It’s been well over a year since James and I moved back to Central Florida. After 4 months in China, we returned to the U.S. and settled into another season of changes and new adventures together.
When we got back, I was determined to “take a year off” of photography and focus on my education and freelance clients. We got home on January 6th. Three days later, I was sitting at a client meeting booking my first wedding for the year. The beautiful thing about this ever-changing life is that it’s, well, changing. I am so glad my plans were derailed by that first client meeting. This has been an amazing year of personal growth – from learning new ways to run my business and the development of my artistic style to a renewed perspective on what I love and the work I hope to produce. This year “off” has probably been one of the fullest and most fulfilling years yet.
With incredible brevity, I will attempt to cover the past year of our life…
The Last Year (& Some Change) in Review:
- Resolved to “take the year off” & failed miserably
- Returned to UCF to continue my Bachelors in English for Technical Writing (forever “in-progress”)
- Watched our best friends get engaged, while secretly creeping and taking photos in the bushes
- iU continued to lead a monthly, outdoor worship night that still amazes me every time we gather
- Started experimenting with film again and fell in love (all over again)
- Celebrated some truly memorable birthdays throughout the year with parties that qualify as “extravaganzas”
- Discovered my mother’s love for antiques and rejuvenation is genetic
- Spent as much time with this cupcake as I could
- Stumbled across an ad for an artist’s space in our town and fell in love with the idea of renovating it & make it our own
- Played “Maid of Honor” at my beautiful sister-in-law’s wedding (& danced the literal night away)
- Saw Luke (Li Jun Jie) meet his siblings, experience American soil, and begin his incredible journey through adoption and learning English
- Signed a lease & began renovations on our amazing little studio in Mount Dora
- Spent James’ birthday weekend with a nasty busted lip and mumbler for a husband thanks to a new skateboard
- Finished renovations and opened the RaggaYoga / kate&co. studio
- Made our tiny house a little more home-y and welcomed more people than we can remember through our doors
- Fell in love with cooking all over again (made macaroons, homemade marshmallows, and enough Spoon Fork Bacon recipes to be considered a stalker)
- Welcomed a new friend and sister from Mengzi for a year of studying abroad
- Carved my first pumpkin
- Decided to move back to China for an indefinite amount of time & began learning Chinese
- Travelled to the Capitol 3 times and fell in love with a new city
- Watched one of James’ lifelong dreams come true as he recorded iU’s first music video
- Ripped our house apart for a few days while Megan and I took on the 1st lifestyle photo shoot for 360 Cookware
- Had a ridiculously good time with friends on a road trip and weekend away serving at a youth camp
- And finally, we celebrated our 2 year anniversary with a “better late than never” day away at the beach.
While the last year has been amazing in so many new and beautiful ways, I cannot begin to put it all into words. (Thank you Instagram!) However, as we begin to make plans for our return trip to Asia this summer and our move in the fall, I have felt the pulled back to writing: to telling our story and sharing the amazing work God keeps doing in us through narrative photography and blogging; to sharing the gifts, education, and tools I’ve been given; to welcoming new friends into our life as I continue on this journey as a follower of Jesus, freelance artist, photographer, self-employed expat, yoga instructor, writer, blogger, wife, and friend. I would love for you to join me and share your story along the way!
Cheers to a new journey!