Saturday, December 10, 2016

2016 in Review

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Yes, it really is me. After months of silence, I'm finally blogging again.

I feel like I introduce each blog post this way. Oops.

This review is mostly for me. I've tried to be more intentional about documenting the things I've done each year, because I'm a very forgetful person, and I want to remember each year in detail--the good, the bad, the sometimes ugly. I realized I had a real problem with forgetfulness last year when I couldn't even remember what concerts I'd been to or what books I'd read. So this year, I made a real point to document and remember those things. So here are a few highlights of my year!

Concerts of 2016

  • Haas Kowert Tice
  • Blake Mills + Mumford and Sons
  • Gabriel Kahane + Punch Brothers
  • Andrew McMahon + Panic! At the Disco + Weezer
  • Foxes + Alissia Cara + Coldplay
  • Sara Watkins
  • Relient K + Switchfoot

I didn't go to as many concerts this year as I have in years past. There were several more that I would have loved to have gone to, but either didn't have the funds or the time. That's the sad thing about living in Nashville--I can't go to all the concerts I want to! But I'm not complaining by any means. I remember the days of having to drive three hours to Saint Louis to see anyone perform. It's nice to have venues like The Ryman just a short twenty minute drive away (although traffic is so bad these days it's more like thirty.) 

Notable memories from the above shows: 
  • There were thirty people at the Haas Kowert Tice show and I chickened out of talking to the bass player, who is my favorite. I did, however, get to talk to the fiddle player and she told me she liked my glasses. :) I'm probably going to see these guys again next week! They're doing a residency at the Station Inn!
  • I came down with the stomach flu the day of the Gabriel Kahane and Punch Brothers show, but I went anyway. I got to talk to Gabriel Kahane, almost passed out walking back to my seat, and left after six songs of the Punch Brothers' set because I felt so awful.
  • I also got sick at the Andrew McMahon, Panic, and Weezer show because I'd had nothing to eat except Chik-fil-A fries and a frosted coffee. It was so humid out and I felt like I was going to die. We left a few songs into the Weezer set because my friend and I were just kind of over it all. I'm getting to old for this. Ha!

Books of 2016

  • Little Town on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Shadow Puppets - Orson Scott Card
  • Shadow of the Giant - Orson Scott Card
  • The Long Winter - Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • These Happy Golden Years - Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • The First Four Years - Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • By the Shores of Silver Lake - Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Broken Harbour - Tana French
  • The Secret Place - Tana French
  • A Darker Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab
  • Stars Above - Marissa Meyer
  • A Gathering of Shadows - V.E. Schwab
  • The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater 
  • Dumplin' - Anna Murphy
  • The Raven King - Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins
  • The Wrath and the Dawn - Renee Ahdieh
  • Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
  • The Light Between Oceans - M.L. Steadman
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - John Tiffany (+ J.K, obviously)
  • Faking Normal - Courtney C. Stevens
  • The Blue-Haired Boy - Courtney C. Stevens
  • Outlander - Diana Gabladon
  • All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr
  • Crooked Kingdom - Leigh Bardugo
  • The Trespasser - Tana French
  • Landline - Rainbow Rowell
  • Out of the Silent Planet - C.S. Lewis
  • North of the Sun: A Memoir of the Alaskan Wilderness - Fred Hatfield 
  • Heartless - Marissa Meyer
  • My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories - Ed. by Stephanie Perkins
My goal this year was to read 40 books! I'm currently eight behind schedule. Which seems daunting, considering there are only 20 days left in the year, but I think I can do it. I may try to read some shorter works to make my life a little easier. (Cheating? Maybe. But it's my goal so I can set the parameters.) I think my favorite books were the three by Tana French (she's AMAZING. I cannot recommend her enough), The Scorpio Races, All the Light We Cannot See, Crooked Kingdom, and the two books by V.E. Schwab. 

I also got to meet several of these authors this year: Maggie Stiefvater, Courtney Stevens, V.E. Schwab, Leigh Bardugo, and Marissa Meyer. 

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Several of the above were rereads (The Little House books, Out of the Silent Planet, and North of the Sun). Sometimes you just need something comforting and familiar.

