Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Featured in Seventeen magazine.

Ok, so I myself didn't make it in Seventeen magazine, but my name did thanks to the stunning actress, Scarlett Johansson. My mom was recently flipping through a recent issue and ran across this page with my name all over it, so she tore it out to give to me.

We both laughed at how ironic it was for my name to be plastered all over the magazine considering I almost worked their once upon a time. Around this time three years ago, I was working in magazine journalism, and I was offered a top editor position with Seventeen. But if you have seen "The Devil Wears Prada", then you would understand a lot of my reasons for turning down the position, similar to why Andy walked away from Runway magazine in the end.

God always amazes me with His timing when He is ready to lead us down a different path. Rewind to 2003. In just a few short years, I was on top of my game. In college at University of Florida, I had been given the award of Best Magazine Student beating out 700 others students in the journalism college. By the time I graduated, I had already worked for Teen People and had writings published in the New York Times. Upon graduation, I had launched and published a magazine, Beautiful Girl, a national Christian girls' beauty magazine which got named in the top 30 of magazines launched in 2003 out of 1,000 other publications. I was regularly interviewing my favorite celebrities, and just when I didn't think life could get much better, next came along the call from Seventeen with an offer to be their new Deputy Editor, just two positions under Editor In Chief.

In considering their offer, I didn't undestand why I had certain hesitations about accepting it, "this is the job every girl would die for," as "Devil" reminds Andy over and over again in the movie. But I tried to ignore my hesitations and still went on to began looking for apartments to live in New York City, praying for God's direction in the situation if I was meant to move to the Big Apple or not. Then wham, in the middle of it all, I get my answer when I get hit with the worst possible news ever. My mom had level 3 breast cancer and she had a rough journey of chemo, radiation and a radical mastectomy ahead to attack it. There was no way I could leave her now. And like any good plot, there was the turning point of drama with Seventeen that made it that much easier to walk away.

So I stayed in Jacksonville, folded Beautiful Girl magazine, and became my mom's caretaker as she battled one of the most difficult challenges in her life. It definitely shook my world up and though I didn't understand God's timing in it all, I clung to His promise that He works for the good of those that love Him. (Romans 8:28)

Looking back now, it's interesting to reflect on how God had to clean my slate and start from scratch in order to lead me to my true purpose in life.

Ever since then, I had been trying to "find" myself and the new career I was meant to explore. But it's funny how the simplist things can put everything into perspective. A friend recently gave me a dish towel that said:

"Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself."

I really really loved that quote when I read it. Now with my photography business, half my focus goes to marketing and branding and I constantly have "creating myself" on my mind. Growing up, I always worried so much about what other people thought of me seeking other's approvals for validation, but ever since my adventure with Seventeen, I realized, it's not about finding yourself in the world, it's about creating yourself and presenting that to the world.

When I stopped thinking about what everyone wanted me to be and instead followed my true passions, I finally ended up where I am the most happiest. God has filled my life with a career that brings me more joy than I ever felt in the cut-throat world of journalism. Being a wedding photographer is the last thing I ever imagined myself being, but yet now I can't imagine being more fulfilled and in love with a job than I am with this. It is such an honor to me to be able to use my creative gifts to give something so precious and personal and memorable to couples that brings tears to their eyes. Though I didn't go on to be Most Likely to Suceed in Magazine Journalism, I'm so thankful for my time spent in the publishing world for the foundation it set to help me truly understand the beauty of storytelling and how I'm able to use that in visually documenting the story of each wedding day. And each coffee table album I put together, it's so fun to create because it is almost like giving a couple their own personal keepsake magazine.

God never ceases to amaze me that when we dream, He dreams bigger.

"There is a time for everything, and everything has its special season." Ecclesiastes 3:1


Anonymous Rachel said...

I just watched the rest of Devil Wears Prada last night! I started it again on Sunday afternoon. I can recite the whole movie! Thank you for sharing the story of the last three years. It has been a joy watching you fulfill all of your dreams.

"That's all!" :) heheheh

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Corinna said...

Scar, this is one of the best blog entries you've ever done--really touched me and almost got all teary-eyed :) I'm so happy for you and that is a nice quote to live by :)

7:34 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Wow. That is so true how your life takes turns that you never imagined it would. My dad had colon cancer when I was in high school, so I can somewhat relate. But right now I'm struggling with the desire to quit my job as an environmental consultant and be start my photography business.
Thank you for sharing your story and your inspiration!

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Jamie Delaine said...

Woah. Scarlett I had no idea. I loved reading this post. You are so transparent and your readers, one of them being ME, love it so much. You are truly an inspiration, girl. Isn't it wonderful to see how God has directed all of our paths over the years? Crazy cool.

5:40 PM  
Blogger melissakoehlerphotography said...

Thank you so much Scarlett for your words of inspiration. I am going through one of those, "clean your slates" times in my life. I pray for God's guidance and for patience for myself.
Thank you for opening yourself up like you did. You are very inspiring!

9:49 PM  
Blogger Amy DeYoung said...

You always provide the best insight, my friend. I'm so proud to be able to call you my friend :)

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Peter Chung said...

Thanks for sharing that Scarlett.

I always wondered why your writing was so compelling and clear.

You are such an encouragement and it us awesome seeing you use the talents God has given you!

Kairos Moment Wedding Films

5:07 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Such an inspiring story! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

We must get together for lunch sometime soon!

4:57 PM  
Blogger Scarlett Lillian said...

Rachel- Thanks for being there for me through it all!

Cory- Awww, I'm glad you were touched by it.

Dawn- I think you should take the risk. :-)

Jamie and Melissa- Thanks girls. Yeah, sometimes I wonder if I'm too transparent. It's definitely very vulnerable sometimes, but it's important to me be real with others. God doesn't teach us important lessons to keep to ourselves, He wants us to share it with others!

Amy- Awww, I'm so glad to call you my friend too. I hope to see you again soon!

Peter- Ha, yeah, it's nice to have the blog to be my writing outlet these days.

Katie- I hope to meet you for lunch sometime soon! It's great to run across another photographer here in Jax!

11:17 AM  
Blogger cecile said...

so true Miss many chapters of my life are like lifetimes to some. Indeed He has a way to wiping your life clean and starting over...and with each new re-birth, there is strength and conviction to walk the path even know the one, the path He has paved even before your birth....the one that leads us all back to His Home!!!

So here is to rebirth, to starting over, to clean slates, and to a forgiving God that allows us all this!!! Wohoo!!!

2:49 PM  
Blogger Scarlett Lillian said...

Cecile- Amen to that!

11:14 AM  
Blogger Shores Photography said...

Scarlett, remember when I told you that you were such an inspiration...THIS is what I was talking about. You never cease to amaze and guide your readers with your heartfelt touching stories. It INSPIRES us all to stay focused on His word and what He wants for us. :)

God Bless,

11:20 AM  
Blogger Serena said...

scarlett, you always share the most beautiful and inspiring things! thanks for sharing!

6:04 PM  
Blogger Scarlett Lillian said...

Kenzie and Serena- Thank YOU for inspiring me!

1:48 PM  
Blogger Chelsea Patricia said...

I check your blog daily, Scarlett, but I never knew your story.
You are amazing, and as much as God has already done in your life as well as used you to do, He has SO much more for you.

9:00 AM  

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