12 Things To Make You (and those around you) HAPPY | Kat Oswald Photography

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12 Things To Make You (and those around you) HAPPY | Kat Oswald Photography

WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY & BRINGS A SMILE TO YOUR FACE?  HERE ARE 12 THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO MAKE YOU (AND THOSE AROUND YOU) HAPPY.  

There are so many things that make us happy - unexpected things such as someone opening the door for you, or when the person in front of you pays for your Starbucks.  Of course there are the expected things that add happiness to our lives as well - a warm welcome when you arrive at a friend's home, a great sermon from your pastor, or your child running to your arms.  

Regardless of what we are going through, there are things that we can do, right now, to make us happy.  And, most of those things will bring happiness to others as well.

We have an incredible amount of control over our own happiness.  It's time we own it.

Here are 12 of my favorite things that are (pretty much) guaranteed to make you - and those around you - happy!

1.)  BEING OUTSIDE.  Yes, I know it's the first week of summer and it's so HOT that airplanes in Phoenix are being grounded (yikes) - BUT, being outside always makes me happy and I'm positive it can do the same for you.  There is something soothing about a walk around the neighborhood, breathing in fresh air, hearing birds chirping, and taking in all the beauty that surrounds you.  Just being outside for 30 minutes or more will invite peace and happiness into your life.  I encourage you to go for a morning or evening walk (when the weather is nice), to have one meal a day outdoors, try stargazing, or just read a few chapters of your favorite book outside. 

2.)  PRACTICE GRATITUDE.  When we are stressed, sad, or overwhelmed we often overlook the blessings we have.  Take a moment to reflect on things you have and the people that you are thankful for.  It can be simple such as being thankful for a hot shower.  Reflect on 5-10 things that you have, that you've experienced, or that you are thankful for.  You can take this to the next step by sharing 3-5 good things that happened each day with your family over dinner each night.  It a great moment to spend time with your spouse and to hear about what blessings touched them today.  Even better - include your children and encourage them to take notice of blessings and beauty in the world.

3.)  SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS.  Even for introverts (like me), social time is highly valuable.  It's important to forge supportive relationships and bond with others.  Schedule a dinner party, lunch date, a hike or camping trip, a game night in your home, or girl's night out with friends or family.  Join a bible study or networking group.  Being around positive energy, laughter, and love will always make your day better and that's such an important part of life!  Surrounding yourself with loving, supportive, God-fearing friends is priceless.  

4.)  FACE THE THINGS YOU'VE BEEN AVOIDING.  (Stay with me here.... I realize it doesn't sound like something that will bring you happiness...)  Sometimes life gets the best of us.  When we don't stay on top of everything we can easily feel overworked, unappreciated, and overwhelmed.  Take a moment to sit down, prioritize what needs to get done, and start knocking things out that have been weighting on you.  This can be so empowering and uplifting!  

(My 2-car garage was getting so cluttered that I could barely fit my small car inside!  I spent the morning having a garage sale, and all afternoon with my sister sorting, organizing, donating, and tossing everything else.  The next morning, which was Father's Day, my husband woke up to a clean, organized, and swept garage!  I was putting off this chore for months and it was getting worse and worse and causing me so much stress and anxiety.  Now that I handled what I was avoiding I have a huge sense of happiness and accomplishment.)

5.)  EXERCISE!  We all know that exercising releases endorphins that make you happy, keeps you healthy, and reduces stress levels - but do we exercise enough?  Try something new - go on a bike ride, sign up for a new aerobics class at the gym, jog (or power-walk) around the park or your neighborhood, try a rock-climbing or cross-fit gym - there are so many fun ways to exercise (and so many locations have great Groupon deals, discounts for "ladies night", or free classes for first-timers!).  And, now with meetup.com there are plenty of opportunities to try new things, make friends, and build your tribe!

