Jonathan and I came from humble beginnings. Our first year of marriage, we lived in my parent's basement raising our daughter and lived off of a very very small paycheck. Looking back, I don't think we ever felt like we were in a 'not so ideal' situation... we were happy to have each other (most of the time) but our hearts always yearned for something more.
We watched HGTV feature extravagant homes and beautifully designed rooms and we wondered if we would ever even get to own a home much less one as beautiful as one on TV! We were 18, had a baby, and felt like we were always going to be stuck. After a few really hard years, we bought a foreclosed farmhouse that was... well, it definitely didn't look like home at first... We had saved for so long, we educated ourselves on how to build and fix up a home DIY style, and we worked HARD to make this house a home.
These last few years haven't been glamorous. Finance, business, marriage, parenting, schooling, personal struggles.... with all of it there have been lots of tears, anger and 'WTF' moments. About 30% of the time it was 'I don't know if this is going to work out...' and the other 70% of the time, it was walking hand in hand, together, literally living on prayers. We kept holding our breath as we continuously plunged into the unknown, feeling the shock of the next adventure sink in and making strange territories of life feel normal.
While I planned our Thanksgiving, I think about these things. I think about how I wanted to create a day like my mother did for me when I was little. My mom would work in the kitchen all day while I greeted all the relatives that came over and so much sound filled the house. Jokes and stories being told, the sound of dishes crashing into the sink once she was done with one thing and moving onto the next and the loud waves of laughter that would echo through our home... nothing could ever replace the feeling I felt when our home was full for the holidays.
I've also thought about my husband. My wonderful, handsome, hardworking husband who has created so much for us. He has worked the most of all on this home even when I wanted to give up. He pushed me through. He held me when I cried while he was creating a master plan to fix everything. Even now as I write this, I hear him turn the saw on to cut the last pieces of trim to hang in the dining room. None of us know how he does it but I hope that hosting Thanksgiving in our home makes him happy. When we sit down to eat and he, as the head of his household prays over our meal, I will choke back so many proud tears for him. I'm such a proud wife, I'll admit it. I want nothing but happiness for him and I know this is a moment that makes him feel accomplished.
I can not believe the day is here. When I was little, I cooked for my stuffed animals. I fed them well and cared for them. Today, I cook for my siblings, children, my husband and most of all my precious mother who can this year sit and be treated to a nice meal after all the years she slaved away at creating wonderful meals for me. As a wife and a human being in general, this is such a happy moment for me.
My request for all of you reading this today be this: Let this be the last time you be online today. After this, please, put down your devices and enjoy those around you. Get a deck of cards or a board game and play. Go on a walk and talk about your favorite memories. Reflect. Don't let today pass you by. Make these memories while you can.
I am thankful for many things. Obvious things. My husband, children, family. I am most thankful for Christ who provides the gift of salvation. I can not put into words the love that I have for my savior. I am so thankful for the opportunity to use the gift God gave me to have a business that allows me to hear your stories and capture so many memories.
This last year, we have shared so much together. I have watched you laugh, cry, pass through life's milestones and grow. It's always an honor. I never take for granted one moment that you have allowed me to capture. I know you invite me to capture very very personal moments that not many get to see. It's a privilege that is so sacred and special that I continue to make it a priority to capture the best that I can for you. Thank you for letting me into your life. Thank you for supporting my family and I. Through this business, you have helped us go from being young teenage parents living in a basement with big dreams and not so high hopes to a little family that doesn't deserve an ounce of your love but you give it to us anyways. I never dreamed of owning a business but because of your support, it's happened. I pray and thank God for you every night. Jonathan and I love you all so much. Thank you. I'll never stop saying it.
Cookies by Jana Lee's Bake Shop -- janaleesbakeshop.com
Banner by Little Lily Shop - etsy.com/shop/LittleLilyShop