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I'm a poetic soul and solopreneur who loves telling your story! Grab your favorite bubbly drink (kombucha for me!) and chill.

Hi, I'm jennifer.

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PERSONAL

Finding my Dream Job PART TWO

Jan 15, 2021

Dream Job

Personal

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Seven months ago I shared how my first dream of being a part time Spanish teacher gave way to the job that has set me free to be a loving mother, wife, and proud business owner. I’m so thankful for the time that winter brings to us Minnesota photographers for reflection and strategizing for our fair-weather busy time!

Immersion Spanish Teaching in 2019

In the spring of 2019, I taught until close to the time of my second son’s birth. At this time I had no intention of leaving the job that felt so perfect to our lives. I kept pioneering for best methods of teaching Spanish!

In Fall of 2019 I spearheaded an immersion Spanish program at Prairie Creek, still with the original schedule of each class having just two half-hour times with me. Previously, I taught Spanish in the gym one of those times and in the classroom during the other. Having observed a veteran Spanish instructor, I became thoroughly convinced of the beauty of Spanish immersion even with a small chunk of time. I began monthly google drive update to families complete with pictures and a peek into our classroom. I crafted original skits and lessons based around cultural stories and songs that showcased cultural aspects of Latin America and Central America.

Enter the COViD Pandemic

The Dilema

As I continued to teach, I  received so much amazing feedback from colleagues and from families. Then, a shift took me quite by surprise. As Noah & I began to think of growing our family, and of his art life taking flight in 2020 (he was accepted as an artist into many art shows!), it suddenly became impractical to us for me to be gone every day in the middle of the day. Also, 2019 had been so busy for me in October that I hardly spent time with my family. I knew that 2020 would be even busier, and I dreaded the choice that became the elephant in the room. Which job should I keep?

My heart faltered as I realized my dream of being a lifelong teacher ground to a halt. Why had I thought I wanted to keep teaching through our children’s childhoods? We had never wanted to utilize regular childcare, and even if we had it would not have made sense financially. Noah’s flexibility at Makeshift Accessories allowed for him to come home every day that I taught at Prairie Creek. We were by no means earning the most income possible – we were living intentionally to be present to our children and to live within our means. We only had one car, because Noah walked or bike to work downtown and one of us was always home.

2020 Hopes

With the hope of Noah’s art career for 2020 and my full slate for weddings, we felt it was time for me to leave Prairie Creek, and so I resigned early February, 2020. Like most of us, I had no idea the curveball that would become 2020. Noah’s flexible art job was about to vanish.

As the threat of the virus grew, Minnesota began distance-only learning for the last 3 months of the 2020 school year. I kept my regular Prairie Creek hours, and even kept the immersion program going (although without student dialogue) as I made videos for my classes. Our children often found it difficult for Mommy to be at home yet unavailable. Recording my videos without background squawks was also a challenge! But still, Noah was able to be home when I worked and our schedule didn’t shift that much… until it became clear that Noah’s art dreams for 2020 were not going to leave the ground.

Saying Farewell to Prairie Creek

I was unable to say goodbye in person to my dear students, due to a wedding rescheduled to the same day as our farewell car parade. This truly teared me up, as I could not even look my colleagues in the eye one final time to say goodbye. It felt as though I grieved with one half of my heart and sparkled with the other half as I photographed more and more weddings and portraits through spring and summer.

The Virus Kills the Arts

By summertime, every national art show in America notified its artists to cancel or postpone shows. Getting 30,000 people together to buy amazing art is incompatible with social distancing, you see. When the virus canceled the State Fair, Noah’s boss informed him that after the Paycheck Protection Program ran out, he would be unable to keep any employee at Makeshift. Noah was unemployed for a bit until he found a new job. One that did not allow for daily returning to home for 3 hours while your wife works. One that did not give set vacations. Our plans to visit relatives in Sweden evaporated.

September of 2020, Noah started at McLane, a local food transportation company, and I continued photographing. October 2020 broke my business records with the number of portrait sessions and weddings I fielded. Gratitude filled me –  I was able to be home during the day with the boys. Somehow my art career took flight instead of Noah’s. Yes, many of my wedding couples downsized, changed venues, or rescheduled, but God provided for our family. The joy of being a photographer and bringing smiles to others during the virus’ dark spreading cannot be understated.

Investing in Myself – and the Dream!

I’ve always believed that learning from an experienced colleague in your field saves you infinite amounts of time. I threw myself early into photography education through Amy & Jordan‘s classes in 2018 and 2019, but in 2020 I began investing in gear and more intricate courses from Katelyn James that allowed me to hone my skills. Entrepreneur intensity grew. I relished in the challenge of learning working-from-home life.

My clients are absolutely amazing. Without them and this business a lot of hard choices would have had to be made. I call it a “dream” because it allows me to fulfill the core values we want to establish in our home. The balance that I feel right now is so beautiful. I get to love on my kids, homeschool my oldest son, and create a Swedish immersion environment for them. My portrait sessions and weddings are a joyful jaunt out of the house, and it is simply such a pleasure to work as a photographer and artist.

Thank you for reading!

Joyfully,

Jennifer

ps. Enjoy the stroll through memory lane!

 

My first website looked like this – I kind of cringe, but you gotta start somewhere!

Our second son Enoch was born in spring of 2019!

This is a sample daily message – here I was teaching about Día de los Muertos! Students learned about the plaza artwork created with dried foods such as beans and rice by making a calavera.

I second shot with a photographer that became a friend in August 2019– a stunning wedding at Aria, and got to use my new macro lens! These were the first ring shots I felt really reflected my best work.

Late 2019 I took new headshots and tried my hand to update my logo.

I purchased a custom font in 2019 and tried out a cursive logo.

Stunning wedding from the fall of 2019 right in my town!

I spent hours making this website myself but ended up purchasing from the designer I admired so much!

I played with the cursive lower case font, too, in this copy of an ad from early 2020

In 2020 I started dialing in on my vibe 🙂

This wedding in June 2020 was the reason I missed the school farewell parade.

I hired a professional designer  to tweak an awesome template and make it mine! This is my 2020 about page!

My 2020 logo and first page on my website as I write this 🙂

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NORTHFIELD & MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA