Happy New Year!
I think today I’ll do a round up of the personal moments, from 2014, that have helped me grow as an individual, and some that were just great fun.
The most personally significant thing I did in 2014 was to walk with, and fundraise for, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I have a lump in my throat just typing that sentence; it was an incredibly emotional experience. Initially, I registered for the walk, thinking I would make a donation, but not fundraise since I wasn’t sure I’d be able to raise much.
Instead, I decided to put my fundraising page out there, without any expectations, and see what might come. Together, Ken and I raised over $1400 in memory of my brother, Shelby, who is missed everyday. Thank you so much to all who donated! We are so touched by your compassionate support.
I think in 2015, we may be able to do even better. In fact, if you want to donate, it’s not too late! My page is still up and running.
And, here’s an iPhone photo of us at the walk.
Ken and I love getting to spend time with my brother, Jordan. I cry like a baby every time he goes home to Ontario (doesn’t matter who might be there to witness it. Sorry Jord, I have no shame!). He is my friend, my critic, and one of my biggest fans in one adorable package, and I hope I’m the same to him. And, now for another too-honest Instagram photo, from our night of culture, seeing Iphigenia in Aulis (I voted for Looking Glass Alice, but Ken and Jordan outvoted me).
Oh, and he’s also my wonder twin (we are not twins but everyone assumes we are). See any resemblance?
We also had the opportunity to go to Panama together in December and January (so it still counts as 2014), and look what we saw while were there! Loads of white-tipped reef sharks! If you’ve read my about page, you’ll be aware of my deep affinity for sharks. This was basically a dream come true. I promise you, they were much, much larger than this image can convey! (Photo and video by Ken, and his amazing free-diving abilities.)
As I have for the past two years, I volunteered with the Chicago Photography Center‘s Outreach program, helping facilitate a photography workshop to help homeless, and formerly homeless people express themselves artistically and explore their creative talents. These photographers inspire me on every possible level — they do incredible work with the most basic of gear (think disposable cameras). They each have such unique ways of seeing the world, and they are all persevering and determined. I love every minute I spend with these creative souls and I hope they know how much they have all influenced me, and my work.
This year I helped curate the gallery opening to display the works of our program’s participants. It was an incredible experience, and wonderful to see the photographers receive the attention they so deserve.
Pictured here are three of our exceedingly gifted participants, and one very talented and dedicated volunteer.
Works by Renée Jackson:
I also offered my services to the Lincoln Park Community Shelter, for their yearly fundraiser, Taste of Fall, at which they raised several thousand dollars toward supporting the shelter. Look at all of those apartment doors just waiting to be unlocked!
Recently, I got together with Heidi, the master knitter and maker behind Hands Occupied. I photographed a fundraiser she hosted at the cutesy wool shop, Nina, in Chicago’s Wicker Park. Heidi’s “Make the World Better with a Sweater” party was in support of Save the Children. A most excellent party, for a very good cause!
I ran the following short races:
– Chicago Spring 10k (ran this with a bad case of the flu)
– Ravenswood 5k (head cold)
– Bucktown 5k (healthy!)
– Hot Chocolate Run 15k (can’t even express to you how many problems. 😉 I’m a mess!)
I couldn’t run for three weeks leading up to my 15k. If you’re a runner, you know that a three week pause is a horrible idea.
I didn’t set a new PR. Actually, I think I set a new PW. That’s a thing, right?
But, I ran the full race, when I could have cut it short and ran the 5k with Ken. I kept a reasonable pace, had fun, and reminded myself that it was a beautiful day for a run, even though it wasn’t going according to plan. I’m normally extremely hard on myself when I don’t meet my own expectations, so this new-found relaxed attitude was not only a complete shock to me, but also a very welcome change.
In 2015, I plan to get myself to a state where I can safely run longer races, and take on more challenging training.
Here I am, eating my 15k finisher’s medal (I’m all about the hopelessly honest iPhone shots Ken takes).
This morning, I wasn't sure whether I'd run the 15k or just the 5k, having missed the last two and a half weeks of training due to health crap. By 2.5 miles, I decided to go for the full race. Threw my goal time out, and just had fun. It was worth it for the medal and the chocolate. ??#toughgirl #hotchocolate15k
And, as always, I’m so thankful to have such amazing clients. It means so much that you trust me with your memories. Here’s one of my favorites, from my recent post of Andrea and Colin’s wedding reception:
I feel really lucky to have spent 2014 with people I love, and people who inspire me, doing things I enjoy, and things that may have made even the smallest positive impact in the world around me. I’m looking forward to what 2015 brings.
Here’s wishing you all a great new year!