it’s all about ME…

It’s all about ME!!!  Haha, i knew that would get your attention…it’s not what you think so read on…


Over the course of the last several years I have become immersed in my careers.  As a teacher I spend my days with adorable children who light up my life in a way that can only be described as magical.  On the weekends and in the summers, I spend time with a camera in my hands ~ capturing memories for families, seniors, children and anyone who has been placed in my life.  I spend nights and weekends playing “catch up” culling, editing, lesson planning, wardrobe planning, communicating, and in many other ways that might bore you to tears if I went on.  And still, there never seems to be enough time to do it all ~ can’t we all relate to that?

While I love all of those things and am so grateful that they are in my life, I felt a piece missing.  It has been gone for years but was not gone right away.  Little by little a piece of me was being taken away one small spot at a time.  It was not something that happened overnight and it was not something I really noticed right away.  After cumulative years though there is no denying it.  A piece is missing…and that piece is ME.

I tell you all of this not to post my inner self on Facebook or blog, not to overshare, not to earn praise, not to earn sympathy, not to do anything but to just be authentic.  For once, I am deciding that I am valuable, worthy and important enough to take the steps to make myself a priority.  I am also telling myself that my real friends will respond with love to what I have to say and will not look into it any further with judgment.  I judge myself enough I have come to realize…and I am learning to stop.

It started this summer when I started working on my inside…like really working and really committing to make change.  I have dealt with feelings of inadequacy, perfectionism, anxiety, depression, grief and feeling lost just to name a few.  Those feelings and attributes are very much a part of who I am and will always be things I have to work on to keep in check.  I have spent so much of my time focused outward, that I completely forgot to look inward ~ and when I did look inward, I hated what I saw so much that I ran the other way and “busied” myself so that I didn’t have to deal with the things I knew needed addressed.   That is no longer the case, and I am proud to say that.

The next step in my process is my physical self.  Through months of careful thought, consideration and discussion with my husband, I have decided to become a Beachbody coach.  You might be thinking “Mel has gone bat crazy…a THIRD job!!! What is she possibly thinking?”  And while it is a job, I am focusing more on the helping myself through this than the fact that it is a job.  This is not to sell anyone anything, not to get you on board with some scheme, quite honestly this is for me.  To better myself, to keep myself accountable, to connect with an incredible community and  to help others along the way…because without touching the lives of others my life really isn’t what it is meant to be.  My focus will be helping others and the big focus at the moment is getting ME back.  I miss the athlete, I miss the competitor, I miss the drive, I miss myself when I am in the shape physically, spiritually and mentally that I know I am meant for.

So when I say it is all about ME that is what I really mean.  And for so many reasons it isn’t about just me.  It is about being a better wife, daughter, sister, aunt, Godmother, friend, teacher, photographer, mentor and more.  I am already seeing and feeling changes after beginning this journey and it has lit a fire in me ~ and if you know me you know when the spark starts it is often hard to squelch…and I am counting on that!

I ask you today if you would please keep me accountable.  Your encouragement, prayers, words of support and even a friendly smile really will keep me going when I feel like giving up.  I am so sick of watching everyone else’s life and documenting their journeys while forgetting about my own.  It is time for me…it is time for me…it is time for me.  I know you will be there for me.  If you yourself want to join me on your own journey you know the door is open wide.  I am all about having family and friends along for the road ahead.  I am feeling very grateful for the opportunity to make my life more than what it has been, and I thank you now for your support and love!

 Here is me and my “sweaty selfie” from one of my workouts this week.   You’ll be seeing more of this if you follow me here, Facebook or Instagram.

~ xo Mel ~

happy NEW year

Hello blog…old buddy old pal.  It’s been awhile.  I seem to always have so much on my mind and in my heart, but never slow down long enough to get it out there.  I am going to stop pressuring myself to write so much on each post, and just make it a goal to keep posting short or long.  Have I said that before?  I feel like it is a recurring theme and you have heard it from me.  Quality not quantity…you know the drill.

Did you know you can have a NEW YEAR anytime of the year?  Each and every day can be a NEW start to a NEW year.  While we traditionally think of January 1st at 12:00 with the brilliant apple dropping amidst a sea of excited people who embrace that moment, it doesn’t have to be reserved for then.  A NEW year can be any time or any place.  It is up to you.  Each one of us can make the personal choice to start aNEW.  It need not be a Monday, or any other marker either.  Each breath a new tomorrow, each day a tabula rasa, each page a blank one to write, each morning a fresh start, each step a journey to possibility.

