May 3, 2010

What’s Done

We sat out on the patio at our favorite Mexican restaurant, as a warm inviting breeze beckoned in the month of May. Sipping on frozen lime in the coconut margaritas and debating the merits of black bean enchiladas versus fish tacos, we felt whole. We felt calm. We felt the whole world move around us, but for just one moment…we felt still. Still enough to ask the hard questions.

I reached for a chip and drip-dropped salsa in my lap through the lattice-cut holes in the patio table. As I picked at the tomato stains on my favorite pair of blue jeans, I asked him the question without meeting his eyes.

Do you think I’ve done enough with the last year?

Yea…of course.

And just like that, as much as I have the grand ability to over-complicate things, to over-think them….he has a tendency of making it too simple. Too basic. Too easy to brush away.

No. I mean really. Do you think I did enough? I had so many plans for this year, so many big ideas, and I don’t feel like I’ve done any of it.

He sighed and looked at me with the face of exasperation that only a man who has driven thirteen thousand miles over the course of the past three months can.

Are you serious?

I blinked fat, stinging tears. Serious.

He nodded his head and stirred his straw while he searched to find exactly the right words. The words that would make it clear to me. The words that would actually sink in. And this is what he said:

You have to start focusing at least as much on your “What’s done” list as your “What’s left to do” list or you are never going to be happy. Ever. And then what will all of this have been for?

I sat stunned. Silent. Like someone had just put margarita salt on the wound. Because deep down, I knew that he was right. Every last word of it. I have absolutely no idea how far we’ve come because all I can ever see is how far we have left to go. How long the road stretches on ahead. How many mountains left to climb (Mylie, are you out there?)

And I know it has to change. If I ever want to be really happy.

So bear with me for just a moment, while I take a second to honor some of What’s Done. These are things that are months overdue at this point and I’m pretty much Captain After the Fact for even writing about them now. But here’s the thing…I write about them now because I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to let them slip away, lost in the dust cloud that’s left in the wake of the constant need to move forward.

For just this second, I want to be still. Still enough to hear the hard answers. And still enough to let them sink in.

In the past few months, we have been so, so blessed to be featured in some pretty cool places. Like Rangefinder Magazine and Professional Photographer Magazine.

Here’s the first page of the PPM spread.

And here is the one from Rangefinder.

We’ve also been so honored to have two of our couples featured in some awesome publications. First, Rachel & Terry just got an amazing spread in WV Weddings for their vintage Romance, WV wedding. That magazine came today and we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it!

And a couple months ago, we saw that Kristin & Chad had a beautiful spread in Brides Connecticut.

So there you go. That’s our “What’s Done” list for the day. I would love to hear yours. What are some major things on your to do list that you have checked off in the past year? Because really…they deserve to be celebrated.

  1. Vitaliy

    Congratulations, guys! You deserve it. And we celebrate with you, cheers!

  2. Alison

    Congrats to you guys, both for all of the amazing recognition but also for taking a moment to stop, breath and savor it for a minute. I am so guilty of this. since STL I have been overwhelmed with ideas and plans but can only see what isn’t done yet or isn’t happening yet. My husband is my grounding- he makes me stop and take stock of how much has changed even since the first of the year. And I am so grateful, both for him pointing them out, but also that I have the opportunity to do it at all!

  3. Sarah Nebel

    I think you forgot to mention how you inspired so many on your Spread the Love tour!! HELLO! :) Truly inspired me to take my biz by the tail! I have a loooong way to go, and feel as if I’m a slow learning, but you left me with the feeling that there’s hope for me! Thanks!

  4. Aubrey

    I finally started my business and it gives me the warm fuzzies every time I think about it!

  5. Diane Parsons

    And don’t forget, "holy crap, we’re speaking at WPPI!"! Mary don’t count what you’ve done, or what needs to be done…count the lives you’ve touched. We are an hour apart but sometimes I feel like you’re right here in my kitchen talking your talk! :) Your work and your talk (at WPPI!) have made an impact on me personally as well as professionally.

