Click For Hope

chicago blogger

Searching for myself

Clickforhope, Divorce, Single Parents, Single MomJasmine LopezComment
give back chicago click for hope.jpg

Please share your story:

I’m an author, artist, dancer, cellist and mother. But I couldn’t say that so concisely eleven years ago…I only found and redefined myself in 2014. Before that, I was Octavia, the cellist, the French major, the world-traveler, Miss Michigan.
After college, I competed for Miss America and when I came home without the crown, I married my love and we moved to Chicago to begin our life together. We were surprised to become parents within our first year of marriage and panicked, suddenly desperate to do everything “right.” The shoulds we were both raised with were that good wholesome Christian families were homeowners in the suburbs with a dog and van. Check, check, check and check.
As we began to complete our American Dream checklist, I realized the more we checked-off, the bigger the void in my heart grew. My husband felt a strong calling to become a pastor of a small urban ministry center and I supported it wholeheartedly. I felt a strong calling too – whether corporate or academic, I felt I had so much more to give than birthing children, although that had become my life.
I went to graduate school. I dropped out of graduate school. I started a full-time job. We had another child. I quit the full-time job to be a full-time mom. But something was wrong. I wasn’t like those moms that are fulfilled being moms. They were so happy with their children, nestling securely in their roles as homemakers. Content. Placid. They LOVED being moms. I loved being a mom, too, but that wasn’t all. I couldn’t place my finger on it, but I was far from content. I was lonely and isolated. So I made up some friends; I started writing books.
While writing was my creative outlet, my scientific side was also understimulated and I wanted to have a career that provided more paycheck than risk. I felt called to healthcare and began my post-bac pre-med coursework. I was desperately searching for myself. I was depressed. I was hopeless. I was bored and unsatisfied. I wanted more than my suburban prison with really cute cell mates. I wanted friends. I needed a bigger purpose. I needed to contribute to the world outside of my home. I had drive. I had zeal. I had a full tank of gas but no GPS.
I was pregnant again. I started designing nonprofit youth programs and writing grants to fund them. I lost my third child. I was still taking my classes, teaching private cello lessons, working part-time coordinating a STEM grant at a community college, working part-time at the ministry center, running the grant programs I designed and wrote to fund, and then, yes: enter child number four.
We had our fourth child.

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I finally got into the medical program for which I had been applying for years. And my husband and I came to a crossroads. He didn’t understand why I wasn’t satisfied. He didn’t understand why I wasn’t fulfilled making our home my career. We went to counseling. We tried going on dates. We tried getting to know each other again. And we realized the very hard and sad truth: I would never be the wife he wanted. He would never be the husband I wanted. He would never be satisfied with me being myself. I would never be satisfied with him being himself. So, now what do we do?
We got a divorce. I wonder if divorce is harder when neither one of you is the Bad Guy. I dropped out of school and feverishly took to finding my footing in a way that I could live in the city, near friends, and finally realize my larger-than-life dreams of serving others, writing books that are more paycheck than risk, and still being a creative and nerdy mom.
As my circle began to learn about my divorce I realized I was part of a secret sisterhood of silently suffering beauties – wives, unfulfilled by their relationships, and suffocated by the shoulds of motherhood. I began blogging to help myself and others navigate the treacherous and uncharted trails of unexpected emotional trauma. I called the blog Road to Relovery (roadtorelovery.com) and continue to write from my experience of being a single mom of three, trying to honor God and myself and my children with every decision I make.
Finally, here I am, three and a half years post-divorce, successfully co-parenting with my once-husband, successfully working in a career that is more paycheck than risk and uses both my writing skills and healthcare passions to serve one of the country’s leading children’s hospitals; and I’m about to release the first episode in my sci-fi fantasy series, The Hibouleans, with nine more episodes already written – and I’m working on my next biblical fiction novel, Hem. I’m proud of my journey, not only because I am being more true to myself, which helps me be a better mother to my boys, but also because I didn’t have to choose between God’s calling for me and the weight of the shoulds.

How has your story shaped who you are today?:

I am a better me -- author, artist, dancer, cellist and mother. My dreams are coming to life. I am flourishing. My children are thriving. And I feel like I've only taken the first step.
www.octaviareese.com

What compelled you to want to share your story with us?:

I have had a colorful reset to the adulthood chapters of my life and I know there are other mom's out there that can benefit from knowing they are not alone.

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What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?:

Marriage: it is scary; it is NOT what anyone says. It takes work, no matter what. Your relationship does not define you; you define it and your partnership should serve BOTH of you, not one more than the other. Neither of you should need either other; rather you should want to be with each other and make the decision daily to honor each other and make your relationship work. And finally, whatever blessings and scars you each bring to your partnership from your childhoods, remember that you define your own culture for your family. You determine your traditions, your norms, and your boundaries.

Parenting: there is no manual to parenting, but you can't parent well when you aren't well yourself. If your goals, career, or relationship is detracting from your ability to be your best parent to your children, then that factor needs a reset and an adjustment. You can only be your best parent to your children when you are your best self. Take care of your kids by serving yourself, setting boundaries for yourself and your children, and by carving time for your own spiritual-mental-emotional health BEFORE you burn out! Be gentle with yourself and your children. Always lead with love and be the parent you wish you had when you were a child.

