Ladies, meet sweet and beautiful Nicole of 314 Productions and Bloom the Blog. I’ve been following her work for years – not only is she crazy talented, but she has a bravery and vulnerability about her that is so refreshing to see in a world that seems to always be full of people “having it all together”. I love that Nicole is always free to open up to share about her faith through the hills and valleys of life. In being brave and vulnerable, she gives permission to others to do the same.
In this interview, we covered marriage, being called to create, (and that it’s 100% fine if you’re not called to create), and even finding joy and strengthening faith in the midst of infertility. I hope that Nicole’s words will be a big encouragement to you today! Have a wonderful Wednesday.
Hi Nicole, thanks so much for joining me for Heart-to-Heart Hump Days! I’ve been reading your blog for years, so it’s really fun to get the chance to have a “virtual” coffee date with you. For those who might not have stumbled upon Bloom before, please tell everyone about yourself!
My name is Nicole Cole (yep, that’s for real!) and I live just outside of Memphis, TN in a little Mississippi town. I spend my days in my home office running our videography and photography business, 314 Productions. In the evenings you’ll usually find me snuggled up on the couch with my husband Tyler and our two fur-babies, Bella and Beaumont!
I love reading your posts about marriage – especially about finding joy, even when it’s not perfect like all of the romantic comedies. What’s something that God’s been teaching you about marriage lately?
In the past couple of weeks the Lord has really been putting the word “honor” on my heart. In all relationships, it is so easy to focus on self. I’ve learned marriage is the biggest relationship in my life that shows my tendency towards sin and to make things about me. Over the past few weeks the Lord has been reminding me to honor Ty. To put him first, to choose his well-being over mine, to listen to his opinion while I stay silent. I’ve been reminded to honor him in my actions, in my attitude, and in the way that I talk to him. I’m finding out that really being intentional to honor him makes my love for him grow, my desire to pray for him increase, and my relationship with God more submissive. “Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:10
Tell us about the business that you own and operate with Tyler, 314 Productions.
314 Productions is the videography and photography business that I have the joy of pursuing with my husband. 314 Productions is our baby! I’ve always been really interested in photography and was the only high school gal who carried around a DSLR wherever she went. Fast forward to 2013, our wedding year! I had seen a friend’s short video documenting her holiday season with her family and I thought that video would be a great idea to really document our honeymoon. I nervously pitched the idea to Ty and expected him to think it was kind of strange, but he was all over it. Over the course of our honeymoon we took our camera everywhere! While we were editing some of the video in bed on one of our last mornings, Tyler said, “Wouldn’t this be cool if we could do this as a job?” I immediately laughed it off. No, never! That wouldn’t be a stable income, how would we ever find clients? No way. This could never happen. I was going to be a teacher, we were going to have a predictable life, and everything would be good. But God started to turn those plans completely around. 314 Productions is HIS story!
How did you know that teaching wasn’t the right fit for you, even after all of the time put into your education, training, and work? Was this a scary leap for you to take?
In the fall of 2012 I started to feel like education wasn’t “it” for me. I was starting my senior year of college with student teaching ahead of me and all of a sudden it just didn’t fit anymore. I grew up knowing I would be a teacher. There was never another option for me! I went into college passionate and excited and ready to teach. And then one day I just felt like there was more. After our honeymoon (and first video!) in March of 2013, I started to think about what I could possibly do instead of teach. I coordinated a wedding, worked with a photographer, and I even did florals! Still, nothing seemed to fit. We continued to play around with video throughout the summer and in August a photographer friend of ours got us our first wedding. We rented all our equipment and showed up at a wedding without a CLUE of what we were doing! By the sheer grace of God, we got through that wedding day and still had a desire to do it again. 🙂 In October of 2013 we launched our Facebook page and we went on in 2014 to film over 20 weddings in our first year of business. Y’all, this doesn’t just happen. This is God’s favor all over us and we are so humbled that He would use us like He has.
I can’t really describe “how” I knew education wasn’t a right fit for me. I just truly felt the Lord calling me into something different. I taught second grade in the 2013-2014 school year and then I was the librarian at my small private school for the 2014-2015 school year. After school ended in May of 2015, I went full time with our business. I still LOVE thinking back on the time I spent in the classroom and I know that the Lord has blessed me with the ability to teach. Now, I am just doing that in other ways. But, you’ll hear more about that in the coming months. 😉
What do you love most about your business?
What I love most about our business is the fact that I get to do it with my husband. It’s been incredible for our marriage as we’ve entered into this season of doing business together. We’ve had to learn new ways to solve problems and we’ve had to be quicker to say “I’m sorry” when we’ve gotten frustrated or acted disrespectfully towards one another. Jesus has used it so much in our marriage and I am so grateful.
Now that you’ve been through the process, what would your advice be to the dreamers out there who feel called to create or start a new venture, something much different than what they’re doing now?
