Thanksgiving Weekend

I hope all my readers had a lovely Thanksgiving. We spent the day at my mom's house and it was great to see lots of aunts and uncles! Over the past year my one uncle was treated for cancer and my aunt had a bad fall resulting in hip surgery just a few weeks ago. And the day after Thanksgiving another uncle was admitted to hospital with an infection. Since he is diabetic, it may result in the loss of his foot. We don't know yet.

Every year that we are able to gather together is becoming more special.

Josh made this very pretty Sweet Potato Gratin. I made the breadcrumbs. :) It was a nice change from the sweet potato casserole that is so standard.

I also enjoyed capturing some details around my mom's house. The boys' enjoyed their first experience with Tom and Jerry.

We travelled down to Staunton, Virginia, to continue the festivities with the celebration of my mother-in-law's birthday. One of the highlights was Josh's 13-year-old cousin shot her first deer! The boys enjoyed seeing the deer--despite the fact it was dead. Actually, Duncan made everyone laugh as he gazed at the dead deer and said: "You can't shoot that deer, it's so nice!"

The deed was already done, however.

We enjoyed some amazing venison tenderloin the next day, thanks to Josh's uncle, Burt. One thing I love about Josh's side of the family is that the men cook. And I mean cook. At Christmas, it's usually the men in the kitchen, frying up oysters and steaming shrimp. Besides the venison, Burt also deep-fried a turkey and made an amazing squash and carrot casserole. The casserole sounds ho-hum, but it was so creamy and flavorful!

We spent Saturday morning at the Frontier Culture Museum. I actually remember going there when I was around twelve years old with my mom, siblings, grandmother, and aunts. They'd added a lot more and it was a perfect place to let the boys burn off energy while learning about history.

We went to lunch in cute downtown Staunton at The Beverley Restaurant. It had very good diner-esque type food. They were wonderful with the kids, thinking of things I needed before I asked. And you can't beat a place where all they call you "Sweety" and "Hon" with a southern accent.

I'm already planning our next trip back. I still have to visit Woodrow Wilson's birthplace and the American Shakespeare Center!

Gratitude Fills

"If we will pull our minds and our spirits away from our problems from time to time and redirect them to our blessings, we will find much to celebrate. We'll recognize that the world is full of beauty, that most people are worthy of our respect and trust, and that the affairs of suffering humans are replete with acts of love, kindness, nobility, and sacrifice. And we'll remember that overseeing it all is a God who knows us well, who loves us anyway, and who is very, very good.

All people have within their grasp much to be thankful for.

Gratitude fills. Grumbling drains. The choice is ours."

-Richard A. Swenson, M.D.,  Margin

Happy Thanksgiving!

Troy | Senior Session

Troy's mom connected with me after seeing Brian's senior photos that were taken last autumn. I met up with Troy and the rest of his family at Rocks State Park on the most perfect November day you could imagine. They were wonderful sports as we traipsed around to three different locations within the park. It was great getting to know Troy, who will be graduating from high school next year. It was also an honor to not just capture Troy in this senior session, but also his brother and parents.

Congratulations on your last year of high school, Troy!

Check out more pictures of seniors on my website. If interested in booking a session, contact me here.

Fighting Colds | Multitude Monday

We've been fighting colds around here this week but there's still lots to be thankful for. Two weeks worth, actually.

501. Finishing an intriguing audio book: The Violets of March.

502. Being able to help a friend out by babysitting. I was thankful to return the favor when she's babysat so many times for me!

503. Corn maze fun!

504. Insightful conversation and discussion of the book of James in our small group through church.

505. Catching up with Lib and Isabel.

506. A shopping trip with my mom and Sophia. New clothes for Sophia bought by my mom. Hitting a huge sale at Gymboree.

507. Helping my mom get what she needed at Ikea.

508. Josh accomplishing more work on our basement: the project of the winter!

509. A sermon reminder to store up treasure in heaven, not just earth. Also, reminded that wealth can make us blind to the needs of others. This thought was reinforced by this post at A Holy Experience and this quote: "That is the insidious danger of wealth . . .  makes you blind. Blind to the hungry Christ and the thirsty Christ and the suffering Christ in humanity. Affluence can anesthetize you to God and belongings can blind you to Christ and isn’t this why it’s hard for the rich to enter heaven – blind and visionless to Christ?"

510. My sister being willing to babysit so we could have an enjoyable meal at a restaurant in honor of Josh's grandmother's 80th birthday. Sadly, though, I got food poisoning from the meal. :(

511. Sophia's love of books and wanting to crawl into my lap, book in hand for me to read.

512. My final photography sessions of the year: a mini session and a senior session.

513. Sandbox playtime.

514. Dentists and good insurance to keep our teeth clean.

515. Yerba Mate "lattes" to sooth my sore throat.

516. Meatballs in the freezer for another meal.

517. Feeding ducks with the kids and a trip to the park.

518. Naps to fight colds.

519. A hilarious "new to me" show I've been enjoying on Hulu called Doc. Martin. It's nice to have something "on call" for when I want to knit.

520. Grace for patience through Sophia's screaming and crying several evenings in a row this week (I think due to her oncoming cold).

521. Freshly made granola.

522. Clean floors and sheets on the bed.

523. Homemade Tomato soup with grilled cheese on a Friday night after a long week.

524. Kids playing in leaf piles.

525. That Jesus resisted temptation perfectly when I don't. Not only is He an example for me to resist temptation, but also did so perfectly in my place. He lived His live for me, doing what I couldn't and can't do. So thankful to be freshly reminded of this through my study using this book.