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Hi I'm Steven

I'm a Photographer. I'm a Blogger. I'm a Proud Tennessean and New Yorker. I'm a Missionary. And I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I was raised a country boy down below the Mason-Dixon line in Tennessee, but, after college, the concrete and bright lights of New York City stole me away from my roots. I grew up in one of Tennessee's smallest towns, close to Chattanooga, and 15 minutes away from the tallest waterfall east of the Mississip. When I was growing up, my parents ran a paper route and my dad was also a garbage collector, but one day he broke his back and our lives changed forever. From then on, my family worked together to care for each other and we often spent our summer days out in a garden, working to provide for ourselves, or out and about making a living by having yard sales. Well, when I grew up, I traded in those days for an education, and conferred my undergraduate degree in accounting. I had big dreams of making changes and trying new things, so shortly after graduation, I found myself on an airplane, headed to Manhattan with 3 suitcases. Not knowing what I wanted to do or where I would live, I eventually found a position working for a non-profit and diligently worked to run my photography business on the side. In addition, I am a hiker, writer/blogger, photo taker, music listener and traveler. I look for any opportunity to wear a nice sweater and my life would be incomplete without my chacos.

Why I am a Mormon

I joined the church when I was 22. I've known about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints my whole life as my mom is a member, however, she fell away when I was a small child. Growing up in a family that struggled to make it by each month (no running water, etc.) made life a challenge on a regular basis. My older sister has a mental disability and her thought process is around that of a seven year old. Her disability paired with my fathers physical disability added to many of life's stresses, like the bullying I endured. I often didn't want to continue with life. I would look at the world and tell myself that there had to be an escape. I always looked for an escape. First was college. I thought it would be the change I needed, but it was hard to make friends and I knew I was the problem. Eventually, times changed and I got to know people, but I was always afraid to be myself, because who would want to be a friend to the real me. I wouldn't talk about the trials of my past or how I grew up because I knew people would bully me or laugh at me. After college, I made my greatest escape: New York City. It was like my dreams were coming true. A big place where I could do anything and be anyone. Somewhere no one knew who I was. When I got to Manhattan, I knew I needed a community and I was told the best community was church. Having been to several churches in the past, I decided to try the church of my roots. I attended regularly, not telling anyone I wasn't a member. Despite my efforts, the missionaries eventually found out and I started meeting with them, telling them I would never be baptized and would cancel the meetings if they asked me about it. A few weeks later that changed and I desired to be baptized. I learned that it doesn't matter who I am, where I am from or what I have done, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me and always will. The gospel brought much good into my life and has helped me overcome so many hard trials. I am now truly happy.

How I live my faith

Currently, I am serving in the Utah St. George Mission. As a missionary, I consistently live my faith by being an example. Sharing the love of our Heavenly Father and standing up for our Savior, Jesus Christ, are two vital ways to act on what I believe. I share their love by serving, whether it be a community service project or simply lending a hand around someone's home. In addition, I share that love by spreading the gospel, testifying of our purpose in God's great plan of happiness. Before I decided to serve a mission, I constantly looked for ways to help those around me and to be their friend. I have fond memories of helping a friend move across New York City in a blizzard and volunteering to paint benches in a park, plus more. In addition to God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, I always try to look to my mother for example. She could easily focus on doing things for herself, but instead, she gives herself and talents to others. She takes care of my physically disabled father and my mentally disabled sister 24/7, yet, takes time to think of others by making gifts to show her love and gratitude for friendships and kindness. No matter how much stress she is under or how busy she is, she is determined to be a true example of Christ by putting others before herself. In addition, I looked for many possible ways to serve within the church. I often went to clean the church building, photograph church events/members and volunteer for church sponsored service projects. However, serving is not always enough. God gives us many opportunities to act on our faith, so I always strive to be at church on Sundays, study the scriptures and to obey the commandments.