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My life. My loves. My joy!

Sunny. Blue Skies. Mommy's new camera. And 4 silly kiddos. This was an extremely fun day for us Cooks. After Cook kid #2 was born I vowed to NEVER do a photo studio session with my kids again. Then when two more kids came along, It was official... MOMMY NEEDED A CAMERA! I look at this photo and I smile inside because this day was everything BUT a smooth cooperative day. There were tantrums. Eye-rolling. More tantrums. Kids wandering off. Daddy complaining with the kids. 100 requests for food (as if they were really hungry). And one super conscious, perfection seeking, begging for cooperation mama! "Com'on guys. Please! Just one more!" was the repeated phrase coming from my mouth throughout the 63 minute session!

**Pause: You are probably wondering why does Jalima know the exact length of this mama-led photoshoot? WELL, I told you I am a bit of a perfectionist so you really should not be too surprised...haha**

My kiddos were 10, 8, 6, and 3 at the time so my best bet was to set my camera on a timer and let it shoot pictures as they freely ran around and played. They were happy and smiling. And though I was out of breath from running around in knee-boots while trying to keep my own hair neat and dress from flying up in the air, I was getting the much needed updated pictures for our family's holiday cards. It took me 4 kids to learn how to find joy in the moments that are not going quite the way I want. I still have my mama moments of frustration, but they often lead to the question, "Ok, how can I make this work without losing my mind?"

This picture here, with 3 of my 4 lil'Cookies, is the perfect depiction of the silly shenanigans that ruled the day. Laughter was indeed center stage and they were loving every minute of it! Looking back through these pictures sparked a thought - What if we could just laugh more? What if we choose joy over stress.

So often the stress of life can feel like an up hill battle that seems impossible to overcome. I know, as a mama of four busy kiddos, that this is indeed a common emotion. If there is ONE THING I have learned over the years it would be how truly powerful JOY is! It's really easy to focus on what's not right, but when we CHOOSE JOY over how we are feeling in the moment WE WIN!

Our family pictures came together when mommy jumped in the fun, smiled, laughed, and chose joy over her preference for perfection. The day was memorable because we were together as a family. This is our life. These are my loves. And they bring me SUCH great joy!

Choose joy today!

Love, me

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So beautiful and so precious ❤️ “Laugh more choose joy over stress” Yessss

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