On Sunday I was innocently editing pictures and watching Sports Center in my unbelievably beautiful (and free!) hotel room when out of the blue, I was blindsided by God. It was like a blitz on a completely unprotected quarterback. One minute I was standing in the pocket; the next minute I was face down on the ground wondering what hit me.

So what did hit me? I was sacked by overwhelming awe and gratitude for God’s faithfulness (p.s. – I’ll trust you to forgive the gratuitous use of football analogies…this did happen on a Sunday, after all). I saw the timeline of this year: how it began with a blessed life I loved at Roberts and in Rochester, continued with achieving goals – a half-marathon, wedding photography – that I had never even considered before, and is ending with the realization of a lifelong dream of seeing the whole country via roadtrip. Come on now…let’s all shout a collective, “WOW!” The events of this year warrant teenagers-at-a-Bieber-concert levels of enthusiasm.

In and of itself, this year is notable. It’s a banner year! But with the addition of the asterisk that this year came after a year of rebuilding which came after a train wreck of a year…it’s just too much for words. During 2008, the year in which I could not catch a break, I couldn’t envision a year like this one. And yet here I am, living out so many of my dreams in a period of time that has been undeniably orchestrated by the God who has lovingly planned every single moment of my life – the good, the bad, the ugly – all of it.

Cue the shout out of encouragement to anyone going through their own version of my 2008: If you are going through a valley, know that God has placed you there for a reason. He has a plan for this time in your life and a plan to redeem and renew you, all in an effort to teach you the truth about who he is and draw you into a deeper, more authentic relationship with him. Trust him to guide you through the current low points and onto the higher points that are sure to come in the future (and they will come; site me as living proof!). As one of my favorite verses, I Thessalonians 5:24, so poignantly reminds, “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

Just because all of this made me so warm and fuzzy and nostalgic, here are some of my favorite month-by-month moments from this year thus far. I’m so grateful for each and every one of them…even this first one!

.january.

.february.

.

.march.

.april.

.may.

.june.

.july.

.august.

.september.

.october.

.november.

(Praise the Lord for good years, and the not so good ones that make them that much more special.)

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