Branches & Light

Wow. I am not even sure where to begin. It has been 2 months since Branches & Light and I am still trying to let everything sink in and really grasp the amazingness of Caroline & Nancy!

The night before the workshop I met up with a few of the other women for dinner for a little meet and greet. It was so much fun! We spent hours sharing stories sweet stories of how we met, fell in love, and got engaged and we each showed off our little furry loves. It was a great blessing to get to know these ladies on such a personal level!

On the day of the workshop as soon as we opened the door, Nancy and Caroline were both there with HUGE smiles on their faces, welcomed us with hugs and were both so genuinely excited to see us. They had only just met us, yet there love for us was obvious! But when I walked in, I was scared. Ok, before I even left my hotel I was scared. I was afraid to meet the other girls, I was afraid I wasn’t experienced enough to be there, I was afraid that because of my lack of experience, I wouldn’t be able to get anything from the day, I was afraid to be vulnerable, I was afraid I would stand out, I was afraid of not being good enough.

We walked upstairs and found our seats by the sweetest little goodie bags with our name on them. We sat down and the ladies introduced the day. *Side note- this room was amazing, and I couldn’t help but be in awe of how peaceful it was, the weather was perfect. And we were literally surrounded by branches & light…. it was unreal!

And then Caroline began to speak. She spoke of the one thing that plagued my mind and heart as I walked into the building. Fear. Seeing Caroline up there so passionate about this topic and feeling so overcome with the Lord’s peace, I had to fight back tears. A few of the things that really stuck with me:

“Do the thing you fear and keep on doing it. That is the quickest and surest way, yet discovered, to conquer fear.” – Dale Carnegie

Caroline challenged us to face our fears actively everyday, and to get them out of our mind, and onto paper, see your fears on paper and look beyond! I have learned from them that there is true power in seeing it written out on paper (both with goals and fears). When it is in my mind, it’s not tangible, it doesn’t feel as obtainable, or reachable – but when I put it on paper, somehow it comes to life – or maybe my action towards conquering it, or accomplishing it comes to life. So I encourage you too, write down your fears, and choose to face them actively! Don’t let them hold you captive!! Naming your fears is the first step in destroying them! When we overcome our fear we open up opportunity, success, healing, confidence, and change.

Another thing she encouraged us to do is, make a go-to list of a few little things that we can do to remind ourselves of the bigger picture, so that when we get overwhelmed or fear is trying to step in, we can go to this list and take a few breaths. My list – read a verse in the Bible, stretch, go love on Hubble, list 1-2 things that God has blessed me with and thank Him for it, and send an encouraging text to a friend or family member.

Caroline you are good! Thank you for being vulnerable and real with us! You are inspiring! Thank you for helping me beat the fear that clouded my mind as I walked through the doors!

Nancy shared with us some good bits of organization – and let me tell you, I love organization!

Out of clutter, find simplicity, from discord find harmony.

Nancy said, the definition of organization is finding anything in 5 minutes or less. When I thought about that definition I realized that sadly, my organization is sometimes still a mess, but realizing that challenged me to get in order and and remove the mess from my organization. Nancy asked us what 3 words do we want to describe how we feel when we are in our office. I love questions like this, they make me break down my bigger picture (that sometimes seems overwhelming) into smaller pieces that are easier to work with. She walked us through the Nancy Ray Photography office, and shared with us some of her own tricks to organization and workflow. She encouraged us to create a system that works for us and to stick with it! Small change over time = big change. -Darren Hardy The Compound Effect.

Nancy, I am so thankful for your passion on this topic! As much as I love organization – it’s easy for it to slip and slide sometimes, and you just laid everything out for us! Even your talk about organization was organized! Thank you for sharing with us your own personal tricks and for giving us tools to help get organized!

After Nancy spoke, it was time! We all went outside to see the beauty that we were about to make images of! They had a a bride model, and engaged couple models, they had a reception table, a sweetheart table, and a cake! I was speechless! They split us into two groups and each took us around walking us through how they shoot, what goes on in their mind as they approach each subject. The whole while I was standing there, looking around, listening intently the whole time, but I just couldn’t believe I was there. Amongst such beauty and talent! After they walked us through a bit, we branched off and created. Here are the images I made while there.

