I think when it time to send Dawn the invite to ask her to be a part of the P31 Conference ( A Christian Women’s Photography/Artist Conference this Fall) I was shaking, a little dizzy and most likely felt nauseous. The intimidation was almost overwhelming as I have so admired and respected Bob and Dawn for years. Never in a million years had I imagined that I would get the opportunity to meet her, let alone have her as a friend. Almost immediately Dawn replied with the sweetest message and asked when we could chat. Over the next few weeks we played phone tag between our weddings and their workshops. When we finally got on the phone all nerves subsided as I was greatest by one of the purest hearts around. Her warmth and vulnerability overwhelmed my heart and I knew this was the beginning of something so beautiful. I am sincerely grateful to have her in my life and to have her come alongside me in this faith walk as one of the speakers at the Pursuit 31 Conference. I am literally overwhelmed with thankfulness to the Lord for bringing us together.
So for those of you joining us at the Conference you are in for a REAL treat! I’m certain you will get to know Dawn even better and come to love her as I do. But for now I thought it would be fun to give you a little insight into this amazing women. Without further ado…. Dawn Davis!
What is your favorite thing to do on a free afternoon?
A free afternoon, ha! I don’t have those often but when I do, I love to spend time with my family. Bob and I truly value family and we spend as much quality time with our kiddos as we can. We have always agreed that what we focus on first is what happens under our own roof. We try very hard not to let any negative influences in the world navigate into our personal lives. Ohhhh, and one of my most favorite things to do when my kids are in school is to take a break and go to the doggie park with my puppy!!! It’s his most favorite thing to do too!!!
What is a random fact about you?
I love to sing really loud in the car but I don’t sing well at all, so I make sure the windows are up or the music is loud so no one can hear me.
How did you get into Photography & Design?
I was dragged into the photography by my husband, Bob, kicking and screaming. Ha! Seriously, photography has been a huge part of my life ever since Bob and I started dating. We do most everything together as a couple so I would attend every photography conference and judging with him. It wasn’t until 2005, when we received our first BIG job with Oprah, that I quit my job as an Accountant to design a fine art book for her. I have the left brain right brain thing going on but I lean heavily towards the analytic side of running a business. I was able to create our website using Showit, and our branding/marketing materials within a few months and go full force into running our business. When I attended conferences such as WPPI and PPA, I spent every single moment learning about business and networking. It’s such an important part of running a business. You can be the most talented photographer in the world, but if you don’t know how to sell yourself, it’s likely you’ll end up being a starving artist.
What do you wish someone would’ve told you when you first started out?
I wish someone would have told me to take the business out of the meeting!
What is your dream job or dream client to work with?
Ohhh hands down, I so badly want Bob to photograph and for me to design a fine art book from Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s wedding………. if they ever get married. I love everything about them. I love that they have adopted children and that they do mission work around the world. Bob and I can totally relate to them. Well, except for the bazillions of dollars they make! LOL.
What is your greatest fear?
I don’t really have any great fears. I believe that if you put that out in the universe, it will come to fruition. ( P.S. I LOVE THIS! ~ Karen)
What is your favorite part about your job?
There are so many things I love about my job. First and foremost, I love working with my husband. We’ve been married for 20 years and the last 8 years we have been working together. It’s been, by far, the most rewarding years! I love meeting with clients, talking about wedding dress and shoes, how they met, and how Bob and I met. I love getting to know people and learning as much as I can. I love that we can laugh together and sometimes cry together. I fully believe in taking the business out of the meeting. With that being said, we it’s incredibly important that you are a business person. But not at the consultation. For us, it just doesn’t work.
What drew you to be a part of the Pursuit 31 Conference?
Over the last year, at several conferences and meet ups, the names Karen + Isaac Stott would come up in conversation. Everyone always told me that I will fall in love with them when I meet them. Secretly, I already had. I’ve been spying on the from afar for awhile and when Karen sent me a video asking if I could consider being a speaker at the Pursuit 31 conference in Atlanta, I knew it was the Lord’s doing. I know that my true gift in life is to inspire, be a sparker for others. And this platform will allow me to spread the love even further.
What excites you most about the Conference?
I’m excited about meeting and getting to know everyone!!! It’s one of my most favorite things in the world to do! I know that I have a lot to share but more importantly, it’s what others will be sharing with me is what I’m most excited about.
What are you excited to teach, share or experience with the women at the Conference?
