2013 A Brand New Year

Ahhhhhhhh. (That was a combination sigh/stretch.) After a BUSY Autumn season, I have really given myself a break. I've seen family and friends, slept in, read new books, taken long baths. It has been a few weeks of desperately needed R&R. The final quarter of 2012 kicked my tail!! That is the wonderful thing about being a wedding photographer-the year is solidly busy from March-December. So I use January & February to re-cooperate, make new goals for my business, go hang out with my accountant, and figure out my marketing strategy for the year. It's awesome that the beginning of the year happens to coincide with the off-season for weddings! I've always been one of those people who loves when things are brand new. I loved the beginning of the school year or semester and getting new notebooks, pens, pencils, etc. I love starting a new book. I love beginning new friendships. I even love the beginning of the day. I am also a list maker. You see where the formula's going here...lover of beginnings + list maker = resolution maniac!

2012 was a beautiful year. I grew more in my business than I thought possible in one year. I grew a lot in my marriage and can honestly say I know how to be a much better friend, lover and supporter now than I did a year ago. Somehow I feel like I transitioned into "grown up" mode more this year than any other. I'm not really sure how that happened-it just did. I can tell that I'm more aware of big life changes that are coming in the next 5 years than I was in 2011. Things like having kids, buying a new house, and putting down roots. Those things used to really threaten what I thought was my independence, but now they are things in life I look forward to. I'm not looking to quicken their arrival by any stretch, but I look forward to the fact that they're coming instead of feeling like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz watching the giant hourglass running out. That's progress my friends.

2013 is going to be a big year. This is the year Matt and I will finish paying off all our debt. Last year we paid off the rest of Matt's car and all student loans-all we have left is a bit on my car. Once that's done, we'll actually be able to take the next steps in our life together-EXCITING! (FYI-We've been following Dave Ramsey's debt free guide to pay off our debt. It's an incredible program that can help anyone get debt free no matter how much debt you have or how much you make. HIGHLY recommend!)

All things considered, here are a few "resolutions" or "places I'd like to see growth for the foreseeable future" I've made for 2013. Both personally and in my business.

Commit and implement a new direction creatively. 2013 is also shaping up to offer some interesting new opportunities in my photography. I am beyond thrilled with all of the different directions it could go. In fact, narrowing the options down and picking one is proving to be the most difficult part. (That's what I'm currently doing now.) I cannot WAIT to get started!

Read more books and draw inspiration from them for my own art. Good books. I'm not talking about my chick-lit (although it has it's place too!) I'm talking about the classics. Works of art in themselves. Unfortunately, in college I thought it would be a waste of space to have hard copies of all the classics so I gave them away. Now I know I really want copies of every classic I can get my hands on. My way around this? Thrift stores. They are chock FULL of every book that ever appeared on an English class syllabus-for mere pennies!

Become a student again. No, I'm not going back to school. But another huge way I grow in my craft is by studying. Not other people's blogs. Not my endless pinterest boards. But art. Art in music. Art in sculptures. Art in paintings and drawings. Art in fashion. Art in nature. I promise I'm not trying to be some nose-in-the-air snob over here.  I've done this before sporadically and it helps me stay fresh and keeps me excited about what I do. I want to dedicate at least 2 hours per week researching, admiring, pontificating and marinating in art.

Be more consistent reading my Bible. It really does changes my ability to love people. To have patience. To show grace. I doesn't matter if I'm reading endless lineage or Jesus' teachings, God uses me more (or I'm more aware of it) when I'm in His Word.

Meditate more. I pray a lot, but meditation is completely different. It helps me learn how to be a spirit with ears, not just a mouth.

Pay more attention to how I treat my body. What I do with it. What I put in my mouth. How much rest it's getting. This isn't a fancy way of saying "lose weight". I just want to be healthier. After quite an indulgent holiday season, I began this year with a 10 day fruit, veggie and water fast. It really helped flush out my system and set my taste buds straight on what eating well means. I've since continued to be mindful that I want to eat real food. Not "food-like products". I've also signed up for Crossfit. Yes, I am nervous. But I'm also excited. Apparently it's going to change my life...I'll keep you posted.

That's it. Those are my hopes/desires/wishes/prayers for 2013. It's funny to think about what the year has in store for my life. However, I'd hate to completely say good-bye to this year without sharing a few of the highlights from my busy, crazy and wonderful holiday season..

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2013. Let's do this.