From a Stranger in WAWA

  • Life Lessons

my way home from a wedding in Northern VA when I realized that I had hit the point in my drive where gummy bears were needed. Gummies and a DMD (Diet Mountain Dew)… all of you health nuts out there are probably cringing. I know, it’s so bad but on this particular night I was tired…. really tired. It had been a long week and I had just shot a long wedding. (I will have you know that I have significantly reduced my DMD intake and I’m quite proud of myself!).  So I pulled off the Stafford exit to make a quick stop at WAWA, my all time favorite convenience store, and I parked. I walked inside, was tempted by the “fresh” blueberry muffins that we all know have

been sitting there for 8 hours and then made my way to the food section that probably causes cancer. I picked up my DMD and my Harigold gummies and headed to the counter.  It was about 11:30pm and a middle aged man in a suit was buying a red bull and a pack a cigarettes. He was obviously a regular because he knew the young cashier by name and joked about this being his 2nd purchase of the day. The teenage cashier looked at the man and said “Long day at the office?”.  The tired, energy deprived car salesmen looked at the young boy and replied with a defeated laugh “Yup, and it’s not over yet….I’m old and broke, I have no choice”.  The salesmen left and I scooted up to the register, pretending that I hadn’t heard their whole conversation.


The rest of the ride home I thought about that man and ate my tasty gummies.  I wondered what his daily life looks like. Does he get up in the morning and feel excited about his work…. does he THRIVE at his job….. does he go home with a peace and satisfaction knowing that me made a difference??  Or does he just walk into work everyday because “He’s old and broke and has no other choice”?.  I don’t want to be middle aged and have a mindset like that.  Just the thought of that SCARES me!  Even if I’m working a job where I just need income, I hope that I can find purpose and meaning in it! Ideally, I want to do what I LOVE… for the rest of my LIFE!! I want to spend my life doing what the Lord has called me to do and somehow mixing that calling with my career!  ….. But I wasn’t put on earth to take digital photographs. That’s not my purpose… not even close. I’m not even here to just “enjoy life and be happy”…. that seems nice and I do love enjoying life…. but that’s not my PURPOSE either…. if that was my PURPOSE, then what happens when some days just flat out STINK! What happens when full SEASONS of life stink??! What is my purpose then?


Thankfully my purpose is MUCH greater than any of these things.  No matter what my job is, no matter what my schedule is, no matter how easy or hard life is… my purpose remains the same. Matthew 28:19 says “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations”. For those that have never heard this verse before, you’re probably thinking… “Ok, this has officially become weird”.  But hear me out… what that verse means is to go and share what you know to be true about your faith so that others can live with the same peace, PURPOSE, and promises that you do. Don’t live solely for yourself…. trust me, there is no satisfaction in that. I don’t know about other Christians, but for me… that takes a LOT of the stress off of my career…. because my success as a small business owner NEVER affects my purpose in life. My business could crumble and while that would be sad and I would be devastated at first… my purpose would NEVER change.  So no matter what…. even if I’m 45 and working overtime as a car salesmen… I still have the same purpose. I’m still not defeated because my identity is not in what I do…. it’s in the Lord…… and that SETS YOU FREE.


So now that I’ve officially given you a daily devotional (that was not my intention)… I just want to wish you a HAPPY THURSDAY. Whether you’re doing what you LOVE or just at a job that’s a means to an end…. think about your PURPOSE…. your OVERALL purpose in life.  If you’ve never really thought about it until now, there is no time like the present!! Have an amazing weekend with friends and family! There will be a blog post tomorrow but I’m just getting excited about labor day prematurely! haha :)


Ps. Thanks Mal for the pic of me and my little fluffball!!


29 Comments Personal
  1. Jordan reply


    totally what i needed this morning. you have no idea. thanks for the insights and the morning blessings.

  2. Angelsea Urban reply

    Amen! :-)

  3. Tori Watson reply

    such great words of encouragement, katelyn. i’m right with you, girl! thank God that our purpose goes beyond just our current season in life and isn’t just what we “do” for a living…it’s so, so much more than that. <3

  4. Annetta reply

    Next time you need something to wake you up, eat a banana. It does the trick everytime.