Albums of 2016

2016 was a bit of a down year as far as new music goes for me. Many of my favorite artists released new material in 2015, so this didn't come as a surprise to me. There were a few I loved, however! Here are my favorites:

  • Are You Serious - Andrew Bird (released 2016)
  • True Sadness - The Avett Brothers (released 2016)
  • Cleopatra - The Lumineers (Released 2016)
  • Signs of Light - The Head and the Heart
  • Where the Light Shines Through - Switchfoot
  • Air for Free - Relient K

Songs of 2016

These are the songs I listened to on repeat:

  • Left Handed Kisses - Andrew Bird, ft. Fiona Apple
  • This Is the Last Time - The National
  • Plugged In  - repeat repeat
  • The Mistress Witch from McClure - Sufjan Stevens
  • The Parting Glass - The Wailin' Jennys
  • Come and Find Me - Josh Ritter
  • The Idea of Growing Old - The Features
  • Bang Bang - Green Day
  • The Wrote and the Writ - Johnny Flynn
  • Skeleton Dance - Teleman
  • Also, literally Beirut's entire discography.

Trips of 2016

  • Chattanooga, TN
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  • Charleston, SC
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  • Apalachicola, FL
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  • Pigeon Forge, TN
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  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, Mansfield, MO
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Favorite Pictures of 2016

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Other Notable Events

  • I had a picture published in the Nashville Scene.
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  • After swearing I'd never be a real wedding photographer, I shot a wedding for a friend up in Illinois and loved it. I now have four weddings on the book for next year!
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  • I wrote 10,000 words for my first novel. I tried to do NaNoWriMo but gave up halfway through because I got the stomach flu (yes, AGAIN) and then didn't feel like doing it anymore. BUT I still wrote 10,000 words, and it's a start! I hope to finish this novel next year!
  • I gave up sugar for two weeks. I felt great. But then I remembered how much I love cookies.
  • I finally got treatment for my chronic anemia! I started with a new doctor, and she recognized what was wrong immediately. I had to have two iron transfusions, which were not fun, but they definitely helped me take a step toward being well again!
  • I started working with the college students at my church, and I love it!
  • I finally recognized that I do, in fact, have social anxiety, and started taking small steps in overcoming it. It's still a daily struggle, but I'm proud of how I did things out of my comfort zone this year.
  • I got way too into politics (#standwithRand), and voted in my second presidential election.
  • We got seven inches of snow in Nashville and it was glorious. 
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I wish I could capture more of this year--explain the triumphs, the failures, the fun, and the bad--but this is truly all I can remember. What a weird year you were, 2016. Never change.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

the milky way

I took a trip home to Missouri last weekend, and it may be cliche to say this, but it was a breath of fresh air. I hadn't been home (or even out of Nashville) for months. Even though I love the hustle and bustle of the city, I grew up in a much quieter place, and I desperately needed the respite of the country. I needed rolling hills, fields full of round hay bales and coreopsis, and cotton candy sunsets. I needed the brilliant night sky, free of light pollution. And I was not disappointed.

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 I have never seen a sky so bright in my life. My dad lives out in the country, so there were no other lights around to dim the sky. I also got lucky that night, because there was a new moon. Obviously, you couldn't quite see this many stars just looking at the sky (these are 30-second exposures), but you really could see the Milky Way with your naked eyes. I did some research later, and was able to identify the constellation Sagittarius, as well as locate the Galactic Center (which is the supermassive black hole at the center of our universe).

After I was satisfied with the pictures I had gotten, I took a minute to just stand outside and look at the sky. And in that moment I truly understood why David said "The heavens declare the glory of God, the sky above proclaims his handiwork." (Psalm 19:1). I felt so small, but so loved by our creative and wonderful Father.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

faith in the small things.

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I totally forgot that I even took this photo. This was the view from my bedroom window on one of my last nights and my first apartment. 

I'm finally in a new place! That's why I've been MIA from blogging for a while--I was desperately searching for and then finally moving into my new condo. Can I share that story? Okay, cool. 

First, some background: the Nashville housing market is ridiculous. While I love that Nashville is currently an it city, that status has made the price of living here a bit ridiculous. I'm sure it's nothing like what you all on the east and west coasts deal with, but comparatively, it's getting expensive. (Of course, this could all be my own perception since I grew up in the Ozarks where you could get a really nice house and some land for what you'd pay for a shabby apartment in the bad part of town here.) I started looking for a new place a few months before my lease at my old place was up. It was rent controlled housing, and frankly, I couldn't live there anymore. While the apartment looked decent, there were a lot of issues with it. And while I was close to an okay part of town, I never felt totally safe there. (I stayed at my sister's house when my roommate was out of town because I was so paranoid and uncomfortable.) So, I had to move. I started looking for a place in May, and there was nothing. Nothing. Everything was too expensive, too sketchy, too far from work for my future and me. I started checking my resources obsessively and ended up having a massive panic attack one day in a Ruby Tuesday's parking lot. Not my finest moment. I left for Northern Ireland without a clue where I'd live when I got back. God dealt with my heart a lot while I was there. He had been telling me over and over: Don't worry! I've got this. I finally started to listen. I stopped worrying and stopped looking. I waited for Him to provide. And of course He did. Two weeks before my lease was up, we found the perfect place. The rent was totally reasonable, it was in a good part of town, and it was actually cute inside. We moved all our stuff in last week. Most everything is still in boxes and we have no internet, but it's perfect. 

