I love the giveaways and product reviews. I love the fashion posts on What Ben Wore. I love sharing session and photo shoot sneak peeks. But more than anything, I want Love, Joleen to be a place to share my own personal truth and life. I want this to be a place where people can come for information and conversation. For camaraderie; a "I know how you feel!" I'm truly not a "friend collector". I'm looking for real connections. Aren't we all?
- Depressed mood
- Loss of interest in usually enjoyable activities
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- sleeping more than usual;
- craving for sugar, starchy foods, or alcohol;
- weight gain;
Benjamin's nursing right now, and the comments came flooding in. Each comment I received was so helpful and I found myself crying out of gratefulness. Everything you do and every effort you make is influenced by that effort. In other words, "it is what you make it". If you let yourself open up and be a little more authentic with people, I'm shown time and time again, that it's likely other people are experiencing the same, or something similar.
Which brings me to this holiday season. I miss my family most of all. It was "easy" not to miss them so much after our visit this Summer because we were busy with friends and enjoying Fall in this beautiful state. We had Benjamin's birthday to look forward to and plan for. I had also thought we'd be spending Thanksgiving in California, initially, so when it was apparent that it wasn't going to happen, that's when I started missing them the most. People don't usually discuss their financial position, and for good reason, it's noneyabidness, but I will just say that money is tight. Benjamin was a miracle and a blessing, but also a complete surprise and we never anticipated or planned for me not working full time this last year and a half. I have been SO incredibly blessed to be able to establish Joleen Pete Photography here in Atlanta this year, but it's still not completely steady and some months are harder than others. Still, whenever I start to worry or stress, God has blessed me with another job, and for that I'm honestly the most grateful! That being said, the holidays are tight, to say the least, and we've made a lot of decisions to forgo certain traditions of the season strictly based on that alone. It definitely hasn't helped my feelings of SAD, but I'm at least happy that if this is the year for "sacrifice", that at least Benjamin isn't old enough to remember. #firstworldproblems
BUT, something happened just now that has me in tears (in a good way), and it's because of one of you. I don't know who it was, but someone sent Benjamin his own little Christmas tree which has just arrived with an unrecognizable return address and no name. So to whoever sent him this gift, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have no idea what it means to me. It is in this spirit that I am reminded of what this season is about. This holiday season, but also this season in my life, and our life as a family. It's so easy for me to feel sorry for myself (I've thrown a pity party or two in my day) or to stress, but each of these experiences also prove to be learning experiences (cheesy but true) and opportunity for growth.
How's that for the most random blog post ever?