For the rest of this week, we are going to do something very special as a community. I am so excited and yet a little sad. Proud and full of joy. Grieving and celebrating within. It’s always a mix of emotions when something good has grown beyond it’s walls. Our three SOAR! Recipients started the year surrounded by walls of doubt, fear, insecurity, unsure about their photography abilities, unsure of their dreams, the list goes on. But this week, we recognize that they have outgrown many of those walls.
We don’t release them in the sense of losing them, but celebrate them–recognize what they’ve done. I’m especially excited to have each of them be Sponsors/Mentors to this year’s new recipients. These three women have become knitted into my very heart, as I know they have touched your life too with every new week of posts on the SOAR! blog. We have laughed, cried, and cried some more. But now, this week, it’s time to recognize their GREAT, hard earned accomplishment of completing the SOAR! year.
We are going to collectively launch our three, hardworking, beautiful SOAR! Recipients! They have worked more hours than you would ever guess, and they deserve to be celebrated. Will you help me celebrate each of them this week, as I show you where they’ve come from and where they are now?
Let’s start today with Linda Baylis!
Linda’s submission video struck our SOAR! panel of judges last year. It was witty, funny, creative, heartfelt and showed us courage from the start. In her application, she also wrote about dealing with chronic illness, and her determination to never give up no matter how tough the battle.
I don’t think any of us knew what battles we would walk through this last year. Linda ended up needing to go back to New Zealand for a part of the year, and yet somehow, this unexpected part of her life’s journey played into perfect timing of SOAR!’s mission and support for her. With every challenge that came Linda’s way, she faced it. There were many times that she felt scared but there was never a time that she opted out. I hope that she reads this post today, this celebration of all her successes, and feels great pride for herself and all her hard work. I hope she has a quiet moment to Pause, let a sense of incredible accomplishment sink in. She has gone from hoping and dreaming of “how to do” photography, and maybe having a small business, to launching a BEAUTIFUL website and blog.
SOAR! Partner, SmugMug, has been working for months with all three gals on creating websites and blogs that represent each of their personalities. Check out Linda Baylis’s NEW WEBSITE and her BLOG! They are Amazing with a Capital A!
What does Linda have to say about SOAR! for those of you who are considering the application process? Let her tell you in this special video.
Linda has even BIGGER dreams than when we first started last January. And this alone makes me so excited because I know this little New Zealand mama has what it takes to do WHATEVER she sets her heart too. This year, every blog post she wrote, every assignment she did, every tear she shed, every time she laughed from total exhaustion, this year and all the above are proof that Linda Baylis is capable of all her BIG dreams. She is capable of what she thought was impossible. And it is a honor to release her to SOAR!
Will you help me congratulate this beautiful lady! Will you stand with me and see Linda Baylis SOAR!
I love you Linda.
*In honor of the next few days, celebrating our three SOAR! Recipients, SmugMug is offering a 20% discount on their one year membership! Copy and paste the special coupon code: MeRaSMUG20. A very BIG thanks to Smug Mug for all that they gave this last year and continue to give as we prepare together for this next year! We love you Smug Mug!