Dreams: a dream deferred isn't a dream denied (Langston Hughes), but don't martyr yourself in the name of fulfilling everyone elses expectations of you. It's OK if you're that mom or dad that isn't fulfilled by being a parent. I wasn’t. And it’s OK. When a tree grows a new branch, it doesn't cut the others off. Parenting is just one branch of the tree that is you, and all branches need nourishment and sunlight in order to bear beautiful fruit. You are a better parent when you are your best self and if your best self finds fulfillment outside the home, don't deprive yourself of that light -- and don't let anyone else tell you you're wrong.

Inspiring Friends | Karina of Metts Photo

Inspiring Business, Clickforhope, Inspiring FriendsJasmine LopezComment

Photos by Metts Photo

Who is Karina Metts?

I'm a wedding photographer with my husband in the Chicago area. I'm a homeschool mom to two pretty cool kids, and while it's not easy, I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Share a bit about what you do. What is it? How long have you been doing it for?

 I'm a wedding photographer, but beyond that I'm a storyteller. My husband and I have been capturing stories together since before we were engaged. We have officially been a husband and wife team for 7 years. My husband started the photography business in Michigan when he was a teen. He always had a love of photography. He went to school for visual storytelling and interned at a newspaper in a nearby town. I started my journey with film photography in school. Michael bought me my first digital camera and taught me how to process photos on the computer. I started shooting with him and realized it would be so fun to be able to do this together on a more regular basis. My father is an entrepreneur so my entrepreneurial spirit comes from him. He's passed down his drive and ambition, and I love it


How can we stalk/follow you on social media?

I'm most active on Instagram I have a business one @mettsphoto and a personal one @karina_mettsphoto. I also periodically post on twitter when I'm feeling witty, or want to get something off my mind. @karina_metts  I also recently launched http://www.focusyoursocial.mettsphoto.com/ which has a FB page: https://www.facebook.com/mettsphotoworkshops/
 

What's your favorite drink?

I'm pretty vocal about my love of coffee. Mmmm I enjoy my daily cup in the afternoon. I also like to splurge on a mocha every so often.

What makes you laugh?
My kids. They're silly, and hilarious. 

What does a typical Sunday look like for you?
We typically start our Sunday at church. We then have a new tradition of going to Spilt Milk in Oak Park for a cup of coffee and a treat for the kids before we go grocery shopping for the week. If we don't have any photo sessions scheduled I sometimes spend time working or just gearing up for the week.

Motherhood, homeschooling, several businesses?!?.....could we chat about that for a minute.....can you share how you organize your day?
How do you get it all done?
How do you setup yourself up for a successful day?
How do you ensure that you have intentional time with the kids? Hubby?
 

Yes, I do a lot. Sometimes I have no idea how I manage to do it all. I am really intentional about being organized and strategic. I stick to a schedule and have a strict schedule for the kids too. We typically spend the morning together. I wake up, go for a run, and get back to wake up the kids before Michael leaves for work. I get them ready for the day, the morning is left to focus on reading and school stuff. Nap/quiet time is after lunch which is when I get started on work. Since I have a limited time, I'm very focused when I sit down at the computer. Michael comes home, we have dinner together (unless I have an evening meeting or event), and I finish out the evening with more work. I try not to go to bed too late since I get up early. Before heading to bed, I plan out the next day. I plan the tasks that need to get done so that I'm ready to go in the morning. It's worked for us so far, and as long as we are keeping lines of communication open with everyone it goes pretty smoothly most days. 
 

What do you love most about what you do?

I love being able to serve our couples. To go above and beyond. To get to know them and pour into them as a couple, and be an example through our marriage.

What keeps you excited about what you do?

It's so amazing getting to document a couple's most important day in a unique way. Every wedding is completely different with different situations. I love thinking through that and creating beautiful images for them to remember 50 plus years from now.

What are you most passionate about in life?
I'm passionate about empowering others to achieve their dreams. I love encouraging others in finding their passions and helping them figure out how to achieve their desires. I especially like to encourage other mom entrepreneurs that they can live a life where they are pouring into their children while building a successful business.

In what ways do you give back to the community?

We serve in the children's ministry at our church and volunteer our photography to them for special events. I really enjoyed photographing the children's summer camp last year and seeing kids just having fun and learning new sports, crafts, and making new friends.

What was the scariest part in deciding to start your business?

I'm not sure I even thought about starting a business as being scary. Like I mentioned, it was a normal lifestyle growing up, so I just went right into it. 

Can you share a time you wanted to give up, or a struggle that you encountered?

How did you overcome it?

Yes I come across these feelings often. Haha! Every day I'm like what am I even doing?! Seriously. However there are so many people depending on me, the fact that I don't want to let them down keeps me pushing through.

What encouraging words would you tell a Momma or soon to be momma who wants to start or already owns a business?

You're not alone. It's so important to find a friend or friends who you can talk

Photos by Metts Photo