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The Night My House Burned Down | Part II

Last week’s email really struck a chord with many of you. We received over 150 emails, and some of you shared heart-breaking stories of pain, feelings of defeat, struggle, hope, joy and gladness. We want to say thanks to each and every one of you for taking the time to share. No one is perfect, and we all have our own stuff to deal with and hurdles to overcome, regardless of how perfect things may seem from the outside. We hope to continue to be a voice that has meaning in your lives and speaks truth. Last week I (Zach) covered how I developed a mind-set of powerlessness. This week we are going to dive deeper into that mind-set and show you how to recognize it, and once you expose it to the light, work through the steps to defeat it in order to create a life that is limitless. “Powerlessness is one of the primary effects of poverty.” Danny Silk, Culture of Honor Winning in life or business is dependent on exposing the lies we have believed, and bringing truth into our minds and hearts. When we do that, we open our self up to the limitless possibilities of what we can do when we believe that anything is possible. Let’s get started. Poverty is infectious. I am not talking about money, influence or how much stuff you have. I am talking about an impoverished mind. Thinking this way is dangerous, destructive and holds many people down. Today I want to lift you UP and show you that poverty does not have to overtake you. Once I was exposed to the truth of how I thought,...
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Last week’s email really struck a chord with many of you. We received over 150 emails, and some of you shared heart-breaking stories of pain, feelings of defeat, struggle, hope, joy and gladness. We want to say thanks to each and every one of you for taking the time to share. No one is perfect, and we all have our own stuff to deal with and hurdles to overcome, regardless of how perfect things may seem from the outside. We hope to continue to be a voice that has meaning in your lives and speaks truth.

Last week I (Zach) covered how I developed a mind-set of powerlessness. This week we are going to dive deeper into that mind-set and show you how to recognize it, and once you expose it to the light, work through the steps to defeat it in order to create a life that is limitless.

Powerlessness is one of the primary effects of poverty.”

Danny Silk, Culture of Honor

Winning in life or business is dependent on exposing the lies we have believed, and bringing truth into our minds and hearts. When we do that, we open our self up to the limitless possibilities of what we can do when we believe that anything is possible.

Let’s get started.

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Poverty is infectious.

I am not talking about money, influence or how much stuff you have. I am talking about an impoverished mind.

Thinking this way is dangerous, destructive and holds many people down.

Today I want to lift you UP and show you that poverty does not have to overtake you.

Once I was exposed to the truth of how I thought, I had the potential for change. But first I had to see that my mind-set was one of poverty in every sense of the word.

Growing up I believed that success was something I would never have (and was not even sure what “success” was). I believed that an education was so far out of my reach that it literally felt like a mountain inside my mind that I could never ascend. That belief system made me feel powerless, and it wasn’t until I was EXPOSED to the truth (and stopped believing the way that I did) that I was able to change.

One of the keys that started me on my journey to healing was learning about three main mindsets that people have, and how each mindset affects how you think and behave. 

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Now, remember, these are MINDsets. We’re not talking about money, though each mindset can affect one’s income. We’re talking about a Poor way of believing, a Middle class way of believing and a Wealthy way of believing.

The Poor

They believe that they are powerless (like I did). They believe that they are victims and someone else is to blame for where they are, and they believe that external forces are in control of their fate.

Beliefs: 

  • Powerless over their fate
  • They are victims
  • External forces are controlling their lives

Result: 

  • Life happens TO you
  • Adaption Required
  • Living Superstitiously

With this belief system you feel like you can’t do much about what happens. You “hope that one day…” and you believe, “if that person had not done this then you would be able to (fill in the blank).” You believe you have zero control and are at the mercy of fate.

This mentality is oppressive and can be fatal to the mind because you feel powerless.

THE MIDDLE CLASS 

Beliefs: 

  • More Powerful Interactions (with life)
  • Have choices
  • Can change the environment

Results:

  • Believe circumstances can change
  • Dreams can come true IF they choose wise moral and healthy practices

This middle-class mentality is much different than the poor. They believe that if they work hard, pay their dues, and spend their life hard at work (and if their political party stays in power more often than not), they can win a bit bigger than others.

The only issue is there is a ceiling on what they can do, what they can have, and the influence they can exude over their environment. It is still circumstantial because it is based on limitations.

The Wealthy

But there is a 3rd mentality. One that I began to adopt and have been moving towards in the last 7 years of my life. That of the wealthy. (Again, I am NOT talking about having loads of money or tons of things, but a mind-set).

Beliefs: 

  • Anything is possible
  • Can get whatever they want
  • Nothing and no one can get in their way

Characteristics of the Wealthy: 

  • Limitless Existence
  • Unlimited Choices
  • Create their Change

Results: 

A mindset of abundance! According to Danny Silk, “The wealthy live in a limitless existence where there is no want. No one keeps them from getting what they set their heart and mind upon. The wealthy are accustomed to getting their way. Whatever they ask for, they receive.”

Imagine if you woke up tomorrow morning and you were told, “Whatever you believe and whatever you set out to do will succeed.” How would that change your interactions that day? You would hop out of bed with more confidence in your step knowing you could conquer the world and that anything was in your grasp.

But how many of us wake up each morning feeling powerless? Like nothing is going to go in our favor today? Like we have to brace ourselves for the worst… Life change will not occur if this is where are minds are stuck.

Change begins to happen once we start changing the way we THINK. 

THIS is the kind of thinking I want to have!

Many books out there speak to this:

“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”

Napoleon HillThink and Grow Rich

“Thoughts create beliefs in the conscious mind; once sent to the subconscious, those beliefs become feelings and actions.”

