the Me Ra Koh Blog

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SOAR!

Launching Jen Armstrong to #SOAR!

Me Ra Koh

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…

With GREAT excitement, I join all of you in releasing Jen Armstrong to SOAR!  See her doing a live shoot on her beautiful, NEW WEBSITE!  Read about her recent photo shoots on her beautiful, NEW BLOG!

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!

-m

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  1. Idie A

    November 19th, 2010 at 8:12 am

    What an incredible journey! I just want to hug all of you girls because you have obviously put so much hard work into getting where you are now. It has really paid off because your work is beautiful and you look like a professional business owner who can accomplish anything she sets her mind to. It’s been fun following along, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
    xoxo

  2. Lynde

    November 19th, 2010 at 8:12 am

    LOL…”feeling like you’re neglecting at least one at all times”…no truer words spoken from a working momma’s mouth! LOVE the portrait of you at the bottom! It really strikes confidence, maturity, professionalism…you really shine! 🙂

  3. jen armstrong

    November 19th, 2010 at 8:25 am

    me ra, there are no words that can thank you sufficiently. none. just shaking my head in amazement. and love. i LOVE you dearly.

  4. Melanie Soleil Jaramillo

    November 19th, 2010 at 8:30 am

    YAY JEN!!! So great seeing you launch!

  5. Melanie Soleil Jaramillo

    November 19th, 2010 at 8:32 am

    ps…. and I just have to say that looking at your first video and watching you now… wow- NIGHT AND DAY!!!
    everything about you screams professional. beautiful!

  6. Michelle

    November 19th, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Wow..such a powerful message from another beautiful woman.

  7. Sue Huard

    November 19th, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Jennifer Armstrong is not only my daughter, she is one of my heroes. She is a truly remarkable woman and a gift from God. She has indeed made lemonade from lemons all of her life. She is not only talented in many areas, but she is one of the most generous, giving people I know. I have had the joy of watching her grow in so many ways. She is a loving wife, mother, sister, daughter. Along with her brother and sister, she has given so much joy and love to everyone whose lives they touch.

  8. Tracey Carroll

    November 19th, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Jen, WOW! So professional, inspirational and amazing! Congratulations!

  9. jeramy

    November 19th, 2010 at 10:49 am

    jen! so, so special! happy for you and your journey. the new site and blog look great….oh…and your hair looks fabulous! did i just say that out loud? 🙂

  10. Anna B.

    November 19th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Words can not describe the pride I feel for this beautiful young lady, my cousin. She’s this truly unique person, so genuin and true…what you see is what you get with Jen…a warm, amazing woman with a heart as big as TEXAS!! I’m so proud to have had her photograph our wedding just recently and I CAN’T WAIT to see the rest of our photos!…What talent this young lady has…WOW!

  11. Freida

    November 19th, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Jen,
    In your video what you said you thought confidence was when you started this Soar journey and now – what you know confidence is, was just beautiful to hear – and eye opening on my part, thank you for that.
    Your website/blog is just as amazing and exciting to see as was Linda’s yesterday – hahaha – I feel like it’s Christmas morning and I am getting a new website via y’all! 🙂

    Speaking of “y’all” – I don’t normally say that – BUT I have enjoyed your “y’alls” all year! 🙂

    So happy for where you are at today!
    Much love!

  12. Tim Tlucek

    November 19th, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Jen, I just wanted to tell you how very proud, both, Bobbie and I are of you. To say it simply, you are quite a girl!!! We love you . . . Dad

  13. Jody

    November 19th, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Amazing and so inspiring! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  14. Tracie

    November 19th, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Holy SMOKES! This has got me so excited to apply ! So proud of the previous SOAR recipients. It just goes to show you that if given the opportunity, us women, us moms, us “CHICS”… we can do ANYTHING!

  15. Darren M

    November 19th, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    wow. i’m really proud of you. amazing. & u deserve every bit of it. & i laughed harder than i have in a year when i saw ur little one fall of the bench.

  16. Rhonda

    November 19th, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Woo hoo!!!! You go girl!!!
    xoxoxo

  17. andrea J

    November 19th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Wow….so, incredibly great! It was fun following your journey. I just checked out your website, and holy cow!!! You are SO VERY TALENTED and creative. Your website looks amazing, but your pictures are beyond amazing. How far you have come in one short year. Thank you to all three of you for being so open and honest about the ups and downs of the past year. And Mera, thank you.

  18. Wendy Zippwald

    November 19th, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Jen, I can tell, just from your blogging here in the past year, that you are one of those girls that people just want to be around. You convey your message so perfectly. I love your new website/blog and can’t wait to continue to watch you SOAR!

  19. Me Ra

    November 19th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Girl! 18 comments of love, support and “Yes, Jen is that AMAZING!!” and the blog hasn’t even gone out to our subscribers yet! Do you see how loved you are?! Do you see how many people believe you can do this! Yeah!!! I’m so excited for you Jen. And as Linda said today, it’s only the beginning!

    love u!
    m

  20. Jessica

    November 19th, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Congratulations Jen and thank you for sharing your world with all of us! I’m also struck by your confidence comment in the beginning. It surprised me to hear your definition and it shifts my perspective. Thank you!

  21. Sue Christianson

    November 19th, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Jen!!! You are an amazing woman! Seeing the growth in you is crazy good stuff! Love you girl and so proud of you!!!

  22. Shelly

    November 19th, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Wow! I started to cry when I heard Jen say that she used to think confidence was knowing you are good. Up until two minutes ago I thought that too…. and these days I haven’t been feeling very confident! Thank you Jen for giving me a different perspective to view where I am at right now. A definate A-HA moment for me! Thank you for sharing 🙂 .

