Dreaming on the bright side

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Iman is a photographer who, through her unique process of coaching and photography, can show a woman what other people see when they look at her. She is passionate about teaching other photographers how to live and be a professional and making change in the world. She dreams of changing the way women look at their bodies and how the world defines beauty. She also thinks being an instructor on CreativeLIVE would be incredible. Iman battles Lyme disease and shares her unique view of dreaming while fighting for her health. Her post day is Wednesday. [email protected] Iman Woods If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

These last few weeks have been a whirlwind.

Officially, categorically chock full of busy crazy-making days. Laughter, both happy and sad tears, frustration, fear and alternating joy have been my companion. I haven’t been great at it, but I’ve been trying to dream on the bright side.

As my dreams have come true, it’s been easy to relish each one for a moment then jump to working toward the next stage.

Partner I’ve never dreamed of having? Check. Family of five? Check. Big dog I’ve always wanted? Check. Storefront? Check. Network of empowered girlfriends? Check. Health and immune disorder under “control”? Check. An outpouring of love and support from my tribe both in person and online? Check!

But if I don’t stop and take a moment to acknowledge the fruition of these dreams, I’ll lose sight of WHY I dreamed of all of this for so long. 

We’re blending a family of five humans which is a glorious adventure in itself. 

Blending a family is hard. And it’s easy to focus on the hard parts. But the sweet moments are heart rending in their beauty.

The boys asking for each other. The girl holding each boy’s hand and running. All three children loving all the animals running around. 

Blending a family of pets is more of a circus than blending humans!

This adventure is less glorious and more nerve wracking. And more like a scripted Hollywood comedy. Producers take note. Just not soap opera or reality show producers please.

One night early on Odin (our extremely large male Maine Coon) woke us when he tried to jump on the bed his claws firmly latched into my boyfriend’s skin. Near his tush! This is how I know the man loves me. I was more upset than he was and he was able to go back to sleep after that. And they’re STILL indoor cats.

Freya, (our somewhat smaller but still quite large female Maine Coon) can OPEN DOORS. And has used this talent/annoyance to her advantage.

Pluto (our very large and very wonderful Lab) barks and desperately wants to play when he sees the Thundercatz. The Thundercatz however were certain he was the devil incarnate sent to destroy them. That is SLOWLY shifting. If you know cats you know just how slow.

Bear (our small but dextrous Bichon-Shih-Tzu dog) learned to go through the trash and many a mess greeted us when we got home. 

It was so frustrating to deal with working hard all day and coming home to a domestic pet war-zone. The animals can interrupt our sleep more than the children.

It was easy to get caught up in what wasn’t working.

But. We had found each other. We love each other enough to do this work. Enough to make it work. So even the bad moments are a blessing as they unfold. (How much you wanna bet my boyfriend quotes me back to myself the next time I complain? Occupational hazard of blogging on the bright side.)

I could be frustrated with the fact that we’re still not unpacked. But the bright side is we’re now only wading in boxes versus swimming in them. The house is a sanctuary again. My beautiful mama came to visit and helped clean up the farm house and jump start unpacking at the new house. I had no idea where to start before her help. The kids rooms and kitchen were functional first. Then we chipped away everything else. 

At a doctors appointment I discussed my fatigue. But trying to look on the bright side I said, “But we slept through the night. All nine of us!” And she burst out laughing. At first I wasn’t sure why she was laughing, but it was because she has a newborn and realized what a rubix cube our sleep schedules are as we transition.

If I’m dreaming on the bright side and counting blessings, my amazing boyfriend is at the top of the list.

He has worked hard (honestly harder than me) and proven himself a partner in every aspect. He’s showing me a deeper love than I’ve ever known. Steadfast. Will do anything to help. He even knows my love languages and tries to show me love the way I naturally express and appreciate it. I know he’s rare and that I’m monumentally blessed. Sometimes I’ll watch him and wonder how this wonderful man chose me. But I’m just happy and grateful.

My body (fighting the immune disorder) may get tired of working and networking but the bright side is my business is creating buzz even before it’s open. And the people I’ve met are GOLD. I can’t imagine this dream without them.

I have an exciting announcement.

Tomorrow I’ll be interviewed (live!) for NPR and WUNC’s The State of Things. Angela (of Grit and Grace) and Christy (who sells custom jewelry at Grit and Grace) will be interviewed with me. This is a dream come true. 

I got caught up in worrying about saying “um”, “ah” or something inappropriate. My boyfriend tried to ground me. I finally said I was excited again yesterday and he said,

There’s the excitement I want to see. I want to see you as excited as the night you found out you’d be interviewed. You were jumping up and down.

You can listen live here tomorrow. I’ll try not to jump up and down. Hopefully they’ll make me sit.

And the store. Oh my lovely store is no longer wall to wall stuff strewn about. 

Dreaming on the bright side

It was quite a challenge to figure out how to separate and store things in one large beautiful room. But we’ve made progress. I didn’t do this alone. Friends and neighbors have all pitched in. I struggled so hard to stay excited. It’s easy to focus on what still needs to be done. But I have a store. And it’s beautiful and more than I’ve ever dreamed.


The dream process requires grounding yourself. You have to keep coming back to seeing your dream through rose tinted glasses. There will be so many tests and trials. Going after your dream is NOT like winning the lottery. The outcome is the same, but the process is some of the hardest and most rewarding work you will ever do. We have to prove we really do want this, regardless of the real-world mountain climb. And I have many moments where I’m not my best self. But if I can do this with an immune disorder, during a move, while blending a family… What can you do to go after your dreams?





Give us your thoughts!


  • Remy Gervais

    wow, lots of change in such a short time….grasp the happiness. you deserve it.

    • Iman Woods

      Thank you Remy! It’s all come together beautifully. Thank you.