Little Things Thursday

We had an exciting milestone last Friday.  Gracyn had her first formal evening of high school!

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The school she attends has an English Country Dance Society. Doesn’t that sound so chic?

The girls donned long gowns and the guys wore their best suits. In other words, the girls spent all day getting ready and the boys got ready in 10 minutes with suits already in the closet.

During the beginning of the year, the school holds practice dances where the kids learn to dance English Country Style (think Jane Austen), The Waltz, a bit of Swing, The Virginia Reel, and others. I sure do value the way they learn to dance the old society way versus modern culture’s idea of dancing. I mean, modern dancing has it’s place, but many kids grow up without learning to dance for grown up events.

The girls are learning to wait to be asked to dance, and to graciously accept requests.  Except for that one Sadie Hawkins number they like to mortify the girls with, occasionally.

Call me old fashioned, but I love when men are called upon to step up and pursue. This is something that I am emphasizing in our home, even though it isn’t necessarily a value of today’s culture. Equally, I was thrilled that most of the kids did not go with a particular date, so that they could have the experience of dancing with more than one person.  I just kind of love that idea.

The final report of the evening was good, even though the girls did hide during some of the harder dances. Not an ankle was twisted, so all’s well that ended well.

Let’s hear about your week!


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For All That You Have Done For Us

This past Sunday our worship team sang For All That You Have Done For Us by Rend Collective, which is set to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. I had not hear this before, or at least I hadn’t remembered hearing it.

But, what an incredible song of praise as we look back over the last year with Thankfulness.

Your grace will never be forgot

Your mercy all my life…

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Will be my source forever song
My story and my light

2015 had its share of ups, downs, transitions, and general overwhelm.

But even in all of that, one only needs to look around to see that everything is grace and everything has purpose.

The little blessings are huge and numerous when we stop to count them one by one. Mine might not look as grand as the one next to me, but they are grand when viewed through the lens of grace.

And when I truly take stock of all I have I am humbled and even ashamed of my grumblings.  I’m making the effort to count those small blessings this winter when I am often plagued by the blues. I’ll be doing a #100happydays on Instagram to document the blessings that God gives me.  The smaller the better.

I am so tuned to see the big as what counts (especially when I get trapped by comparison), so I am only focusing on the small things that equal a happy life.

I know that waiting for the big things will cause me to miss the bounty before me.

I hope you are all off to a great start in 2016. Let’s count our blessings!

Linking with Randomosity and Songography. So happy to be back to joining these lovelies!

 

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Catching Up

I’m still playing a bit of catch up from the end of summer through this second week of school.  Really, I think it is a bit of catch up combined with a much needed breather from always feeling in go mode. Not that I’m stopping much, but merely having to give a different set of items priority.

That’s why I’m thankful for Instagram that lets me continue to connect with others while blogging has been a back burner item, lately.  I’m looking forward to picking up my camera again and documenting life.  I am excited because I have a couple rolls of never-before-seen summer film ready to go out this week! What a surprise those frames will be.  Truly, I cannot even remember what all I captured.

Meanwhile, a taste of lately…

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I’ve picked up the knitting basket, which is a true sign that fall is on the way.

Dipped DQ cones filled in the always present waiting on the teenager to finish her activity time gap. It’s amazing how much life we parents exchange for our teens to have a life. These activities are all good things and I’m glad that we can give her the time to let her grow in many endeavors. We do make sure to reward the patient younger brothers who have to do a bit of waiting.

My Lemon Queen sunflowers have begun to bloom around the yard.  Sunflowers are so rewarding! I think I will do a bigger planting next year.

And, in heartbreaking news, I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Bangkok bombing this week.  Perhaps it feels like a far off incident to many reading this, but to me, it feels quite personal. Bangkok holds a very near and dear place in my heart.  If you are new here, you may not know that my family lived and worked there for 8 years.  Bangkok is also the birthplace of each of my children. While no one place in the world has more significance than another, this bombing stings a little. More than a little, actually.  It angers me and I hope it is a righteous anger. I can envision the exact place, the exact time, the sights, sounds, and the people.  I have stood in that place and passed by many, many times.  For me, it isn’t about the place, but the people.  So my heart goes out to this second home for me.  This evil incident reminds me to keep praying for a place and people that I love. As far as I’m hearing, all of my Bangkok connections are safe.  For that, I’m very thankful.

Linking this week with Randomosity, Wednesdays Around the World, and Black and White Wednesday.

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I Think It Was The Fourth of July (unedited)

Saturday in the [Grove]

I think it was the Fourth of July

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People reaching, people touching

A real celebration

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Listen children all is not lost
All is not lost, oh no, no. 

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I’ve been waiting such a long time for Saturday.

Hope all of my USA friends had a wonderful Fourth celebration!

Linking with Good.Random.Fun and Songography |Saturday in the Park| Chicago

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It’s Not Easy Being Green

It’s not that easy being green...

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Especially when my daughter is around.  She will find you, catch you, and make you her squishy.

Linking with Good.Random.Fun and Songography|It’s Not Easy Being Green

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Growing

I’ve been feeling a renewed sense of taking the time to live. Do you know what I mean? Like all of us, I can get so bogged down in the daily doings of life that I forget to truly live.

