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SNL-Coffee-Talk_lEvery so often an idea will capture my attention. It will come up in conversation, while I get ready for a day of work, and in times of prayer. When this happens, I know it is something important to who I am but I haven’t known what to do with it: at least until now. Because of ideas like this, I have decided to start a new blog series and I am going to call it Coffee Talk Mondays. It’s not going to be every Monday, but it will be as often as I have an idea floating around long enough that I know it has matured and worth sharing to you, my readers. And, it will of course be posted on Mondays.

For the first post in this series I wanted to share with you something that has and always will change my life. One time at church I heard the saying, “Choosing the attitude of gratitude sets the altitude of success.”  Yes, I know that’s way too much rhyming to be taken seriously.  But the truth is profound, and it is easy to remember.  The more thankful you can be, the freer you become to see obstacles as challenges to grow through instead of problems to complain about. The more thankful you can can be, the more trusting you are of new people who want to be a part of what is happening in your life. The more thankful you can be, the sooner you will let go of grudges on people who have let you down.

When I first heard this in church, I applied it towards how much God has given me. Believe me, it’s wayyyyy more than I could ever deserve. Even when things are difficult the Bible says that God gives hard things to make me stronger.  I get this most of the time.  But what has been rolling around in my head has not been as much directed towards my thankfullness towards God, but towards people.  Specifically, people who I felt at one time have let me down.

Life has an awesome way of giving perspective, showing us the true weight of things over time.  It happens almost universally.  Kids go off to college, or in high school or sooner or later, the realize someone along the way let them down, they become disgruntled little punks.  It’s a phase though, which is good.

Today I got to have a meeting with a mentor of mine.  I have gone through all of these phases… not knowing anything but what I witnessed, then thinking I knew something else, going through disillusionment when I decided to stand on my own, not knowing what that meant. Through all of it, I was grateful for what I learned, but for a long time I also had a chip on my shoulder.  It wasn’t until today that I really got to express that gratefulness, even though I had long since moved on, expressing that meant so much, and it was so freeing. It felt so good to sit across from someone who poured into me, tell them how much it meant, how sorry I was to have acted like a punk because I thought I knew something.  Knowing something is great, sharing that knowledge is too.  But what I learned is not to expect someone to have learned the same lessons at the same time, because we all walk different paths to where we’re headed. We’re all prepared to learn certain lessons in due time.  You can’t force something out of time either.

I got lost when I stepped away from gratefulness, but while I was lost, I really began to find (in my mentor’s words) “my own stride” and that process is so essential to growth.  Whether you’re a photographer, a bride, or are just here as a friend, never forget the process.  Be thankful for the process.  When you feel like you have some aspect of life or business down, never forget what led you to make that realization, examine the factors that were at play and outside of your control too.  It will help keep you humble, and really help teach others to do that critical self examination.  That is something I am thankful to see and know now, I couldn’t be here without the risk that was taken.  I am so. incredibly. blessed.

To all the people who have poured into me in my business, and in personal life, to God… even when I think I’m let down, I’m really just being sharpened, growing.  I am grateful. And I can’t wait to see where it all leads!

As I stand at the edge of the 2013 wedding season, I know it’s going to be great, I know I wouldn’t be here without so many others.  If you come around here often, you’ll be sure to see the results and hear more things like this from time to time. Thanks again.


You are loved.



  • Steve D Jul 8, 2013

    Thanks for your thoughts Tom!

    I think it strange that the further I progress in life the less thankful I have become. The moment I felt the world owed me something I had forgotten to look back, to take in the moments and thank people who helped me get to where I am now. Whether you define success as in terms of monitory things or moments shared with loved ones, an attitude of gratefulness will exponentially increase your joy in that moment. If we could all take the time to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness or gratefulness would not your perspective and approach to life change for the better?

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