The Official Bethany J. Photography Blog with Bethany Joy Steele
Check out this page
to get to know more about me!
Dancer, artist, videographer, photographer, organizer, and of course wife, and mother are just some of the important roles Julene has embraced in her life. Being a new mom myself this Mother’s Day, I wanted to share some wisdom from an experienced mom of 6 children- including twins! We talked about passion, self-care, and balancing Motherhood while still being passionate about what moves you. Check out the informal interview below!
Bethany: Who is Julene? What do you do? Why is it important?
Julene: I am an individual first, I am my own self, I have my own ways of doing things. I am fun! I’m vibrant! I love everything that I’m doing! I’m a daughter and a sibling to 3 other people…I have been married for 17 and so years. I am a mother of 6. I’m an entrepreneur. I am a businesswoman. I’m a dancer…
Bethany: Oh! I didn’t know that!
Julene: Yea…I love praise and worship and I joined the dance ministry at my church…
Bethany: Oh, that’s awesome!
Julene: I danced 3 maybe 4 performances. I’m an artist… I love every bit of art! I can really get engulfed in art. I love painting, drawing, and photography and that transferred to videography. That was easy, really easy because I was always taking pictures. A lot of what I do is creative. Oh, and I’m also a member of The Highlanders: Professional Black Women, Incorporated, which is an organization that just started in 2019. It’s a non-profit community-based organization that focuses on helping women, the community, and education in various ways. In that role, I am the historian and the Tech and Communications chairperson. I love everything tech! Professionally I assist my husband with our business Javelin Media, LLC, formerly Precision Video Imaging, LLC. I handle all the paperwork and I also assist on video shoots. I’ve done photography, I’ve done videography and I’ve done graphic design.
Julene: Starting out I was not doing it professionally, or going to school for it, and people would say ” I need a flyer, I need a label…”
Bethany: So people kind of saw it in you and were like oh she is good at that!
Julene: Yea, they would say, Oh can you do this and I was like sure! So now I have a book of old things I have done, announcements and all kinds of stuff. It just came (naturally). The artist part of me just put it together and the Holy Spirit (confirmed it)…I’d have this peace [when the project was completed] where [the Holy Spirit confirmed] it’s like, now that’s right!
As a mom, I handle all school-related things…making sure their (my children’s) grades are where they are supposed to be and making sure they get to and from wherever they are supposed to be. I do all of that. Right now we are currently at 3 different schools. The most we were at was 4, which was exhausting. I’ve done homeschooling for all the children for Pre-k, the last 2 kindergarten, and 1st grade.
I’ve been a member of The Greater Baltimore County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. It’s a great organization! It had activities for each age group, so with 6 kids I was at 5 activities… monthly activities. So we were very, very busy.
I am really big on helping the kids but now, not to the point of exhaustion. I won’t do that no more!
Bethany: Yea, there are a lot of them!
Julene: Yea- I can’t do that anymore! Not at this point anyways. There is enough stuff going on!
I also was the PTA president, and after that, I was Vice President at another school for several years. Now, I am just a supportive parent and I do Highlanders (related activities). That’s my community-based thing that I do. I am always advocating and standing up for the kids. Supporting the kids. If I see a kid that is going through, it breaks my heart- so I am always trying to find a solution to a problem. That and helping parents. I’ve been helping parents, couples, women, and children for the last, I don’t know how many years. That’s a part of what I do. I think that is one of the things I am called to do… and raising these kids. God has given me a lot of wisdom on how to do things, and I pray for wisdom and strategy all the time. He’s given me different strategies to share with parents. I say parents because I started off with just (helping) mothers but then the dads were listening. They were applying it (lessons shared) and things were changing, so now my focus is on parents. I think life is just a bunch of hurdles and tests and trials. Once you get past them and grow stronger then you go to the next thing. That’s why I stay more joyous all the time because I realized that this is just a test, and this too shall pass. So if I’m sick, I remember this is not forever and this will go away too. That’s a part of my journey.
I think the best parts are when I learn quickly and can move right along and have made the changes. I haven’t always been like this. Being talkative was not my thing. When I grew up I was shy, quiet, and extremely observant and I could tell you everything that was going on from my observations and then God took me through all of these changes. I went through a healing process …God has taken me through the process of becoming bolder and bolder. At the PTA (meetings) I was able to speak in front of hundreds of people. I would have my note cards prepped and ready to go. I went from quiet to (raises hand) “Excuse me!” in a crowd of people. It’s been quite a journey.
Bethany: Yea that’s a big change!
Julene: He (God) is really shaping us if we allow Him. If we are open to Him making the changes. He will completely shape us into the person He wants us to be. Then we will be fulfilling our purpose and getting that “Well done.”
Bethany: Yea that’s what we all want! I want the well done.
Julene: I’m trying to do it well. I spend a lot of time reflecting like, what could I have done differently? Did this day go well? I might not do it every day maybe more like weekly. That’s why I said I slowed down cause I was running every day, even Sunday. The pandemic slowed everything down. I was like from this point forward, I am going to take a day to rest. Whether it’s on Monday or Sunday. Sundays I do time with family, chill out and do nothing after church then 9 o’clock hits and I’m back on. I wasn’t getting rest. Rest is extremely important. I started to pick it up again and realized around New Year “I’m doing the same thing!” and realized I needed rest. Now I am incorporating my rest again.
