So this is it. I’ve always wanted to put words to my photos, but never gave myself enough credit to do so. This year, however, has been a year that pushed me to dream again and reminded me that there is no harm in trying. I want people to see what I see. I want the stories that I hear be given light.

This past year I: drove from Texas to Florida for one of the most relaxing weeks of my life, traveled to Oregon and Washington with two of my best friends, spent more than a couple days with my PNW family, attended a life-changing conference on the Pacific Coast, stood next to many of my best friends as they said yes to their dream guy, witnessed two of my best friends become parents for the first time, walked the streets of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and all that’s in between. I shed many tears (if you know me, you know that’s pretty normal), laughed a lot (also normal), and got to photograph many people I love and admire. This year has been a year of growing, of turning over new leafs, taking bigger chances, and figuring out how to do it all while fighting for Truth.

One thing I hope to take away, no matter the season I’m in, is the gratitude I feel for community. I’ve been encouraged, challenged, and comforted by the community the Lord has given me the past few years. I’ve witnessed them lift up the weakened knees, stand guard against the Enemy, and give breath into the breathless. I’ve been given courage through these people. I feel safe because of them, and I have welcomed vulnerability because of that. Not only do I think they are some of the funniest people I’ll meet, but they are also all fighters. We fight. We fight for what we believe, we fight for Grace, and we fight for each other. I hope for those of you reading this that you will seek out community. Seek the vulnerable and celebrate the genuine. I’m telling ya—with the right community around, you can do anything.

Because of this, I have the courage to pursue what I love and tell the stories of where I’ve been. With that, I present to you a small snippet of the past year in Ellie Bennett’s life.