Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Remember that 1 Spot Left? This is What Happened!

Remember that 1 Spot Left?  This is What Happened!

This month I taught my first Me Ra Koh Growing Confidence Workshop. I had so much fun sharing about the Workshop yesterday on the blog! The beautiful women that came, found confidence and captured some amazing images of some sweet mamas with their babes…it was an all-around amazing day!  As promised, I want to share the powerful back story to what happened before the workshop. A miracle!

All week I was putting together the last preparations for the five ladies attending the workshop.  I had one spot left, time was dwindling, yet somehow I knew that spot would be filled.  My sweet mentor, Me Ra, had so much faith in me and kept telling me that the spot would be taken. I posted on Facebook one last call, hoping the woman who was meant to come would see it. Me Ra was also kind enough to share it on her Facebook page. As I prepped for the workshop, I kept praying. 

I prayed for that woman that was hungry to fill her soul, dig up her creative spirit and shoot from her heart to find the Confidence that lies within her. I prayed for her to find the Workshop and for her to somehow have a clear agenda on Saturday so she could attend. I prayed that out of all of the thousands of women that live in the DFW area that He would find the one, the one that needed to be there that day. Thursday came and went. On Friday, sweet Me Ra shares my post again. That afternoon I receive a message from a woman with the last name Melton asking me to call her because she can’t find the date of the Workshop and wants to attend. 

Her last name is Melton, my last name is Melton, this is the one! I called her and when I shared that the Workshop was the next day she said her schedule was full, she would have to attend the next one. I told her “No, your last name is Melton! Of course you can attend!” We laughed and parted ways. I was left confused because deep in my heart I knew she was the one, but why did God want it to be at my next Workshop when my heart felt Saturday was the day. Five minutes later, the phone rings.  She came, and with her permission, this is her precious story.

Every year my father sends each of us a check to be spent in memory of my mom. The only thing he asks is that we not pay bills or do anything of the dailyness; it must be used to do something that connects us to her in some way. (Something she would do or an adventure she would take...And she was a beautifully magical spirit. Her name was Orinda (means 'magic power') and she always embraced life. Even through her cancer, she continued offering beauty to the world. Her writing, her art and photos...always just bring out the joy of life.) She traveled, took photographs, took cooking classes, music lessons, name it! And she loved everything she did. Everyone she met. Every place she explored! She connected with life, and it came through in everything...especially her photos. 

So I sat with this money and remembering my 'iridescent' mom! And then I saw Me Ra Koh's Facebook call out to Texas Moms! I even said out loud, "Oh, I think she would do this! She would love this! And I even drove home from work ready to tell my husband what I wanted to do. I left you the message with great hope. When I talked with you and found out the workshop was the next day, I was discouraged. I couldn't possibly fit it into the schedule. I would just be content to try again in March. I even prayed about it, and just asked God to bring me a peace. And then Carl, my amazing man, looked at me and said, "And what about this check? What about your mom? I'll take the kids, the errands, the everything. You go, Jenn! You embrace this!" 

I called you (Jill Ann) back! I was so giddy. It was joy filled and peace-filled and perfect. I couldn't even sleep the night before because I was excited about this opportunity! So when you asked during the workshop what we wanted to get from the day, I knew I wanted to do more than just learn how to use my camera! (Which I desperately needed to learn, btw!). I wanted to embrace the memory of my mom; to see what she saw through that lens. (I used to help her when I was little; even in the dark room or holding the light meter by the subject). And, Jill Ann, you gave that to me! The workshop allowed me to explore light, and to emotions (conflict) and to the story! My pictures are better because you taught me the technique, but my heart is better because you reminded me of the purpose; telling the story. I did have several 'Aha!' moments...but my greatest moment came last night.

