New years bring new life. A new beginning. Or at least that’s what it feels like amidst all the resolutions and talk of “fresh starts.” I suppose it’s true and even if it weren’t I appreciate the hope it brings.
For me, this year the “newness” of a new year feels very true and literal. This is because of course, our little family is growing from two to three! In addition, the months leading up to Christmas and the New Year felt like the absolute busiest. Tyler started a new job, we moved into a new home and we are embarking on our second trip this week in a timespan of less than a month! “Busy” makes it seem undesirable, but it wasn’t and hasn’t been at all. Well, I had my moments when it was less than desirable (like scrubbing our last rental's bathroom), but mostly it’s been an adventure! See what I did there? Turning “negatives” into positives like it’s my job.
Sadly as I have yet to post about the amazing gift I was given just before Thanksgiving, let me start with a bit of the back story...
Nearly three years ago I was on an outreach with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) in Kenya, Africa. Those of you who have been to Africa know the sweetness of the land. The hot days become endearing, the sunsets beautiful and the night sky breathtaking. Not to mention the beautiful people! I was taken back by the level of joy I encountered and especially in the slums. The three months I was there are some of the most life-changing i've experienced.
There were a few unfortunate turns while we were there, one being that we were robbed. “Unfortunate” might be an understatement. But in some ways I expected this to happen on our trip, and maybe that’s the exact reason it did. Our hostel we were staying at in Nairobi was broken into (well, only two of our rooms) with much being stolen. My camera, a Canon 5D, was among the things that were stolen. I laid in shock after we discovered the robbery or it may have even been indifference.
Often I’ve found with many artists that there is a time in their journey where they wrestle with their craft. Almost the entire YWAM experience was that wrestling for me. There were times where picking up a camera was like lifting my right arm, it was a part of me and then there were times where I could care less. Never at a loss for inspiration---after all I was in Iceland before I was in Kenya---but found that I had gained an apathetic, “what’s the point,” kind of outlook toward what I was capable of producing.
Since then I’ve been completely undone by the love and faithfulness of God to provide and encourage me that this is a life-giving gift if I will simply use it. He spoke this first through a dear friend, who was in Kenya with me and gave her camera, a Canon Rebel to me. Since then, I’ve used that camera countless times but still with a slight indifference as to what I have to offer by the use. But this year I’ve fallen more in love with photography and the beauty I can capture to share with others. I held my first art show at the beginning of the summer, with prints from my time in Iceland. It’s been a fun journey and I think it peaked this year with a visit to California. We spent time with good friends, Mary & JP, who are both creative artists. While being there I was extremely inspired by the way Mary took her camera with her everywhere we went. Taking shots of almost everything we did, her camera was her right hand, like mine once was. In a way 2013, along with many other things, was about re-falling in love with my craft.
Just a few weeks later, Mary came to Tennessee. She had a wedding to photograph nearby and we had the privilege of hosting her. Man, she’s such a gem. During her time we were talking shop and out of nowhere she says she wants to give me a 5D. Wait, what? Seriously?! Yep. I received it in the mail just a few days before Thanksgiving and I am undone by the generosity of others and the kindness of the God we serve.
It gets better.
As I was sharing with my friend Ariel (who gave me the Canon Rebel) about my new camera she just smiled. She, since YWAM, has happily given away two cameras in obedience to Papa which left her with her iPhone. Later she tells me that she too was given a camera that week! A Canon 60D from a completely unexpected source. What?
Yep folks, God is just that good and people are just that generous.
Needless to say, aside from becoming a mom and learning what that’s all about, most of my New Year's resolutions revolve around photography and really pushing myself to grow and pursue my craft.