I’m super excited to share my love for our dear Lord. I was not raise around a church and still can not quote scripture to save my life. But what I have come to realize in my life is that God wants an abundance of goodness for us all. Before quitting my job in 2005, our motto was “If it was easy, it wasn’t meant for the Davis family”. It was always one step forward and ten steps back for us. One day, I read a book that changed my life, our family’s lives, called The Prayer of Jabez. It was truly a “Dear Dawn” for me. I learned so much from this tiny little book. Most importantly, I learned that I was okay to ask God for help. Since then, I have wholeheartedly given myself to Him. Not in a simple way, but with everything I’ve got. My relationship with Him is very raw, and very pure. I have a ton to learn and I’m so open to that. I’ve always known that God has big plans for me, but I had NO idea how far he would expand my territory.
I’m also very excited to share how we have taken our small town business to success and how you can too. I will share how I raised our prices to meet the client who appreciates us for our talents, how we handle client meetings, how we win over our client’s respect. I’ll discuss how we manage our workflow and post production process, along with the decisions we made on our branding, and our marketing approach
Here are some amazing videos to help you get to know Bob & Dawn a little more:
EEEEEEEEK!!!! I don’t know about you but this gets me SUPER excited for October!
If you would like to join Dawn Davis & I, as well as Mary Marantz, Jane Johnson, Jody Gray, Elizabeth Ann King, Desirea Rodgers & Katelyn James
this October for 4 days of insane girl fun, we would LOOOOOOOVEEE to have you!
Details and Registration available at :
Sign up before May 9th and get $50 off by using the code “dawndavis”
That is NOT ALL! Comment below and post it to FB and you will be entered to win a $50 Black River Imaging Gift Card
Winner will be randomly selected and announced NEXT Wednesday!
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This last weekend I was writing Lacey about some plans we have for the blog. Lacey will be the new Editor of the Beautifully Branded segment we have all come to love. So get used to seeing her gorgeous face around these pages!!! The funny thing was, I didn’t hear from her until Monday morning when she sweetly replied that she was sorry for not getting back sooner but had taken the weekend off from the internet. “Good for you!!!” Were the first things out of my mouth and then I was immediately convicted… lol! What she shared was so inspiring and refreshing I asked her to write about her weekend….
So without further ado…. the lovely Lacey Rabalais.
Have you ever felt like you just needed a break? A break from work, chores, email….from life. Well on Thursday of last week I felt this way. I was done, exhausted, burnt out, and run down. So on Friday morning I answered a few emails, making sure that nothing was crucial if I left it. Yes, I left them. I left my inbox with new emails and then I did what I never do…I turned my computer OFF.
I had some errands to run like the bank, buying a wedding gift for friends, and picking up some new clothes for the hubby since he started a new job on Monday. After accomplishing what I HAD to do, I returned home to pack my car and drive to my parent’s house. I spent the afternoon with my mom. We picked up pizza and my hubs, brother and his family (wife and 2 boys), and parents all got to hang out. Saturday included a pedicure with mom (Oh my wow….a pedicure. I can’t tell you the last time that happened). Then J and I went to a wedding as guests. It was amazing to spend the time with friends. Sunday morning included keeping my nephew (he’s 17 months and the CUTEST kid ever). Breakfast with him was awesome and very much needed.
We decided to come home early and that was a great idea. Caught up on laundry, organized our closet, donated clothes we don’t wear anymore, and I even gave some of the closet space I had taken over back to my husband. The afternoon was spent hanging out, watering the flowers and garden, reading, and being together. I was tempted to look at emails and Facebook on my phone throughout the weekend, but I didn’t. I’m not going to lie, Monday morning the emails and notifications were crazy but what I got over the weekend was worth it.
Spending quality time with my husband has become my favorite thing to do. I hope he knows that I appreciate him working and going to school to better our life. I don’t want him to ever think that I put my computer or business before him. No matter how successful I become or my business grows, I’m nothing without my husband. We are one. He is my better half. (OK…sometimes I think I’m his better half…..:o) Just joking). My family also means the world to me. My parents are amazing and I don’t want them to think that I am always busy with work and don’t make time for them. That would be horrible. I know that everyone understands when we have to work but I don’t want anyone to ever doubt how much they mean to me.
I’m making the effort from now on to spend time with what’s important. I think you should too. If you don’t believe me….just try one day without internet, Facebook, and emails. Spend time with your loves and see how much you get out of it. I feel that the effort that I put out has been so beneficially for all of these relationships, especially my marriage, and for me. I feel rested, renewed, and happier to do the work that God wants me to do.
