The Forest, U.S. Constitution, and Breathing

cringe at the thought of posting on the blog for Jasmine. I'm not a writer and I find it hard coming up with things to write. I even got stumped on the title. In college I was the guy who compiled a mass of crumpled wads of paper when trying to write an essay. I'm hoping it gets easier with time, so I can stop cringing when Jasmine bats her eyelashes and asks "Would you help me with a post for tomorrow? It would be a huge help."

She's stressed and I see it.

"It's the high season and all we see are the trees," I tell Jasmine as she runs upstairs with a piece of toast in one hand and her laptop in the other. Each year plays out a little differently, but this year we are currently at the peak of our wedding season and Jasmine's To Do list looks like the U.S. Constitution. "You need to slow down take a look at what you've accomplished...look at the forest or else you're going to hyperventilate!" I might sound overdramatic, but when Jasmine feels like something is slipping away from her, she works extra hard to catch up and then wants to run harder so it doesn't happen again. "I just don't know how to say NO," she replied. And with that, she broke down.

She sat in the stairwell with her toast and her laptop. I remind her, again, to see the forest, not the trees. Don't look at a To Do list in a series of shoots, edits, and uploads. Rather, look at life in relation to our goals and how we're measuring up to our expectations. If we're headed in the trajectory of where we wanted to be at the end of 2010, then we couldn't ask for more.

I took a picture of her To Do lists. Yes, she SAVES them. She makes fun of herself and likes to remember her days of productivity...if it were up to me, I might have crumpled them up like I was writing an essay! ;)
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mandy - Just looking at these lists boggles my mind but you guys are clearly amazing!  01.21.13 - 6:56pm
Maria - JD, you are a lot better at these posts than you might think, Jasmine is very talented and I am thankful as she is my inspiration! She really has made me want to start my own photography business. :) Keep doing what you guys do, we all Love you.  10.04.10 - 3:20am
KrisD Mauga - JD- awesome job! What a crazy list of to-do's! Does it also list ...'take a potty break', 'eat', and 'breath'? Good luck you two!  10.02.10 - 9:52am
Truc - Those to-do lists are mind-boggling. I love the title of this post, JD!  10.01.10 - 10:08am
Amy Latka - You hit the nail on the head. Its all about trajectory and making those little shifts to stay on target. Moving forward and breathing. I like it.  09.29.10 - 10:46am
Indianapoils Wedding Photographer - I am famous for one thing "Let's make a List!" I never thought of saving them to stand back and see the forest. I like J* even more now that I know she is Rocks the Lists too!  09.28.10 - 12:07pm
Wedding Video - I know the feeling of being overwhelmed by the never ending story (or lists) which we put on ourselves. I agree need to try and look at the big picture so the little ones don't seem to be so daunting.   09.28.10 - 6:09am
Kathleen Roper - Accupuncture works great for stress and great focus. I have done it for 6 years. Find an accupuncture school where it's cheap. I always went to San Diego's and San Francisco's schools. And Massage. Now receive it in the Chicago metro.  09.28.10 - 12:00am
Fizzah Raza - Wow, those are some insane to-do lists. Madness!  09.27.10 - 12:12pm
Lambton Middlesex Wedding Photography - Great Post JD! And it was actually nice to see that you guys took the day - and possibly today off from Blogging as well - we will survive without reading a post for the day...and absence makes the heart grow fonder :D  09.27.10 - 8:04am
Christine - Hey Jasmine, First, you're not alone. I got so stressed I had a hard time breathing for a few months. I let it get to my health! Second, JD's right. you have a loving husband, a beautiful dog (I wish polo was mine!), a successful career, family, you have everything that matters! (and also some things that don't matter so much, but are still nice to have. You're beautiful!) third, maybe try - instead of thinking of it as saying no, is there a goal you can set? No more than X weddings in 3 months? Tell yourself, once you hit that goal, then you're done. so its not "no", its reaching a goal, and knowing in advance what you can and can't handle. Last, good luck. We're all still there, trying to balance work with family and personal time.   09.27.10 - 7:13am