6.)  LAUGH.  It's not always easy to get in a good laugh when we're having a bad day, but there are tons of youtube videos that will definitely bring you to tears laughing (have you searched for trying to bathe a cat, people falling, funniest moments......)  Better yet - grab a friend and catch a comedy at the theater, or just sit back and relive those old stories of "Remember that one time???"  Laughing is so uplifting and truly does your soul good.

7.)  TALK TO GOD.  You know you're never alone.  Whether you talk to God, journal, or spend time reading the bible - it's important to take time deepening your relationship with God.  These moments always bring me peace, closeness, and happiness.  "Happy are the people whose God is the Lord" Psalm 144.15.  

8.)  EAT HEALTHIER FOODS.  By eating better you're not only taking care of yourself, but you will also feel more vibrant and energetic.  Keep healthy snacks in the car (granola or your favorite nuts) and be sure to add fresh fruits and veggies with each meal.  TIP:  Prepare fruits and veggies in tupperware for easy access.  Take some for the road and have some ready when you get home.  It's easier to grab that bag of chips when walk in the door hungry, but having a tupperware filled with fresh fruit and veggies makes it easy to enjoy a healthy alternative.  Try strawberries and blueberries, celery/green peppers/carrots/cucumber with hummus, grapes, apples, or your favorite melon.  Prep them on the weekend and prepare enough for multiple options throughout the week!

9.)  PUT AWAY YOUR PHONE!  This friends is HUGE!  Don't base your happiness on someone else's highlight reel on social media.  And, don't let social media get you sucked into a negative hole either.  It's too much, we are on our phones too much...  Enjoy the world and those around you - status updates and text messages can wait.  Try putting your cell aside for a few hours a day, and during all meal times, and especially with friends and family.  It will really make the difference in your life.

10.)  MAKE SOMEBODY'S DAY.  This is the most rewarding way to feel better and add happiness to your life.  Be kind to others and serve others.  This can be a compliment you give to a friend - or a stranger, it can be volunteering at church or in your community, or it can be much more intentional such as a letter/note to your spouse or a good deed for someone (whether they are in need or not).  When is the last time you made dinner for a friend in the hospital, sent a hand-written note to someone you appreciate, or volunteered your time to help someone in need?  There are so many ways to make somebody's day - you may even do doing something that doesn't get linked back to you, so it's just for you (such as picking up the dinner tab for a single parent across the restaurant or leaving change at the vending machine for the next person).

11.)  FLIP THROUGH PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHS.  Looking through old photographs can really boost your mood.  They remind us of people, places, and activities that we love.  It can be an album of a trip you took, childhood photos, or even an old box of photos you forgot all about.  Flipping through old photographs always fills my heart as it brings back warm memories, laughs, and love.

12.)  SPEND MONEY ON EXPERIENCES, NOT THINGS.  I truly believe spending money on life experiences make me happier than spending money on material things.  Experiences become part of who we are - the places we've visited, the things we have done, and the things we have seen.  Rather than getting caught up on the newest gadgets, the trendiest clothes, or other spurges that define our status - experience life.  Have you been to a different country, ridden in a hot air balloon, signed up for a Tough Mudder, gone on a mission trip, or done something that's on your bucket list?  

Let's be intentional when it comes to our day, to our lives, and how we treat others.  Let's practice self love, respect ourselves and others, and truly live.  Let's spread beauty and happiness and have a positive impact on others.  

What are some things you do to cheer yourself up?  Post your comment below - I'd love to read your thoughts!

 

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Young, Wild & Free - A Cali Girl's Heart | Kat Oswald Photography

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Young, Wild & Free - A Cali Girl's Heart | Kat Oswald Photography

Oh To Be Young, Wild & Free in California | A Cali Girl's Heart

This session is so dear to my heart.  You see, I'm a Cali girl and was so thrilled to be able to photograph Carissa, my gorgeous stepdaughter, in my hometown of Vacaville, CA.  I absolutely loved growing up in the rolling hills and countryside that this part of Northern California offers.  And... I truly believe Vacaville has the most beautiful and vibrant sunsets - ever.  It's such a perfect location, about an hour from San Francisco, Napa, Sacramento, Davis, the ocean, lakes, rivers, hiking trails - just about everything.  And of course, California weather is always amazing - it's no wonder Cali will always have a special place in my heart!

