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Entries in Passion (13)


One Tough Mother

(Guest Blog by Tonia Shatzel, DVM)

My mother was about twenty when she had me.  I’m now forty-one (I’ll let you do the math.)  I think it’s important that you have an idea of her age so you can truly understand how amazing her story really is.  No, she didn’t swim across the English Channel in order to rescue twenty orphans from the incoming tide; she did something far more difficult (and far braver, too.)

My mom is an x-ray technician by trade: She’s performed X-rays, cat scans, ultrasounds, MRI’s…just about any kind of imaging you can imagine, for the majority of her life.  So it may not come as a big surprise to hear that photography is also a life-long hobby. (Pictures are pictures, right?)  She’s watched me with envy over the last year as I’ve shown off my new digital camera, and she’s gazed in amazement with what a high-quality digital camera can really do in the hands of a motivated amateur (me.)  She started saving up, and a few months ago, she purchased her own camera.

Her job is wonderful, she enjoys it, but it leaves little room for creativity.  She needed an outlet, and photography is something she would do for free if she could afford it.  As a matter of fact, since she purchased her camera, she WAS doing it for free!  She would volunteer to photograph her friends’ Christmas parties, vow renewal ceremonies, soccer games, pets, babies, family photos, weddings…whatever they needed.  She would then stay up late into the night editing the pictures, burn them onto a CD, and give them to her friends the next day as a gift.  People LOVED them!

Now HERE’S the amazing part:  After reading “The Kingfish Way,” (mandatory reading for family members, by the way) she became motivated to do something more with her life.  She decided to take what she loved doing and turn it into a business.  She was scared to death, didn’t even begin to know where to start, but she started to TAKE ACTION.  She started asking anyone who would listen for help (she took action).  She heard she needed a Tax ID number, and came to our house one day while we helped her with the online application (she took action).  She needed help designing business cards, so she headed over to Kinkos and had business cards within a few days (Need I say it?  She took action!)  She had no idea how to price her photo shoots, but went ahead and booked four photo shoots the DAY she opened for business (word of mouth is working very well as she gets her feet wet)!  She has NO idea how to run a small business, but she knows she’ll figure it out as she taking action.  She’s got a small portable file to save all her receipts, a notebook where she tracks her income and spending, and a little calendar to book her photo shoots (she does her shoots nights, weekends and holidays since she works on weekdays).  She even came over last night and learned how to set up and manage her own business page on Facebook.  Action, action, action!  All this from a woman who couldn’t even imagine the first step in opening her own business a few weeks ago!

Now, of course, there are some speed bumps, but she’s already got a plan to deal with those.  One such speed bump is really more of a big “hill.”  It’s not quite a mountain, but it certainly is a challenge for her: computers.  I’m sure if she could figure out how to run a DIGITAL photography business without them, she would!  Her plan is to take a basic computer class, and I can’t tell you how RELIEVED I am!

I’m sure more speed bumps are coming, but she’s got a fire in her belly to succeed now, and I’m certain she’ll figure them out when they show up.  As a matter of fact, I know she’s going to be just fine.

So, here’s a “shout out” to a real American Hero, my mom, who in just a matter of weeks, has started to enjoy Every Day as a Holiday by taking her passion and turning it into purpose.  KUDOS MOM!

Stay tuned for more updates on Endless Knight Photography, or fan her business page on Facebook, or send her your words of encouragement to (her name is Kathi, if you hadn’t already guessed!) I’m sure she’d love to hear from you (or to take pictures at your kid’s graduation ceremony!)



Tonia Shatzel is the President of Kingfish Partners, and editor of                     “The Kingfish Way”.  A self-taught photographer, last year she photographed and published a dog photography book celebrating the dogs of Florida’s Emerald Coast: “The Dogs of 30A”.  Occasionally Tonia will guest blog for Kingfish Komments so Rob can go get his toes done. 


Do what I love? PFFT! 

“Really?” she said. “I can do what I love?”

"Sure you can, but there are many steps on this journey” I said.

“Like what?” she responded with a frown.

“Well, like knowing yourself again, taking responsibility, getting clear on your destination, believing in your goals, accepting feedback, releasing the guilt of the past, calling people you don’t know, understanding the voice in your head, staying away from toxic people, expressing gratitude, putting together a plan, conquering fear, laughing at your failures, staying focused, building a support team, learning new skills, visualizing, improving your health, delegating, and……"

“Whoa there, Cowboy!” she interrupted, “I’m not sure I love it that much!”

“Great!  You just took the first step!  Now, let's move on to step two...finding that thing you do love that much."


Without Passion

You have a choice. How will you fill your space?