-Maxwell Maltz

“Uncertainty (of mind) is a spiritual enemy that will siphon out your rocket fuel. It turns go-getters into giver-uppers.” 

Tim SandersToday We Are Rich: Harnessing The Power Of Total Confidence

If we are to succeed in life (and yes, in business), we have to learn how to shift our mind-set from one of poverty to one of TRUE wealth.

This IS possible for anyone! Once we begin to have a Wealthy mindset, we can conquer anything we set out to do, can have a wealthy spirit that can live in complete peace and be at rest, and live in complete abundance that can create wealth around itself and freely give.

This is how I want to live each day. Do you?

Next week I will share with you the the practical steps on how you can begin to change the way you think so you can become rich in mind, spirit and body. Until then, read back on each mindset and see what belief set you feel you often relate to the most.

Thanks for sharing in this journey with me.


PS. Start the conversation with the hashtag #povertymindset on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Tell us what you have believed that you KNOW is a lie, and what you are going to start believing in its place.

The night my house burned to the ground…

It was 1985 and I was sound asleep in bed at 4am. I woke up to the fire alarm and I (Zach) remember thinking at that young age, “Man, mom is cooking again…” and I went back to sleep. But my house WAS on fire. My mother woke me and my 3 siblings (Gabriel, Abigail and Sarah) and we gathered in the living room where flames were running up the wall. We sat on the couch and watched the reflection of the fire on our TV while we waiting for everyone to group up. We ran out of the house wearing nothing but our winter boots and pajamas as fire blew the windows out behind us when we opened the back door. We just escaped with our lives. I was 6 years old, and my dad was not there. My dad had left my mother and us 4 kids the year before, and now here we were alone in the dark of that 4am Northern, MN winter, and we had lost everything. It all went up in flames. And from that day on I felt like my childhood did as well. That was the first of many traumas in my life over the next decade that included abuse, neglect, and a max of a 3rd grade education that caused me to believe one thing… I am Powerless over my Fate. And this is what I begin speaking to myself internally for many years to come. This became who I was and who I told myself I was destined to be. But the story doesn’t end there. After spending 10...
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It was 1985 and I was sound asleep in bed at 4am. I woke up to the fire alarm and I (Zach) remember thinking at that young age, “Man, mom is cooking again…” and I went back to sleep.

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But my house WAS on fire.

My mother woke me and my 3 siblings (Gabriel, Abigail and Sarah) and we gathered in the living room where flames were running up the wall. We sat on the couch and watched the reflection of the fire on our TV while we waiting for everyone to group up.

We ran out of the house wearing nothing but our winter boots and pajamas as fire blew the windows out behind us when we opened the back door.

We just escaped with our lives.

I was 6 years old, and my dad was not there.

My dad had left my mother and us 4 kids the year before, and now here we were alone in the dark of that 4am Northern, MN winter, and we had lost everything.

It all went up in flames. And from that day on I felt like my childhood did as well.

That was the first of many traumas in my life over the next decade that included abuse, neglect, and a max of a 3rd grade education that caused me to believe one thing…

I am Powerless over my Fate.

And this is what I begin speaking to myself internally for many years to come. This became who I was and who I told myself I was destined to be. But the story doesn’t end there.

After spending 10 years hiding my identity, lying to most people I met about the truth of my life, at 17 years old something happened. I met Jesus at a youth retreat and realized that He believed in me.

That gave me hope.

Even though my father had seemingly abandoned us and I barely knew him, this new Father was there for me and seemed to deeply care for me. I started to see light at the end of this dark road of hiding that I had been on.

When I was 21 I met someone else. A youth pastor who for one meal together became an earthly father I had never known. He believed in me, told me I could do MORE than what I had been doing, and that gave me direction.

When I was 24 I met someone new.

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Jody believed in me and wanted to know me and wanted to love this nobody kid who had no dad, no education and no dreams. It is incredible to have someone who believes in you. It is life-giving to have someone that thinks you have value even when you are totally flawed.

That gave me vision.

Then 2 years ago I met someone who absolutely wrecked me.

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After not being sure if we could ever have children, and after losing 3 before him, a miracle happened.

We met our son, Jaxon Gray.

He showed me something buried deep within my past. He showed me how I had been hiding for a long time. Hiding from my true self. Hiding from the person that God had created me to be. I started to see that the fears I had for him were really the unmet needs I had in myself.

He has become a teacher of sorts to me. A revealer and a seeker of my own soul. He is a part of my DNA and there is something about him I can’t ignore.

He showed me how much I STILL need my own dad and how much I want Jaxon to know his.

All of my hopes and my dreams and everything I wanted as a child have became wrapped up in my desire to give him everything I never had. Things like a father who never leaves, a home that is secure, an education that he can access anytime he wants and more. But through all of that desire to give to him, I am realizing that he is awaking my deep seated fear of intimacy and helping me to see that I need to change my mind-set if I want to be free.

He has given me a renewed purpose. That purpose is to become a better man. To finally love with abandon like he loves. To look into someone else’s eyes without fear like he can. Without fear that they might know the truth about who I am. To dance and sing and shout for joy just because!

My little son is more free than I have ever known since that cold day in 1985 when some inside of me burned up in that fire.

This journey with him has been the hardest journey of my life and the last two years I have had to dig deep into the muck and mire of me by watching my reflection in him.

But something interesting is happening. I am finally finding my true self. My TRUE purpose. Who I was created to be. That person is still hard to see at times but I know he is there.

