Three big passions in life for me are family, fitness, and photography. It has always been my dream to weave the three of those things together into my job one day. Sometimes I have to pinch myself, because after many years of working very hard toward that goal, and different paths God has led me down, I really feel like I am starting to live that dream. And I am so grateful.
Let's start at the beginning...
I adore my family. Growing up, I was raised in a loving home where my parents really taught my brothers and I the value of hard work, loving Jesus, and loving each other. I hope that I am half the parent that they were to me. And now as an adult, I am so fortunate to be married to the love of my life, and we have two "little loves of my life" running around. (Well, one is running, and one is just working on neck control as a tiny infant.)
I have been active for as long as I can remember. I grew up on a little farm in the Midwest with two older brothers, no fences (except for the animals), and lots of room to run. I raised pigs, sheep, horses, cats, dogs, and lots of other animals. And I even ran my own rabbit business... raising and selling bunnies to kids (as pets... not as dinner) in my tiny little corner of the Midwest. So I guess my entrepreneurial spirit started at a very young age!
My brothers and I were always moving. Even in the snow! And we always had some kind of sport going on. I had to be fit - just to try and keep up with them! I played and excelled in 4 sports in high school, and sports were pretty much my life back then. When I got to college, I started teaching fitness classes and personal training (way back in the late 90s!) and got nationally certified through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in both areas. I have been doing both ever since.
I did a graduate assistantship at the University of Kentucky, and started the group fitness program there. Then I moved to Austin and the University of Texas to coordinate the Fitness/Wellness Program at the Division of Recreational Sports. I enjoyed coordinating that program (one of the largest fitness programs in the country) from 2004-2011 and then realized I needed to find something that allowed me more time with my son, Miles (and now my baby girl, Avah).
Out of my love for fitness, I started a little business named "Live Fit Austin." I did limited personal training sessions, and then started leading some women's outdoor fitness classes. Out of my need to incorporate my son into workouts in order to make them happen (mamas - you feelin' me?!), and my enjoyment of meeting other moms, I started WalkFit classes in my neighborhood in South Austin. It's a super fun way for women (and babes in strollers!) to get out of the house, show our babies that moving is marvelous, and just enjoy time together with other moms while getting a great workout. (Babies are not required... but they are certainly welcome.) I also taught at Lifetime Fitness.
Because my photography business and my kiddos have kept me so busy since 2012 (which I'm so excited about!), I am not currently leading any of these but I hope to get back to teaching at Lifetime Fitness in the near future.
After a lot of hard work and long (long!) hours educating myself and becoming "Jack of all trades" in building my business, Miles of Smiles Photography was born... Inspired by tiny little Miles, a deep desire for a more balanced work/life situation, and a lifetime of loving photography and having a creative brain for it.
Flashback to little farm-girl-Sarah... I used to take portraits of my animals, landscapes, etc. and enter them into the county fair every year. And I was always the "girl with the camera." (Some people carry a wallet... I usually carried a camera! Too bad cameras weren't so compact back in those days!)
Photography has always been a constant in my life. And now, more than ever - I love the way that photography allows me to exercise my creativity. To have an idea or thought and put it in motion during a photo shoot - and then give my clients sweet portraits and fine art products capturing those special moments... That is my "it" moment. Miles of Smiles Photography was officially "born" in October 2010, and I feel so blessed to get to do this for a living, and now as my main job in addition to being a mom. I cannot wait to see where God leads it from here.
And something tells me that little Miles (click here) might just grow up with a camera in his hand, too! Makes my heart so happy to watch him do his "photo shoots."
So jump on the family-fitness-photography train. It's going to be a fun ride!