[soul food] gratitude

Welcome to Soul Food! As we enter 2013, we are all making resolutions and setting goals for the new year. One of my goals this year is to share with you more of who I am, to show you the person behind the business. Because I am more than just the business or just a photographer. Soul Food will be a weekly blog column with a new post every Monday morning. Right now, the focus is pretty wide, just a way for me to share my thoughts and things I'm learning. I hope it will also serve as a little bit of inspiration for you.

I always welcome feedback, and I would definitely like to know what you think about the content, so please leave comments, send Facebook messages, email me--anything! I wish you all the very best for this year.

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I want to wake up with gratitude every day of my life.

This is actually not a quote from a celebrity or historical figure. It's just what one of my friends wrote on her Facebook profile. In fact, it's the only thing she wrote in her profile. I surf Facebook way too much every now and then, and I often look up her profile just to read this over and over.

It's funny how you can understand something in theory but find it hard when you try to live it. I mean really live it. Every day. Chalk it up to the season, the weather, or just "getting up on the wrong side of the bed," but sometimes you just wake up grumpy and can't convince yourself otherwise.

Something changed for me in 2013. Eric and I were able to spend lots of time with both of our families during the holidays, and when the break ended we drove 18 hours back to our home in Massachusetts, eight states away from everyone (seven states further than either of us has ever lived). Living so far away has made the time I get to spend with my family so incredibly special, especially with nieces and nephews who are growing so quickly. This holiday break, I found it impossible to be anything less than perfectly content every moment.

As much as I miss them all the time, being so far away and so independent from our families has taught me what it means to truly be grateful for my blessings all the time. It seems like such an obvious thing to say, but, like so many, I get caught up in my own life and what I want or need that I forget to be glad for what I have. So far, every morning of 2013, I have woken up with a feeling of gratitude in my heart for my husband, our families, our dog, our house, our jobs, and everything that we do have, and that has set a brand new mood for my days.

I'm still working on my regular New Year's resolutions--diet and exercise and all that (because those come back every year)--but my biggest goal for 2013 is simply to practice waking up with gratitude every day. So far so good.

This is my niece on her first birthday, about two weeks ago. She was not a fan of the Smash Cake. I cannot imagine missing moments like these.