Last year was friggin’ incredible. Don’t believe me? See my 2016 ABCs Year in Review post here.
My “theme” for last year was “bloom where you’re planted”. I applied that to my life and I felt like my life really did bloom! Since 2016 was such a hit, I decided to make 2017’s theme “shine a little brighter, darling”, thinking this would motivate me to keep working hard and that  s o m e h o w  opportunities would fall into my lap like it did the year before.
WAS I EVER WROOOOONG.
2017 rolls in and crickets. I felt like I had so much momentum and hype from 2016 with nothing to throw that momentum and hype into. I was absolutely miserable. Yes, opportunities came, but I just found myself crying and beating myself up ALL. THE. TIME despite any good thing that presented itself to me. I hated going to church, I dreaded going to work, I was lashing out at people. I felt like I had so much hate in my heart. I was so tired of life and frankly I was at a point where if by chance my life were to end, I would be alright with it ending right there and then (not by my doing but hoping by some other form my life would be taken). I gave God permission to do so. I didn’t know who I was anymore, really. Neither did Alex. I didn’t realize how much my bad attitude was affecting him until one time I came home from work smiling (I don’t even remember why, but I was in an exceptionally good mood), and Alex asked, “are you okay?”
Me: Yes, why?
Alex: Because you’re smiling. You’re usually so miserable when you come home.
If that wasn’t a slap in my face about how much I had changed in just a few months, I don’t know what else would have woken me up.
I finally decided to get some help because I couldn’t stand how I was feeling anymore. Often times I would feel like parts of my brain were snapping in pieces because I couldn’t function. Trying to be happy became such a daunting task. For my sanity, I needed to get some help.
Long story short, I started counselling in March. It was the best decision I could have made for my life. Session after session, I discovered things about myself and my thinking which were so poisonous to my mind + soul. Session after session, without fail, my counsellor provided me with a clear way of thinking and a glimmer of hope that I was not permanently damaged or broken. Soon after my first counselling session, I decided to change my year theme to “FAITH IT TILL YOU MAKE IT”. I needed to stop trying to reach for the stars while my rocket ship (body/mind/spirit) was damaged.
So I took care of myself. Then, and only then, was I able to reach for the stars. And reach for the stars we did.
I’m not saying I’m perfectly fine. I’m not. But I’m doing a whole lot better.
Everything changed for the better – my relationship with my self, my husband, my family, and even our business. Everything changed for the better. Things are still changing. They always will be. But I’m figuring it out with my head and hopes high.
So when I say I am hustling, I am a conquering, working my butt off, blood, sweat, and tears hustler. I’m being a warrior, not a worrier.
For the first time ever, I know with a surety what I want to do with my life. Without my counsellor’s help, I don’t think I would have been in the right state of mind to do what I did to provoke the epiphany. Since discovering that in June, non-stop ideas and plans have been flooding my mind and it’s been amazing to see how things are falling into place to make it happen – but that’s a story for another day.
With that, here’s our annual year smashed into ABC’s.
A: Arizona – I had the opportunity to go to Arizona for a week! I travelled with photography friends I met online; we splurged at Target; went to Sedona, the Navajo reservation, and the Grand Canyon, and attended a photography conference together.
B: Babies – Hazel was born this year (Lacey-Rose’s baby) and one of my best friends, Sara, is pregnant! #BabyLim
C: Community – This year I’ve been involved with such an amazing community of photographers. Some of them have become really good friends (you know who you are) and I am so grateful for each and every one of them, for their examples of hard work and love they put into their business, and for the support they are to me. #CommunityOverCompetition
D: David Archuleta – We friggin met David Archuleta and got a comparison pic of him and Alex. ‘NOUGH SAAAAID. But in all seriousness, he’s so super humble and genuine. The talk he gave at YLC hit home and was so relatable.
E: Etsy & Small Biz Owners – This year we have worked with and partnered with so many small, local shops! This is another community I have loved making friendships in. We’ve had the privilege of working with Bugalugs, A Life She Loves, ATK! Collective, Pineapple Pottery, Gracie’s Pinups, and partnering with so many more!
F: Features – We had the privilege of taking photos for McCafe Canada and Sevenly!
G: Grand Rapids, Michigan – We road tripped over to Michigan to visit one of my online photography friends, Shauna McIver! Her sweet family toured us around downtown Grand Rapids, and although it was cold, we had a total blast!
H: Home – We lived in 3 different places this year (4 in total during our 2 years of marriage) but have finally settled into a townhouse for the next few years. Hooray for no more moving for a while (hopefully!)
I: Illinois – We shot a wedding outside of Ontario for the first time ever! IT WAS AMAZING.
 J: Jordan & Amy Demos – I got to meet my photography “teachers” in person while I was in Arizona. I basically cried from joy.
 K: Kira – KIRA COMES HOME IN 30 DAYS! #SisterMissionary #FranceLyonMission #18months
L: Leaders @ YLC – Alex and I both got to be house leaders this year. Not only did I get mistaken as a youth, but Alex did too (more than I ever have lolol).
M: Missouri – We got to a Missouri St Louis Mission tour! It was such a blessing to be back! It was one of my goals to visit this year, but we decided we probably shouldn’t spend money on a trip when there are other things we should be saving for. But because we were blessed with a wedding in the area, we got to visit anyway! HOORAY! It was so great to see everyone! Shoutout to the Grattons and the Delps for letting us stay with your families while we were in the area.
N: Networking – I love making and building relationships and this year has presented so many opportunities to network. But like, is it even working & networking when making friends and building relationships is your thang?
O: One – Maive turned a year old! I still can’t believe how fast she went from a blob to a tiny human. She is super chatty, loves her food, and is as cute as everrrr.
 P: Partner/Photography – Alex has taken on more and more roles in our business! I’m so grateful for him and all his help. I seriously wouldn’t be able to run a biz without him. We’re working on a re-brand! Also, our goal for weddings this year was to shoot 2 more than we did last year. We smashed that goal and tripled the weddings we shot last year! Woo!
Q: Qualia Counselling – CHANGED. MY. LIFE.
R: Road Trip – To my surprise Alex was totally down for driving to Illinois by himself while I flew from Arizona. Obviously the road trip home was a lot more fun because we were together!
S: Safari – We celebrated our 2nd anniversary in August with a trip to African Lion Safari. We got rained on and had to cut the trip short, but we had a blast because of it.
T: Teacher – I got released from the Young Women’s Presidency and now teach Seminary on Wednesday evenings.
U: United Conference (ShowIt) – AMAZING. In 4 short days I learned so much about what to do as a business owner. This experience was such a treasure and I’m so excited for next year!
 V: Valley Park Graduate – Arielle graduated from VP and moved onto MGCI. How is my baby sister in high school?!
 W: Wizarding World of Harry Potter – We bought tickets to this event in Blythe. The event itself was not as fun as we had hoped, but it was fun because we were there as family.
X: eXperts – I had the privilege to listen to and learn from so many of our industry’s leaders at the Showit United Conference. They are all so amazing and so friendly and open! So grateful for all they had to share.
Y: York University Alumni – I finally, finally, FINALLY graduated from this horrid school. Here’s a pic of me at the University of Guelph because A) I liked my one semester there more than all 7 semesters at YorkU combined, and B) my hard drive broke and lost all my actual grad day photos. Of course that would happen.
Z: Zoom Zoom – We said goodbye to our Civic and said hello to our beautiful Mazda 3.
2018, I am so excited for what you have in store!
Wishing everyone a prosperous new year of new beginnings, happiness, healing, exploration, love, friendship, learning, growth, and the power to conquer your dreams and battles, and the strength to know which battles are worth it.

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