Women

Ep 18 Leigh, Happiness is a "Holy Donut"

Ep 18 Leigh, Happiness is a "Holy Donut"

Go listen for yourself. It is another strong woman sharing her strengths and struggles both. Just the kind of thing that I really get into. Cause that is what life is all about. Well, that and damn good donuts.

Leigh tells us so many things about life in this podcast. Like what it’s like to put your heart and soul into your business idea. What happens when you put your head down and work your butt off for a dream? What it’s like when that dream unexpectedly takes off a light speed. How the universe can hear you. What does it mean to listen to your soul when it comes to eating? What real parental support (even when you are a grown up) looks like. How hard it is to raise a kid as a single mom. And what’s it is like to lose someone you love.

Ep 6 - Michelle on Receiving the Greatest Trust that can be Bestowed

Ep 6 - Michelle on Receiving the Greatest Trust that can be Bestowed

As this story shows a lot of how things play out it life may depend on your heart. And your actions. And on the way you treat and respect others. 

Listen to Michelle's story for proof of just that. I love a story with a happy ending. And I am so excited to share this uplifting story as the start to our second season of storytelling!

Ep 5 Nora - No Shame, Life after Attempting Suicide

Ep 5  Nora - No Shame, Life after Attempting Suicide

Nora's story is heart breaking and powerful. She suffered a huge loss as a teen and spiraled into darkness that wouldn't lift. It lead her to rock bottom. More than once. She hid her feelings and pretended she was fine for many years. She learned the hard way how hiding and stuffing sadness down doesn't work for her and what she needed to do to change the course of her life. She learned to live. It was a long hard road. 

Ep 4 - Kathy on Dealing with Darkness

Ep 4 - Kathy on Dealing with Darkness

Kathy is just like you and me. Someone you might see in the line at the grocery store or meet in your networking group. She is married and has two kids and a runs a successful business. That's the stuff we all know about each other. The things that we share with people. What we let people see of us. Then there are the things that we don't share. Kathy decided that she wanted to get brave and share her story about dealing with depression and anxiety. She has dealt with both of those things her whole life. 

Ep 3 - Maura, One Caretakers Strength - A Child with the Invisible Illness

Ep 3 - Maura, One Caretakers Strength - A Child with the Invisible Illness

One of the things that can strike at anytime is disease or illness. It can sneak up when you think everything is just fine. I am guilty of being afraid of this for my daughter for sure. So what happens when your child gets diagnosed with an illness that currently isn't curable? How do you deal with that pain, and then learn to cope with it every single day? That is Maura's story.

Ep 1 - Anna on Finding Yourself, Getting Un-Lost

Ep 1 - Anna on Finding Yourself, Getting Un-Lost

Part of my goal for The Gardenia Project is to not only help women feel empowered by sharing their stories, but to shine a light on the realities of our lives that we are often too afraid or embarrassed to talk about publicly. I want to change the dialog. I think that by sharing our stories (however dark they may seem to us) they will loose their power over us. Things that are hidden remain big and scary. Things that are shared remind us of the ways we can connect to each other, that we are not alone.

Brave 2015

 

When I looked back at my goals for 2015 I saw that I wrote down that I wanted to be brave. When I saw that I stopped in my tracks. I truly had no idea what that was going to mean for me. But man was that my word for this year. I have had to be brave in all the ways. 

Sometimes you look back on a year and wonder at the sheer magnitude of it all. How did I make it through all that sh**?! 2015 was one of those years. But at the end of it all while sitting here writing and looking back...I discovered something. That I am so damn hard on myself. Sound familiar? I am always finding ways to say I wasn't "enough". When looking back I am pretty proud of how I handled the things that happened this year.

I also know I am damn lucky and looking back at the last year was a great reminder of that too. I hope everyone takes the time too look back and makes a list of the things they did right, not just things they need to do better. Especially all of you that are so hard on yourself. Like me. My friend sent me this great blog post today. It really helps put things in perspective. Thank you to Brianna Wiest for the great article : 

http://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2015/02/20-signs-youre-doing-better-than-you-think-you-are/

I went to visit my mom in February. I saw her for the first time in 15 years and my daughter got to meet her too. Thank god I had my dear friend Misty with me. Oh the stories. 

Just after I got home I found out that the woman who has guided me for the last 19 years, well, her chemo treatment had stopped working. It was the beginning of saying goodbye. She stayed happy and full of love and life up until the moment she left us. I am so grateful for her unselfish, Buddhist like, silly, sweet ways. They kept us all laughing through it all. I will never cease to be amazed at her grace, humor, and willingness to say goodbye peacefully. 

In the late spring I met up with a mentor for my photography. I had wanted and asked her for help. Her new business turned out to be serendipitous to what I needed. I ended up hiring her to completely move my focus. She and her team helped me and pushed me to define my path more clearly. My new website and brand launch came the same week that my god mother slipped into the last days of her life. It all felt so crazy. How could I launch at the same time as watching her leave? And yet, I knew she was so proud of me and it is what she would want. A beginning and an end all at the same time. Oddly, the way life seems to work. I knew I had to continue moving forward. 

I pushed my creative boundaries and loved the results. I saw that I am clearly supposed to be working with women more. It's tough to narrow your focus, but also just makes sense. I will not stop working with families, but will focus my marketing more on women and girls. I walked away from every session knowing how I want to do more and different and more and different. (:

I made a video of me working! Well, the 16 hoops team made it for me. But I got brave and did it. It really shows what my 'Dream Sessions' are about. Here is a link in case you missed it. 

http://www.jendeanphoto.com/dream-sessions

My daughter started second grade and we played a lot. I was there for her as much as possible. I was there for friends and I asked for help more this year. I relied on people. This feels big and brave too. It's so hard to ask for help and accept it. Because it's one way to admit that we aren't perfect and that we can't go it alone. Scary stuff, no? 

That is the nutshell version of what has happened over the last year. I have spent so much time with a heavy heart. And yet, still somehow trying to focus on the work that I love and that drives me. 

My new word / phrase for 2016 that I wrote down was to 'Be Seen'. I have no clue what that will mean, but I am excited to start another chapter in my life. I know that I carry the spirit of Catherine with me wherever I go. And, I have a the most lovely loyal friends and family. I have been really blessed (though I don't love that work I am at a loss for another that means the same) by my wonderful clients. They have trusted me to create something meaningful and powerful for them. To capture their essence, to tell their story, to help them see who they are. I am beyond grateful for them.

For those of you out there I have yet to work with, well, I can't wait to meet you. You have your story. And I want to hear it. 

Now off for a run before I pop the cork on some champagne! Cheers!! 

In dreams- Jen