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.

Evolution of a Husband and a Wife

So, Matt and I just got back from having a BLAST in Colorado! This was my first time actually skiing somewhere that wasn't on the East coast. Wow. Different. But WAY fun! I think I had this secret fear that I would end up spending the entire trip on the little bunny slope. You know, the one that pulls you up on that little rope thing. Thank the Lord I took to it pretty quickly and actually skied mostly blues (and even a few blacks! WHOO!) Image

It was such an amazing, romantic and adventure-filled trip! However, Matt and I did have one interesting moment that will be placed lovingly in my "mental-scrapbook". It was the third day of the vacation and I was really starting to feel confident. Maybe even a little cocky. I mean, this skiing thing was FUN! We had decided to do one last run before lunch, and Matt suggested doing a black to take us toward our condo. Now, it should be mentioned that Matt has been skiing since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. He's good at it. Really good. I didn't even know about ski school, which is where around 20 or so three year-olds are put in skis while an instructor tries to keep them from falling off of the mountain. Me, trusting wife that I am, assumed he would never suggest I try something that he didn't think I could handle.  And surely he had a better handle on what I was ready for than I did.

Right.

He then tells me that this run (that's a black-remember?) has these things called moguls. No big deal he says, "just ski around them." Sounded easy. Nope. First mogul and I'm on my butt. I struggle to my feet (which is difficult given the 85 degree slope) and try again. I pick up a bit more speed this time, which really adds to the awesomeness when  I wipe out. This time I lose both poles and one ski. Matt skis up behind me to help me up and all I can think about is how many more falls it'll take before I reach the bottom and how it's All. His. Fault. Not to mention how embarrassing it is to be experiencing this while these graceful, Olympic skiers are all flying around me. So, like any prideful 3 year old, I snatch my poles from him, get my ski on, grit my teeth and basically have a "temper-tantrum-ski-fit". That's basically a vicious cycle of collecting my skis, struggling up, propelling myself down the hill, then completely wiping out. Each time getting more and more furious, more and more exhausted and letting the four letter words fly at an increasing rate and decibel level. I mean, at one point I actually punched the mountain. Yes. That's right. Punched the mountain.

FINALLY, after probably around 20 minutes (seriously) I got past the moguls and managed to ski down the rest of the mountain. Legs shaking, face burning and giving Matt the all out silent treatment. I mean it was All. His. Fault.

However, on the trek back I started to reflect on my behavior and had that sickening realization. You know the one. The one where you start thinking "I was...wrong." Dang. I HATE being wrong. It wasn't Matt's fault. And not only that, but while he was trying to help me, I had pretty much decided to push him off the mountain.  AND not only that, but I had pitched a fit. I mean a full-blown-two-year-old-worthy-temper-tantrum. So during lunch I did what any other prideful person would do. I slid him little glances. Small smiles. And then he did something that reminded me why I am so in love with this man. He let it go. He didn't make me apologize, or chastise me for being a TOTAL brat. He didn't even try to reenact how I looked punching the mountain. He held my hand and we finished lunch. Thank God I married a man who will be my best friend, when it would be so easy to be the scorekeeper instead. I am constantly learning and evolving into a better person through watching his love for me.

Now for the evolution of my husband! See, Matt decided to grow a beard before our trip so that he could get away without wearing a full face mask. I've never really liked beards, but Matt's was downright sexy~! I kind of miss it...But we had a GREAT time shaving it off!

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I love this man :-)