This particular trip back home to visit family, I invited my stepdaughter to drive up from Chico and spend the weekend with us - after all, our family wasn't "complete" without her!  It would be the perfect "girls weekend".  We spent time at Lake Solano, splashing in the water, enjoying the warm weather and driving through winding backroads.  We went to the Nut Tree to ride the carousel and train, get some Jelly Bellys and ice cream and of course pizza.  And of course there were hours of laughing, jokes, going through old photographs and storytelling at my grandmother's home.  It's not often you have 4 generations together and it was such a blessing to watch my daughters with their aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

But - I wanted time with just my girls....  Before flying back home to Albuquerque, I needed time with just my two daughters.  As I drove them down the backroads to my favorite childhood spots a huge sense of peace and joy came over me.  Here I was, in my favorite place in the entire world with my toddler in the backseat and my grown stepdaughter in the front seat.  This is the place where I spent the majority of my life, running wild and free, horseback riding, cycling, racing quads, hiking, boating, and truly loving life.  My heart was full as I reflected back on these memories of my youth - was it really that long ago that I was "young"?

The radio was up and the windows down as our hair was blowing wild in the wind and we didn't have a worry in the world - just like when I was 15 years younger.  Together, in that moment, we were Young, Wild & Free.  I will forever cherish that trip and the fond memories I was able to share (and relive) from my childhood, while building new memories I now have with my girls in those dear-to-my-heart places.  

I hadn't photographed Carissa alone before, so I took this bonding opportunity to photograph her.  She's a Cali girl too and is definitely Young, Wild & Free.  In a lot of way she reminded me of myself when I was her age - yet she has a fierce side and is strong, independent, and loves absolutely freely.  She is not to be tamed and I admire her spirit and charisma.  I hoped to photograph both daughters together in a few locations, but my youngest was fast asleep in her car seat and I knew better than to wake "the dragon".  So, as we chatted about Carissa's dreams and ambitions I shared some of my favorite childhood memories and showed here a slice of my life growing up in Cali.


“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”

— Proverbs 31:25



“You are beautiful for you are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

— Pslam 139:14



"A woman is the full circle.  Within her is the power to create, nurture, transform."

- Diane Mariechild



"Some women fear the fire, and some simply become it."

- Aditi Dhaania



"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself.  Aloud."

- Coco Chanel


Albuquerque, New Mexico portrait photographer Kat Oswald specializes in photographing women and those they love.  Although based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kat frequently travels to Northern California (Sacramento, Vacaville, San Francisco, Napa and Davis) as well as to St Louis, Missouri.  Her focus is photographing women in a way to showcase their beauty, to feel empowered, and to create heirloom legacy pieces for generations to enjoy.  Feel free to visit the blog, browse the website, follow her on Facebook or Instagram, or contact us to get booking details for a session of your own.  

 
 

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Spring: Perfect Timing for Outdoor Senior Portraits

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Spring: Perfect Timing for Outdoor Senior Portraits

Spring is definitely in the air and along with the enjoyment that comes with singing birds, delicate sunshine and the beauty of vibrant flowers blooming, there is also a frenzy starting to buzz around town as thousands of Albuquerque seniors get ready to close out their senior year.

The hot topic - Booking Your Senior Photo Session!!

Well don't fret - there is still time to get those beautiful outdoor senior photos before graduation in May!!!  Whether you are looking for an urban downtown Albuquerque location, a stunning spot in the Sandia foothills, or something in between, I am happy to help you find the perfect location to personalize your senior session.

For Ali's Senior Session, we went to the beautiful campus of UNM.  The University of New Mexico Campus is always a great spot for a photo session because it offers much variety and is absolutely stunning!

I was so excited to see Ali's bright blue hair, cool shades and black leather jacket!!  Look at her rock'n that outfit!!  Here are a few photos from her senior session, which include the duck pond, trees, and cherry blossoms...

