2014 was a year of change for me. Change that was usually welcome and some that took adjusting to. :)
I’ll start with the photography side of my life. :)
I was so blessed to have about 15 photo shoots this year!
For the first time in my photography business I was able to attend a dear friend’s labor and delivery!
That very next morning my family and I left for NE where I took engagement photos for my sister and her now-husband, Dylan:
Then we took my sister, Hannah’s, bridal portraits at Maymont in Richmond and she made a stunning bride:
Around that time I also went and took some more newborn photos of little Nehemiah:
And then my sister’s wedding day came with many tears of overflowing joy:
Shannon and Jimbo ,family friend and spouse, were married on the banks of the Rappahannock and I loved capturing their intimate wedding!
Nehemiah turned 3 months old and his sweet smile and personality flooded every picture. :)
I took part in a photography team that captured the Home Educator’s Association of Virginia annual conference.
The P. family was such a joy to photograph and I loved the beautiful party for S. that followed:
Nehemiah turned 6 months and with his great crawling abilities made it challenging to get a good photo of him looking at me (yet I love him anyway ;).
My Uncle Sean, Aunt Amanda (and baby!) and cousin Cameron did a quick photo shoot at the beach.
Brandy and Robert were engaged and had photos done in Lynchburg! I’m looking forward to their wedding in March!
Little Moriah was such a perfect poser for her newborn pictures. :)
The Blue’s are one of my favorite families to photograph and this year was no exception!
The Jackson’s dressed to the hilt for me this year and we had a great time hanging out at the Carillon in Richmond for these photos.
I always love photographing the first baby because of the adoring wonder of the parents. Matthias’ photo shoot was so sweet!
I photographed Todd and Samantha’s wedding last year and was so excited to be a part of Samantha’s maternity pictures!
The Dagenhart family made my job a breeze for their family photos!
All in all, I had 11 paid photography photo shoots and 2 that were a swap for car service and help with my website and email.
After the Jackson’s family photos, I found out I would need to get a new camera due to some issues I was having. So, I bought a lightly used D7000 and love it! It’s a step up from the D90 and I’m loving the 31 focal points and setting accessibility! I had known for some time that I needed to upgrade but I tend to be a penny pincher and didn’t want to spend the money. Well, God used some of my D90’s problems to convince me I had to go and spend money to get a newer, better camera. I still love my D90 and am so thankful for it as my first DSLR camera but I’m so excited to have a new one I can rely on.
About a month after I bought my new camera, my computer quit working. I had just spent a few hundred dollars on it a few months before and was hoping it wasn’t anything big. Well, at first I was told my graphics card went bad and then we found out that my PCIe port was actually blown. So, I either had to get a new computer or my computer guy would build me one. Either way I had to spend quite a few hundred dollars more.
God sometimes has a not-so-suttle way of teaching me the lessons I need to learn. :) One of those lessons this past year was definitely to let go of my tight grasp on money and to learn how to deal with many bad things happening at once while trying to keep a joyful spirit. I’m definitely a work in slow progress here. :)
Anyways, I had to get a new computer. My computer guy was able to get me a really wonderful deal for a MacPro. (Yes, I switched to Apple. I’m tired of all the money and time spent into an HP.) It’s a wonderful computer and I’m just hoping it lasts for 5 years without me having to put a cent into it. Is that unrealistic? Probably, but a girl can dream, right? :)
Overall, this photography year has been fruitful yet expensive. :) I loved every photo shoot and was so blessed to have almost every single one as repeat business. I’m so honored to be a part of my friend’s lives as they marry, have babies, and grow!! Sure there were nights I cried about having to spend multiple hundreds on a new camera and computer. Yet, as always, God is good!
On a personal note, 2014 was very full and busy!
My family and I drove out to NE in Feb. to prepare my sister’s soon-to-be home. While there we were able to attend a bridal shower for Dylan and Hannah and to spend time with Dylan’s family.
Then the most bittersweet day of my life came when Hannah and Dylan got married. Hannah was my best friend and we had done everything together. Now Hannah was doing something I wasn’t and I couldn’t do it with her. Not only that but she was moving 24 hours away…we’d never been apart more than a few days.
Their wedding day was so beautiful and a great example for me to live up to. I couldn’t ask for a better brother-in-law and am so glad God brought Dylan into Hannah’s lives and ours. Hannah and Dylan set a high standard of purity for me and I only hope I’ll reach it myself.
But as the happy couple drove off to their honeymoon, I couldn’t resist crying…a lot. Hannah was leaving without me. I didn’t even get to tell her goodbye in the rush to get in the car after the bubble strewn exit. I numbly helped clean up while tears streamed down my face. I would be able to stem the tide for a few minutes until I saw or was reminded of something about Hannah. Then I couldn’t stop crying agin. I got lots of sweet hugs and kind words from people that helped a little yet I knew I had to move on by myself. God called Hannah somewhere else and I would need to learn how to adjust. Actually, I think I’ve changed a lot on the inside this year mostly due to Hannah’s absence. I’m now the oldest at home and I’ve had to become more independent. I would always defer to Hannah as the oldest and as my best friend. I would follow Hannah around church instead of going up and talking to others myself. We were always at the same point in life together so we could talk about practically everything. This all changed on the wedding day.
A little while after the wedding a good friend asked how I was doing. I said I was doing alright and she paused, looked me in the eyes, and said “You look lost without Hannah.” And I suddenly realized how true her statement was. Up until that point I would just wander the house and I didn’t really know why. When she said that, it all made sense. I was so used to always being by Hannah or with her that I didn’t know what to do without her. :) For weeks after the wedding, my younger siblings would talk to Hannah and Dylan via Skype. I would try to talk a few minutes but on seeing her face I had to leave because my eyes would tear up just seeing her on the computer. Sometimes someone would say something concerning Hannah that would remind me of her absence and I’d have to leave the room so I could try and keep from crying.
