2015: Looking Back

I’ve come to learn that while many people’s life come with standard ups and downs, our years carry a theme of despairing depths and highest highs. Our sweet times are so so so sweet. Our bitter times are painfully bitter. It’s pretty rare for us to have an “average” year. We’re either on Cloud 9 in the Cayman Islands or I’m having brain surgery. Not a lot of middle ground for us. And that’s ok, we’re getting the hang of the extremes!

2015 will probably not go down in the books as my favorite year. Ha! On the whole, it’s been a hard year. One of the hardest, actually. But there’s been tons of really good stuff mixed in with the really bad.

The biggest event of 2015 was brain surgery. It’s no surprise that going through SCDS, surgery and recovery from a craniotomy has been consuming my life this year. But it’s kind of a part of my life now whether I like it or not. But surgery fixed the broken bone and I feel so much better now than I did before surgery. Miraculous, beautiful healing that I am so grateful for! I still don’t feel “normal” so on the whole, I’m worse off than I was before this whole mess started in 2014. But I’m much better than I was at the height of my symptoms from SCDS. I am so so so grateful to be feeling better! And I got to spend a whole month in Cali with David, his family and my sister and I have genuinely wonderful memories from our time together. See? Good mixed with bad.

Yikes! Terrible picture, but a great reminder of how far I’ve come!

It really really really sucked to have three spinal taps this year. The pain from those things will be seared into my brain forever. I still have residual nerve pain in my back from them if I move in certain ways. They represent my darkest days this year. But ultimately the results from them were positive and meant I didn’t need to have any more surgery moving forward (yay!). And I think they helped spur me on to apply to grad school (still waiting to hear if I got in, by the way!).

Maintaining a business this year felt impossible at times. I turned away a dozen weddings, I paid other photographers to shoot things for me because I couldn’t. I lost 60% of my income this year. I stressed that my entire business might collapse inwards on itself. So I pushed myself to work beyond what I should have. The stress of trying to recover from surgery and maintain the appearance that my company was running on all cylinders was exhausting. I had setbacks in my healing because I was trying to work when I shouldn’t have been. But, God sustained me and by His grace and has faithfully provided for us. And when I was feeling well, I had the opportunity to photograph at some killer locations! Some of my favorite images ever were taken this year and I felt like I took a big step forward in my creativity.  2016 is shaping up to be really good too! Yay!

We brought my sweet puppy-niece into our family this year! Lulu always makes everything better!  She has been a bright spot for many people in my family this year. No matter how many hard things are going on, spending 5 minutes with Lu is sure to make everything better!

I got to travel and do a little road trip. Granted, it was my grandmother’s funeral that prompted the trip in the first place, but it was a wonderful experience with David as we explored part of Kentucky together. We had the chance to see new places and experience the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Ultimately, it was a bit more than I could handle and it set me back a bit in my healing journey, but it was a really fun time that we both enjoyed. I’m so glad David was able to not work for a few days so we could just enjoy our time together.

Utah was without a doubt the highlight of our year. A whole trip with nothing bad! I physically felt good the whole time and we got to see a lot of new places. It was definitely the best part of 2015!

One of our biggest changes this year was our decision to sell our house! We found out a few days ago that our house is officially under contract (we close 2/15/16). Very bittersweet for sure. We are so encouraged to have sold our house to the very first people who looked at it. They gave us a great offer and we’re super hopeful that we will be able to keep the process moving forward smoothly! We’re pretty sad to be leaving, but we know it’s for the best and we’re trusting God to bring us to the place where we’re meant to be!

All in all, I’m more than happy to say goodbye to 2015. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out! 😉
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