For Sarah's Senior Session, we started at her stable near Corrales because she wanted photos with her chestnut Quarter Horse Shamrock.  After taking some shots in the arena at the stable, Sarah lead Shamrock down the trail and into the Bosque.  

Our last stop for Sarah's senior session was to drive to Bachechi where we found some gorgeous Cherry Blossoms and stunning light - just before sunset.  What a perfect ending to our 2 hour session!

Jacque's Senior Session started at Alameda Open Space, moved to Bachechi, then ended at one of my hidden locations complete with access to the Rio Grande and the stunning Sandia Mountain backdrop. 

That's the great thing about customizing your senior session - it's okay to use props, choose multiple locations and to change outfits

Here are a few of my black and white favorites from Jacque's session:

Hannah was another gorgeous senior that I had the great privilege to photograph. She is an aspiring photographer with a gentle spirit and a heart for helping others.  She has a strong passion to make a difference in the world. 

Of course, a few more black and whites to enjoy...

Are you ready to book your senior session?  Do you have more questions?  I'd love to work with you!!  Here are some nifty details you may find helpful.  I look forward to serving you!

Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kat Oswald captures the custom art of senior portraiture.  Investment for photography services include high resolution digital files, print rights, social media sized copies for sharing with friends and family, and heirloom products available for purchase.  If you're curious about the experience, please take a look at recent reviews.  You can use the contact form below or connect with Kat and follow her on Facebook.  Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kat proudly serves the greater Albuquerque area including Corrales, Rio Rancho, Los Ranchos, Bernalillo and Los Lunas (Bernalillo & Sandoval counties). 

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Foothills Beauty | Albuquerque, New Mexico Photographer | Kat Oswald Photography

The Rock House & Beauty in the Foothills


“I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful — an endless prospect of magic and wonder.” Ansel Adams
Albuquerque Foothills Beauty The Rock House

There are so many beautiful locations to photograph clients and friends alike in Albuquerque.  The foothills are always highly requested, and without a doubt it's a location that truly represents New Mexico.  Surrounded by open space, tangled between hiking and biking paths, nestled among cacti and other native plants, with a beautiful view of the sunset over the city to my right and the stunning Sandia Mountains as a backdrop to my left, this location is definitely a favorite.

Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kat Oswald Photography captures the custom art of family, child, and senior portraiture.  Please click here to visit the website.

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Albuquerque Valentine's Day Mini Session Event | Kat Oswald Photography

Albuquerque Valentine's Day Mini Session Event


Valentine's Day is one of those days that always sneaks up on me.  I'm always twitterpated as I prepare love notes for my husband as we make plans to celebrate our love and honor our marriage.  I'm swoon with all the love and happiness in the air, the chocolate so beautifully wrapped and all the gorgeous flowers.  Then - the day or so before Valentine's Day arrives, panic sets in as I try to figure out what to get the kids for their classroom exchange and what to bake for their class parties!  (Back to reality it is!)  

Bring your Little Loves to join us this year at The Studio for our beautiful Valentine's Day Portrait Event.  We'll have fun crafts for the kids, two Valentine's Day themed setups to choose from, fun props to include several floral crowns, select outfits for 2T-6T, teddy bears, candy, and a ton of balloons.  After your session you'll be escorted into our Client Viewing Room to view your images and select your desired package.  Packages start at $125 and include digital files and prints.  You'll have the opportunity to add on customized items such as gift tags of your favorite image to include with your child's Valentine's Day classroom exchange or accordion books of your favorite images (perfect gifts for parents & grandparents), if desired.  Before leaving, we're excited to give your Little Love a special Valentine's treat from us at Kat Oswald Photography.

Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kat Oswald captures the custom art of family, child, and senior portraiture.   Click here to visit the website.  Sign up for our newsletter here to be the first to know about mini sessions, updates, and upcoming discounts and promotions.

