I have been thinking a lot lately about how lucky I am to have all of the gifts in life that I do. I was feeling this really strongly as I drove home from a party last night, and wanted to type up this post last night, but was busy watching the Olympics decided to wait until today so you all could read it with your midday coffee, lol. So here below I list all of the things in my life I am grateful for:

FAMILY: I have an incredibly supportive, loving, dedicated, understanding, funny, amazing family that I get to see and talk to and visit with regularly, who all accept me for exactly who I am, flaws and all. (They are all in the greater Seattle area). They are always always there for me no matter what, when no one else is. They don’t help out of obligation, they help because they want to. For a gal like me who has an extremely difficult time reaching out and asking for help, this means more to me than I can put into words. The love I feel from them, (and toward them), is palpable, and I would not be who I am without them. No question.

POOCH: My Fergie is a super sweet, sensitive dog, who, for the most part, listens to me and wants to please, and is very much my teammate in life (my heart dog for those who have pointed this out to me). She is so in tune with how I am feeling, that all I need to do is change my facial expressions, or sigh slightly, and she knows something is off. It would be impossible for me to love her more than I do. If I had a fire, and everything burned down, I would be happy as long as I had her. Yep, computers, cameras, even my laptop, can all go away. If she and I are still standing, that’s all that matters. (But in case you are wondering- all my biz + personal belongings are all insured).

HOME: I recently moved into a home that I adore, where I feel incredibly happy, and safe, and warm, and have all of the creature comforts I need. I moved from a very unhappy, unhealthy situation (the place I moved into last summer), and know without a doubt that this new place is my good karmic payback, and I pinch myself every day that I am here (pictures to come!). And Fergie would add that she’s grateful for the huge yard filled with grass and flowers and trees and tall private fence where she gets to run around every day. It’s practically like her own little dog park.

Although the house is small and modest, it’s filled with charm, and we really are living in paradise. It’s also clear to me that this house, and this lot, have been well cared for since the place was built in 1930- you can practically feel the love oozing from the walls. ‘Good energy’ is what my friend Brandie says. If only the walls could talk. My new ‘home’ was worth all of the stress and pain it took to get here and I can’t wait to share pictures of it with you all. I am so happy here. (Currently laying in my warm bed typing away on my laptop with my snoozing pooch by my side, rain falling lightly outside).

FRIENDS: my friends fill me with light and life and have empathy and big hearts and are really really GOOD people. Over the years I’ve had quite a few negative, toxic people in my life, and as of just this year, I have managed to weed out the last of those kinds of people out of my life. What I am left with are genuine, honest, authentic, loving, caring people with hearts the size of the moon. They are the kind of people who would do anything for you, who you can sob with on the phone, who share your triumphs and joys and deepest darkest secrets, who accept you for who you are; skeletons, hairy warts and all, and who are GENUINELY happy for you when you are happy. For that I am extremely grateful. I can’t thank them enough for having me in their lives.

JOB: I have, for me, the world’s best job. I get to marry two major passions: my love of animals with my desire to express myself creatively through photography. I don’t have to ‘herd’ to work at 9am with the masses (sorry, my loathing of the 9-5 life is strong!!), I don’t have to pad some wealthy CEO’s pockets, I’m not merely a cog in a wheel, all of the money I work hard to make goes to me, and most importantly, I *believe* in what I do, and know I make a difference in people’s lives.

I get to network with amazing people, work with awesome clients who are also really good people, who share the same ideals I do, be part of a fantastic online community of photographers the world over, really feel like I have a ‘place’ in this world, and have a successful business that I’m really proud of. I know for a fact I would not feel this way in a regular 9-5 job because I’ve tried. In the past, it was impossible for me to create excellence in the positions I’ve been in. The ceilings I hit were just too hard and ‘policy’ always prevented me from doing what I really want, which is always to make things better, to improve, to innovate and create uniqueness and excellence. I have sacrificed benefits, paid time off, and health insurance, but the payoff is I never have to be average, and I can take as many risks as I want. That’s a tradeoff that I am happily willing to make.

