Goodbye 2014

Goodbye to 2014.

january sky

There are just a few hours to go before this year closes.  I’ve been wrestling with my word of the year the last couple days and in many ways I feel completely stuck on 2015.

2014 was a great year in so many ways, but if I’m honest I put a ton of pressure on myself.  My word of 2014 was seek.  I did a lot of seeking.  Many questions were answered, and yet a few questions remain a mystery. I learned who I can count on to go through trench warfare with me and who will let me be completely honest without wounding me with my own transparency.  There was so much striving to figure this stage of life out and how “to be” in this time of our lives.  If you think about it, we are bombarded constantly by messages telling us how being this way or that way is better than that way or this way.  These kinds of parents are superior (in their own minds) to those kinds of parents.  People with this set of gifts are better than people with that kind of talent. My kid is smarter than your kid.  I could go on and on, you get the picture.  We are hit with so many messages saying, “do more, do better” and “be more, be better”. It’s exhausting.

But now, I’m sort of stuck on what’s next. Uncharacteristically of me, I’m going to give myself permission not to know or try to figure it out.  So, I suppose my words for 2015 are “pause” and “follow”.

I’m choosing pause because I need to just give myself room to live for the fun of it.  I don’t want to fill every space.  Space is the best place to reflect on what matters.  When I fill my calendar with too much, I lose that sense of true connection and reflection.

I’m choosing follow because in 2015 I just want to follow God in what He shows us.  2015 is His year just like every other year.  It’s not really my year to plan. There is so much freedom in saying, “You know what? I don’t have to know”. It’s okay to have desires and to seek their fulfillment. By the same token we need to rest in God to give us His desires, which truly are best.

I’m going to rest in that, imperfectly, of course.

 

 

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Looking Back on 2014

How do you measure, measure a year? 2014 is soon to be over.  My word for 2014 was SEEK. I spent some time reading over my post on this word choice to see how I fared.

I won some. I lost some. Isn’t that the way it goes? Overall, I feel that some of the things I sought were obtained. Really many things were.   2014 has been a refining and defining year and it ends with a sort of fork in the road that only 2015 can answer in time.

But before 2015 is upon my shoulders, let’s look back at the highlights of this year on its last embers.

January

I learned to knit.

my yarn stash

We had snow.

Gracyn Snow Day

February

We didn’t learn to play the keyboard as we originally thought we would.

piano man

It snowed again!

snow boots

March

We enjoyed some pre-spring weather with Ramune.

ramune

And leaf blowers.

leaf blower

April

Soccer began once again.

Aidan soccer

Puddles invited us to jump.

puddle jumper

Eggs were decorated.

Easter Eggs

May

Sprinklers were turned on.

run through the sprinklers1-web

Barbecues and Watermelon were consumed.

Memorial Day 2014

Memorial Day 2014

Berries were picked.

berry patch

June

A little boy tuned seven.

Happy Birthday Jasper

World Cup fever struck.

soccer skills

July

We became parents of a teenager.

makeover 4-web

And a new pup.

Rosie on bed-web

August

School began once again.

playdoh-web

school prep-web

September

Busy autumn days meant improvising.

pizza night-web

The workloads were full.

gear-web

October

God blessed me with a trip to Thailand.

Wat Pho

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November

Life was busy photographing others, but I managed just two of my own.

jaspers feet and shadows

make-up-web

December

Christmas came and went in a blur.

GW party 01

Christmas Tree 2014-1-web

christmas jammies 2014-web

Now we look to the future.

Gracyn in hall-web

We don’t know what the future holds, but we know the ONE who holds the future. There are times of fear and expectation. We know that somehow it is all a gift.

brothers-web

Come what may…It is well.

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

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Little Things Thursday

If you’ve been around here a Christmas or two you may know that our family has an ornament per year tradition for our children. When my firstborn came along, I bought her an ornament for her first Christmas.  This began the tradition of buying each child an ornament each Christmas.  As they grew old enough to make choices, we let them choose their yearly ornaments.  The idea is that as they grow up and strike out on their own that they would take at least 18-24 ornaments with them for their own trees.  They would also take along their childhood memories with them and stories to tell their families-to-be.

