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Jen Wood Photography bio picture

Hi ...

A little about me: I am completely in love with my sweet husband (Jeff), our beautiful daughter (London), our dogs (Jack and Morgan), and our life.  My other loves (in no particular order): family, spending time with great friends, warm socks, hot baths, traveling, camping, campfires, the great outdoors, autumn, being out on the lake, fishing (when we're catching something), 80s music, my girl's sweet and contagious smile, wine, my own caesar salads, laughing and then laughing some more. I am genuine. I am sentimental, often to the point of total sappiness. I am passionate about photography and have been for over 30 years (wow, maybe that dates me a little). 

It is my hope to not only share with you some of the work that I'm doing and show off my awesome clients, but also to let you into my life just a little.  It's hard for me to find time to work on personal things when there is real work to be done, but I'm going to try ... really, I am.

So, sit back and peruse these pages.  If you see something you like, please leave a comment. Who doesn't like a little blog love?  If you'd like to be notified when something new has been added, please feel free to subscribe to the blog (RSS or email) above.  Thanks for stopping by!  

Thankful … Regardless of Our Circumstances!

Call it “pride.” Call it “don’t tell anyone else how you’re really doing for fear of looking like a big fat failure.” Whatever you call it, there are reasons we (and that’s a collective “we”) don’t tell everyone everything. There are reasons we hide behind masks and build walls. We don’t want to make ourselves vulnerable … that’s too scary! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), there is something I feel compelled to share, but can’t really do it without “telling people how we’re really doing.” Know that I’m not saying these things for help, but simply wanted to share something that blessed me this morning.

Gosh, I’m not sure really where to start, as I feel I need to include some backstory, but I don’t want to have to get into everything in this one post just to get to what I want to say.  Let’s just say that since I left Corporate America and went full-time with this photography business (which I’ve been officially running part-time for 6 years) four months ago, things have been … well … less than rosy!  It’s been really hard!  I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I felt that this was the direction the Lord was calling me (still do, by the way), so how could I say no to Him? If He is calling me here, He won’t leave me!

(Continued backstory) I said a prayer in January that has brought about a year of change and growth and adventure and challenge and frustration and tears and uncertainty. That prayer was basically me telling God I was done trying to do this business (and therefore basically my life) my way and on my own.  And that if He wanted me to continue in photography, I wanted him to show me … and to take it and make it what HE wants it to be. For the past several years my relationship with Him wasn’t much to speak of.  Sure, I still believed in him and still called him my God, but there was no real relationship … no daily interaction … no heart in it. So, he took me up on that prayer and as I started getting back into the Bible on a regular basis and spending time with Him again, He got down to business and started moving me.  But in that, things are being stripped away … the clutter; the debris that is getting in the way. It’s been a painful process. There have been a lot of tears as I loosen my grip on things and let Him take them from me. I feel like everything I’ve built over the last several years with regard to the business has been thrown to the ground and is lying in pieces. He’s taking those pieces, one by one, and either rebuilding HIS way or tossing them out completely.  I still have no clue what this is all going to look like, though I’m starting to get glimpses and some things are starting to find form. I have a feeling it’s going to be markedly different than what I’ve known before.

This all started as a prayer for the business, but has impacted my whole life and that of my family!  Things are tight … really tight!  Money is scarce!  I know that He allows things in our lives to make us stronger and to make us into the people He wants us to be, if we let Him. I KNOW that, so I’m trying to be thankful in this time of lack regardless of our circumstances.  I know that He sees the big picture and has a plan and purpose for us that is far bigger and grander than anything I could do or dream on my own! God is writing a bigger story here!

So … goodness, the thing I was really planning on sharing is this that I wrote in my journal today (again, know that I’m not saying these things for help, but simply wanted to share something that blessed me this morning): “So, have I written in here that things are tight … really tight?  I had to buy groceries this week on a credit card that I’m not sure I’ll be able to pay when it’s due. We only get necessities and often simply go without. Good news … I’m losing some weight! ANYWAY, when Jeff came home from church Monday night (there is an event he runs every once in a while that brings in “day-old” bakery goods from Publix and people are allowed to take what they want), he brought in a BEAUTIFUL loaf of sourdough bread and a small box of cupcakes … both, things we don’t splurge on these days.  We’ve enjoyed the cupcakes the last couple of nights after dinner.  This morning, I got London some fruit for breakfast and went to the kitchen to find something for me.  I opened that cupboard and there sat that loaf of sourdough … in all it’s beautiful glory. I had somehow forgotten about it.  I was thrilled.  I’d have me some sourdough toast with real butter.  It was delicious.  As I sat there savoring those two pieces of sourdough toast (with real butter), I felt loved.  Loved by my Savior who not only provided my manna for the day … literally my daily bread … but made it something I LOVE.  He could have provided bread crumbs and said, “well, it’ll fill your belly, be thankful.” But he chose to both provide AND delight!  He wants to give us good things; things we love and that thrill us.”