    Count this one as one thank you! :)

  6. Kristen Werden

    Just read your article in PP Mag a couple days ago. Great article! You two seem like very nice people. I’m happy for your success!

  7. Molly

    You both should be very proud!

  8. Jasmine*

    Lurve it!! So, so proud of you! :)

  9. Tira J

    Congratulations!!!!! You guys rock!

  10. Spring

    Diane Parsons… you took the words right out of my mouth. I have been so inspired (as Diane said) personally and professionally. I feel so honored to have you in my life- be it dinner in Portland, A WPPI talk or every day on your blog. You guys are amazing and I’m proud of you.

  11. Rachel

    Since October of 2009, our lives have been a whirlwind of excitement because J&M agreed to capture OUR wedding!! Then the release of PPM . . . the release of Rangefinder . . . and today the release of WV WEDDINGS!! Each time we celebrated our love again, and each time remembered the day everything changed and we became husband and wife. Thank you thank you thank you, J&M! Terry made me a bride, but YOU made me a J&M bride . . . and that made ALL the difference!! :)

  12. Christa

    I felt like I was getting no where and just the last few weeks alone I’ve set up an opportunity to volunteer for an AMAZING photographer and today I was asked to contribute to a collaborative event.
    It’s been a slow road but I think I’m on the right path :) Yay me!!

  13. MM

    @Christa & Aubrey: that is so awesome!! I am SOOO proud of you guys! Whoo hoo!

  14. maggieb

    …sensible man that Justin! Enjoy the moment. Enjoy where you are. It nurtures the vision and the future. Congratulations on the well deserved accolades and recognition. Cream always rises to the top!

  15. Tiffany

    Charlie and I are so honored to have you be a part of our wedding – not only because of the amazing things you have already done, but because of the great people you are, and the amazing things we know you still want to achieve. And…this is the best advice for a to-be bride who is feeling overwhelmed lately with the never-ending planning: "You have to start focusing at least as much on your ‘What’s done’ list as your ‘What’s left to do’ list." Thank you for posting! : )

  16. Gwendolyn Tundermann

    You two are beautiful! : )

  17. Niki

    Thank you! For reminding me that my ‘what’s done’ list should not be forgotten… and let my ‘to do’ list take over. I never saw it that way… and would feel overwhelmed with the idea that I was getting nothing ‘done’! This is big! I will look at life, and my business differently now. Thank you so much! :)

  18. Stephanie Stewart

    Congratulations!!!!! Beautiful work and recognition so well deserved!!!

  19. fEuza

    congrats~ if you guys need any assistance in NYC, I am your gal!

  20. Erica Velasco

    Never forget how awesome you are!

  21. AMELIA

    How could you possibly forget about "HOLY CRAP! We’re speaking at WPPI!"??? I was overjoyed to hear you two talk and came away with some much info that I’m still implimenting in my business. Especially the knowing by the email if it’s someone you’re gonna love. Where are all the !!!!!!!!s? I love seeing exclaimation points! Thank you for all the you do for all of us in the industry. You guys ROCK!!! WOOOO!

  22. ajira

    Fantastic post! Yay for celebrating what’s done!!

  23. Evie Perez

    I hate to say this, but thank you for feeling like this and writing about it. What Justin said to you is exactly what I needed to hear!!! I need to focus on what’s been completed – Amen to that!

  24. Ray

    You made me want to cry with this entry. I know I’ve said it a bunch of times before, but I can’t help it, "You’re a beautiful writer!" Your honesty is also beautiful. Major, major, major congrats on your accomplishments with the magazine articles. You guys rock hard! Seriously. Take this time and definitely let it sink in. <3

  25. cassandra-m

    I saw you guys in the ppmag. I still have it & booked marked your page with a sticky note that reads simply "mary & justin…MY online friends". congrats you guys. you continue to amaze me.

  26. MM

    @Cassandra: Love you!!

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