Pinching Pennies & Butterflies ~ Chicago Wedding Photographer

I knew when I quit my day job back in September that going full-time with my business would not be a breeze. I even said, “I am aware it will not be easy. But I finally got to the point of exhaustion, and stress, and wondering who on earth I was (because I no longer felt like myself), that I would rather pinch pennies and be happy – than have a comfortable amount of money and be stressed to the point of making myself sick.”

And as those of you who read my post on Monday know, it has not always been easy. There are rough patches and scary moments. And James & I definitely are on a stricter budget than we have been in the past. But…. BUT… the thing is – – is that we are      SO.     MUCH.     HAPPIER.

It is honestly crazy to me when I think back on how I lived my life just a year ago. I was constantly on the go with no down time – working a stressful and time consuming day job 45+ hours a week (with commuting) – while running my business in basically a full-time capacity as well. I rarely had time to spend with James, my friends, and family – and when I did – I was so completely exhausted that I usually felt physically ill. Not good. Not good at all.

And now…. the difference is unbelievable. Comparing my past to my present is like night and day. Especially right now during “slow season” – when I have more time to have dinner with friends, network with others in the industry, and enjoy date nights with James. I’ve been going to the gym regularly again (I forgot how good it feels to be strong!), and I’ve been sleeping regularly (which does all kinds of amazing things for your mind and body, obviously).

So even in those moments of panic and worry (which I try to avoid… but if we’re being honest – they happen about once a month when I go over my budget and prep for the next month ahead), I do my best to remember the positive things about our new life. And for me, the most important – most positive thing of all is that I get to spend sooo much more time with James.

At first it was an adjustment to be home together basically 24/7 (since James is in school full-time & helping me with the business), but once we figured out our schedules and the daily flow of things – it has been (mostly) smooth sailing. I’m not going to lie and say every moment is roses and rainbows – because as with any couple – we disagree about silly things, and I’m pretty sure I drive him crazy on a regular basis (especially because we are together nearly every moment of every day). So the other day when I was hit by a case of love-sick butterflies – I was kind of taken by surprise.

We were both taking a break from working to join each other in the kitchen for lunch… James sitting on a stool at the counter, and me across from him fixing myself a bagel sandwich. We had all the windows and the door to our back deck wide open so a pleasant breeze was blowing through and beautiful afternoon light was pouring in. I don’t remember what we were talking about – but out of no where it hit me. I had stopped listening to what he was saying and I was just staring at him with a silly grin on my face. I felt this wave of joy come over me and butterflies in my stomach. My heart actually ached and I swallowed hard with a lump in my throat. I thought to myself… I love this man SO MUCH! 

It was at that moment when James abruptly stopped speaking and smiled back at me. He tilted his head, smirked, and said, “You looooooooove me… don’t you?!?!”  (I was found out.)

I laughed and replied, “Is it that obvious?”

“Yes…”  he said.

Then I went on to explain how the feeling had come over me out of nowhere – catching me completely off guard… my aching heart – the butterflies in my stomach – the silly, dopey grin on my face – and the twinkle in my eyes.

We sat there for a bit – looking at each other from across the counter – soaking in the moment and feeling oh-so-blessed that this is our day to day life. I walked around the counter to him and hugged him from behind as I took a deep breath. I made a mental note to do my best to remember this feeling always. On days when I’m worried about making what we need to pay the bills… on days when The Fear consumes me – I’m going to bring this memory to the front of my mind.

To remind myself that I’d rather pinch pennies and feel butterflies… that I’d rather pinch pennies and be happy…. than have all the money in the world, but no time to enjoy life with the people I love.




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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!