We left my parents house today and began the long trek back home.  I hate good byes and am always thankful for the time we had.  This year was extra special for a lot of reasons.  My brother is now a husband and we gained two new family members a sister in law and a nephew.

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The cousins were together for a solid 48 hours.  That consisted of 9 boys + 1 girl, yes 10.

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The most special part of the weekend was the gift giving this year.  My parents decided to do something a little different.  They decided that instead of gifts of things they would gift each person with money.   Before they gave the money to the Grandchildren they told them a story about JOY and what it meant to them.  They broke it down to J- Jesus, O- Others, Y- You.  They challenged all of us to take our gift and do something for Jesus, for others and for ourselves then share the story.  They want a letter explaining how we touched each part of JOY.

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The kids were confused and that was understandable.  They were waiting for the newest video game and were handed an opportunity.  An opportunity to think outside of them and consider others.  What a gift.  My brother in law said it best.  He told my parents that he has no idea what they have given his children for the past few Christmas’s but he will never forget what they gave his children this year.  The gift of charity, compassion and love is pretty unforgettable.  I know I have a responsibility to this challenge.  The kids don’t fully understand and won’t until we explain it a few more times but we are going to do this.  We are going to make a difference and I hope to share their progress with all of you in 2014!

As we drove home today I could not stop thinking about my own challenge and how this was such a blessing to me.  SO stay tuned for 5 boys + 1 girl = 6 Photography’s soon to be launched “Joy Project”!  I have been struggling with the future of my photography business (where it is going and where I want it to go) and my prayers were answered this weekend through my parents.  I am even more excited about 2014 then I was just 2 days ago!  I hope to launch this New Years Day!  so check back!

AND I had the sweetest little session with my sisters family.  Love them.  My nephews are out of control handsome. (if I do say so myself!)




Tonight I will snuggle my girl just a little bit tighter because tomorrow she will no longer be 3.  Tomorrow is our beautiful girls 4th birthday.  So signing off for a couch, a sweet girl and a big piece of peanut brittle.