Last year I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish that year (it was titled ’25 before 25′, but it seeped over to my ’26 before 26′ because I didn’t make it till three months before my 25th birthday. A short period of time to accomplish 25 small to large things)
In that same vein, I’ve pulled together my ’27 before 27′ list… ranging from small to large, important to just simple things I’d like to do. I like sharing them because it lends a bit of accountability and, really, I just like making lists.
This year, for me, its all about intentionality and vulnerability. So a lot of my list may reflect that. Being intentional in relationships, in studying the word, with my art, my writing. Vulnerable in how I converse and share with friends. In how I present myself to God. In worship. In prayer. Not vulnerable in a negative, ‘going-to-get-hurt-way’ (which is how I usually see vulnerability) but in trusting way. To know I trust God with my(His) future, with life, to let my friends know that I do trust them, that I can confide in them. To know that crying isn’t a sign of weakness. To know that its okay to vent occasionally. To realize that I cannot do everything on my own. Because the aspect of pride that I struggle with is that I always think I can just do it on my own. (I can’t)

’27 before 27′ The List (in no particular order)

1. Print more photos- I am that photographer. The one who takes hundreds of photos, but never prints them. (unless I shot film) So this year, I want to be (here’s the word!) intentional about printing my work! What use is having photos of your friends and family, memories, or of God’s beautiful earth, on a computer? Yep. No fun at all. One of my goals is to print a photo book at the end of every season to remember that past season.
2. Mentor a beginning photographer- It always surprises me when I have people e-mail me, asking questions about photography, or Photoshop, or my style. Maybe because I’m pretty much self taught. I didn’t really have anyone to guide me, or to answer questions. Me and Google/Youtube? We’re TIGHT. This year, I would love to have the time to come alongside someone who is just starting out, answer any questions that I can, allow them to shoot some sessions with me, and just share with them some of the things I’ve learned over the years. So, if you’re interested, shoot me an e-mail ( with ‘MENTOR’ in the subject line. I’ll see what sort of response I get and go from there.
3. Mentor/Disciple a younger girl- I feel completely inadequate for this task, yet I feel its one God is calling me to again. Praying about this one. Trying to figure out the who, what, when and where…Pray with me if you would.
4. Officially start an Event & Styling venture- my talented friend Hannah B and myself are currently working on a logo/name… next could be a blog, a Facebook page… stay tuned.
5. Design a portfolio expressive of who I am, and what I desire to do- None of this, boring, professional black binder with inserts, old school design projects. Something quirky, stylish and ME. With projects I’m proud and excited about. Something beautiful. They always say to dress for the job you want? Well, I want my portfolio to do that.
6. Acquire/pursue jobs in a creative field- I know a lot of that has to do with what God has for me, and what His plan is, but I also realize that I am a large part of that. Having motivation to keep sending out and updating resumes, pursuing and searching. I’ve let the ball drop ever since Ikea let me down (sad) but I’m not going to sit still. I need accountability for this. You have my permission to hound me. (I may try to avoid you- but don’t let me!)
7. Give and love freely. Without expectations- with resources, time, gifts, with whatever it is that I have been given responsibility of. To be less materialistic. To be more generous. To be humble. Available. (this isn’t one of those accomplishments I’ll ever be able to fully cross off, but its one that should always be on the list)
8. Have more photos of myself taken- this sounds so completely trivial and silly. But, as a photographer, I find myself always behind the camera. And afraid to be in front of the camera. Having photos taken always reminds me of how my subjects must feel, which helps me to connect better with them… and also, sometimes, if its the right photographer, having my photos taken can just be plain fun.
9. Read recommended books- I admit, shamefully, that I work at a library and constantly recommend books to people. And they, in turn, give me suggestions all the time. As do my friends. But, I rarely (if ever) read something that has been recommended to me. I apologize. No, I’m not going to read James Patterson or Janet Evanovich, (sorry library patrons) but I am going to read/attempt books that good friends and family recommend. I’m currently trying out Ted Dekker’s ‘Circle Trilogy’ which Neil has been telling me to read for years… currently on book one of the series.
10. Travel to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington- Everyone tells me I need to visit NYC. And, yes. I really want to see New York City. But… I want to see the Pacific Northwest even more. If I get the chance to travel somewhere/anywhere in the States this year… that’s where I want to go.
11. Visit NYC- ironically, that’s my next on this list. I would travel a lot if I had the resources and time. I mean, I just want to people watch and take photos of the city.
12. Go camping! This was talked about a bit last year, it just never happened. I think this year it should. There’s a good group of us that hang out regularly, and I think we’d have a ton of fun camping. I haven’t been in years and I want to be outside more this year than I was last year.
