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Life-Changing Lessons from A Broken Leg (Part 1 of 2)

These past two to three weeks have been what I would consider ‘life-changing’.

On November 16, I caught a terrible virus from a family member and overnight I was in Urgent Care getting a shot in the ‘hip’ and contemplating if I could push through the work day or not. It turns out (per doctor’s orders.)  I was forced to call it a day HOPING I’d get better soon so I could get back to work.

It turns out, God didn’t plan it that way.

Tuesday afternoon brought on a new symptom (other than the sinus drainage and a terribly scratchy throat/sneezing) ……. one large order of VOICE LOSS! Nevermind that my job as an insurance agent requires me to TALK 95% of the time! ** insert a “what are you telling me LORD?!**

With one fell swoop, my entire year supply of sick days was wiped out and I was forced the following Monday to return to work, with a hazmat mask on, barely being able to speak above a scraggly whisper.d21b601d09f254a6301b0c4004f8045b.620x400x1

Most of you who read my blog know that I’m a freelance photographer and will undoubtedly feel my pain to know that in addition to being out of work and running out of paid sick leave, I also had to reschedule a slew of fall special shoots I’d already rescheduled due to an emergency family conflict. I was calling on the LORD (in my heart) heavy now! Appearing unprofessional and flaky was NOT my goal when I initially set up these shoots months earlier.

**in a 60-something year old black pastor voice** Somebody turn to your neighbor and say BUT GOD!

Thankfully God heard my cry and blessed me with my go-to videographer-friend Rashaad (who is my second photographer on weddings and events) and allowed him to be off work so he could step in for me.

# LIFE-CHANGING LESSON A: Be thankful for the good people God has placed in your life and be good to them.

One of the things that bothers me most as a business person is when a situation legitimately makes me appear as unprofessional or unknowledgeable. I love photography. It will always be in my heart; and while there will always be people who will try to “get over” on me or dislike my art, I don’t always take it well when “life” happens and interferes with how customers perceive my business.  This is why I’m thankful to have someone like Rashaad on my team and I always try to be a good as a friend as he is to me. He didn’t have to take on those shoots for me. He could’ve said “well to heck with you, I ain’t got time for it!”, and watched as I crashed and burned – but he didn’t. The importance of true friendship and partnership was illuminated to me in this moment. I was inspired to try and be there for my loved ones when they really need me (although I may not be able to help all of the time.) God divinely orchestrates certain relationships to help us live our best lives and live great.

 

Back to the sickness.

By the fifth day of week two, my voice was functioning at about 87% and while I was physically tired and still feeling icky, the week wasn’t overwhelming – UNTIL – I walked into my parents’ house ….

(to be continued)

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1 Good Reason God May Remove Someone From Your Life

This afternoon, I was perusing my FB timeline for content when I happened upon a post from The Praying Woman. It was adequately titled, “3 Reasons God May Remove Someone From Your Life”.

As I clicked on the link to prepare myself to for a nice, quick read, I found myself scrolling over the times in my life where friends or significant others seemed to float right on out the picture. For some instances, the reasoning was clear, but for others, not so much. When I read down to the last reason listed in the article, I found this:

3. Because sometimes our loved ones become more of a distraction than our enemies. This is God’s way of keeping us focused.

Today, I ask you this: Where does God fit in your life? Is He #1, #2, #3, or a better question would be… Is He even a priority in your life at all?

Sometimes we place our relationship with God on the back burner without even realizing it. We don’t give it our all like we do everything else.

Try not to be so focused on earthly relationships that you forget about your relationship with God. Switch the energy you’re currently putting into your distractions and refocus it where it’s needed, on Him!

You know those times where you have a “feeling” you might be right about a situation but talk yourself into thinking you’re over analyzing it too much? YES? Then you’ll know that this is exactly what BINGED in my mind when I read this.

A recent loved one who parted ways falls into this category, and not bashing them, but I realized our personalities mixed with the constant need to ‘upkeep’ our friendship/relationship ultimately brought it to a close. I was willing to overlook a few struggles in order to maintain consistent communication while obliviously overlooking the fact that my focus on God was creeping down to 2nd place. I found myself not feeling like my jovial, bubbly, NORMAL self as fear and doubt hopped into the front passenger seat of my life; all the while ignoring the signs that God was sending me.

