Faith

10th year of being your full time photographer | central kentucky family photographer {priscilla baierlein photography}

image by Stacey Woods Photography circa 2013 :)

image by Stacey Woods Photography circa 2013 :)

How have ten years passed by so quickly? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was sitting in my little windowless office dreaming about the what-ifs of being a full time photographer? Just yesterday that I was taking the long way home to stop any place I could to practice what I had just read about in the little photography book I ordered off from Amazon? Well, if we want to take it back even further, it really seems like just yesterday I was the college girl spending all her money on ramen noodles, disposable cameras, and one hour photo labs. The girl who ruined too many pictures to count by accidentally getting her finger into the shot. Yes…y’all…that was me. I couldn’t say it was “perfectly imperfect” when my finger was straight up covering someone’s face. Somehow, I was also the girl who wrote in a freshman English journal that I dreamed of owning a photography studio one day. Not remembering this until I was five years or more into this journey and sorting through boxes in the basement. When I was just playing with a disposable camera, I was driving down the road dreaming of what would look good in a picture. My high school friends would also always tease that I was the girl in “Can’t Hardly Wait” who chased after everyone with her yearbook and cried out in heartache “These are precious memories people!” I will neither confirm nor deny this. In fact, when I started falling in love with photography, I would often say that I just wanted to photograph the things that I love before they were gone. It was mostly old barns at the time, but soon turned into people. The first time I photographed a genuine smile…well…I was hooked and knew photography was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and somehow we would make it happen.

Now, it’s been over ten years since I’ve called this my full time job. It’s been 10 years of laughter, of new friends who become old friends, hugs, snuggles, tears, butterflies just before arriving at a new home, of prayers before every session just to ask God to help me really see them, spending countless hours behind the computer…dreaming…creating…editing…culling…writing, using my gifts to love others, showing those in front of my camera just how loved they are, running a business while being an imperfect human…struggling with infertility…becoming a momma…postpartum depression…triggered PTSD…self doubt…feelings of not enough…self loathing…many days when I could barely pull myself out of the bed…and making it to the clearing to find love for myself again, a husband who supports me in every way, figuring out how to run a business with google and good mentorship and surrounding myself with all the education I could, learning and relearning all the things as they change, constantly discovering some of the most incredible people in this very saturated industry, photographing my own sweet family, being able to work from home and hear my husband and son play in the next room, having the flexibility to be there for sick days…snow days…field trips…family vacation…and after school snuggles, finding my voice and how to use it for love, finding my clear dreams lead by the one who created me, making new friends over and over again, falling in love with so many families and the way they love, getting the gift to slow down and truly see people and all their love, full hearts after sessions, love notes from clients, picked flowers in my hair, the sweetest little hugs, genuine smiles, first breaths, first snuggles, first kisses, being one of the chosen few to be in the room, first dances, tears of overwhelming gratitude, traveling the world, princess twirls, jumps on the bed, watching families just be in their most beloved places, and my heart being so incredibly full.

If you are here reading this, if you have ever clicked on my website, if you have ever shared an image I’ve taken, if you’ve ever liked a social media post from me, if you’ve ever left a comment on a post, if you’ve ever cheered me on silently from the sidelines, if you’ve ever given me the gift of photographing you…your family…your wedding…your birth…your birthday, if you’ve ever told a friend about my work, if you are or have ever been a part of my email list, if you are one of my loudest supporters…you are part of this family…we are in this together…I love you and I am SO grateful for you. Every single bit of it has made a difference and I know deep down in my soul that this IS going to be the best year yet and I cannot wait to see where WE are at the end.

Here are just a “handful” of my most favorite images from the last 10 years. You all have brought me so much joy and I hope with everything in me that I have shown you your love, just for a little bit.

Do you have a favorite image we have created together over the last 10 years? I would love for you to post it to instagram or facebook with a little note about why you loved it and your session! If you do, please tag me, or the business page, or use #priscillabphotography or #priscillabphotograph10years. It has filled my soul to see everyone’s favorites. I will be doing a drawing at the end of this week to see who will get a 16x20 canvas of their favorite! :)

So much love to you,

Cilla

PS…Have you booked your spring session yet? It’s that time of year! Summer and Spring sessions are filling up. Only 8 signature sessions are booked each month! You can see more information HERE and reserve your spot by emailing me or contacting me HERE.

