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focus on joy

Back in the day, if you had asked me to identify a moment of joy in my life, it would have been relatively easy to put a finger on specific events. Today I find that task difficult. It isn’t for a lack of joy in my life. Every day that I wake up to a wet nose in my face is joy. Every smile I share with Jeremy is joy. I savor those things I probably took for granted before my cancer diagnosis. It’s one thing to be presented with your own mortality at a relatively young age (is 36 young?), but another thing entirely to be denied the basic pleasures of going for a walk, dining out, being able to taste food, being able to eat food without pain, having feeling in your hands and feet, having hair… feeling normal.

You could say that perspective is at the root of my joy. I tend to not let little things get me down anymore. They aren’t worth the energy. And sometimes the little things are what fill me with wonder – and joy. Biting into a juicy, sweet strawberry. Waking up before sunrise. Noticing when the local wildflowers start blooming. Hugging a friend hello. Watching the snow fall. Pulling a quilt up around my chin. Exchanging smiles with a passing stranger.

My life is full of joy because I’m so damn happy to be here, to be alive. As a photographer, I try to capture those moments of joy. Here are just a few:


taking the pup for a hike on a snowy christmas eve

sunrise on a high sierra backpack a month after my radiation treatments ended

on the summit of my first fourteener since chemotherapy

the milky way from our deck

sandhill cranes at sunset as a storm clears

winter solstice lunar eclipse

backcountry skiing with my sweetheart on the first day of summer


What is a moment of joy in your life? Share your story and upload a photo (optional). In return Shutterfly will gift you $5 off your next photo book to commemorate life’s joyous moments, and you”ll be entered for a chance to win a $200 Shutterfly Gift card.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shutterfly. The opinions and text are all mine. Offer valid for $5 off one photo book order and valid for one-time redemption per member. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. BlogFrog hosted gift card contest live from June 17th to July 14th. A winner will be randomly chosen and announced on July 18th. All participants remain the copyright holder of their photos.

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