06.26.08 Personal

Saying No and Turning Pages

ast 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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Kathi - 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.  08.05.08 - 12:34am
Gina - 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!! :-)   07.27.08 - 4:48pm
carissa - 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...  07.03.08 - 12:41am
Stephen - 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.  07.01.08 - 9:24pm
Ashley @ Bliss Event Group - 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.   07.01.08 - 9:56am
Rachel LaCour Niesen - 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 :)  06.30.08 - 5:15pm
Rachel LaCour Niesen - I love Anne Lamott!   06.30.08 - 5:13pm
Chryssy - 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  06.30.08 - 8:44am
Amanda Myers - 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've inspired me to pick it up and take some me time.  06.29.08 - 8:34pm
Renee Bell - 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!!  06.29.08 - 7:25pm
Andi Grant - Jasmine, your post brought tears to my eyes. I remember a time when God was first, and when I hungered for more of 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!  06.29.08 - 1:00am
Matthew Savill - 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=  06.28.08 - 3:24am
Joan Solitario - Gosh! You have the cutest pup I've ever seen! Polo is so adorable... just looking at him relieves some of my stresses heheh :-D   06.28.08 - 12:14am
Karey Michelle - 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!   06.27.08 - 9:28pm
Ali - 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 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.   06.27.08 - 7:56pm
cassandra m - 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.  06.27.08 - 7:55pm
Frances - 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.  06.27.08 - 6:24pm
Jasmine* - @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! :)  06.27.08 - 3:54pm
Gina - 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!  06.27.08 - 11:35am
jackie wonders - 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.  06.27.08 - 10:05am
mom - 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.   06.27.08 - 9:55am
Rae Barnes - Good for you! If you liked Traveling Mercies, you should read Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. I love Anne Lamott!  06.27.08 - 9:37am
Val McCormick Photography - 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 :-)  06.27.08 - 8:28am
Kelli - What kind of dog is Polo-he is so cute  06.27.08 - 7:38am
Amy Watson - 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 :)  06.27.08 - 6:50am
Mieng Saetia - Jasmine, your dog is hella cute. Polo, dude your mom's hot. haha!   06.27.08 - 12:32am
Natarsha N. Wright - 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!   06.26.08 - 11:09pm
Lara @ SWS - Traveling Mercies and her recent book, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith are my favorite books! I laughed, cried and loved every second too! : )  06.26.08 - 10:53pm
kymberli q. - It didn't post the link! >:/ Look up the trailer on YouTube. THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN.  06.26.08 - 10:49pm
kymberli q. - 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:   06.26.08 - 10:47pm
Trista - 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!  06.26.08 - 10:27pm
Jaqueline Fronters - There's a lot to be said about a woman who loves her dog more than ice cream...Alot!  06.26.08 - 9:21pm
Shelia - 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!  06.26.08 - 9:09pm
Heather/OneShotBeyondPhotography - 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.   06.26.08 - 7:32pm
Amanda Auer - 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!  06.26.08 - 7:09pm
Mike Allebach - Philadelphia - Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors! She is so crazy, free and honest and I love that about her.  06.26.08 - 7:00pm
Jenna - 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!  06.26.08 - 6:58pm
Noelle - this is so how i fell right now...  06.26.08 - 6:35pm
Jasmine Marie - Polo just keeps getting cuter and cuter. I am so happy that you've found a great balance in your life. :)  06.26.08 - 6:18pm
Shy - MORE than Ben and Jerry?! Thats blasphemy! ;)  06.26.08 - 6:15pm
Nena - Just when I thought I couldn't love you more than I do! =-)  06.26.08 - 4:46pm
Mark Leonard - 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.  06.26.08 - 3:36pm
Cara - 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. :)  06.26.08 - 2:53pm
Christopher - 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  06.26.08 - 2:42pm
Cathy Crawley - 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.   06.26.08 - 2:27pm
Deb - 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   06.26.08 - 2:10pm
SJ Styles Photography - I just wanted to say…YOU inspire me!   06.26.08 - 2:08pm
Ashley - 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!  06.26.08 - 2:07pm
Dennis - Thanks for the books suggestions as I struggle with all the things on my plate also. Say hi to Polo!  06.26.08 - 2:03pm
Jeff, La Vida Creations - 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!  06.26.08 - 1:54pm
Erin Youngren - 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.  06.26.08 - 1:31pm
carrie@urbanbaby - 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!  06.26.08 - 1:24pm
Whitney Clark - Ah, I just L-O-V-E your writing. I think YOU need to write a book!  06.26.08 - 1:18pm
nicole green - i love how crazy you are about your pup. :) i'm the same way!  06.26.08 - 1:08pm
Frances - Hi Jasmine. Just an FYI.. Oranges can cause stomach irritations in dogs in large amounts.  06.26.08 - 11:59am
Shannon - I can't wait to go grab these books!!  06.26.08 - 11:37am
Amy - Great post Jasmine! I can totally relate to this and am so excited to be settling into my own rhythm as well.  06.26.08 - 11:36am
Tunji Sarumi - 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...  06.26.08 - 11:33am
Crystal - 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!  06.26.08 - 11:22am
emily griffith - Thanks for being a life and photography inspirer! Your awesomeness continues to encourage me!  06.26.08 - 11:07am
Shelley Weber - 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!  06.26.08 - 10:59am
Rodolfo Arpia - "I'm a slave, what possible difference can I make?" I'm going to read your post again, and again, and again.  06.26.08 - 10:59am
abriana chilelli - i LOVE anne lamott!! have you read bird by bird? awesome.   06.26.08 - 10:57am
David Pascolla - 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 deserve them.  06.26.08 - 10:56am
christin - 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 all that to say, I feel you sister - and well done.   06.26.08 - 10:52am
Cristina Thornburg - Polo is SOOOO cute!  06.26.08 - 10:51am
julie - 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  06.26.08 - 10:49am
AaronofAHS - live it up!  06.26.08 - 10:42am
Melissa - Very well-written. It is so important to take time out for yourself! Love the photos too!  06.26.08 - 10:39am
Tara - 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.  06.26.08 - 10:34am
e - Ahhh. I come here to see Polo :) So sweet.  06.26.08 - 10:31am
Tammy Marcelain - 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.   06.26.08 - 10:28am
Jordana - "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!   06.26.08 - 10:27am
simone - 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.   06.26.08 - 10:25am
[C+D] Cathy and David - Photographers - Agreed! :-D 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. :-D  06.26.08 - 10:15am
Chakriya Chatti - 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.  06.26.08 - 10:11am
Betsy McCue - 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!  06.26.08 - 10:09am
Heather Costa - 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!  06.26.08 - 10:08am
Bobbie - Um, I almost forgot to say that I LOVE these pictures!!   06.26.08 - 10:05am
Bobbie - 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!)  06.26.08 - 10:04am