“I’m over it. Bye 2018.” I said into the phone with a huff to my sister. I then begin to describe how challenging 2018 was and highlighted each of the difficult situations I faced. Without skipping a beat, I almost had them all memorized by timeline.
As my sister always does, she listened and agreed but not without pointing out the good came from the year as well.
Depending on how you look at it, a year can be summarized into bad and good….or it can be seen through a very different lens. Yesterday, I was frustrated with the year, today I woke up on a different side of the bed. Each year brings everyone challenges, lessons, heartache, frustrations…you get it. Each year there is also blessings from those hard times if you choose to look from the right perspective.
Soon after the beginning of the year, we would find out Ivan would be diagnosed with degenerative myleopathy, a disease in dogs that is similar to ALS in humans. If I’m being honest, this has taken a toll on us for the past year. Each month, Ivan’s symptoms have progressed and December has been the hardest month so far. He’s almost lost entire movement of this back legs and requires help to get around. We’re thankful he’s been with us all year as one of the vets (I call him Dr. Dickwad) said he’d be gone by fall. It’s given us time to know the end will be in 2019 and to make these days the very best for him. Even if you know losing a pet will come sooner than you ever thought, it really doesn’t make it any easier. In one way, this has been our own little hell and in another, it has taught me so much about resilience and leaning on the Lord for peace.
My career outside of photography, what I often call my day job to keep the two separate, also came with a lot of changes and challenges. The company I was working for was acquired by another earlier in the year. When I say it was challenging, it was in many, many ways. I struggled for months in this new chapter of working somewhere I didn’t choose and working my way through many changes. I learned and grew as much as I could on this new found path. We don’t always pick our circumstances, but we can make the most of the ride, right? I ended up growing closer to my little team and finding one of my closest friends through it all. It’s amazing what can come from our storms and I’m grateful that one brought out a lot of great friendships.
I wasn’t sure how 2018 would pan out for photography. The wedding industry can be a roller coaster from year to year, you’re really not sure how it will land. My second year in Charlotte started to see the fruit of growing friendships and connections. Nine weddings in the books and so many amazing couples. It was even my busiest portrait year since 2013 / 2014! Man. What a blessing. My little business worried me at times if it’d survive the over saturated (and very talented) market in Charlotte. It has, it did, and it will. Faith and sweat. Faith and sweat, I’m telling you!
In the summer I started my own little reading challenge and consumed nonfiction after nonfiction with a little fiction sprinkled in. I focused on taking care of myself from the inside out, repairing some holes in the soul and getting my mind right. My friend, Erin, introduced me to meditation and yoga. My sister told me about the importance of essential oils and I reestablished time again in my life for prayer and silence.
In the fall, I started a new job that came with a lot less stress. We hosted several friends that came down to visit and celebrated Thanksgiving with my family in Charlotte. We added several broadway shows to the list because I love themmmmmmm: Phantom of the Opera, Book of Mormon, Lion King, and Hamilton. I discovered Eddie V’s here in Charlotte and it quickly became my most favorite restaurant ever and ever.
I picked up a love of crafting (sort of like a revisit of) and have been keeping my hands busy here and there with fabric crafts. It’s amazing what it can do for the mind, almost like coloring. It’s as if your mind can take a break from everything else to focus on this one thing.
December hit hard. Literally. The last three weeks have been a whirlwind as I found myself on the floor one Sunday afternoon from a tree falling on my house. These days have been filled with tears and a grateful spirit. Repairs have already started on my house and all is alive and well. I’m so thankful and blessed.
Today, I feel my soul is with peace and joy. Life isn’t perfect but I have what I need and I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I wish the same for each of you. I pray that where life takes you in 2019 will bring you joy and a new found perspective that offers many blessings. This life isn’t easy, it never will be but we can always make the best of what we’ve got.