With Gratitude


I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty grateful person.

But this past week, my gratitude seemed to be in bloom right alongside the North Carolina wildflowers.

It started on Sunday, when I went for a wandering road trip with the pups, to take some pictures. I didn’t really have any particular shots in mind. It was a gray, cloudy day with glimpses of blue skies in between.

What tends to happen on these photo-road trips is; I drive around, I see something I want to photograph and I either:

  1. Pull over immediately and take the picture

  2. Drive past the subject and spend the next 2-3 minutes wishing I would have stopped

I had just passed by a bright green, John Deer tractor, parked underneath the shadow of a windmill and I thought it would make a great picture, but I couldn’t turn around. Then, seconds later, I drove by a black mailbox in a field of bright wildflowers on the side of the road. In my mind I was going click! click! But in reality, I kept driving.

I had given up on both those photo ops and turned down another random side road.

I grabbed a couple photos of wildflowers in a field and then of a massive tree standing tall, at a fork in the road.

I wasn’t sure where I was, but I had driven around aimlessly for an hour and decided to start heading home. I plugged my address into my GPS and let Google take it from there.

Some how… I end up right back at that bright green, John Deer tractor and black mailbox.

I don’t know if it was Google or God that got me there, but I’m sure grateful that I returned. I really wanted to take those pictures.

On Tuesday, I had a meeting with a local business owner whom I’d never met. We had been exchanging emails for a couple weeks, and after some back and forth, I stopped by her store on a rainy Tuesday morning.

The in-depth conversation, immediate friendship and laughter that ensued, was unexpected and much appreciated. I was grateful to have connected with such a strong, passionate, fellow businesswoman in my small town.

If that wasn’t enough, there was a meeting with fellow small business owners taking place that night which she invited me to. I said, ‘yes!’ and ended up meeting more successful, passionate, hardworking business people working right in my own back yard. Plus I won a raffle for a FREE ad in a local magazine.

Um, can you say #grateful.

I spent the next day, photographing 11 different women from a Senior Living community near by. They were dressed to impress for their “Mother’s Day” glamour shot sessions. I’m still processing all their stories and life lessons they were kind enough to share with me (that’s a post for another time, coming soon). So many of the women were grateful to have me take their picture. One woman told me it had been 8 years since she had her picture taken! I even heard another woman explain her glamour session as, "that young girl upstairs is making pictures of me." Making pictures. I like it.

And as grateful as they may have been for me, I was just as grateful for my time with them.

On Thursday, I flew home to Chicago for a surprise visit to my little sister. She is graduating with honors from Rush University with a Bachelors of Science and Imaging. It is a major life moment for her and I am beyond grateful to be home to see her walk across the stage.

Driving through the city, I reminisced about my college years spent walking Michigan Avenue. I was grateful to have spent 3.5 years downtown, enjoying and exploring Sweet Home Chicago. I still love to go to the Bean. #touristforlife

At this point, I think it’s safe to say that gratefulness is a gift that truly keeps on giving. I believe the direct amount of gratitude you put out into this world, you get in return.

It’s Friday now, and I am officially posting my 4th journal entry for April. I did it! I posted an entry on my website for an entire month. Here’s where I have to share how grateful I am for a husband who lets me chase a dream, build a business, work from home and travel as often as I can.

After my week full of gratitude, both giving and taking, I urge you all to practice some gratitude as often as you can. For me, it’s as simple as returning back to a green, old tractor for sale, and thanking the good Lord he let me get the picture after all.

Thank you for reading.

With Gratitude Always,

Hollie