This is merelypaper.

This is the face of Merelypaper.  

She is also my wife.  SOHOSTORY wouldn't exist without her.

After months of praying and preparing, Merelypaper is now open and running at full force.  We took her talent from pen and paper to make unique print designs.  The bright and simple designs are her signature.

Right now, she is being featured on Brickyard Buffalo, an online popup market.  Also, she will be featured in West Elm's Etsy Pop-Up Shop on June 1st.  We are blessed by the two event that we got to be part of.  Please stop by and say hello at West Elm. We would love to see you.

She's not always this serious.

This is more like her.

Embracing my vulnerability

Some of you may have been asking, “Is SOHOSTORY still in business?”  It's a fair question for you to ask, since it’s been fairly quiet over here.

The answer is, “yes.”  

For the last two months, I stepped away from photography to do non-photo related contract work.  I only had time to do a few portrait shoots on the weekends and documented Rolff’s story.  Otherwise, I was on hiatus.  

Although I was not initially expecting it to, the contract work changed the pace of my life.  I went from working all day and evening on my time to the typical 9-to-5 job on the company’s time.  This was not easy, but it was a “forced” opportunity for me to step away from my business - it gave me the chance to reflect on every aspect of my personal and professional life.

I also recently wrote a short photo essay about slowing down. I had to pause and think about my life.    

I saw myself in this tangled cables

Looking back at how I had been running my business, I now see how tangled it was.  I made an excuse that I was a creative and let myself too loose, just like all the cables in the photo.  I was like a firefighter - I went where there was fire, rather than creating my own.  As a creative, I should have be creating, not waiting to alter what had already been created.

Also, the experience of sharing Rolff’s story reminded me why I had started SOHOSTORY in the first place.  I have been called to be a storyteller, to tell stories that have yet to be told, and to tell those that glorify the One who deserves it.  When it all began, I was scared and had many sleepless nights, so I took the safe and easy route.   I took all the jobs that paid my bills and ignored others that could have really meant something.  Even my photographs were not me - they were simply pretty pictures that did not say much of anything.  My mantra became, “fake it til I make it.”  And honestly, I just did not want to be vulnerable and didn’t know how to deal with it.    

I had to refocus myself.

Rolff’s story was shared at a time when I was most vulnerable and lost about why I had entered the world of storytelling.  Even though I was scared and fearful, I felt compelled to share.  I thought no one would ever see it, but I was ok with that.  I wasn’t trying to build traffic on my website.  The story just had to be told.  To my surprise, the story was shared by many and donations for the family flooded in.  It was amazing to see how Rolff’s life had touched so many people’s hearts and the love of God was shared throughout the community.

My favorite photo

With this experience, I am slowly learning to embrace my vulnerability.  This is possible because I have a loving wife who keeps me grounded.  Without her, none of this would even exist.  Also, I am so grateful to be surrounded by people, like my colleagues at WELD, who constantly remind me to do so.  SOHOSTORY will continue to take beautiful portraits, headshots, and event photos, but the main focus will be to share stories.

Take 10 minutes and watch this video from TED.  It’s by Brené Brown, called “The power of vulnerability.”