2019 goals | kentucky photographer and dreamer {Priscilla Baierlein Photography}

Hi, friend! I’m not sure if you know this about me, but I am a bit of a dreamer. I love to make big plans and to get organized with all the things related to those big plans. For the last three or so years I have taken the end of a year and the beginning of the next to really think about what it is I feel in my bones I’m called to. Where do I want to be when I’m 80? What do I want to say I have done? What goals can I set right now to help me get there one day? I love this time of year. I get out my Powersheets, my journals, my calendar, my favorite pen, my colorful markers and highlighters. I mean…it looks like an office supply store in my living room floor. I write down all the things and see how all the things can and will happen.

The problem? While I felt these things in my heart and knew they were what I felt pulled to, I don’t know if I ever really worked on my belief in myself. Instead, I would make all these plans and then, I was like Dory, I would just keep swimming…just keep going…but for me…it was just barely. Through the depression. Through the anxiety. Through the fears. I was swimming, but I was also fighting against the current.

Last year something big happened. I started to make a mind shift. I started to learn how and see how the “magic” combination for success is an unbreakable faith…a belief…a knowing paired with hard work and determination. Not only that, I found something that really truly helped with my depression and anxiety, which allows me to believe. When I visualize the end of this year, I know in my heart what can and will be when I pair together that faith and that determination.

My ultimate goal is to live a long and healthy life filled with moments where I have chosen love…where I am constantly connected to the one who created me and that still small voice…that light…inside me and I use that to guide me. I leave fear behind. I use the gifts that God has given to me to serve those I come into contact with. I want to love and serve big and loud.

My 2019 goals to get me there…

  • Grow in faith and a constant connection to God and that still small voice.

    How (my mini goals):

    1. Begin and end my days with gratitude.

    2. Attend and be active in our church.

    3. Read the Bible daily.

    4. Pray with Steff.

    5. Keep the Sabbath.

    6. Create a gratitude routine with my family.

  • Cultivate healthy, sustainable habits to grow a healthy life…physically and mentally. (I feel like I would be a fraud if I didn’t mention that I am writing this while drinking a Pepsi and eating a chocolate chip cookie. Monday…I’ll start Monday.)

    How:

    1. Create a routine that clicks with me and takes some of the need for will power away.

    2. Move my body every day.

    3. Early to bed, early to rise.

    4. Write goals/visualizations every day.

    5. Meditate and pray daily.

    6. Eat clean foods that nourish my body 90% of the time.

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  • Grow a life giving, peaceful home…full of joy, love, and empathy.

    How:

    1. Continue to learn and grow in becoming a more peaceful parent.

    2. Create new sustainable rituals and habits to grow connection and trust in each other and allows each of us to thrive.

    3. Have a fun, love filled vacation and other adventures.

    4. Only allow things into our home and our life that matches our “personal style” (more on this later) and get rid of the clutter.

    5. Grow a successful garden.

    6. Love my little family well daily and remember “I get to”.

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  • Grow a love filled business to (insert double income) and show my people (by the way…you are my people) how absolutely loved they are.

    How:

    1. Create a VIP group.

    2. Say yes and just do the things I feel pulled to over and over again.

    3. Begin mentoring and create resources that will serve.

    4. 72 shoots this year.

    5. Create sustainable marketing plan.

    6. Automate and streamline workflow.

    7. Stay up to date with finances.

    8. Create a routine.

    9. Hire out editing.

    10. Finish up the Blueprint and TPL ( I believe strongly in constantly growing and both of these have been a huge asset to me…I just need to finish them :)).

  • Love Bret well.

    How:

    1. Date nights.

    2. 1 trip together

    3. Join each other in personal development.

    4. Big kiss and hug when he gets home from work.

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It all looks like so much when I type it out like that, but it’s all really do-able and most are about creating habits. No matter what…each goal has to be filled with so much grace and love. It’s not about perfection. It’s about the journey. It’s about letting go of the fear and moving forward. Knowing that this is what I’m meant for…being flexible in the how…and working hard to move towards the goal…no matter how slowly I get there.

choosing love over fear

It took years to admit to myself. It took another year to say it out loud. It took another few months to make the appointment. But I knew it had to be done. The shame almost won, but my love for my family overcame. A month later I was sitting on a couch, in front of a stranger, who I would share every single thing I could remember about my life that would be of any significance (and, let’s be real, probably a lot that wasn’t of all that much significance…I have been known to verbally meander from time to time). I wasn’t sure if I was suppose to lay down or sit. What’s the etiquette here? I never expected to be here. Therapy? I literally had to imagine Jesus sitting beside me making me say what needed to be said. So, I did. I spoke all the words. I knew I needed to say everything in the first meeting so the wound could begin to heal. How long could one person live with an open wound? Perhaps their entire life? Some do, I suppose. But do they thrive? Or do they merely survive? Is that what we are meant for? With an open wound isn’t the pain so fresh that it makes joy nearly impossible? Bandaids weren’t meant to help forever. They eventually come off with enough pressure.

