First 30 Days Blog

18 dec

Redefining Life

I was divorced some day in January 2008. I don’t remember the actual date and I know it’s on the divorce decree, but it’s not an event I want to celebrate, relive or even remember.

I sometimes have moments of clarity of why I had to go through it; problems still surface with the X that remind me why it happened. During other moments, I completely forget the pain, the struggle and the scars that still exist on my soul. Those moments are actually becoming more frequent as I move forward and try to figure out who I am, what I want and where I am going at the tender age of 41.

I found a tangible way to help me deal with the emotional ride I am on, and to hopefully spread joy to other single moms (I have two beautiful daughters, ages 9 and 6).

I was picked up and brought back to life by a wide group of very good friends. Some are single, most are married, and they stood by me during a devastating period of my life, and continue to do so even though I am definitely on the road to recovery.

I am a photographer by trade, working full-time on staff at a major city daily, where I have been for nine years. The economy has been particularly rough on my industry and this summer, I decided to officially launch my own portrait business. It’s my “Plan B,” and it is going really well.

Through a series of events, including divorcing, meeting other single moms, joining a new church, establishing relationships with other divorced men & women, I realized the “revival project:”

Becoming a single mom comes with many challenges.

By the grace of God, I am blessed with friends and family whose generosity and selflessness have made my life easier as I transition into a new phase of my life. My very own revival.

Now it’s my turn to give back.

For a few hours a month in my home studio in Mokena, IL, I will photograph single moms and their children for a nominal fee. Whether divorced, widowed or never been married makes no difference.

For a $25 sitting fee, single moms receive an 8×10 portrait, and a chance to view and purchase additional photographs through the revival project.

$10 from each revival project portrait is donated to the Crisis Center for South Suburbia, a local organization that offers shelter and assistance to battered women and children.

The project has been well-received, with plans in the works to photograph families in their transitional housing.

By working on something meaningful, I have been able to direct my time, talent and energy in a positive direction. It benefits my soul and hopefully the souls of other women, too.

Shared by jeaniel23.

Posted by First 30 Days on December 18th, 2008 in Personal Stories | 2 comments

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  • Thanks for sharing, it gives me hope.
    I am in the process of an awful divorce that took me 9 years to work up the courage to file for – 20 yrs of marriage. My soon to be X has every intention of me ending up on the street and even though he is moving on, buying a lovely new condo, he is telling me he will screw me in any way possible so I have to lose our house. I have 2 kids – an 11yr old and a 13 year old, and have been a stay at home mom for that long (13 yrs). I do some photography on the side, but am not able to support myself on that. Unfortunately the laws do not favor the dutiful, stay-at-home, non-earning mom that never cheated on her spouse — must have been written by the “second wives” of the law-makers – LOL.
    Good for you giving back to the community — may God bless you. I pray God will get me through my process, and that my kids will not be too emotionally harmed. Pray for me too if you can.

    Shared by ally88.

    — Added by First30Days on August 28th, 2009
  • I love what you’re doing with the Revival Project. What a wonderful thing and a worthy use of your talents and time. Amazing how it all fell into place. I can definitely see how giving your time is going to pay you back with the experiences you will have and people you will meet.
    I was reading about a photographer that took pictures of everyone in a small town like 20 or 30 years ago and then went back to take pictures of them again … I believe he made a book of the old picture next to the new.
    How cool would it be to find these single moms 20 years from now and see how their lives have changed.
    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story.

    Shared by VictoriaB.

    — Added by First30Days on August 28th, 2009

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