Then later today as I read in my Jesus Calling devotional (I read ahead a couple of days – this one is actually for November 23) it says: “As you sit quietly in My Presence, let Me fill your heart and mind with thankfulness.  This is the most direct way to achieve a thankful stance.  If your mind needs a focal point, gaze at My Love poured out for you on the cross.  Remember that nothing in heaven or on earth can separate you from that Love.  This remembrance builds a foundation of gratitude in you, a foundation that circumstances cannot shake.  As you go through this day, look for tiny treasures (my sourdough toast) strategically placed along the way.  I lovingly go before you and plant little pleasures to brighten your day.  Look carefully for them, and pluck them one by one.  When you reach the end of the day, you will have gathered a lovely bouquet.  Offer it up to Me with a grateful heart.  Receive My Peace as you lie down to sleep, with thankful thoughts playing a lullaby in your mind.”

I hope you’re able to find those tiny treasures that brighten your day!

(Yes, that’s my sourdough … with a couple pieces missing toward the front).

- Sharon Havens - Jen - thank you so much for taking the time to write this. Not sure if you remember me, but I was Robin Nicholson Larkin's maid of honor. I left a corporate job after being employed with them for 12+ years. Thought I had left a boring job for something more exciting in Dallas, and it was definitely more money. It didn't take me long to realize I had made a mistake by accepting that job. A lot of details that I won't bore you with, but to summarize, I gave my notice and am now unemployed. My parents live in Oklahoma, my mother's health is terrible and Dad has been her caretaker 24/7. Maybe the way I got here wasn't a mistake. I left home at 18 years old and have lived hundreds of miles from them for years. So, here I am. 52 years old and living back at Mom and Dad's. Jobless and feeling as if bankruptcy might be a reality. But there are times like right now. I'm looking at my mother in her wheel chair and I know I won't always hear her voice, nor be able to hug her and tell her I love her. So, things aren't looking so rosy for me financially right now but I can't put a price on these memories that are being made. Someday memories will be all I have of her and Dad. I'm trusting God to make this alright and I know He has me in His hands. I just needed a reminder and thanks to your post, I remembered. God bless you and I'll be praying things are better for you and yours soon! ~ Sharon Havens

- Jen Wood - Sharon, of course I remember you! I'm so glad this somehow spoke to you. I was in tears reading your response. I relate to so much of what you had to say. Sometimes we don't always understand the route God takes to get us to where He wants us to be. I'm glad you're with your family. The reason I ultimately left the day job was for family. I was being asked at work to come back full-time (I had been working part-time since my daughter was born almost 3 years ago). We prayed and prayed about it and felt that wasn't what was in store for us. This was in February. I said that initial prayer in January. We felt very strongly that this was the Lord moving me on. We chose family. I won't ever get these years back with my daughter. I will definitely keep you and your family in my prayers too. He has you!

- steve - Jen, I know what you are feeling after this past year and a half of my own journey. I know all the fears and insecurities, the doubts and anxieties, the helplessness and humbledness that I have felt and that I know while different that you are feeling now. You are a child of God's and as that you will be carried over. I feel blessed now even though some circumstances haven't changed, my heart has, in my continual reliance on Him who has brought me through. And in this I am becoming anew being not weighted down with the pettiness of my own desires, the weight of unneeded possessions, the falsehood of self image, and the pressures of trying to fit-in. God has brought about this time for me as He is for you to know that He is the most imortant and that from Him all blessings flow. From eyes that could not see for the tears that flooded them He has dried them and placed the hope of Christ before them and tethered my heart in the harbor of His love. In all this time I haven't gotten what I have desired necessarily but I have always been provided what I have needed whether it be like you sourdough bread or the touch of a loving hand. And it is enough! In fact I'm learning the abundance of enough and am thankful and am finding my hope in that. Even though it may all look diffrent you are standing on hallowed ground before the King of creation and in His arms we will find our rest, our hope, our provision and His love. You and Jeff and now London have meant so much to me over the years that you know I stand with you in prayer & supplication and in the love of a brother. Take heart for Christ has overcome the world and in Him we will too! Happy Thanksgiving!

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