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Sometimes life is just hard. Your picket white fence fairytale turns to past due bills, unforeseen health diagnosis’s and constant tension in your home. It just happens. Life… happens. Sometimes it’s a blink of an eye, and other times it’s a slow fade that step by step distracts you from the path that once led your way.
It’s times like these that I have to stop, look around, and focus on the good. Focus on the amazing memories that brought me to this place. The ones that have built my life up to this point. I need to take my eyes off of the temporary current situations and choose to focus on the blessings in my life. We all have them… the ones that are posted on our fridge…the photos that fill our favorite albums… the box of love letters buried in your closet. Sometimes those are the things that will carry us through the wilderness seasons…
I think that is what brought me to an old blog post this morning. I was just craving that feeling that I had when I wrote a post about our Anniversary. I remembered writing something that I knew even at the time would carry me through hard times. So I went searching my blog until it came up…. His Love… Reading through it I was brought to tears… again… just as I knew it would. Choosing to focus and remember all of the things I am blessed with instead of focusing on the craziness of the present was the best thing I did this morning.
And as a friend… I beg you to find the blessings to focus on as well. I have a feeling it will majorly change your day.
And in case you are up for some further reading…. here is the blog post that helped me remember.
I never knew that love could seriously alter the course of life. I should’ve. But I didn’t. The very God that I serve is love, yet I didn’t realize it. I didn’t realize it that is, until him. I feel that quite literally he is my knight in shining armor. The kind that little girls dream of and fairy-tales are written about. When so much around me was shaky. When the world seemed small, unsafe, and harsh, he arrived. Cargo shorts and baseball caps replaced the typical metal clad prince exterior, but I wasn’t exactly adorned in tiaras and ballgowns either. Seventeen. My outward boisterous personality gleamed only to hide the frightened, self conscious, defeated girl that was inside. But he got me. He has always gotten me. And quickly he became my very best friend. And now my husband. I had never felt such unconditional love in tangible form. I had never felt so….. safe. His love has wiped my tears, encouraged me endlessly, and rebuilt the parts that could barely stand. Through him I was able to feel the love of Christ like never before. He gave me a safe place to fall while the Lord was doing deep, deep works in my heart. And continues to do all of these things to this day.
I never knew love could alter life. Yet his hand on the small of my back kept me moving. Kept me going farther than I ever, EVER dreamed was possible for me. He wouldn’t take no for an answer, and more importantly he never gave up. Even when I wanted to. Even when I begged him to. He stood firm. Pushed me forward. Dared me to dream.
His love changed me.
It has been ten years. Ten years ago today I became his. For real. I proudly wear his ring, carry his name and mother his children. And I couldn’t be more thankful. More blessed. A lot comes with a marriage. More than I ever imagined going into it. When you are standing in a white dress starring into the void that will be your future, it’s not often that the worse, and the poorer are at the forefront of your mind. They weren’t for me. Yet still they came. Amidst the times of laughing so hard it hurt., late night dance offs, becoming parents, building homes, promotions, and just being blissfully happy, they came. The hard times. The rough, treaturous, how will we ever make it through this wilderness times? They came. And without him I would’ve crumbled. I strive to be that strong, that calm, that rational. He is God’s perfect match for me, and the left half of my brain that I so desperately need.
Time and time again I would come to him, broken and crying. I was always received with open arms and the stroke of his hand against my cheek. “God will get us through this. He has not fallen off His throne.” He would say to me. “It will all be ok.” With his arms wrapped tightly around me he would quietly start to pray, and my grasp on his shirt would loosen. My heart would melt. And I knew. Everything would be ok. Without hesitation, and with very few words, he had ushered me to the feet of Jesus. In His presence my heart has been made new. Layer by layer He has breathed His healing touch into the dark areas of my life. The tears have been wiped away and I am no longer afraid. His words are forever written on my heart , and I know that I can do ALL things throughHim. I am no longer the frightened little girl hiding behind false confident boisterous ways. I am truly, deeply, passionately able to love myself and those around me. I can hold my head up high and know that He has amazing things for me. He thought about them long before I came to be, and wants more for me than I could ever even think of for myself. So why not dream big? He’s my Daddy and blessing His kids is what He loves to do. My loud, dancing, random spurts of singing now come from a wellspring of joy that comes from Him alone. And he led me there.
I feel alive. I breath deep. I love hard. I dream big.
His love changed me.