I say all of this to make this point: why is it easier to trust God with the big things than the little? God has been faithful to me through some truly difficult and life-shattering situations. He's carried me through things I never thought I'd have to go through. And through all of that--despite my anger with Him--He provided, and I learned to trust. Yet, when something much less significant--like the lack of an apartment--happens, I freak out. I don't think He'll come through. I don't trust Him like I should. Perhaps it's because in those truly awful moments, we have no choice but to trust Him. And in the small things, we still think we can and should have control. Sometimes it's harder to trust God with the small things than the big. Sometimes, it takes just as much faith. But He always provides. Sometimes not in the way we'd expect or prefer, but He still provides. And it always ends up being something better than we can ask or imagine. 

Anyway, these are just some of the thoughts that have made tracks in my mind these past few weeks.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Northern Ireland 2015

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 I had the honor of spending ten days in the beautiful and amazing country of Northern Ireland. (For those who don't know, that's the part of of the island of Ireland that is part of the UK.) I went on a music-centered mission trip with my church, The Donelson Fellowship. It's hard to sum up my time there, because so many incredible things happened, and I'm still in the throes of processing everything.

We left Nashville Thursday afternoon, and arrived in Dublin very early Friday morning. We spent most of the day at the camp center in Portadown, resting and getting settled in for the week ahead. On Saturday, we drove an hour and a half to Bangor, where we put on an conference to help train children's ministry workers. It was our first day working together as a team, and it went really, really well. After the conference, we spent some time walking around the port at Bangor, then drove into Belfast for supper and a bit of sightseeing.

 photo 11221738_10153408395472086_1268650927558344993_o_zpsg8xlp7pr.jpg photo 11537228_10153408395432086_873481924771755948_o_zpsjhmqsubj.jpg photo 11212112_10153408396072086_8389621938134756289_o_zpsziyfngxw.jpgQueen's University, Belfast photo 11225096_10153408395882086_2938699327619931208_o_zps95dzmtbn.jpg photo 11217983_10153408397202086_6712926193619723485_o_zps0ffbwcws.jpg photo 11224611_10153408396592086_2985349862415695270_o_zps9lurmnmf.jpg photo 11016961_10153408396967086_490916721049322690_o_zpsgpmy1y8f.jpg 

 On Sunday we led worship in a local church (that was absolutely gorgeous), and our discipleship pastor Tommy preached. After church, we spent the afternoon out on a farm in the gorgeous Irish countryside. The food was amazing, and the family we spent time with was incredibly sweet, and outstandingly hospitable. (You'd have to be to cook for 14 crazy and obnoxious Americans.) I seriously can't tell you how wonderful the people of Northern Ireland are. Their hospitality and selflessness had such an impact on me.

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^ Our fearless pastor, Tommy. 
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On Monday, we visited our first school. We did a music camp, teaching the kids songs, stories, and verses about Jesus. We even did a craft with them. I actually enjoyed this part of the trip more than I thought I would! Even though I work in children's ministry as my job, I don't really get to interact with kids on a personal basis very often. It was so much fun getting to talk with the kids (in their adorable accents!) and share why Jesus is the greatest superhero. :) It was also incredible to me that even though we were in public schools, we were able to openly share the gospel and pray for the kids. Northern Ireland is a very religious country, but many people there don't have a personal relationship with Christ. We can only pray that God allowed our time there in the schools to help the kids see why knowing Jesus on a personal level is so important and vital. 

Monday night was--by far--my favorite night of the trip. We had an outreach service in a community center. A good 75% percent of the people who attended weren't Christians. We billed the service as a night of stories and songs, and I was absolutely humbled to be able to give my testimony. I was incredibly nervous, and felt like the words I said were jumbled and insufficient. Somehow, God took those measly words of mine and made them something that several people there needed to hear. I have never been so humbled to be a part of what God is doing. It's incredible to me that He took me all the way to Northern Ireland just so a few people could hear about what He did in my life. It's so easy to forget sometimes just how much God truly does love us. 

