giving thanks.

“There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.” ~Unknown

I suppose if there’s any year I should write about being thankful it is this one. I have to admit it’s tough sometimes not to think of the long list of tough times that have happened to our family the last few years but those that know me know that the tough times only break me down for so long and in a way they almost strengthen me and now this year I suppose I find myself thinking more about how many things I’m quite appreciative for. Not to say I don’t think about this every year, but for some reason the thoughts are speaking a little more this year and felt it was worth sharing and perhaps in doing so it might not only touch some of you (especially those that I’m thankful for having in my life) but perhaps it might somehow inspire you and remind you to be thankful for even the littlest blessings in life. Hopefully it reminds you not to ever take the things you’re thankful for granted…so here goes my list that’s been running through my head so much this week:

  • I’m thankful for my amazing family who lift my spirits daily and remind me that I’m loved.
  • I’m thankful for my three babies who are growing so fast and remind me of the importance of making the most of every day.
  • I’m thankful for my loving husband who has often been the one to hold us all together through the most challenging of times and has been there standing behind me so much through all my personal and professional goals. I adore him and am thankful for his love for our family.
  • I’m thankful that Jaylen wakes me up lately early reminding me, “Momma it’s time to wake up…it’s a sunny day.”
  • I’m thankful to have Chance beginning to babble. I adore when he cries “dadadada”. I’m thankful he’s eating solid food finally too. I’ll be much more thankful when he’s sleeping through the night…it shouldn’t be much longer till his nightly feedings are a memory of the past. Yes, I am thankful he wakes me up every night, often times several times a night, because he reminds me that I have a little one who needs my love and doesn’t allow me to forget the many years I wished for a little one.
  • I’m thankful Chance’s shunt is working as it should.
  • I’m thankful Hope is such a compassionate child who is thoughtful, caring, and likes to help others. I’m thankful she’s growing into an adorable big kid who now has so many dreams for her own future.
  • I’m thankful for the 3 angels that aren’t physically with me…yes, somehow I feel blessed to have just as many little ones in heaven as I have here on earth because it’s their spirit and the many years of hoping and wishing for my children that reminds me every single day to appreciate the little ones who made it safely into my arms.
  • I’m thankful for my parents who have helped us so much over the years and have continually reminded me to treat others as I wished to be treated. I can’t say I’ve always been able to do that but there aren’t many days that I don’t think of helping others more than myself.
  • I’m thankful for all our family close and far away who have been out there listening and caring and saying so many prayers for our family.
  • I’m thankful for all my friends…the ones who have helped me and our family so much, especially this last year. I’m also thankful for all the ones I don’t see or talk to as often and those who are separated by distance.
  • I’m thankful for our spina bifida family. Last year I thought of spina bifida as something so terrible and I can’t say I think it’s the best thing in the world now, but thanks to it’s presence in my son’s life we are blessed with a community of families who have been amazingly supportive and often times this past year have been there for us as much and sometimes more than our family and friends.
  • I’m thankful to have had an opportunity to meet so many amazing people who are living with spina bifida themselves this year. It’s helped me see just how diverse this birth defect is and helps inspire me and gives me hope for my baby boy.
  • I’m thankful for all the doctors and medical personnel that have had to put up with caring for Chance and I in the last year. It’s a challenge I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It takes special people to put up with the extensive challenges we’ve been through and I say my thanks every day that they’ve helped get us through so many of our medical challenges.
  • I’m thankful every single day we’re not in the hospital.
  • I’m thankful that though I’ve had a lot of challenges this year it hasn’t prevented me from volunteering this year with Now I lay me down to sleep. As heartbreaking as those moments are when a family loses their little one it only reminds me to be thankful for my sweet family and makes me feel honored to be a special part of moments so touching and unforgettable in a family’s life.
  • I’m thankful to be working as an educator and photographer doing day in and day out the things I love to do.
  • I’m thankful for my colleagues at Valencia who have kept me motivated, inspired and offered me so much support over the years, especially this year. I couldn’t be more proud to work alongside people who not only support my professional goals but they truly care about me and my family.
  • I’m thankful to be nearly halfway through with my tenure track work. I don’t care how many challenges I’ve been through…I’m convinced I’m going to do everything in my power to finish this work on time.
  • I’m thankful for my students and would like to remind them that all too often then inspire me and teach me a little more about not only being an educator but about life.
  • I’m thankful for all the amazing photographers and designers out there that continue to inspire me. You all give me something to look up to and strive me continually to improve. I especially thank those of you I’ve worked with more closely in the last year. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the collaborative creative experiences that have reminded me that your creative talent isn’t just about how great you are as a designer or photographer.
  • I’m thankful to work as a creative and being able to pour my heart into my work.
  • I’m thankful for the experience I have had at SCAD over the last few years, but more so I’m glad I’ve elected to halt my studies towards my masters. I can’t say it was an easy decision but it gives me more time to focus on my family and my professional goals. I think, or hope, it’s evident that in many cases the degree isn’t what defines a person or their talent. I just hope in time that I’m recognized far more for the amount of my heart goes into my work rather than whether or not I hold a masters degree.
  • I’m thankful for all the newborns and families I’ve been blessed to meet and photograph this year. Each and everyone has inspired me and helped me improve as a photographer. I feel a tad bit special to be the person a handful of people this year have trusted in capturing such precious memories.
  • And lastly, I’m thankful for all of you who are out there following along and supporting me, my family and the handful of things I keep myself busy with. It’s been a tough year, and every time I think we’ve been through the toughest times things seem to get more challenging but all those time I’ve looked up and have felt surrounded by so many people who truly care about me and my family…and for that…I am thankful and feel amazingly blessed.

I’m sure this little post may have helped me more than it might help you all…but hopefully it reminds you all to take a moment to appreciate the things in life you’re thankful for. Never take those things for granted. I promise lots more inspiring things in the days, weeks, and months ahead. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving.

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