Nurse to Writer to...??

Life is funny. From 9th grade on all I wanted to do with my life was to be a nurse. I wanted to care for the sick and dying; I wanted to be a friend to people in one of the hardest and most vulnerable times in their lives; I wanted to brighten their darkest days and make living and even dying with an illness easier for each patient whose room I entered. With those goals in mind, I carefully shopped for and chose the best nursing program I could find. Though it may not sound impressive to attend Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), they truly have an incredible nursing program. They taught us to care for our patients as individuals rather than allowing us to view them as illnesses best identified by a room number. They taught us the value of holistic medicine and the importance of taking care of a person's mind and spirit rather than only worrying about the body.

My education at EMU was invaluable, and it made me the nurse I was for the five years between graduating and the birth of Sweet A. But here I am 16 months out from my last day as a nurse, and I'm in a completely different place than I ever imagined I would be. Not only am I pursuing writing and photography, but I have no desire to return to nursing. I love writing and have ever since I was required to take a creative writing course in 11th grade and discovered that I actually had some measure of talent. My high school gives out four Founders Awards each year, and I always found it ironic that I was chosen to receive the English/writing award. I was heading to nursing school, after all, so shouldn't I have won the science one?

Apparently not. Apparently, someone ten years ago as I was graduating high school and preparing to move to college saw something in me and decided to bring it to the light. I forgot about that until recently, and I could only laugh. I never considered myself especially creative or artistic. I can't draw or paint worth anything (though my daughter does think I draw the best cats ever; my husband saw them and "reassured" me by saying, "Yeah, they're not bad. Some cats really do have faces that look like a butt." Thanks, babe.) so I just marked "artistic" off the list of adjectives that could potentially describe me and moved on with my life.

I did give a few other artistic ventures the old college try. My post-college roommate tried to teach me to crochet. That only lasted slightly longer than the knitting my older sister tried to teach me. I enjoy making jewelry, but I'm not so great at anything more complicated than a pair of earrings, not to mention pulling out small beads and things with a one-year-old in the house could be disastrous. I'm not saying all this to put myself down; I'm merely pointing out that, despite my strengths, I never considered myself particularly creative.

None of this bothered me, but I did feel like something was missing in my life. I would look around and see all this incredible beauty everywhere and long to be able to paint it. I would jokingly ask if Husband thought God would teach me to paint when I get to Heaven since I'm pretty sure He's the only one who could make much headway in that department. I just never felt like I was doing everything I could be doing; there was always this teeny, tiny part of myself that was the slightest bit sad because all these beautiful memories and places we visited and things we did were going undocumented.

And then I started taking pictures, and I discovered something. Art is so much more than drawing, and an inability to paint doesn't translate to an inability to capture the beauty and the moments and the memories around me. I can preserve them in another way; I can preserve them with film (ok, not literally since my camera is digital, but you get the point).

I have had so much fun learning to know my camera and capturing the little moments and the big adventures that make up our lives. And, in so doing, I discovered another love: food photography. It's such a small subset of such a big thing, but I love creating something in the kitchen and capturing the whole process. I have so much fun messing around with the lighting and arranging my tools and ingredients just so and then click! A moment frozen in time forever.

I will still be writing here twice a week. We still have a new aspect of As Told By Amy that we'll be presenting to you in just two weeks that has nothing to do with photography but is still sooooo exciting to me! But I'm also hoping to add a food photography job on the side. If you or someone you know is looking for one, please send them my way! I can cook their recipes or create original ones, and I'd be so thrilled to do this!

All that to say, don't underestimate yourself. You are more than you seem. You are even more than you realize. If you have a dream, chase it. The crazier it seems, the better the story you'll have to tell afterward. :)

Speaking of dreams, one of mine has come true; I was published on an online magazine for the first and second times ever! If you haven't read my articles, I'd love for you to head over and check them out. The first addresses some momma fears, and the second goes into finding out a second baby is on the way before the first even makes it out of the baby year. Feel free to like, comment, and share, and, while you're there, check out some of the other contributors! How well our posts do is determined by how many unique views our posts attract over the first 30 days, so we're counting on you, dear readers!