2012. What a crazy year. There have been more changes this year than in many in the past, and for them all I give thanks.
1) My great-grandmother Velma passed away early in the year. She had been suffering from dementia for many years, and the Lord finally took her home to be fulfilled with a new heavenly body and a mind renewed with the purpose of worshiping Him forever! Velma was such a blessing to everyone she touched, and her life was a lasting example of God's love for us. I thank the Lord that I got to grow up with her as a third parent, and she blessed me daily.
2) My family celebrated 5 years of being in Albuquerque and serving at Del Norte Baptist Church. What a wonderful church family! They show us such love and care all the time!
3) Cameron and I got married. I cannot even being to thank God enough for my wonderful husband. He continues to challenge me, help me pursue my dreams, and supports me all the time. And eats my cooking! Oh, and rubs my feet all the time. :) I love him so much, and am so happy to be able to call him hubby!
4) Our first month of marriage was very difficult financially. Both of us had been cut in our hours, and subsequently our pay. Thankfully our parents were very helpful, and 3 weeks after our wedding, I got a new job at a wonderful little local business where I am working a steady 5 days a week. God answered our prayers very quickly and He made sure we never faced hunger, homelessness or poverty.
5) We adopted a sweet little (HYPER) chihuahua-type dog in October, to make our little family number 4. Indiana has been a great dog (almost a year and a half old now, crazy!) but we decided he needed a brother to play with. He had been missing his dog friends from both my parent's home and Cameron's parent's. Pancho was such a great addition. We aren't quite sure what he is made up of, but we are so happy to have him and Indiana. They are especially great because many days, Cameron and I work opposing shifts and are alone 8 hours or more a day a piece.
6) I got a great new family with this marriage! My mom and pop-in-law are such loving, caring people. They moved to Farmington so they aren't as close physically as they used to be, but with just a text they are always there to help! I also got two great brothers and an awesome sister-in-law, and two adorable nephews out of the union! They live on opposite ends of the country, but they are still a blessing to us. Hopefully 2013 brings us a chance to all be re-united. I also got to add on a HUGE extended family. They are all such sweet and kind people.
7) My little sister graduated high school in May. I can't believe it! She's such a strong young woman, with so much going for her. I can't wait to see what God will do in her life. I am very thankful to have a friend in her. She is a great aunt to the pups too!
8) My parents.. Where to start... They are such an awesome source of support. They give us a place to do laundry, they encourage our education, my business, and our marriage. They give great advice to us about anything we need help with, and they love us. My mom has become my best friend over the past two years, especially with planning the wedding. I love that we have become so close! My dad is encouraging, and always ready to lend a hand. I hope to one day be as strong as they are, and to be as great of an example of Christ's love as they are to me and everyone they come in contact with, to everyone I meet.
9) I am thankful for a warm place to come home to.
10) I am VERY thankful that both Cameron and I have working vehicles. This is a fairly recent development. :)
11) I am thankful that I have such good friends, even when they are far away, such as my sweet Kara, who was so wonderful and made sure to drop everything to make it to our wedding. I do wish we were closer. It's hard to not be able to hug each other when happy or sad for one another, to not be able to laugh together. But still the bond remains. I thank God for bonds like that.
12) I thank God for all of my friends who aren't that close, because it means that there is so much ahead of us.
13) I am thankful for my health, as well as my loved ones'. The occasional headache is not very fun, but it is nothing impossible to deal with compared to others. I praise God that He keeps us all healthy.
14) I am thankful for all of my family. They have all been so gracious in their blessings always, but especially during our season of being newlyweds. I love them all.
15) I am thankful for my sight. My photography is not exactly the most profound in the world, but I enjoy it and know I can always work to make myself better. Without my sight, this would be impossible. I am thankful I can enjoy works of art, novels, film and being able to see my loved ones faces.
16) I am thankful for the sunrise I get to see basically every morning. I used to never be big on sunrises, mostly because I never woke up that early. Not anymore, as I am up at 4 all but 2 days of the week. God blesses me with this beautiful artwork daily. It is always different, changing, reminding me that each day is a gift.
17) I am thankful for worship. I know it is our gift to God, but it is a gift to be able to do so. The past few months being more involved in the praise team has been so fulfilling to my spiritual life. The words to songs live in my heart more now than ever, and my new purpose in life is to live every moment thanking and praising Him.
18) I know I mentioned our wedding, but I need to say thanks once again for my husband. He is my strength and joy. He is understanding, calm, kind. He gives me a reason to wake up in the morning, and he helps out with everything so much.. God blessed me with a soul-mate, and I cannot ever thank Him enough for the blessing of Cameron Neil.
19)I praise God for everything in this world. He has given me blessings and heartaches, which have been blessings in disguise. I had my little sister sing this at our wedding, and it's words ring forever true in my heart:
For the beauty of the earth, For the glory of the skies; For the love which from our birth, Over and around us lies; Lord of all, to Thee we raise This, our hymn of grateful praise.
For the wonder of each hour, Of the day and of the night; Hill and vale and tree and flow'r, Sun and moon, and stars of light; Lord of all, to Thee we raise This, our hymn of grateful praise.
For the joy of ear and eye, For the heart and mind's delight; For the mystic harmony, Linking sense to sound and sight; Lord of all, to Thee we raise This, our hymn of grateful praise.
For the joy of human love, Brother, sister, parent, child; Friends on Earth and friends above, For all gentle thoughts and mild; Lord of all, to Thee we raise This, our hymn of grateful praise.
For Thy church that evermore, Lifteth holy hands above; Off'ring up on ev'ry shore, Her pure sacrifice of love; Lord of all, to Thee we raise This, our hymn of grateful praise.
For the martyrs' crown of light, For Thy prophets' eagle eye, For Thy bold confessors' might, For the lips of infancy. Lord of all, to Thee we raise This, our hymn of grateful praise.
For Thy virgins' robes of snow, For Thy maiden mother mild, For Thyself, with hearts aglow, Jesu, Victim undefiled. Lord of all, to Thee we raise This, our hymn of grateful praise.
For Thyself, best Gift Divine, To the world so freely given, For that great, great love of Thine, Peace on earth and joy in heaven. Lord of all, to Thee we raise This, our hymn of grateful praise.
Blessed be the name of the Lord, who was, and is, and is to come. Who grants me breath each moment of every day. Who fills my life with love and the chance to serve Him daily. Blessed Your Name! Thank you, Lord, for everything that was and will come.
I have been called to more than just living a normal "worldly" life. This is something I ignored, thinking that my life was ok the way it was, but that is the furthest from the truth I could go.
First and foremost, before I am a wife, before I am a photographer, a student, a daughter, a sister, granddaughter, dog-mommy... I am a follower of Christ. It's a long story, full of nothing but mercy and praise in the end. And I am no where near the best I could be, but God always steps in and makes me more.
I am going to make this blog more than just the photo sessions and weddings I shoot. I want to start writing on my studies, my prayers and my praises.
I cannot continue this chapter of my life without putting God at the front of it. So, from now on, this is all for the Glory of God. My photos, my songs, my words, my life. Lord, I devote it all to you.
Joy is a photographer, wife and mommy based out of Albuquerque, NM. She is available by appointment for weddings, events and sessions in New Mexico.