>So Much To Be Thankful For….

>

Lot116 Photography

In the “calm before the storm” of this holiday season…before we all start cooking our Thanksgiving dinners, pulling out the boxes of lights and ornaments, and preparing to brave the hoards of shoppers on Black Friday….I just wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on this past year and simply be thankful.

Inspired by the adorable hand-drawn paper feathers that my boys brought home from their 1st grade and preschool “I am thankful for” art projects, here is my “list”:

(And since….in the words of my sister, “A blog post is better with pictures”…I’m including some of my favorite photos from our 2010 New Year’s photo shoot with Lot116 Photography)…

Lot116 Photography

1) I am thankful for my health and the health of my family and friends.  

We had two very serious health scares in our family this year that really put things into perspective for me, though I’m still having problems understanding the “why and how?”  First, my mother, a very active and healthy woman, suffered a brain injury when she fainted and fell after a random and unprecedented dizzy spell.  She had to have two separate surgeries to repair the damage and relieve the swelling….and was in the hospital for over nine days!  Amazingly, she has made a full recovery and is doing well (she just took a vacation to Japan), although I still worry about her every day and wish she would just move back here (she lives in Taiwan) so I could keep an eye on her and hold her close!  My mom has always been incredibly strong, independent and a hard worker…but even she now stresses the importance of good health, taking care of ourselves and taking time to relax and enjoy life.  My mom, who always taught me to work really hard and be ambitious, now ends our phone conversations with “don’t work too hard” and “take care of yourself…you can’t take care of everyone else, if you don’t take care of yourself first.”  

Around the same time we found out about my mom’s accident, my father’s wife, Deena, was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I just couldn’t believe it!  Why?  What the hell is going on?  Deena is also very healthy and active, how could this happen?  It was devastating news…but Deena is a fighter, courageous and strong.  I knew deep down in my heart that she would be fine.  She went into her surgeries and chemotherapy upbeat, in good spirits and with the most positive of attitudes.  She just completed her last round of chemo and is doing well.  We are all so proud of her, she is a warrior.  

I am so thankful to be healthy, to be able to go for my morning runs and play with my boys, to climb up and down on my ladders and do the painting work that I do, to have the energy and enthusiasm to “do” and “be” everything I am in this life of mine.   I am grateful for each moment, time spent with my wonderful family, cheerful greetings from my neighbors, seeing the smiling faces of my friends and knowing that everyone’s doing okay.

Lot116 Photography

2) I am thankful for my husband, kids and family.  I have the most amazing people in my life….each member of my family is uniquely wonderful and I’m so honored and grateful to have them in my life.  My husband, my mom and dad, my mom and dad-in-law, my sisters and their husbands, my nephew and nieces, my children…..we are one cohesive and incredibly awesome team.  Not to mention, that my family has got to be the most artistic, creative and talented group of people that I have the privilege of knowing.  I could list a “resume” of their awesomeness, but it would take a year to get through it!  Seriously!  For constant creative inspiration and support, encouragement and affirmation, I rely on my family.  They have always been my biggest fans.   I know they are behind me 200% and it’s their advice and expertise that I rely on.  Plus, they are the coolest people I know, everyone wants to be like them!  I know I do.  

Lot116 Photography

3) I am thankful for my work.  In these digital days and tough economic times…when there are home improvement stores in every strip mall, dozens of TV shows and channels devoted to DIY projects, and countless blogs and websites offering free tutorials on how to do anything and everything paper and paint related…it can be a challenge for businesses like mine in the creative industries of design, printing/stationery, painting/decorating to stay relevant, get new clients and turn a profit.  I’ve been very fortunate to have a close network of interior designers, event coordinators, contractors, and industry professionals who value the quality of my work, professionalism and expertise to bring me in on projects for their clients.  I’m also very lucky to have creative clients and friends who turn to me for their projects, not because they don’t want to or know how to do it themselves, but because they know that I will bring my talent, creativity, originality, heart and soul to the things that I create for them….and by choosing me, they are supporting a local artist and a small business.  I help support my family by painting and designing.  This is what I do, it’s what I love.  It is my work, not a hobby.  I’ve always worked really hard and have been very generous with my time and talents.  I may not be a famous artist or designer or have thousands of fans or followers.  But my work speaks for itself, and I am thankful for the people who know that.  I have never been busier…busy is good, and I am very grateful.  

Lot116 Photography
4)  I am thankful for my home.   It is not beautifully decorated…or really decorated at all.  Most of the time, it’s pretty messy.  There always seems to be dishes in the sink and piles of laundry to be done.  There are so many projects I’d like to do around the house, so many projects started, yet unfinished over the last 9 years.  It doesn’t look like a model home or something out of a magazine.  But it is OUR home and I love everything about it, even the dust bunnies and  unfinished baseboards.  Our home is our sanctuary.  It doesn’t need to look like a 5 star hotel or an elegant spa to make me feel like a million bucks, to feel secure, to feel like I have a place to call my own.  I love that our home looks like WE, The Gaines Family, live here.  The toys aren’t hidden away….yes, two rambunctious little boys live here!  It’s eclectic, colorful and a mixture of cultures and styles….just like us.   And as much as I love painting and decorating, when that’s what you do for a living, sometimes it’s nice to just “be” at home and not spend time trying to create the perfect house, but rather experience the beautiful moments of life inside a family home.  

Lot116 Photography
5) I am thankful for my friends.  You know who you are.  I know you’ve always got my back.  You’ve always been there for me.  You’re there to lend an ear or a helping hand.  I don’t have a ton of friends, but what I have in the small circle of people who have allowed me into their lives is more profound than I can express.   You are part of my family and I am thankful  for you (see #2). 

Lot116 Photography
Happy Thanksgiving!  And thank you for reading….
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3 Responses to >So Much To Be Thankful For….

  1. Anonymous says:

    >And we are thankful to have someone as wonderful as you in our lives! Love ya, you rockstar! =)

  2. Chris C says:

    >Geez, I didn't think I'd get so emotional reading this. Your mom sounds a lot like mine and I too worry about her all the time.I am thankful for my family and friends and their health and well-being.I am thankful for my business and my super cool downtown loft that I share with my wonderful girlfriend and cute dog.I am also thankful for your awesome blogs and the Gaines family. Hearing about all your amazing parties, projects, costumes, etc. really inspires me. Keep it up!Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

  3. Debbie says:

    >Katie…you think you're not a writer, but I beg to differ. I love the way you put all your thoughts of gratitude together in a beautifully written description. I soaked in every heartfelt word. I am very thankful for you and your family in our lives. You are a blessing through and through; a class act with mega-multi-media talent and a wonderful friend. Thank you.

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