Part 1: Bringing In the New Year

January 8, 2013

The New Year is here but its never too late to prepare! The past few days I've spent pouring over Lara Casey's prep for 2013. Its not your typical "New Years Resolutions" post which is why I did it. It's about reflecting on the past year, figuring out what worked and what needs a little improvement. It's about making what really matters happen and doing what fires you up! I'm breaking my answers into 2 posts; if you think this is something for you its never too late to join in :)

Step 1: What DID work in my 2012.
1. Going to California for 3 months worked. I got a job, started running [and actually enjoyed it], met some amazing people, got involved at the church I was going to, and reconnected with my cousins. God knew I needed a break from the MN winter -- being able to be outside in the sun, and hike along the ocean instead of being stuck inside because of the cold was so healthy for me. I won't go into details but there were a few very specific times/friendships that [looking back now] I know were the reason I was called out to California. Few things bring more peace than knowing God has called you somewhere and going there. I left CA feeling so blessed, energized, and filled up. 
2. I decided to take only a handful of "2nd shooting" jobs in the summer and it was probably the best thing I changed from 2011 to 2012. It gave me a chance to explore how I wanted to shoot weddings. I got to see my creative vision unfold and come to life in those three weddings I had of my own. This was so needed!
3. I went to Israel in June. Wow! Those 2 weeks were some of the best of 2012. God revealed two very specific attributes that summed up that journey: refuge and living water. He kept saying, I'm all you need, stop trying to find fulfillment and protection in yourself. Let go.
4. In the fall I established a consistent morning workout routine. I felt energized, awake, clear, and more motivated.
5. I went to Making Things Happen in October. It was a catalyst for minimizing distractions and filling my days with what matters most.
6. Intentional time with Anna every Wednesday when she got home from school worked and became a favorite time of the week.
7. Scheduling out my day on a 3x5 card the night before was so simple but revolutionary for getting things done.
8. Being intentional and calling friends who live far away was worth putting in the effort.
9. Going to Vespers [a worship service] on Sunday nights was a perfect close to the weekend and start to the week.
10. Mentoring a young girl in the fall worked and became a highlight of my Fridays.
11. Starting Dave Ramsey's 9 week study called Financial Peace worked.
12. Buying a binder and staying organized that way opposed to doing it on the computer worked.
13. Getting a desk for my bedroom... so I had "workspace" besides the diningroom table.
14. De-cluttering, simplifying, and organizing my closet worked.
15. Focusing on a humility and contentment worked.
16. Focusing on becoming a better listener worked.
17. Feeling fear about shooting film but buying FIND and getting a film camera anyways worked.
18. Spending the extra 10 minutes before going to sleep to straighten my room so I could wake up more energized and moativated worked.
19. Game nights with the family worked.
20. I treasured those two thursdays a month digging into the Word with my Bible Study girls. Those mornings encouraged and challenged me -- it was just what I needed when I needed it.

Step 2: What DIDN'T work in 2012.
-Anytime a project, friendship, or day became about me.
-Anytime I chose my phone or computer over real life and the people around me. Not having boundaries when I got my iPhone in November did not work.
-The times I focused on other peoples successes and becoming something I wasn't.
-Throwing Mini Sessions in October did not work.
-Anytime I focused on using photography as a means for popularity or just making money.
-The days I went shopping with a debt card instead of cash didn't work. I spent more money every single time.
-Having too much free time in the summer, especially July and August didn't work.
-Comparing my worst to everyone else's best never worked.
-Every prideful comment and thought didn't work.
-The times I went the easy route instead of trusting God with the unknowns.

Step 3: What fires you UP!
My favorite part -- see my board HERE.

Step 4: Biggest 3 lessons learned from what DID work in 2012?
1. Fill yourself up with the good stuff and be disciplined/intentional about it.
2. Jump in! Trust your gut, life is too short to play small.
3. Simplify! Less is more.

Step 5: Biggest 3 lessons learned from what DIDN'T work in 2012?
1. Trust God. Let go.
2. Serve without expecting anything in return. It takes the focus off of you and onto what really matters.
3. Be more intentional and proactive with your time.


  1. I love this so much! <3 I can't wait to see what WONDERFUL things God has in store for you sweet friend! :)

  2. LOVE this, Julia. :) can't wait to see all that God is going to do in 2013!

  3. JULIA MARY! new blog?! I am so excited about this! love the name + your photo + the layout. girl, tidying my room before bed is one of the best additions I've made to my routine over the past few months! love your post.

  4. I have loved reading everyone's lessons. I feel like so many of us "Chicago" ladies are dealing with the same issues, and it is incredible to have a supportive family to belong to. So proud of you and can't wait to see what 2013 brings your way! Keep trusting God :)


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