It’s that time of year for reflections on what you’re thankful for. I know I should reflect daily on what I’m thankful for, but during the month of November I often reflect more about my thankings. This week I only have to work until Tuesday afternoon, then it’s time to load up the Jeep (or the big black nasty as I refer to it) and the pepitos and head to Abilene, Texas. This year we are having a HUGE get together at Tascha’s house. I’m way more than excited as I love to get together with my family and do one of my favorite things: laugh. I love to laugh and as I have over 27 cousins, there’s A LOT of laughter to be giggled! I’ve been preparing and researching what treats I’m going to bring to the fabulous get together and I have it narrowed down to about 5 things. Some recipes are old and others are new that I have found in cook books that I’ve acquired over the last few months. This past year moving back to Texas, has been a blessing in a way that I’ve been able to spend more time with my family. My family has had it pretty rough this year and I’m glad that we’ve had each other to lean on and come together to enjoy some delicious food and laughter.  One thing I can count on is my cousin Mikael (I have changed the way he spells his name, because he aggravates me so much) to really pester me. It’s hard to come with a comeback because he snaps so quick you can barely get your brain around his joke and then you go blank because you’re laughing too much. An example, a fresh one at that, was when Tascha (Mikael’s wife) was telling my mom that the only time my mom made a mistake and before Tascha could finish her sentence, Mikael shouted from the other room “was when you made Jalys”. Laughter and giggles filled the room instantly, I think I actually snorted from laughing so hard.  Again, laughter is never slim in my family. What is even worse is when Mikael and my other cousin Paul start tag teaming, the insults/pestering/jabs/quirky remarks never seem to end and you just hope they don’t roast you too long and they find someone else to pick on! But it’s all in fun and that is what our family is about: aggravating and a really good hug before you leave the house.

That’s right, you will never leave my family members house without a hug. Actually, you arrive and don’t shake hands, you wrap your arms around each other and give each other a big ole hUg! That is something I’m thankful for, no matter if you’re coming or going, you have at least 15 people at a given time giving you a hug and a smile. A simple hug can be taken for granted, but in our family it’s how we say hello and good bye. If you bring a friend, well I hope they aren’t germ-a-phobic because you’re going to be greeted by EVERYONE with a hug and you have a pop quiz in which you have to name everyone by name…as you hug them bye.

I’m also thankful for my friends, I know it’s cliche, but my friends that I’ve met through the years have been pretty awesome. I can count on them for a pep talk when I’m feeling down or a good sarcastic comment when I’m feeling goofy. My friends have been there through me this year as it’s been one of the most difficult. I’ve called my bfff Kasey (Kasey Lynn Photography) many of times just down and out and she’s had the amazing ability to have me laughing about stupid stuff we’ve done in the past during our tenure at Tech. Believe me we could right a novel about our adventures and moments we’ve shared with each other and our other friends in our circle. She and Christina will often send me facebook messages with just random thoughts that make all three of us bust out while reading! It’s the little sarcastic comments/memories that help me get through the tough times.

I’m of course thankful for my parents, if it weren’t for them and their constant support, I wouldn’t be here. My mom has always been my number one cheerleader, every single photograph I’ve ever taken… even the blurry ones, is the most epic pic she’s ever seen. It’s great to have a support system like that. My dad also helps with giving me advice against the haters and even though it’s the same advice every time, it still is something I need to be told almost daily. Just keep doing what you’re doing and don’t pay attention to anyone else. Yes dad, I will.

Lastly, I’m thankful to Austin. Everyday I live here in Austin is another day I get to live the dream. In my last post I’ve talked about my dreams to become a full-time music/concert photographer and living in the live music capital of the world, I am exposed to achieving my dreams everyday in Austin. Just tonight I was granted a photo pass to my absolute FAVORITE band that is marching through Austin in December. I’ll let you guys try to figure it out but I have a “theory”  you guys will figure it out eventually! HAHAHA :-).

I know that I am thankful for a lot more than what I said above but I think I dug a little deeper into my soul tonight and exposed more of who I am. I can’t wait to share photos from our Thanksgiving feast as well as some new photos that I will be shooting for family and friends over the holiday. Of course a post isn’t complete without a photo, so I thought I would leave you a photo from one of the series I’m working on called… wait for it… textures! hahaha. From my family to yours, I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving and I hope you get to share it with the ones you love. Also, pick me up something from your Black Friday shopping! Just saying.

Love it, live it, capture it!

~ Jalys

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