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Welcome to our blog! We are a husband & wife photography team based in Madison, Wisconsin who document weddings & anniversaries for joyful couples who believe in marriage. This blog is a journal about real love stories, marriage & our own adventures along the way! We are so glad you're here — please stay awhile!




Grit | Putting in the Hard Work of Success.

August 16, 2017

I recently listened to this awesome TED talk on “Grit” and it has had me so inspired (if you have a couple of minutes, I would recommend checking it out! It’s only 6 minutes and 12 seconds long : )).

In the talk, speaker Angela Lee Duckworth essentially shares how studies have shown that the biggest “key” to finding success in the things you are doing is to have “grit.” I think that grit is a term that doesn’t have the clearest definition — it is a word that is somewhat open to interpretation. I personally like to think of grit as hard work, not giving up, and consistency. All jam-packed into one little word : )

Grit is something that I think we all, myself included, need a little bit more of. 

We live in a world where it is SO easy to give up on something if it’s too hard. Give up on someone. Throw in the towel because, well, there are other options and “the grass is always greener.” But what we really need, I think, is to have more grit.

Think about professional athletes or Olympians, for example. HOW do they get to where they are? Do they just sit around and do nothing? And then go run a race and get the gold? Or do they work their butts off training in the gym, with coaches, at home … you name it. There is a LOT that we don’t see. Early morning workouts when everyone else is still sleeping, cooking and eating super clean, studying their game or their competition. That is grit.

Athletes is an easy example, but what about small business owners? The successful ones that we admire and look up to for inspiration or wisdom. HOW did THEY get to where they are? Did it happen over night?  Did they just create an Instagram account and POOF!, they have tens of thousands of followers and are running a six-figure business? Or is there a LOT that we don’t see? Showing up consistently during creative ruts or challenging seasons, research on their craft or their business or their market (that NEVER ends because things are always changing!), a commitment to keep going even though they haven’t had a booking in 3, 4, 5 months? That is grit.

Okay, maybe a small business owner is also a somewhat easy example, but what about relationships? Or marriages? The ones we look up to for inspiration and wisdom? HOW did those couples build such a strong marriage? Did they do absolutely nothing  — it just came THAT easy for them? They just “clicked” and they never fight or have conflict? Everything is always rainbows and butterflies? Or are they constantly making sacrifices for one another? Putting their spouses needs above their own and setting selfishness aside? Are they choosing to be a generous listener instead of jumping to conclusions, asking for outside help when they need it, intentionally setting aside time each day … week … month … to connect with their spouse relationally and intimately? Have they chosen to say “I still do” even when the shit hits the fan and all hell breaks loose? That is grit.

Don’t let social media fool you. Nothing that *appears* successful just happened overnight. It’s not how it works (okay, I know there are exceptions but, of course, they are exceptions).

What you see in others that inspires you? I bet it took a lot of grit.


  1. Denise Queen

    August 22nd, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Timing! Sometimes it’s just impeccable and takes you by surprise. I recently had the opportunity to go to the Global Leadership Summit on someone else’s ticket due to a family crisis. It wasn’t by chance, but by Divine appointment. There this message about Grit was released to thousands of leaders and now it shows up again so soon. I find myself here at your blog/website because you’ve recently added a story about my parents, Joe and Sue. There’s is a testimonial of True Grit and I am so blessed to see part of their legacy story written in photographs and paragraphs! Thank you. You’ve done some beautiful work. ❤️👏🏼

  2. Maison Engel

    August 23rd, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Denise! WOW. Thank you SO much for sharing this story!! I am so inspired and encouraged — His timing is always so perfect 🙂 What wonderful parents and yes, what a beautiful testament to a Christ-centered marriage that they are! 🙂 Thank you again for your note this morning! Have a wonderful rest of your week! XO!

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