It’s been a whirlwind of a year and it’s hard to believe it’s already time for Thanksgiving! So much to be thankful for this year! Here’s just a smattering of my list (too much to leave here):
- My family…husband, 3 daughters, parents, and in-laws
- Our great friends
- Overall good health
- Happy and thriving girls who all love school (2nd grade, kindergarten, and preschool)
- Beautiful home with spacious yard for the girls to play
- Mark’s VA disability rating granted and back-pay awarded (Thanks to him for his military service!)
- Remodeled main living area / kitchen to encourage a more family-centered life
- Good jobs
- Family-focused vacations
- And the list goes on…
I’m not trying to sound superficial or materialistic, but I realize how VERY fortunate we’ve been and some of those things are shown through tangible objects or acts. We’ve certainly had our fair share over the years of fulfilling our vows “in sickness and in health” and “for richer or for poorer”.
The Struggle is REAL
I know how cliche that sounds, but the majority of cliches come from truth. Most people don’t realize Mark and I are both cancer survivors. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma a few months after we got married and after only about 4 months of chemo, I was done with treatments. While a nasty disease, I am very fortunate for the short course of treatment and being cancer-free for over 11 years. Mark was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in October 2014, weeks after a hip replacement surgery (third hip surgery within 12 months from military-related functions). He has now been cancer-free for almost 4 years. Another one of God’s graces for a relatively easy treatment (3 treatments about 6 months apart that prevented much human contact for about 2 weeks each time) with a high success rate.
In addition to cancer, I had two miscarriages before we finally had our first daughter, Katy, in 2012. We’ve been super blessed to now have three girls who are healthy, happy, and eager to live and learn. Early in our marriage, we were drowning in debt with lackluster jobs or income and it’s finally feeling like we have room to breathe and help those less fortunate as can like others helped us through the years. We just live day to day doing what we can, when we can. It might not always be a lot or easy, but every little bit helps.
It’s Not a Marathon
I guess I tell you all this to remind us all that everyone has struggles, whether physically, mentally, or otherwise. The best thing I feel we can do is to give everyone some grace, including ourselves, as we embark on the frenzied Christmas / holiday season. We are all likely in a hurry to get somewhere, make changes in ours or other people’s lives, spend time with our family and friends, meet deadlines, etc.
Life is about going day to day and no one really wants to rush to the end without enjoying the journey. Try to take a few minutes each day to just BREATHE. Close your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths. Focus on relaxing your shoulders, neck, back, etc. Your body will thank you (and maybe family or friends) if you can incorporate breathing and relaxation, even in small increments.
I know this is not my usual photography-related post and somewhat of a rambling, but I just felt like I needed to put this out there in hopes of inspiring you to keep taking each day at a time and finding some silver lining in each day, no matter how bleak or difficult they might be. Maybe it’s my optimism, but you never know what the next day will bring, but do whatever you can to help make it the best it can be. Life is not easy and there is no handbook. It’s your story, so write it however you can. Take care today and every day! I hope to see you back here soon for more photography-related posts!
If you have any skills, techniques, or other things that have puzzled you regarding photography, please leave it in the comments! I’d LOVE to answer you in upcoming posts!
Till next time, happy shooting and thanks for stopping by!