Choosing Joy: The Lesson We All Need to Learn

August 15, 2018


Randy Durham and Ashley Durham Colorado Wedding Photographers

I’m gonna start by saying this: I’m not a perfect parent. Neither of us are, to be honest.

And this has NOTHING to do with wedding photography, obviously.

A Lesson in Choosing Joy

Last week I learned a really important lesson about chasing joy, and I felt like it’s something I wanted to share today on our blog (and I’ll be jumping live on my personal Instagram and our Facebook group to talk about it, too!).

I shared a post a few days ago on my personal Instagram and while I didn’t get a ton of engagement directly on it – you guys, my phone blew UP with texts from friends and DMs from followers to talk with me about it.

learning a lesson in joy

Here’s the full caption:

Yesterday was kind of a crappy parenting day. Danny quit the high school football team, and it’s taken me a solid 12 hours to wrap my mind around what happened.

He called me yesterday after school, and said he didn’t want to go to practice. I immediately responded with ????suck it up and go. But he flat out refused.

I picked him up didn’t speak to him for 2 hours. I was so upset I didn’t want to say something out of anger, but he kept following me around and finally said, “if you have something to say, just say it.” He listened to me talk for a long time – about how much I loved seeing him play, how much we loved seeing him grow into the person – the man – we are seeing him become. We loved seeing him being committed to something bigger than himself, caring about something outside of video games and YouTube. I told him how we had planned our entire summer around his practice and workouts. I told him every dollar we had spent on equipment and camps and how much work we had turned down just so he could play. He just listened and took in what I had to say.

And when I was done, he told me why he wanted to quit. He felt like he was bringing the team down because he’s not a strong player, that he’d be sitting on the bench the whole season, that he hadn’t made any friends on the team, and he basically didn’t feel like he belonged. After the terrible experience he had at a different school last year with a truly terrible coach, this was something I had feared. And then he said, it just doesn’t make me happy to play.

I immediately felt like such a jerk, you guys. I was so pissed about the time and money we had invested, and didn’t even stop to think about whether Danny was truly happy playing.

I was so upset last night, I buried myself in a bubble bath and watched Friends and just thought about what an a****** of a parent I had been. And I came to the realization that it’s okay for Danny to have his own set of priorities, and despite the pride I felt watching him as a player – I’m even more proud of him for realizing that he was playing for the wrong reasons, and having the courage to fight for his joy.

Learn from Danny + Fight for your joy, friends.


It’s been a few days since I made that Instagram post about Danny choosing joy despite his own fears, and ever since then – things have come into the light in the most unimaginably incredible ways. Daniel quitting his high school football team because he wanted to pursue other things that brings him joy – that’s a lesson I never thought I’d learn from our fifteen year old son.

a lesson in choosing joy colorado springs football

So … what’s the point in telling the world about my awful parenting moment? 

You guys: I want to start CHOOSING JOY and it’s been super contagious because now it’s all Randy talks about, too.

Just before this quitting-football-experience, I recently had seen Rachel Hollis’ documentary Made for More – which is based on her best selling novel, Girl, Wash Your Face (check out her site, guys). I walked out of that theater with my soul of FIRE, and I really regretted that Randy wasn’t able to come with me because honestly, I just walked out of that theater a different woman than as was when I walked in.

These two experiences combined have taught Randy + I both something incredible: we want more, and we truly are made for more.

This means a few things:

  • We need to stop being afraid. Afraid of failure, afraid of doing new things, afraid of saying “this doesn’t make me happy anymore,” afraid of being told we’re not good enough.
  • We need to follow through. For YEARS we have talked about wanting to jump more into education, and we just never have really taken the leap and we’re not going to sit around waiting for it to fall into our laps.
  • We need to stop making excuses. We have the time, we have the intelligence, we have the experience and we have the passion.


Over the next few weeks, you’re going to start seeing some changes on this website. It’s no longer just going to be all about weddings – but it’s going to become all about our story, who we are, and what we’re most passionate about. Yes, we are wedding photographers as a career – but that’s not entirely who we are, and we have so much more to offer the world than just that talent. There’s a reason this site is called “Randy and Ashley” and we’re getting ready to embark on something we’ve never seen any other wedding photographer do.

We’re going to start relying 100% on choosing joy through our life experiences.

  • We are married – and have been since right out of high school.
  • We are parents, with kids all across the age range right now. As Dave Hollis jokingly says, we have about a thousand kids!
  • We own a business together – and a very successful one at that.
  • We are creatives and see the world differently than most.
  • We are educators, and we have a BIG passion for seeing other people finding success in their own lives and in their own businesses.
  • We LOVE weddings, we LOVE our couples, and we LOVE (love, love, love) Colorado.

And that, my friends, is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Our mission, over the next few weeks, is going to be creating a merge between all of these worlds – all in one incredible place (which, BTW, is going to be here on our site and blog). We’re going to turn this website into not only a place to see beautiful wedding photos and hire some pretty rad Colorado wedding photographers (heyyyy!), but a place to learn, to laugh, to share in our stories and with any luck – find some of the joy you’ve been chasing.

We’re not QUITE ready to spill the beans on everything coming up: but just know, it’s a big game changer for us (and let’s shoot big and say the entire wedding industry) and we can NOT wait to take you guys along for this new adventure!!



Leave a Reply

see services

Joy-filled photography for families, boudoir, high school seniors and weddings. I've got you, boo! 

Let's Work Together

I'm Ashley! Family and wedding photographer in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, but I travel all over the country to hang out with the most incredible people. I am obsessed with puppies, extra hot coffee, incredible light and firmly believe that love conquers all.

Meet Ashley