Intentionally Getting

to Know One Another

by Bethany Joy



As I grow older, I want to be known. This wasn’t going to happen without my openness and the space to let myself be known good, bad, and ugly. In Episode 4 of The Creativity Cure, I talk about how I am going to live in a way that fosters real relationships that are strong. Here are some practical ways I am going to do that! Let me know what you think. What would you add?



Let’s Be Honest 

It was the first BIG step I had to take. Every day, I work on not going along to get along. As soon as I realized I wasn’t being understood, I worked harder to make sure I could be understood. Suppose I asked for guacamole at Chipotle and they said Queso I would speak up if the person heard something different about the food. On days when I’m having a tough day, I try to be honest with people about how I’m doing. It was only when I spoke honestly outwardly about how I felt that I was able to move through my emotions because I heard what my body was saying and I took action to move forward. While this doesn’t mean I’m right about everything, it does mean I deal with reality and let people know who I am and what my plans are. As I constantly engage in these little confrontations, I build my confidence for real big moments when I have to speak up.


Pay Attention 

The more I expressed what I felt inside, the more I noticed my needs and this really changed my life. If you know someone who gets hangry, you know what it feels like to argue and fight and then they eat and it’s all good. They probably felt hungry long before they got irritable. In the same way, when I listened to my needs, I noticed lots of additional needs I’d usually overlook until I got sick from lack of sleep or felt terrible from not taking care of myself. I mean I actually noticed when I was thirsty or hungry before I felt extremely irritable. Rather than being irritable towards my family when I get home from work, I could communicate decision fatigue. I did decide to go to therapy and it really helped me work through being out of tune. I began to feel more like the driver in my life and less like the rider of my emotions or lack thereof. 


Make Time to Get to Know People

Are there people you pass by every day and say hi to? Have you gotten to know your family well? How well do your friends know each other? Asking yourself these questions will help you find meaningful relationships and improve them. What you water grows. You have to be patient if you want to build a community. There’s a good chance you’ll be the one who calls and asks awkward questions. When your relationship with a sibling is always surface level, it’s hard. I actually find a lot of marriage podcasts so helpful because the key to all thriving relationships is communication. The Young Black Married Christian Podcast uses an acronym to remind you to go deep. They call it the BLESS framework. You ask questions about someone’s Body, Labor, Emotions, Social Life, and Spiritual Life. 

Body: How is your shoulder doing after you got hurt the other day?

Labor: What was work like for you today did you enjoy it?

Emotions: I know you were disappointed that you didn’t get a raise how are you feeling?

Social Life: How are your friends?

Spiritual Life: Are you hoping for anything? What are your dreams?

It might help you get to know your loved ones better by asking better questions. Try it out! The questions get deeper as you go along and you can actually repeat it to spark a good conversation.


Finally, Listen

Learning to listen is a skill. Learn how to listen if you want to succeed in community. It means asking follow-up questions! This means not adding to what someone said or twisting it to fit your needs. It means asking for clarity and repeating what they said. It means respecting people’s choices and preferences; sometimes we ignore them by not listening. Take the time to consider how your actions affect the people around you, without justifying them. I’m not going to pretend I’ve figured this out because this is hard. But if you learn to listen, you’d be surprised what people share about wanting to be connected.

I want to leave you with this last thought if you have trouble controlling peace by allowing your boundaries to be consistently crossed. 

One day, you may have to speak up for serious reasons like safety and protection. In an assailant safety class at work, there is a section that talks about how one of your defenses is your voice. Often, criminals will exploit people’s natural tendency toward friendliness. Some would look for those who were more concerned about being polite than speaking up. This reminded me that what you practice will become your reality. Practice talking to others, being honest in your emotions and thoughts, and verbalizing them even in disagreements, and you’ll be able to do it when it matters. The good thing about this is that you will attract people who see this as a good thing rather than people who like to dominate others. Your ability to listen to yourself will influence your ability to listen to others. It could be your children or your partner who benefit from the growth that happens when you choose to care for yourself the way you do for others. It starts with you. Practice with you. Be honest and build relationships that reflect you good bad and ugly. Check out this clip by Hailey Page Magee this one is for you people pleasers!



Thank you for checking out my blog! You can listen to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, and wherever you listen to podcasts. Watch me on YouTube as well by searching for The Creativity Cure. Let’s continue the conversation by joining Seen & Celebrated my weekly Newsletter where I share stories of women doing great things in Maryland. Subscribe for free below and access all of the stories.


