Hey, guys, this is a little bit of a different podcast then what we have been doing lately. Today I’m going to be chatting about recent events. But as a quick little PSA, if you are listening around little ones I would suggest popping in some headphones. While there is nothing graphic or explicit in today’s episode I just want you to be aware that we are going to be chatting about the COVID 19 virus and its implications on our lives and communities, and I know in our household our first grader has been listening to a lot of this and its starting to take a toll on her, so we are being very diligent in how we talk about things lately, and the type of information we are broadcasting into our homes.
I had another episode planned for this week originally, and we will get that back into the schedule soon, but I really felt like I needed to address everything going on in the world today. I’ve really put off recording this episode for a few reasons. First off I know that I am extremely privileged. My family does not solely depend on my photography income. I am able to stay home with our kids without any real changes to our day to day lives. I know that there are a lot of photographers, out there who are not sure how they will pay rent next month. And I don’t have the answers. I don’t feel very wise right now. I’ve had to remind myself that this is my first pandemic, and it’s likely yours too!
We are also extremely lucky in the fact that we have a greenhouse in our back yard too. Even though there is still snow on the ground the greenhouse is a toasty 80 degrees and full of plants, and the sweet smell of springtime dirt. The kids and I have been down there almost every day helping my mother inlaw transplant plants. Even though we have some pretty awesome circumstances for being socially distanced right now COVID19 has taken a toll on our family.
Last week while saying our prayers before bed my daughter Skyler got pretty worked up. We were praying for those who currently have the virus, and asking God to heal them, and give wisdom to the doctors and nurses caring for them. She knows that her dad is at high risk. At seven years old shes seen him on a ventilator. She knows what the ICU looks like. And she’s scared, she’s worried. We thought we were doing a good job of protecting her from the mass amount of media coverage on the virus. We haven’t had the news on at all. But here is the thing COVID19 has come up in every conversation we have on the phone, its been talked about in the kitchen while she’s playing in the living room. She knows its due to the virus that she can’t go play with her friends at school, or go to Sunday school. I thought I was doing a good job of protecting her, but I’ve failed her. And that was a hard pill to swallow as I watched all the fear well up in her eyes as she started telling me how scared she was.
I don’t know how to fix this, no one really does right now and that is a recipe for a whole lota uncertainty.
Here is the thing about certainty, its the number one human need, and right now there is not a lot of certainty for anyone right now. That lack of certainty can be the driving force behind fear. And according to the University of Minnesota living in a constant state of fear can impact you big time. Starting with your physical health fear can weaken your immune system, cause cardiovascular damage, create stomach ulcers and decrease fertility. It can also lead to accelerated aging and even premature death.
Your memory is also impacted. Fear can impair the formation of long term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain which can make it hard for the brain to regulate fear and can leave a person anxious most of the time.
Mental health is also something that can take a big hit from fear. consequences of long-term fear include fatigue, clinical depression, and PSTD.
So we know that fear is not a good thing for our health so how do we combat fear in the midst of all that is going on right now?
The opposite of fear is curiosity. Curiosity is defined as a strong desire to know or learn something.
So how do we as photographers, moms, wives find curiosity each day?
Right now so many of us are confined to our homes, only able to leave for the necessities. Right now you have the time and the space to learn something new or look at the world in a new way. Right now there are so many things you can learn online. You can learn to sew, you can learn to cook, you can learn a new language, you can learn how to use your camera better, you can try out new editing processes, you can learn how to workout from home, you can learn business skills. All of these things are literally available to you at your fingertips.
Earlier this week I decided to start a project and I would like to invite you to join. I started a photo challenge called The Wise Photographer Photo Challenge. We will be running it from now until April 30th. Photo challenges are not a new thing, but I want you to understand why it might be a good thing to do right now.
Back when Justin my husband was in the hospital and underwent 3 heart surgeries, and the removal of his sternum I would post updates each day about how things were going. I was stuck in the same hospital for weeks at a time. I saw the same waiting room and ICU room day after day. When I would post these updates I always included a photo I had taken that day. Here is the thing the updates were good for me to process things, but the act of taking that photo each day was even better. I had to get creative, and curious about how I could photograph something in a new way. That curiosity helped me fight against letting fear win.
So I would like to formally invite you to join The Wise Photographer Photo Challenge. We will have a link in the show notes below for you to sign up. Each morning at 7:30 am you will receive an email with the prompt for the day. We have created a Facebook group for you to share your photos. Inside the group, we will also be posting the prompt each day at 9 am CST. The idea behind the group is to connect with others, start conversations, maybe meet a new friend. Get curious about how others are using the prompt to capture photos. This photo challenge is open to everyone! Photographers, kids, moms, dads, high school students, whoever wants a daily mental escape. Each week on Wednesday’s I’ll be going live inside the group to share tips on taking better photos for those who are interested in learning more.
We will also be featuring every photo shared on Instagram with the hashtag #WPphotochallenge2020 on our stories as long as your profile is set to public.
The challenge is totally free to join, no pitch, no sale. I just wanted to figure out a way to spread some curiosity, creativity, community, and maybe some joy right now.
Inside the group, as I’m recording this we have participants from across the country, Maine, to California, North Dakota to Texas. We have photographers, teachers, new moms, nurses, students, grandmas. All uniting through photography each day.
People are swapping paint color names from home projects, teachers are connecting sharing challenges they are facing as they start teaching remotely. New moms are sharing recommendations with each other on baby products. It’s such a beautiful community and I would love for you to join! You can head to wisephotographerpodcast.com for details on how to join, we will also have a link in the show notes below!
Skyler has even joined in the challenge. One of her favorite things to do so far has been to build something with legos that represents the prompt and then photograph that.
It’s been fun for me to get curious about how I can use my talents and skills to lead in my local community and on this platform. I contacted my church and asked them if they needed help broadcasting their services, it turns out they did. We are pre-recording services, and premiering them on YouTube on Sunday mornings. I got a call from another local church asking if they could hire me to do the same for their church this week too.
The best part about this, is I have all the equipment already as a photographer!
I’ve also been part of getting curious about how Weisz Country Greenhouse can contribute to the community right now. The greenhouse doesn’t open until May. A few days ago we got the idea to put together some type of plant kits for kids. We put it out on Facebook and had over 80 comments on the first day, with parents wanting to participate. We have decided to put together horticulture kits for kids that include succulents, a terrarium kit, and worksheets. I’m working on getting that set up in their online store this week, and we hope to get the first batch of plant kits launched early next week.