I am still deep in this journey and have a long way to go. But today, Jody and I want to bring you something.

HOPE.

Hope that there IS a way out. There IS a way to peace and to being free.

Now I have met someone new.

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Man, I am gonna be messed up with this one! Only God knows what she will teach me. I don’t know if I am ready to learn what she can teach!

My life experiences have showed me how what you believe in your mind can limit you from walking in your true potential. 

In this 3 part series that dives deep into our story (and yours) we are going to show you how to break the cycle of living a poverty mind-set and start living your TRUE potential that YOU were created for. Welcome to part 1 of Today We are Rich (based on Tim Sanders book by the same name).

We are beyond excited that you are here with us. We are honored to be able to speak to over 55,000 of you that are on this newsletter list. All of us are in need of something, and these next 3 weeks are going to be powerful, and COULD be life-changing if you allow them to be.

We believe that there is more out there for you – untapped potential that you can have access to if you want it. If you press in these next few weeks, you can get something that you might have never known was possible.

See you next week when we reveal the Poverty Mind-Set and how to start breaking free from it and pursuing the change that can impact your business, your photography, and your personal lives in ways you never imagined.

Small Flashes with Stunning Light (video!)

When out on-location doing portraits for weddings, seniors or any type of shoot, sometimes you need an EASY and portable way to get the job done AND make the images look beautiful. Speedlites are great for portability, but other than not having a lot of power output, their biggest issue is the QUALITY of the light is not so good. They look harsh and “flashy” and rarely produce AMAZING light. In this short video shot on-location in Nevada, we show you how to not only execute great flash shots using a speedlite, but how to make that light look AMAZING on your subject!     Gear used: Canon 85 1.2 L lens  Canon 5d3 Body Cyber Sync Transmitters and receivers (the CST and CSRB models) Rapid Box 26 inch from Westcott Lighting with the deflector...
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When out on-location doing portraits for weddings, seniors or any type of shoot, sometimes you need an EASY and portable way to get the job done AND make the images look beautiful.

Speedlites are great for portability, but other than not having a lot of power output, their biggest issue is the QUALITY of the light is not so good. They look harsh and “flashy” and rarely produce AMAZING light.

In this short video shot on-location in Nevada, we show you how to not only execute great flash shots using a speedlite, but how to make that light look AMAZING on your subject!

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Gear used:

Canon 85 1.2 L lens 

Canon 5d3 Body

Cyber Sync Transmitters and receivers (the CST and CSRB models)

Rapid Box 26 inch from Westcott Lighting with the deflector added.

5x your referrals FREE guide

“Some people succeed because they are destined to, but most people succeed because they are determined to.” – Henry Ford 2016 can be the best or WORST year ever for your business. The great thing is the outcome is your choice for 99% of you. Do you need more referrals? Well our brand new 5x Your Referrals PDF guide will help you get there. This PDF contains the 5 proven strategies that when implemented, will get more people talking about you and more shoots on the books for 2016. Oh, and did we mention it is TOTALLY FREE? Yeah. That’s how we roll. YOUR FREE PDF Here is your free copy of the new PDF so grab it now while you can.   Have a great week, and get those referrals...
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“Some people succeed because they are destined to, but most
people succeed because they are determined to.”
– Henry Ford

2016 can be the best or WORST year ever for your business. The great thing is the outcome is your choice for 99% of you.

Do you need more referrals? Well our brand new 5x Your Referrals PDF guide will help you get there.

This PDF contains the 5 proven strategies that when implemented, will get more people talking about you and more shoots on the books for 2016.

Oh, and did we mention it is TOTALLY FREE? Yeah. That’s how we roll.

YOUR FREE PDF

Here is your free copy of the new PDF so grab it now while you can.

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Have a great week, and get those referrals going!

A great 2016 starts here…

“What comes out of the mind is what you put in the mind. You must feed your mind like you feed your body.” – Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking The new year is here, and for some of us that gives us a hope and excitement about the future and for others it feels like another year that we are worried will bring us more failure. “Maybe my business just won’t be a success this year.”  “My kids and life are so demanding, so how can I possibly be a success in 2016?”  “I am tired of feeling down and depressed, but I just can’t seem to shake it.”  Feelings of hopelessness, despair, worry and anxiety or just feeling “stuck” is something many of us have dealt with (including me, Zach). They pretty much suck the life out of you and can turn your stomach inside out and give you a bleak outlook. Is there anything that you can do starting right now to help turn those feelings around and make 2016 your best year ever? Well, we like to start with what we can do today, and then this week, and then 2016 will take care of itself. “Every man is what he is, because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind.” – Tim Sanders, Today We Are Rich Information-Intake Day If you are ready to change who you are for the better starting today, then you have to start by taking inventory of your (as Tim Sanders calls it) “Mind Diet.” Your Mind Diet is is the daily intake of what you allow...
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“What comes out of the mind is what you put in the mind.
You must feed your mind like you feed your body.”

– Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking

postive thinking

The new year is here, and for some of us that gives us a hope and excitement about the future and for others it feels like another year that we are worried will bring us more failure.

“Maybe my business just won’t be a success this year.” 

“My kids and life are so demanding, so how can I possibly be a success in 2016?” 

“I am tired of feeling down and depressed, but I just can’t seem to shake it.” 

Feelings of hopelessness, despair, worry and anxiety or just feeling “stuck” is something many of us have dealt with (including me, Zach). They pretty much suck the life out of you and can turn your stomach inside out and give you a bleak outlook.