It’s funny how spring invites us to see things freshly.  All the life bursting forth reminds us that we also need to recreate.

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So, I sat down and wrote a bit in a journal about what that means to me right now and I realized that I need to protect this sacred place of living. I mean, I already knew that, but it gets lost in the fray at times.

I realized, anew, that I’m responsible for my own happiness and time to live.  It is not anyone else’s responsibility to carve that out for me.  Me being me, I came up with a plan.

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On the docket:

  • Gardening
  • Walks
  • Time to reflect/Bible study
  • Handwritten letters
  • Time outdoors
  • Creating my own adventures
  • Simplicity and Minimalism
  • Nourishing my artist’s heart
  • Friendships: Old and New
  • Guarding my heart
  • Meaningful conversations and fellowship
  • Seeking out inspirational, passionate people/being mentored and mentoring/a circle of giving and receiving
  • Abundance mentality in thoughts, words, and deeds
  • Picnics
  • Time with hubby
  • Wine and cheese

Gosh, there really is so much more I could say.  This will require lots of prayer and intentional choices.  You may remember that my two words of 2015 are Pause and Follow. It’s getting close to mid-year and it’s time to do those gut checks.  Am I making strides towards my goals? Are you? Are you pursuing them un-apologetically? If I’m honest, there has been rough surf.  I’m grateful for those because I can adjust my sails going into the second half of the year.

Happiness is the reward of intentional living.  I’m growing.

Linking with Good.Random.Fun.

 

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Friends

The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship- William Blake

I’m thankful for the true friendships that God has given our children over the years. I’m thankful for their encouragement, and those that seek to keep them looking upward.  Rare gems are these.

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I couldn’t miss the opportunity to capture one such sweet relationship yesterday!

As hubby commented yesterday: Girls sure do giggle a lot.

Linking up with Good.Random.Fun.

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Insta-Thailand

This is my last post on this trip to Thailand.  I thought it would be fun to wrap it up with my Instagram photo dump.  It was hard to see this trip come to an end, and I did my crying on the tarmac, per usual. It’s always right when the plane starts to taxi for take-off. It’s always a few quiet tears.  They are tears of joy, sadness, and the fear that this truly is the last time that I will see Thailand.  I don’t want to assume or presume.  I’m glad God keeps surprising me with His good gifts though, because I’ve done the runway cry at least 5 times.  This elephant shaped country has been a huge part of my story.

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It was amazing! I’m grateful. My heart is full.

Linking with Wednesdays Around the World and Black and White Wednesday.

Thursday I will announce the winner of my Thai treats giveaway! Be sure to leave a comment on last Thursday’s post to enter!

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Thailand: Day Two

The second day of long distance travel is usually the hardest in terms of jet lag/fatigue.  Thankfully, this real first day of the vision trip was pretty low key.  We began the day meeting for orientation at one of the leader’s apartments downtown.  This was where we spent a little time getting to know each other and the work in the downtown area.  The newbies were given some mini-Thai lessons, which is always fun.  It was great to see people begin to use what they learned throughout the week.

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After orientation, we gathered together for our first “team meal”. We walked to Silom Village and had a Thai style lunch. This means that several dishes are ordered to share. No one orders a meal and keeps it to himself.  Personally, I love this way of eating because you get a bit of everything.  Thai food is just too delicious to not try it all.  Look at all those fruit shakes! Can you tell they were a favorite of everyone?

Later in the day we headed to the newer church plant downtown called Grace City Bangkok.  This was a real treat for me.  When I left Thailand there was one budding church, and now there are two growing churches!

Grace City Bangkok meets downtown at The Emporium Suites on Sukhumvit 24, floor EL at 4PM.  This church is a mix of Thai and western people.  Services are usually Thai, but with some English worship mixed in.  It was great to worship with my Thai brothers and sisters in their language.  I was surprised at how my Thai language came flooding back and I was able to participate with them.  I always think that worshipping in another culture is a snapshot of what heaven will look like with peoples from every nation. It’s a blessing.

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The City

This is the view from worship services.  Look at the vast city! It goes on and on.  There is always new construction going on making Bangkok a city in perpetual growth.

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Grace City Worship Team

These guys lead some great songs for us to sing both in Thai and English.

We ended the day by joining the church for a meal in the food court in the mall that is connected to this building.  This day was a sweet time of getting to see the church and dear friends.

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These are the days

These are the days you’ll remember.

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And as you feel it, you’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky.

These are the days.
See the signs and know their meaning.

I had the pleasure of photographing these sweet friends recently. You can see more of their session on www.kimcunninghamphotography.com.

One of the things I most love about photographing families is preserving for them “these days”. I love to show them as they are right in this moment in time, because this time will move forward.

I want them to remember what it was like to be at this stage, because this stage gives way to new stages.  Raising a family is a dynamic thing.  You don’t notice changes until you’ve changed.

I feel so blessed to hit the pause button for families and say, “Look at your beautiful family! These are the days”!

Happy 16th Anniversary, you two!

Linking with Good Random Fun and Songography|These Are The Days.

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