Thursday, January 1, 2015

to dare more boldly - welcoming the New Year with audacity

For 2015, my word is BOLD.
Keep reading to see why.

be sure to click on some of the photos, most of them are linked. Also, they aren't all in order of event/date.

from my (belated) senior shoot with the amazing :: Jewel Peach Photography

The Piano Guys Concert

all the sisters together for a Yo-Yo Ma concert for my Mom's birthday

my dearest emy.

Christmas with my siblings

my oldest brother got married

i got to meet the genius that is Professor Lennox; one of my heroes

Savage Race, baby!

my sis and best friend's going-away party before she moved to MA

an amazing summer workshop by :: Jewel Peach Photography I helped with. This is the ever lovely Alaina Wright

"My spirits rose as I went deeper; into the forest; but I could not regain my former elasticity of mind. I found cheerfulness to be like life itself—not to be created by any argument. Afterwards I learned, that the best way to manage some kinds of painful thoughts, is to dare them to do their worst; to let them lie and gnaw at your heart till they are tired; and you find you still have a residue of life they cannot kill."
-George Macdonald, Phantastes, Ch. 8, 1-3  lines 

leader with GenJ and campaigning in Arkansas for Senator Tom Cotton. These two girls were an awesome part of my team

leader with GenJ campaigning in Louisiana, i miss that crazy girl in the middle there.

I BECAME AN AUNT! Precious niece Jacki,
This time around, I've got a very excited and hopeful feeling about the New Year. Although I am doing everything in my power to not to be stressed about the decisions that must be made in the next few weeks (new job, new car, new place to live, new school, whoo), I still get an indescribable joy and thrill when contemplating what this new year will hold . I'm excited about the plans I've made for this new year, of course (if you know me at all, you'll know I'm an OCD planner), but ultimately I am excited about starting a new year, with new opportunities, new possibilities; starting it with a hopeful, joyful, audacious heart.

See, 2014 was a trying year, as they all seem to be. I started out the year ready for change, for vibrancy, for real living. But instead I got a lot of mundane, ordinary happenings. At least, so it seemed to me. I went into 2014 so ready for challenges and adventures, for vibrant living and joy filled days, and in the haze I lost sight of my Master planner orchestrating the little things and the big things for His purpose. I wanted challenges, but the kind that might make me a hero in the end. Instead, I got challenges of the mundane and the daily, of the complacency and enduring, long hours of toil. I wasn't ready for that! There was no vibrancy there, no adventure, no grand happening that might grow me into a grand person. It was all wrong. 

But then I found myself so driven to my knees with utter weariness, that all I could do was to look up. I then realized I didn't need grand happenings, magical moments, adventures around every corner; all I simply needed was Christ. With Christ, life is an adventure! 

Okay, that may have sounded really cliche. I may or may not be having a hard time trying to get my thoughts down in writing. 

The thing is, I now know that I can truly say, come what may! For I've never been more ready. I have a sure hope in my Savior. Whether in sickness or health, in the mundane or the craziness of life, in the loneliness or the communion, I'm not afraid of the challenges that shall come. 

I sincerely pray for God to disturb me, disturb us, this new year. 

Painting by Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, design and typography by Charity Klicka
"Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ."

-Sir Francis Drake, 1577, "legal" pirate and adventurer who received his knighthood  after bringing home booty worth a half million pounds sterling to the Queen of England

Should you been interested, I've created a playlist to welcome in the new year. Songs of hope, of daring to be, of trusting, of love and joy, a few musical muses that you can guarantee I'll be listening to throughout the year and beyond.

And guess what? Here's a recap of some of the wonderful things 2014 brought:

ALBUM: Favorite album of 2014 (you know, the kind you listen to over and over and over) would have to be Wastelands by NEEDTOBREATHE. Very much a favorite of mine. And I also received a hard copy of this CD this last Christmas. I shall go on blasting it in my car and at work well into the new year!

BANDI think Josh Garrels is my favorite band/artist of 2014. I love music, so it's hard to pick just one, but Josh's music has been particularly encouraging for me through the year and into this new year. Rise is my favorite song by him.

SONG: Hmm, I think I'd have to say Rise by Josh Garrels, and to name a few others: Nothing Fancy (Dave Barnes), The Mission/How Great Thou Art (The Piano Guys), Throw Me In The Water (Neighbors), Sailboat (Ben Rector), Best of Me (Michael BublĂ©) and This Is What It Means (Danny Gokey).

MOVIE: The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (based off the novel, The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien), was the highly anticipated 3rd part to the movie productions by director Peter Jackson. And overall, I think I liked it the best out of  the three parts. So The Hobbit (part III) plus The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Hundred-Foot Journey were my favorite movies of 2014. Sorry, I couldn't pick just one.

BLOGMy dear friend Rachel, over at Inkpen Authoress, has been one of my favorite reads of 2014. And guess what? I got to meet up with her in her hometown (because I happen to work at the same place as her awesome brother) where we had a grand day adventuring in Williamsburg, and went on a very Ratty and Mole picnic. I can't quite describe the whole experience to you, but let me tell you that it was one of the best times of my life. Rachel is a very brilliant, loving, spunky, all around jolly kind of person, and one that I am immensely proud to call my friend.

