year end post

November 10, 2020

Giving Power to What You Believe

how it began

I love the feeling of starting over. It’s terrifying stepping into the unknown and yet this rush comes over me. It makes my heart race and I can just FEEL that it’s going to be so good. And I believed it.

If you don’t know me, or us, this part of the story will be new to you. And that makes me excited! I love telling this part of the story. I feel like in all great stories, there’s a beginning. Mine began in the end of 2018.

2019 was creeping up on us as the new year always seems to do. I was wrestling with this feeling that I was intuiting. I remember the moment so clearly when I decided to surrender and ask, “what do you want?!”. Dreams that I once had came flooding out all at once.

“You will travel the world”

Ummmm ok then. But where?

“You are going to visit friends and it will be healing”.

For me? For them? I never really did get an answer. Just a knowing smile that I could feel through my whole body, wrapping me like a blanket.

“You are going to start with Korina.”

So I did. I messaged her and she was excited, of course. One of the things that I love about Korina is her ability to show people a great time in Austin. She is a fantastic host. But I didn’t know this yet.

The one thing that we didn’t have was a date for me to come. So I waited. And while I was waiting, 2019 began and we were now in March. I wanted to surprise Luke for his birthday (it’s seriously a goal in life to surprise him) by taking him to visit our dear friends Jacob + Emily in Memphis. While we were with them we talked about all the things. Family, church, photography, relationships and moving. We were already feeling the tug of a relocation needing to happen. Memphis didn’t feel like us, even though we would have these two amazing human beings there to love and support us.

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austin, tx

We met Korina and Maggie in 2017 at a photography workshop. The same workshop we met Emily and Jacob at. Immediately our souls touched. We didn’t know this at the time but these two people would become more key in us moving. We would sit and talk outside of sessions from the workshop and get to know one another. Korina introduced us to the enneagram and how it works in her life (more on that later). Throughout time, after the workshop, we kept in touch with them.

When Molly reached out to Korina and they made their plans for Molly to go visit Austin, somewhere inside me I knew this was a spark to a change of sorts. Maggie was going to come in to Austin to spend time with them as well, which was a welcoming surprise for Molly. It was basically just going to be a weeklong date for the 3 of them.

Molly and I had talked a little bit about moving in the past. I had been mostly against it because I was in a job I loved and we had just gotten back on a good track with our house. Why spend all this time trying to get things in order just for us to turn around and sell it. But I also knew that I wasn’t super happy in Mankato. Photography wasn’t where we wanted it to be, we weren’t connected much with church anymore, Molly’s siblings were growing up and weren’t needing her as much anymore.

Molly thought she needed to stay in MN for these people but those reasons were slipping away. We both had reasons to stay but we also didn’t have any reasons to not move.

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In late June of 2019, I dropped Molly off at her mom’s house in Burnsville, said our goodbyes and I drove back home, probably to go to work the next day or something. While she was in Austin, I could tell she was having a wonderful time. Hanging out with Korina’s friends, drinking amazing looking drinks and eating amazing looking food. Many times while talking with her, all three of them would say “you should move here!” It did look like a beautiful city. I love architecture and big buildings and the hustle and bustle of city life so I could see myself there.

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When Molly returned she constantly talked about the energy, the food, the drinks, the pools and the friends that she had made and how we were going to be well connected so that our photography business would thrive. I was sold on an idea that this was going to be an awesome and fun filled adventure!

So we packed up and moved. We had a good amount of money from our house sale and used it to get settled and adjusted to Austin life. I didn’t start my new job till almost a month after arriving here. During that first month we would hang out with people, go to restaurants, get drinks, go to live music shows and drive around our new city. We even found a brewery that an actor that we love owns and met him and his wife. I got into a couple of photography groups on facebook and started following models on instagram and we got a few shoots in right off the bat that we thought would propel us forward in the market here. It was a great first month!

