2017: more books, more love (and less of almost everything else).


Something in me shies away from “New Years Resolutions”, I guess because I think it’s a little to only start something new on January 1st. If I want to be healthy, or start a new habit, etc, I’ll just do it at any time of the year. And I don’t want to make big promises that I’m not going to keep. My bonging goal, which has nothing to do with January, is continuing to simplify basically every aspect of my life and align my outward life with my inner priorities and values.

But… not too long ago a friend of mine shared that’s she was about to finish her 100th book of 2015- reaching a goal she’d set for herself in the beginning of the year. I was amazed and super inspired, because she is a mom of four and also a homeschooler. I thought, if she can read 100 in a year, surely I can shoot for at least a fraction of that.

I read 11 books this past year. Only 11. But I’m going to choose to see it as at least I read 11- even though I was navigating my first full year as a mom of three, with homeschooling and quite a bit of work and selling a house/moving to a new one. I read, but not nearly as much as I would have liked to or even could have. It’s easy to make excuses, but I would be ashamed to even try to calculate the hours I spend on Hulu and Netflix in the past year, or even just browsing social media. The point is, there is always time to read if I make it enough of a priority. So I decided to do just that.

I made a list of 24 books (and ended up adding a few more as fallbacks and because I just couldn’t leave them out) that I’ve been wanting to read, and I committed to reading at least two books a month on average for the next year. It feels like a doable goal- not too over the top, but requiring some level of focus an commitment. As an extra incentive, I am giving myself permission and budget to purchase the books on my list, in either Kindle or hard copy versions. I’m allowed to sub in other books if something comes up that I simply must read, but for the most part I want to stick to these titles. I canal so skip around on the list if I feel like it.

It’s December 28th and I’m about to finish Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle (an incredible and moving book, by the way), so I’m going to give myself a little head start.

Here’s my list:

  1. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindburgh
  2. New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
  3. Walking on Water by Madeline L’Engle
  4. Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
  5. The Year of Living Like Jesus by Ed Dobson
  6. Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver
  7. Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman
  8. Caught Up in a Story by Sarah Clarkson
  9. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
  10. Essentialism by Greg Mkeown
  11. Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
  12. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  13. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  14. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  15. Emily of New Moon by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  16. Radical Growth by Havilah Cunnington
  17. Home Grown by Ben Hewitt
  18. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  19. Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
  20. Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist
  21. My Name is Memory by Anne Brashares
  22. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  23. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  24. Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit by Donna Farhi
  25. Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning
  26. Animal, Vegetable Miracle by Madeline L’Engle
  27. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  28. Aleph by Paulo Coelho

I’ll keep you posted!

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violet, but not.

I wrote a little yesterday about toying with the idea of going to school again. Well today I had long conversation with an admissions counselor from the Art Institute Online, and it gave me a bit more to think about.

The thought of taking classes again gets me so excited- I love school and learning- I’m just a total nerd like that. But… having massive student loans to pay off while simultaneously trying to grow a successful business? Eh, not so exciting. Still, if that education would benefit by business a lot it would be worth it, right? So I was thinking I may at least apply and file for financial aid, and see how much help I could get with the money part… but then I was like, hmm- no one in the photography industry really cares about degrees, they care about your work. Even the counselor I spoke to at this school kept saying that I would be ahead of most other students in many ways because I already have a bachelor’s degree and I already run my own business.

This got me thinking, why exactly am I looking into this? -well, I guess because I want to feel more confident in my skill as a photographer, in my savvy as a business owner, and because there is always more to learn. But I can attain these things with out going through another degree program and spending all that money. There are amazing conferences and workshops for professional photographers, and classes through the Small Business Association and other organizations, not to mention more books than one person could ever read. So I think that dedicating myself to taking advantage of those opportunities and sort of creating my own continuing education plan would be a smarter move for me. I am so excited to delve into it! I randomly picked up this book called Skin at the library recently- “The complete guide to digitally lighting, photographing, and retouching faces and bodies.” I’m going to start going though it tonight. I have been loving all the opportunities that are part of my new membership to the PPA, including the subscription to Professional Photographer Magazine. Great stuff. I’ve seen ads in it for a few great workshops, and the big annual PPA conference, ImagingUSA, is in January, I think it would be amazing attend.

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education, continued?

I have been doing quite a lot of thinking lately. Thinking about goals and the future, and where my career is headed and where I want it to go. I love doing portrait work, but I never intended it to be the extent of my photography career. I have always wanted to see my work published. I have had an ongoing love affair with magazines and catalogs since I was a child. That is what I really want to do- editorial and commercial photography. In researching how to get started in that- because I really had no idea- I felt overwhelmed and under-qualified, and when it comes down to it, I need more training, both in photography and in business.
So I am flirting with the idea of going back to school. There are online degree programs that would work well for me, with my schedule. I am so excited about the idea of taking photography courses again, and I really believe that the time and money involved would be worth the career advancement it would bring. If I am going to do something, I want to make sure I really know what I am doing and am good at it. So I am just trying to decide if the timing is right at this point in my life. I will certainly update about it once I decide.

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