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magnificent things could happen

photograph from a year ago.
new. brave. adventure. daring. be. simplicity. 
All these different words were considered  as I mused what word to choose for twenty thirteen. Flipping them over and over around my tongue, trying to taste the word that would be mine for the next twelve months, I found that each and every one of them mean something vivid and real to me, yet none of them quite encompass my vision for this next year. 
All of a sudden, the simple, tiny, usually overlooked word "do" burst into my mind, and decided for itself that it would be my one word for twenty thirteen. If I keep that one word close by all year long, so many magnificent things could happen. 

I have to be honest and say that I'm glad twenty twelve is now history. So much happened that year, and I grew in ways I couldn't have imagined, but most of that time I felt like I was being bounced around carelessly, like a rubber ball or a battered dog toy, just barely clinging on for dear life. It's been hard. Originally I had chosen the word dream as my one word for 2012, but looking back I can see that my year ended up embodying something more like the word survive. I had just enough strength to hold on, with very little left over to reach for anything more. Twenty twelve was sparse with time to sit and think and be quiet. The noise made it hard to dream. But despite it all, it was so full! Full of new things, full of firsts, full of new people, full of traveling. Looking back, it's all turned out for good in the end. I still don't think I can adequately express how happy I am to leave it all behind, or  how pumped I am for twenty thirteen. Bring it on!

 A couple days ago, I began creating a list of goals for the coming twelve months, recording everything came into my mind, unfiltered and raw, leaving nothing else. A rather obvious pattern came up almost immediately; nearly every goal was about photography! I was amazed. Amazed, because over the past few months I've been struggling with photography. 
I'm sick of my art. There, I said it. I'm in a low place, and a creative fog where I feel like I'm stuck in a rut, restlessly grinding away but getting no where. I've been questioning it, asking myself, "Is this really something I want to do for the rest of my life?" Over the years, I've taken up so many things and told everyone that "this is what I want to do for a living!" But then I've discarded these ideas when they grew old and something new and more exciting came up. Well aware of this pattern, I had been considering the possibility of letting this go too. Maybe I should discover something else, find a new direction, and pursue whatever it is that I find. 

As I looked over the list of goals I had created, I realized one thing. 

If my vision is going through a rough spot, or my passion fades for a little while, that doesn't mean I should give up on whatever it is my heart loves to do. Sometimes all I need is a little break, and then I can rediscover my love.

It's as simple as that, and I'm taking it to heart. 

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?” 
-Mary Oliver

There are so many little and big things to be done this year, so many things I want to do, discover, pursue. 

I want to rekindle my passion for photography, and pursue that in a bigger way. That will include everything from launching simplicity grace photography as a real, live business, hopefully shooting my first wedding (!!!), experimenting with new types and styles of photography that I haven't considered before (nothing is off limits this year), and learning to shoot film. I want to force myself to take a deeper look at this art called painting with light, and find my niche in it, and once I discover that, go after it with all my heart. 
(p.s. exciting photography project announcement coming soon!)

 I want to invest in people, deeper and more intensely than I ever have before. Loving people is always worth it, and I want to experience that in a fuller way this year, whether that means serving in unnoticed ways, giving a long hug (because those are the best kind), or just spending time with the people I'm blessed to call my best friends. 

I want to be challenged. In new ways, by new people. I want to move beyond where I am now, and learn and grow and become. Comfort is not something I'm striving for, because everything I want to do falls outside of my comfort zone.  Maybe I will read volumes and volumes of books. Maybe I will meet new people and overcome my fear of making new friends. (Because strangely, it's not the meeting people part that I dread, it's the getting to know people part that's so challenging. Becoming friends requires opening up, and when you give little pieces of yourself away, what's to stop you from disappearing? I digress.) Maybe I will go to Quebec and practice my french on the locals and overcome self consciousness. Maybe in all of this I'll learn who I really am, and learn how to best be that person. 

I want to go places. I'm praying about this. It's on my twenty thirteen bucket list to fly somewhere by myself (in other words, with no one of my family with me). Many pictures must be taken of the new places I see. 

I want to savor time. I'm guilty far too often of letting moments and opportunities slip by because I'm too busy focusing on myself. This year I want to be focused outwards rather than inwards. 

I want to leave mere existing behind and learn what it is to really be alive. I want to live passionately, with abandon, bursting with joie de vivre. Never afraid to be daring, different, and impractical. I want to embrace adventure and discovery, and be brave and vibrant and dynamic. In everything that I do and every place that I go, I want to be deeply present and fling myself into each new thing with every last ounce of strength in my heart. Wear that bright patterned twirly dress. Even when they scare me, try bold new things. Sing loud, just because I can. Leave behind self consciousness, and dance even when people are watching. 

This was long, I know. If you read the entire thing, I'm surprised, and you deserve serious props. Honestly though, this has been more beneficial to me that I realized when I first set out to write it two hours ago. I have a better grasp on my vision and ideas and dreams for this year, now that I've typed it all out. Writing has a funny way of doing that to you.

Cheers to twenty thirteen! Magnificent things could happen.
xo and all that jazz,