I really do not even know how to start the introduction to this post yall. Shannon has been a dear friend of mine for the past 8 years. To be completely honest, my very first year in business I had NO idea what I was doing running a business. I had more work than I knew what to do with and was staying up crazy late to get it all done. My kids were babies and I was exhausted. My business had exploded before my eyes and I reached out to the only photographer in town at that time. I emailed Shannon as a complete stranger and she replied and asked to meet me for coffee. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. One that I cannot even begin to explain. The profound impact she has had on my life and my business as I was just starting out cannot be put into words. She spoke so much life into me and my business that first year I cannot even begin to thank her for her expertise and wisdom. A couple of years ago her family joined our church and we have gotten the priveledge to live life with them in a deeper way.  Shannon went thru a time of transition a few years ago and asked me to speak into various places of her life. We met once a week and invited each other into the deepest parts of our hearts. We spent time laughing, crying, I think we decided to run once, picked berries in a field with our kiddos, and most importantly held each other accountable.  For her to ask me for advice, after I had spent the first few years asking her for so much advice, was such an honor. It showed me that Shannon has a heart of pure gold and there is no place in her life that she is not willing to give away freely and no place in her life that she does not allow others to speak truth into. Living a life of purpose and intentionality is who Shannon Ho is.

Shannon has had this workshop in her head for a long time now and I just knew it was going to be fantastic. I am SO SO SO proud of her. She gave me a condensed version of one of her balance talks over six months ago over lunch (with the toothpicks holding up the forks) and I could just see the passion in her eyes.  I got teary the night she did the fork demonstration at the workshop because she was actually doing it- the thing she has dreamed up for so long. There are so many things that i am proud of her for but the thing I kept coming back to was just her YES to the Lord to give it all away. She openly and honestly shared every single ounce of herself over the course of the weekend (and many months leading up to the workshop) Every single detail was planned intricately and perfectly and it was such a blessing for each one of us there.

Shannon asked me to help her at the workshop and be the unofficial/official photographer for the weekend.  It was an HONOR to sit by her side and serve her over the weekend. I also got to share a bit too and it was fun to give away things that I dont even realize I have to give. I talked about my struggle with social media and how I have given it up for almost two whole years and how being “hands free” has blessed my business and my family life.  I loved meeting all of the ladies and building life long friendships. I loved serving and supporting Shannon along with some of my best friends. I loved having a weekend of worship, divine meals and late night heart to hearts. I loved sitting under a throw blanket and having coffee at all hours of the day. I loved getting to be still enough to listen to the Lord and to really learn the beautiful art of balance.

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The first afternoon was spent in Shannons home. She had her dear friend/studio manager Kelsey come in and share their client experience and ordering session process. When you first step into Shannons shooting room you just die from the amazing light. Huge windows, white walls and floors and then you die. If you are a photographer and notice these kinds of things that is :) 0007beautiful art of balance workshop 0008beautiful art of balance workshop 0009beautiful art of balance workshop 0010beautiful art of balance workshop 0011beautiful art of balance workshop

Whoever you are and wherever you are coming from… would you stop right now and say a prayer for our friend Kelsey? Just ask the Lord for a sweet blessing for her today! 0012beautiful art of balance workshop 0013beautiful art of balance workshop 0014beautiful art of balance workshop 0015beautiful art of balance workshop 0016beautiful art of balance workshop 0017beautiful art of balance workshop

There were SO many amazing parts of the weekend but I will say the late night talks on the couch were maybe my favorite. There is just something so real and vulnerable about sitting in a room of amazing women talking about fear and how it paralyzes us. We can look around the room and see ourselves in each other – the same struggles in different skin, the same fears with different names. It is freeing to say it out loud and be heard by other women. It helps to have milk and cookies at this time as well ;) 0018beautiful art of balance workshop 0019beautiful art of balance workshop 0020beautiful art of balance workshop

My love language is receiving gifts. I shouldnt have even gotten a welcome gift because I was technically a worker but man I love a basket with all my favorite things! I am actually sitting under my blanket as I type this! 0021beautiful art of balance workshop

Megan and Abbey are two of my dear friends whom I love SO much. It was SUCH A JOY to watch them joyfully serve and serve with them this weekend. These two mama’s made the most amazing food and loved everyone so well. They are two of the most incredible friends, women and mama’s I know. (sidenote: you may recognize Abbey as she has graced the blog quite a few times over the years. Someone asked me over the weekend what has been the coolest thing that I have ever photographed and without a doubt I told her it was capturing Abbeys daughter Annies story. Her birth at 3.5lbs, surgeries, getting cochlear impants and when she heard sound for the first time of her life. I told her I would find it and share it with her and you can see it HERE)0023beautiful art of balance workshop 0024beautiful art of balance workshop 0025beautiful art of balance workshop