AUTOMOBILE: Although my older Subaru Outback is far from fancy, it’s a car that gets me from point a to point b without much trouble. It doesn’t use much gas, costs me very little money, is usually pretty reliable, is great for the dog and for traveling, and I am so grateful I have it. Fergie loves it too because she goes everywhere with me.

HEALTH: I have an illness called Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency, or Adrenal Fatigue, which essentially means that I burned my adrenal glands out. I have good days and bad days, but ultimately, I can get around fine, I am not bedridden, I am not suffering from a terminal illness, I can improve if not completely heal my condition, I never have to see the walls inside a hospital, and get to stay away from doctors for the most part for long periods of time. There are so many people in this world who suffer great pains, who have conditions that are debilitating, whose health is completely out of their control, and that I get to enjoy life to the fullest *most* of the time, I am extremely grateful for.

COUNTRY: I did not ask to be born an American, and I am often deeply ashamed of the things my government does, and the self-centered ignorant attitude of many Americans, but all things considered I am deeply grateful to live in this country. The #1 reason why is I have freedom: a right that is more important to me than any other rights. I am not censored, I have the ability to move about freely, I get to wear what I want, I can express myself without fear of torture, I have access to food, clean running water, there are companies that take care of my waste and pick up my garbage, I have heat and a roof over my head, and access to purchase any single thing I need to make the quality of my life even better. And as a woman I (for the most part) have equal opportunities as the men in my community and country. The only person holding me back is me. Trust me when I say that all of these things do not go ignored by me. I am LUCKY to live here.

CITY: I love this fair city of mine. After escaping for brief stints in Alaska, Oregon, California and France, I have decided Seattle is my home, and now I love it here. Yes it is wet half (or more) of the year, but it doesn’t rain nearly as much as it’s reputation leads people to believe. Aside: I tweeted the other day that is was gorgeous and sunny, and got a reply “that doesn’t happen that much there does it?” I just had to laugh, and thought to myself “not true, that’s just what we want others to believe so they won’t move here!!”- that my friends, is actually true.

Anyhoo, I love living in a place where a quick drive can have me facing beautiful mountains and water, and am surrounded by greenery everywhere I go. I need the plants and the fresh air, and the flowers and fall leaves and seasons, and snowsports, and also the nightlife, arts, shopping and culture a larger city offers. I’m also grateful that I live in a place that isn’t prone to tornadoes or other natural disasters, and don’t have to worry (yet!) about earthquakes and droughts, floods caused by torrential rains, or other Mother Nature-caused bad things happening.

Aside- my heart and thoughts go out to those in Chile and I am praying that the Tsunami that hits Hawaii causes minimal damage and spares lives. We’ve seen enough tragedy on this planet already recently.

LOVE: I have more love in my life now than I ever have before. My aforementioned family and friends help greatly in that respect, but I also get that from so many other sources- the checkout clerk at the grocery store, my teller at the bank, people I meet at parties, colleagues, other new and established photographers, family friends, etc, etc, etc, the list goes on and on. I feel so much love toward me, and I really hope it’s because I give it out freely. I really do love people (even though many drive me batty, and my patience for bad human behavior is slim), but in general, I believe humans are inherently good, and I’m so thrilled I have learned how to surround myself with good people. If it’s true that you get back what you put out there into the universe, then that makes me want to cry with pride. As the Beatles say “All you need is love”.

I know there are many more things I am grateful for that I am not listing here, but these are the basics.

Of course, even given all of the things above, I have problems, I have flaws, I make mistakes, sometimes really stupid mistakes, I will continue to make mistakes, I am far from perfect, I still have a lot to learn in business and in life, I am as messed up as the next person, but I am still grateful every single day for all of the amazing gifts that I have.

I just really wanted to put it out there to honor these things I value so much.

Enough about me, what are YOU grateful for? I’d love your comments, I’d love to hear. 🙂

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15 thoughts on “gratitude

  1. Hello Jamie—Wow…what an uplifting post. Thank you, this was good for me to read today…tough week. (I just saw your pic on PW’s website. Your photos are lovely and inspiring.) I am thankful that I am alive another day! I am thankful for loving family and friends…and two cherished kitty cats. Have a wonderful day!