On my drive home (after stopping by the camera shop to pick up my nifty-fifty): I cried so hard because I was missing my mom, and she soooo would have loved this workshop, and I just had all these memories come flooding back of she and I out on these photo walks: sitting and waiting for the light to be right, laying on a railroad track at sunset, checking the weather for cool cloud formations, and so much more. I was laughing and crying and smiling. I realized at that moment that I have been afraid to use a camera; afraid to even pick up her old cameras; afraid that it would never measure up to what she created. But looking over at my camera, I discovered what she knew all along: taking photos, for her, was never about photography; it was about spending time with me. It was about discovering the connection with people and life. And today, I was snapping a few shots of my youngest daughter, and realized how at peace I am.

These moments are not promised, but they are cherished. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives, and for helping me capture what my heart sees (no more 'flat' pics for me!) I feel empowered to succeed. I feel released to explore. And I am encouraged. So I thanked God today for my day yesterday, and I'm so glad you were a part of it!

These workshops are about so much more than teaching women to use a camera.  I can’t say it any better than her powerful story.  And I can’t believe that this is only the beginning of me teaching workshops.  What a humbling honor…to be a part of someone’s life in such a beautiful, transforming way.

I asked Jennifer to send me some images of her youngest daughter that she had taken before the Workshop and images she has captured following the Workshop.  She went right after my heart for kids with their lovies and shared images of her youngest with her bear that she has had since she was born.  Sigh.....


After Growing Confidence....

Truly Smitten!  Beautiful Buttery Blurry Background!

She loves to sit on the ledge outside her home with her bear.
Simply gorgeous magical light here to enhance the story!


Playing hide and seek with her buddy.  He picked a great spot!


Thank you Jennifer for sharing your beautiful story! Your mom over-booked me that day as she certainly was a 7th seat taking in all the Workshop had to offer right by her daughter's side. I have been blessed beyond words.  Much love to you! 

xo, JA

NEXT Growing Confidence Workshop February 8, 2014.  Sign Up Coming Soon! WATCH MY FACEBOOK PAGE for an amazing Cyber Monday DEAL!!!


  1. One of the most POWERFUL, moving stories Jill Ann! This is why we do the CONFIDENCE Photography Workshops! Nothing can explain it more than this story. Learning to use your camera, finding confidence in how to take photos is definitely a part of it, but there is SO MUCH MORE magic that happens--a work on the heart that always seems to be the perfect timing for women. Over the years, I always pray for the exact women to attend in every city--the ones that need this workshop in THIS season of their life--the ones that are hungry, running on empty, and have forgotten maybe how beautiful, creative, how important their voice is, how much they have to share, how much they see the world in only the way they see it--and how powerful it is when they are able to share it. I have had women come to the workshop and say "I saved up for four years to come, and every year it was so hard because I didn't have enough--but clearly, THIS is the one I was supposed to attend. This was the perfect timing." We are using cameras as a vehicle to help usher beautiful transformation in women's lives, and it starts with our own. I LOVE that Jennifer found you, that is was her perfect moment, and for all the other women who will experience their own breakthrough. They won't look like Jennifer because their story is their own--and that is what makes all of it so beautiful! Thank you SO MUCH Jennifer for sharing, words can't express how deeply moved I am by your story. And so proud of you Jill Ann!!!!

  2. Oh, thank you, Jill Ann, for your encouragement in this journey. And, MeRa Koh, you are so wise in your description of a simple camera as a 'vehicle of transformation'! It really feels like that is taking place!
    Please know how much I appreciate this workshop; this opportunity to grow and become!
    (I don't have one of these ID's, so I hope this reaches your comments!)

  3. I woke up this morning to start my day. "Good Morning Lord." I said, "show me the way." Jill Ann, there is no doubt that God is your Guide, He is taking you on an amazing journey, just keep following His Way. Great job, you are so blessed, give thanks! He has given me a beautiful daughter, one I love more than words can express. I am glad I did something right...I had You! You obviously believe with God all things are possible, keep following His Way! I am proud to have been a part of that adventure with you...growing your faith! CONGRATULATIONS, SUPER JOB!
    Love, MOM

  4. What an AMAZING story Jill Ann! This was truly her moment and what a blessing!


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