My professional goal is simple.

I teach online classes to help people tell the stories of their lives, beautify their surroundings, and enhance their relationships with the people who matter most to them.

In pursuit of that goal, I have come to think of learning Photoshop as a life skill. Sort of like learning how to drive a car. I can't count the number of times I've been grateful for knowing how to open a new document, put in some graphics/photos, add some type, and be able to save something out to print or post online. That "something" might be photos, flyers, handouts, posters, school projects, invitations, photo galleries, albums, home decor projects, Project Life pages, or digital or paper scrapbook pages. I use Photoshop every day, both personally and professionally, and I get emails all the time from women whose lives are changed because they have learned how to use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

The idea that knowing a piece of software can be life-changing sounds ludicrous, I know. But the change doesn't come because of the ability to clickity-click, and it certainly isn't inherent in the software itself. It really is because of the sense of empowerment this knowledge and skill brings. Every one of us, at some point in life (and probably way more than once), will be faced with the prospect of creating some kind of a graphical and/or typographical project. That is the point in YOUR life where I want to be.

As a crafter, a project-maker, a mama, a memory-keeper, a family historian, a lover of a beautiful home and thoughtful giving, I get what it means to be at that point - having a project and not knowing what to do next. Oh, I get it. And I love nothing better than to sit by you and help you turn the panic into pride. Now instead of, oh no! where do I start? she says I can do this. I can make a great invitation. Flyer. Poster. Album. Wall thing. Gift. Something to be proud of and bring value to my life and the lives of the people around me. See how great that is? Best. Job. Ever. Mostly because it's way more than a job, it's a mission.

In six years of teaching Photoshop live and online, I have learned SO MUCH, and I'm humbled and grateful for the opportunity to have my dream job that I never could have dreamed of.  My life is consistently enriched as I interact with women all over the world who are on the joyful journey of building their digital skills. I watch and smile and cheer and cry, because you are amazing. Your stories are amazing. And the shared connections and friendships and LOVE and laughter and tears I've developed as I've been a part of this journey have brought a richness to my life for which I will always be grateful.

-JS April 2013