Best of 2020 | Melanie Foster Photography | Bartlesville OK Photographer
Oh boy. A best of blog almost 4 months into the. year? Haha this is long overdue. I wasn’t even going to put this post together, until our wedding photographer did her 2020 recap (that we are included in!) and it was the kick in the butt that I needed to get moving on this. Better late than never, right? This is the first year that I drug my heels on blogging this post. And not because nothing fun happened in 2020 – A LOT OF FUN happened, even despite all of the changes the year brought. I think the way 2020 ended in the world…and then the way 2021 began…I was just mentally not in the best headspace for this post. In the last several months, I have started to feel quite a bit closed off from social media. Part of that is the current cultural climate. But a bigger part of that is a shift in priorities. When I envision my future family and what I want our days to look like as I build our home and eventually raise our kids, I don’t want to be distracted by my phone or Instagram. And I really don’t want to be swept up in capturing every exciting moment of our lives. One of my biggest fears is spending precious time endlessly scrolling as my kids grow up right in front of me.
Unfortunately, I don’t know how to have boundaries with Instagram. I recently had Jonathan put password-protected app limits so that I wouldn’t spend 5-6 hours a day on my phone. As sad as it is, it was necessary. All of this to say, I don’t know what I want to do. I don’t know what the future of running my business on social media will look like. I am tempted to get rid of all of it – to go old school and just have my website and blog and trust that God will still provide through a more traditional way of marketing and through word-of-mouth (which has been my primary marketing all along!) Who knows what this year will bring, but I am choosing to show up today, push through, and reflect on all the good the Lord blessed us with in an otherwise chaotic and weird year.
I know many struggled through 2020. I know it brought a lot of hardship and heartache and pain for people. I remember going on a walk with one of my best friends, Emily, in late March. We talked about how our emotions were split – I shared about it in this post, and this all still rings true today. One thing I know to be true that brings great comfort is that every single one of our steps is pre-planned, pre-purposed, and predestined by a God who has graciously given us communion with Him through the death and resurrection of his perfect son, Jesus Christ. Our depraved, sin nature means that we deserve eternity in hell and the full wrath of God. BUT through faith in Christ and true repentance – turning from our sin to know God and to live life in pursuit of obeying and glorifying Him – we can live in eternity with our creator. AND he provides an endless joy that is unassociated with our circumstances and peace that surpasses all understanding here on earth. That is the biggest blessing, the biggest gift, and an important truth to reflect on as we navigate the many hills and valleys of life.
Here’s my 2020 recap!
Jonathan and I kicked off the new year celebrating at Hall’s with Dylan, Kylie, Sloan, and Jonathan!
- Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
- When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey
- Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
- You Who…You Matter by Rachel Jankovic
- The biography of missionary John G. Paton
- The Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson
- Popes and Feminists by Elise Crapuchettes
- A handful more that I started and either haven’t finished, or won’t finish…hah.
- Emmaline and Chase in May – this was our first big COVID outing and it was SO crazy to be amongst other people for the first time in two months, but a huge blessing to be included in their intimate day! This was a marathon of a weekend – we split the weekend between Dallas for the wedding and the lake for Memorial Day!
- Charlotte and Adam in July – again, so crazy to be out and about as if things were normal! We had somewhat of a marathon of a weekend this weekend, too. We packed up a UHaul and moved a handful of things from my mom and dad’s house in Plano and drove it back to Bartlesville! It was a trip!
- OUR OWN!!! What!!!
- Carsyn and Collin – such a treat to be back in OKC for this weekend!
- We left for Salida, Colorado the day the world shut down for COVID. 14 hours in the car later, we arrived, got settled in to the hotel, and about 30 minutes later they closed the mountain. We ended up walking around town the next day and going on a little hike before making the full day trek back! We didn’t even know if we were going to be able to get across state lines – it was crazy!
- In June, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Austin, Texas for Abby Johnson’s headshots! This was my first “big girl trip” to Austin (I think I have been once or twice before, but always quick trips!)
- We were able to get away to the lake several times this past year – Lake Cypress Springs, TX is one of my happy places!
- After spending my bachelorette weekend at the lake, I raced home to Bartlesville and immediately hopped back in the car to for an unplanned meet up with the Russells at Tablerock!
- We spent our honeymoon in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, and while the weather didn’t shape up quite as we hoped, we still enjoyed our quaint little Airbnb and the incredible food!
- After a family reunion was cancelled earlier in the year, Jonathan and I met up with my mom, Natalie, and James to fly to Helen, GA to see my grandpa. It was a marathon of travel, but I was overjoyed to finally introduce Poppa to my husband!
- Some of our dear friends from church gave us great advice our first couple weeks of marriage! It was to take a mini trip every 6-8 weeks for a little “marriage retreat”. We have made a point to plan these and they have been so wonderful…they aren’t extravagant or expensive…we went to my family’s lakehouse one weekend, a friend’s airbnb in Pawhuska, and our next one will be a staycation in Tulsa!
Milestones, highlights, and blessings:
- February – getting engaged in downtown Bartlesville!
- March – we got to shoot with KJ and Michael in Tulsa and it was an experience (and photos!) I will treasure forever! I also moved in with my future (at the time) in-laws once COVID hit!
- In April we rescheduled all of my spring seniors. I ended up being able to move forward with two of them this month, but the rest were postponed until May and even throughout the fall! I never would have expected it to happen the way it did, but I am so glad my girls were understanding!
- June/July/August – we sold Jonathan’s old house and closed on our new house all in the same afternoon, starting prepping for the estate sale, started renovations and I officially moved all of my stuff from Norman to Bartlesville! All while planning a wedding!
- August – After four years of being on staff, I had my last day at OU! (Virtually, of course)
- September – OUR WEDDING! You can see the full blog post of images on Katelyn’s blog here!
- October – the busiest fall month of photography I think I’ve ever had. It maybe rivals a spring senior season earlier in my career, but phew – this was a big one! Mini sessions, fall seniors, and families!
- And a few other highlights – learning to cook (My husband will tell you I am much improved! And I will own it! I am happy to toot my own horn here!), learning how to make sourdough (I bake about 1-2x a week), becoming a member at our church, and starting the Bible Reading Challenge with thousands of women across the world.
- Throughout the year, we photographed 25 lifestyle sessions, 6 proposals, and 23 seniors! All dear and treasured friends and I am beyond thankful they invited me to celebrate a milestone in their year! Here are a collection of favorite shots from the year!
Proposal photos by Carsyn Abrams! Engagement photos by Katelyn James! Summer engagement photos from Holly Felts.