Inspired by Jamie Delaine’s 2014-2015 Blog Challenge (#2014blog2015), I am taking time to look back on 2014 while looking forward to 2015. Evaluating the past year while planning for success in this year. Envisioning what I want to say about 2015 in retrospect and then do something to achieve it! (I’m over on KindredGrace.com talking about this today, too.)
I don’t espouse fad new year’s resolutions: in my mind, following a trend is a recipe for failure, making a resolution because I’m “supposed to” is never going to work. But this idea having a vision for the year and then creating a strategy to achieve? Now that is a system I can wholeheartedly stand behind.
Look Back: What are you most proud of this year?
After a traumatic summer of hospitalization due to appendicitis and subsequent complications, I was driving down 264th Avenue on my way to the border crossing into America when I caught a peek of Mount Baker illuminated by a golden sunrise. In that glimmer of rose-filled joy, I realized with shock that I was proud of Canada and, more than that, I was proud to have the privilege of living in Canada! Don’t get me wrong: I will always be a patriotic American. But to find the point in my story where I can be happy I moved to a new country? That’s huge!
Look Back: What was the biggest risk you took?
Most entrepreneurs would call it a step back, but I call it a step forward: I accepted a non-photography position at a local ministry. Why would I go from full-time photographer to full-time Development Coordinator? Because God called me into a new phase of life and ministry. I am still at my core a photographer and entrepreneur, and it’s a risk to temporarily give up on pursuit of that dream, but God made it exponentially clear that I need people, I need routine, and I need to serve Him at this job at a local ministry. One reality that I am not completely comfortable writing about just yet is the fact that I have been struggling with a diagnosed depression ever since moving to Canada; living a life of independence can quickly turn into a life of loneliness when battling depression’s symptoms, so getting a job was actually a huge step forward in that journey. I might have temporarily given up on my achieved dream of full time photographer, but I rest in God’s beautiful plan for my story of healing and hope. I’m still doing photography as much as possible – of course! – but I just happen to have a day job, too, now!
Look Back: What did you learn this year?
My husband loves me sacrificially, generously, graciously. This summer, I had to watch him love me when I could do nothing for myself. This summer, I watched him sit by my hospital bed holding my hand through procedures and pain and sleepless nights and extreme illness. This summer, I saw his love for me play out in extremely practical ways. And I am grateful for that glimpse into an active love that has changed my life for the best.
Look Back: What do you wish you had made more time for?
I started the year with some of my best, fullest days of writing. I started work on what could’ve been my first book, I published my first round of online tutorials, I was proud of what I was doing. Then the summer hit and all it’s doctors and surgeries and recovery time: writing took a back burner.
Look Back: What are 3 highlights (business or personal) of your year?
I am alive. That’s a pretty massive highlight. Appendicitis might’ve sidelined me, but it definitely didn’t beat me. I hosted my first Shoot Out: a group of girls got together to take pretty pictures and learn from each other as we mastered our cameras. I got a job I had prayed for, hoped for, longed for; and I love it.
Look Forward: What “word” do you want to define 2015?
In the coming year, I want to live in the victory of the triumphs of 2014 and learn from the defeats of those twelve months. I want to live in joy. Joy in good times, joy in bad times. Joy in the little beauties of life, joy despite the negative circumstances that might come. I would hope that people I meet see God’s joy played out in my life and see Him glorified in my appreciation for Him.
Look Forward: What are 3 big goals (business or personal) for 2015?
1) In the coming year, I want to utilize my photography skills in ministry. I hosted my first donation-for-photos in October and was able to raise money for New Hope Uganda Ministries. I aim to do the same in 2015 and let it be an even more overwhelmingly successful partnership for Christ. To have the privilege of seeing God’s work benefitted? So rewarding. 2) I get to remodel my kitchen this year! How fun will that be? We’ve wanted to for several years now and it’s finally time. 3) I want to strengthen my muscles and build my endurance by getting back to biking and running after this season of sickness and recovery. Yes, this might mean I start going to the gym with all the Resolution-ers, but I trust I will not fail as quickly as statistics indicate they might. 😉
Look Forward: What do you want to stop doing in 2015?
How hard is this question? My immediate reaction was to say “Oh, I have nothing I need to stop doing!” but then I realized that was an incredibly prideful answer. Then I wanted to say something about “stop finding the negative in people around me” and then I realized that just adds to the proof of my pride. Do we see a theme here? Yes.
Therefore, in 2015 I want to recognize my pride as just what it is: pride. I want to live in authenticity and humility and not think of myself more highly than I ought. (Biblical, yes?)
Look Forward: What things excite you about the upcoming year?
In 2015, my baby sister is getting married, I will have innumerable possibilities for personal and professional growth (photography! development! classes! books!), and I will live in the joyful victory of living in the wake of all the challenges of 2014. Basically, it’s going to be a wonderful year after what has proven to be an incredibly painful season in previous months.
Look Forward: What do you want to learn in 2015?
When I look into my goals for the year, it’s going to require I do some hard learning, too. I particularly want to dig deeper into Colossians. Right now, I am a couple chapters into Kay Arthur’s Precept Bible Study on the book and I want to finish the study, memorize chunks of the Scripture, and then apply it into my everyday living. I want for Scripture to be central to my routines and thoughts.
In less inspiring reality, I also really want to learn how to best use my studio lights. I am primarily a natural light photographer and have had several opportunities for using the studio, but I want to channel that knowledge into a finely honed skill.
So now it’s your turn! How can you plan for the future while looking to the past? What can you apply for last year into a successful new year?