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A Father's Day Letter to My Husband | Your Love Letter

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A Father's Day Letter to My Husband | Your Love Letter

A Love Letter to My Husband, on Father's Day...

You, my Love, are the father that children dream about, and the husband that women pray for.  You are a true blessing, a generous gift from God.  I have so much respect for you Lover and it is an honor to be your wife and the mother to your children.

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Albuquerque Mother's Day Note to my Clients & Friends

"A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove… but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child"  ~ Forest E. Witcraft

 

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL YOU STUNNING MAMA'S OUT THERE!!!

Whether you are a mother, a stepmother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, an aunt, a foster mom, an adoptive mom, or even a teacher, babysitter, nanny or nurse that has taken the time to nurture and love on a child… you are cherished and I want to wish you a beautiful Mother's Day.  

You absolutely deserve all the cards, flowers, chocolates, hugs, kisses, giggles and cuddles in the world and I hope you are showered and spoiled with more love than your heart could ever expect.  

In celebration of you, all family sessions booked from May 7th - May 11th will receive 30% off

&

a free Canvas Gallery Wrap, (up to 16x20).*  

 

* A $100 retainer is required to book the date and time for your family session.  Session must be scheduled before October 15, 2016 to qualify for 30% off regular pricing and (one) free 10x20 Canvas Gallery Wrap.  Image used for Canvas Gallery Wrap must be taken by Kat Oswald Photography during family session booked and may not be used with an image from a previously booked session.  Discount of 30% is taken from regular pricing and not applied to discounts.

 

Thank you Meg Bridge for the photograph of my daughter, grandmother and I together.  <3

 

Please use the contact form below to take advantage of this exclusive limited-time offer.

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Adorable Baby Girl: Newborn Session for Coral

Join me in welcoming Ms. Coral to the world.  At only 4 days old, Coral was absolutely perfect during her first photo session, which took place in Mom & Dad's upstairs bedroom of their westside Albuquerque home.  Coral's family moved from Tennessee, and are quite pleased with their beautiful mountain view - especially during Balloon Fiesta!  Coral has a beautiful big sister and two handsome big brothers that showered here with lots of love and affection during her first photo session.

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Sweet Twin Girls: Albuquerque Newborn Session for Gemma & Lydia

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Sweet Twin Girls: Albuquerque Newborn Session for Gemma & Lydia

Hearts entwined
Twenty fingers, twenty toes,
Two sweet babies with cheeks of rose.
Born on the same day, two gifts from above,
Lives entwined, two babies to love."

— Author Unknown

I had the pleasure of photographing Suzi and Jeremy's maternity session in Albuquerque's beautiful foothills with a stunning backdrop of the Sandia Mountians.  Although it was ridiculously cold, both soon-to-be-parents were absolute troopers and braved the wind and weather with me.  

I was excited to hear that they "definitely" wanted me to photograph their newborn girls.  During their maternity session, the couple laughed as they told me about their complete shock when finding out that they were expecting twins!  They actually joked with friends the night prior to "pray that there is only one heartbeat".

Of course, they were very excited to meet their precious twin girls.  Although the girls came earlier than expected, Suzi and Jeremy would have to wait a little longer before bringing their girls home…  The twins were due mid February, but born in early January and had to spend nearly two months in the NICU.  

Needless to say, they were no longer "newborns" when their custom in-home newborn session took place.  I arrived at their beautiful Northeast Heights home when the twins were a day shy of 2 months old.  Being a mother myself, and having a daughter in the NICU, I understood the stress this family endured.  I take great pride in customizing my newborn sessions and working with families so there was never a question of "IF" their newborn session would take place - only "WHEN" would be the best time for mom and babies.  After all, newborn sessions should never be burden or a stressful experience.  I strive on remaining flexible and keeping newborn sessions a priority in my calendar.

These twins definitely rocked their newborn photos!  It was such a privilege to be able to photograph their newborn session.  Thank you to the Oliver family for allowing me to capture these truly precious moments for your beautiful family!  I look forward to watching these girls grow and photographing many more milestones for your lovely family!