Chantelle - Oh wow... Sometimes we all get a little overwhelmed with our hectic lives and need someone to sit us down and make us see the "forest" :) Great post JD!  09.27.10 - 2:16am
Cat - JD! You need to get that girl "Things" for her Mac! :)  09.26.10 - 11:11pm
Ashley Cherie - Good philosophy JD. Like looking at the big picture and not just the individual things!   09.26.10 - 8:49pm
amanda thiessen - hahah i love that she saves the to-do lists! you need to write on here more often J.D!!!  09.26.10 - 8:38pm
Becka @Studio222 Photography - This is exactly my life right now. I feel ya J* (and JD) :)  09.26.10 - 8:32pm
Erin Hernandez-Reisner - I never thought to keep them. I write a lot bigger so it doesn't look as neat, maybe if I write nicer it will look better and the world around we will resemble a crossed of list and not a mess, since I look at my list alot. OMG.... You are helping again! And with a list? Could this get any more ridiculous? I am happy to know that I am not the only one running up and down stairs with a once in awhile break down. I forget to eat and work all the time to catch up and then stay caught up, I am (this is sad) happy to not be alone. I haven't had a day off in weeks. Until today. I cleaned! And read a little J*. Great Post JD! You rock!  09.26.10 - 4:58pm
Erica Velasco - I feel like her exactly right now...only my to do lists are scattered in three to four different notebooks scattered around the house. Not very fun being completely overwhelmed =(  09.26.10 - 3:39pm
Romnia Isaac - Beautiful post JD. I love your advice to Jasmine and thank you for sharing it with us. I love the to do lists!!! They are ginormous!!!!!!!!! Jasmine you rock and I hope you soaked in JD's words of wisdom and that you guys have had a good weekend. :)  09.26.10 - 10:32am
Carol - I find to-do-lists give one a sense of purpose, and like you mentioned, also a sense of accomplishment. Try not to get buried in it though. BTW, you're a pretty decent writer yourself.   09.26.10 - 9:04am
Sachin Khona - ' If we're headed in the trajectory of where we wanted to be at the end of 2010, then we couldn't ask for more' Exactly. You are a good writer JD. Short, concise and to the point. I love your tweets too.. its hard to be funny in less than 140 characters but you do it so well... Keep 'em coming! Sachin   09.26.10 - 5:33am
Dawney - JD- you did a great job- don't worry about it so much. We all already just think the two of ya are great, so anything you write will be okay by us! :) I cannot tell you how much I love seeing other people's "to do" lists. It makes me feel like I'm not alone in this fun rat race of life. :)  09.26.10 - 2:25am
Heidi Stone Photography - Are you kidding me? I mean....ARE YOU STINKING KIDDING ME?! Those are TO DO LISTS?!? Wow. My list from today is far messier and less pretty than THAT work of art. I'd like to know though....does Jasmine add things to her list that she's already done to make it look better? I mean, because *I* would never do something like that. I just, uh.....have heard of people that do. ;)  09.25.10 - 8:44pm
Malika Marie - hopefully one day, 'Malika's + _____ Engagement' will be on there :)  09.25.10 - 6:05pm
Ashley - JD, you're like J reincarnated. Except that J's only allowed to post on my blog on my birthday, and only after I've proofread it. And I thoroughly enjoy your posts. So keep on helping Jasmine and keep on rockin it out! We miss you guys!   09.25.10 - 3:41pm
jenn - Wow that is for one wedding holey moley. Too much to do !! jenn  09.25.10 - 10:58am
Tracy - Oh. my. word! I thought I liked to make To-Do lists, but I have never seen one like those!   09.25.10 - 10:56am
angel - Oh, JD. I know she falls more in love with you every day. And OMG...I've never seeen to-do lists like THAT! Wowsers, Jasmine. You both rock. xoxo. LUVS!!!!  09.25.10 - 9:02am
anda - JD, I love how you help, love, and care for Jasmine. Jasmine, our to do lists look very much alike (the format; plus, i also save mine), except you have waaaaay more crossed-off on yours. So that has to be good news for you :)  09.25.10 - 8:45am