Is there anything that you can do starting right now to help turn those feelings around and make 2016 your best year ever? Well, we like to start with what we can do today, and then this week, and then 2016 will take care of itself.


“Every man is what he is, because of the dominating thoughts
which he permits to occupy his mind.”
– Tim Sanders, Today We Are Rich

Information-Intake Day

If you are ready to change who you are for the better starting today, then you have to start by taking inventory of your (as Tim Sanders calls it) “Mind Diet.”

Your Mind Diet is is the daily intake of what you allow into your thoughts which ultimately shape the way you think and will make you into who you are. You need to look at what is being allowed into your thought life, and then adjust a few simple behaviors in order to have a more clear, positive and actionable outlook on who you will become this year.

Key #1 – Take a Mind Diet Inventory

Tim Sanders says to spend the next few weeks taking an inventory in a small journal of what goes into your mind. Everything that you read, listen to and watch should be quickly logged with the amount of time spent and categorize the Tone (positive, negative or neutral) of that event. You should also do this for people that you spend time with (friends, family and associates).

Then after you do this for a few weeks, quickly scan over the journal and circle the negative or useless information you have “consumed” and then highlight the positive information and relationships. Once you become aware of what you are letting in, then you can start to do something about it.

Key #2 – Filter out The Negative

You must start taking control of your Mind-Intake if you want true change in your life.

If the first thing you do when you get up is read the news, check email, hop on social media (or like those of us with kids) get your kids ups and let the chaos begin, then we need to re-think our first mind meal.

How you start the day will determine the thoughts that dominate your afternoon and night.

This morning, I (Zach) woke up and listened to the Bible App audio of Romans chapters 4 and 5, and then got my son up and cooked him breakfast (and it is amazing how positive that experience was since I started my morning with a positive intake). On my way to work at a coffee shop I put on the Hold Me Tight audio book which is a marriage study that Jody and I are doing that teaches positive cycles in conversation and how to hear each others deepest emotional needs. This got me thinking positive thoughts about Jody and what I can do to enhance our marriage.

I then got in to work, and opened Trello and starting organizing my day and prioritizing tasks. I refused to open my email, Facebook or Instagram or listen to the news, as all of those things become either neutral or negative influences on the start of my day. When I do open email or check social media, it is with a business mind-set and purpose, and to get in and get out fast.

My day was full of positive thinking, belief in what we are doing, and completing key tasks and staying focussed on helping others.

Key #3 – Up Until Now…

I just finished a 3 month personal growth coaching session with Julia Woods, and the first thing she brought to my attention was how much belief I had in my business acumen, but how I had a huge gap in my personal life.

She taught me a simple phrase that has changed the way I think about my personal life and especially my past.

“Up Until Now”

Whenever I catch myself saying something like “I was hurt as a kid, and I just keep people at a distance to protect myself.” I insert the phrase “up until now.” (I use this for anything that I say that seems concrete in my mind, but that I do want change to happen in).

What that does is it takes all that negative language and turns it futuristic. It says, “yeah, things have been hard, but I can change that! They WERE hard up until now.” Some might say that you are just fooling yourself because those thoughts or feelings I have do have truth to them. But Tim Sanders says:

“The reason it is so important to feed your mind good stuff is that the resulting thoughts determine your success or failure, your happiness or misery, and most important, the circumstances of your life.”

Wow! You have to start by putting better things into your mind and then believing that those things can shift. When you begin to believe, it changes your mind and it then changes the actual circumstances of your life.


We believe that you can change the way you think today, this week and this year, and that when you do, you will be able to make the things that you want for yourself a reality when you begin to believe.

From our family to yours, we wish you the absolute BEST for 2016.

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Once a Year Cyber Monday Blowout Sale!

Guess what? It’s time… Today’s Cyber Monday, which means we’ve got our BIG, 24-hour sale just for you. By this time tomorrow, this will all go away. So pay close attention! Because all of you have supported our mission to equip photographers to succeed, we want to take this one day and give back, so we are offering an incredible deal that will blow your socks off and make you the coolest kid in town. But it’s only for 24 hours and for a handful of people who act fast. Here are the deals: Get any video workshop for $97 (saves $150, limited quantity available) Pick up all SIX video workshops for $497 (saves $850) – BEST DEAL! Buy the whole store for $597 (saves $1,017) and get a special bonus* *Includes exclusive “Reclaim Your Life” Seminar ($100 value). Does not include Cup of Joe or Day of Gray mentoring sessions. This is your chance to get the goods you’ve always wanted… Or grab a GREAT Christmas present for a friend at an unbelievable price! Get in on the savings and visit the storefront. PS. We only have 99 copies of each Video Workshop available at the $97 price point. So once they’re gone, they’re gone. Hurry up and grab yours now! PPS. This sale ends TOMORROW (Tuesday, December 1st) at NOON CST. If you’ve been waiting for this opportunity, don’t miss it! PPPS. Share this one-time offer with your friends! CLICK HERE to share on Twitter! Copy and paste the below to share on Facebook! “Don’t miss the KILLER photography DVDs & other goodies on @ZachandJody’s storefront! 60% off. Expires at noon...
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Guess what? It’s time…

Today’s Cyber Monday, which means we’ve got our BIG, 24-hour sale just for you. By this time tomorrow, this will all go away.

So pay close attention!

CyberMondayInstagramSale2015

Because all of you have supported our mission to equip photographers to succeed, we want to take this one day and give back, so we are offering an incredible deal that will blow your socks off and make you the coolest kid in town.

But it’s only for 24 hours and for a handful of people who act fast.