 

Are you ready to book your newborn session?  Do you have more questions?  I'd love to work with you!!  Here are some nifty details you may find helpful.  I look forward to serving you!

Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kat Oswald captures the custom art of newborn, maternity, family, child/baby, and senior portraiture.  Investment for photography services include high resolution digital files, print rights, social media sized copies for sharing with friends and family, and heirloom products available for purchase.  Please use the contact form below or connect with Kat and follow her on Facebook.  Kat is based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico and proudly serves Bernalillo and Sandoval counties.

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Why Twenty-Fifteen Rocked: A Tribute To My Clients

It’s officially that time of year… 

The holidays are over and plans for the New Year have started.  Although I’m excited to start 2016 and finalize so many new things I have planned, I can’t possibly move forward without reflecting on the past, sharing the moments that had such a huge impact on me, and my photography business.

 

As I count my blessings, I have to stop and thank all of those that supported me, and my small business, Kat Oswald Photography, in 2015.  It has definitely been an amazing year!  I started out with some very small goals and expectations.  I ended up being blessed enough to second-shoot nearly a dozen weddings with the amazing local photographer Emma of Emma Marie Photography; photograph 3 preschools and 1 high school; photograph graduating seniors; photograph several events for nonprofits such as The Ronald McDonald House, Care Net's Walk For Life event and the Out of the Darkness Walk for AFSP.  I joined some great professional organizations, and I found a new passion – newborn photography.  It’s been a phenomenal year and I am truly blessed beyond measure to have received so much love and support from you.

 

The love, support and prayers that I’ve received from not only my friends and family members, but also from clients, their friends and family, social media followers, and other photographers has truly touched my heart this year.  Thank you to those that have “liked” my work on social media, left me comments, shared my page and/or posts, followed my work, encouraged me, trusted me to photograph your family, and referred me to your friends and family members – I cannot begin to thank you enough.  You are truly amazing.  It has been a privilege and a blessing to capture so many moments for so many families – I’m honored.

 

My husband has been my rock and incredibly supportive.  He spent numerous nights and weekends with the kids so I could go out and photograph weddings, families and seniors.  He made scouting trips “family time” by packing up the kids (and the dog) to tag along with me.  Thank you My Love, for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself, for being patient & loving during this business launch, and for supporting me in so many ways.

 

Albuquerque is such a gorgeous city and I have had a blast photographing at local parks, around Elena Gallegos and in the foothills, at Bachechi, Alameda Open Space, up at the Sandia crest, in the Corrales Bosque, around Old Town & downtown, in private homes, in hotels – you name it…  Having these stunning backdrops

 

With all the sessions I had this year, and all the beautiful outdoor locations, I couldn’t pick favorites…  So I left that to my clients.  If you have a moment, I’d love for you to check them out.  Better yet, visit this link on my business facebook page to vote for your favorite photo (or photos) and help clients win credits and a prize. 

 

CLICK HERE TO VOTE ON YOUR FAVORITE PHOTO(S) & HELP A FEW CLIENTS WIN A GREAT PRIZES!!!

 I'll leave this blog telling you that there are great things coming to Kat Oswald Photography in 2016.  A referral program… different photography session packages…  more mini sessions…  giveaways via the Facebook page… more posts on Instagram… some out of state sessions, collaborations with local businesses & other photographers, and a discount to all repeat clients. 

 

Again, I thank you for support me as your family photographer, your engagement photographer, your child's photographer, your maternity photographer, your newborn photographer, your wedding photographer, your friend, as a person, a business owner, a mom, a wife, an artist, and an entrepreneur.  I'm humbled, honored and thrilled knowing you guys have my back!!!  2015 was a great year and I'm ready for 2016 - BRING IT ON!!!

 

Big Hug & Many Blessings to You & Yours!  May God Shine His Light On You Throughout The New Year.
Your humbled photographer & friend,
~Kat Oswald  

 

Of course, you know I can't blog without leaving some photos….  ;-)  Enjoy!

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