steff - those are the most insane to do list ever. my heart starts racing just taking it in.  09.25.10 - 8:22am
Stephen Jackson - For not wanting to write, that's an A for effort there. And holy crap... please tell me each of those to-do lists span, like, at least two weeks. And she keeps them? I'd want to burn them. I and a lighter would roast some marshmallows and dance around the infernal lists.  09.25.10 - 5:54am
angel canary - Aww, JD you're a good husband and business partner. ;) Jasmine = much love and respect  09.25.10 - 5:41am
Alex - Wow!! That's a loooong to do list! I thought mine were long haha  09.25.10 - 4:28am
Christina Juleson - JD I just blogged tonight on how much I appreciate my husband Ray and the part he plays in our business, then I run accross this! Amazing, you're just as amazing as my hubs, taking the ball and just running with it cause Jasmine needs your help! That's so awesome. As for the ToDo List, wow..that's all I can say least she'll never be able to say that she hasn't been up to much.   09.25.10 - 12:02am
Shari Baker - Holy Moly! It would stress me out just to look at those "To do" lists. Nearly the only time I make a list is when I go grocery shopping. You guys make a great team. Much success with this wild and crazy wedding season!  09.24.10 - 11:50pm
Marryam - love this post JD. love your writing, and you made such an important point as well - to see the bigger picture. Thanks for this post! Those to do lists are FULL ON!!  09.24.10 - 10:41pm
Cynthia B. - thing I've read all day! You actually write so much like her (that's a ma-aa-jor compliment!). I know exactly what you guys mean though with those TO DOS... sigh. :)  09.24.10 - 10:36pm
Marissa Rodriguez - JD, you're awesome. Both of you guys are awesome. Huge hugs to the both of you :)  09.24.10 - 9:56pm
Emily Dobson - First of all, fantastic posts! She should bat her eye lashes a little more often! Secondly, are those make-believe To Do lists? Seriously. Who can accomplish all of that?!?!  09.24.10 - 9:14pm
Mindy Metivier - Haha!!! I make to do lists too!!! Mine weren't quite as long, but they were long enough to make me feel overwhelmed and stressed. I started to make shorter lists for each mapping them out on a calendar. Hmmm...maybe that's just a different format for a long list...oh well...psychologically it eases my mind...haha!!! Whatever floats your boat right?!?!  09.24.10 - 9:12pm
cassandra-m - rock! Great post. Never doubt your ability to write and tell a story...i so very much enjoyed reading this and laughed that my "to do" list looks as crazy as jasmines.  09.24.10 - 9:05pm
Eileen - you are a good man, JD...  09.24.10 - 8:59pm
Michael - Wow. I think I might function heaps better if I maintained a to-do list half as well as Jasmine. hmmm, maybe not having a to-do list at all is part of my issue? Must get on that.  09.24.10 - 7:45pm
Shannon Wimberly - JD, you are a man's man two have a wonderful thing happening. I was thinking to myself just one half hour ago how I wish my wife and I had the kind of relationship you two have. She has God to assist as well, she should seek first the kingdom, and all these things will be added to her and fall into place. Again, every time I come to this site, i leave with a couple of tears in my eyes.....  09.24.10 - 7:08pm
Rich D. - Hey, my "To Do" lists look just like hers -- except nothing is crossed off.  09.24.10 - 7:01pm
Jessica - This to-do list made me want to faint...especially when i saw everything that has been crossed off...woah...  09.24.10 - 6:41pm
Nicole Landgrebe - JD + J* = :) you work so well together   09.24.10 - 4:14pm
Tira J - Great post JD! You should post more often. Oh Jasmine......BREATHE!!!! Hopefully you have a few days in a row off very soon so you can just relax and BE! xoxo.  09.24.10 - 3:56pm
Tenley C. - Not a great writer? I thought that was wonderful! Great storytelling and thought-provoking. And your advice is so eloquent.  09.24.10 - 3:25pm
Amanda - Holy Crap!  09.24.10 - 3:22pm
Cathy L. - great, GREAT, post JD!! wow, the TO LIST looks so overwhelming, but i'm glad you are there to remind J* to BREATH!  09.24.10 - 3:08pm
Katy H - OK - how are lists like that - even POSSIBLE?   09.24.10 - 2:59pm
Rich Park - my wife does to-do lists just like jasmine does, except she puts them on little post-its everywhere. you're doing a great job being jasmine's support system. go JD!  09.24.10 - 2:52pm
