In 2008, I was hired to take a desk job in a high-rise office. The minute I was told I had the job, my life flashed before my eyes. I saw myself sitting at this desk day after day with no real passion for the position. I looked the owner of the company in the eyes and said, "I'm sorry. I can't take the job. I really want to become a photographer. I need to follow my heart. This is nothing against you or your company. I just need to see this through."
Humbled, I returned to my hometown of Springfield, Ill., and embarked on a journey to learn everything I could about photography and business. I built my business from the ground up, with many sleepless nights spent studying, filling stacks of journals with notes, and taking photos. Lots and lots of photos.
Ironically, that wasn't the only life-changing event which occurred during that 2008 trip to Dayton. It was during that same trip that I first connected with my now-wife, Jessica. She was living in Florida at the time, and just so happened to be in Springfield the same week I was in Dayton. Jessica sent me a message; I responded, and we arranged a phone call despite our geographical differences. We talked and laughed for hours as I verbally guided her through my hometown. Although we were states apart, we had a great time together.
But here's the thing: Jessica and I almost never happened. We were living in two very different worlds and fell out of touch. Jessica was still in Florida, very in tune with her faith and holding down a successful career as a hairstylist. I was in Illinois, doing all I could to better myself and become the photographer I really wanted to be.
After years of not communicating, Jessica sent me a Facebook message. I was not using Facebook at the time; I had simply created an account. I actually almost deleted her message, but upon second glance, I saw her face in the message box and realized who it was. I didn't hesitate; I opened the message. It was this message that led us down the road to our wedding on Oct. 8, 2016."