Doesn’t it all just take your breath away!?

The most delicious lunch and conversation followed the beauty. And then it was off for more goodness inside from Nancy, Caroline, and Stefanie Miles (of Lavender Joy Weddings).

After lunch Caroline talked about branding and I can’t tell you how perfect this talk was for me. I learned so much, that I had never even thought about before!

The root of your branding should be a love & appreciation for your clients. YES, YES, and YES!!! I think I knew that, but I never thought about it, or really set that as a real goal of mine, but it’s so true! Another eye opening word for me was, that your brand consists of any and every way a client experiences your brand. Down to your voicemail to what you wear when you meet with them, whether it be at a wedding, or just a skype meeting – you are a representation of your brand and while it is obvious, I somehow never thought of it in the way they expressed it. Everything you do AND everything you don’t do, says something to your client. Oh my gosh! This is so important – you don’t just have to worry about what you do or say – but also what you don’t do or don’t say. So what do you want to be saying to your client?

Then Stefanie Miles (and just to add on the branding talk – Stefanie’s business (Lavender Joy Weddings) card is actually a little envelope that has lavender inside…It smells amazing and just goes one step further to really show her brand!) came up and talked to us about the importance of relationships – both with vendors and with people in your everyday life. One of my favorite things and I think the overall message I got from her was “Place a high value on people!” Amen! Get to know the people you are working with, the better you know someone the better you can serve them! Everything Stefanie said was just spot on, and really drove in the point of relationships. Stefanie, thank you for coming and sharing your heart with us, I loved seeing you light up as you shared this passion of yours with us!! Thank you for encouraging us to cultivate a heart of gratitude!!

The day was nearing its end as we reached our last topic. Goal setting. Let me tell you, Nancy’s heart is on fire about setting goals!! It’s been something she has done for year – if you follow her blog, you know that she sets yearly and monthly goals and encourages us to do the same! I had been inspired by Nancy, to set my own yearly and monthly goals before I even attended the workshop, and to be sitting there watching her pour out her heart on the topic, it was awesome! A few important things to know about goal setting is that:

1. Your goals must be specific
2. Your goals must have a time limit
3. The goals mus be YOUR goals
4. Your goals must be measurable
5. Your goals must be in writing.

I can’t tell you how much I have loved setting my monthly goals. In addition to my yearly and monthly goals I also did a 101 in 1001 list – it was hard to come up with 101 (specific) things to do – but I made my list, and I blogged about it here. I have been able to cross off a few of the items so far – and I look forward to being able to cross off more!!

The workshop was over, It was an amazing day full of beauty and love and lots and lots of good words!! We went downstairs for a few snapshots with the polaroid and got to thank the ladies for the day (of course I cried a little as I thanked them – I wouldn’t be my mother’s daughter if I didn’t) followed by a bunch of fun goofy group photos! Here is one I snagged of our beautiful hosts!

After the workshop we all went to dinner at a local restaurant in town and chatted the night away! A perfect way to end such a perfect day!

Can I tell you my favorite part about the whole thing? My favorite part, is that Caroline & Nancy LOVE the Lord, and keep Him at the center of their businesses and their lives. It is obvious how great their love for Him is, and it was refreshing to be around them! All of the other ladies love the Lord too! It was such a peaceful calm day to be surrounded by such beautiful women inside and out and to be able to hear their stories and see the Light in them!!

The next morning I met up with a few of the girls for breakfast, it was such a fun time, and it felt like I had known these girls for years! After breakfast I went to the house of one of the girls and we had a mini photo shoot in her backyard! Her boyfriend even jumped in for a few! How precious are they!?

Thank you Nancy and Caroline for such an amazing and unforgettable day!

I also want to thank all the vendors that helped make that day so awesome for us all!
Venue: The Winfield Inn
Styling and Floral: Sweet Sunday Events
Stationery and Calligraphy: Juliet Lapham
Cake Baker: Amazing Cakes of Austin
Hairstylist:Andrea Juarez
Makeup Artist: Makeup by Adrienne
Wedding Gown: Claire Pettibone
Engagement Dress:Alice Moon Collection from Roots Boutique
Models: Stancy and Katie of Half Orange Photography

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