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all three in the frame
Today, we enjoyed a beautiful day at a local garden. You did some school work, painted, sketched, explored, and played for a few hours. As I watched you all play and work together, I was filled with such gratitude. I will never forget the year Big Sissy started Kindergarten. It seemed like our time together was always rushed and always too short. The school days seemed long and the family time was never enough.
I would often see a mother and her three children taking leisurely walks together during the mornings. I was curious what it would be like to home school; to have our time back. I was even a bit envious every time I passed her. I longed for something different for our family.
Another year passed and God kept pressing on my heart. He began to speak to Daddy as well. That year we prayed fervently to God. We asked Him what His plan was for our family. The following year we began homeschooling. I am so grateful we followed in faith. Our life has changed in so many ways. I feel like we now have time to really grow together and we have time for un-rushed conversations. It is such a blessing to see the provisions of God when we obey Him.
It's been such a fun summer watching the three of you swim non-stop at Mimi's pool.
This has been the summer of kayaking. You guys love kayak on the lake with your friends and cousins and explore. Baby sissy is patiently waiting her turn to be old enough to kayak by herself. And a portrait of the three of you is wonderful to capture. Real expressions and all.
Today was the last day of soccer camp. I love seeing you all playing this year. It is going to be a fun fall.
Yesterday was one of those days that my heart overflowed with gratitude. I remember the anxiety I experienced moving home just over three years ago. We left our comfort zone; friends that were family and a life that was very special. I worried nonstop in the months leading to our move. Where would we live? Where would we go to church? Who would we have as friends? Who would y'all play with? Would homeschooling really be a good fit for us? (And so many other questions.)
I prayed a lot and I slowly learned to "let go and let Him".
I am so glad we do not see God’s plans for our life all at once. Sometimes it involves growing pains, sometimes it means letting go of something, and often His plan is so different from ours. I was reminded in so many ways of God's Provision as I watched you in the lake yesterday.
Look at the birds! They don’t worry about what to eat—they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food—for your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. -Mathew 6:26
You always want to be with your big Sissy and Bubby. Often times you follow them without hesitation. Sometimes it is mama asking you to stay back and to be more cautious. I know, you are almost 5 now and you are becoming so brave and ready to try so many fun things. In my heart, you will always be my little baby girl. Our sweet one who came into this world almost 8 weeks early. You were so tiny, but already so full of life. I believe you still carry this same spirit. I love you always and forever.
The three of you, just hanging out, getting ready to go down to the river and play. As I walked by the room, I stopped in my tracks. This is the beauty of life.
The first day we spent in the mountains we hiked down to a nearby covered bridge. When we got to the bridge, you all played in the river with Buster. At that moment, I was so grateful that Daddy had insisted we bring Buster on vacation with us. Admittedly, I thought it would be easier to leave him at home. I was reminded, once again, easier is not always better. It was such a gift to see you experiencing things for the first time with Buster right by your side. Sadly, he will not always be a part of our everyday lives, but I am thankful for the memories that include him. As I watched you all explore together, I couldn't help but wish I could freeze that moment forever. And so I did, the only way I could, with my camera.
We are on our way to the mountains and were on the road ALL DAY today. We got to the hotel tonight and you couldn't wait to swim in the pool. This seems to be the highlight of most road trips.
Today we had a fun playdate with new friends and we all had a great time. I am always amazed how God brings people into our lives. I am so grateful to share talks of faith, motherhood, and life with friends that instantly feel like family. Seeing God's footprints in our lives is one of life's greatest blessings.
It seems natural to reflect on motherhood today. A decade of motherhood seems to have taught me more than the almost three decades before motherhood. There is a new found grace I have for myself, for my own mother and for all mothers, that seems to grow with each passing day.
Ann Voskamp shared these words on her blog this week. They resonated so deeply with me.
“And maybe that’s what it really was — maybe the days were pretty and ugly. Pretty…Ugly. The ugly beautiful of reality and love and humanity and what it means to become real. That was what was happening: the stacks of dishes and everests of laundry and the tantrums of toddlers and teenagers and tired mamas and all the scuffed up walls down the hall and through the heart, they were all wearing down the plastic of pride, wearing us down to the real wood of grace and the Cross. It really is okay.
To lose it and be found, to be rubbed the wrong way to become the rightest way, to let all the hard times rub you down to real.
That’s just the pretty ugly of us — we’re not the Hallmark mother, just the Velveteen Mothers. The Velveteen Mothers who know when there’s a volley of words and weary silences afterward and everything looks impossibly wrecked —
The angular, hard edges of perfection are being sanded down by all our scrapes and falls, till we’re round and soft and can get close enough to each other to just hold each other. Only when you’re broken are you tender enough to wrap yourself around anyone.
Only the broken people can really embrace. That’s us — could we just really hold onto each other?”
Today, may we each hold onto one another! Some are missing their own mothers. Some are waiting and praying to become mothers. Some are single mothers, doing it all on their own. Each of us are broken and we all need that embrace. Motherhood is not about perfection. God never called us to be perfect. He only calls us to love.
I am so grateful that God called me to be your mother. I am thankful for the person He continues to mold me into through serving and love you.
It was our first soccer season with all three of you playing and it was also my first season coaching. It was such a fun few months. I had not planned on coaching, but when Daddy got orders to go to Afghanistan, I stepped in. It was such a great learning experience in many ways. There were Saturdays that I felt very overwhelmed with our busy game schedule, but God worked through me during these three months. I am grateful as He shapes me and molds me and as He shows me to seek Him first. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Philippians 4:13.
Mimi and Popi were out of town this weekend so we had family night dinner at our house. It's a gift to all live so close and be able to have this weekly tradition. The days are getting longer and we are spending them most often by the lake.
We weren't even at the hotel an hour and you guys were all changed and ready to head to the pool. I loved our time away to celebrate Big Sissy's upcoming birthday.