Because giving truly is… awesome.
You may remember the Giving is Awesome contest from back in December which I posted here. I had so many nominations and had such a hard time to pick a winner, but R’s letter, telling me about her sister’s beautiful family, really touched my heart. I asked her permission to post it here:
(go grab a box of kleenex fisrt)
“J is the most hard-working and giving father and husband I have EVER met. He works extra long hours in a hard physical job every day, every week, every month just to make ends meet for his family. He gives up his beloved soccer practices and games to make sure he can put food on the table for C, C and M. When he comes home from a 10-14 hour workday he still finds it in him to play with his children and help his wife clean the house. I have never heard a single complaint out of his mouth, and when he speaks to his children all you hear is love. When you see him look at his family you understand that it is out of his deep love that he works tirelessly to ensure that they have food (even when its inexpensive meatloaf), have a warm home and always feel they are loved.
He has recently become certified as a Cross-Trainer Instructor and wants to bring cross-training to elementary and secondary schools so that children can once again be healthy and fit by doing fun activities in a positive environment. After his “real” workday, he comes home and works on the business plan with M in the hopes that one day they will have money to start this incredible initiative.
M had the dream of becoming a cardiologist when she was younger. She fell in love and married and decided that she would become a nursing unit coordinator so she could still be involved in the medical industry and took courses to become certified. However she became pregnant and she was not able to secure a job after completion of school. M is now a certified nutritionist who sells organic and fair trade tea from home so she can contribute financially in some way (even small) and because they cannot afford, even with the second income, to get childcare for their children. But being the giving person she is M volunteers her time selflessly every month to inspire and support those who are making a difference in their own lives and the lives of others. She is a team leader for groups of people who take on projects that give back to their community. She takes precious and sparse time away from her family to offer these individuals a guiding light in their quest for creating a wholesome and beautiful community to live in. She has also organized a fundraiser that contributed money for a community in Africa, Kibooba, to help them build a school and create income opportunities. Her generosity for her family and her community is incredible.
C and C are wonderful, beautiful and happy children. Their parents keep the stress of financial struggles away from them, and what they are given is love and laughter. They are kind and willing to share their toys, cookies and hugs with anyone who asks. C loves to play dress up so that she can be a princess and would love to take dance lessons. C is your tough guy who protects his older sister from the “bad guys” as spiderman and would love to be able to play soccer. Both are the joy of my life and when they run to me screaming “AUNTIE!” to give me hugs and kisses my heart just melts.
As the sister, aunt, and sister-in law I struggle when I watch them worry each month how they are going to make this month’s rent AND put food on the table. As an example of their financial stress they have requested that we forgo “things” as Christmas gifts, and instead give them gift certificates for grocery stores. I wish I was able to help them myself especially because I want C and C to have the opportunity to take dance lessons and play league soccer, but know that these chances are slim when their parents hardly have any extra cash. I love them all so much, and want them to have something to show them that even without money, they have created a home that is filled with love and that I am very honoured to be welcomed into that home. I think it would be INCREDIBLE if they were to have beautiful photos to cherish this time in their lives, regardless of the struggles. Your photos always capture the love between families and I would be incredibly touched to see your photos capture this families specialness and generosity.”
Last month I finally had the opportunity to meet them all and let me tell you… I had a blast! They are the most fun-loving, caring family I’ve ever met. They dearly love each other so very much and truly enjoy being together… and the kids, oh the kids.. simply *adorable*! Auntie R came over to join us in the fun, I’m so glad she did (and the kids too— they *adore* her!)
THANK YOU R, M, J, C &C for a fun-filled morning at Bear Creek Park in Surrey. I hope you love your images as much as I do!