Chapter 3- Thank You, Granddad!

Why do we take pictures? Why-- We want to capture the special time that we are having with friends, family, and loved ones!  These pictures are only items- Yes- but these items are memories. Memories that we can hold onto when they start to fade or have passed away. These memories are so important to us.  I have been blessed with so many in my life. Just think- Smiles are brought to our face, tears to our eyes and laughter to our mouths as we look back on our past through pictures. 

 Life seems to just race by- photographs freeze that time. The wonderful yet sometimes difficult life that we are living.  People continue to ask me why I decided to become a photographer. Well, I do it not only because I want to help freeze memories for people but it's something that I truly love to do! This past week, I was in a nursing home taking Christmas pictures of families for their Christmas Cards. I loved every moment of it! Traditionally, I have always taken pictures of families, newborns, maternity sessions, engagements, events, etc.  I have never offered pictures to senior citizens and/or their families. My mother in law, Denise, gave me the idea, and I thought, "Hey, why not!"

Well- I did it! It was wonderful yet so very tearful for me! There were numerous times that my eyes weld up with tears. There were so many picture perfect moments that I wanted to freeze! As I watched the expressions on the faces of the sons and daughters hug their parents, my heart felt an overwhelming feeling of joy, happiness and sadness, all at the same time.  These children loved their parents. The grandchildren gleamed as they sat on their grandpa's lap. Daughters and son's admired their Mom and/or Dad sitting in the chair next to them.  I know that they have been apart of so many pictures with their loved ones up to this point.  Who's to say that the pictures that I was about to take may possibly be some of the last. This was what broke my heart. I wanted so badly to take hundreds of pictures of each of these families. I wanted to give them memories of this Christmas that they can hold onto and cherish for years to come. This was a different kind of photography for me. It was the hardest kind yet.

As I watched my last session of the day arrive, I couldn't help but recognize the similarities of Mr. S in my Granddad, my Dads Dad!  As he was helped out of his wheel chair and into the big beautiful chair in-front of the Christmas Tree he stuck out his finger and pointed at me, just as my Granddad did the last time I was with him in his nursing home. I wanted to jump into his lap and hug him! He was so sweet and at the very moment, I knew my Granddad was looking down on me smiling. 

Since this photo session, I feel like my Granddad has had a special job in helping me be the photographer I am today.  When he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, I made a special photo album for him of pictures of each person in our family. I wanted to help him bring back the memories that he had with each of us.  I know he is Heaven smiling down on me now- loving each memory that he had with each of us and as he watches new memories made.  As hard as it was for me to get through that photo shoot- I loved every moment of it.  That family now has pictures in front of a beautiful Christmas Tree with the Dad that they love so dearly.  The Dad that made so many memories with his family.  Thank you, Lord for giving me this passion.  Thank you for allowing me to capture memories for others. 

Granddad- I now know that you had a part in turning me into the photographer that I am today.  You have lead me to a job that I love so dearly! Not only did I try to capture memories for you when you were sick, but I now capture memories for others!

Thank you Granddad- Thank you for leading me to the dream that I have been lead too! 

I am so Beautifully Blessed by my amazing family and friends! I look forward to capturing so many memories for years to come. 

I love you, Granddad! 
Ann Marie 


Chapter 2- Holiday's

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Everyone seems to be busily getting ready for Christmas. I want the time to go back... back to Thanksgiving. It rushed by- way to fast! I think it partially went fast for me due to being extremely busy with photography, teaching, school activities, Junior League, decorating for the holiday's, shopping, editing pictures, girls nights.. and the list goes on. There are times when I wish I could make time freeze and enjoy the moment. 

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we enjoyed a "Chili" Night at my Aunt Joanie's. We had so much fun- eating, drinking, laughing, picture taking, and talking "family".  I remember leaving being so excited that it wasn't over! I was going to be able to see everyone the next day! What a blessed feeling-- To know that everyone that means the most to you in the entire world is ALL going to be together, again. IN ONE HOME! The next day, we packed my Mom and Dad's house FULL! I think the total was in it's thirties? (correct me if I am wrong, Mom) How often does this happen? This was another- freeze moment. Thanksgiving then came and went. My Mom's house was packed, stomaches were filled, much wine was drank, toasts given, a blast had by all! I wouldn't have had it any other way! It was perfect- everyone was present (minus a few cousins) and my sweet Granddad, who was and always is with us in our thoughts and in prayers. 

We had Thanksgiving with Michael's family the Saturday after Thanksgiving this year. It was wonderful! We were blessed to have Michael's Grandparents; Grandmother and Granddad and Bonnie with us at Denise and Steve's new home. Lance and Haley brought their new puppy, Slugger and we had Sophie and Hondo there, too! The dogs had a wonderful time running around. The guys watched football and the girls decorated! It was great to all be together for the holiday. Freeze time- freeze!

This past Sunday we celebrated Christmas a little early at Grandmother and Granddad Tennison's home. We ate, sang Happy Birthday to Michael, opened presents and enjoyed being around each other! 

One word: THANKFUL!

Thankful- I am so very Thankful for this time in Michael and I's life. It has come and gone... and Christmas is on it's way.  My prayer these last two weeks have been- "Lord- Let me be "present" in this present of life that you have given me!" I think this request is something we all strive for during the holiday's with our loved ones. 

Enjoy the "presents" of life that you have been given by Him- not just the ones that are wrapped under your Christmas tree. Merry Christmas!

Psalm 145:7 

They will celebrate our abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. 

Chapter 1- Our Book Begins

I love books! I love the way books look on shelves.  I love to read books (when I have time). I love the way my students faces light up when I read new books to them. Life is an open book. We each are living our own book and write the pages daily. Chapters unfold and we grow from lessons learned from the pages written.  Some of our books are shorter, some longer and sometimes new books emerge. Have you ever looked back on stories you have written in your life? We live amazing lives, don't we? Sometimes our chapter's are bumpy, rough, or uneasy. Those chapter's seem to stand out in our lives. But, what about the wonderful, happy, loving chapter's? Those are the best parts of our stories.  Each of these types of chapter's come to an end and a new chapter starts. 

This is our life- our book(s).  Why not write it down and fill the shelves....this is the story of Michael and Me!