For awhile I was very self-centered and was upset that marriage took her away from me. I would have to remind myself, God has done a great thing in Hannah’s life, fulfilled her dream, and called her to glorify Him now as a wife and mother. How could I be upset about something so wonderful? It was pure selfishness on my part.
Tenderly and slowly God has used these past months to teach me to not be dependent on anyone but Him. I had no idea how much I depended on Hannah until the wedding. My little world was rocked when she left. At first I thought it was rocked in a negative way but I’ve now realized how good it’s been for me. I’ve fallen more in love with Jesus this year than ever before.
God also opened the door for me to travel lots this year!
The Jacksons took me to Texas for ten days with them and I had a blast! I loved attending Levi’s Air Force graduation and spending time with the Jacksons!
They took me to the Alamo and Riverwalk. I was able to try real cajun food (I turned down the offer on the crawfish, though :), meet many of their sweet family members, spend time exercising around Lackland Air Force Base with Mrs. Kendra (so many good times and talks are had while running together!), and loving on all the Jackson’s sweet kids. :) I was in Heaven on that military base (I would’ve been in a bigger heaven if I was on a Marine base, but I digress ;).
Many of the Friday’s in 2014 you would find me at the horse barn working on Natural Horsemanship with Mrs. Katy and a beautiful Hanoverian named Selah.
I’ve taken a break from horses for a few months now and miss them so much. I’m unsure where God wants me with them and am just praying for Him to guide me. There are a few options I’m considering and waiting for God to show me which one He wants me to do. :)
I continued to work three days a week at the Schermerhorn’s teaching Luke and Ellen Bible, Math, Reading, Science, and occasionally History. I’ve learned a lot from this experience and look forward to the day I’ll teach my own children (Lord willing)!
August 2014 I went on a missions trip with the mission team from our old church and had a blast! I was able to get on the roof this year and replace a shingle roof with a metal one. Other than dreaming twice I was about to fall off the roof, I enjoyed every minute there!
Then we went to the beach with Mama’s family and had a lovely week surfing the waves, soaking up the sun, and spending time with family while eating good food! :)
In September, I had some of the best days of my life at the NGJ Smoky Mountains Shindig. I went with my sister, Alexis, and the always generous Jackson family! From the challenging speaking sessions, to the basketball for hours every afternoon, to the line dancing almost every night I relished every moment there!
I love this gun! Just this year I’ve found out I’ve fallen in love with pistol shooting. :) Thanks to friends at church, I’ve had some great help and there are plans in the works to create a 360 degree range on our own property. It’ll be so wonderful!
In October, Daddy, my brother, Caleb, and I (as well as some friends) ran a 6.5 mile obstacle course race called the Civilian Military Combine. It was a challenge to be sure but I came out of the race more confident in what I could do and incredibly happy I conquered the race. I actually managed to place 2nd in my division, too! I thought I wasn’t going to be anywhere near the top so I was greatly surprised when I read the scores. :)
In the fall, I also was blessed to go to Amish Country with the Schermerhorns! Pennsylvania is so beautiful and I enjoyed “teaching” in such a beautiful place and exploring the area with them.
Hannah and Dylan visited over Thanksgiving and we had lots of time together while enjoying family luncheons, vehicle breakdowns, a baby shower, barn dance, and late night ice cream runs.
There were so many highlights and great things I’ve done this year. The one thought I keep coming back to is I’m so blessed. I really am.
Look at this group! How am I so blessed to be part of this family?
Of course, I and my family are nothing without Christ. Nothing. Without Christ leading my parents who have led, loved, and nurtured me I don’t know where I’d be. Without Christ’s grace and mercy on my life, I would be lost. Any credit for anything good that comes out of me goes first to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and then to the hard work and love of my parents. The older I get the more I realize how vital a parent’s relationship with their child is and how different our family is from others (usually in a good way ;). The decisions my parents made have greatly affected me today and I’m so glad they made them despite the questioning concerns of others. :) I love my parents with all my heart and still have a hard time believing I’m blessed to be their daughter.
Oh and my siblings! I get to come home from work to little ones who squeal my name and wrap their arms around my legs in a tight hug. I can stay up late discussing guns and deep things with my older siblings or play a game with them and have a blast. I’ve never lived in a small family and I have never wanted to. God’s Word is true….children are a blessing! I don’t know what I’d do without all my siblings!
I would say the overall thing I came away with in 2014 is that I am exceedingly blessed by God. This is definitely not because of what I’ve done but because of who He is. Jesus Christ truly is the love of my life and every day with Him is another wonderful day. Despite computer breakdowns, a sister leaving, and less money in the bank account, Jesus Christ is good. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and His love never fails for me or anyone willing to be His. I don’t know how people go through life without Him.
So, for 2015 here’s what I’m looking forward to!
Becoming closer to Christ each and every day.
Spending time serving others and really loving others as Christ loves me.
Improving my shooting skills.
Possibly working at a dude ranch in CO for the summer!!!
Attending a friend’s wedding.
Blessing others with great photographs!
Going to the 2015 Shindig (maybe…).
Finding ways to get involved politically, quite possibly through our local Tea Party!
Starting/getting involved with a ministry to support veterans and soldiers, as well as their families.
There is so much excitement on my part for this coming year. Only God knows what lies ahead but I can’t wait to find out! There’s so much to be done in this world for Christ, let’s not be found slacking when the fields are ready for harvest!