Here are the deals:

*Includes exclusive “Reclaim Your Life” Seminar ($100 value). Does not include Cup of Joe or Day of Gray mentoring sessions.

This is your chance to get the goods you’ve always wanted… Or grab a GREAT Christmas present for a friend at an unbelievable price!

Get in on the savings and visit the storefront.

get it now button colored
PS. We only have 99 copies of each Video Workshop available at the $97 price point. So once they’re gone, they’re gone. Hurry up and grab yours now!

PPS. This sale ends TOMORROW (Tuesday, December 1st) at NOON CST. If you’ve been waiting for this opportunity, don’t miss it!

PPPS. Share this one-time offer with your friends!

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CLICK HERE to share on Twitter!

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Copy and paste the below to share on Facebook!
Don’t miss the KILLER photography DVDs & other goodies on @ZachandJody’s storefront! 60% off. Expires at noon -http://bit.ly/cybermondayphotosale

Master Mind Video Series | Zach & Jody

Zach & Jody Experiential Marketing In the final video of our MasterMind Series we are going to share with you guys are top keys for experiential marketing. Now you may be asking “why does that matter?” It matters to you because when you create a dynamic and repeatable client experience, people will pay you MORE money for what you do and will send you all their friends in the process. We did this in our wedding brand, and now we do it in our photographer brand which has helped us gain tens of thousands of fans that want to be a part of what we do here each week. If you want that too, then don’t miss this final free video! Check out our FREE video HERE using the password “mastermindsecrets” Be sure to check out Shootflow if you want to have a way to create this experience at the push of a...
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Zach & Jody

Experiential Marketing

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In the final video of our MasterMind Series we are going to share with you guys are top keys for experiential marketing.

Now you may be asking “why does that matter?” It matters to you because when you create a dynamic and repeatable client experience, people will pay you MORE money for what you do and will send you all their friends in the process.

We did this in our wedding brand, and now we do it in our photographer brand which has helped us gain tens of thousands of fans that want to be a part of what we do here each week. If you want that too, then don’t miss this final free video!

Check out our FREE video HERE using the password “mastermindsecrets”

Be sure to check out Shootflow if you want to have a way to create this experience at the push of a button!

Master Mind Video Series | Jared Bauman

Jared Bauman Reaching my Perfect Clients In video 8 of our MasterMind Series we are going to hear from the marketing expert Jared Bauman. Jared runs ShootDotEdit and has been teaching sales, marketing and more for years. He helped us make TONS of money when we were shooting weddings and we know this video is going to be just what you guys need to take your business to the next level. Check out his FREE video HERE using the password “mastermindsecrets” Be sure to grab the ShootDotEdit Marketing Guide while you are...
read more

Jared Bauman

Reaching my Perfect Clients

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In video 8 of our MasterMind Series we are going to hear from the marketing expert Jared Bauman.

Jared runs ShootDotEdit and has been teaching sales, marketing and more for years. He helped us make TONS of money when we were shooting weddings and we know this video is going to be just what you guys need to take your business to the next level.

Check out his FREE video HERE using the password “mastermindsecrets”

Be sure to grab the ShootDotEdit Marketing Guide while you are there!

Master Mind Video Series | Courtney Slaznik

Courtney Slaznik Double your Facebook Fans! In video 7 of our MasterMind Series we are going to hear from the insanely talented Courtney Slaznik! Courtney runs Click it Up a Notch where she teaches over 45,000 photographers how to improve their photography, and today she is sharing her top secret techniques for increasing your Facebook fans which will help you get more clients looking at your work. Check out her FREE video HERE using the password “mastermindsecrets” Be sure to grab her Facebook Scheduling Guide while you are...
read more

Courtney Slaznik

Double your Facebook Fans!

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In video 7 of our MasterMind Series we are going to hear from the insanely talented Courtney Slaznik!

Courtney runs Click it Up a Notch where she teaches over 45,000 photographers how to improve their photography, and today she is sharing her top secret techniques for increasing your Facebook fans which will help you get more clients looking at your work.

Check out her FREE video HERE using the password “mastermindsecrets”

Be sure to grab her Facebook Scheduling Guide while you are there!

The Birth Story of London Rain

(Design by Tracie Prichard of The Ink and Grain) It is crazy that our 2nd born child is here! And even cooler that we have our girl!! So surreal. So awesome. I’m often afraid I’m going to wake up and it’s all doing to be a dream. But alas, I’m pretty sure this isn’t a dream and it all really happened and she’s here to stay :) (yay!) I wanted to take some time to share with you the story of how little Miss London came into this world :) With Jaxon’s labor being so long and brutal (you can read Jaxon’s birth story here), I had no idea what to expect with this one. I could only hope and pray that London’s labor wouldn’t be a repeat! As I’m starting this post, it’s only been one week and already, some of the details are fading, so I thought I would go ahead and write this down! September 16, 2015 | 6 Days Past Due 3:45 am – I woke up to my first contraction and then waited to see if more would come. For the next 4 hours contractions were coming. They were on average 7-8 minutes apart lasting about a minute to a minute and a half. I figured since they weren’t letting up that it was the beginning of labor, and because we had no idea what to expect as to how long this labor might go, I was trying my best to get sleep and decided not to wake Zach so he could get as much rest as possible. Because I hadn’t had the best...
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(Design by Tracie Prichard of The Ink and Grain)

It is crazy that our 2nd born child is here! And even cooler that we have our girl!!

So surreal.

So awesome.

I’m often afraid I’m going to wake up and it’s all doing to be a dream. But alas, I’m pretty sure this isn’t a dream and it all really happened and she’s here to stay :) (yay!)

