‘Tis the Season for Family

This time of year many of us are traveling to visit family and friends. Buying gifts to put under the tree. Giving thanks for all we’ve been given.  I come from an extremely large, extended family compared to most people.

White Family 2012

Image courtesy of Jen White Photography. White Family 2012


This image is my parents, their children, children’s spouses/partners, grand kids, and great grand kids.  I’m grateful for this family, as large and separated that we all are they are my family.  I hope you find time to be with yours during this season as well.

Nicole Grave


During this past Thanksgiving break I took some time to drive to a small town in Texas and take some photos of a couple graves for my partners ancestors.  It was a nice little trip.  Gave me time to reflect on family that has passed.  The image above is that of a sibling that I never got to met, yet she too is my family that I think about this time of year.  Our family who has passed is part of who we are today.   We should find time to think of them and be grateful to have them be part of who you are today – not only during this holiday season but oft times.


Ryan Tessa Braddon

My family also consists of those shown above.  Although we were apart during the Thanksgiving season they are my current family day in day out and I couldn’t be more blessed than to have them in my life.


Braddon Lindsay Jon


To me family is also more than just blood…it includes those you choose to include as family – your friends.  During this holiday season find time to thank your friends for their kindness, friendship, bluntness, observations, opinions, support, and love they give you.  These friends are your family as well – not because you born into this family but because your paths crossed and you chose to become family.


Christmas Mom and Dad


If having 8 siblings, foster siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, etc…growing up my parents always brought others into our home.   They taught me how to be kind to others, how there is always room to include others into your family, how the is no limit on the love you can provide others.   This holiday season reminds me of our trip back home a couple years ago for Christmas.  The above shows a few of us including us, my parents, Lan from China who was in town staying with my parents, and my foster sister, Delmy’s, mother (among others not pictured).   Not your typically family gathering around the fire but a family nonetheless.


Ryan and Braddon


Above all is my family of two (well 6 if you include cats and dogs).  I’m grateful always, not just this holiday season, for the companion I have to go through this life with.   I could not have asked for a better partner to take life head on and make the most of it together.


The holiday season is more than black friday shopping, opening gifts, and watching holiday movies.  It is more than the birth of Christ or any other reason you celebrate this season. It is a time to reflect on our family, friends, loved ones; to be grateful of all we have been blessed with and the gifts we have received by having them in our life.   I hope you find as much joy and happiness in your family that I do.

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