I am thankful for: really good pens, three hour naps for little boys every day, after school hot chocolate and "Little House" reading with Ruby, quality paper, the Pike Street Market, seat sales on flights, William Sonoma hot chocolate, a dishwasher, freezer meals, friends that I have found on Facebook this year, pulling out new clothes for the kids that I bought at the end of the season last year, grandparents that my kids are wildly crazy about, good library books that I can order online, wainscoting, my photo galleries all over my house of ones that I love, washable toys, the dress up box, warm bedding that smells good, picture books from my childhood that I get to read to my kids now, good memories, clean socks in drawers, striped tights on my daughter's cute legs, Giraffey, body butter for my dry hands, big windows, pots of plants on my porch, a garage, a new lighting fixture on order for our dining room, chicory coffee-ice cold with cream and sugar, full cupboards, health, paid bills, a husband who loves every meal I put in front of him, family devotions, Amazing Race, hope, a great teacher for my daughter, super Sunday School teachers who love my kids, great writing that makes my laugh, date nights with my baby, pancake Sunday, stamps, people around my table, road trips to the beach, an incredible pastor, friends that know my heart, our nexus cards to cross the border quickly, laughing so hard, candles that smell of food or citrus, my treadmill and the fifteen pounds I have taken off this year, giftcards for restaurants, shoe sales, crackers and cheese...good cheese like double cream brie, a God who knows me and has my name written on His heart, batteries, Trader Joe's, kids laughing, a family cuddle in bed with all five of us, catching Ben's eye and laughing when our kids do funny things, plans, girltime,a full pantry, boterkoek and mercy.

This list is by no means exhaustive but is what I thought of in ten minutes, in no order.

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This year I am particularly feeling so very thankful for photography and the opportunities that starting Cassandra Hamilton Photography have afforded me. It is not unusual for me to sit and edit pictures and have tears well up as I do it. I love people and I feel so blessed to be a witness to the beauty and connections that there are in family and friendships and individuals. I have had many, many people tell me that they have cried when they have seen my images. I am hoping they are not tears of "oh-that-poor-soul-needs-to-put-down-her-camera-and-take-up-cross-stitching." :) I think it's that somehow I am able to get bits and pieces of hearts on film, and for that I really have the Lord to thank. I pray before each session for the people that I will be photographing, pray for their lives and families and pray that I would be able to catch a glimpse of who they are. Any lack is mine, but for what shines clearly through, I thank the Lord.

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When I started at the end of June, I was thinking that just doing maybe a session a week would be perfect. However, things have grown beyond my imagining and I have done close to 50 sessions in five months. And I have realized just how much I needed this creative outlet in my life. I love, love, LOVE it!

So I thank my husband who makes it all happen and backs up my systems and keeps everything running smoothly. I thank all of you who have read my blog. I thank you who have cheered me on. I thank those who have passed on my website and name.

I thank you who have shown up with your hearts, who connected, who laughed and had a sense of adventure and humor. I thank those of you who have chosen to look at yourself gently and to value yourself enough to be photographed. I am grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving Day! We are blessed. Hug your pumpkins.

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