This year has been...well, quite a year. I'm going to take you on a quick walk down memory lane with me...I'll try not to talk too much, since I plan to share plenty of pictures, and they're each worth 1000 words on their own.
January 2012 started out with wonderful news....we were expecting a baby!!!!
But that joy quickly turned to tears when we lost the baby. We had suffered a miscarriage a couple years before...right before we got pregnant with Ellie-Boo, but just because the pain was familiar didn't make it any easier.
That next week, a friend asked if I wanted to be part of a team going to Africa over the summer and I said absolutely. So while I was still grieving, I was also excited about the new adventure on my horizon.
In February my eyes were opened to the awful reality of sex-trafficking around the world, and even in our own backyard. I did Valentine Mini-Sessions to raise money for World Hope International's Anti-Trafficking efforts, and was so touched by how many of you wanted to help make a difference!
As March rolled around, I couldn't get the plight of those girls off my mind and determined to start doing what I could to fight against modern day slavery, including occasionally volunteering as a photographer for Rescue Her.
As I prepared to head to Africa, April and May held lots of mini-sessions to help raise the money required to get there. I was constantly encouraged by how many people believed in the trip and wanted to support me. In addition to lots of people coming out for the sessions, I was so blessed by the many donations that came through. As I neared the deadline to pay for the trip, though, I was still a little short and not sure what I was going to do. God completely came through, however, and provided our entire team with all that we needed, and it was such a great reminder that He's got us covered!
As a photographer I stepped outside my comfort zone more times than ever before this year taking on several concerts and events, and perhaps most notably, weddings in June and July!
August, was of course marked most notably by the nearly 2 weeks I got to spend in Zambia! I already blogged all about the trip, though, so I'll let you go read all about it here: 16 people, 13 days, 8809 miles.
September added the exciting news that we would soon be a family of 5!
We couldn't have been more overjoyed!!! After losing our last baby we decided to wait till I got back from Africa to try again. So we'd been eagerly awaiting this pregnancy! We'd also done a lot of (expensive) testing, and the Dr. had determined a possible reason for the previous miscarriages and prescribed a course of action which I was following to a T. Despite a few complications at about 6 weeks, everything seemed to be going great! We even had a good friend take some special pregnancy announcement photos (including the first image I used in this post).
At the end of October, though, we were completely devastated to find out we lost this baby, too. This loss was so incredibly crushing. I couldn't wrap my mind around it. Why did we now have 3 babies in Heaven? Why wasn't I going to get to snuggle my newborn baby? I think it didn't help that this blow came at just about the time when we would have been snuggling our new baby if I hadn't miscarried last January.
To be honest, I'm still struggling. Some days more than others, but I'm not just "over it" by any means.
One morning around the middle of November I woke up knowing I was going to be OK. I could feel God's arms wrapped around me, and His peace that passes understanding surrounding me. That said, however, life hasn't been all roses since. One week of advent our church showed a video of a baby and I was reduced to tears and had to leave the room. After the heartbreaking tragedy in CT, I really thought about perspective and how my small loss is nothing compared to such pain. But, I don't think that simply knowing that things could be much worse heals heartache. And I think there's probably a fine line between being grateful for what we have and completely discarding personal struggles simply because they're not that bad in the scheme of things. Well meaning friends and family have frequently encouraged me to simply cherish the children we do have. And I agree 100 percent! I am all for cherishing every moment and hugging your kids tight and not taking a single day for granted.
I LOVE my girls sooo very much! I'm really glad I did Project 52 again this year! I believed I captured lots of little moments that I don't want to forget!
Yes, I'm still sad we lost our baby, but that doesn't mean I don't VERY MUCH cherish my sweeties! Speaking of which, as of right now I plan to most likely do less photography in 2013 in order to spend more time with them. But I'll talk to you more about that another day.
December has been full of lots of great times! I LOVE Christmas, and we've made lots of great memories as a family this year, including my sister's beautiful wedding in which my sweeties were flower girls!
A few days ago, though, I received the heartbreaking news that sweet Princess Kaitlyn has gone to be with the Lord. This precious 4 year old had been battling an inoperable brain tumor. God brought her into my life when she was just about 10 months old and I got to take her first bluebonnet pictures. I took pictures of her and her little sister many times and got to know her beautiful Mom, Lucy, whom I now consider a friend. I'm so grateful that I was able to take family pictures for them at the beginning of the month.
I can't imagine what her family is going through right now, but if you pray, please lift them up to our Heavenly Father.
This past week, after Christmas, Misteris and I took our first ever getaway since before we had kids! It was so refreshing to escape all the day-to-day "stuff" and just breathe and have fun and pour into one another.
This year has had lots of highs and lows for us, and for the past couple months I've found myself already writing 2013 on stuff. I think I've just been so DONE with this year. But it's held lots of moments I never want to forget, too.
As I close out this post (which I realize was super long, sorry) I just want to thank each one of you for coming along with me on this journey! So many of you have believed in me, encouraged me, and allowed me the privilege of capturing your family in pictures! God Bless! And may your 2013 be whimsical, fresh and fun!