Thoughts about "things"

Yikes, has it been over a month since I posted???   Holy crazy month(s!).  I *thought* once the senior rush was over that I would have plenty of downtime to relax and plan for and enjoy the upcoming Christmas season. But I thought wrong!

I had few last minute sessions, a bunch of orders to fill and deliver, an online "finding the light" photography course to finish and then, of course, there is the tree cutting and decorating, cookie making, gift planning/buying craziness thrown in. Phew!!  But it is all good and now there is some serious downtime in my very near future that I am definitely looking forward to!

I had a WONDERFUL year.  I had so many amazing new clients and I felt so honored to work with each and every one of them.  I learned so much over the past year which again affirms my belief that "the more you know, the more you realize how little you know".  I have so much more I want to learn and improve on next year!!!  I have so many ideas and and new projects floating around in my head - I just hope I can get the time and motivation to work on them all.

Last year, I was approached by the Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange about a program they were going to implement in 2011.  They wanted to try to improve their website that showcases all the kids awaiting adoption.  They realized that the photos they had of many of the kids were, shall we say...unflattering.  They were often grainy, blurry snapshots that didn't showcase the personality and beauty that is found in every child.  So they were asking professional photographers throughout the area if they would be willing to donate their time to take some photos of waiting children.

My first thought, being the bleeding heart I am, is that "how can I possibly do this?"  I will want to take each and every kiddo home with me!!

But then I thought "how can I NOT do this".  Honestly, it is the very least I can do.

On a very cold, November day, I met a sweet 16 year old girl for her session.  Since we only needed one good photo for the site, and since it was COLD and spitting snow, I tried to get her session done as quickly as possible.

After I left our quick session, I just kept thinking about this girl.  She was quiet and sweet and it just broke my heart.  What she wants this holiday season has nothing to do with video games, cell phones, cars, clothes or any of the other "things" a typical 16 year old is wishing for.  What she wants is a family.  A family to eat dinner with, talk with, and just be with.

And then I thought about my own kids and how incredible lucky they are.

I thought about our Thanksgiving with piles of food and fun with a house full of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

I thought about our annual Christmas tree cutting expedition which also includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins.

I thought about our crazy Christmas Day activities which includes gifts under the tree, a 1 hr trip to one set of grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins and then a 1 hr trip back to see more grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins.

I thought how incredibly lucky my kids are that they have a PLETHORA of family who throw so much love onto our girls that they can't even comprehend that there are some kids out there who don't even have a family.

This year, my kids actually had a very short list for Santa.  My Kallie asked for pjs, undies and a bookmark.   My Christina asked for an ipod and a few small items.  They are excited about Christmas - like any kid would be!

But I truly believe they are much more excited for all the FUN than for all the gifts. I definitely know that all the things that they love and things they will remember for many years to come have nothing to do with "things" at all.  They will remember moments, they will remember trips, they will remember parties and they will remember family.

Merry Christmas!!!