Have a couple of minutes? Taking the blog thing a little different this time! Just in time for Christmas!!!
Yep, the title sums this up perfectly.
Blessed. I am beyond blessed with this life I've been given, and I am extremely grateful this time of year to be able to look back on the last 12 months and take it all in.
For those of you that know me, you have heard me say this or have seen me post on Facebook or Instagram about how "blessed" I feel that day, for certain things or people. I say it a lot, but I don't say it enough.
Now, some of you may be reading this and thinking "Yeah, okay. That's super easy to say and feel. What's the big deal and why does it deserve a title for a photography blog?" (These are the types of questions I imagine my readers thinking hahaha)
You see, this word holds an extra extra special place in my heart because I haven't always known what it meant or how it felt. I'm not going to preach to you, but I am going to share part of my own testimony.
I met Genna (or Craphead, Wifey, Bestest, Half of half of my heart, Genna Benna, GB, etc) about a decade ago. Somewhere around 2006ish we were working at Bob Evan's together -- THERE IT IS AGAIN! JEESH! I HAVE BOB'S TO THANK FOR SO MUCH! -- She made a joke about whipped cream, we were just as hyper together and as obnoxious and loved it. We both loved dancing and loving life. It was honestly a match made in Heaven. Genna was with me nearly every day for a couple of years. When I think of all that we have been through I sit back and think, "Wow. How crazy has this ride been?" She was with me during my largest life moments to date - leaving the country and studying in Australia (while she also took a huge step into her own Faith), major relationship breakup, family deaths, new jobs, and finally her getting married to the love of her life (Sean)... which not too long after led to me having an open heart and mind and starting to go to their weekly Fellowship. She has always supported me and my photography, man oh man, anything creative actually - she even let me sing to her... yikes!
Check out this Christmas card! I mean, seeing photos YOU took as a photographer, there's no greater feeling!
The people I met, and stories I heard, changed my world forever. To learn the undying love that comes from our Father, is something that will shake your very foundation when your heart is in the right place. It was there that I leaned on Genna more than I ever had to guide me and show me how I could be a better person. I went to Sunday service, and weekly meetings. I hung out with other believers just to have fun, I would ask Genna and Sean what the heck the Bible meant for certain verses... it was amazing. THEY were amazing. The thing I struggled with the most was knowing how to 'listen'. How to take a second to pray and believe in my heart that He would show me the way.
Until I randomly took a path on my own accord without fully thinking about it. Acting like a misbehaved teenager - full of rage and rebellion I started on the most selfish path of my life, without reason. No explanation. Genna still showed me insane love because that's her, and her Faith. She never backed down from what she taught me, though I could see disappointment. I felt as though I had let a parent down, or rather, an older sister that I looked up to and wanted/needed approval from so badly.
It took me a couple of years to swallow my pride and realize the work I needed to do for me. That I messed up, and I missed my best friend. The time I needed to put in for me and to work on my relationship with God. We got in touch again when she contacted me to tell me her and Sean were expecting their first baby. I'll never forget I was at my Grandparent's house in their garage when I got the phone call. I screamed and then I cried. It was that day that I decided I needed to step up.
I started on my own journey -- think of it like working out. You have to do it for YOU, no one else. I didn't want to please anyone by going to church every Sunday. I didn't want to have to hide that I liked to pray, but I also didn't feel like I needed to talk about it every 5 seconds to 'prove' I was worthy to other believers (no one has ever made me feel that way haha, I think it's in my own mind - something else to work on!) I started going to random churches, because I wanted to see different ways of teaching. I'll still occasionally watch a service online. I carry my Bible with me every day, and will take time at least once a week to read and study.
I know my relationship with God needs work, and I actively think about it everyday. I know I need to surround myself with fellow believers and lead a life of love. I am trying my best, and I owe every ounce of it to the Quinlan's. I owe every bit of my photography business to God, and it's so comforting to know that I chose the right path.. at least this time / for now! HAHA!
When she reached out and asked me to take family photos I felt blessed. (There's that word again). I couldn't wait to make time to make it happen. These two wonderful humans loved me at my worst... literally. I have grown SO MUCH in the last few years and I'm so grateful I'm not the little turd I was there for a bit.
Now -- that I have humiliated myself to you all -- here is the beautiful family that showed me love when I felt I didn't deserve it. Their adorable child that they raise as a team, is one that will melt your heart the second you look at him <3 I love them with all of my heart, and I sure hope you can see why.
Seriously, you can actually FEEL the love!
This woman is a beautiful soul, an incredible mother, and a wonderful wife. Constantly teaching. Always loving.
I think I see a pretty strong similarity in Lucas and his Mama!! Look at those raised eyebrows!
Oh, something else you should know, Lucas loves gummy treats! If you are a photographer or have a toddler, you know that they kind of run the show.
This was the mood in the middle of the shoot:
But HEY! Mama to the rescue... oh and fruit snacks! HAHA!
They hung out with me in the cold and made it look like nothing! They are an incredibly amazing family that I am so blessed to know and call my friends.
This was one of my more personal posts, because Genna holds a very special place in my heart. I couldn't even try to write anything else besides pure honesty and announce to the world how crazy awesome she is. When you finally feel that 'Blessed' feeling, that calmness that overcomes you and silently whispers 'Hey - everything is going to be okay. God has it. Take look and see for yourself'. No matter your situation. My Faith will always be a part of me. I'm grateful for even knowing how to find it to begin with!
I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, if you stopped by, feel free to leave a little comment below and say hello!