13.  Try yoga- I am seriously am old woman. I have back pain. I snap, crackle and pop like Rice Crispies in the morning… I think the stretching aspects of yoga would be great for me. Plus it would be a good relaxer/de-stresser after a 10 hr day at work.
14. Less texting(and e-mails) and more phone calls/conversations- as someone who isn’t particularly fond of the phone, its so easy for me to resort to texting/emailing everything to everyone. This year, I want to quit with these lame excuses of contact and be verbal with people! I will (albeit slowly) overcome the shy, awkward, introvert that lives inside me.
15. Walk/hike on a weekly basis (weather permitting)- more than once a week, if at all possible, I want to be outside. I want to walk, to breathe. I am not a runner. I tried that one year. It never was fun. It was never enjoyable and I always felt like death. But I love hiking. And with so many beautiful parks within 30 minutes of where I live, I want to make it a goal to enjoy them. I can’t wait for winter to be over!
16. Go back… to school- I tend to feel intimidated around everyone who has a higher education than myself. I have an Associates of Applied Science- it was actually a three year program, not just a simple two year one. But so many of my friends are so incredibly intelligent and educated, that I sometimes feel like an incredible loser. (the community college, art degree kid) Now, I realize inadequacy is not the right reason to spend time and money on more education.  BUT, whenever I start to feel like a loser, I always think to myself, ‘the only thing truly keeping you from getting a bachelor’s degree is… YOU.” And its true. If its something that I truly want, then I will make time for it. I’ve been praying about it, and I think its something I am wanting to pursue. I know I would appreciate the education and classes so much more now that I did in my late teens early 20s. And now I’m focused and know what I want to do. So, my goal this year, is to get the FAFSA paper work filled out, start searching area schools, and maybe even just take ONE class.
17. Find a mentor/ someone to disciple ME- I’ve always wanted someone to take me under their wing. Someone to offer advice and spiritual wisdom. Someone to challenge me and someone I could just ask questions… this year, I want to find someone like that and ask them if they would consider being a part of my life.
18. Step up- God has definitely been directing me to step up my leadership in the past six months. Past hardships have made me hesitant, but I don’t want to fight it any more. I want to be available and willing to step up and fill roles where I can. I want to speak up at house church during content time. To help lead our quads content time. To grasp the responsibility of helping to lead worship at Apex once a month. To accept that I am an example to those around me and to step up to that challenge and live the life that I know I should be leading.
19. See the ocean- I think I would love to make it a goal to see the ocean at least once a year. I love every part of the ocean I’ve ever visited. Volcanic, black sand beaches in Guatemala, California surf, soft white sands of Hilton Head, Chincoteague Island as a child, the clear, warm water of Florida, gorgeous, windy shores of New England… LOVE it. Its the epitome of relaxation and beauty.
20. To be intentional with friendships- to be available, spend time, make coffee dates (especially now that I found a coffee drink I enjoy!) dinner dates, whatever. To love my friends. To listen. To know their hearts and let them know mine.
21. Acquire a bike to ride around the neighborhood- with friends and family living so close, I would love to have a bike and just ride back and forth from home. It just makes sense.
22. Get up a half hour earlier in the mornings- most of the time, I am ashamed with my self-discipline and motivation. I get frustrated that I don’t make time each day to get in the Word of God, and am half asleep while driving to work. After a recent conversation, I have decided to attempt waking up a bit earlier so I have time to read and pray a bit before I head to work in the morning. And in doing so, hopefully I will be more awake and stick to my routine of using the 30 minute commute to pray for those on my list, and in turn, hopefully my attitude at work will benefit and I will be a witness to those around me.
23. Visit 2nd Street Market- I’ve never been, and I always hear wonderful things about it. Besides, I happen to live 10 minutes away!
24. Get out of debt- its not massive, but its enough to make things tight (I don’t make a whole lot working at a library) so I want to be smart with my financial decisions this year and make the needed sacrifices to achieve this goal.
25. Regularly submit projects and events to blogs- its honestly the best exposure for a freelance photographer, artist, stylist… plus, its crazy fun to see someone feature your work! I want to make time to do this on a regular basis.
Goals 26&27 are personal, and I’m not going to post them here. One of them has two specific people listed that I’m making it a goal to pray for on a daily basis. The other is just something small that I’m praying about and keeping close to my heart for now. As one of my favorite authors said: “but the things we feel most deeply we ought to learn to be silent about, at least until we have talked them over thoroughly with God…”-Elisabeth Elliot
So, that’s my list. It seems impossible, and yet, achievable. Slightly scary, but completely doable with the grace of God.

(originally posted Feb. 20, 2011)