If you would like to set up a photography session, or have any questions, contact me via email: betsy@betsyjophotography.com. Thank you!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Action: (n) an act that one consciously wills and that may be characterized by physical or mental activity

So I said I would post some pictures and details from my day at the Spread the Love Workshop. 'Problem is, I hardly know where to begin. It's like my mind is filled with fragmented adjectives, instead of complete thoughts. Words like: Stunning. Spurred. Move. Prime. Motivating. Inspire. Breathe. See what I mean? They don't really make practical sense; they're not even in the same verb tense. But they sum up how I feel. I am so thankful for the opportunity I had. And I realize now that what I learned has the potential to be life-changing. That part is up to me.

I wish I could give a little slice of how the day went- the inspiring words, the crucial, direct advice on how to remain current, how to 'be the brand', and bring a higher level of service to those around me. How we dug deep into who we are, participated in activities that made us realize our potential, even wrote our own obituaries! (Highly recommended, by the way.) I wish I could explain it all. But the workshop was 7 hours long. And it felt like half that.

Justin & Mary have accomplished a lot in their time in business. They're the same age as me, but in a totally different place. I can't even explain how much I love where I am. And they love what they're doing. How it shows.

Mary has a real pride for her "West Virginia, daughter-of-a-lumberjack roots". Her father means a lot to her; she quoted him often throughout the day. That hit home for me. For those of you who know me, you know how much I appreciate and respect my Dad and Mom. Mary's parents sacrificed everything for her to leave the dirt-floor trailer where she grew up so that she could graduate with highest honors from WVU and then go on to graduate from Yale Law School. During that time, she met Justin, falling in love with him- and his camera. And then she had to call her "6' 5" lumberjack Daddy" and tell him she had decided she didn't want to be a lawyer; she wanted to be a wedding photographer instead. I think that's my favorite part of the story. She had a choice between making her mark w/Justin in the photography business, doing what she loved, or signing on at $140,000 a year (to start!) in a law firm-- which she dubbed as "selling her soul." It's obvious she and Justin made the right choice.

So now I have some work to do, some books to read, and some lists to make. I am a dreamer; many of my friends and family know that. Sometimes that's good; other times not so great. But did you know that only 16% of the population say they even have goals? And only 4% write them down? And only 1% go back and look at their lists regularly? J & M also stated that those who write down and implement goals have 9x more earning power than those who don't. Very thought-provoking.

The exercises we did make me want to be better. A better wife. A better mom, sister, friend, daughter. To spend more time. To cling tightly to my faith. To slow down. To re-assess. To seek out a respite.

I was able to meet some great photographers from throughout New England; people whose work I've admired from afar, and finally had the courage to introduce myself to. I'm so glad I did. Thanks to some of them: Carla Ten Eyck, Amanda Herzberger, and Shyla. Their work inspires me, as they seem larger than life, but they were kind and gracious.

This was the international 'kick-off' event before J & M bring Spread the Love across the nation. For those who are photographers or small business owners, I can't recommend this workshop enough. Go. You will be so glad you did.

Their fabulous logo:

When I said they were larger than life, I meant it. Come on, I know I'm short (5' 1" on a good day), but they made me feel rather small here...

(taken by Amanda Herzberger of Orchard Cove Photography)

So after the workshop, as I was walking down Capitol Ave in the freezing cold- full of ideas and goals, who did I call? Yup. My Dad. And I told him that I think this is what people must feel like when they leave his RLF sessions. Brimming over.

And then, of course, I called my Mom and Paul. Who else? :) Because, when people ask 'how do you fit it all in with school and a family?', I have a one-word answer. Paul. Thanks, hon'.

"If I have been of service, if I have glimpsed more of the nature and essence of ultimate good, if I am inspired to reach wider horizons of thought and action, if I am at peace with myself, it has been a successful day."
-Alex Noble

Oh, about the obituary? Paul and I died naturally at the ages of 106 and 100, respectively. In our sleep. On the same day. Healthy to the end. After being married for 82 years.
ct wedding photographer newborn photographer maternity photographer pregnancy photos ct food photography family portrait photographer child photographer
Hey, I said I was a dreamer.


  1. oh, betsy. i love this post. don't you just feel so energized and equipped to chase after your dreams? just reading your account of the workshop was inspiring to me... i can't wait until they come to a town near me to experience the workshop for myself. :) i'm SO GLAD you went!

  2. Erica, I'm really hoping you get to go if they're near Kansas City at some point. As I said, it's so worth it. There's no question that they helped me to feel equipped to keep chasing! I had to think of your 101 in 1001 list during the workshop- methinks you're part of that 1%! :)

  3. You are doing all the right things and thank you so much for the lovely shout out - it means a lot. Just remember that all of us were once where you are now and we got to where we are now by asking a lot of questions and practicing! Please feel free to email me with any specifics - I was so blessed to have people lean down to pull me up and I welcome the opportunity to do the same!

  4. Thank you so much, Amanda. Your offer is kind, and so appreciated!

  5. Hi Betsy, what a great post! I kept putting mine off because so much came to mind and I will probably write more on it! but glad we at the end talked about our name crisis, I loved what they said about selling the photographer and not the photography! and the Betsy Ryan rocks! I loved the first picture you put here. I am so excited in finding more folks in the East Coast and let us learn and grow. God Bless.

  6. The picture of Justin looking at Mary I meant-

  7. Hi Betsy and others

    So great to meet you all at the workshop and I, too, am on a high about the wonderful day we had. Working hard on keeping it rolling, looking forward to seeing many of you at the next CT PUG meeting!

    Thank you!