Oh Julie Bennett. I first met Julie at a bible study at Baylor University when she sang a capella in a small group and blew me away with her talent. Our husbands were good friends in college and we occasionally run into each other here and there but it was such a joy to get to reconnect with her over the weekend. This woman BRINGS it in worship. She has such an inviting heart and is a powerful pursuer of the Lord. 0026beautiful art of balance workshop 0028beautiful art of balance workshop 0029beautiful art of balance workshop

I am pretty sure Whitney was saying something wildly amazing below. I LOVED spending the weekend with Whitney English. She is such a cheerleader of people and their talents and it was a joy to watch her encourage others in every conversation. She asked me one night at dinner what my BIG DREAM is. The one you dont tell many people and are too scared to really even talk about. I loved her heart and her eagerness to find that thing in people that is just below the surface but waiting to be pulled out. She is also HILARIOUS and I want her to move to Norman to hang out with me every single day.0030beautiful art of balance workshop

Can we talk about the throw blankets again? There are few things I love more than being under a cozy blanket. Worship on the porch under a blanket #divine0031beautiful art of balance workshop Our next speaker was Ashley Ann from Under the Sycamore.

I will be honest and say that I did not know who Ashley was before this weekend. I had never read her blog before the conference and after meeting her and hearing her story of how she quit her job as a successful photographer to spend more time with her kids blew. me. away.  Ashley’s presence made this weekend incredibly rich. 0032beautiful art of balance workshop The next thing on the agenda was a family session at Carlton Landing with the Humphreys family. If you havent been or heard of Carlton Landing you should check it out! Its such a cute little community! 0034beautiful art of balance workshop 0035beautiful art of balance workshop

After the shoot we had a picnic at the center of town at Carlton Landing. We sat around and told stories and talked about work and passion. We ended the night with smores and worship under the stars and I couldnt help but look around and be so grateful for each and every woman that was there. 0036beautiful art of balance workshop

These WOMEN ARE WORLD CHANGERS and I am SO SO SO blessed to know each one. 0037beautiful art of balance workshop 0038beautiful art of balance workshop 0039beautiful art of balance workshop

After dinner we sat around on quilts and told our favorite and not so favorite stories about being photographers. I have one story that wins all stories of crazy things that have happened at a wedding. Its not appropriate enough to share on the blog so sadly I have to spare you of this one. We also shared about the thing we love most about being a photographer and I stupidly answered first. I really love that I dont have to wear makeup or get dressed to go to work in the morning. Its my absolute favorite. Sometimes I see moms in dressy clothes and full makeup and I say a tiny grateful prayer that the Lord didnt call me to a job where I had to wear makeup every single morning. Some of the other girls had really great answers about loving people and such and I do love people A LOT and have MANY reasons that I love my job but man I REALLY love working in yoga pants at my computer most mornings.  I am sorry if that shatters any false sense of coolness you may have of me. I promise I wear actual clothes and makeup at weddings :) 0041beautiful art of balance workshop 0042beautiful art of balance workshop 0043beautiful art of balance workshop 0044beautiful art of balance workshop

It was such a treat to spend the weekend with Alyssa from Feast Calligraphy. I had met her a few years ago but I loved getting to know her and hearing her heart and her story.  I am excited to see the places her business continues to go! She is so talented. I am going to say it. I am not the best at calligraphy. I am practicing though and I LOVE the practicing of it. I love the slow and thoughtful pace that it is and I think I am already getting better.0045beautiful art of balance workshop 0046beautiful art of balance workshop 0048beautiful art of balance workshop

Do not be caught off guard this is not my work below. It is someone who is actually pretty good. Definitely not mine. 0049beautiful art of balance workshop

Our farewell dinner was such a treat. Our friend Emily did the flowers in copper guttering and only Emily could make something so beautiful. Whitney and I may or may not have spent 2+ hours hanging the string lights, busting fuses in the string lights, realizing the string lights have emotions and can only connect to a very specific amount of other string lights, sweating, cursing all of the string lights of the world, and decorating the tables but man string lights are the best thing for a dinner outside. RiiiiiGHT…. Whitney? 0051beautiful art of balance workshop 0052beautiful art of balance workshop 0053beautiful art of balance workshop 0054beautiful art of balance workshop

#thiseveningwasperfection

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Shannon will hate this picture of herself and she may even text me the second she sees it and plead with me to take it down. But man, this gal is beautiful…. so so beautiful. It is an honor to know her and live life with her. What a gift she is to so many people. Thank you Shannon from the bottom of my heart for asking me to come to the workshop as your friend. I cannot tell you how much it blessed me.0056beautiful art of balance workshop I will leave you with the goodbye gifts in their adorable wrapping. What an amazing weekend it was! {For those of you with us at the workshop can we all take a moment of silence and just think about this carpet again?! } 0057beautiful art of balance workshop

You can see a video of the workshop by our friend Lindsey HERE!

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