This year, I'm thankful for...

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Every so often I'll post on Instagram using the hashtag #CMGlimpse. The hashtag is part of the Clickin Moms- a fantastic organization for female photographers- weekly project where a word is given and Instagram users post a photo about that word using the hashtag. Today's phrase is "I'm thankful for." Every Thanksgiving I always have so much to be thankful for. This year, I'm thankful to be done with school and to have moved out of my parents' house. I'm thankful that after the heartbreak of losing Puss in January, I found Guinevere and Lancelot who keep me smiling everyday. I'm thankful Nanny's recent hip replacement went well and that I have an amazing family. But most of all, I'm thankful for Shelby.

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When we first started talking six months after we met, Shelby was an Associate Mechanical Engineer at Fairbanks Scales and I was about to hop on a boat to Bermuda with Nanny before resuming my summer semester. I came home and soon after he took off for France, but that didn't stop us from staying up until 9 p.m. Skyping. (Well, it was 3 a.m. his time!)

When Shelby returned, he coached me through working a full time tumultuous job while I was still finishing my degree programs at Lyndon State. He helped me with work projects and motivated me through assignments until the relief of graduation hit. To celebrate, he booked a room at a gorgeous hotel in Montreal and we explored the city for a couple of days.

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The morning light was so beautiful, that Shelby patiently modeled while I played around with it.

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Shelby is always encouraging me to practice photography, and listens to my rants and frustrations when I can't figure something out. He's incredibly smart and perceptive, and usually helps me find that one setting that will make me achieve the look I'm going for. We went to the Ice Castle with my family last winter, where he posed so I could practice with flash for the first time.

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When I found a beautiful row of apple blossom trees at a Lincoln parking lot, he played assistant.

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When we took a photography class during the Lupine Celebration and stumbled across this Farmall tractor, he went back with me during the Golden Hour when the light was stunning.

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For his birthday, I finally took photos for him when I photographed his Shelby Mustang.

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A year and a half after we started dating, Shelby has been there through the conclusion of my college days, the transition from two not so great jobs to one I adore, the loss of my cat, moving three times, and the expansion of my business. He calmly offers advice and help whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed, and is always encouraging my business ventures and photography endeavors.

I'm not the only one who has seen changes these past 18 months. Shelby received two big promotions and is on track for a management position. It's exciting to watch him zoom up the ladder, and I look forward to seeing how life unfolds for each of us- and for the both of us.