Inching Closer to the Big Three-Zero.

I’m a fine art wedding photographer based in Birmingham, Alabama and available for travel worldwide. Here you can browse weddings, engagements, travel & more.
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NOTE: This was published on my previous blog, and was pulled from the archives since it’s a favorite of mine. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

So often in this world, we get discouraged, feel uninspired, and lose sight of what’s most important in life. As a woman who’s rapidly approaching that huge milestone of turning thirty {95 days to be exact, but who’s counting?}, lately I’ve been looking back over the years and all the memories wondering where the time went. It’s amazing how many details you can remember from a moment captured in an image, and how they come flooding back the second you see it again. That’s a huge reason photography has always been such a passion of mine; I want to capture every emotion, detail and moment that I can. It’s become my passion, and I want to be able to share that with my clients, whether it’s photographing their family in an intimate portrait session, or by capturing their love story thru engagement and wedding photography. I want my clients to be flooded with the joy, the memories, the emotions, and the laughter from those moments when they look back thru their photographs years later.

Over the weekend, I had a blast looking through old photos and reminiscing. I even dug up this photo to include today, this is me in the spring of 1986, at almost 2 years old. How precious is this ruffled lavender dress?! Thanks, Momma 😉

Being a single, almost 30-year-old woman in small town Alabama isn’t always easy. I have days when I wonder what God has planned for me, if I’m on the path He wants me to follow, and some days I wonder if He’s just forgotten about me altogether (okay—I know He hasn’t—but still, it does cross my mind on occasion). Below is a list I recently came across in a blog post titled 30 Reminders for my Almost 30-Year-Old Self (link below). I found myself re-reading it and HAD to share with you guys because it’s full of motivation. I’ve been focusing on trusting God for direction more and more this year, so I love that as I began scanning to see what kind of amazing insight this person was going to share with MY almost 30-year-old self, number one jumped out at me:

Act with bigger faith.
When you stop underestimating God, you relax by default.

Whoa. Read that one more time.

Pretty big statement, right? It really spoke to me.
God will amaze you when you put your trust in him and know he’s got your back. Are you happy with where you are right now? If you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing, STOP. Right now. Stop wasting your time. Get back in school and finish that degree so you can pursue that career you deserve. Find your passion. Enroll in a culinary class. Sign up for a workshop (or three!). Take chances others wouldn’t take (within reason). Believe in yourself. You are ridiculously talented in some way or another. Figure out what that is for you and go change the world with your talent. Most of all, get HAPPY. This is your life that’s passing by. Know that God will be there to guide you along the way if you’ll let him.

Please take a few minutes to read the list below. As Janice said in the original post “This is not a list that looks like “Go to Budapest” (though you should go to Budapest), or “Perform one random act of kindness every first of the month for a stranger.” These are simply the things I’ve learned and am still learning (every last one through trial-and-error) and will continue to regard as my pillars of fulfillment as I sashay into the best years of my life. This is an open reminder to my almost 30-year-old self to live kindly, live with purpose, and never, ever, touch anything with half my heart.”

No matter your age, I think these will speak to you and motivate you, too.
I would love to hear your faves 🙂
Xx jessie

30 Reminders for my Almost 30-Year-Old Self:

1. Act With Bigger Faith. Whatever that means for you, let your convictions steer your actions, and more importantly your thoughts and dispositions. When you stop underestimating God, you relax by default.

2. Desire Is Not Interchangeable With Value. And passion is not necessarily love. A man can desire you without respecting you. Learn to distinguish the two, take nothing less than both.

3. People Will Adopt Your Own Beliefs About Yourself. Aim high.

4. Put Yourself Out There. It is usually terrifying, often humiliating, but always liberating. You’ve got a lot to give, go find people to give it to. Go to the bar on a Tuesday, give in to friends playing matchmaker, get on that plane, make every zone your comfort zone.

5. Wear Your Passport Thin. We are the most self-centered people in the world. Eat the food, learn the dance, soak up every last bit of every other culture. Make them like Americans. Go find that you, yes you, are in the 1%; but they are happy.

6. Humility Is Sexy. Do not confuse your God-given talent or predispositions for achievement. There is nothing sexier than an intuitive sense of gratitude and humility.

7. Know Your Personal Mission Statement. Decide what your life’s mission statement is, and pursue that mission with every interaction.

