I can hardly believe that 2011 is drawing to a close. It has been a good year...a stretching year, but a year in which, God has proved His faithfulness again and again. I feel like school has dominated a big portion of my life this past year, but as I look back on photos, I am also reminded of all the other things I managed to squeeze in around it. There was the ski trip to Duluth and winter afternoons spent on the ice, skating and playing hockey. There was softball and Fiddle Fest. There was my first missions trip to Mexico and the family vacation to Colorado. There was Storybook Lodge, the whirlwind trip to the heart of "Cardinals Nation", and a week spent at "The V". There was the Bravehearted Gospel and passed tests. There was the new camera(!) and photography classes. And then there were the times that there aren't many photos of, because taking photos would have meant pulling away from the moment and sometimes it's better to simply enjoy the moment rather than capture it. There were all those wonderful moments of being surrounded by family and friends, laughing and playing games, and realizing even more how beautiful life is. And of course, there were lots of photo shoots. Families, engagement, kids, seniors, events, a wedding. Sometimes it's hard to believe I actually get paid to do something I love so much.
As I look back through this past year's photos, I am reminded again and again of how extraordinarily beautiful life really is. So often in our hurry, we rush by the beauty of everyday life. God is so amazing to constantly surround us with grace and beauty, and in this year ahead, I don't want to miss any of it. One of the blogs I occasionally read is "A Holy Experience", and its author, Ann Voskamp writes a lot about slowing down and recognizing all the gifts God gives us. I thought I'd close with something she wrote:
"And all this, all this, all these moments, all these are for you. Isn't that the voice we have to learn to hear? The voice that is telling the whole world that the earth under you and the rain over you and all the stars spinning all around you. This is for you. Your true love's smile, and a nap in a patch of light, the whir of bike spokes, and a wild rose on the sill, and that one great puff of flickering candles, these are all for you. What if we really figured it out? That gratitude for the seemingly small and insignificant, this is the seed that plants the giant miracle in the midst of it all. So count the ways He loves. A thousand, more. Never stop. So that when you wake in the morning you can't help but unfold your hands to the heavens. And though you grieve, and though you wonder, though the world is ugly, it is beautiful. And though time moves on, its moments are holy. And though the planet spins, a blur, you can slow, and you can wake, and you can trust, and you can pay attention to the moments with this offering of thanks. Because this is how you spend your one life well, receiving each moment for what it really is: holy, ordinary, amazing grace, a gift."
"May the beauty of the Lord rest upon us
and may He establish the works of our hands for us."