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My journey to living Present Over Perfect // Personal Post // By: Ashley West

September Personal 6pintopinterest

It’s Fall. It is officially my favorite time of year. I’ve always known this, but this years heat wave of a Summer showed me more than ever that I’m just a cold weather girl. I don’t mind the cold. Actually, it feels wildly refreshing to me. I love bundling up, scarves hats and boots. And of course any reason to wear flannel. I love breathing the crisp air. My body has been yearning for the slowness that the cold brings. I am counting down the days until we light our first indoor fire of the season. October is never a month I have much time to do anything other than work, but I am going to do my best to carve out time for a little life in there as well.

It’s safe to say for the past seven years of my life Summer’s have been a whirlwind. The work-mode hustle is in full-swing every year starting about the middle of April and the calmness doesn’t strike until late November or sometimes even after Christmas. When I look back at my posts from this year I realized I’ve said “2016 has taught us a lot…” in every post, and I feel this urge to say it again. I read a book this month called “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist. Wondering if she’s actually me. Her thoughts, her people pleasing ways, her hustle mentality, her workaholic ways, her anxious personality, and her frantic way of living all hits too close to home for me. When you love your work, it’s so easy to say yes to. When someone inquires for my services I’m still overwhelmed with flattery, I love to provide my clients and friends and family with forever memories. This year my job has led me to witness and photograph two births. I’ve never seen something so amazing and powerful happen right before my eyes. My weekends are full of remarkable loves and couples that put all their trust in me to tell their story. Saying what I do is incredible is an absolute understatement.

 “Loving one’s work is a gift. And loving one’s work makes it really easy to neglect other parts of life.”

But, 2017 – I want you to look a little different. I want you to lead me to more amazing couples and families and grant me the opportunity to work for amazing people, but I always want you to lead me to enjoying more of these moments in my own life.

“The greatest tragedy of human existence is not to live in time, in both senses of the word.”

Nick and I have worked so hard at building this beautiful life and I’m not sure we’re even living it. We are so often passing ships, working opposite schedules, craving relaxing family time, and only finding an hour here and there together. When someone asks how I am, the first words out of my mouth are always “we’re busy, doing great just super busy.” When did busy become the only thing I do? I’m not sure there’s a day on my calendar with absolutely no responsibilities until December. We’re not meant to be so structured. I can tell you, my soul is ready to be free. Taking time to read this book was step one, implementing what I learned is step two.

“People, individual people, matter more to me than ever. I’m giving more focused time to the people I love than I ever have: eye to eye, uninterrupted, deeply connected.”

I wish I could just double the time involved in each month. This way I could have time to photograph everything and everyone and still have free time to be present in my own life. But unfortunately, I can’t do that. So working less, putting myself and my health and my family first will have to do.

“If you’re not careful with your yeses, you start to say no to some very important things without even realizing it.”

As so many of you know, Ashley Wallace works full time for Ashley West Photography now!! We are SO lucky to have her heart and talent on board. So many of you will be meeting her this Fall as she is taking on tons of portrait work from returning and new clients. Ash has been such an amazing addition to the business, her talent and spirit are things I will not take for granted. And she makes it so much easier to help me balance how I use my “yeses” and “no’s” 🙂

I’m so thankful for two weekends off from weddings in September where I have had the freedom to wander aimlessly, get lost in time, and not worry about work. I am thankful for apples and baking, pumpkin everything, the cooler air that is almost upon us. I’m thankful for bonfires and s’mores, mums and pies, & true friendship. I’m thankful that I can complain about renovating my home because that means we were fortunate enough to take on this dream. I’m thankful for good food, my dogs who are always happy, family that loves me in my worst of times, and a husband that’s allergic to apples but would never miss a picking season because he knows how much I love it.

I am hoping along with blogging weddings (oh my gosh, so behind!) I can keep up on blogging my personal journey with you all. I can’t be the only one that relates to a desire to live more present in life… And if just one someone reads this and feels inspired to pick up the book that just may have changed my life for the better, then this post was worth writing.

Here’s our life over the past few months in iPhone photos. Some housework, some work-work, some Savannah vacation photos, our 2nd anniversary, and of course our puppies.

Your October challenge, say no to something that drains you and yes to something that makes your heart happy. If you do it just once maybe you could start a good habit 🙂


XOX – Ashley West

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