Bethany: And making it mandatory
Julene: It is mandatory. Because staying up ’til 2 o clock and then you gotta be up at 6 or 7 o clock, I was like, this ain’t working! Some days I’m like nope, I’m sleeping in. Nope! It’s 9 o’clock see ya’ll later, daddy’s got ya’ll. Now the older ones can help with the younger kids. Everything is easier now that the kids are older.
Getting Started in Video and Meeting Your Husband
Bethany: So when you first got married did you two start video?
Julene: It was before we got married. We met in 2000. I came to work where he was working in the Media Lab (at Morgan State University). I needed an internship. I don’t even know how it all connected…I was an office assistant. The guy that worked with him (Jay, my husband) asked me to make labels for his tapes. I would graphically do the wedding bells…I was familiar with the area… My supervisor was like “Hey why don’t you do an internship with us! (In the Media Lab)?” The internship I needed for business administration (class credit). When I worked there the first day I went on a video shoot with no experience. They gave me a crash course. “Here’s a tripod, this is how you open it up, put your camera on it, press record, and go for it!” I was recording for the School of Business. I was like ok I can do this! They had a lecture series monthly and I was always there for the lecture series. I figured I might as well record it and get credit for it right? On the first day, I didn’t know how to focus! I was like oh my god! The guy came back over after I set up and showed me what to do. After that when I brought back the footage they were just like “Wow. You do better than the communications students!” I was like are you kidding me? Really!? I thought maybe I got a knack for this! It was fun. I loved every bit of it. We would go on shoots with every different department. We did PSA’s… It was so much fun! Free food everywhere, backstage access…I thought this is life, this is awesome! I loved all of that stuff. When we met my supervisor he said “Hey, can you tell Jay that he needs to be here!” So he assigned me to assign him.
Bethany: So you were the middleman
Julene: I was the middle man, that’s how we started communicating.
Bethany: Did he have the company Precision Video Imaging before?
Julene: No, that wasn’t even a thing yet.
Bethany: Oh wow so that wasn’t even a thing yet.
Julene: He did his own side jobs. That’s the reason we started talking a lot more. Late nights we had to work together, but he was always that cool guy who was laid back. He also worked where (My brother) was going to school in the graphics lab. We would just do video shoots and hang out afterward and we just formed a really great relationship. It was fun. He was always respectful. Over time we developed a relationship. We had this openness to talk with each other like I have never had with anybody. By 2004 we got married. But that was where we started (The Media Lab).
I graduated in 2001 and came to work there full-time. Nothing seemed right anywhere else. Nothing was as fun and exciting and motivating as what I was already doing. I said, honestly I really want to stay here. So they actually developed a salary for me because I became that valuable to what they were doing!
Bethany: So they made space.
Julene: Yea! When I was there I brought people together and did something unique that had not been done. I would clean and organize the office, help teach and train the interns, do video shoots, and manage the office.
Bethany: One more question so I can summarize everything. What would be one piece of wisdom that you would want to share? What made me think of you is that obviously you do the photo and video stuff, but you’re also a mom. That’s what (stage of life) I’m in right now. I find it overwhelming and I just have one little baby and I thought that when I have a baby I’d be happy with just the baby but I’m like… I still have that part of me that very much loves what I love to do. I wonder how do I balance those two if there is a balance?
Julene: There is a very unique balance and you have to find what it is. I had to find what it is for me. When they first were born and 6 weeks out I was still out of it. I was still tired and healing. I was doing a video shoot and having the hardest time keeping it together. I was trying to have my mind there and I was just stepping back into it. It was rough. It was such a road to go on, however, writing was very helpful because I could look back and say I went through that (and learn from that experience)! Definitely praying for solutions. It’s helpful to sit with other moms who would say ”You’re not by yourself!” ” It’s ok to just say, take the baby.” Sending them to your parents, there is nothing wrong with that. It’s self-care.
If you don’t take care of yourself you won’t be any good to anybody else. So I wish I had done more self-care. Make some time for yourself because you are important too!
That’s one thing I’m really big on. Finding time for what you love to do because you are a person first. You’re constantly getting pulled on. Sometimes you need a break. Just ask for it. When I was a young parent I was not asking for it. I thought I had to do all of it. No, you don’t! There are two of you and grandparents! It’s a process, take it easy. Don’t be hard on yourself. Never compare yourself to anybody. You are your own goal setter. Always, always, always keep learning. Burning yourself out is never good for anybody. Seasons change and they get older. Enjoy it. Work hard at it and just do it. All of it will pay back when they get older.
Bethany: Thank you Julene!
Wrapping It Up
Happy Mother’s Day! Remember you are a person first. I like to add you are a person loved by God first. All you are to your family is important but you can’t pour from an empty cup. This applies to anyone feeling the burden of being a caretaker on their shoulders. I hope this was encouraging and that you are able to find a moment to just breathe and be thankful that you are loved and treasured just as you are. Check out more pictures of Julene doing what she does best below!
Finding the Joy
Welcome to my blog. I talk about choosing joy, to me, that means believing God is good and there is hope in the face of difficulty. I also talk about my goals and challenges. I believe in perseverance, grit, dreaming big, and choosing to challenge yourself to be better than yesterday.
What does it mean to be a part of the #JoyJourney?
It means to choose JOY in the good and bad!
It means we focus on our goals!
It means we challenge ourselves to do better!
Wanna share your story? Join the #joyjourney in my FB group here! We encourage each other to accomplish more and meet up once a month for a nature walk!
Sign up for our latest nature walk here!