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what came next

This part is extremely difficult to write. I don’t want to share it but I am a believer in telling the truth, even if it hurts. It’s the most important part of our story. It’s what thrust us into one of the greatest seasons in our entire lives.

What we thought we had here was a mirage. The support, the connection, the gatherings…. they just didn’t exist. We moved without support. God was like, “Ok great! You moved!” and then proceeded to shut the door which felt like it was slammed shut.

This triggered deeeeep feelings of abandonment and resentment. I can count one hand the amount of times I almost packed our things and moved back with our tails tucked between our legs. This is too hard. This isn’t what I signed up for.

Emily and Jacob came in February and we got to see them for a day. I was a fucking wreck by this time. Luke made us waffles to start out our day and then we went out shooting. Of course we talked about how things were not going great for us. I’m sure I cried multiple times. We photographed them and they photographed us. (Images below.) While I LOVE the images they captured of us, I can see the mess that I was in them. This is not the real me. This is a broken and hurting version of myself.

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In March one of our oldest kitty children suddenly became ill and we had to put him down. Taylor was such a sweetheart, always wanted to be in my lap and would let me kiss his nose and paws. Sadly, I didn’t truly mourn his passing because I personally was in such a rough place. So grateful for a friend of ours who bought his ashes so that we could still have him.

To be honest, I was hating the whole process of photography. It was incredibly draining. I was fighting the feelings of shame because I no longer was loving photography the way that I have in the past 10 years. The passion was gone.

The pandemic hit in April and it just made us feel isolated. We weren’t able to get out and meet people comfortably. At the same time, we were used to it. In some ways, it was actually a big sigh of relief. It removed the pressure and the anxiety of putting ourselves out there.

What I didn’t know prior to moving was that sometimes God will use our deepest, darkest parts of ourselves, that bring so much pain, to wake us up. I say this dramatically because those who hear this part of our story share with us how we make it look so easy.

I’m telling you, it wasn’t easy. It was like taking a burning iron and pressing it into my skin as i scream though the release of my fears, insecurities, triggers, unhealthy attachments, unhealthy mindsets and ideals. It fucking hurt. I took a look into the mirror and burned it all down.

I woke up.

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werk

I never thought I would actually leave Mankato. I now realize that sometimes a physical change in location can spark the change in yourself.

I found there is a DC in New Braunfels, TX and decided that would be a good place to go for work. My midwestern mind told me that I needed a regular job in order to be a functioning member of society. It was the same scheduled days that I was already used to which was Saturday-Monday day shift. The hours were 5am – 5pm but I figured that wouldn’t be an issue. I was so wrong.

I didn’t take into account traffic. I never dealt with traffic for a commute to work. And I certainly had never dealt with Texas traffic. With a clear road my new workplace was a 35 minute straight shot down I35. In the mornings this was fine as I had to be to work before traffic started getting bad. But after work was a whole different story. After my first full day on the job coupled with the drive home I knew this was not going to work out for me. I tried to justify staying there because it was just those 3 days after all and I am a loyal guy.

But I just couldn’t do it.

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I had an ideal (idealist here) that we would be hanging out with people on the weekends. That we would make tons of new friends through the people we knew that lived here. So I just didn’t go back after those first 3 days. I started looking for jobs that were actually in Austin. Everything I found was paying way too low for my taste. I started realizing that a lot of people here have multiple jobs or gigs that they do and that hustling is a way of life here in Austin. I started looking into gig jobs, craigslist classifieds and day labor.

God has a way of providing the resources you need at the right time.

We did end up actually hanging out with people some for those first few weeks in Austin and one of those times there was a guy named Eric. Molly met him when she went to visit in July. Eric happens to own his own business, Going with the Flow. I did not know what it was at the time and I don’t even recall him saying what it was. (lol.) I offered my services if he ever needed help with anything. (More on Eric later)

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By the time I figured out Walmart wasn’t the answer we had spent a good majority of the money we made from our house sale and we were starting to panic. Our name wasn’t out here for photography, Molly didn’t even know if she wanted to continue photography and I was far too worried about how we were going to pay our bills and have food to eat to even really think about photography.

