Skip the "BUSY" this holiday season!
For those of you that don't know my mama, you're missing out. For those of you that do know her, you know she's amazing! I absolutely love spending time with her. She is so good for my soul. She is funny (often when she doesn't mean to be. ha!), upbeat and always eager to lend a helping hand. Her attitude is contagious. I'm happier when she's around. My mom lives in Florida and Wednesday I picked her up from the airport. So if I seem to have a glow about me... it's cause she's home. Home is where your mama is so my heart is happy!
Mom arrived Wednesday and we've been busy every day running to stores to get Christmas gifts, return things we don't need, going to appointments, buying groceries for dinner and dessert, etc. We've been having so much fun but we've been 'on the go' most of the time since she arrived Wednesday and we've been trying to find some down time to relax or a full day to get everything done. What is everything? Everything that makes us busy... gift wrapping, baking cookies, prepping for Christmas dinner, cleaning, etc.
And then today it happened, we laughed and relaxed but not the way we expected. Work led to me relax. You'll understand in a minute. Recently, a friend contacted me about doing family pics today because their entire family was going to be home. I had sworn I wasn't going to work while my mom was here visiting but I told her I'd make an exception for her and it turned out to be the biggest blessing for me. :-)
You see, mom and I have 'busied' ourselves for 2 1/2 days and were planning to keep right on with baking all day today and doing other 'stuff'. And today, since I was already heading back to my old stomping grounds near Sadorus we decided to pop in to visit other friends we haven't seen in years.
We started by visiting our old neighbors Morrie and Arrahwanna (I have no idea if I spelled that right). When I say "old" I mean they were our old next door neighbors, was not referring to their age. But since I mentioned age.... the way those two work (Morrie still farms full time) at 93.... NINETY-THREE YEARS YOUNG, I don't think they will ever be "old".
And 'neighbors' for country folk is a little different cause next door was about a 1/4 mile from us. We talked about the good ole days, memories of my dad, laughed at how I used to think I was so cool cause I'd run all the way to their house to stop and visit with them occasionally. You do remember I said they lived about 1/4 mile away, right?!? I couldn't even run the whole way without stopping. Never have been much for running, apparently wasn't much for it even in high school. ;-) Our visits are far and few between but I'm so thankful each time we see them.
Then I had the chance to photograph Christi's extended family. I've talked before about how I love photographing 'old love'. In this day and age, it's becoming less common to hear of couples that have been married for 30,40 or 50 years these days. Well this couple has been married 63 years! And the photos were taken in their machine shed with all kinds of farming memorabilia including an old pair of his own cowboy boots that you can see behind them. I couldn't think of a better place to photograph this couple with their kids and grandkids. This place was designed carefully with lots of love by the hands pictured below and it was a perfect place to capture their love for one another.
After that, I made a quick stop to JUST say hi to Brenda and Kenny and even got to catch up with one of their boys too. That 'quick stop' ended about 2 1/2 hours later. We reminisced, we laughed, Brenda fixed me lunch, then offered me dessert.... then I offered to stay with them forever if she promised to always take care of me. ha! And she said 'come on!' I'll just let my boys if they need anything.... I'll be down in Gadyville being taken care of by Brenda. :-)
Everyone I visited with today, I saw more regularly about 25 years ago. Since then, it's just occasionally... like only a handful of times since I graduated college. And yet, we picked up right where we left off. Those are the best kind of friendships. No guilt about not keeping in touch, no hurt feelings about life getting busy and not calling or scheduling visits... just instant comfort, connection and eagerness to hear what everyone has been up to since we last talked. One quick phone call... "hey, would you mind if we stopped by?" was answered with an open door and open arms.
So what started as being 'forced' to work for a bit, turned out to be a full morning of soul filling camaraderie... even the session itself was such a joy. I love seeing families interact. I love being invited in to capture their connection to one another. My job fills me with such joy. I always leave more energized than when I arrive. I'm blessed to consider this work.
I share this all just to say, it's so easy to busy ourselves with things that don't matter. If we don't get the cookies made it's ok. If we don't get the bathroom cleaned it's ok. If we don't have time to buy one more thing for the stockings it's ok.
Spending time with others today reminded me how VERY MUCH OK it really is. Spending time with everyone this morning filled my heart so much. I will go to bed with a happy heart and a smile on my face. Cleaning a bathroom wouldn't have provided that... I promise you! ;-)
So go love on those near you and don't stress about the rest!
Merry Christmas and much love from my family to yours!