Where to Go From Here...

It’s 3:32PM here in Orange County, California. My mind and body tells me it’s 3:32AM. I could really go for some chocolate ice cream. My eyes are heavy. My mind is foggy. And I am tempted towards spending an insane amount of money on a back and neck massage at the airport “relax” station.

I wonder if anyone ever actually relaxes there…

Nevermind, I just called and made an appointment with my regular massage therapist back home for later this week.

Crisis averted.

My flight doesn’t leave for another hour. And I have a ton of processing to do. But I’m not sure I have the brainpower to process anything well, right now.

Maybe I’ll try anyway. This could be funny.

For those who don’t follow my Facebook or Instagram accounts or email list —side note: c’mon now, if you follow one thing, sign up for my email list. I don’t spam and I’m working on some cool stuff and you’ll be the first to know. Okay end of commercial)— anyway for those who don’t know, I’ve been in Southern California for a few days. I’ve been photographing at the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference.

People asked me .throughout this past week, “How did you end up here?”


True story. I’ve had a decent share of rejection in my life. But I’ve also had some really cool things happen. And, I have this theory. People who push on doors sometimes get them slammed in their face. That feels like rejection. But people who push on doors also find them opening sometimes. And that feels like victory.

I pushed on a door. I asked a conference director if she could use a volunteer photographer in exchange for conference tuition. And my pitch was victorious.

Victorious may be a little dramatic of a word but I’ll go with it right now.

Anyways, I spent most of my time these past few days traveling from room to room trying to document and absorb as much as I could. I connected with some great people. I took a nightly trip with new friends to a local fro-yo shop and we bonded over stories and sugar. And I stayed up late every night and got up early every morning to finish editing the pictures I took each day.

I wore two hats: one of a professional photographer one of a wannabe-author.

And here’s the honest confession:

I loved the opportunity that being a photographer brought to me. I loved connecting with people in part because of my camera. I loved being able to gift people with pictures that brought them delight and memories. I loved being there.

But, not once did I wish I was back doing business as a photographer. Not once did I think, you know, I should reopen my photography business and do that instead.

If one thing’s for sure in my heart, it’s that photography for me has become a tool and not a profession. It is a tool to help others, help my family, and gain the knowledge I need to get better at something else.

So I want to get better at writing.

I want to get better at speaking.

But there are many things that feel up in the air.

Some of you know that I worked on a book proposal last Fall. I still love the book. My goal in writing it is to connect young women who do know Jesus with young women who don’t know Him.

When I was a teenager it was the faith of my parents, my youth pastor and my friends that had the biggest spiritual impact on me. I know what a difference it makes when we live our faiths out loud.

I want to encourage young women to trust God with all their heart and look around them. There are so many opportunities to love on people.

But even though that’s my passion- I’ve discovered that most young women (ages 16-23) don’t read blogs these days. At least not the young women I know. And I know quite a few. Most young women are on Spotify, YouTube, Instagram, and Netflix.

And that’s the rub.

Aside from the last month, I’ve tried to be pretty consistent in my blog writing schedule. I wanted to be faithful to do the thing I felt God putting on my heart to do. But what good is a blog if it doesn’t reach the people you’re trying to impact?

These questions have had me thinking a lot about changing course.

So for those still reading this, 1) you must really love me (LOL) and 2) I want you to know- things are going to look a little different in the coming weeks. For starters, I’m going to take the month of July off from blogging and most social media. July is a month of rebooting for my family and I need some time to pray and think about all that’s swirling in my head right now. I will plan to still send out my newsletter—once at the beginning of July and once at the end, so make sure you sign up for that (it’s easy just find the “SIGN ME UP” in the drop down menu).

3) My plan is to start podcasting in August. My plan is to give it a twelve week/twelve episode trial run. I want to see if it actually reaches the young women I hope to reach before I make a longterm commitment. If you’re a young woman who’s interested and enjoy listening to podcasts, I will be sending out those newsletters in July detailing the project, the theme, and how you can be involved in a street team project. There will be incentives and some special content for girls who join, so please reach out to me early if you want to be involved.

My plan is to pray about the rest of the stuff swirling in my head right now before I talk about it. That’s smart right? There are lots of ideas and honestly, I don’t know what to do. But one step at a time. I know the podcast is something I need to try. Brian and I have been praying about it for months. I’ve been co-hosting a mini-podcast for several months for the Delight & Be Ministry, my friend lent me sound equipment a long time ago, I won a free course on how to launch a podcast, and I talked to a podcast expert this weekend who went through the steps I could take to broadcast a podcast for free. If I ignore that door for much longer, I think I’ll be in disobedience. All other signs point to pause, pray, and then proceed.

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9

Thanks for letting me process, friends. This has been good. God’s doing some exciting things and I’m looking forward to sharing more as God leads and directs me.

Janell Wood