What To Do When Everything About Your Thanksgiving is Non-Traditional


It’s fall y’all! My excitement in writing those words is pure excitement because here in Texas (and across most of the southern part of the United States) the weather has been unseasonably warm. We were still seeing daily highs in the 80s and 90s until very recently.

But now, it has appeared to have cooled off. First the temps dropped down to the 70s, but now we are waking up to some frost. During the day, the sun is out and the temperatures are comfortable. This is totally cool by my standards because I do not fully appreciate the value of cold weather. Translation: I hate winter. In other words, fall is my jam.

I know for a lot of us the transition to fall happened when football season and pumpkin everything began, but for me it didn’t. During the months of September, October, and most of November, I felt like I was just going through the motions; claiming to love fall but not really feeling like we were truly there yet.

And now we are celebrating Thansgiving. And immediately thereafter, we’ll be into Christmas and Hanukkah and New Year’s. This year in particular, Thanksgiving is different. This year, my family is mourning an additional loss in the death of my aunt that just doesn’t feel right. Holidays were important to her, even the holidays that we didn’t converge at her house. And for lack of a better word, it’s just weird without her being here.

The current political climate of our country is full of tension, stress, and yes, even hatred. That does not bode well for giving thanks. It’s hard, and without going into why and how and healing and such we are forced to wait and see what’s going to happen next.

In a way, we are now forced to accept a new normal, not only for celebrating the holidays, but for living. The new normal signifies change. And change can be hard. But even in the changes, there can be fun. There can be rest. There can be a time for family togetherness.  Continue reading

Social Entrepreneurship and Our Kids

Mocha Mob radio

Last month (right before Thanksgiving to be exact), I talked to my friend Kevin about kids and social entrepreneurship and holiday preparations. It was a great conversation and I’m inviting you to listen. To hear us you can click on the image above or click here.

After you listen, feel free to continue the discussion with us on twitter. You can find  me @twillisbestshot and Kevin @kmondy06. We are looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

A College Tailgate Thanksgiving

Read this post to see how one family celebrated Thanksgiving and college football.

My friend Cathy and her family supporting the University of Texas Longhorns. Hook ’em!

How was last week for you? Ours was great! Thanksgiving tends to be a restful holiday for us because we don’t travel and we go to my friend Cathy’s house for dinner. My kids were out of school the whole week, and while we weren’t without drama, we did enjoy ourselves.

I think it was probably this time last year that I wrote about Cathy. Thanksgiving is her absolute favorite holiday, and she takes off work so she can start cooking on Monday. Her process is carefully planned, as she know what to cook each day. She is  even careful enough in her planning to schedule time with her grand daughters to teach them how to mix, measure, and bake.

This year, after following the University of Texas Longhorns’ football season rather carefully, Cathy decided that we should all pay homage to our respective college football favorites in food and fashion. For Thanksgiving appetizers we nibbled on tailgating traditions and for the main course we feasted on turkey, dressing, and then some.

If you happened to listen to the Mocha Mob radio show last week or catch me on Periscope talking about holiday photos, you may have heard my friend Kevin issue me a challenge for Thanksgiving photos. He suggested that we take a series of photos to document the day, solely focusing on hands, and processing the images in black and white.

Even though I complained a bit, I was up for the challenge,  and today I’m sharing my photos with you.











So, there it is. Our Thanksgiving in hands. All photos were taken with my Nikon D3200. For buying information and all of the specs on that camera, click #ad here. If you happen to be a Texas Longhorns fan in need of some paraphernalia, click #ad here. And just because Cathy’s mashed potatoes tasted oh-so-good, I want you to see the appliance she used to make them #ad here.

And guess what? I interviewed Cathy last night to get her tips for creating the magic she creates during the holidays. That interview with all of her special tips are going to be featured tomorrow right here on the blog. I am so excited!

So tell me, what did your hands do last week?

Thanksgiving Photos You Must Take


As a lifestyle photographer, I enjoy taking photos that tell a story. I believe that the best photos can tell the story of the events and evoke feelings in anyone who sees them. I do think staged  and posed photos can be fun and traditional, but true feelings come from the unstaged moments.  Here’s a printable list of the photos you should not miss this Thanksgiving.  (Click on the image for the downloadable PDF file.)

Click here to get a list of photo shots you can't miss on Thanksgiving