YOU WILL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BESIDES ME!!!

I was making my friendship/relationship with this person an idol without knowing it and found myself more preoccupied with pleasing them and MAKING myself BE the right companion for them, that I totally ignored God! Yep, it’s a hard thing to admit, but I had to repent because I pushed God aside without even knowing it. I was all up and in works of the flesh trying to MAKE this thing work. That’s why God shut it all down! After a series of arguments and disagreements, this person and I parted ways and almost immediately, an entire ton of feathers lifted! By the time the sun rose, I was almost back to my former self. Sure this person is a great person as a whole, but here me when I tell you God will allow NO ONE to block the works HE desires to do in us. So whether that’s a sibling, friend, significant other, co-worker, even a parent — if we place anyone above God in ANY way, God will show up and cool it down. He’s not a “backburner” God.

So whether you’re doing it intentionally or not, stop making people idols in your life. If you find yourself thinking about them more than God — chances are you’re placing too much importance on them. If you spend all of your time with them (even to the point whether you just go work/school and stay up under them or call them) — then you’re probably making them an idol. There is nothing wrong with a good healthy investment into your relationships, but when it consumes you…. handle it before God does; because He will.

Be blessed, Joc

 

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Robert Zuckerman…a Photographer’s photographer.

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I remember it like it was just last week.

It was the summer/fall of my junior year of college, and I was just getting myself up and running as a freelance photographer. I think every creative soul has a point in where they jump body first into a craft that they love….that’s how I was. Even though my work looked like ‘who shot John on a Thursday night’, I was proud because I was finally getting the chance to do something I enjoyed doing. I was on YouTube daily and called around to every local camera store within 100 miles of my university because I wanted to learn, learn learn!! During that time, some of my closet friends traveled NY to try out for Diddy’s “Making His Band”. Needless to say they had a HUGE surprise for me when they got back home from auditions. My friend Greg told me of this ‘dope photographer’ they all met while just walking down the street exploring the city. After some conversation, they told him they had a friend [me] who was interested in photography and he gave them one of his business cards. When I got a hold of the card I ferociously started Googling his site and info.

MY MOUTH DROPPED!!!!

The super cool photographer they met was Robert Zuckerman…aka the guy who’s photographed for some of the most amazing films/shows/actors to date!

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I had actually JUST started this my photography blog ( jocsphotography.wordpress.com/ ) for a business class assignment, and decided that I would post about my experience. (I believe it’s still up there if you dig around). I am NOT lying to you good people when I say that I literally cried for like 30 minutes after I got a notification that Robert ACTUALLY saw my post and commented. At first I was honestly expecting something like “Thanks for the post”, but when I saw that he actually took the time to read my post and address me was mind blowing!

For someone just starting out, that was the extra push I needed to see that all professionals aren’t “SOOO professional” that they can’t lend a moment of support for someone up-and-coming. From then on I have followed him and tried to keep in contact.

http://www.robertzuckerman.com/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-g-zuckerman/

http://kindsight.blogspot.com/

Well today, I log onto my Facebook and see a post he made speaking on how regardless of the fact that physical ailments have stifled his ability to move around as well as he wishes, and despite the fact that photography jobs he’s been offered aren’t as frequent as in years past — he still topped the (photographer) rankings last week over some of the industry’s most esteemed and talented photographers.

I was all too glad to comment on his post because of all the inspiration he’s provided me without us ever stepping foot in the same room. A photographer will, at most times, stand on the edge of a 10,000 foot ravine if it means getting the perfect shot; so for Mr.Zuckerman to allow his love/knowledge for what he does carry him beyond his physical ‘hiccups’ and continue on with the fight behind the lens is B-A-N-A-N-A-S! I know that since he has been able to fight through the tough times (with the support of family/friends), his future is going to be better than he can ever imagine. His post alone was inspiring in itself; so imagine what other photographers, artists, business people he can inspire with if he continues speaking on his journey and being transparent with his struggles — the possibilities are endless!

I really do pray that God touches his body so that even when he runs into a tough day…he’ll have the superhuman strength to coast on through it like it was merely a day at the beach!

Please follow and support this tremendously talented photographer!

– Joc

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