  2. After having a tough week, it was inspiring and uplifting to read your post. Thank you 🙂

    I am grateful for the fact that every single morning around as soon as the sun has arisen, I am sat on and woken up by a 35kg bundle of white fur with the biggest of smiles asking for her breakfast. I am thankful that I am able to work from home with said 35kg bundle of white fur laid at my feet so I never have to be away from her for too long. I am thankful that Daisy Mai, my beautiful 3-year old Golden Retriever chose me. 🙂

  3. Wow.. what a beautiful post. Reading what you had to share with us was amazing. It made ME feel happy as well! I’m glad that photographers can find success and a good balance with life. Most people lose themselves in their work and find no happiness, its a relief to know that since I’m striving for the same goal you had years ago.. which is success and happiness. You’re an inspiration to me and probably many more and I hope you realize that.

  4. I’m thankful for layoffs – because it “forced” me to look at moving my pet photography from hobby to professional. It’s a challenging road, but I see more doors opening than closing, and that causes a positive and encouraging outlook, a belief in this new direction. And, of course, for the inspiration I receive from my family and dogs.

    I’m thankful too for your blog and site; it’s an inspiration.

  5. I really appreciate your post! I periodically take a moment to reflect on how lucky I am — especially when I’m deep in the winter blues. I’m an East-Coast-er (wouldn’t have it any other way) and we’re deep in a very snowy winter. It’s pretty, but there are many grey days and not enough sunlight to keep away the blahs.

    I look on my photography as a way to stay connected, to stop and appreciate all the beauty life has to offer. This is a really cool show going on in front of us, but we’re often too busy with the details of our lives to notice. My fear is that, when the show is over, I’ll realize that I didn’t appreciate it enough.

    I’m grateful for my loving and very patient (usually!) family; my black lab, who makes me walk in the woods twice a day, and so forces me to appreciate the world around me; my (relatively) healthy body; the random kind people I encounter every day; and that I live now, in a world where this internet thing is possible, allowing me the pleasure to connect with cool people in Seattle and all over the world.

    I’ve been enjoying following your blog for a while now, but I’ve only now been moved to post. I want to say thank you, for the sweet and happy and fun and full-of-love images you bring into my home.

    I just launched my photography business this year, and I started following you because I admired your photography –your art and skill and warmth. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. If I lived closeer to you, I’d definitely attend one of your workshops. Anyway, enough. The skaters are back on, and my daughter wants me to watch with her. <3

  6. Such a happy post! :mrgreen:

    I’m thankful for heaps of stuff… My family, my pets, my friends, the fact that I have many, many possibilities open to me, my talents, my shortcomings, (they make me appreciate others more and give me something to work for) and just life in general. So much to be grateful for… No matter who you are! 🙂

  7. I so loved reading this post. What a beautiful way to wake up on a Sunday morning (I had a computer free Saturday). I always think it feels great to write down and share with the world the things we are most grateful for. I guarantee you just inspired a whole bunch of people to sit down and think long and hard about what they are grateful for (hopefully they’ll share as well). I love hearing all the beautiful things going on in others’ lives, there is just so much negativity out in the world. Thanks for your wonderful post 🙂

  8. I have thought a lot about gratitude over the years. This past year and a half have been tough (laid off in October, 2008), but still… I’m grateful for my sobriety, my health, and my wonderful friends and family. I’m grateful for the opportunity to shape my future with my pet photog business. And I’m especially grateful for my dog, Maya, and my love, Karin, whom I met a little over a year ago. Thanks for this post!

  9. I’m thankful for my family, a happy marriage, my kid (soon to be kids), health, job security (hubby!), and above all a relationship with God. I’m also thankful for delivery pizza men/women, icecream shops that stay open in the winter, flannel sheets, wool socks, and onDemand Cartoons! LOL, welcome to my Saturday!!

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