A New Season of Life

college game day at our house

The Johnson family has was catapulted into a season of change when Lucy was born and I got my cancer diagnosis. 2013 seemed like the year our lives were thrown into the air, while we stood on the ground and waited to find out where the pieces would fall. Well, the year’s almost over, and finally we’re beginning to settle into a new season of life, and it feels pretty darn good.

This year I’ve been working on a lot of odd jobs, and began to really think about what kind of work would make me the happiest. I was doing photography, web design, blogging, selling on Etsy, writing for Babble, and balancing it all was exhausting! I came to the conclusion that I needed some kind of job outside the home. A job that didn’t require me to manage my productivity, e-mails, client demands, and that sort of thing. So when a friend of mine left her job at Starbucks, she offered to hook me up with her old position. So I said yes! It felt incredibly impulsive, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed. I only work about 15 hours a week there, just enough that the paycheck is helpful, but I don’t dread heading in to each shift. In fact, I sometimes look forward to it! And I love my coworkers and actually getting to be around real live people, without a computer screen in between us. It was a good opportunity that came along at the right time.

Also, after years of shooting photos for this blog, Phil finally joined me in my photography business this past Summer! I’ve been shooting freelance for a few years now, but now we shoot together as husband and wife, and the amount of stress that’s lifted from my mind is immense. I always know who my second shooter will be now, I know he’s great with people, and I know all of our equipment is compatible. Ahem. ;) We rebranded our business and created a new website for our photog biz called Ohio Fresh Photo.

In addition to photography, some of you might remember that I have worked with Freckled Nest doing web design work for a few years now. After my surgery in March, I slowed down my client load, and really enjoyed time away from client work. Freckled Nest is moving in a new direction, so we’ve all decided to move on to do our own things.

Writing for Babble was another job that came along at the right time, when I was finishing my cancer treatment and was spending a lot of time recuperating at home. It allowed me to work in my pajamas if necessary, and take care of Lucy and things on the homefront. It was a great opportunity, but when I was approached by the girls at A Beautiful Mess to become a contributor for their website, I had to say yes! I’ve always loved getting crafty and styling shoots, but this personal blog of mine never took off in a way that made such endeavors financially feasible. So working with Elsie and the gang is a dream come true!

It’s always a little awkward when I meet new people and they ask me what I do. My friends joke that I wear lots of hats. Literally and figuratively. But I’m beginning to start taking off some of those preverbal hats and streamlining my life a bit. I’m hoping to close down my Etsy shop, Fine & Dandy Vintage, to make room in our home and my life for other things. And after doing that, I’ll only have three jobs to lay claim to: Barista, photographer, and project creator for A Beautiful Mess. Whew! Ch-ch-changes! But I’m feelin’ good about it all.

Check out my first project for A Beautiful Mess- DIY Porcelain Holiday Tree Lights. They look so cute lit up in our home, and Lucy loves them!

porcelain tree lights DIY


19 Responses

  1. Ruth says:

    Sounds amazing! Congrats!

  2. Melanie says:

    Good luck with all your new ventures Amanda! I’m just getting used to having some time off and am now trying to figure out what to take on! I feel like I wasn’t able to get creative for such a long time working full time, I mean 50+ hours so now that i have some breathing room, I don’t even know where to start! I want to do it all!! haha.
    Sounds like you’re heading in the right direction for what is right for you and your family.
    All the best!

  3. Valerie says:

    Good luck on your new endeavors. I love reading A Beautiful Mess and look forward to your contributions!

  4. Abby says:

    I’m so excited for you, Mandi! I know when we all got together for the orchard meet-up, you had mentioned feeling a bit overwhelmed. It’s great to hear that everything is falling nicely into place! Best of luck on all of your adventures, and I can’t wait to read more of your contributions with A Beautiful Mess.


  5. Evi says:

    I just don’t believe it! A beautiful Mess is one of my favourite blogs! And I I saw your project something like ten minutes ago but I didn’t realise it was you suggesting this project! :) Good luck with everything new!. New things are nice, new twist in life!

  6. emily says:

    I can relate in many ways minus the baby! I wish a smoother year ahead for you and your family. Good luck <3

  7. patty says:

    Kudos to you!! I know you’re glad to see the year come to an end (2008 was my yr) but look at what you accomplished despite… Sometimes the best answer to that QUESTION is… Im a mom. It is.. really.. the most important job you’ll ever have. :)

  8. Anne says:

    The only thing that could make me love A Beautiful Mess more than I do right now is your style added to the mix. Congrats!

  9. Karli says:

    The year your life was catapulted into change alright! I’m so glad you’ve made the most of such interesting opportunities! You are such a creative woman and I wish you all the best for 2014 xx

  10. Ashlie says:

    Beautiful picture, love the his and hers mugs. Best of luck on all your adventures, and thank you for letting us follow along!

  11. amazing stuff, I am glad you are finding your way and now happier where you are! you are an inspiration

    Katrina Sophia Blog

  12. Tania says:

    Congratulations on your new venture! I worked pt at starbucks a few years ago and I loved it too! :) I am excited to read through your blog and hear all your adventures! :)

  13. It must be really hard to let go of some jobs, but it must feel good to finally concentrate on the main things. And yay for working at Starbucks! I’m a barista for them too and it’s the best. Do you work at a normal cafe or a Drive-Thru? :)

  14. Stacia says:

    That is an insane year. I’m glad you’re feeling more in control now. I loved the tutorial you did over at A Beautiful Mess!

  15. You look so fab! Love it so much!
    The best is yet to come.
    Xo Jenny

  16. You are doing some truly amazing things, lady! Congratulations on joining the A Beautiful Mess team – and I absolutely love your photography biz… heck, I may even put away some money for a couple’s photo shoot if I can convince my boyfriend ;) haha.

    Glad to hear things are going well for you!!