Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mission, Vision, Goal - the first of 4 reflections

I don’t know about you, but I have felt bombarded over the past decade or more with MISSION, VISION, GOAL. We are asked to define these in our personal lives, in our social organizations, and in our jobs. We are assaulted by placards displayed from board rooms to waiting rooms, proudly emblazoning the MVG’s of others.

I always found this exercise to be…well, shallow. Our church recently went through this process, and with much respect and appreciation to those who worked so hard on this project, I really felt that you could stick our new MVG on any church or charitable organization, and it would work just fine. It was pretty generic, as these statements tend to be.

But, as part of my New Year’s resolution, I decided to tackle the job of creating my own MVG statements, if for no other reason than to convince myself of the futility of such exercises. And so I truly pondered: What is it that makes Cherie Renae tick, both personally and professionally?

In my next post, I'll talk about what I learned.

Mission, Vision, Goal - the second of four reflections

As I discussed in my last posting, I decided to tackle my own mission, vision, goal statements. I was skeptical about the process, because I felt that it tended to be unproductive. But to my surprise, it turned out to be a very good exercise. I found that there is a very strong driving force in my life, one that influences virtually every decision I make. Now, is it one that is common? Yes, I'm sure it is. There are probably millions of others who have the same motivation - the same MVG. But I realize that it is in the execution of our vision that we bring our unique strengths to the world and to each other.

And so, here is my mission:

My life’s mission is to love, encourage and uplift others – to share their joys and their burdens, and to dance with all my heart, soul and mind down the footpath of life.

So, what does this mean? I'll talk about both my personal and my professional demonstrations of this in my next two blogs.

Mission, Vision, Goal - the third of four reflections

My life’s mission is to love, encourage and uplift others – to share their joys and their burdens, and to dance with all my heart, soul and mind down the footpath of life.

What does this mean?

In my personal life, it means demonstrating this by generously giving of my time and my resources. I may share an hour of my time to celebrate with others or to cry with others. Or I may share my home with those who need, for a while, a place to grow and to be loved. It certainly means looking, every day and every moment, for the places where a word or a gesture will lift a spirit and give a spark of hope.

It means giving to those charities that touch my heart. I regularly give to my church, which supports local efforts like Habitat for Humanity, Jason Lee Soup Kitchen, Helping Hands (St. Mark Lutheran was one of the founders of this charity) and others. I give to Lutheran World Relief, to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and to the Disabled American Veteran’s association. I believe in putting my money where my mouth is, and my mouth says that I need to be generous, because there are so many who lack.

It also means taking time to nurture myself. I can’t give to others if I let my well run dry. This year, I am taking a Tai Chi class, to nourish both soul and body. I am taking a writing class from a noted local writer, Sara Wiseman, to continue the journey of the written word that began when I was a child. I am traveling in June with my son Gabriel to Scotland and England, to just ‘bum around’ and to spend time at Iona Community – a new adventure for us both!

In my final reflection, I will talk about how my mission drives my business and the decision that I make.

Mission, Vision, Goal - the final of four reflections

I have been talking about mission, and my journey to discover what drives me. In this final reflection, I want to share how this affects my business practices.

My life’s mission is to love, encourage and uplift others – to share their joys and their burdens, and to dance with all my heart, soul and mind down the footpath of life.

In my studio, my mission is expressed in both the experience and the finished art. That's why I originated the boutique studio concept three years ago. I want everyone to feel nurtured when they visit our studio - I want them (and me!) to feel that they have just spent a wonderful hour laughing and sharing with a good friend - and I hope that is true! I also want my clients to look at their finished art and to feel encouraged about themselves and their lives.

I support local and national organizations through my studio, as well. I have been so proud to be part of NILMDTS, an organization that brings portrait art to those who have suffered infant loss. (I just discovered that one of the homepage slideshow images is one that I created - it made me cry to see it.) I support our local Ten Thousand Villages, an artisan shop that brings dignity and living wages to those in third world countries. Check out my website for two upcoming events that help this wonderful organization. I support the local arts community by donating my time and photography to Salem Senateaires, Salem POPS and Willamette Master Chorus.

My creative goal is to express the heart & soul of each client through natural, insightful, fresh photography. My financial goal is really very simple – to generate income beyond my needs through clients who gladly invest in both portrait art and written word, so that I can generously share with others.

And that brings me back to my purpose in life – to love, to share, to encourage, to explore, to appreciate. It’s not a grand goal. But I hope, when I reach the end of this dance called life, to look back and say “Yes, I do believe I made a difference here and there.” And it will be enough.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thank you to the web survey participants

Thank you to all of you who participated in our enewsletter survey. (If you aren't on our email list, go to our website:, and click on "Sign up for our email newsletter)

You may recall that I provided a table of words that might describe our studio, and I asked that you choose three that best described our art and your experience.

The overwhelming winner(s): fun/fresh/friendly. Thank you! It is my mission to take away the dread often associated with visiting a professional photographer. I want my clients (and the world - as you know, I think BIG) to look forward to visiting me, to think of it as...a day at the spa.

The next most popular words: natural, insightful, quality. Again, thank you. As you know, it is my passion to capture your hearts and spirits in photographic art. It is my style to capture you being you. It is heartening to know that I am succeeding.

Other words used were relaxed, contemporary, joyful, caring, personal, stylistic, sincere, loving beautiful, peaceful, retrospective and exciting. I think that many of these words are reflected in the three we/you chose:

natural, insightful, fresh

So check out my website. You will find prominently displayed these three words. Thank you for your insights, for your time, for your caring!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Phillips-Keene wedding

Oh, my gosh - if I ever marry again (don't hold your breath) I will definitely get married in December! Nichole & Nathan chose late December for their wedding, and it was picture perfect. The holiday decorating at Mission Mill Museum provided a beautiful backdrop to this beautiful day.

The weather was mostly cooperative, and we were able to take outdoor images. That's what I love about Oregon - the weather almost always allows for a few scenic shots, even in winter.

As many of you know, I not only provide an engagement session with my wedding coverage, but also a bridal session. We do traditional, classical images, of course, but here is one of my favorites from that session, where we caught Nichole in a quiet, contemplative moment.