I wanted to take some time to share with you the story of how little Miss London came into this world :)

With Jaxon’s labor being so long and brutal (you can read Jaxon’s birth story here), I had no idea what to expect with this one. I could only hope and pray that London’s labor wouldn’t be a repeat! As I’m starting this post, it’s only been one week and already, some of the details are fading, so I thought I would go ahead and write this down!

September 16, 2015 | 6 Days Past Due

3:45 am – I woke up to my first contraction and then waited to see if more would come. For the next 4 hours contractions were coming. They were on average 7-8 minutes apart lasting about a minute to a minute and a half. I figured since they weren’t letting up that it was the beginning of labor, and because we had no idea what to expect as to how long this labor might go, I was trying my best to get sleep and decided not to wake Zach so he could get as much rest as possible.

Because I hadn’t had the best sleep, Zach got up with Jax that morning to allow me a little more rest. I got up a little later and we started getting things in order. (It is way harder having one kid already when trying to have a 2nd kid. Childcare details & logistics can be stressful!). Once I got up and started moving around, the contractions slowed down a bit. I didn’t know if labor was stopping or stalling, so luckily, I had my 41 week appointment scheduled that morning at 10:45 so we went ahead and went to it. We loaded up the car with our hospital bags just in case we would be going straight from my appt to the hospital, and then we dropped off Jaxon at our neighbor’s (thank-you, Tammy!! xoxo).

10:45 am – We arrived at my OBGYN’s office (we love Dr. Meaders and the staff at Heritage Medical!! She’s amazing!) and they went ahead and hooked me up to a fetal monitor to check on London’s heartbeat and also the contractions. At that point they were about 12 minutes apart lasting around 30 seconds, and were easy to get through. My OBGYN saw me and I was around 3 cm and 40% effaced (the previous week I was 1-2). Obviously I wasn’t ready to head to the hospital quite yet, so we talked about stripping my membranes to encourage labor along (this was something I wasn’t keen on doing initially, but because labor had already started on its own, I wasn’t opposed to it at this point). The only problem was, my OBGYN was going to be out of pocket from 2-6 that day taking a test so if I happened to be ready to deliver during that time, then she wouldn’t be there (boo). We decided to wait and see how things would progress on their own. We left with instructions to head to the hospital if contractions became 4-5 minutes apart lasting a minute to a minute and a half, OR if labor wasn’t going anywhere, to come in around 4:30 and they could strip my membranes so I could deliver that evening.

We arrived home and I laid down and slept between contractions while Zach hung with Jax. With me being such a planner it was so hard to know how to plan accordingly because we didn’t know how labor was going to progress. My contractions were still coming, but just weren’t picking up at all. We were in communication with my doula (Jeannie Casey of Nashville Childbirth. She’s so great!) as to what we should do and she said I needed to get out of my head and just let labor come to me. (So hard!).

We decided to take a walk outside, so Zach loaded Jax in the stroller, and I was unsure if it was something I was up for, but Zach encouraged me and I’m glad we walked around. The fresh air felt so good, though as each contraction came, I’d have to stop and focus through it. They were definitely stronger than earlier, though not picking up speed too much.

4:30 pm – So Zach could focus solely on me, we went ahead and called one of our nannies who was available to come over and be with Jax.

5:00 pm – Our amazing OBGYN called us from her cell to check in on us and we said we wanted to wait it out and see what happened. The biggest thing I was worried of was going to the hospital, having them strip my membranes and then all of a sudden we were on their clock. Maybe it wouldn’t get labor going like we hoped and then they would want to get contractions going artificially via Pitocin, and then contractions would get really tough, and then I’d want the epidural and then it could start the slippery slope of all these medical interventions and then I would end up with a C-section. Needless to say, I didn’t want THAT happening, so that’s what kept us from going in at that point.

6:00 pm – I decided to take a bath to try and chill out. To help keep my mind occupied, Zach entertained me by reading jokes that he found on Reader’s Digest or some website of the sort. We stopped timing them but contractions were definitely getting more intense and super uncomfortable, but not very close together.

7:00pm – I decided that if labor continued to progress, I’d rather be at the hospital than at home and going through really hard labor in the 30 minute car ride (which I did with Jax. Blah.). We made the choice to go to the hospital. As we were getting ready to head out the door, I was having to stop and focus and breathe through each contraction. They were getting pretty sucky. We texted my doula and told her we were headed to the hospital and she said she would meet us there.

The drive there wasn’t the most fun – contractions were very strong and painful. I did realize that contractions weren’t AS bad if I kept my eyes open and focused on something else. Soooooo I was reading off license plate numbers to myself, pointing out the obvious as to what I was seeing during the drive, reading street signs – anything to keep my mind off my laboring body.

7:45 pm – We arrive at the hospital (Jeannie arrived at the same time) and they took me back and checked me and low and behold I was at 7cm! I was floored! With Jaxon’s birth it took over 40 hours of really sucky, consistent labor to barely get to a 6! To be at a 7 already was awesome and a boost to my confidence. We called our birth photographer (Evin Photography) and videographer (Kalimana Films) and they began to head our way.

The hospital admitted me and got me upstairs to Labor & Delivery and initially hooked me up to monitor London’s heartbeat. It was super uncomfortable because of course, I was flat on my back.  Finally they let me get off the bed and sit on a birthing ball – WAY more comfy. Contractions where coming and Zach & Jeannie were supporting me through them, but I just got to thinking that I might want an epidural.