My lowest low was when I went to a day labor office and filled out paperwork for the company. I felt shame, fear, regret and anger when I stepped into that place. I had also signed up for a delivery service called Postmates but learned very quickly that wasn’t going to be very lucrative. I figured that if I could somehow get in with a construction crew or something through the folks I worked with at these day labor jobs that I would be set. I worked day labor 3 days and each day made maybe $80. Definitely not enough to make any sort of ends meet. I did meet a guy that had done construction type work his whole life and offered me a job with him if he could get some more guys and tools together. I agreed to it but it never amounted to anything.

I knew I was better than this.

During my time of searching for a job a friend told us about Favor. It’s like DoorDash and UberEats and things like that but it’s an Austin born company. I figured I’d give that a go. December 28th I delivered my first favor and I was kinda hooked. Driving around, getting to know my new city, texting people, buying them things and delivering it to them AND getting paid for it was fun. And it still is!

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Ok back to Eric. One day Korina texted Molly asking for my number cause Eric wanted to get in touch with me. So he tells me a place and a time to meet and he would pay me an honest wage to help him out. Turns out his job is irrigation.

We finished that first day and man was I sore but I wasn’t going to give up. I needed the money and the change. By the time Eric contacted me I had done over 1200 favors, knew the city pretty well and had made a good deal of money. But I had started to feel the burn out and I needed a break. Since irrigation is seasonal my thought was that during the summer I work with him and during the winter I run Favor. That way, by the time I start feeling burnt out of one I switch to the other.

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fifteen years

Marriage; or how do you start over after 15 years together?

Molly and I have had a pretty decent marriage life so far. We have had big upsets but also big wins. We have endured porn addiction, cheating and lying. But what happens when you start to coast? When life just takes you and you’re just there for the ride?

Molly always knows when a change needs to happen. And she felt it coming like a storm. We had started getting into the enneagram back when Korina introduced it to us at the photography workshop. Back then Molly tested as a 2 and I typed as a 9. She wanted more and we needed more.

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She purchased a couple books and dove head first into it because she saw how much value there is in it. She could see how this can change peoples lives. She sent me a video message and in that message, through tears, she stated that she thinks she’s actually a 4. We began to wonder if I had mistyped too. Sure enough I had and it turns out I’m a 7.

4’s are wonderfully creative with their minds. They can look at things and people deeply. Their sense of empathy is true and they will sit with you in your feelings. They can see the truth in people and try and pull that out in them. They aren’t afraid of darkness. It’s a beautiful gift that they offer the world.

7’s have a big sense of adventure, fun and have a zest for life. They are also joyful, playful, and creative. Their gift is that they can manifest positivity and favor. This was something that I had forgotten how to do.

The reason I had mistyped as a 9 is because 9’s can go to sleep to themselves. But 7’s can go to a similar place and it’s called nihilism. This is a place that is void of feeling, void of emotion and it’s basically nothingness. Throughout the years I had coasted so far that I was now in a place of nothing. This is dangerous.

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We decided to do a relationship program that our dear friend Bekah was going through. Molly had laid it out and made it clear that if I/we didn’t do something radical, we would be done.We binged the video series, took notes and the plan was to talk about it on the beach during our 15 year anniversary. I’m not going to lie, this wasn’t easy, for either of us.

We talked on the way to Corpus Christi and talked the whole time were were there. If a particular subject got too triggering we would table it and move into a different direction. We would switch between laying out on the beach and swimming in the ocean. Close to sunset, I had a revelation about going with the flow of life and surrender. Much like the salt in the ocean, the Holy Spirit supports us in our daily lives. If we can learn to let go, jump in and allow the current to take us we won’t be fearful or worrisome of what comes next.