The abuse would begin as soon as my eyes would open. “I hate you!” “You are never going to be the mother you thought you’d be.” “It’s too hard to love you.” “You’re ruining everything.” “You’re going to lose it all.” “No one thinks about you.” “Maybe God never intended for you to be a mother?” “You have everything, but you don’t deserve it.” “Don’t you appreciate this gift?” “You can’t tell anyone…they’ll just think you’re crazy.” “If you do tell, you really will lose everything.” “What’s wrong with you?” “You aren’t good at anything.” The bully couldn’t be avoided. There was no running, hiding, fighting back. The bully was…me. Me…the one who has so much to be joyful for. Me…the one who is so insanely grateful. Me…the one who is all about love and being imperfect. Me…who knows she is loved. Me…with a great group of friends. Me…full of grace…for everyone else. My very own thoughts. Born out of pain. Hidden with brightly colored bandaids. Brought back to light with the pressure of becoming a new mom and feeling like a failure in all the things. I mourned the mother I thought I would be. I wasn’t good enough. I mourned the wife I thought I would be. I wasn’t good enough. I mourned the human I thought I would be. I wasn’t good enough. I mourned the photographer and business owner I thought I would be. I wasn’t good enough. I mourned the friend/daughter/sister I thought I would be. I wasn’t good enough. Lost. Without an identity. Afraid. Anxious. Depressed. Constant overwhelm. Feeling like an “other”…alone.

Sometimes I would share just a bit of my feelings and hear…“You’re JUST too hard on yourself.” “Well, I choose JOY.” “I focus on the positive side of life.” Gosh…why couldn’t I just CHOOSE joy? Why couldn’t I JUST be easier on myself? Why was I thinking so negatively? That’s not me. I’ve fought too much hardness and always knew I was better for it. I see the light…the positive…glass half full.

Postpartum depression during the first year of my baby’s life. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from childhood trauma. Each became an answer. With each one, “Yes! That’s it! I understand!” Something I could read about. Something I could research and connect to. Something to make it all…tangible. Postpartum depression would’ve been obvious if I hadn’t been in so much denial. I had heard so many extreme cases and knew that wasn’t me. PTSD was even trickier. I hadn’t gone to war. I hadn’t been in a horrific car wreck. I hadn’t had anything violent happen to me. But, apparently, trauma doesn’t always look like this. And the things that would cause trauma to some doesn’t always cause it to others. Who knew? PTSD is a darkness that affects so many who don’t even realize it and doesn’t look the same for everyone. We all like to think we can push things down and just move on, but that’s, unfortunately, not how our bodies work. Push it down and it comes out in other ways. Addictions, overwhelm, yelling, anger, perfectionism, anxiety, depression. The darkness will overwhelm the light until it is brought to the surface and spoken and seen.

My first day sitting on that couch was nearly five years ago. I wish I could say that today I’m speaking to you from my scars…healed but different. I’m not quite there. Scabs? Maybe. It would explain the healing and then the falling that seems to be constant. But eventually scabs must become scars. I know they will. I have the tools. I have my battle armor. I have some answers. Isn’t half the war already won?

I’ve written this post a million times in my head, but I do not want to share it. I’m scared. I do not want to hit the publish button. In fact, I’ve sat on this post for days. My instincts tell me to bottle it up and make the outside pretty for everyone else. But I know that’s not what I’m meant for. I feel a pull to something different. How do we learn and grow without each other’s stories? How do we know we aren’t alone without someone else speaking it first? Here…in this space or behind my camera…my desire is to show you are loved and you belong. I think of the people I love deeply and know that I never want them to feel alone. Or to feel as if no one else feels the way they do. I am almost positive everyone has some kind of pain they are dealing with or have dealt with or will one day deal with. We can either let it fuel love or we can let it make us bitter and afraid. Today I choose love. I never want to choose fear. Always choose love.

