Last year, my word was “small.” After the tremendous mess that 2018 was with adrenal fatigue and a mental health crisis-bordering-on-emergency that bled into the beginning of the year, I needed to focus on doing the tiny thing in front of me. Basically the only goals I had were little habits: Sleep. Move. Find silence. Keep up on crap.

I fully expected the year to proceed in that fashion, with little acts of obedience to a big God adding up to nothing much—just another year of life with my family, which feels like nothing much and, at the same time, everything.

But as the year unfolded, my small steps started to become bigger and bigger risks with bigger payoffs and bigger crashes. We put Jenna in school because that seemed to be the next right thing for our family. I got a new camera. I don’t quite know how to talk about the crashes right now—there were a few—except to say they were as good and right as they were painful, and sometimes small steps toward what the Lord has for me are also small steps away from what he had for me in a different season. I’m not trying to be coy and I’m not hiding any big news, but the stories don’t all belong to me, so I’m figuring out how (and whether) to talk about those in ways both honest and honoring.

And then there were the exciting things…  Writing for Kindred mom in 2017 led to joining the team in 2018 and excellent friends in 2019 and we’re all getting together for the first time next month and a passion for editing I did not expect. A 100 day project meant practicing hand lettering a few minutes a day from April through July and now I know how to do that. Saying yes to engagement with a new friend on Instagram followed by some collaborative work led to a mastermind group where we encourage and hold each other to account for our creative endeavers.

General awkwardness is pretty much my worst nightmare, but saying, “hey, I think you’re cool, wanna be friends?”  followed by skipping small talk and diving straight into borderline overshare territory has resulted in so many actual friends and one or two perpetually awkward acquaintances (in which I reached out and there was no reciprocation).

The camera made way for a birth photography mentorship which led to shooting a couple of births which led to oxytocin and more potential births and suddenly the thoughts I had about taking up birth photography in about five years when gave way to “now is good, I guess?” and a website and business cards and all things legit. A homework assignment led to my first art show rejection followed by my first acceptance and now a couple of pieces of mine are touring museums around the state for the next two years.

As I was thinking through 2020 and what I was going to focus on, I jokingly told people I was going from “small” to “badass” or “kickass” or maybe just “ass,” as it’s apparently the most complicated word in the English language. (For real. Go watch the video. I’ll wait.) The jump from “small” to whatever 2020 was going to be felt jarring, but the thread that kept surfacing was “creative risk.” I’m just going to have to leap.

I hate leaping. It feels scary and naked. I’ve never started a business before. Marketing feels icky to me, and it’s going to have to happen. I’m afraid to hang out in a birth space, taking photos, trying to stay out of the way. Don’t get me wrong—birth is totally my jam—I’m just nervous about it.

So 2020’s focus is courage. I’m just going to do it scared. The writing, photography, business, friendships… all of it.

Published by robininalaska

Robin Chapman is a part-time writer, editor, and birth photographer and a full-time imperfect mama, wife, Jesus follower, and normalizer of failure. She’s trying hard to learn how to do this motherhood thing in a way that doesn’t land the whole family in intensive therapy. She has a heart for helping other mamas buried in the little years with hope, humor, and solidarity. You can find her hiding out in the bathroom with an iced dirty chai, writing and editing and making spreadsheets for where she is a cheerleader for mamas, or online looking for grace in her mundane and weird life. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her four delightful (crazy) kids—some homeschooled, some public schooled, some too young for school at all—and her ridiculously good looking husband, Andrew.

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