A Call to Remember my Calling...

How many times have I lost focus on my purpose? Too many to count.

To be honest, I've been in a bit of a funk lately and it's affected every area of my life. Work, friendships, personal life, health. I lost my passion for my calling. I've been watching my kids deal with tough stuff and I've been right there with them dealing with my own tough stuff. I've skipped workouts. I've hurt a friend. I've acted on emotions rather than logic. I've basically acted like a spoiled brat. I used to think when you got to a certain age, you just had it all figured out... as if adults get some sort of certificate that gives them all the secrets to life. Then I got to adulthood and realized we're all just taller kids still trying desperately to figure it out.

My calling is more important than my comfort.

I wasn't put on this earth to live a comfy life and have every luxury at my fingertips. My life isn't about finding a man to share my burdens so things are easier. It's not about having a huge house for my kids or the nicest car. I was put on the earth to fulfill a purpose that only I can fulfill. My calling is so much more important than any of these physical "discomforts"... and as long as I'm taking care of my children and making sure they feel loved, everything else outside of my calling is irrelevant. I am called to create. Period.

My showreel from the last year opened my eyes to the truth.

God didn't give me talents and opportunities for me to squander them away. Eight years ago, I lived in a 2-bedroom apartment above my parents' house with my four kids! Last year, I literally traveled the WORLD. I can't take this lightly anymore. I can't let myself lose focus again. There will be times of discouragement, but allowing that to seep into other areas of my life is where I've gone wrong in the past. This showreel from the last year brings tears to my eyes every single time I watch it. God has been SO good to me and I'm ashamed to admit that I've ever lost sight of my purpose even for a second. But thankfully, I know He'll continue working on me until the day I meet Him face-to-face.

"For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable." Romans 11:29 

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6



adoption photographer

Defining moments and "This Is Us"...

Some may think it's cheesy but this show hits so many tender spots for me that I can't help but watch. I have three biological kids and one adopted, biracial son. Most of you know my story, but some of you may not...

I'll never forget the scream I heard as I sat at the computer that afternoon. My kids were 8, 7, 5, and 3. There was always some kind of chaos happening in our house so my initial reaction was one of frustration.

"WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?!" I yelled from the office.

The next words out of Hunter's mouth still haunt me: "Jayden's in a fire!"

It's funny how when something tragic happens everything feels like it's moving in slow motion. It's a blur but somehow you remember the smallest details so clearly. I remember exactly who I was emailing at that moment. I remember the exact words Hunter and I said. I remember the panicked feeling in my gut. I remember the smells and the sounds.

"WHERE?!" I screamed as I ran frantically down the hallway.

"In your closet!" Hunter was right on my heels.

When I got there the entire doorway of the closet was engulfed in flames. I just remember screaming his name over and over.


He never responded.

I saw some clothes gently sway on their hangers so I assumed the worst. I knew he was behind that wall of fire.

I'll never forget the sensation I felt as I stuck my arm through that fire. You know how a red solo cup looks when you throw it in a fire? That's how my arm felt. Like the skin was rolling up and melting right off of my arm. It was the worst pain I've experienced in my whole life. It took me years to be able to get close to a fire. In fact, the first time I ate hibachi was about 6 months later and when they lit the grill, I hit the wall behind me. I was terrified!

It's funny how trauma affects us. How moments like this forge a new path in our lives. We can never go back to the moment before it happened. For some of us that is debilitating.

Thankfully, Jayden and I survived. We were blessed! We spent a couple weeks in the hospital but aside from some nightmares and a few scars, we have no permanent damage from our house fire that day.

But do you know what I did gain from that day?


Sometimes, the bad things haunt us so much that we can't move forward. We don't understand why God allows traumatic things to happen to us or to those we love. But I can't help but ask myself if I would have the same resilience today without some of the difficult things I've faced. The tough times gave me a chance to learn what I'm made of. They gave me a chance to walk through the fire and see if I would come out as gold.

