Monthly Archives: September 2013

cracking my heart wide open

Millie  |  One Fine Day

Beware: this post has been stewing for a while. It’s me cracking my heart wide open and trying to learn a lesson in being transparent. It’s not an easy blog post to write. Part of me wonders if I’m sharing too much but then part of me knows if I don’t share it I won’t heal, I won’t be able to grow, and I won’t ever learn that it’s ok to just let down my guard and share my heart.

I’ve been on hiatus from this blog for about a year (maybe more). I used to blog often. I was a goal setter with big dreams and crazy big motivation. I’m not sure exactly what happened but somewhere along the way I lost sight of me. I suddenly stopped focusing on what I really wanted out of life and of what I was called to be. I told a friend just a few weeks ago that it’s funny how you own your own business so that you can have clarity and a life but if you are not careful it can be the very thing in life that strips all of that away. The last two weeks have brought about so much revelation that I now realize I can’t blame my business for what I’ve been through, it’s my own fault. I’ve just used work as a crutch for far too long to avoid dealing with things, too busy to fix what’s really wrong. In my blogging absence I’ve been off trying to figure things out. I’ve been working really hard to get over the crappy things in life that have happened to me over the last year and taking a few more blows along the way. I slipped into a really lonely place in my life. I became a cold hard person. For a year, I worked really hard to keep people away so they wouldn’t find out how dark of a place I was really in, trying to convince myself I wasn’t lonely, hurting or in need of help from others. I’ve been doing some soul searching down some really dark and lonely roads for several months now but I’m happy to say I’ve made some really powerful discoveries and I’m finding my way back to the light.

Call it what you will, a mid life crisis or self discovery. I’m working really hard to crack myself back open. I’m finding new inspiration and returning to the old me, only stronger, more secure and even better than before! I don’t want you to think my whole life recently has been all bad, it hasn’t. Within the past year I’ve had a lot of wonderful things happen, the discovery that both of my sister in-laws are pregnant and due six weeks apart, the launch of a new business, a new nephew born just a week and a half ago, and another one due within the next five weeks, plus I’m losing weight! However, I have been through some of life’s greatest trials in the past year. I discovered how quickly people can change and how hard it is to see someone you care about betray your trust. I also lost a dear friend, I watched her battle cancer and I watched her die. I stood by her side on May 13th as she took her last breath, then one hour later I packed up my suitcase and left her there. I wasn’t sure where to go from there, how to pick up the pieces, how to act like nothing happened, how to live like everything was ok. I left that hospital cold and numb. Life suddenly felt really strange and emotional (understatement of the year). I lost a beautiful friend that day, I also gained perspective. I have never experienced so many emotions in such a short amount of time, from extreme sadness, to peace, then anger and loneliness. I was grieving, I just didn’t know what to call it until my Mother pointed it out in conversation about a month ago when I was expressing how I felt about some things.

While going through this I took a break from social media for the most part. Much less checking in, many less posts. I’ve got some incredibly amazing people that the Lord has placed in my life. They’ve seen me through the past year. They’ve said some hard things for me to swallow, things I needed to hear. They’ve texted me encouragement, lent me a shoulder to cry on, listened to me pour my heart out. They have planted seeds that the Lord has used to soften my heart. Many times the things they’ve said haven’t solicited a response from me at all but I heard them loud and clear and somehow they made their way into my heart. I won’t say I’ve arrived and I know I’ve got many more lessons to learn but I’m feeling much more opened to them and I’m reminded that although life isn’t always fair, it really is beautiful and I’m beginning to see that beauty again.

I don’t write any of this for anyone to pity where I’ve been. I’m not sad about it at all. I’ve had some amazing revelations, grown deeper in my faith and I’ve come out stronger than before but with more humility, passion, and compassion for life. I think I’m better for it!

Funny thing is that at the beginning of 2013, I chose my one word: Present. Little did I know then what that word would bring about. Being “present” to deal with the things I needed to confront has been my saving grace over the last few months. At the beginning of the year I wrote this: It’s about living in the now, the period of time between now and the future. Not living for what is tomorrow or worried about what happened yesterday but knowing that everything I have today is enough. I must be present to see Him move in my life and to recognize His provision. Present to embrace, love, care for and appreciate those He has placed in my life. Present to hear His voice and recognize what He is doing in the now. Present to marvel in His goodness and the life I have been given.

Now it’s time for me to be present here, so I am happy to say you’ll be seeing more of me here, more of my family, more of my life, more of my thoughts. I’m making my mind stop and slow down to soak in the now. Because what I have today, right now is enough. It’s better than enough!

