2020: A year of chaos and presence

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 I want to create imagery in moments that feel like you. With the utmost intention in everything I do, this experience should feel like yours. 

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i'm KÉra

My dear friends,

The new year always brings about reflecting. In many ways I love it, but in some, it feels tedious — how am I supposed to reflect on one whole year in just a few days? But alas, this year has been very different to say the least. So if there was any year that needed a time of reflection, even if I’m a tad late, it’s 2020.

*deep breaths* Let’s take a step back.

I revisited my 2019 blog that I wrote while riding in the passenger seat back to Nashville. In between the images of couples in love and portraits, I heard my 2019 self reflect on how busy life was.

“It has been a year of fast transitions and what I realized when I woke up one mid-December morning was that a whole year had gone by without me really realizing it. In a world of planning and asking “what’s next”, I was shaken with the thought that my whole life could pass by in the same way 2019 did; with so much happening but so little time actually present in it.” – 2020 Kéra reflecting on 2019

In summary, I was caught up and working myself to the bone that I forgot how to live. Traveling back to Florida every weekend. Working 7 days a week and still trying to have some sort of social life. (I’m exhausted just thinking about it.) My life in 2019 was an exciting one, but I also felt that with everything going on I was missing what God was leading me to. I was missing the little in between moments and the things that really mattered. So I prayed.

I prayed that 2020 would be a year of present moments and of slowing down. I prayed that I would be able to embrace more life … and boy oh boy, does God have a way of showing up and in the most unexpected ways.

In March, Nashville went through a tornado that shut down many businesses and left a lot of people displaced.

In April, COVID-19 made its way into our communities and we started to feel the effects of nationwide shutdowns.

Not too late after that did we see millions of people lose their jobs — including, in some ways, losing my own.

Instead of seeing my business flourish as a result of photographing dozens of weddings, engagement sessions, and portraits — I felt the effects of many weddings postponing or canceling. Plans that were in motion ceased to become concrete and for a few brief moments, I thought my business could become obsolete.

The beginning of 2020 was hard y’all and I really felt that. Often in my moments of panic, I felt each hour pass by. Each day pass by. And then I realized — I’m living so much in the present right now. I am alert and I am ready.

I’m not saying I prayed the pandemic onto us, but I am saying that the holy spirit urged me to want presence and peace at the end of 2019 that I allowed myself to be okay in the chaotic moments that brought on presence and peace. You follow?

I learned that despite the craziness we were all feeling, I could hold on to the things that really mattered. Like my health, my shelter, my family and friends, my pup Golden — my God. Each hour and each day that passed, I realized that I could continue to live in fear, or live in the quietness and the peace that 2020 brought to me.

So instead of filling my days with work, I filled the gaps in my work days with: exercise, learning new recipes, playing with my pup Golden, creating art for the sake of art, calling people on the phone, chatting with old friends, making new friends, saying hi to my neighbors, sparking conversations with people at the grocery store, writing. And I dreamed. What do I want my life to look like after 2020? Who do I want to be?

I’m not sure I have all of the answers as we walk into 2021, but I do know that living in the present has made me want more of it. Less distraction and more intentional work. I want the opportunity to help our communities instead of just taking from them. And I want the ability to better understand who God created me to be. I want to run towards a life worth living.

If you read this far, you’re with me. So today I’m sharing my very raw and vulnerable 2021 goals with you in hopes we can go at these together.

2021 Goals

  1. Helping our communities one wedding at a time: My heart as a photographer gravitates towards those couples who have a heart for giving. A few years ago, I started the program #CouplesForACause, and since then, I’ve seen couples plan clean up events or volunteer at local non-profits. It makes my heart SO happy. So this year, my goal is to lead by example (helping my own community) and also to encourage each and every couple that books with me to volunteer and serve their community in some way, too. Curious? Check out more by clicking the link above.
  2. Focus on Food: It’s been a dream of mine for years to dive more into food photography. This year, I will dedicate time to nurturing my food photography craft AND in a very unique way, tying in other creative outlets. I can’t give away too much, but let’s just say, a photo is very literally worth a thousand words.
  3. Limiting the amount of destination weddings I photograph: There is nothing I love more than traveling for a wedding in Florida and beyond, especially if it’s being held at some of my favorite venues like The Vinoy, Ritz Carlton Sarasota, Tampa Garden Club, or The Orlo! But as I continue to build my life here in Nashville, it’s important for me to take stock of how traveling every weekend effects my wellbeing. I’ve decided that saying YES to those destination weddings that align with my mission for creating joyful and authentic experiences for big hearts and my company goals of elevating #CouplesForACause, I could only add positive energy to my life. If you’re a destination couple that feels this in your heart, then you’re likely a couple I would scream YES for!

Although 2020 has seen its fair share of hardships, my clients have been a light to me. I’ve been able to really get to know each and every one of you and I count that as a major blessing. I’m so excited for all that 2021 has to offer and so I want to pause and ask you — what are your goals for 2021 and how can I help support you? Comment below <3

Cheers, friends!


featured image shot by Laura K. Allen