Thank God for Chapter 30

Welp guys, today is the Big THREE OH (30) and I could not be more grateful! πŸ™ŒπŸΎ For allot of people I know 30 is a hard pill to swallow. My mom and grandmother said they both shed some tears on their 30th birthday because it was the first time they ever felt like they were old. 😫 Now I can not promise there won't be any tears but I will say that I do not feel old. Honestly I feel like my life is just beginning. Like 30 is where life is actually going to start getting good!

I have always loved bucket lists. I even had one at my wedding for my guests to give us fun ideas for marriage. For anyone that doesn't know what that is it's basically challenges to complete before a certain date or before kicking the bucket. And there are tons of them out there to do before you are 30. I have seen a travel one where you travel to 30 countries by 30. I saw a bucket list one of 30 fun or adventurous things to complete by 30. But the most inspiring one of all to me was from Solange. She challenged herself to simply just share her story. It was her triumphs and trials by 30. I especially love her reason behind sharing it.

'Don't ever let anyone write your story for you. They can talk, they can doubt, and they can say what they wanna, but only you have the words to narrate this ting we call life.' - Solange

The reason this statement is so powerful to me is because the entire reason I started my blog was to tell my story. I felt like God wanted me to share my testimony. One of the main reasons we go through hard times is to be an example for someone else and to help them get through it.  So 3 years ago I started writing about my life and walk with God and pray that it would encourage someone to get to know God and give them hope for a brighter tomorrow. So today, on my 30th birthday, I want to share my 30 by 30 with you guys! Beware my story isn't perfect. But it is all mine!

IMG_5549.JPG
Philly Photographer

1. June 4th, 1988 a star was born! (That was pretty corny and super inaccurate but it sounded good right lol)

2. October 8, 1990 I was promoted to big sister when my best friend, Candace, on earth was born.

3. 5 - 11 y/o - Participated every activity that could possible fit into my parents schedule. I was in band (clarinet), ballet, dance ministry, the children's choir, Girl Scouts, basketball and softball. 

4. 10 y/o - I was homeschooled. My mom decided to take us out of private school and give public school a chance. But with the behavior problems and the schools academic deficiencies at our local middle school it was very short lived. About 2 months into the school year, my mom took my sister and I out and home schooled us for the remainder of my 5th grade school year. 

5. 10 & 12 y/o - I became a big sister again, to Cinque and Czar, two of the smartest kids I know.

6. 11 y/o - Moved to St. Louis with my Mom while she attended Eden Theological Seminary to obtain her Masters of Divinity, while she also finished up her bachelors degree. I watched my mom complete 2 degrees in 3.5 years while being a single mom of two young kids. I watched my mom be a superhero. 

7. 14 y/o - Moved back to the suburbs of Chicago and we gave their public school system another try. This time as a freshman at Hillcrest High School. 

lifec 6.jpeg

8. 16 y/o - Got my first job at AJ wright. I would tell myself every paycheck I was going to buy some cool clothes but when I got my tiny check I always ended up saving it. That's when I realized I am a saver not a spender. LOL

9. 18 y/o graduated in the top 25 of my high school class.

10. 18 y/o Moved 12 hrs away from home to attend Howard University (The Real HU).

11. 19 y/o -Had my first drink.

12. 19 y/o -  I became independent. I started waitressing at Hooters and making pay my own bills kind of money. (Hooters was short lived. I eventually ended up at Lucky Strike Lanes for the remainder of college.)

13. 19 y/o Went on a Girls Spring Break Trip in Miami, my first grown up vacation. That's when my love affair with traveling began. 

14. 20 y/o Moved into my first house with 3 friends. It was my first time living on my own outside of a dorm. And let me tell y'all DC is not cheap. My portion of the rent was $650 alone. But I paid for it by myself. I finally felt like an adult.

15. 21 y/o Graduated on time Suma Cum Laude from one of the most prestigious HBCU's Howard University (H.U. You KNOW!!!!) with a Bachelors in Arts. One of my proudest accomplishments. 

16. 23 y/o Started dating and fell in love with 'Prince Charming'. And lost 3 of my very best and oldest friends in the process. I learned that love can wreck some things in your life. 

17. 23 y/o Started Janelle Jaqueline Photography (formally known as Image'N Me Photography). Just months prior I found a job photographing kids on picture day. That was my first time learning the in's and outs of photography. I fell in love and a few months later an Entrepreneur was born.

18. 25 y/o - Married 'Prince Charming'. I had the fairytale dream wedding. It was beautiful but it did not make up for the broken and unequally yoked marriage.

19. 25 y/o -Went on my first trip outside of the US, Cancun, Mexico.

20. 25 y/o - Joined my first bible study group that planted the seeds for me to develop my relationship with God. And met two of the best sister in Christ I could ever ask for (Tiffany and Shanika).

21. 25 y/o - Got Pregnant with my first child and had a miscarriage 6 weeks later.

22. 26 y/o - Found out 'Prince Charming' wasn't faithful and we eventually separated. I moved in back in with my mom and sister and went through a deep depression that I wasn't sure I would make it out of. 

23. 26 y/o - In the midst of my depression I finally surrendered my life to God and started to really seek him. I got to know him for myself and realized what had been missing my whole life.

24. 26 y/o - Made the decision to start to really LIVE. I traveled, signed up for my first 5k, made new friends. I started to enjoy my life exactly the way it was.

25. 27 y/o - Finally obeyed God and signed the final divorce papers. I was finally free of 'Prince Charming'.

26. 27 y/o - Fell in love with Ken, one of Gods sons. And it was only 2 months after the divorce was final. Our mutual friend encouraged us to talk on the phone. He lived in Texas and I was in Chicago. After one month of phone conversations I was on a flight to meet him.

27. 27 -29 y/o Took at least 25 different flights and road-tripped across the country (Honolulu, San Antonio, Dallas, LA, San Jose, Vegas, New Orleans, Atlanta, Washington DC, Philly, New York, Salt Lake City, Montego Bay Jamaica, Cozumel Mexico, Yucatan Mexico).

Philly Photographer

28. 29 y/o - October 14, 2017 I married my KING, Kenneth Reid. He is the man that God made specifically for me. This has been the biggest blessing of my life. There is something about allowing God to guide your decisions instead of trying to do it your way. Things are so much smoother that way.

29. 29 y/o - Faced my fears and moved across the country with just my husband to Dover, Delaware. He is in the Air-Force so where we live is not up to us right now. I honestly never wanted to live away from my family but I'm trusting that God's plan for my life is better than my own.

30. Today I turn 30. This is the beginning of an amazing new Chapter. I've made it here only by the grace of God, the prayers of my ancestors, and the love and encouragement of my family and friends.

Β 

My 20's were a lot of fun! But as you can see my 20's were also filled with some hard lessons. I laughed, I cried, I partied, I fell in love, I broke the law a couple times (nothing to crazy guys lol), I had my heartbroken, I made some great friends and lost friends I thought I would have forever. I made a lot of mistakes in my 20's. I was forced to grown up in my 20's. But the best part was that I got to know God in my 20's. I am still growing and learning about God as I go, I have this awesome feeling that my 30's will be where I thrive. And I do not just mean with money or success. I hope to have those things but I honestly think that my 30's will be about purpose. I am determined to become someone great. I want to be all that God expects of me and I pray he uses me in a mighty way.

Philly Wedding Photographer