Healthy Wholesome Hobbies

In 2011, my sister-in-law invited me to a photography class with her in Chicago. She’d gotten a buy one, get one free deal through Groupon, and though I had zero interest in or experience with photography, I said “yes.”  It’s fun to be in the city and to try something new, especially if that something is free!


We were each given a DSLR camera to borrow for the day, and for the first half of the class, we went over aperture, shutter speed, ISO, light, shadows, and composition. For the most part, I was totally lost. Still, though, I was intrigued. I felt energized and engaged when we took our cameras outside to practice applying the lessons we’d learned.


It had been a neat and interesting way to spend a Saturday, but I didn’t imagine anything coming of it. It was surprising when, days later, I looked through my class notes again, searched online for more photography tutorials, and checked out books on photography from the library.


 I didn’t even own a DSLR camera, and everything I was reading was still very confusing and difficult to grasp, so I just started using my cheap digital camera a little more intentionally, considering the light, backdrop, composition, etc. I took SO many photos and just kept reading. I remember when a photography concept that had alluded me for weeks finally clicked in my brain. “I get it!” I triumphantly announced to no one in particular, and it was such an adrenaline rush to experience growth in a hobby that I never knew I needed. Over the next ten years, I would continue creatively stretching myself, upgrade my equipment, and even begin a small portrait photography business. That one spontaneous invitation all those years ago led to a whole new vocation.


In 2019, I decided to retire my photography business and focus entirely on our Filled With Less ministry. For a couple of years, my camera collected dust as I threw myself into new and different projects and challenges. In the last few months, however, I’ve picked it up again for parish events, a few senior portraits and family sessions, and most recently for our Back to Basics course. It was very fulfilling to capture artistic images at Olympia’s St. Basil Farm for the website, e-book, PDFs, etc.!







It's incredible how fanning a tiny spark of interest into a flame has given me many opportunities to serve others and create a little light and beauty in this world. That Groupon class has been a gift that keeps on giving!


When we are stressed, in a funk, or busy, one of the first things we usually give up on our hobbies, which is unfortunate because that is probably when we need them most. Engaging in the creative process of developing new skills protects our minds from negative ruminations. We emphasize the importance of hobbies in our courses and membership for this very reason. God has implanted little seeds of talents and interests within each of us to cultivate for our own joy and His glory!  


“Today is life, the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.”

- Dale Carnegie

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