I have no doubt that our house fire in 2009 is part of the reason I was brave enough to quit my stable insurance job and work for myself. I found strength that day I didn't know I had. That strength has carried over into my life in ways I'm just now noticing. Pre-2009 Trisha never would have picked up and moved to Houston with no job. Pre-2009 Trisha wouldn't have traveled across the world. Pre-2009 Trisha always chose safety and security over passion and dreams.

So what if that house fire hadn't happened? Or what if I hadn't stumbled through a divorce? What if I never had to deal with heartbreak or setbacks or pain?

I wouldn't be living in Houston (and I've met some of my greatest friends here). I wouldn't have traveled to India or China or Uganda or Scotland or Haiti. I wouldn't be self-employed. I wouldn't have the amazing relationships that I have with my kids. I would be safe and sound in my little "American Dream" bubble while my soul slowly died.

If you look back over your life, what moments stand out as the ones that have molded you into the person you are today? Is it the time you were at a dope Super Bowl Party with celebrities? That time that you got a huge paycheck? The times you were gliding through life with no cares at all? I can bet those moments--while really cool--aren't the ones that have made you realize what you're made of. I'm guessing it's the times you had to dig deep to find tremendous strength and courage in order to keep pushing when you didn't think it was possible.

Those are the moments that define us. Those are the moments that give us a new perspective. Those are the moments that make us who we're meant to be.


I'm so grateful that God protected Jayden that day in 2009. And so thankful that I get to be one of his moms. I always tell him he's the luckiest boy on earth because he has three moms who love him... a birth mom, an adoptive mom, and a step mom!

How to succeed as a freelance creative...

I've been working as a full-time creative for six years and I still screw up regularly. It's a game of strategy and I'm constantly learning new moves. I've been doing this for 16 years total and I still have a long way to go to get where I want to be, but I'm so much closer than I was even last year. These are a few things that I've learned along the way that have helped me get to where I am...

Underpromise and over deliver.

If you think it will take you two weeks to finish a project, tell your client it will take three. There have been very few times I've been late on a project, but it is officially the worst feeling in the world for me. My wedding contract says photos will be delivered in an online gallery within 4-6 weeks. I can only remember one time that I didn't deliver before the 4 week mark and it was due to overwhelming personal circumstances for me and my wedding business partner. I ended up editing 3 weddings in one day to catch up because I can't handle being late on a deadline. If you promise you'll be done on a certain date, finish before that date!

Be on time. 

Houston traffic has given me a run for my money on this one. I always check the map about an hour before I have to leave to see exactly how long it's going to take me to get somewhere. But in a city like Houston your ETA can be altered by 30+ minutes in no time at all. I was 30 minutes late to a session a couple weeks ago because my map went from a 25 minute drive time to 45 minutes. Thankfully, it was a session with a friend and he was cool about it, but that taught me a lesson. I'll never trust my map and I'll always plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early. Seriously, though... I waited for a videographer once who was TWO HOURS LATE. If you want people to take you seriously, respect their time! This goes both ways. If you want me to take you seriously as a client, don't make me wait for hours... my to-do list never ends and sitting in my truck waiting for a client doesn't help me get anything done.


I'm honestly a horrible communicator. Ask my friends. My family. My kids. I've had to teach myself to be better at this for business reasons, though. If I don't respond to an email immediately, I'm probably going to forget. For this reason, I answer emails as quickly as possible. I've also learned to communicate what I expect from clients. For instance, as photographers we don't like it when people put instagram filters on our photos. That's a pretty awkward conversation but if you don't tell your clients what you expect, then you're setting yourself up for even more awkward convos later.

I've also learned to communicate what clients can expect from me! As a creative, sometimes I just have to be bossy. People hire me for my vision and in order to give them my best work, I have to be able to control the project a little bit. This doesn't mean I won't take suggestions for shooting locations or I that I want to choose your wardrobe... it just means that I have to say no if something isn't going to work well. Ultimately, my clients are trusting my professional opinion. Even if they suggest something, I have to be willing to say, "I'm sorry but the light just isn't good right there." It's up to me to deliver a finished product that my clients will love and that I can be proud of.

Respect Deadlines.