  5. Cassandra reply

    Thanks for being vulnerable and blessing me with this reminder :)

  6. Brittany Claridge reply

    Needed this reminder today :) Thanks Katelyn!

  7. Samantha June reply

    Beautiful. I definitely needed this reminder, thanks for the encouragement :)

  8. Laura reply

    This just touched my heart. I’m just getting my feet wet in the world of photography because its a passion, not just a “job”. I to have the same purpose. Whatever I do, where ever I am, I will love life because He loves me. Blessings.

  9. Sarah Hayes reply

    Thanks for this, Katelyn. I needed to hear this today.

  10. Carrie Logan reply

    love you katelyn james!!!!

  11. Melissa Kate reply

    love this! i’m graduating college in may and all i can think is okay… do i go make money with my degree, or chase this photography dream?? …i’ve decided i’m doing both for a while! :)

  12. Rachel Cutherell reply

    Preach it, sister.

  13. Mallory reply

    Werk it gurl. I will photograph you and Bokes anytime.

  14. caroline reply

    YEEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!! get it PK!

  15. Nathan reply

    Thanks Katelyn

  16. Stephanie reply

    I was thinking about this very recently, and 1 Peter 2:9 really made it click for me. Like you said, our identity is found in Christ, not what we do, so no matter what God has called us to do, first and foremost, we’re called to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.” Not a bad job…. getting to talk about the one person you love most every day, no matter where you are and what you’re doing. =]

  17. Alicia reply

    What a great post. Thanks for this! I’ve been needing this reminder lately:)

  18. Kyle reply

    Ah yes, I-95. I started out as a photographer on the Hill and used to frequently visit my family who lived in Stafford. By all means, take the DMD. There’s too many bad drivers on 95 so you gotta keep your eyes open! And yes, WAWA rocks.

    Keep up the great work!

  19. Rebekah Hoyt reply

    Such a humbling truth for me to read at such a trying time – you are always such a light and an encouragement, Katelyn! Thank you for being so open and vulnerable with the world!!

  20. Leah reply

    Katelyn, I know I have thanked you for your posts before, but I have to again. I found a passion for photography about two years ago, and have begun the process of starting a small side business. I am still working my full time job, and I always feel like I just can’t devote enough time to what I really want to be doing. This past week, things have gotten really bad at my full time job, I came home every night and sobbed on my husband, on the phone with my parents…it was awful. The whole reason for my tears was just that, I felt like if I was not good at my job, then what?? Naturally, then I thought about how I will just fail at everything I do, including my photography. Your post picked me up off the floor and gave me that reminder I needed, because my identity is NOT in what I do, it is in the Lord, who loves me ALWAYS! I feel so much better, and this time crying happy tears. Thank you – again! You are a blessing to many…

  21. Gabrielle Corbin reply

    Thank you for this beautiful post. It was much needed reminder.

  22. ashley link reply

    amen, girl! at the end of the day, we’re all here to love God and bring people to Him. preach it! <3 :)

  23. Amelia Renee reply

    oh yes please! :) Amen to that!

  24. Joleen Willis reply

    100% true. My identity is not found in photography, in success, or in popularity, but in the Lord, and his opinion of me! Thank you for the reminder. And I had a similar experience at the drive thru at Taco Bell. Teach me to complain…

  25. Eryn Kesler reply

    GREAT post! I 100% agree!!

  26. Mary Powell reply

    Thank you Katelyn for being such an inspiration in both photography and faith. This post was very encouraging to someone who is building a business but desiring to always keep Christ as the ultimate reason for life. My prayer has been that as I build the business, it would NEVER replace my true purpose. Thanks for being willing to boldly speak truth!

  27. LeolaK reply

    Wow…thank you for this!

  28. Lydia reply

    Amen! What an awesome analogy. As much as I love photography, it’s not my whole purpose and goal of life! I want to bring honor to our Lord and glorify Him, no matter what I do!

  29. Angela Snyder reply

    I LOVE WAWA, my husband and I eat there every time we pass through PA, even over fancy places, which sounds sad, but not to us :) Also, thank you for your wise words.

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