So here’s to NEW beginnings no matter when they are.  And here’s to embracing life and the gratitude of living in the moment.  And being thankful that HE makes all things new.

~ xo mel ~


In the spirit of NEW beginnings I am posting my New Year’s card that never went out.  Above is the front and below is the back.  I actually do have copies for our family, but they never received them.  It was something that I planned to send, and then just didn’t.   Now I am sharing with you all.  It is a very special card, and you will see why.  Ringing in the New Year was actually a bit harder than I would have thought.  It’s not something I expect anyone to really understand, though as we sat waiting for it to come, my husband leaned over and said the most insightful and sensitive thing that let me know his heart understood mine.  I will keep those details private, but I can say that it was comforting to know that he understood.  The journey to being a better person remains.   I have a little angel guiding me and teaching me that each NEW day is a gift.  For that I am so blessed and grateful.


the rest will follow

First things first, I am a PROUD AUNTIE.  From the moment I found out a new addition would be coming into our family, I was filled with excitement to see what this new little soul would be like.  My nephew Christopher Sloan was born just four minutes shy of Valentine’s Day.  And it is very fitting.  He is such a sweet lil’ love bug.  So tiny and precious and all things yummy.  And being that he was fresh to this world, my sister asked me if I would come and photograph Sloan and the family.

As alluded to on my Facebook page, newborn sessions are not something I commission.  They aren’t in my wheelhouse, and to be honest it is an area that has never interested me to further my craft.  I have done a few sessions for friends and family, but other than that i leave it to those who love this type of photography.  I sold my newborn pillow a year or two ago and so I don’t even have options per say when it comes to poses and such.  And to be honest I am more of a natural kind of gal.  I don’t tend to prefer all of the extras and props and do dads so to speak.   (did i really just say “do dads?”)

During this session I reminded my sister of all of the above. And then i finally asked, “Can I just do what I do?” She whole heartedly said yes, go for it.  This is the result…lifestyle newborn.  Now that is something I can do and enjoy, and would be happy to offer to more clients in the future.  In the moment, real, connection.  That’s where it’s at in my book.  Finding precious and tender moments was beautiful and I can’t say that I might not do another newborn session like this in the future.  I think I would.  No buckets or baskets or hoopla.  Pure, simple and natural brings out the beauty of a cherished little one who has just taken on the world.

Today’s reminder…you do YOU.  Do what you LOVE.  The rest will follow.

Welcome to the world sweet Christopher Sloan Fiala Hollo.  It goes without saying that there are many more photos in your future.  But more importantly than that, it goes without saying that you are loved beyond what you know.  I pray you will always be true to yourself, by sharing the gifts that God has given you.  We all can’t wait to see what you will do and who you will be.  Love you sweet boy!

~ xo mel ~

the right to hope

Today I am breathing deep.  Today I am reveling in the fact that though my anxiety tried to take me over, and in reality did for a big portion of time, my fears have finally been squelched, at least in this moment that is.  Today I am reflective and thankful and thoughtful and grateful beyond measure.  This past year has been full of moments of clarity, and struggle…finding and faith.  I have changed my perspective and outlook and I am not at all who I once was.  That has been an ongoing evolving process, much like a butterfly in a metamorphosis unlike any other.  I did however for a long period of time lose my spark, my luster, my shine.  Of course I was able to pass a little shine to others and encourage them to do so, but my inner glow was gone.  The belief that something happy was waiting for me was all but gone and I had no belief in the fact that it ever might be that for my story.  Of course my story is not yet all written, and I don’t know exactly where I am going.  Even when we plan our futures, sometimes those plans are derailed and changed by what is called life.  And in life God has other intentions for us that we did not ever have for ourselves.  A sad part of this journey was that my hope burnt out.  The spark I talked about above was my hope, and it has been a stranger to me all these months.  I was afraid to let it in for fear that something else might break it, squash it or push it out of my heart.  So instead of letting someone or something do that, I did it myself.  I allowed fear and anxiousness to rule and force hope out of the spot it once had in the home of my soul.  Today I am taking hope back.  It is my right to have hope.  It is your right to have hope.  If you are out there and things feel as if they may never be right again, or if you feel despaired or if you feel too nervous to let light in for fear the dark will eclipse you once more, fear not.  HOPE.  It is a gift given to us all.  A gift we must choose to open.  A gift that we cannot let fear overcome.  Please know that HOPE is there just waiting for you to take hold.  I know today I am grasping with full force.  And I hope you will too.

“It’s ok to not know where you’re gonna land.” ~ Natasha Bedingfield
xo ~ Mel



show hide 2 comments