Before I had Jaxon, I was all about going el natural and not having any medical interventions, especially if it put risk to our child. Then after 40 hours of labor at home (with Jaxon’s birth), the epidural was my saving grace and I would not have been able to make it the whole 50 hours of labor and THEN push him out after going through all that. I walked away from that experience grateful for doctors and especially for anesthesiologists :)

Going into London’s birth we were aiming to do it naturally at the hospital, but I wasn’t opposed to the epidural either.

So here I am, at the hospital, probably at an 8 by now, knowing that it’s getting close to go time. One of my concerns for not wanting the epidural was if I got it too soon, it would really slow labor down and then it would open the door for medical interventions to happen [like I mentioned, Pitocin being one of my main concerns, which is used to speed labor up once the epidural slows it down (and new studies are possibly linking it to autism… Not for sure, but I’d rather play it safe), which can put stress on the baby and then can oftentimes lead to a C-section, which I did NOT want]. Because I was far enough along, that wasn’t an issue anymore. Then I was thinking about it and the only 2 other reasons I was holding out was because of others and ego. I didn’t want to let Zach or my doula down by not going the drug-free route, and I wanted to be able to say that I did it naturally… Because that’s the cool thing these days (and of course, safest way to go :). Zach and Jeannie encouraged me that I was so close and could totally do it, but either way, I wouldn’t be letting them down, Zach told me it wasn’t their birth, it was mine and I could do whatever I wanted.

They brought the anesthesiologist in just so I could chat with her (I was wondering if maybe she could make a concoction that would just take the edge off). This young, pretty doctor walks in and she was amazing. She was so great listening to me and what I wanted and answering my questions about getting the epidural. She said she’d do her best to take the edge off but couldn’t make any guarantees (I guess it’s not that simple in the anesthesiologist world). I made up my mind and decided to get the epidural. I decided that I wanted to be able to enjoy the birth of my daughter and be focused on her and not the pain that came along with it. Shooooot, I already did enough pain time for both births with Jaxon’s labor alone :)

So, I got the epidural and it was awesome. Whatever Amanda (the anesthesiologist) did it was great because I was not paralyzed from the waist down. I could still move my legs and even feel the contractions. They were slightly uncomfortable as it was becoming time to push, but the “dosage” was perfect because I wanted to be able to feel what was going on!

So now that the epidural was in place, my film crew had arrived ;), and it was time to wait until my body was fully dilated and ready to push this baby out! (Thanks to Evin of Evin Photography  for all of the memorable pictures we have!!)

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As we were waiting, two slight scares happened.

Scare #1: As we all were just chilling in the room, all of a sudden our amazing nurse, Lisa, got all business-like and became completely hands-on with me and the heart monitor. London’s heartbeat dropped to 50 bpm (it should be around 130-150). Lisa started moving me from side to side, moving my belly and the monitor trying to relocate the heartbeat, and they brought out an oxygen mask and strapped it to my face. It seemed like forever, but in real time, who knows how long it actually was – maybe just minutes. When Lisa moved me on my other side, the heartbeat was found and with each deep breath I took of the oxygen, we could hear the heartbeat pick up. It was a scary few moments. Thoughts were racing in my head, “Oh man, we’re going to have to have a C-section, and it’s going to be my fault because I got the epidural (one of the downsides of the epi is you’re stuck to the bed and can’t move around, which is why her heartbeat dropped- she was laying on her cord funny and due to my immobility she didn’t move off it until the nurse moved me). But like I said, her heartbeat picked back up and things were totally ok. Whew. During those tense moments I had Zach on one side and Evin, my dear friend (and our photographer) on the other side holding my hand reassuring me that everything was going to be ok and praying for me. So thankful for people like that in my life! Love, you, Ev!

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Scare #2: At some point they broke my water and meconium was in it (meaning London had a bowel movement inside). Dr. Meaders told me that there would be a slight change in plans and that I would not be able to do skin to skin after she was born but that the NICU would be brought in and London would have to go straight to them; they had to ensure that she hadn’t digested any meconium. That bummed me out, but I knew it was more important for her to be safe.

10:35 pm – Time to start pushing! After being at the hospital less than 2.5 hours I couldn’t believe that it was time to start pushing! After 25 minutes, out popped our little baby girl!

11:00 pm – London Rain was born :) A fun fact: Jaxon and London were both born 6 days late at the same time! So crazy!

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My doctor actually let me grab her and then I got to hold my precious daughter for a few sweet moments before NICU took her to make sure she was ok.

Zach headed to the side of the room where they had the infant warmer and stayed with London while the NICU did their thing. It seemed like forever, but maybe was 10 minutes??

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After the NICU made sure that she was completely ok, London was brought to me for me to hold.

It was so surreal that in my arms was my DAUGHTER! There she was, lying on me… And she was so tiny! At 6 lbs, 11 oz and 19 inches long, I couldn’t believe she was actually here.

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Giving birth to London was such a great experience. The staff at Centennial Hospital was phenomenal, as they were last time with Jax, and my doula Jeannie was great. A huge thanks to Dr. Meaders and Jeannie, my doula (pictured below :).

