2012: a reprise in pictures

by racheliliadis

One word comes to mind when I think of twenty eleven, and it’s gratitude. Gratitude for the calm after the storm. For cups being filled after being emptied. And gratitude for the Spring that follows a harsh Winter. This year, mourning was turned into dancing, and a way was made when there was no way.

This past Spring, my spirit finally experienced it’s first signs of life since the previous fall. It’s as if I could tangibly feel  my heart unthawing. And nearing graduation, my desire to be in Colorado was sacrificed to follow God through what felt like a lightless cave to Atlanta. But in the end, holding God’s hand, even in the dark, proved to be the safest place. And I know the challenges and blessings I experienced this year certainly produced perseverance, faith, trust, and a deeper love for the Lord and others.

In 2011, God decided to open the floodgates of His goodness, completely showering me with blessings, including: a Senior-year filled with deep, meaningful friendships, a PR degree from Baylor, time with my family, a trip to Liberia that led to a rich community at 12Stone Church, a grown-up-salaried-non-profit-creative position at National Christian Foundation, a new home downtown, and to top it all off, a handsome Greek man.

And so, I decided to include a few of my favorite memories of the year. Although I could have chosen hundreds more, here are a few that are treasured in my heart.

Chi Omega, Baylor moments:

God knew what he was doing when he brought Lindley Atkinson, Liza Buck, and Ali Morgan into my life to not only befriend me, but to also bring me into a group of women who were actively pursuing the Lord and seeking to love others … Chi Omega that is. (Yes, can you believe it? I’m totally a sorority girl!) Even though at times, my selfishness led me to take for granted this blessing, I’m grateful for the relationships, memories, and treasured conversations I had with these “sisters.”

Clare Berlinsky. A valued, special soulmate who will forever be someone to dream and laugh with.

Liza Buck, Jess Wedel, and Mary Katherine Leslie-Van Hook. What a special moment when we got to pass MK’s candle. (That’s what happens in a sorority when someone gets engaged. Cozy.) 

Sweet friends at the Civil Wars concert. 

Two of the most remarkable performers. 

Cameron Park/Waco Drives: 

Although these might not mean a lot to you, I hold these next pictures close to my heart. Cameron Park, one of the largest city parks in the  nation, calls Waco, TX it’s home. I spent many afternoons biking, picnicking in blue bonnets, running, and photographing here. It was simply a place  for me to create, breathe, and refresh my soul.

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Tree of life. 


Woven wonders.

The diligence of a farmer. 

The Baby Owl that found it’s way into Apt. B:

This is a bit random, but come’on, have you seen anything quite as precious? Well, my tender neighbor Cortney found this small guy while running. And of course, she couldn’t just leave it there. She decided to take it in, and try to nurse it back to health. We had fun loving on it! Definitely a highlight of my spring! ha.

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Spring Break:

My spring break was spent road tripping with the one and only Rachel Robinson (now studying at Pepperdine Law in CA, woo!), and Mary Katherine Leslie-Van Hook. Words cannot describe the peace, joy and rest we experienced at Watersound, FL. It was exactly what we needed to escape the pressures of class.

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Homestead Heritage:

A Mennonite community near Baylor that offered not only the best homemade cobbler in the world, but an old world that made you feel like you stepped out of the modern life and into a simpler, more organic time. I miss this place dearly!

The Ladies of Apt. B:

Last spring, my neighbor-friends asked me to take a few photos of them to remember their time living together. These women have been in my life for the past 4 years, and I’m blessed to have shared countless, cozy memories with them. Not only are they stunningly beautiful, but they have flawless hearts. Click here to see more pictures from the shoot!

Graduation:

FINALLY. After four of the best years of my life, I stepped out of my chair, shook Ken Starr’s hand, and received my diploma, a magical piece of paper signifying that I am hereby certified to enter the “real world.” And what a terrifyingly, exciting feeling to walk across a stage a College student and down the stairs an adult. I’m so grateful for the four, short years God gave me at Baylor to explore, grow, learn, and mature as a young woman. SIC ‘EM BEARS.

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Baylor University. Stunningly gorgeous. 

Liberia:

The adventure that changed my life. From June 4-20, I served alongside 12Stone Church near Monrovia, Liberia. We spent time loving on widows, placing value and worth on orphans, sharing Jesus’ restoring power to the abused, and attempting to surf the Atlantic.

A new relationship:

His name is Dimitri Iliadis. He’s from Thessaloniki, and we met in Africa. For me, the past 6 months have been so beautiful. I’ve never met anyone who enjoys life the way he does. I’m convinced if he was barefoot in the middle of the desert without water, he’d find a reason to be happy. Each day, he continues to show me that love is patient, kind, and holds no record of wrongs. It’s everlasting. And through spending time with him, I’m learning how to pray, serve, and love more, complain less, and really just experience life to the fullest.

Colorado Springs: A Perkins’ wedding

One of the best evenings of my summer. It was a chance to see two lovebirds unite, while getting to catch up with old friends. I’ll never forget the memories made here.

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The dreamy Colorado backdrop. 

Dear, dear friends. Brenna, Katie, and Carter, if you read this, I miss you. 

My best friend’s wedding:

Mary Katherine Leslie-Van Hook has been such a pleasant, gift, surprise, blessing … whatever you want to call it … in my life. Little did we know that the simple walk to Common Grounds after class would be the start to such a lovely friendship. I can’t think of many people that I’ve so deeply laughed and cried with, not to mention the plethora of weird noises and sounds made with her. She just gets it. And my gratitude for her cozy sayings, love of woodland creatures, and crazy obsession with liquid beverages is never-ending.

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I love this crazy woman. She has a really long name. 

So honored to stand next to these strong, precious, and loving women: Jess, Carly, Elizabeth, and Liza. 

Oh, Allison Chester. When are you moving to Georgia??

Lake Times 2011:

For the past two years, my rockstar friend, Katie Yocham & Co., has invited friends to spend Labor Day with her family. I don’t have many traditions, but this is one that I hope to hold on to. It never fails to be one of my favorite fall weekends. It’s full of FUN, wipeouts, hammocks, worship, and friends.

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My happy place. 

Fall:

Simply put, I’ve SO missed fall in Atlanta. Sigh, so happy to be home.

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A first wedding shoot:

This year, I had the chance to shoot my first wedding with my soulmate, Lindley Atkinson. We even showed up to the event wearing the exact same outfit, completely unplanned. We were created to be friends. This weekend was provided a perfect mixture of chaos and peace, exhaustion and laughter.

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Quality time with my family: 

After four years of being in Texas, I cannot express how special it’s been to be able to eat dinner with my parents, play FIFA with my Michael, and run around town with Bekah. They are tender, happy people, and I cherish them.

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A new home in Atlanta:

This is huge!!! For the first time in my life, I’m a home renter. Last month, Lauren and I recently moved into a fun, yellow, red-door home in downtown Atlanta. It’s rather cozy.

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Chi Omega colors? Okay, there, I said it. 

A very first New Year’s kiss:

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Dimitri Iliadis. You amaze me. 

And so, 2012, I enter you with a sense of joy, expectancy, and utter, wide-eyed excitement. Life is good.