DO IT! Take the leap and try it. I’m a perfectionist so starting a business has been incredibly challenging for me. No one has the perfect business and CERTAINLY no one starts a business without making a thousand mistakes. Don’t be afraid of failing. Lord knows we’ve failed a LOT. Be humble, work hard, and do the things you’ve been called to do. Failure will happen, but that doesn’t mean you’re not supposed to be doing what you’re doing!
I want to take a minute to share something that I think needs to be said. If you’re not in a place of dreaming up a new business or starting something new THAT’S OKAY. I feel like “dreamers” have somehow become better in our society. Someone who is pursuing a business or “following their dreams” is living a better life than someone who works in an office, is a teacher, or is a mom who stays home with her kids. We are all created with purpose. We all have unique skills and passions and callings that the Lord has placed on our lives. Living boldly, living with passion, and living out God’s calling is NOT synonymous with starting a business. You can live boldly, love loudly, and serve wholeheartedly as you enter a room of 27 kindergarteners, sit behind a desk looking at numbers all day, or chase around your babies at home. Having a 9-5 job doesn’t mean an ordinary life. If we love Jesus, it shouldn’t matter WHAT our job title is, we should be living extraordinary lives. Because we have a God who sent His son Jesus to put on flesh, dwell among man, and take on every ounce of wrath that we deserved. We live free from the curse of sin and the punishment for our wickedness. This should compel us to live lives that are far from ordinary. Wherever you are today, you can live boldly!
Man, that was great to hear! I’m so glad you spoke up about that. You’re right – that’s totally okay! Each woman is called to her own unique purpose.
One thing I’ve truly admired about you over the past few months is your willingness to write about your journey of trying to get pregnant. Despite it being a painful and challenging season, what joy and positives have come from it?
“Painful and challenging” seems light in comparison to how I’ve felt. Infertility is a strange beast who has opened up some dark areas of my heart and exposed so much sin. Everyday brings about new challenges, but through it all the Lord has stood before me so faithfully. I have seen Jesus like I’ve never seen Him before. I’ve seen my sin like I’ve never seen it before. I’ve felt brokenness like I’ve never felt it before. I have been completely wrecked, but Jesus has been faithful each day. My relationship with Jesus is so much different than it was before infertility. Because of that I wouldn’t change one day of this. Jesus is worth all the infertility. Even when I have to repeat that to myself a thousand times a day. He is worth it.
Apart from my relationship with Jesus, my relationship with my husband has changed so much. Infertility is hard on a marriage. If the Lord wills for this season to go on for years, I can only imagine how much my older self will resonate with that sentence. It’s hard, but it has also been sweet. Ty has carried me, literally carried me, on some of my hardest days. There’s an intimacy in our marriage that is sweet and special and I am so glad that we’ve experienced this together.
Do you have any words of encouragement for other women who may be experiencing the same struggle?
Sister, I cry with you. I cry for you. I know that it’s hard. But, let’s look upward and outward together. Let’s raise our hands to Jesus and let Him carry us through. Let’s let go of our dreams and desires because what He has for us will truly be so much better, even if that sentence feels like bitter wine in our mouths. Beg the Lord to restore to you the joy of His salvation (Psalm 53:12) and keep your eyes on Him.
If you need someone to talk to, someone to be real with, or someone to just cuss at out of anger (God already knows it! Might as well be honest!), email me. 🙂 firstname.lastname@example.org
What advice do you have for friends of women in this position, who may want to provide comfort and hope, but don’t know where to start?
I feel like I could say a million things here, but I’ll just stick with the big stuff. If you have a friend who is struggling, please don’t quote popular scripture or share pat spiritual answers. “All in God’s timing” or “everything happens for a reason” might be true, but your friend will probably just want to cuss at you and perhaps through a heavy objects towards your face instead of thanking you for your wisdom. 😉 We KNOW that God’s timing is good. We KNOW that the Lord has a reason for every single day of our waiting. Instead of trying to give answers, ask questions. Ask about her relationship with Christ, where she is struggling, and where she needs prayer. Talk to her about your own sin struggles and where you are with Jesus. By all means, CHALLENGE your friend to seek the scriptures. Challenge her to step out of the fear and sadness and hold onto the promises of scripture. Often times we DO need that hard, honest word. And when all else fails, give her a hug, tell her you love her, and share a pint of ice cream on the couch as you watch tv.
If you could take a road trip to anywhere in the country this coming weekend, where would it be, and why?
I would love to be in the snowy mountains of Colorado! Here in Mississippi everything is FLAT AS A PANCAKE. So seeing some mountains (and snow!) would do this girl some good. 😉
What are three things in life that you’re loving right now?
Right now I’m loving my whatever is lovely coloring book, this quinoa enchilada crockpot recipe, and these super comfy pajamas!
Wow, your open heart and honesty did some serious good for my soul.
Anyone else? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Thank you so much for sharing your life and faith with us, Nicole!
To stay in touch with Nicole, visit her blog, Bloom.
Check back each Wednesday for #HearttoHeartHumpDays, featuring interviews with inspiring women of all ages & stages as they chase big, brave, and beautiful adventures. Coming soon: Taylor Tippett!