Turning 30 + A Giveaway | Personal

Deana Carter once sang “I still remember, when 30 was old.” We’ll I do too, but here I am, officially the big 3-0! It isn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I certainly don’t feel old. I don’t think I look old or even 30. I feel like I am quietly and slowly slipping into the smoothness of life. Yes we have a toddler and there isn’t much quiet, slow or smooth, but we’re comfortable. Could we have more money or a bigger house? Of course. We have lots of dreams and things we’d like to achieve in the next 10-20 years, but we’re content. Something I strive for every day. And its hard!
I’ve learned a lot, done a lot, seen a lot in the last 10 years. When I turned 20, I hadn’t yet met the love of my life, my husband, although I would soon. I wanted to be a marine biologist, travel the world and cure cancer. Well, I didn’t quite reach those goals. Although I still love the ocean and all that is in it, I figured out that wasn’t the path for me. I did get to travel to Laos, The Philippines, Jamaica and some places in the USA, but there is no place like home. Who knew that when I left my small town of Windsor, that I would end up back in the same area raising my family. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Although I’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard way, most of them, they are lessons that are very valuable and made me the person that I love to be today. Yes, I love myself. I’m not perfect by any means, but I love myself. I know that every physical and emotional scar and bruise, every smile and laugh, have molded me into the person that God wanted me to be today. Sure it would be nice to know where the finish line was and just take the straight and easy path there. But I’ve learned in the last 10 years that timing is everything. If I hadn’t met my husband at the right time maybe we wouldn’t have gotten married and had our beautiful son. If I had known I would end up a photographer I wouldn’t have gone to The Philippines and met so many wonderful people in the jobs I had related to this field. So many experiences and relationships I might have missed out on if I hadn’t gone the path I did. It is imperfectly perfect!
So here I am turning 30 on Labor Day. A perfect birthday since my mom was in and out of labor for 5 days. I am excited to see what I will experience and learn in the next 10 years. My favorite part of my 30 year old self is my newly discovered crows feet. I see them in pictures and in the mirror when I smile! I love them!!! They represent all the smiling and laughing, all the happiness I’ve experienced in my life. I love that I’ve earned them.
Ok, ok, enough about turning 30! The Giveaway!! So I was inspired by another photographer Elizabeth of Elizabeth Henson Photos, who recently gave away a session to someone that was deserving of such a special treat.  I would like to also like to pay it forward. I would like to give away a session this month in honor of my birthday and all the blessings I have received in the last 30 years! The catch is, you cannot nominate yourself.  I feel like our society needs to be more giving and less self-serving.
This will be a full session, a value of $150.00, but priceless to so many who value their photos and memories. It can be a family, a couple, a senior, anyone! Submissions can be of someone you know that goes above and beyond in life. It can be someone that may be down on their luck and you know in your heart that this would change their life, even if just for a couple of hours and make them smile and forget their hardships. I would like to give this gift to someone who has an amazing heart and would truly appreciate this wonderful gift. So, if you know someone that deserves a photo session with me please e-mail me at danaraephotos@gmail.com. I will take submissions until September 30th. I will announce the winner(s) on my blog and fb and then set up the session with them.
Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me, loved me, and helped me become the person I am today. I am truly blessed and forever grateful!

The first time I held Steven in my arms and our first family photo.

????????dana and steven????????steven and mama beach 2013

Photos by Candi Strickland.

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Thankful to my dad for this picture of the three of us on my actual birthday!

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My 30th birthday pie! Yes, I wanted a chocolate meringue pie instead of cake. If you had tasted my mom’s, you would want one too!

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