One thing I’m doing to bring some joy back into my life is to create a list of fun things to do. Now I’ll be pulling from this list weekly and doing whatever I pull each week for a bit! Here are some other things on my agenda in the near future to help me live out my one word:

– More journaling
– A lot more laughing, dreaming, and joking
– Finding enjoyment in the small things
– Living in a constant state of gratitude
– Taking more time to let people know how much they mean to me
– A trip to the arcade
– A game of paintball

What are you planning to do this year to live in the Present?

18 Responses to cracking my heart wide open

  • November 17, 2016 | 7:30 AM

    I found your photography business when I first moved to Wilmington and vowed if I ever needed a photographer they would come from your business. Revisiting your website for just that purpose I read this … and commiserate. So brave of you to post this – that’s a tough journey. Just went through similar. Actually, that journey is still continuing but it’s better. Bah…I’m rambling. Thank you for sharing. You are fabulous.

  • October 6, 2013 | 10:59 PM

    Millie, thank you for posting this. I don’t know you, but I know of and admire your work. Thank you for opening up and sharing both a bit of your pain and your hope. It helps to remind folks like myself that we are all together human. Continue to shine!

  • October 3, 2013 | 10:41 AM

    How beautiful that you are placed in a role of leadership, in the midst of the public eye, and can share your challenges, your truth and bear witness to others. How beautiful that you are willing to do such, and that you pursue and embrace a Greater wisdom beyond yourself. Someone clearly holds you in the palm of His hand.

    Here’s to more geocaching (and letterboxing, too).

  • September 24, 2013 | 10:28 PM

    MILLIE!!! I just love you. Wish I were there so you could make me laugh:) You’re awesome.

  • September 19, 2013 | 8:49 PM

    God made a masterpiece when He created you! You are profound and practical, creative and focused. I appreciate your words of wisdom… these words from the heart. Thanks for sharing and letting me know you a better!

  • September 18, 2013 | 1:27 PM

    Millie- Thank you for your openness. I have been following your blog for years and I have noticed that you haven’t post as much this year. I will keep you in my prayers and I am glad that you are back. I appreciate your transparency. It is amazing how people on the other side of the blog (myself) look at photographer’s lives as perfect. You are creative, run your own business, admired by so many, you love God, and your are successful. However, you are a person just like me. You have the same struggles. You, Nancy, and Cheyenne have been an inspiration to me. All of you open up and share your joys and struggles with everyone. You help me to see that even though life make look perfect via a blog, that really everyone has battles and that the Lord helps you through it. Thank you!

  • September 11, 2013 | 11:25 PM

    The world needs more of you! What an inpsiring message.

  • September 11, 2013 | 10:36 PM

    Very brave post, also lovely.

  • September 11, 2013 | 2:11 PM

    There’s so much courage in your honesty. Thanks for sharing!

  • September 11, 2013 | 11:18 AM

    Love this post and your genuine words. Thank you for your transparency – we all need more of this in our lives. Praying for you during this season, and I’m selfishly grateful that you are back on the blog! Your blog has always been such a great source of inspiration to me. If ever in Raleigh, dinner is on me. Love you friend.

  • September 11, 2013 | 11:04 AM

    Bless you, Millie! XO

  • September 11, 2013 | 9:11 AM

    Loved every word!! It’s funny how sometimes we feel we are baring our soul and possibly sharing too much but when others read it… they are like.. “I’m there too and every word is resonating with me”. I love your transparency. It only makes you more beautiful and tangible… especially when I haven’t ever gotten to hug your neck in person. Keep the words coming! Millie Girl, I Love you!

  • September 11, 2013 | 9:05 AM

    thank you for being so vulnerable and real. praying this year is full of new things and that His mercy & grace carries you.

  • September 11, 2013 | 8:07 AM

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. It helps others know they are not alone. I especially like your statement of living in a constant state of gratitude. I have in the past heard of developing an attitude of gratitude.

    “Carpe Diem!”

  • September 11, 2013 | 8:05 AM

    Transparency is such a powerful thing. Thanks so much for opening up and sharing your heart–your spirit is beautiful and strong. Lots of love, Mil!

  • September 11, 2013 | 7:02 AM

    So many truths in your post. Thankful that The Lord allows you to share so that others might be encouraged.

  • September 11, 2013 | 6:33 AM

    I’ve got huge crocodile tears running down my face, I love the article. You’re a special person, Millie Holloman, and not just because your my daughter—I love you more. I loved you first. I love you with every breath. I’ll love you forever! mom

  • September 11, 2013 | 1:14 AM

    You are truly a wonder, Millie Holloman. An amazing, awe-inspiring, wonderful wonder. You are so many incredible things in my life- boss, teacher, inspiration, friend, mentor, sister, coach, family, cheerleader- and every time I learn something new about you I am even more in love with all of the brilliant facets of who you are. Your vulnerability here is beautiful, and I couldn’t respect you more.

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