Giving back…

Last year, when New Years rolled around, I wanted to think of a New Years Resolution that I would stick to.  This is how I came to realize I wanted Balance to be mine.

I saw a woman on a talk show who was commenting on how, in our culture, we praise women who can multitask. They are able to a work a full time job, look after their 3 children, run them to their after school events/sports, volunteer on 5 different boards and still cook supper for their families.   Meanwhile, these mothers feel frazzled on the inside and are at their wit’s end – spent and burnt out.  They may stay up til all hours of the night completing the last bit of laundry and dishes before they get their much need 5 hours of sleep before they do it again.   They must be doing it right because everyone around them is complementing them on a job well done.  I’m not here to judge, and maybe you are able to multitask well,  but if you are feeling overwhelmed then perhaps you might need to take a step back.

This lady guest speaker went on to say that we should be praising the mothers who are well balanced.  What does this mean you ask?  Well,  it’s the mother who knows their personal boundaries.  They know how much they can handle and how to put themselves first.  These mothers are not frazzled on the inside because she gives to herself first the much needed love and attention, and then to her family.   She will only take on as much as she can handle to find inner peace.  We should praise these mothers who know how to take care of themselves which, in turn, will then be able to help others.   This struck a cord with me – I did not feel inner peace.  I felt like the first mother.  Everyone was always telling me I was doing a great job, but I did not feel that way.  I have four kids, was working a full-time job, taking the kids to their after school sports, sitting on four boards, chairing them or being directly involved with them.  I found I was stretching myself very thin.  I did not feel happy on the inside. Then my husband fell ill, and I knew what I had to do.  So, in April, I put my New Years Resolution to work.  I scaled my job back, stepped off all the boards I was on, and then put myself first.  This in turn helped me help my family.

As I sit here writing this out, I find I’m more peaceful now than I ever was last year.  So my New Years Resolution worked and anyone of you can do it for yourself.   You can put yourself first.   For me, I go to the gym every morning.  I find this helps my body and mind; it makes me feel great. Then I want to do great things for the rest of the day.  I find I’m at ease more and ready to help solve the world’s dilemmas, even if it is the kids fighting over a toy.  I’m more ready to help my family when I take care of myself.  My inner peace is much higher, and I feel less likely to fall back into the old routine of unhappiness. As I find balance, I find I’m solving my other life issues easier – like my weight, self-love, and my own happiness.

Which leads me to this New Years Resolution  -“Positivity”!

I was thinking hard this year what I wanted for my new years resolution. Last year was balance, which I found; and this year, I wanted to be positive no matter what life throws at me. I want to see the glass half full.  I want to be one of those happy people you see. I want things to roll off my back just like water off a ducks.   “How was I going to do this?”  I asked myself.  I found my answer – Every day I’m going to wake up and decide, “I want to be a positive person”.  If you think you are, then you will be just that.  I’ve been trying to be positive for the past couple of weeks and it’s not the easiest thing in the world, I will not lie to you.  Last week, my car broke down, and I sat there trying to stay positive. It was hard, but I did it.  lol… I know what you are thinking.  You might be livid, but I chose not to be.  I was just going to deal with it.  It was not going to bother me like it did before.  I saw the positive in the situation.  My car was not going to cost me an arm and leg at the mechanic’s shop and I’m happy to report it did not.  That said, I’m trading my vehicle off.  Ha!!!

So now, if you are still reading this, and are still with me, you might be wondering why I’m I writing this on my photography blog… well, it does figure into my work.  Lately, I do not feel that my photography was bringing me joy and happiness.  I wanted to do something positive with my work, so I decided that helping others is what I want to do.  This would be a positive thing in my life, which would help me stay positive.  I have decided Giving Back a few free sessions a month was what I was going to do.  As most of you know, I work when my husband is home from his job.  So I figured twice a month I’m going to shoot pictures for free.  Yes, you heard me correct –  I’m going to work for free.  I’m going to shoot 2 different sessions a month for free.  I will be able to creatively photograph this person or  family how I see fit. How I’m going to do this is?  I’m going to have you guys write in either for yourself or maybe for someone that you know.  I would like the recipient of this free session to be somehow deserving – a single parent working and supporting their family, a person who thinks of others first before themselves, a family who is struggling; maybe there is an illness in the family and they can’t afford pictures.  Maybe it’s a student who aced his grade 12 midterms or a firefighter who risks his life to save others.  Perhaps it’s someone in the military who protects our freedom.  What I would like is for you to email me your stories of why you think you or your nominee would merit these services.  I will take the time to read them and then select who I think deserves them based on my some of the standards I gave you guys.  I will then contact the winner and set up the session.


There is absolutely NO STRINGS attached.  There are no fees, and you will get all the pictures on a disc.  You are not obligated to purchase images or pay me anything. Nothing, nil, nada.  What I will do is post your pictures on my blog/Facebook with your deserving story and that’s it.  I find that giving back will help me while helping you.  So there you have it – my very long story and how I’m going to give back.  I will try this out for 2012, taking 2 clients a month. I look forward to this positive change in my life.

Thank You for taking the time and “listening” to what I wrote…

May you find inner peace and self-love

Warm Smiles, Leah Wood


Please email me at in the subject line put Giving Back…


  • January 7, 2012 - 8:51 PM

    Susanne Jones - Leah,

    You are so inspiring. You always have a smile (when I see you anyway), you are always willing to chat.

    I’m not trying to get into your free sessions, but I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

    I will be honest, I don’t have 3 kids, nor do I sit on a bunch of boards. I have watched other mothers that are in over their heads, and they are so stressed out that they are forced to take stress leave from their jobs. I knew I never wanted that for myself.

    I do however have a farm with horses and other pets, and a daughter. I rode many years ago before I moved to Peace River and my dream… to again ride in Barrel Racing competitions and other horsey activities. But I struggle to balance a non horsey husband and a young child (my husband is getting much better lately with supporting and helping me to achieve my goals). I have made much the same resolution.. To do what I can when I can with my horses. If I am too tired from working all week to go out and ride, well that’s ok, the horses will be waiting for me the next day. If the house isn’t perfectly clean when company comes over, well that’s ok too, they are here to see me, not my house. I am taking the time to bake cookies with my daughter and visiting more people, just cause it feels good.

    There are always going to be struggles, my boss has put in her resignation for another opportunity. At the same time that I am so happy for her that her life will be less frazzled, I am freaking out inside because I am the only other person in the department and boy is this gonna be a challenge to do this all on my own. BUT, I am keeping my chin up, and doing my absolute best to stay positive and not burn myself out.

    Thank you for being a person in this town that alot of people know and that you put your story out there and let it be known. I know that when I start to freak out inside, I will think about your blog and rememeber to stay positive.

    Thank you,
    Susanne Jones

  • January 9, 2012 - 1:49 PM

    Stacey - Very well said Leah! And good for you! So glad you were able to find your much needed balance and now onto positivity 🙂 Thank-you for our chat last night, it has inspired me to do things differently myself and perhaps find balance in my photography and life as well this year!

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