Just like the changing colors of leaves and the crispness that fills the air around October, I am filled with the same renewing freshness each January 1. I feel like fall is always a time to reset clocks the same way January is. Why is it that a simple change of a number signifies such a drastic fresh start? It really is no different than the day before. But I have to admit to falling into the same mind set that says “NOW, now is the time to make changes, to start fresh, to reset your clock”. This often comes in many forms and fashions: weight loss goals, spiritual check ins and “no procrastination” rules. But this time, I want to approach the new year a little differently. I found a quote that said “Punctuate it with Hallelujahs” and that resonated inside my spirit….I want to be that woman who punctuates each situation with a hallelujah, a praise, with thanksgiving.
I had the privilege of ringing in 2013 with my breath, Lacey Beth Gebhart and we did something pretty special. We each wrote a letter to our future selves, and then, for fun, to each other. And those were to be read yesterday. And even though more miles separate us than I’d prefer, we read our letters together across the quiet of a telephone line and then giggled at how funny the other was in the letters we had written to one another. I read the letter I wrote to myself and see answered prayers and beautiful manifesto style challenges that remind me of the woman I strive to be.
By the time you read this, you will have one last semester to go before your masters is complete. Dream big about what is next. Whoever you are photographing, remember they are important because they are children of God. Represent their beauty. Take risks. Love with a fiery, bold love. Encourage people daily.
What a timely reading that was. As I enter into this last semester with school, I want to remember why I’m photographing these women. The challenges I set for myself then are so applicable now. For anyone reading I HIGHLY recommend writing a letter to your future self. Lacey and I exchanged letters and set reminders on our phone to mail the others letter…or well, Lacey did…breath fail on my part….This is a tradition I stand firm in and hope to establish in my newly forming family. If you don’t trust your ability to hold onto a physical letter, check out www.futureme.org. Its an amazing website that allows you to write an email to yourself and set the date that you wish to receive it. This could be used for anything from goal setting to accountability.
As I ponder on 2013, I think about the moments that shaped me:
- I started dating and got engaged to the most amazing man. Saying he is the man of my dreams doesn’t quite do him justice because he is far more than any man I could’ve imagined God would bless me with
- Finished my first year of grad school and started my second: this has been a rocky balance as I’ve continued working. I began thesis work and learned some really exciting new things such as web design and In Design.
- Travelled to Paris and was reminded how deep my wanderlust is
- Interned with National Geographic…an absolute dream come true. It taught me things I wanted to continue pursuing and other avenues that were a dead end
- Ran my first half marathon and two 5Ks! What an incredible experience. Traveling to Orlando with my girls, I NEVER imagined in a million years I would pay, much less CHOOSE to run 13 miles. It was incredibly fulfilling!
- Was visited by so many amazing people and was reminded of the incredible blessing friendship truly is
As I look to this new year, I think upon what is to come. Here are the things I know are slated to happen:
- graduate with my Masters degree
- run my 2nd half marathon and at least 1 more 5K
- GET MARRIED!!!!!!
- Start an exciting new job with Apple
That right there looks like an incredible year…and those are just the things I know will happen..who knows what surprises may creep in along the way!
Several years ago I quit making resolutions and started making intentions. Soon I’ll share my intentions for this new year. Until then, be blessed and here’s to an exciting new year ahead.