8. Know When To End Things And How To End Things. You know in your gut when a relationship or job has run its course. Don’t let comfort, security or ego keep you where you no longer belong. Have the courage to do it and learn how to leave with grace and integrity. Close the door, don’t slam it.

9. Power In Numbers. Find people to hold you accountable to your personal, spiritual, physical and professional goals. Say it aloud to each other, and make it a priority to check in regularly. You cannot do it alone.

10. Be Unapologetic About Your Values. Everyone has their own, remain steadfast in yours.

11. Hurt People, Hurt People. It’s a truth as old as time. Restore the cord, don’t cut it. Cutting out negative people from your life solves only your problem. Love hard. Then, love harder.

12. Older Does Not Mean Wiser. Understand your environment, recognize your influencers, be selective with the counsel you heed.

13. You Are Somebody’s Role Model. Try not to disappoint them.

14. Do It For The Story. You gain every time you backseat your fear. Invest in experiences.

15. Learn How To Speak All Five Love Languages. Seriously. Every relationship in your life with bear more fruit. The grass really is greener where you water it.

16. Sleep. You are not invincible. Give it a rest, dude.

17. Live Within Your Means. Budget your social life, invest in a financial advisor, and stay below the line. When in doubt, don’t buy it.

18. Be The Exception. History does not define you and statistics are merely suggestive. Prove them wrong, be the 1 in 25 who gets there, and root on the people who get there before you.

19. Increase The Weight Of Your Word. Do what you say you’ll do and be where you say you’ll be.

20. Read More Novels. Actual bound books. These are the people who haven’t let anyone stand in the way of their imagination or stifle their creative voices in a world that capitalizes on cliff notes and digital. Give them life, it’ll enrich yours.

21. Stop Playing Martyr to Circumstance. You fall victim to that which you allow the power to victimize you. Stand behind your actions and accept what follows. Take the responsibility.

22. Go All In On Love. You may feel pain so deep you check for a pulse, but no love is better than mediocre love. Feel all the feels, feel it intensely, and don’t hold your present accountable for your past.

23. Money Fixes Numbers, And Numbers. Solid accounts are nice, solid relationships are better. After all, “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”

24. If You Have To Play Games, You’re Playing Out Of Your League. In romance and business, stay in the Majors. The right people will step up to the plate.

25. Beauty Is Subjective. Be beautiful for the way you think, the way you speak, the way you give of yourself. Physical beauty is a good hand you were dealt, not an accomplishment.

26. There’s No Dollar Sign On A Peace Of Mind. It will work out. Condition your mind to coast over the bumps. Sideline the stress.

27. Be Acutely Self-Aware. Be able to recognize when your own behavior and thoughts take a downturn, and do what you need to do to correct it.

28. An Open Mind Is A Gold Mine. Listen with the intent to relate. Education has no lifespan.

29. Overuse “Thank You.” Appreciation truly can revive the spirit. Extend your gratefulness.

30. God’s Got You. Your life will go off-plan, but He will not lead you somewhere to then not sustain you. Know that protection often comes disguised as rejection and it’s okay for things to take a little longer, that just wasn’t your plan.

See the full post here: Thought Catalog – 30 Reminders for My Almost 30-Year-Old Self by Janice Lee




  1. Irene Farrimond

    February 17th, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Love these reminders! Thanks for sharing – #29 is my absolute favorite!

  2. Tami

    February 17th, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    All great reminders. Glad you pulled it from the archives!
    -signed the 35yo gal on a flight now to Italy.

  3. Stephanie Ko

    February 17th, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    30 – truth. I love that #1 and #30 are so interconnected. Everything totally goes full circle and points back to Him!

  4. Jessie Barksdale

    February 18th, 2016 at 3:26 am

    Yes, yes, yes! 🙂

  5. Amilia James

    February 17th, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    "Learn to speak all 5 love languages" this needs to be on my list! Your whole list is so good and happy (early) birthday! I think one of the sweetest things about being single for me is just the freedom to devote so much time to the Lord and others and to being adventurous and moving cross country all without having to second guess it. I don’t know that I’ll ever be as free to be obedient to follow all the radical things God calls me to as I am in this season!

  6. Jessie Barksdale

    May 3rd, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    I love your perspective, Amilia! Thank you!

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