This is about more than delivering when you say you will. I had an inquiry for a small project recently. I sent a draft over and was given some more specific direction. I realized pretty quickly that the window I had to work on this wasn't going to allow enough time for what the client wanted. Rather than waste time trying to come up with something, I simply texted the client back and told him I wasn't going to be able to produce what he wanted fast enough. It was already a rushed project so I didn't want to waste any of the time that he would be able to find someone else to do it. Just put yourself in your clients' shoes and don't take advantage of anyone's time or deadlines.

Give a quality product.

If you're not giving a quality product then none of the other things in this list matter. Learn your craft. Get better at what you do every single day. Experiment and find your own lane. Get inspired by others but take your own work to another level. If you can't look back at your work from last year and realize what you're producing today is better, then you may not be moving forward. Always push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Take on projects that stretch you and then surprise yourself with the finished product!


Whatever you do, don't stop. You never know when the link will come that connects you to your dream gig. You never know who is watching your drive. You never know when the momentum will open the flood gates. Continue to create, continue to push, and continue to put yourself out there. If you push hard enough for long enough, eventually you'll find yourself at a place you only dreamed of before. In the words of Dori, "Just keep swimming!"

"You just have to find that thing that's special about you that distinguishes you from all the others, and through true talent, hard work, and passion, anything can happen." Dr. Dre




My Next Adventure...

When I quit my insurance job six years ago, I never could have imagined where God was going to take me from there. I crossed my fingers, prayed a LOT, and begged God to provide enough money for me to pay my bills. There was a Christmas when someone felt led to give me $500 and without it, I honestly wouldn't have been able to do much for my kids. Being self-employed has its perks but it's a lot of work, too. You guys may see my pics from China, Scotland, and Uganda and think I've got it made. But what you don't see is the huge amount of work and stress and uncertainty that goes into reaching those few mountain top moments. I've spent the last six years staying up late to work, waking up early to work, doing free photo shoots, missing my kids' basketball games, learning new skills, building websites, making mistakes, sitting behind my laptop for HOURS .... you get the idea. It's been a huge sacrifice to get to where I am now. And it still is a sacrifice! Some days I would love nothing more than to get a "real" job, have a regular paycheck, get a bigger house, drive a nicer car, and be home with my kids more.

But those moments -- the ones when I wonder why I keep doing this -- they all lead me back to my purpose. My calling.

I am called to create... Photos, videos, graphics, websites, art... it doesn't matter what it is. My calling is to create. I've been this way since I was a child! When I was in 2nd grade, I remember overhearing my dad say, "She's creative but she sure knows how to make a mess!" Lol. I like to think I've gotten the messy part under control, but my neat-freak daughter might disagree. :)

My friend, Terrance, recently pointed out to me that the very first thing God did was create. Have you ever thought about that? In the beginning, God created. A quote I read yesterday hit the nail on the head:

“Like (C.S.) Lewis, the gospel frees us to create for the pure joy of creating, not seeking fortune or fame, but the fame of the One who has called us to create.” (From a Called to Create Bible Reading plan.)

I don't post photos because I want you to look at them and say "WOW! She's got a really cool life!" I share my life with you because I want you to look at the One who brought me here and say, "Man... I'd like to know Him, too." He's the only One who is worthy of any kind of fame.

Through all the crazy, uncertain times, not only has He has provided what I need to survive... He has given me exactly what I need to THRIVE. He's answered all my prayers and then some. He's blessed me for relentlessly pursuing the things that set my soul on fire, and this morning I prepared for another adventure...

To BALI. I booked a flight to Bali today!

I'll be traveling there to document a fitness retreat and will get to be a part of all the activities as well! We'll be hiking Mount Batur, taking a rice paddy cycling tour, doing daily fitness activities, and recharging our batteries. I am pinching myself and thanking God at the same time. He's been so good to me.

If you're not pursuing the thing that He's called you to do, can you explain why? Is there a good enough excuse for why you are choosing to get by by rather than going full speed ahead in the direction of your calling? If He put it in your heart, He'll give you what you need to see it through.

It won't always be easy, but I'm living proof that it's worth it.

(These are not my photos.... But I can't wait to share some after my trip!)