If your house was on fire and you could grab one thing, what would you choose? Hands down, I’d snag a basket and pile in as many pictures as possible.

Pictures are the gateway to our past. They bubble up cherished memories we’ve long forgotten. Photographs of vacation adventures fill a wall in my master bedroom. If my husband and I are fighting, usually over something minuscule, the images remind me there are a million more good times than bad. The fight is a blip on our radar, in over a decade of happiness.

Devastating News

In December 2014, our beloved K-9 Boss received a cancer diagnosis, riddling our world with devastation.

January 2015 was a rough month for Boss. His prize possession, a tennis ball, laid in front of him, with no movement. He’d curl up on his pillow barely getting up to eat or go out to potty. The effects of cancer were heartbreaking. All his life he’d been a worker. He’d served the Indiana State Police as a K-9 officer and loved his job. To see him mope around with no energy was agonizing.

Days before we were to put him down, our friend Julianne, with Julianne Smith Photography, offered a living family photo session.

Joy in Sadness

The day before the photo session we considered canceling because Boss was so lethargic, but on January 19, 2015, it was as if God gave him a final gift, zestfulness. It was just a day, but the old Bossy was back. He was playful, energetic and ran around the house like a wild man.

Julianne came to our home, and instead of the standard posed pictures, she captured how we lived life with Boss. She snapped a multitude of heartfelt photos. Some pictures were humorous, like me sitting on the toilet (lid closed) because he’d often come in the bathroom if the door weren’t close. Why these types of photos? I wanted to remember the little things that use to drive me nuts, but in his last days, I cherished.

Boss passed away four days later on January 23, 2015. Days, weeks, months and now years after his death, the portraits of Boss remain one of the most meaningful gifts I’ve received. Julianne used her talents, to bring joy one last time to our dearest Boss, and gave us a lifetime of memories.

What’s Your Talent?

As you go through 2018, think about ways you can use your talent to make a difference in someone’s life. Something you take for granted may be what someone else needs to navigate through a difficult time.

Giving Challenge: Over the next week, use your talent to brighten someone’s day.

Here’s to Giving and Living Intentionally in 2018!


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About the Author:








Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is the author of The Giving Challenge-40 Days to a More Generous Life (on sale NOW!), a speaker, life success coach, and a daily giver. She empowers people to change their life by giving and living intentionally daily!

Schedule Stephanie to speak at your next event by emailing her at Stephanie@GivingGal.com!