Well since we are all in retrospective mode, where do I begin?! So many people I look up to talk about making tangible goals for each year, both in business and in life. I struggle with this, because if the last few years of my life have taught me anything - plans sometimes just don't mean a thing! We can plan, plan, plan but "it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Does this mean we just totally live on whims? Certainly we cannot just live without purpose, but I sometimes fear that making goals that I don't meet will cause dissapoinment.
So where does this all leave me heading into 2013? I would be lying if I said it hasn't been a challenging patch of life for me, but I say with certainty I have MUCH to be thankful for. I think 2012 has taught me A LOT about balancing life and being realistic about what I can do. In 2012, I had over 25 families that I worked with for sessions and 5 weddings. I know in some photography business plans that might not be much, but for me it was a huge and wonderful year. I am so VERY GRATEFUL for all of you who trust me with your precious life memories. I love me some Nicholas Sparks and in one of his books, The Wedding, he writes "Experience had taught me that even the most precious memories fade with the passage of time.” This is why capturing our momentus times in life is so important! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of each of your stories.
So what are some of my lessons from 2012 that I have learned?
1. Loving often costs you something and this is not a bad thing! To love other well, you will need to sacrifice but that sacrifice is never lost on those you bestow it.
2. Having 3 kids at the age of three & under leaves me often drained but I cannot give up. I sometimes have to be OK with wiping the 3rd bottom in a row in a 15 minute span or spilled drinks or messes all over...I have to let go of the quest for a perfect house or a perfect anything! Being in the moment and living is so much important than stressing over the little stuff.
3. Life is definitely precious, so don't always treat it so casually. Tell those you love that you love them! Be compasionate with others and don't be afraid to be a shoulder for someone else when they need it.
4. God is good. It doesn't always FEEL this way but he is SO GOOD. A verse that has been marinating in my heart over the last week or so is "Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you" Isaiah 43:4 It's God talking to his people and it's such a breath of fresh air. Life isn't always easy but HE is good!
5. I am really not my best when I get to busy and run down and because of this, I learned to say no more this year. I never want to be less than my best for my family, clients, or students. I need to take care of me in order to take care of everyone else! Learning to say no to certain things empowers me to say yes to other things. I am sure 2013 will continue to teach me about balance.
6. Read good books! A good friend reminded me that "life is too short to read bad books" so don't feel like you need to finish a book if it's not your cup of tea. I read all sorts of things from theology and parenting to novels and business advice. It keeps me thinking, dreaming, and growing.
7. I need to challenge myself creatively. I confess, I really need to photograph personal projects more. I struggle to even really take pictures of my own kids. I know that I was supposed to be better at that in 2012, I think I did take more pictures but pressured myself less on their quality. The images don't always need to be professional portraits, snapshots will do when simply trying to document life. I will let you know if I come up with a personal project that intrigues me!
8. I really enjoyed my 10 day hiatus from facebook leading up to Christmas. I have heard it said "comparison is the theif of joy." I think we sometimes allow ourselves through social networking to constantly compare. Heck, it can even happen on pinterest! If you don't cook well, dress well or decorate well...you might as well get off Pinterest now before you feel defeated :) I don't want to compare. I don't want to feel defeated. I want to wake up each day, draw breath and ask God what he has for ME today. We cannot live the plans for others, we can only live the life God has laid before us. I am still praying to enjoy and not just endure!
I think I will just leave you with a picture of our family from the very end of Christmas day. We were spent with all the food, family and fun but you can tell by the looks on our faces that we enjoyed ourselves!
Wishing you all the best my friends in 2013!!