aspire to that goal. But pretty much EVERY business has a startup period of "hell work", and wedding photography startup can indeed take an entire year of slavery. (Or two, or three…)

    =Matt=

  70. Andi Grant

    June 29th, 2008 at 8:00 am

    Jasmine, your post brought tears to my eyes. I remember a time when God was first, and when I hungered for more of Him…now my life is so busy as I work full time as a 911 dispatcher and have been pretty successful launching my own photography business this year, my 4 kids,,,well, needless to say my walk has suffered. I rarely pray, only read the Bible at my small group, .it’s been months since I’ve read a book for the simple pleasure of it. I try but my mind wonders over to my calendar or pictures waiting to be post processed. I need to breathe.
    You are an inspiration to me in so many ways. Thank you for being so real and possible sparking a change in me….I hope!

  71. Renee Bell

    June 30th, 2008 at 2:25 am

    Very inspiing Jasmine 🙂
    I am glad to hear you life is much more balanced this year for you and I look forward to some of the same for myself!!

  72. Amanda Myers

    June 30th, 2008 at 3:34 am

    I LOVE Anne Lamott. I read this book awhile ago and find myself thinking of her stories often. I have to agree with you about Lahiri. She’s amazing! I read the book before this one (can’t think of the name) and have been wanting to read her newest. I’m glad to hear that you liked it…you’ve inspired me to pick it up and take some me time.

  73. Chryssy

    June 30th, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Wow..thanks for that Jasmine, it’s so very true and so easy to get lost in your career forsaking others and most importantly yourself. Hearing this from someone successful makes it inspirational-Thanks for sharing and being so honest

  74. Rachel LaCour Niesen

    July 1st, 2008 at 12:13 am

    I love Anne Lamott!

  75. Rachel LaCour Niesen

    July 1st, 2008 at 12:15 am

    Ok, that’s it: I’m moving to CA so we can start our own little soul-sista’s book club. I love Anne Lamott! Maybe we can even get Anne to drive down from Marin County to share her quirky, graceful sense of humor with us 🙂

  76. Ashley @ Bliss Event Group

    July 1st, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I appreciate this post. I feel that if we are not constantly attempting to grow and learn from our surroundings then we are just wasting away what precious lil time that we have been given. It is good that you have realized what works for you and now you will continue to have a greater understanding of how to create this thing called balance. Also, our animals are like music..they are good for the soul, they ultimately make us better people.

  77. Stephen

    July 2nd, 2008 at 4:24 am

    Wow. Very encouraging. Keep up the great work, and I know that God will bless you more and continue to shower you with favor and blessings as you persue Him!!! God bless.

  78. carissa

    July 3rd, 2008 at 7:41 am

    girl you know i love me some anne lamott…thanks for reminding me i need to re-read traveling mercies, one of my favorites ever! and thanks for reminding me to set aside time for myself…

  79. Gina

    July 27th, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Hi Jasmine! My photographer BFF Leah turned me on to your website and I read this entry a while back. Next week I am going to Cabo with my hubby and I remembered your book recommendations! I really want to take a book with me that I can feel like "french kissing"the pages! Anyhoo, I hope they are easy and insprirng reads!! BTW – My friend Leah is signed up for your class in Austin next week! 🙂 Have a great trip as well!! 🙂

  80. Kathi

    August 5th, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Jas, my husband and I were betting tonight – he knew you spoke about personal things in your posts, but he thought that every post you made also touched somehow on business. He thought I was getting too personal in our blog… until I pulled up your archives and showed him otherwise. Reading some of your posts tonight, I swear we could be twins! To read how you describe yourself in this post especially. Thank you for the reminder that sometimes it’s ok to say "No"… And thank you for the reminder about the order of relationships. It’s easy to get caught up sometimes and forget.