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On Tuesday, we presented the gospel in another school, did some sightseeing at Scrabo Tower, and hung out a coffee shop with some of our new friends.

 photo 11700627_10153408398632086_5873899962869793506_o_zpsyq43ma5u.jpg photo 11011181_10153408399237086_8871315133285366309_o_zpsdrfq1a07.jpgScrabo Tower! photo 11698964_10153408399627086_7965486464548130941_o_zpscinkdtx2.jpg photo 11537892_10153408400232086_5148338958181841082_o_zpsuzro0imv.jpg photo 11703274_10153408400017086_6700541611064981819_o_zps5aavp1sz.jpg photo 10835125_10153408400772086_6657541524939544517_o_zpsazrcc4ns.jpg photo 11713827_10153408400742086_4997254831348286605_o_zpsxjbpajjq.jpg photo 11705443_10153408401472086_2350759041654461392_o_zps1nfbjr02.jpg photo 11174660_10153408401602086_3152643226658828614_o_zpsqzglkppl.jpg photo 11223711_10153408401777086_8051768442654217708_o_zpsw41ajizr.jpg photo 11430384_10153408403477086_3635704250101887249_o_zps2ygf8zmo.jpg photo 11699034_10153408403617086_7261381511499873356_o_zpswr1wkmz4.jpg

Wednesday was our day off, which we spent exploring the north coast and Giant's Causeway.  This was also the day I decided not to wear my rain jacket, got drenched in the pouring rain, and got into a bunch of nettles (OUCH!) It was still an incredible day.

 photo 11707812_10153408404167086_9196445660311387594_o_zpszobbock3.jpg photo 11313021_10153408404202086_3196833497555621275_o_zpsejr8y3ug.jpg photo 11058789_10153408404887086_1178095066024743175_o_zpsx9k3n7ik.jpg photo 1519924_10153408404837086_2622154776591162896_o_zpssnrykdjf.jpg photo 11696552_10153408405222086_3951777575450787443_o_zpsp0bwjs0d.jpgSenior picture. Haha. photo 11226201_10153408408042086_9017126094623065332_o_zps7hvhlgop.jpg photo 11246982_10153408409227086_8949865476966237570_o_zpsuemf3zkv.jpg photo 11705382_10153408410227086_9014881983699461761_o_zpsnvprfqjd.jpg photo 11698944_10153408410712086_5289565815285039546_o_zpsn6sml420.jpg photo 11698881_10153408411387086_112623201540301918_o_zpshkimcue3.jpg photo 887376_10153408411722086_7150878259557918339_o_zpsp35funnr.jpg photo 11539055_10153408411767086_5933579505050274118_o_zpsid7qzeoo.jpg photo 11411819_10153408412257086_8522794723522286825_o_zpsszxzrnxj.jpg photo 11163439_10153408412512086_1250132110048270863_o_zpsrzavcepz.jpg photo 11411603_10153408413097086_8291638185605143360_o_zpsxjel8qei.jpg photo 10012780_10153408413042086_222812846126884273_o_zpselat6qu4.jpgThat tiny person on top of the mountain is Evan McDonald. photo 11713768_10153408412942086_6807849435585272802_o_zps7atlb6o1.jpg photo 11411790_10153408413677086_2568192652619480834_o_zpsqu1ppl8l.jpg photo 11538138_10153408413477086_8814777079024173516_o_zpsymwlae9i.jpg photo 11709724_10153408413802086_879644910717097379_o_zpso2p6v4no.jpgDunlace Castle photo 11117274_10153408414052086_4665436796439349642_o_zpsmanjg9yz.jpg photo 10486554_10153408414057086_2127811092189688404_o_zpsir0he60a.jpg photo 11709869_10153408415387086_225856267034058669_o_zpsaobmd0t9.jpg photo 11705116_10153408415847086_6572052331206377370_o_zpsy6amvn5g.jpg photo 11037080_10153408415922086_7497521935006845740_o_zpsxl6ehyym.jpg photo 11709800_10153408403667086_5461172091815713815_o_zps4aenh6er.jpg

On Thursday and Friday we worked in two more schools, and had two Mosaic services (worship services specifically geared towards young adults.) Our Thursday night service was on a barge in Belfast, which was really stinking cool. On Saturday, we went to Belfast and did some souvenir shopping and more sightseeing before we made the long trek home on Sunday. I don't have many pictures from these days, other than what I took on my phone. By that point, I was really into the trip and didn't feel like lugging my camera round anymore. (Does that make me a bad photographer?)

There's so much more I could say, but a lot of it is more personal (or full of inside jokes.) I can't tell you how thankful I am that God allowed me to be a part of the this amazing trip, with this amazing team, in this amazing country. I'll be reflecting on it all for a very long time.


P.S., if you want to see more pictures, following me on instragram @katherinevfry. 
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