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Self Portrait Marathon: Session 4 - Reflections and the one that didn't get away

Self Portrait Marathon Lipstick, glasses, and fur

I celebrated a birthday last month. It was the first one I had actually celebrated in years. I honestly can’t remember the last time I acknowledged the day. ⏳


Isn’t that just like us adults? And just like us parents? Despite celebrating for the first time in years, it’s still not a priority to acknowledge a set-a-part day annually in my honor.


However, I did take this day to actually enjoy being honored and appreciated by my family. My mom took me shopping to her favorite store. I rarely buy clothes for myself, so I wasn’t in the market for anything in particular BUT then it happened… 😮


A special garment hanging on a mannequin caught my eye. The kind of moment where you gasp & your heart skips a beat. 👀


An absolutely beautiful fur coat. 🦁 (Yes, it was faux fur for those who wonder. 😉)


It’s not often I find something so beautiful that fits, so out of curiosity I confirmed by checking the tag that it couldn’t possibly fit me. And then…


The tag confirms the glass is half full! 🍷 It’s my size! I must try it on! I stripped it off the mannequin where it slips onto my shoulders and forever into my heart. ❤


I then proceeded shopping without removing it from my back. My browse turned into a bit of a show. My walk turned into a sashay. My shoulders and hips swayed as I went about the rest of my shopping experience. 💃


Self Portrait Marathon the fur coat that inspired this blog

The questions rolled in: “Do I spend a large chunk of money on this new friend?” “Can I afford this?” “What is the cost of leaving it on the mannequin?”


Now I know what you may be thinking and you’re probably right. This was a silly purchase. Did I need this? Nope. Was this a selfish buy? Sure. 🤷


I could have left it right there. But I knew the cost of me not moving forward with it. There aren’t many times I treat myself to something like this. This was one of those times that I knew I would waste time thinking of the one that got away. 😪


The customers in the shop knew this. The employees of the shop knew this. Yes, they stared at my ridiculous display of glee. And yes, the employee who managed the transaction congratulated me on my purchase. And yes, my mother knew the importance of this coat as I proudly carried it out of the store.


I’m the first to admit this was not a practical purchase. I live in Florida where a fur coat would leave you in a puddle 362 days out of the year. 🌊 I knew when I bought it, I would be using it for my next session in the Self Portrait Marathon as well as adding it to my client wardrobe. 📷


So for session 4, I went for one of my favorite lighting setups to highlight the patterns in the coat as well as my expression of how I felt wearing it. It is amazing how something so insignificant can be so significant. 💡


I added a little twist in the makeup to give it a pop; a rouge red lip. 💋 Something, that is not easy for me to pull off. I love the way red lipstick looks on other women. I’ve always hated the way it looks on me because I have red undertones in my skin. It’s just never been my color. 😘


I put it on prepared to take it off after a few shots. To my surprise, I liked the way it was photographing with my coat, so I kept it on for the entire session.


Another therapeutic session as part of the Self Portrait Marathon & the official last one shot in 2023. 🙌


The coat that became the one that didn't get away.


December is a wonderful time of reflection as we are gearing up for another year. My list of resolutions are long this year since there was so much shifting in 2023.


The lessons were massive. There was a lot of transition. A lot of education. There is one scripture that always grounds me back to my purpose and what is important. I revisit this at the beginning of the new year and refer back to it throughout the year as needed.


Before I share it, I want to tell you my top three tips to transform your life. I came back to these tips when I start to get a little out of focus. 🏹


Give God your First Fruits. 🍒

  • As my creator, He deserves the first part of everything. Wake up with Him. Praise & Worship Him. Set the tone for your day by acknowledging Him first.

Consult your purpose in all things. 📜

  • Purpose is a driving factor behind everything we do. If you don’t know your purpose things in life may get a little chaotic. We are created for God’s glory. He’s created you with certain gifts, personality, & you are equipped to do what He’s called you to do. It’s okay if you don’t always know the what, why, or how. Lean on Him. Press into Him. Work towards what you’re called to do.

  • Why are you here? Hint: It’s not for your benefit.

  • Who are you here for? Hint: It’s not for you.

  • What is in your power to change? Hint: Don’t overthink this. A simple act of kindness per day is all it takes sometimes.

Let it roll off your back. 👣

  • Let it go. This is not easy for someone like me. It will stick to me like glue. However, reminding myself what is important allows me to more easily eliminate the stress over things that hinder my forward movement. For my sake, and for the sake of my family, I prioritize getting better at this. Depending on the severity of the event, take up to 24 hours to be sad, or angry about it. After that, you’re cut off. Keep the lesson from it but leave the stress right there. Move on from it and do not carry it with you beyond that day.

  • Set boundaries. Boundaries are more and more necessary the older I get. The more established I become. The more responsibility I take on. I am working on mastering the art of saying no.

  • Things will inevitably go wrong. We all know this happens and it’s okay when it does. Own up to your part in it, if any. Stop allowing things out of your control to steal your joy. Remain accountable and move on.

  • Show grace to yourself & others. Apologies get a bad rap in our current “self-love” climate. I love apologies. As Alex would say in “He’s Just Not That Into You” (in a different context of course), “I do it early. I do it often.” As women in 2024, we’re told to stop apologizing for ourselves. And while in context that’s not always bad advice. But it became more of a blanketed statement to never have to say you’re sorry for anything you do. “I’m sorry” are two words who when put together, are the beginning of healing for both parties involved in whatever offense, however minor or major it may be. So be accountable and own up to whatever your part in it may be. Apologize to yourself for whatever brutality you may have subjected yourself too. Apologize to others for however we may have caused them pain, discomfort, or inconvenience. It’s freeing! Even if it isn’t my fault. If someone has a negative experience with me, I will take responsibility for that (within reason).


Now for the Scripture that is my go-to checklist for life:


"Now we ask you, brothers, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you, and to regard them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.


💃 Rejoice always!

🙏 Pray constantly.

🤗 Give thanks in everything,

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

🚦 Don’t stifle the Spirit.

🗣 Don’t despise prophecies,

⚖but test all things.

👫 Hold on to what is good.

✋ Stay away from every kind of evil.

🕊 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it."

- 1 Thessalonians 5: 12-24

The one that didn't get away: Self Portrait Marathon Session 4

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