Wednesday, March 26, 2008

January, February and March are traditionally the slow season for the wedding industry. Brides generally prefer to be married when the landscape is full of color instead of dried brown grass and trees. Some brides prefer Spring when the temperatures are mild, the breezes still cool and the landscape is in bloom. Some brides prefer the summer months, especially June, for the grand, old tradition of being a "June Bride." Within the last decade or so it has even become very popular to have a fall wedding and incorporate the colors of the changing leaves into the wedding.

Yet January, February and March are still out of vogue for today's brides and I can't say that I blame them. Random ice and snow storms can wreak havoc on guests (and vendors) making it to the wedding. It's often too cold and dead-looking outside to do any outdoor pictures. The exception to this tends to be the Christmas wedding. These weddings are usually held in the weeks leading up to Christmas or the weekend immediately following Christmas. Churches have up all of their decorations and lights and the brides often wear beautiful fur-trimmed, hooded capes. Relatives and friends are often in town visiting for the holidays and everyone tends to be in a festive mood.

But excluding the Christmas-theme weddings it is a slow time for someone who's primary business is wedding related. This can be challenging financially but mentally is a much needed break. During the heat of wedding season I often shoot two weddings a weekend and have even done three in a weekend. I even once shot three weddings in 36 hours (which I'll never do again!). Most people don't understand why we work ourselves so hard and book so many weddings. The only people I've found who do understand this are my grandparents. You see, they are farmers. They understand that you have to harvest when the crop is ready and the weather is clear. You have to get up early and stay up late to get the harvest in because there could be a storm coming and you need the profit from the crop to carry you through until next season. Although a completely different industry the idea and urgency is the same.

Mentally the break has been wonderful. I am actually caught up with my business which I've never been able to say before. My turnaround time on work has been faster than ever and I've felt much more relaxed. I've managed to spend more time with family, cook more, knit more and blog more. Things that have been on the back burner because there were more pressing matters to deal with have finally received the attention they deserve. It's also allowed me some time for introspection and planning. I've been making connections and discovering solutions to problems. I'm not so tired. I wish I could say my house is sparkling and immaculate, but come on, I have three kids.

Over the last week I've been thinking about some personal issues I'd like to deal with. They've always been there and to be honest most of the time I feel hopeless about dealing with them. I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person so I feel like if I'm going to change a behavior I need to dive in and change everything, anything less was failure. Obviously this is nothing but a set-up for failure. I've been thinking about baby steps. Almost every program for helping yourself (weight, health, finances, cleaning, Bible study) touts the benefit of baby steps. The word has never appealed to me, it sounds as though they are talking down to me (ridiculous, huh?).

Lately though I've been looking at my knitting and connecting it to my everyday life. The day before me is like the start of a new row. If I work little by little, stitch by stitch on the decisions before me I can get through the day. Starting a knitting project would seem impossible if I told myself I had hundreds of thousands of stitches to do and couldn't make any mistakes. If I added a stitch or knitted the pattern incorrectly I'd have to throw the project away and berate myself for my stupidity. Nice, huh? The reality is that the project is big and long but there is reward at the end. I will make mistakes but I can fix them and keep going. Some mistakes will cost more time and frustration than others but they also teach me to be more careful next time and pay better attention. The most important realization for me is that although I don't see the end result of the sweater in the first row or as I'm knitting day by day, stitch by stitch, without the daily work there would be no sweater at the end. It takes the little bits of effort which seem to do nothing at the time but add up over time to a beautiful garment.

These realizations on the daily devotion it takes to do everything worthwhile has been a great connection for me to make. The struggle will be carrying through on it when life gets crazy. I've enjoyed my break and am starting to feel tense again about the approaching wedding season. It's starting to ramp back up again. After several relaxing weekends at home I will have two weddings this weekend and then will be back to working every weekend again. I've learned a lot over the last several years and hope I can continue to learn and grow and incorporate what I've learned into my daily life.

I need to knit the knits, purl the purls, check my gauge and watch the pattern. If I can keep with it the end result will be so worth it.

Goodbye January, February and March. I'll do my best to keep posting...

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