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Looking back, getting the epidural was the right choice and I’m so glad I got it. It really allowed us (especially me :) to be able to enjoy London being born and be fully present and focused on her and what was happening… See me smiling in the below pic? Yeah, that’s me in between pushing :)0086

This birth was so different than Jaxon’s.  Zach and I were way more engaged and aware of what was going on. It was partially due to the fact that we had been through this once so we knew what to expect, but it was mostly due to the fact that this time we weren’t going on almost 50 hours of not sleeping and were practically delirious :) Also, once labor with Jax got going it didn’t let up, and with London it eased back during the afternoon allowing me to rest – which was awesome :)

Here’s Zach getting to hold London for the first time!0229

As I’m finishing this post, London is almost 6 weeks old. I can’t believe she has been here that long already. Where in the world did that time go?0204

London Rain:
We both have always loved the name London… I’d say for at least five years and the name has always stuck. It’s cool though that the city of London has been interwoven in our lives and story. Our career as photographers and educators brought us to London a few times to speak and lead workshops, and the name and the city is such a great representation of how the Lord extremely blessed us to travel the world and do what we love.  It is our prayer that London has a spirit of adventure and never dares to dream and hope for what others may think impossible.

Her middle name does not come from the fact that the city of London is often rainy but it’s representative of what the Lord has been doing in the personal lives of Zach and myself and in our marriage this year. True life-change happens when the Holy Spirit is allowed to come in and heal past wounds and the deepest parts of us. In the Bible, water is often representative of the Holy Spirit and water is cleansing. Rain brings life to all it touches, refreshes a dry land, and washes impurities away. We chose the name Rain as a statement for the work the Holy Spirit has begun and what he will be faithful to complete as we continue to pursue him and each other.

A little update on how things are going:

Jaxon is still enjoying London and kisses her often throughout the day. It was absolutely precious when he met her for the first time, so if you missed it on Facebook, you can see the sweet moments in our birth video at the bottom of ti post. Having Jax meet his sister was definitely a highlight of the whole experience, and I am SO glad that we had Kali there to capture the sweet moments. I will forever treasure having the footage!

Jaxon still asks to hold London, but then after a few moments he’s good to go and onto the next thing. Ha ha. When she cries he’ll put the paci in her mouth… And he likes to stick his finger in the paci as she’s sucking. He says, “Feels funny!” ha. We’re still having to remind him to be gentle at times.

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Jax has gotten a little bit whiny here and there so we’re trying to be sensitive to his needs, but at the same time, not allowing behavior that isn’t acceptable.

London is doing great. She’s eating like a champ and also sleeping really well. The first night home, she was up every two hours. Ever since then she’s been sleeping at night with at least one 4 hour stretch, if not 2 four hour stretches each night. Complete heaven! She’s on a 3 hour eat/wake/sleep routine, though some days she completely skips a sleep and is up for a few hours… Then she crashes later. Ha.  There’s been a few days where she hasn’t slept very well in the afternoon or evening and those nights she has rocked 7 hours straight of sleep. Woo hoo! She’s growing and gaining weight perfectly, so unless my pediatrician says otherwise, we are letting her sleep through at night until she wakes to eat!

(Below: London, 10 days new)

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Everyone keeps asking how it has been going from one to two. Well… There’s some part of me that wants to say that it’s been really tough, just so it doesn’t make some others feel bad who have had a hard time making the transition, but honestly, it’s been surprisingly a smooth transition and pretty easy. Way better than what I expected! London sleeping so well at night has helped tremendously, and because Zach and I are both off work we both are able to be fully present with the kids (ah, so crazy that it’s now “kidS”). The first few weeks after London’s morning feeding, I would go right back to bed getting an extra hour or two of sleep (London would go back to sleep too). Zach has been getting up with Jaxon when he wakes (around 7am), then once I get up, we all chill as a family. We try and get out at least once a day, whether to the bookstore (they have a train set to play with – woo hoo!), Starbucks, lunch, Target, or to hit the chiropractor or a local coffee shop. Some days Zach takes just Jax out for a bit and then I have been able to have some one-on-one time with London, or extra nap times earlier on (which was greatly needed and appreciated once we got home from the hospital!).

We still have had our two nannies come on their respective week day. Jax thrives with that one-on-one time with them and we haven’t wanted to change things up too much for him. It’s also been a great time for Zach and I to get out of the house and have some time with each other (and a sleeping baby) as the nanny is with Jaxon… We get coffee together and read a marriage book we’re working through and will hit a store or two for fun. (We even went out, kid free, and saw a movie!).  Having Steph and Martha is great, and let’s not forget to mention how amazing it is to have the dishwasher unloaded, dirty dishes put away, our laundry folded and in our closets when each of them is here. Please and thank-you! These two are awesome and definitely make our lives easier.

When Zach, Jax, London and I are chilling at home, we’re either all hanging together or we each are mainly focused on one kid. If Jax is wanting one of us, the other passes London off to the other parent so we can make sure Jax knows he’s a priority to us still.

Not doing this alone is what has made the transition a lot easier. We don’t have family close by (though my mom got to fly in for a few days a week after London was born!), and it’s been great to have the support of family and friends (thanks to everyone for all the meals!). I’m also so thankful that Zach and I are both able to unplug from work and just focus on our family. It will be interesting to see how things play out when Zach starts back at work again “full-time” and I’m tapping in a bit here and there to work on our software that’s about to launch. I did have the kids by myself one weekend when Zach went on a men’s retreat, which I was totally nervous about! It went way easier than I thought, though I lucked out when, for the most part, one was awake, the other was sleeping. This allowed me to focus on one kid at a time, which was great. It’s a challenge when BOTH kids are awake needing me and I’m the only adult around. So, we’ll see how that goes in a few months once it’s just me and both kids (for the most part) AND I’ll be trying to work a bit too.

It is so cool that we now are a family of FOUR. Thanks so much for taking the time to read our story and how we are doing!

I leave you with the highlight film of our birth story captured by Kali of Kalimana films.

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