Teri - Seriously, as cute as she is she needs a CUTE to do list. This list is just UGLY and doesn't match her style. LOL. I think she'll do better with something...cuter. Like, with color or a flower or SOMETHING other than lines and columns. Just sayin...  09.24.10 - 2:50pm
Sara Lando - JD, you are a wise, wise man. Yet, any normal person (and even a few cyborg) would break down with that kind of to-do list. *cheerleading for Jasmine* you are going to make it and you'll be awesome while making it.  09.24.10 - 2:30pm
Christa - Yay a JD post :) You're such a great support to J* and your advice couldn't be more right!  09.24.10 - 2:08pm
Jewelielyn - oh. my. gosh. if those are her actual to do lists, i am amazed that she isn't huddled up in a corner somewhere, babbling incoherently!!! wow!! BUT, then i realize how many things she has crossed off!! and that is amazing too!! and you should write more jd--you did a great job!  09.24.10 - 1:56pm
Yuliya - I love it when you post JD, seriously! And Jasmine, listen to your husband, he's right! You're awesome!!!!!!  09.24.10 - 1:56pm
Annetta - Way to go JD! Enjoyed your post and wow what a to-do list. I thought I was bad!  09.24.10 - 1:55pm
Mindy M - YAY! It's nice to hear from you JD! Jasmine is a lucky girl and those TO DO "lists" are awesome! I'd totally save them too. =)  09.24.10 - 1:50pm
Catie Ronquillo - So awesome JD! I really enjoy your posts. And WOW. That is some to-do list. It looks like my spell-a-thon lists from elementary school - where every word spelled correctly raised money. And it also looks like my Constitution project from 8th grade. GO FOREST! :)  09.24.10 - 1:43pm
Renee - Oh my gosh! GREAT post! And, so funny! I just posted on blog yesterday on Needing Help with Your To-Do List! I think it may help! I, too, can get overwhelmed and then get turned on auto-pilot. I love how you refer to the forest, rather than the tree's! Awesome!!   09.24.10 - 1:40pm
Life with Kaishon - I am glad she has you.  09.24.10 - 1:23pm
Marie - Sheesh JD, you forgot to post on FB and tweet "The forest, US Constitution, and Breathing" is up on the bloggidy! Jazzie may have to re-consider your year end bonus ;)   09.24.10 - 1:22pm
Susan D - Yikes! Those lists are anxiety-producing all by themselves! Glad she has you to ground her. This was a great post and she is one lucky lady to have you. @ Gabriella.....right on with priorities! Family and enjoying the journey!  09.24.10 - 1:21pm
EBPitcher - Great job on your post, JD! They say that spouses grow to look like one another. I think your "voice" sounds like Jasmine. You are a good writer. Very enjoyable!  09.24.10 - 1:16pm
Jihan Cerda - Reminds me of the "The Buried Life".....they keep scratching things off the list. Its a good thing you are doing the same. xo  09.24.10 - 1:14pm
Irene - You just inspired me to actually start writing to-do lists! The post-it, scrap paper, lost notes system I usually use just isn't cutting it.  09.24.10 - 1:02pm
tamsen - someone who writes lists like me!! :) maybe this means I will one day be as great a photog as her too?! lol Take it easy Jasmine, you rock! and don't stress your life away!  09.24.10 - 1:02pm
Joy D - You have accomplished oodles! And you're one lucky lady to have such a wonderful husband. :) I now have no reason to complain about my "to do" list. Thanks for the post!  09.24.10 - 12:50pm
Lydia - I love your posts! I think half the fun of a "to do" list is balling them up at the end and trashing them! Just added something new to my life list: Find a guy 1/2 as great as JD. Might take awhile to do it, but it'll be worth the wait!  09.24.10 - 12:44pm
Silvana - No wonder Jasmine say you are the backbone of the business. Like someone said in the creative live in Seattle, everyone need a JD. ;-) You are AWESOME JD.  09.24.10 - 12:38pm
Carrie K - W.O.W. That's incredible. I thought my lists were long! The best advice I get stressed is, "Think like a guy and do one thing at a time. The first thing due is usually up first." One thing at a time J*. The dear Lord give you strength!  09.24.10 - 12:34pm
Shannon Gray - OMG...that is amazing! I wish I had lists that would keep me on track..I think I would just lose them! All is digital for me! :)  09.24.10 - 12:32pm
LEOLAK - I just realized even her To Do lists are written in magazine style format! LOL That's K.I.R. for sure!   09.24.10 - 12:32pm