I hope these tips are helpful, but I am only one person, so let me know what has worked for you! I can be reached here or via email at Interested in collaborating on something creative? Commission a portrait! The booking period for 2023 is now open.




Keep Your Community Close



In The Creativity Cure’s latest podcast episode, I talk about how to keep a healthy community throughout life. While my community has always been around, friends can change and there have been seasons when my life changed and my need for community did too. For example, when I had my daughter I needed mom friends. Before being pregnant I never considered what friendship with kids would be like until I was right in it.  Another example would be from my friends who talk about the togetherness of college life and the loneliness when you suddenly are juggling multiple schedules and distance.

Creative people can work alone but do best when they are together and truthfully I think everyone needs community. Maybe you don’t need a crowd but everyone needs support. Growing and maintaining your community is a skill you can learn! Whether you move to a new city or just haven’t had friends here are some ideas about how I have thought about building and maintaining community.


The Fence


I got to a point this past year when I realized I needed to actively build community. I felt lonely and frustrated and overwhelmed. To share how I see community Imagine a 4-sided fence where a missing panel leaves you exposed or unsupported. This illustration (see below) helped me identify gaps and prioritize building my community. Check out this cringe diagram I drew explaining this concept. 


Let’s start with the left and right panels of the “fence.” These people I consider friends but on two levels. Some friends are a bit ahead of me. They may have more experience than I do and I learn from spending time with them. They also learn from me so it’s a mutual relationship similar to a good sibling relationship. On the other side of the fence, I have a friend I may be a bit ahead of in life with who I can share knowledge but still can lean on or rely on them for support. These friends can be found doing life with you. In my current life parenting is really relevant so I need to have some friends who are also in this season too! Some of my friends have an older kid or multiple and we can share the journey of motherhood. I also have some friends who are just starting parenting and I love encouraging them as they begin their journey too.




In the front of the community fence (see silly diagram above), I think of needing people to serve or lead. This can be at home or work but they are people I pour out to. I am their support system. I think of my daughter and my clients in this way because it’s my job to create a great experience for them. When I spend time with my daughter or clients, giving of myself I learn a lot about generosity and selflessness. It puts life in perspective and helps me to take what I have learned and break it down for example when working with my daughter or communicating to help a client understand an idea I have for a session. Having these responsibilities helps me to continually grow and to learn how to give to others and lead well. There are many people who need a friend like you to champion them. You may not feel like you have much to give but your struggles can help someone overcome their struggles. Serving can be for your younger relatives, a new employee at work, or at a boys and girls club. Regardless of what is going on in life find a way to give to those in need of your care. Communities won’t thrive if we don’t take the time to share the values, skills, and stories we have lived through with those who are younger or inexperienced.


Listening To Those Who Have Been There


    Finally, the back of the fence represents someone who has more experience, advice, and wisdom than me or my peers. This person is there for you to listen and they can be a shoulder for you to lean on. When I was looking at my “community fence” this was the piece that was missing. I love my friends but when I’m making big decisions I really appreciate the wisdom of my godmother. I feel safe being vulnerable with her in a different way because I know she has seen more than I have. Just sitting in the home of a mom who has more experience than I do lifts a huge weight off of my shoulders. I tell myself ” If she can do it, so can I!” If you rarely interact with people who are more experienced you should seek them out. I guarantee they are waiting to share their wisdom because they don’t want to see you make the mistakes you did. I MUST contribute a BIG amount of my growth over the past year to the wisdom of more experienced women in multiple areas of my life. I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t go and listen to them and take their advice when I felt unsure of how to handle different situations.


Bethany J. Photography is more than just a fine art practice. I build community. I make people seen and celebrated. Community is why I create and why I will always create. The truth is at the end of the day the people around me matter the most. They walk with me on my best and worst days, and for that reason, I work to keep my community close. I hope you have a community and if you don’t and you like what you see here, please join me by subscribing to Seen & Celebrated the Weekly email that I send out. I share short stories to celebrate Maryland natives who are doing great work for the community!


Hopefully, these are helpful tips but I am only one person so I would love to hear what has worked for you! Email me here or at Also, commission a portrait with me to collaborate on a creative art piece! Booking is open for 2023.






Finding Joy

The Official Bethany J. Photography Blog with Bethany Joy Steele

Contact Me





So last year I started reading again! I got through 4 books. This year I’m hoping to challenge my reading by finding more in-depth books on topics I find interesting! I thought I might share just in case yall were interested! Here are my top ten books I want to read this year listed by interest.





