Word for 2014

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s already 2014. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was writing out my list of goals and dreams for 2013. It’s crazy how fast this year has gone by. I will say though, it feels like forever since I’ve blogged. It actually feels a little weird writing this right now. Haha! It’s good to be back though! I’ve gone back and forth on what to write for my new years post this year. I’ve ended 2013 feeling so restless. Don’t get me wrong, 2013 was a big year for Ruth Eileen Photography. I’ve got a list of things that I accomplished this year. I crossed multiple things off my goals list and even did some things that I didn’t imagine myself doing. 2013 was a big year for my business. But this list of accomplishments really doesn’t matter if I’ve lost track of what matters most to me.

Can I be honest and really vulnerable with y’all? I didn’t do a whole lot in my personal life in 2013. In 2013 I chose to pour SO much into my business that I forgot what matters most to me. I busied myself with so much work that I forgot about myself.

So this year I’m choosing one word. Instead of a long list of goals for myself this year, I’m choosing to let one word take over that list. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with setting goals for yourself. I’m all about goal setting. But for me this past year, I didn’t find a balance between those goals for my business and the goals for my personal life. I lost track of why I’m a photographer and got caught up in the achievements of it. I got too caught up in the success of being a photographer instead of doing it for the love of being a photographer.

rest01

My word for 2014. - I want to rest in the finished work of God. - I want to rest from the pursuit of success. - I want to rest from the busyness of life… always feeling the need to go, go, go. - I want to rest and be still before The Lord so that I can hear from him. - I want to rest from social media. - I want to rest from feeling discontent with all that I have. - I want to rest in the acceptance of God.

Hebrews 4:10 says “for whoever had entered God’s rest has also rest from his works as God did from his.” Which basically says, God is calling us to rest from our efforts of acceptance from God. Instead, rest in the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is what Jesus did on the cross for us. It is finished. There is no work for us to do to gain our acceptance from God. He is just calling us to rest.

Then verse 11 says, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” This is the hard part. We must fight for this sort of rest. Yes, I believe in my head that I don’t earn my acceptance from God by my works but in my heart I’m not believing it. Because if I was, I wouldn’t be filling my schedule to the brim and running around like a frantic person to get my to-do list done. The reason for my frantic schedule this past year was because I was frantic in my relationship with God. I wasn’t resting in the finished work of God for me.

I know that life gets busy sometimes. I understand that seasons come where you become busy. I get that and I know that won’t change. I just want 2014 to be the year that I don’t lose site of what matters most to me. Even during those busy seasons.

So here’s to a new year! A new start, and God’s abounding grace for us all! I’m so thankful for God’s grace and that the work is finished for me. I just get to rest in his love and acceptance for me. What a beautiful thing that is and what a great way to start 2014, with that reminder!

Happy Birthday Chris!

You're the peanut to my butter,You're the star to my burst, You're the M to my M, You're the ice to my cream but mostly... you're the best to my friend! :)

I'm so thankful for your day of birth. I'm thankful for your life. I'm thankful that you chose me to spend the rest of your life with. I'm thankful for the way that you love me selflessly everyday. I'm thankful that God has given you the ability to dream and dream BIG! I'm thankful that you live your life to display God's glory. Thank you for laughing with me. Thank you for being you! I love you to the moon and back! :) I hope you have a wonderful day!

chris

(pics by white loft studio)

DEBT FREE!

DEBTFREE 'nuff said! : ) Chris and I are praising God for this huge blessing of being debt free this early in life & marriage. We started Financial Peace University back in January with not a huge amount of debt. Neither of us have finished college which meant we didn't have any school loans to pay off. We are still renting, which we are both totally okay with. Thankfully neither of us have acted on having "house fever". Don't get me wrong, we both have had the feelings of "house fever" but after Dave's talk last night about real estate & mortgages we both feel completely fine with not rushing into buying. So with no school debt or mortgages to pay off we just had our car loan to pay off.

After listening to Dave's talk about debt we went home and took a big chunk of our savings (don't worry, we still left $1,000+ for our emergency fund) and paid it on our debt. I seriously did a little dance after I transferred that HUGE chunk of money over. "One step closer to becoming DEBT FREE!" I said.  : )  Then this past weekend in Charlotte I was sitting outside sipping on sweet tea with my Dad talking about budgets & finances. This is just one of the many things I love talking to my Dad about. He's the one that I get my nerdy business side from. haha! I love it though! So we were outside and I was sharing about Chris and I's zero based budget. Feeling a little bit frustrated that we still couldn't come up with enough for our health insurance. I know, you're thinking "What? They don't have health insurance." Yeah, yeah we know. It's something we're not proud of but ever since we got married we never had jobs that would provide it. With both of us owning our own businesses we could just never make enough to pay for it. Or, we just never took the time to research & find the money to pay for it. It just wasn't a priority. Which now, makes me sick to even say. So, I'm telling my Dad about this and to make a long story short, he reminded me of some money that he's been hanging on to for me. See, I have pretty amazing parents. They paid for all of our college. Since I never finished school, I still had a nice chunk of money left. I had my Dad hang on to it so that I wasn't tempted to spend it. I had completely forgotten about it. One of the other reasons I'm thankful I had my Dad hang on to it. haha! He said, "Ruthie, why don't I just write a check for what's left on your debt, that way you have that extra $265.00 a month to put towards your health insurance." Oh my gosh. Just writing this brings tears of joy to my eyes again!

So that's our story. I know everyone's story is different and that's what I love about life. Everyone has a story and everyone's is different. Chris and I know how blessed we are to have had this gift given to us by my parents but we also know that we still have a journey ahead of us. We still aren't homeowners, we don't have a family yet and we're only on baby step 3 but we are SO incredibly thankful. Thankful that we have the tools that we learned from Financial Peace University to continue with us on this journey of living a life like no one else so that later on we can give like no one else! Ahhh! Now that get's me fired up! To think that in 5, 10 years we'll be at a spot where we can give freely. Because that's what life is all about, it's not about what we can get it's about what we can give.

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35

*No we are NOT pregnant. ha! After lots of people thinking that baby step 3 meant we were going to start trying or that we were pregnant that is not the case. Baby Step 3 in FPU is saving 3-6 months of your monthly income. So no kids for us yet. We'll just plan on loving on our nieces & nephews! :)

Massachusetts -> Texas

Warm weather is calling my name and I'm SO excited that I've only got one more day to wait for it! I'm headed to Texas with my hubby as he plays at a church just outside of Dallas. We'll be spending the weekend there and then heading South for Houston to spend time with family. I'm planning on soaking up & enjoying this time of rest. I may be doing just a little work here and there but for the most part my computer is gonna be tucked away. :) Ahhh the sound of that, it sounds so nice! I'll plan on responding all emails when I return on the 5th. See y'all soon! MATX