"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity."
Four years ago, I remember sitting at my desk staring at a black and white clock ticking away. Time was not on my side that day. I had fifteen minutes left of my 45 minute pre-calculus class. I was tired, frustrated, and ready to graduate. I had plans to go to college and study photography. It was a new and exciting idea to me. The opportunity to grow my hobby into a career was something I couldn't pass up. I prayed about it, and God made it very clear that He wanted me to pursue that thought.
It led me to Nossi College of Art, a place that taught me skills I couldn't have learned anywhere else. It was a hands on learning experience, and it grew my creativity very quickly. Eventually, I found myself in the same position I did when I was a senior in high school. I was ready to graduate. My dreams were realized at Nossi, and I wanted a chance to pursue them. Finally, my college graduation came. It was a moment of joy when I obtained my college diploma. My hard work had paid off, and it was time to start working! I saw a need for a photographer in West Virginia who could help people create images showcasing their small business. West Virginia is heavy in industrial companies dealing with everything from coal mining, trucking, contractors, heavy equipment, and even manufacturing. I love photographing that world, and showing a new perspective in that field of work.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Once I came back home, an emotion came over me that I wasn't expecting to have; fear. Questions popped up in my head that I couldn't answer concerning my future. I had an idea of what I wanted to happen in 2016, but would it work? How can God use me and my skill of photography? Will He? That's when I turned my fears over to God and prayed for His direction in my life once again.
Psalm 107: 31
Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind.
That was a year ago. 2016 has truly been wonderful. There have been ups and downs along the way, and it hasn't been perfect. That is what has made this year so spectacular! It was in those moments of fear that I found courage. It was in those moments of weakness that I found strength, and it was in those moments of confusion that I found clarity. When I was a senior in high school, I had no idea that God would use photography to teach me His faithfulness, show me His goodness, and draw me closer to Him. I want to share the blessings God has given to me, and leave you encouraged in the fact that although time may be ever changing our God remains faithful and true. He has demonstrated that to me this year, and I am eager to share that to you.
1 Corinthians 2:9
It is written, " No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has known what God has prepared for those who love Him."
2016 has been a year FULL of travel for me. I have enjoyed every moment of it, and found myself admiring God's creation. I have been everywhere from Montana to Maine, and found beauty in all of it. Each season waited patiently to start, as if nature were preparing for a show. Every day I would peer far up into the trees, until the main act eventually appeared. A spectacular show of icy pinks would start the season in the spring, then luscious greens arrived in the summer, and the grand finale of deep, blazing oranges and yellows would end it in the fall. I enjoyed witnessing the contrasts of nature. I discovered parched landscapes in the Badlands where the ground crumbled and crunched as you walked across it, and dust would swirl high into the air, form a mask of dirt, and then lay heavily on my hair and clothes. The sight of snow falling still echoes in my mind. I remember watching snowflakes softly descend from the sky, forming nice, soft piles perfect for landing in. I found myself slipping across the coast of Maine, listening to my rubber boots splatter and squeak whenever they made contact with random puddles of ocean water found along the rocks. Each location was waiting to be explored whether it was my backyard or 1,000 miles away.
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
I became captivated by the beauty of sky this year. It was found in the simplicity of clouds, boldness of color, and the curiosity of the stars. It inspired me. You realize how small you are each time you gaze into the boundless, blue sky, and realize how big your Creator must be. I am thankful to have seen so many pretty sunsets, and to photograph whatever creation God made for me that day. It didn't matter what time of day it was or my location the sky always had something spectacular to show.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
It was a year full of noticing details and choosing to let those things bring me joy. If I ever felt discouraged, I tried to remember all of the blessings God had given to me. My eyes were opened to all the goodness God had brought into my life! Every day I would open my eyes, and have the opportunity to perceive the colors, textures, and the lighting of my ever-changing surroundings. Happiness would bubble up as I thought about my family and getting to see their faces everyday. I have a warm home to come to, food to eat, and a purpose in life. God has guided me through my journey and has blessed me in countless ways.
My heart is full as I review this past year. I have had so many unexpected and wonderful opportunities. I've met new people, seen new places, and experienced new things. Last but not least I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from me and Maverick! Thank you to everyone who has supported me, whether it be new clients, a like on Facebook, or a kind comment in person, it has all been greatly appreciated and noticed. As for 2017, I am excited! Once again, I do not know what God has in store for me, but I do look forward to finding out.