Own your past change your future






I found Dr. John Delony by listening to his podcast  The Dr. John Delony Show. I found myself looking forward to his new episodes because he had a compassionate approach to helping people solve problems. The advice he gave was really easy to apply. He recently came out with a book and if it’s anything like his podcast it will be worthwhile. If you have past trauma or want to learn how to communicate better this is a great book!





The Personal MBA


So I have to admit I bought this book already! I was curious because I have been looking for a way to better understand business to help guide how I improve my work. So far I am loving this book because it is written for the average person who doesn’t have any business school knowledge. I enjoy the conversational tone and I really like how it has practical help. If you need business understanding but don’t wanna take another course check this out.






Never Split the Difference




This title grabbed my eye because I don’t like confrontation! It makes my heart race and my palms sweat. In the name of scaring myself this year (read that blog here.) I decided maybe learning about negotiating is a great way to learn how to express my needs without feeling like world war 3 will break out.






Your Brain’s Not Broken




ADHD has become a hot topic lately but is personal for me. Only recently understanding how it has affected my life I am interested in learning how to move forward into working with my brain and body instead of against it. This book had a lot of good reviews so it may be a blind read.






The Prosperous Coach



I may be showing my hand here but I am interested in coaching. This is a long-term plan as I would love to be able to work from home one day. I searched for one of the best books on the topic and saw this one mentioned several times. I am curious about how I can improve my skills in working with people.






Getting Things Done




I have believed the lie that unhealthy stress was an indicator that you accomplished a lot. I am realizing more and more that if I want to live a life that has room to enjoy my family, fun, and my community I need to manage better. This book stood out to me as a great start, especially that uh…stress free… part!







Lean In





After taking the Katelyn James Business course last year I realized that regardless of whether I want to admit it or not I am a leader. I lead my daughter, my friends, and my clients. I wanted to look to see the thought process behind being a leader and this book was highly recommended.











We all have it! Influence. I am not a natural salesperson I would say. I don’t like convincing people to do things but I have learned that selling is a life skill you need. Part of selling is influence and persuasion. I would like to understand the basics of marketing and why people decide how they do it. I probably won’t leave a pushy saleswoman but I think I have something to gain on this topic. 





Built to Last



Operating a small business is not just so I can have a cool hobby. I truly desire to one day spend my time not only making a living enjoying what I do but being free to help those in need. I want to build a lasting business so that I can do this for as long as possible! 


Blue Ocean Strategy


Business is a huge theme for me this year! Running a one-woman side hustle here I have realized that I can’t compete on the same level as a business with a bigger team. This book looks like a great addition to learning how to build a brand!






Bonus Book!


The E myth



The E Myth looks interesting because I have heard the staggering statistics about how most small businesses don’t last. I wanna have the best shot at it so reading this may highlight some of my pitfalls!


What books are you thinking about reading this year and why? Tell me by following me on IG @bethanyjphotography. You can also reach me by emailing me below.

Finding Joy

Welcome to my blog. Here I am myself. I am an artist who shares her photography, her family, and more! I called this blog choosing joy because 1. That’s my middle name and 2. Finding joy when life is tough has been a journey for me. More often I am choosing to look for the bright side even when I don’t see it. If you are an artist, a parent, a small business or all three then you will like being around here!

Share your Joy Journey with me by emailing You might be featured in my newsletter!

Your Joy Journey can be something funny or moving your story of overcoming or what brings you joy.



Finding Joy

The Official Bethany J. Photography Blog with Bethany Joy Steele

Check out this page

to get to know more about me!


New Born Photography in Maryland


I recently got the best opportunity EVER to photograph this adorable baby boy of our close friends nicknamed JET! Newborn photography is definitely a new favorite. I remember bringing home Sanai and now she is so big, I can’t help but wanna see the new babies now because they change so fast!

For baby Jet’s session, I used a baby bed, a basket, and a large bean bag. I used gray and white as my theme colors. The hardest part was waiting for him to fall asleep because babies call the shots. In between naps I played with sets and lighting and made a lot of adjustments. The pictures turned out adorable and I was able to create a cute book out of them.

What truly made this session special is that this baby is the newest member of our close friend group. I am so happy I get to be here for his welcome into the world and look forward to watching him grow! New life is special and I am so happy to be a part of the celebration of Baby Jet!


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!

Julene Dunmore



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.

Bethany: Wow!

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.


From the Top Right: Jeremiah, Jua, Julene, Jaia, Bottom Row Lef to to Right: Joshua, Jenaiah, and Julian

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!


