The “Fall” of 2012 | A Photographer’s Nightmare but God’s Great Opportunity

I’ve been wanting to sit down and write this blog post for some time now.  I’ve been waiting for the right time, the right words, the right mind.  Early in September, I was plowing right along, heading full steam ahead into a jam packed fall senior portrait season.  The summer had been full of wonderful and HOT senior sessions with late nights and long days at the studio.  I had it all figured out and my plans and my course was set for me to blow on through the fall and then come up for air and life sometime in mid-December.  That’s just the life of a senior portrait photographer.   On September 10th at about 10:30 pm, “my plans” came to a screeching and scary halt.  I’d worked a long day that day, like 12 and a half hours long and didn’t even get home until after 9:00 pm.  I was chilling out for just a few minutes before heading to bed, knowing that the rest of my week, well month, would be about the same.  My daughter called me (yes, called me from her bedroom on my cell phone) to ask me if I could run to the basement and get something for her.  As I trotted down the stairs in the dark, my right foot landed on a tennis ball and with a twist and a snap, I was on my back with a foot pointing 45 degrees in the wrong direction and an instant knowledge that my life was about to change.    The Lord protected me from hitting my head or back and seriously helped me deal with the pain of what happened.

photographer dislocated ankle and broken fibula

We headed to the ER, where I learned that I had dislocated my ankle, torn ligaments and fractured my fibula all the way through.  I also heard those frightening words that I would not be walking again for a few months!  Now wait, I can’t have this, I told the doctor, you see, I’m a photographer and my schedule is already full for the next two months.   I had to wait a week for my swelling to go down and then I had surgery to repair the damage.  I was given a plate and 7 screws to fix me up!   For weeks and weeks, I laid in a recliner with my foot in the air healing.  It would be two and a half months before I walked on it and almost 3 months before I was able to drive and got released from physical therapy and my doctor’s care.    Today, almost 4 months post accident, I am doing better and better.  It is painful, but it won’t be forever.  I have to wear ugly shoes and that makes me sad.  I haven’t been able to work out for a long time and that has not been good for me in many ways, but I can start now.  It will just be different than it was before the injury.

I want to share with you how this whole event changed me.  I love what I do.  I love my business and my clients. Having it all come to a screeching halt, although at first terrifying, became a blessing.  Because, you see, despite how much I love photography, I love my family and Jesus even more and quite honestly, you can’t work 60 to 70 hours a week for 9 months a year and it not affect your relationships…all of them.  As I sat in my recliner, I seriously sought the lesson that I could find in this season of slight suffering.  I did not want to go through this and come out on the other side of it unchanged.  I earnestly prayed that God would reveal Himself to me and that is a prayer that He is happy to answer.   I knew that there were some changes that I had to make, not just to financially survive losing 6 weeks of shooting, but to restore balance and proper priorities to my life.    I’m working on defining those boundaries now, but did ultimately, make the decision to move out of the studio.  I am back to being a location photographer again, which I love and spent my first 6 years doing.    I am taking time to make decisions about everything else.  I will be cutting back on the number of sessions that I offer a month so that I don’t find myself sacrificing my family and spiritual life again.  Some lessons are harder to learn than others.

It is a hard thing to explain, but I feel extremely  thankful for what happened.  Yes, I would rather have skipped the pain, expense and physical toll, but that was all part of it.  I was broken in more ways than one, but God has put me back together one tender day at a time and has recaptured my distracted heart.       I had amazing clients that stood with me during this time.  I was able to actually begin shooting again about 6 weeks after my fall.  My daughter, Leah, quit her job to help me get around and assist on shoots.  I was able to move client appointments and God gave us a beautiful November so I could fulfill all my booked appointments.  Here I am on my roll around on a shoot:

heidi-broken-leg 2

I’m planning on blogging this winter and sharing with you some of the incredible seniors and families I was blessed to work with this year.  It has been an incredible year to say the least.   Thank you to everyone who “walked” with me through this time.  So many people blessed us in so many ways and all of you Thrive clients – you are THE BEST there is! Thanks for choosing me to begin with and sticking with me through all of this.  Be blessed in 2013!

  1. TAMMI says:

    HEIDI – SO WELL PUT “HE RE-CAPTURED MY DISTRACTED HEART TOO” i LOVE HOW YOU WRITE BUT LOVE YOU AND YOUR TRANSPARENCY MORE. BE BLESSED MY FRIEND. TAMMI

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