TEA: For 2014, I'd have to say a delicious, yummy Chai from one of my co-workers. I can't remember the brand, but it was most splendid. It helped get me through many a long work day, and aided in the healing of a blasted cold I got in October (and which I currently still have...). 

BOOKI forget how hard it is to answer this question. 2014 I read many, many books, although not as many as I would have liked. Pretty much, unless I read at least 365 books (a book a day), I'll never quite reach my quota for as-many-books-as-I'd-like-to-read-in-a-year.

So I am excited to say I read 4 complete Lord Peter Wimsey novels in about two months time. If you didn't know, I had been wanting to read Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey novels for the longest time (after having read all her short stories on him). I also read two indie published novels by my good friend aforementioned, Rachel. Anon, Sir, Anon was my favorite of her two pieces (the other one being Fly Away Home). I also read a lot of random and incredibly interesting history books. Check out my Goodreads to see more.

But my favorite book of 2014 would have to be Murder Must Advertise (my most favorite Lord Peter Wimsey novel) by Dorothy L. Sayers. With The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie coming in a close second.

PHOTOGRAPHY ITEM: I bought a legit film camera, complete with external flash, an old guitar strap, 3 colored lens caps, and a very legit camera bag (all from the 1960s-70s). I actually haven't had much time to test it out to see if it works, but the gentleman I bought it from said it's still in running condition. It is very legit, nonetheless. 

MEMORY: I'm stealing what I said about attending my work's Christmas party last year, because it was another special memory again this year: The Christmas party with my work (Home School Legal Defense Association) was one of the highlights of my year. I was taking the pictures that night (as I am the photographer for HSLDA), and although I knew all the guests there (as they are all co-workers of mine) I felt as if I were at someone's posh party and felt nearly invisible. By hiding behind the camera, I was able to document fits of laughter, catch a wink from one man to his lady, listen in on snippets of conversations of politics or food, and all-around feel very much at home while still distinctly standing out. This year I also sang a duet with my mom, it was medley of  Silent Night, O Holy Night, and Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee. I got so many gracious compliments about it the following week after my performance. I work with some pretty awesome people. In the end, the night was an absolute blast.

And another memory: I also got to participate with Generation Joshua as a leader on the campaign trail in 2014. First I was in Arkansas in November, working to get Tom Cotton elected. We won, and it was a grand, well-celebrated victory. Then I was in Louisiana in December, working to get Bill Cassidy elected. And he also won! It was a great year of victories politically for us. It was an exhausting 2 different week of my life, but I made wonderful new friends, grew closer to other dear friends, met political advocates, worked with brilliant kids and numerous hardworking individuals, and all more. It was a very educational, growing, trusting time for me.

And I'm starting a new and simple project for 2015, called The Grateful Jar

Starting January 1st, I'll write good things that happen to me over the year on little pieces of paper (i.e. surprise gifts, accomplished goals, the beauty of nature, “LOL” moments, an unlikely friend, a smile, daily blessings, memories worth saving, etc) and place them in the jar*. 

And then, on December 31st, I'll open the jar and read all the amazing things that happened to me in 2015! It's another way I've found to cultivate gratefulness in my life. Why don't you join me! *You can also use a notebook to write things down in, if you're the frequently traveling kind.

As I come to a close (I do apologize that this post happens to be much longer than I had intended), I know there are so many new challenges and changes I will face in the coming months and throughout this next year. By golly, do I know. And part of me (or is it most of me?) sometimes wants to just curl up and sleep for a long, long time.

But 2014 taught me that in the end, that even if I scrimp and save to pay for college, a new car, and a living space, even if I don't go to an Ivy League school, or travel the world, or find the perfect guy, or become a big-whig at work, or any of that; in the end, He is what matters. HE is everything. I can't truly say it enough. And dear heart, all the rest shall fall into place as it will.

I may never do anything spectacular. And see, that's okay. For the truly spectacular thing is what He has already done and what he continues to do in and through me. He has saved and redeemed me, sanctified my life, revived my soul, and He continues to pour grace and love on me daily.

C.S. Lewis once said that "The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in” (Mere Christianity, Book 4, pages 226-227).

These words are a daily reminder of what really matters, in the end. Oh how sweet, how precious is the truth that He is truly all we need. Seek him, child, and everything else shall be thrown in.

so here it is, God, i'm laying this new year in your hands. use me, grow me, push me, dare me, every day. break me down and build me up, Lord. take my hands and my feet, may i do Your will.

He will provide…strength to [my] limbs, and courage high to [my] fainting heart (shall) return amain…”-George Macdonald, Phantastes, Ch. 22

Here's to the New Year, Ladies 'n Gents! 

All text © 2015 Footprints in the Sand | All Images © 2015 Charity Klicka Photography

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