Without a doubt, I know this is the year I've matured the most both photographically and personally.
November marked my one year anniversary with Trib Total Media, my first staff photojournalism job in my hometown of Pittsburgh. Saying I have been blessed to be hired, especially on the Greensburg staff, would be an insulting understatement.
Not only was I trusted in my rookie year with big assignments-- the USS Somerset commissioning in Philadelphia, six state championship basketball games in Hershey, two days of state track in Shippensburg, September 11th service at the Flight 93 memorial, a school stabbing that gained national attention, most West Virginia football home games, the noted Penn State vs Ohio State football rivalry, and more-- but I felt overwhelming love from the four guys on staff.
Barry, Brian, Sean and Evan always extend their experience and eye when I need mentoring. And sometimes their liver when venting is necessary!
I look up to them as models I hope to grow into in a few years, just like a little sister in a family of older brothers should.
Another obvious highlight of my year was my acceptance into the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop where I met true heroes of photojournalism and stupidly talented students from all over the world. Though I still feel like I am digesting every ounce of wisdom shared at this incomparable all-you-can-eat buffet of an educational experience, it was a rejuvenating gust of humbly appreciated inspiration.
Personally, my biggest accomplishment this year was knocking out a miraculous amount of debt: $36,576.39! This time last year when my husband's student loans kicked into repayment, I felt defeated by the realization of taking 10 years to pay off over $100,000 in loans and always financing cars. I simply chose not to live by Sallie Mae's repayment schedule, but to take control of my future by the throat. Our success of untangling a financial pile of s*** is owed to the discipline, trust and love Keven and I have for each other. I simply feel we love each other too much to be enslaved to debt for a decade. Yes, these next three years will not be glamorous since we choose to live at the poverty line with our remaining money, but we will have more fun with finances later if we handle it well now. Meanwhile, I am baking bread, learning to be content with my old clothes and enjoying the oftentimes overlooked details in life.
Thankfulness proved to be a constant theme of the year, and I hope to never lose humility throughout my entire life. A sincere "thank you" is due to everyone who has encouraged and prayed for me along the way. I am forever indebted to reciprocate your steadfast love.
Wishing all another year of growth, friendship and storytelling imagery,