Learning to Own What Makes You- You!

Somewhere in the fast paced rollercoaster I call my life I began to define who I am by my struggles and accomplishments. What I did or didn’t do became an anchor for safety when change rolled through my life and I needed familiarity. I always had an answer for what I was doing. Usually the answer was building my business! Making something new! Notice I didn’t say I always knew what I was doing because I definitely didn’t. I started checking off the list of accomplishments that I believed defined my future.

  1. Go to art school for photography
  2. Find a day job to expand your skills
  3. Get Married
  4. Move into your first apartment

Each check gave me a sense of belonging and identity. A huge YES you are on the right track. That feeling was great but very temporary. Each time a new change came and I struggled to keep up, the worries got bigger. The anxiety creeped in and when life didn’t go as planned I felt further from who I had always seen myself as. I thought of myself as the artist! The hard worker! What was I supposed to do when I lost passion for that because balancing it all felt impossible? Who was I if I stopped?

When I got in to art school I realized competition was tough! I didn’t really fit in. (I mean I never really fit in anywhere) My first job was tough. I felt completely overwhelmed and frustrated in a path that I believed was for me ( It wasn’t) Planning a wedding was a whirlwind and being thrown into learning about rent and insurance made me feel like a little girl in her moms shoes playing adult. As a kid I thought the plans I made would be fun and adventurous but life felt overwhelming. I was ready to give up on my dreams of owning a successful business, having a home life with my family, and sharing my love for photography with others. I’m proud of what I did but I didn’t fully enjoy it. I was looking for the other shoe to drop. Holding my breath because I felt like I was the key to holding it all together and couldn’t rest or else it would fall  apart.

Eventually through a long series of events I learned that I was dealing with anxiety and adhd. My world flipped upside down. The intrusive thoughts and overwhelming feelings made sense. I suddenly looked at my life with a new lens. How much of my life was impacted by adhd? I could think of the projects I started and stopped. The people I struggled to keep up with. The exhaustion from trying to plan to be on time and constantly failing. Even my focus on accomplishments was because I struggled with staying focused and wanted to overcompensate. I wondered how much of the “me” I had defined was “symptoms” of adhd.

Some days I felt as if I would never be able to “escape” the symptoms. I might have had a meltdown or two. Was my entire life gonna be trying to win against a brain that had a mind of its own? Many of you can relate to those epiphanies you have about your childhood. It’s like taking the red pill and learning everything wasn’t how you perceived it. I think in the middle of this revelation I lost sight of the fact that not EVERYTHING about me is due to adhd or anxiety. In this journey to being healthy I have had to confront and work hard to start addressing how I have functioned for years. I’m sure I will be doing that every day. What I want to remind myself is that Bethany is more than a checklist of accomplishments and she is more than a checklist of symptoms. You are more than what you produce and more than what you experience.

I have come to a place where I’m learning the “me” a part from the hang ups. Some things about me are not from anxiety or adhd. Some things are just Bethany things. These are things that have always been a part of my life and will always be a part of my life. Like I have always liked technology. I used to take a part computers and learn programs like photoshop for fun! I’m a firm believer that a good app can solve all problems! I love nature-A walk on a sunny day is as good as a cup of coffee. If I can make anything at home just for fun I will, this has resulted in me DIYing quite a few things. Doing my hair is therapeutic even if my creations go a bit sideways sometimes. I like dry humor ( The Office) and cheesy shows like Chicago Fire 🔥. I love photography because the technical side is interesting and the people I get to meet are awesome. I love a deep conversation and love listening to someone who is passionate about what they are interested in. I am still learning about how anxiety may have impacted the way I made friends but I am deciding not to let the sum total of who I am be a diagnosis. I have no shame admitting that as a human being I deal with all kinds of problems but I am still me. It took a long time to learn about ways my brain functions and what effects that had on my life. I’m so happy to put a name to the experiences I’ve had and to also identify that many things about me are just “Bethany things.”

Why share this story? Because I want to encourage you to stop and breathe and just be. You have value because you are one of a kind. You don’t have intrinsic value because of what you do. You don’t lose value because of what you go through. While you are out there trying to catch your dream or build a legacy keep those things that make you, you in mind. You can’t pour from an empty cup knowing what refreshes and brings joy to you will keep you going when life brings all the new changes your way. This is for all my hustle culture entrepreneur bosses! Make some room for Joy!

What makes you YOU? With all of your perceived imperfections what is a you thing that is important to embrace?


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!