So thank you lovie, for the most incredible, amazing, crazy, hilarious, over the top 10 year adventure I could ever imagine. Without you, I wouldn’t know which way was up or how to balance the checkbook. You are my rock and my very best friend. You are a more incredible father than I ever knew was even possible. I am honored to be the girl on your arm, the mommy of your kids and the bearer of your name.
You are the dream I never believed I could have.
I love you more than words can say. Happy Anniversary
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I don’t want to write what I am about to write. Although God has been telling me to deal with this for months, I have been resisting doing so. It hurts to think about it. The fact is…I miss my Mom. I don’t mean oh, I miss her in a nonchalant way. I mean, I REALLY miss her. The pain of her passing has become real. We finally buried her ashes this past Friday and I didn’t realize that it would be like a freight train of emotions hitting me. I am numb, sad, and angry. I am angry with God. I don’t believe that God took my Mom away from me. I don’t believe that God gave my mother cancer to teach me a lesson. I know God’s character and those don’t line up. I am angry with God because He is letting me feel the emotions of my loss. God answered every prayer I had for the past four years. Somehow I thought that meant I wouldn’t have to feel the pain of loss and somehow I would be spared from the aching in my heart. Every day I wake up thinking that somehow the past six years were all a dream. I want to go back to a time before my Mom was ever diagnosed. I don’t want this to be part of my story. I hate that people keep asking me how I am doing, and in reality they are asking me how am I coping with losing my Mom. The honest answer: It sucks!!!!!!! One minute I am crying and the next I am ok. Then maybe an hour later I am filled with anger. The word says God is our comforter. Honestly I am not sure where God is right now. I feel lost. I lost my best friend and my biggest supporter. My mom and I always had ups and downs and there were a lot more downs in our relationship than ups. I have felt guilty that I wasted so many of my years taking drugs and drinking instead of valuing what is important. It took God’s intervention for me to wake up and see what was going on. I am grateful He gave me four sober years with my Mom, but at the same time I am kicking myself that I have very few memories of my Mom without cancer. For the past year I have been meditating on the scripture, “There is no guilt and condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” If you have talked to me at all, I can guarantee I have preached it. I realized the other day that I have no problem believing that for others but for myself…well that’s a different story. I still think that there is something that I could have done. Somehow maybe if I were perfect I wouldn’t have to feel this emptiness, this pain. I am so familiar with pain and darkness, but this, this is different. I have never felt anything like this and I question where is God right now. Why is He letting me feel this? I wish I could give some uplifting speech right now. I wish that you could walk away filled with hope. However, I don’t have anything left. I am so broken inside that I am going to ask if you could pray for me. God knows I need it.
My mom and I in Hawaii 2010.
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Small Group Testimony by Tammy Willis Morin
I can’t go in. Maybe I should have stayed home. I will be the oldest and most inexperienced. Who do I think I am coming here?
These thoughts and many more swirled in my mind as I walked up the street and approached the house.
I gingerly open the door and I hear some talking and gently laughter. I walk in, towards the laughter.
This is where it began and for me where things changed.
After weeks of planning finally some Tri-State P31 sisters were going to meet and share in each other’s fellowship. The whole time leading up to this I was so excited, it was like Christmas for me. I have for some time longed to connect with other Christian women who were also photographers. Finally it was happening. While I was so excited I was also nervous, anxious, and scared. Nervous I wouldn’t fit in, anxious about my experience and scared that they would see me as a fake and that they would say your work isn’t good enough, you aren’t good enough.
But just the opposite happened. I was welcomed, far beyond what I could have hoped for. My level of experience, age, and self doubts were all welcomed and were meet with the same doubts that others had. I was not alone. That knowledge is one of the many revelations I took away that weekend.
That weekend was like an old school HS sleep over. Plenty of junk food, staying up late, talking, LOTS of talking and some tears. All in the name of our savior, how glorious is that! Even though some of us had never met it was like we already knew each other, oh the power of Facebook. Here was a moment where you could open up and share anything, everything. Good, bad and all that in between. This time strengthened me and my soul. It made me realize that even when you feel alone you are not and god will show that to you one way or another, luck for me he showed me through these wonderful woman.
Their confidence in me even though we just meet was so heartfelt. How could they be so sure if I was not? They were because god is confident in all of us and he was using this experience to bond us and show us that we are really never alone. That weekend I learned that I am good enough and my work is good enough. Not everyone is going to like your work and that is OK but someone will, someone will value you. That weekend made it ok for me to scream, “I am a photographer!!” ( Thanks Fueza!).
I have made connections with these woman that I feel still. Friendship that I pray continue and what I hope will be the beginning of an annual event.
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