So much love to each of you,

Cilla

image by Stacey Woods Photography

image by Stacey Woods Photography



the wedding binder

image by Stacey Woods Photography

image by Stacey Woods Photography

It was my very first purchase after he proposed and I said yes...or, more accurately, I said "are you sure?" and then I said "yes!" Not just any old wedding planner would do. It would have to be perfect. I had been the stereotypical little girl who dreamed about her wedding and her Prince Charming. I would play with my porcelain bride dolls (which happen to also wind up and play "Here Comes the Bride") and imagine my Prince Charming. A hopeless romantic. In love with love.   When I was older I began looking at all the bridal magazines. I loved my family management classes in high school and soaked in all the information about planning weddings...and a bit about the whole planning a marriage thing too. In college I would actually buy those bridal magazines and comb through them. I held onto them and dog eared my favorite things. Martha Stewarts were my favorite. So, naturally, when it came time to purchase my wedding planner, I knew it had to be the one from Martha. In her signature blue, it had everything a girl could ever need in what would hold all the essentials in planning her big day plus room to add more. I began to fill it with my dreams...and Bret's too, of course. Images of dresses, tuxes, favors, flowers, decorations, wedding DIYs, sample timelines, vows, business cards, quotes, lists of local vendors, all my research of all the things, and, of course, dream weddings. We wanted our friends and family to walk away with a better sense of who we were. We wanted them to see us in all the details. To see our love. We would have different shades of pink, obviously...that's my favorite color. Bret insisted on actual bow ties...no clip ons for him. We picked a location for the reception that screamed KY, with its rolling hills and beautiful sunsets (Talon Winery...one of my favorite places to shoot to this day). I picked my dress out online and knew it was the one before I even tried it on. I knew we had to have a sparkler exit, so cute little pink matches were the perfect favor. I DIYed everything I could...invitations, decorating the unity candle, the centerpieces. Every detail was just us. Our story. Our love.

That Martha Stewart blue binder was bursting at the seams with details for one day. One beautiful day that was exactly 13 years ago. What it didn't include, what it was so obviously missing, how to plan a marriage. It didn't include details on how to organize finances. It didn't give helpful tips on how to disagree with love and respect. It didn't warn there may be times when you still feel lonely and scared of what the future holds. It didn't tell how to plan for infertility and the possibility of never having a child. It didn't teach about having empathy for your partner even when you don't really understand their thinking. It didn't tell us how to truly be partners. It didn't guide us in knowing how to be gentle with each other while going through those first few months of bringing home a newborn. It didn't give either of us tips on how to handle a mommas postpartum depression. It didn't teach us about giving the best of ourselves. It didn't say we should take a date night once a week or continue to actually date or pursue each other after the wedding. It didn't demand we find a way to have a work life "balance" or how to handle the ups and downs of careers and owning small businesses. I'm thankful we included the 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 in our ceremony or it wouldn't have even included anything about what love actually is. I don't blame Martha. I mean, how could she know what our lives would hold. How could we even know that? 

We learned the secrets to love and marriage can't be held within a binder. They are held within our days. Within each moment, each struggle, each "I love you", each spin around the kitchen, each kiss.  We learned how to love when we fought infertility and held each others hands through IVF. We learned to love when we felt the tiny kicks of our baby for the first time. We learned to love when he held me as I pushed our sweet baby boy into the world. We learned to love as we struggled through the first few months of being new parents and the journey through postpartum depression. We learned to love through owning a home and all...the...projects. We learned to love through the laughter. We learned to love through the tears. We learned to love through miscommunication and every "I'm sorry". We learned to love through slammed doors and raised voices. We learned to love through holding hands and big kisses and "good efforts". We learned to love through watching t-ball games and five year old basketball...laughing and cheering. We learned to love through honey-do lists. We learned to love through dreams coming true and the disappointment of dreams missed. We learned to love through books and experts and therapy. We learned to love through self growth and self care. We learned to love through loving ourselves first. We learned to love through dates and surprises...so many wonderful surprises. We learned to love through church hymns and prayers. We learned to love at Friday night football games and late night talks after. We learned to love through rushed mornings and slow summers. We learned to love through teaching our son to ride his bike and skinned knees. We learned to love through seeing friends and family rise and fall. We learned to love through long talks and silence. We learned to love through slow dances and silly family dances. Mostly, we learned to love from choosing each other every single day...through all the beauty, all the darkness, all the passion, and all the fear.

It's not like I imagined when I put together that perfect little blue Martha Stewart wedding binder all those years ago. It's better, stronger, more colorful, and more full of imperfect beauty than I had ever imagined. It's us. It's our story. It's our love. 

I love you, babe! Happy 13 year anniversary! I'm sorry I forgot to tell you this morning in the mad rush to get out the door. I'm so thankful you choose me every day. Can we have a dance in the kitchen tonight? And maybe not cook in it? You know...after football practice and your radio interview and soccer practice. I promise I'll try not to fall asleep when I lay down with Steff. 

So much love...

Cilla