  23. Joanna Hernandez

    November 19th, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I was very inspired by this blog and her site. I especially loved that she gave credit to Jesus. What a beautiful person!

  24. ajira

    November 19th, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    ‘love me some Brian’

    hehehehehehehe. Just had to say that out loud. Your authenticity beams out of you Jen, and just hits me right in the chest. Eager to see what more you create!

  25. Delanae

    November 20th, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Jen, I love what Me Ra said, “It is only a woman of passion, that has been broken, healed and broken again, who can create images that leave us speechless.” Just love that!

    Not sure if you are a country music fan, my assumption is being that you are from Texas (forgive me if I’m wrong) but Dolly Parton has a song, “Eagle When She Flies” that I love too.

    I love your website, your work is so beautiful.

    Blessings on you and this next phase of your journey.

  26. Cathleen Woodbridge

    November 20th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Jen, you are fantastic and your work is great, too! This makes me want to be a Soar recipient!! Wow. Thanks for your journey and for sharing it with us.

  27. Jennifer Armstrong

    November 20th, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    To all of you, and to my mama and daddy :), I just don’t know what to say…I remember feeling this overwhelmed about a year ago…I’ve said this a few times now–I do NOT know how to tell you thank you sufficiently for all that you’ve said and for your support. You’ve really made this even more incredible…if that’s possible!!

  28. Jennifer Leigh Page

    November 21st, 2010 at 9:19 am

    I don’t know if I can truly express what I am feeling with the release of the 2009 SOAR! Sisters. I remember how I felt last year when I found out about this amazing opportunity too late but decided I was determined to follow along with the three chosen ladies’ journeys. This whole SOAR experience has pushed me to dream and achieve way more than I ever had hoped. Thank you for helping to take me on this journey. I am so proud of you and proud to have been your supporter this year. Best wishes to you in what will be an AMAZING career!

  29. Charisse

    November 21st, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Jen…just wow! It has been such a pleasure watching you manuever this through this last year. MeRa is right. Your presence from the first video until this one is dramatic and beautiful. If that’s what confidence is…well…you are wearing it well! I am sure your family is so proud of you! We all are.

    I guess it’s time to spread your wings….and FLY!

    Much love.
    Charisse

  30. Addie

    November 22nd, 2010 at 6:24 am

    Jen,
    Once again, beautifully inspiring words from one of three beautiful, strong, and confident women. Speaking from the heart as you do makes it easy to understand and see the strength and courage that must have always been within, but just needed a little sunlight and watering to blossom. And Me Ra is quite the gardner, isn’t she?! She is so good at showing you how to find your own tool shed to maintain your own growth. You are one awesome artist and I thank you for sharing your journey. Can’t wait to see where you go from here.

  31. Genie

    November 22nd, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    oh no, number 31 – will she READ this? Yep, tears in my eyes, shaking my own head in pride and joy over the growth and difference this year has made in you. And also loving seeing your daughter’s outtake again. A piece that said a lot about the sweet humor in you – and boy is she a trooper!

    Love what you said about ‘confidence’. Will never forget when you said something like ‘being anxious is SO exhausting’. You go girl! Love you so so much too. Can’t wait to see who you are at the end of the next year!

  32. Julie Watts

    November 22nd, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    OMG I feel so fortunate to have been able to watch how you have came into your own powerful. It radiates so beautifully Jen…and everyone can feel it. Yay. Yay Yay yay Yay!!!

  33. nancy mitchell

    November 22nd, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Congrats Jen! Best of luck to you as you start your new journey! I LOVE your new blog and your website! You are just too darn cute! It has been great watching your growth over the year! May you continue to SOAR!

  34. Christen

    November 23rd, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Jen,

    You are a woman of remarkable strength and authenticity. Your willingness to be honest throughout this process has been so refreshing and inspiring. This authenticity is evident in your work as a photographer and I KNOW it will bring out the absolute best in your clients. Thank you for sharing your journey with me. May you continue to rest in the truth of who you are, and more importantly, WHOSE you are.

    -Christen

  35. April Williams

    November 24th, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I have always believed in you Jen…I couldn’t be more proud and more in awe of you than to have watched you through this journey…if even from afar! You are so beautiful inside and out and I can’t wait to see how God will continue to take your talent and use it for Him and watch you flourish in ways you didn’t see coming. You are amazing. Love you always girl.

  36. Kimberlyn Totten

    November 26th, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Jen-It has been a joy and honor to witness your journey over this past year. Thank you for your generous, creative spirit that has blessed so many of us with your faith, hope and love…not to mention your great sense of humor and Texan genuineness too! You have accomplished so much and have been such an inspiration. May your flight continue to bless you, your family and many others as you Soar! swiftly in the years to come. Congratulations Jen! You should be very proud.I know I am!

  37. Nancy

    December 2nd, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    I sure wish I could see Jen’s submission tape…it’s not working correctly…only plays a small portion of it. 🙁

  38. kara

    December 19th, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Congratulations, Jen! For completing this past year and how far you have come. It is so exciting for us to see as SOAR applicants this year. Love your site and blog!

  39. Cheap Pandora Jewelry

    July 7th, 2011 at 4:13 am

    I harmonise with your conclusions and inclination thirstily look forward to your coming updates.

  40. Amanda Mc Neil

    December 17th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    I JUST WANT TO SAY THANKS FOR DOING A BEAUTIFUL LOB AT MY WEDDING AND MY PHOTOS WERE BEAUTIFUL.