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We went out into the gulf and I practiced surrender. The waves weren’t calm and I can’t float, at least not in a pool. This was salt water though. I let my feet come up and I laid on my back on top of the waves. The feeling of actually letting the waves take me wherever was exhilarating. For the first time in a very long time I felt that I had what it takes to keep going and growing in life. And it was all about surrendering my control and ideals of how and who I should be in this world.

If you paid enough attention to our story you will see that we slipped in a few things that tell where we will end this. There is an irony to this story. Luke and I need to learn to manifest the favor in our lives and Luke works for a company called Favor. We need to learn how to let life flow through us and Luke works with a guy who’s business is called Go With The Flow.

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change of plans

I’m an idealist who over thinks everything. I know exactly what I want and think of a million different outcomes that could potentially happen. And even I didn’t see this coming. I could feel it but that’s different than actually knowing it or forseeing it.

When I was in my early 20’s I was in the process of signing up to go to school in Psychology. Long story short, it didn’t happen. I have joked throughout the years about how different my life would have turned out if I went down that path. Can you even imagine?! I never would have fallen in love with photography and met the amazing people along the way. (And Luke never would have picked up the camera.)

But life is funny like that.

God is so all knowing and His guidance is so good. When He boomed “go” the day I flew home from Austin the first time, I had no idea what He had for me and for us.

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I was searching for answers to my pain. I felt a massive disconnect my entire life with everything around me. My friends, my family and Luke. I needed to know if there was something inherently wrong with me.

I remember shortly after we arrived here, Korina had a prophetic dream about me. Short version: everything thought that I was on a rollercoaster and I wasn’t. This is what I had been told my whole life. This is what I had believed. Even as I write this, I feel anger. Anger that I believed such a disgusting lie.

When I started my enneagram journey, I was so full of that anger. It wasn’t even anger anymore. It was rage. I was aggressively searching for things to say to protect myself from the words people used to describe me. I was even in the beginning stages of writing a letter who someone who had hurt me the most in my life. I needed that person to know that they didn’t actually know me; that they were wrong about me.

But as the months went on, I had completely forgotten about that letter. With every day that passed, the more compassion filled my being. And with that compassion came understanding and truth.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with me. In fact, there was absolutely nothing wrong with that person either. They weren’t the villain in my story. No one was.

And that’s when I knew for certain, without a shadow of doubt, I was done with photography.

What once burned into my flesh and made me want to punch a wall in pain was now the very thing that liberated me. It set me ablaze.

You know how Tony Stark takes in information and then projects it into the room? I know. It’s hard to explain, but iykyk.

This is how the enneagram made me feel. I was taking in the information and then I projected it out in my mind and could see everything crystal clear. I could see all the answers that I had been seeking my whole life right in front of me and it radically changed my entire life.

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the plan

So what’s the plan? I have no idea. We are just here for the ride and anything can change at any given moment. hahaha

Just kidding.

We are working on 2, potentially 3, podcasts! More details will be coming about this very very soon. That’s my hope! It’s super exciting and I can’t wait to share them with you.

I plan to open our doors to start mentoring and help clients find their enneagram type within the next year. My ultimate goal is to be an enneagram coach but this is a few years away yet. (One of my favorite teachers recommends studying for at least 3 years before coaching.)

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We have some super fun places that we will be traveling to this year that we are both extremely excited for!

We are keeping them under wraps at the moment but just know that it’s going to be GOOD.

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It’s terrifying to put ourselves “out there”. I catch myself feeding my insecurities sometimes, but then I remember.

This journey that we are on is worth remembering. And we are both so grateful to be able to bring you along this journey with us as we make mistakes and celebrate our wins.

So thank you. From the bottom of our hearts.

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So the next time God says that “it’s going to be healing” or He says “go”, you better sit down or put on running shoes. It’s going to be a wild fucking ride.

So say your “fuck you’s” to your traumas and ptsd’s and grow and heal. It will be fulfilling, I promise.

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The Schweim's

thank you so much for coming on this journey with us!

with love,

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