I watched Jen Armstrong’s SOAR! submission video last night and couldn’t help but cry. When I first watched it, I was struck by a woman who had been faced with much change. And it seemed that she was set on turning lemons into lemonade. Her background was in teaching, and she was FANTASTIC at articulating her thoughts on video. She was new to photography but had incredible potential from the early shots that she shared in her video. Little did I know how close I would become to this woman, how much I would treasure her friendship in degrees that she will never know. This is her a year ago…
The SOAR! Scholarship is not about “making sure” these women all start photography businesses. It is about something much deeper. I wanted these women to end the year with confidence that they could accomplish whatever their goals and dreams were. But I also wanted them to have a window into my own life. I knew that this personal view would show them how many up’s and down’s happen as we build our dreams. How “glory filled” it can look on the outside, but how the courage to not give up–no matter what level you are at–is the main ingredient. I wanted them to see that dream building is not about waiting for the “right time”. Dream building is intense and hard, but none of us ever signed up for the impossible because we thought it would be easy.
Jen’s life had so many unexpected things happen throughout the SOAR! year. One major piece was that her family relocated. Wouldn’t it make sense to put the dream building on hold and get through the move–come back to this dream building next year? The SOAR! Scholarship takes that option away. And yet, Jen was determined as ever to not only build a new business but to build it in a new community. The courage that she mustered to keep going…I want her to know how amazing that courage was and is.
When life interrupts our dream building, it’s easy to feel like everyone is gaining ground on you–moving and advancing farther and faster than you–leaving you in the dust. These are the battles of the mind that can be fatal. I had the honor of talking through some of those battles with Jen, and I’m so proud that this little “Texas Missy” ignored all the voices and held fast to her passions. It is only a woman of passion, that has been broken, healed and broken again, who can create images that leave us speechless…images like these;
When Jen sees kids on the beach at sunset, this is what her heart guides her to capture. These are images that breathe healing and innocence. These are images that prove she never lost any ground when the storms of life slowed her journey down. Instead, we all witnessed around Jen that the well that holds all her passion goes much deeper than any of us knew.
So, if you didn’t cry (like I did) when you watched Jen’s video submission, you may want to get out Kleenex for her most recent video. The growth and confidence that shines on this woman is so breathtaking. The way she’s sitting, how she moves when she talks, the calm on her face, how she seems to have settled into herself…amazing.
What should you expect with doing SOAR! this year? Let Jen share…
And tell this lady she is worth every bit of confidence and courage she has found–every last bit of it!
i love you Jen sooooo much!