Elizabeth Rose - What a great husband JD is. My fiance is like him, always helping me keep on track when all I want to do is climb into bed and wake up when it's all over, whatever IT is that is stressing me out that time. I totally understand saving your to-do list! Maybe not after EVERYTHING is crossed off, but I feel much more productive if I can SEE what I have done already. It must be because we are visual people.   09.24.10 - 12:32pm
LEOLAK - Awesome job on the post JD! You guys lucky to have each other...great team! Yozah on the to do lists!! Relax...Relate...Release J* as Miss Whitley Gilbert would say! :)   09.24.10 - 12:29pm
a little bit of whimsy photography - as per your usual girl.. OMG!! smh = amazing..  09.24.10 - 12:28pm
Gabriela Fuentes - Funny you would write that JD. A few days ago, I felt exactly like that. My to do list was getting bigger and bigger. I was hyperventilating thinking of all the things that needed to be done and how little time I had. I felt like I'm in a race, and I never seem to get to the finish line. I don't seem to finish with one project, and I'm already stressing into what's next. But then as I lay down flat on the couch like in a psychoanalysis session with my mom, it came to me. I saw how I had forgotten to enjoy the journey, and all of a sudden this last year seemed to have slipped by without me realizing, so I added two more things to my to do list. Remember your priority: Family, and don't forget to enjoy the journey.  09.24.10 - 12:28pm
erica clark - Perfect.   09.24.10 - 12:26pm
David Angel - Crazy big lists. DANG!  09.24.10 - 12:25pm
brittani - you are her rock jd. it's very obvious in how you guys write about eachother, and she is lucky. but so are you! <3  09.24.10 - 12:24pm
Natalie Tuggle - Thanks JD for all the support you give your wifey! I could never imagine being so busy, those lists are scary looking, lol.  09.24.10 - 12:24pm
Heidi - JD, I know Jasmine says this all the time, but she is so lucky to have you. Just like my husband gives me perspective, you seem to do the same for her. What a blessing!  09.24.10 - 12:23pm
Jackie - JD - What an amazing support system you provide for Jasmine. We all know how fabulous she is. I read her blog religiously and never post - but I had to today. Not to pull a Bette Midler – but you are so clearly The Wind Beneath Her Wings. I am sure she knows how blessed she is to have you in her corner. You two are proof that teamwork works. God Bless you both.  09.24.10 - 12:22pm
Nelson - It would've taken me longer to make those "to-do" lists than to actually do them. :-) Great Post JD  09.24.10 - 12:19pm
Ann - There's something I LOVE about the look of a piece of paper full of hand-written words. I save my lists too...partly just to look at them and feel the sense of satisfaction that comes not only with having everything checked off, but that also comes with seeing written words on a page. I'm odd, and I'm ok with that. :)   09.24.10 - 12:18pm
feuza - it does look like the constitution for reals, wow and all hand written I think JD should guest blog at least once a week, still keep thinking of the saying from creative live we all need a JD  09.24.10 - 12:17pm
Mandy - I am a list-maker as well, and can understand the joy of seeing things being crossed off of the to-do list. It helps me feel more productive! You rock, Jasmine!!  09.24.10 - 12:17pm
Vinita - What a lovely post and huge to do lists! Hang in there! Thank you for sharing!  09.24.10 - 12:15pm
Sandra Benton - Looks like you two are exceptionally productive - and I see a lot more crossed out than still to do.  09.24.10 - 12:15pm
Betty - **B R E A T H E** and listen to your husband!  09.24.10 - 12:13pm
Kate Craft - So sweet Jaz is lucky to have you!   09.24.10 - 12:12pm
Brittany Sweat - Jasmine I wish my to-do list looked like this :) ha you got this and yes JD is right you have accomplished soo much!! You are awesome.  09.24.10 - 12:12pm
Chris - Way to step in and help, JD. My wife writes lists like that. She says the best part is crossing items off.  09.24.10 - 12:10pm
Mindy A - Ho-ly smokes girl! That is quite a list. Gives me anxiety just looking at it. Breathe....  09.24.10 - 12:09pm
gladys jem - you're the nicest jd!!!! you are such a great other half for jasmine! love you both!  09.24.10 - 12:07pm