Here is what they chose this year.  I must say that I was a bit remiss this year because we waited too long. We were left with some slim pickins, but I think we came out ok.  We always choose the glass ornaments, because we love the old-fashioned feel of them.

Gracyn’s pick: Chosen for her love of nature and animals.

Gracyn's 2014 ornament-web

Aidan’s pick: He loves the traditional ornaments.

Aidans 2014-ornament

Jasper’s pick: For his love of dogs, I suppose.

Jaspers 2014 ornanment-web

What are your favorite Christmas or Hanukkah traditions?

Link up with Little Things Thursday: Link Back, Grab your permalink, Link Up, and Mingle!


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Thailand Day Five: Little Things Thursday

I’m going big for Little Things Thursday today with a huge photo share! Additionally, I’m going to host my Thailand giveaway today, so hold on to your hats! I’m going to make the giveaway super simple.  Simply leave a comment and you are entered.  I’ll pick a comment number at random and that person will be the winner of my Thai box of surprises!! Sound fun? I’ve got some super fun things to share with one winner!

So day five had us touring a famous Thai temple called Wat Pho.  Wat is the Thai word for temple.  Wat Pho is the home of The Reclining Buddha.  I think this Buddha is best summed up by one of my travel companions who said, ” I don’t think I was prepared for the size of this.” She was referring to the size of the Buddha. You just don’t know until you know. Wat Pho seems to be a mix of traditional Thai Buddhism with some Chinese influence. Wat Pho is also the birthplace of the traditional and somewhat painful Thai massage.  You can’t leave Thailand without one.

To enter the site, you must remove your shoes and you must be dressed modestly.  Otherwise it’s the “Lime Green Coat of Shame” for you.  We were already in the know on that one.

Wat Pho

Wat Pho

Wat Pho

Wat Pho

Wat Pho

Wat Pho

Wat Pho

Wat Pho

wat pho

Wat Pho

If you are ever in Thailand this is a great stop that tends to be less crowded that some of the bigger temples. You can get there by bus, taxi, or river taxi. We took the latter.  A temple visit is a great cultural study to help you understand the roots of Thai life.

Okay friends, your turn to share. To join the fun simply: Link back, grab your permalink, link up and mingle. Don’t forget to leave a comment if you would like to enter the drawing for my box of Thai goodies. You won’t be disappointed. I’m keeping it a surprise for the winner, and maybe he or she will share on their blog later??? I think that would make a fun post for them! Or for those without blogs, maybe you would share on Facebook for others to see?

I’ll announce the winner next week!


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Little Things Thursday: The Jet Lag Edition

Hello Friends! I’m back from Thailand and am in the throes of readjusting to this time zone once again.  I’m doing fairly well with jet lag, but I’m definitely less productive right now. So, word on those jet lag pills I mentioned a couple weeks ago is that they definitely have lessened my symptoms.  What once was a week adjustment has turned in to 3 days, roughly.

I’m sharing just one little teaser today, but I will be sharing all my images sorted by days.  I think that is probably the easiest way to share them.

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I found this lovely Thai lady at Jim Thompson House in Bangkok. I’ll be sharing more about this tomorrow.

I’m happy to be back with you lovelies this week, so let’s get the party started!

Link up with Little Things Thursday: Link Back, Grab your permalink, Link up , and Mingle!


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Little Things Thursday

Gah! The rush is on here.  I leave for Thailand in one week. Next Thursday morning I will be making my way to the airport to catch the very long flight to Bangkok.  We will leave Atlanta and fly 13+ hours to Seoul and then another 6 on to Bangkok.

As you can imagine, there is much to do to get ready combined with my normal work load.  I’ll be glad for those “quiet” flight hours to recharge, if that is possible.

A few scenes of life around here this past week are:

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1. Ugandan paper beads from Kanzi as gifts for some of our friends in Thailand. If you are looking for some unique gifts with a cause, check them out.

2. Editing my latest photo session to 80’s music.

3. A sneak peek from the session!

4. Homeschool continues to go on.  The most challenging part of the day is teaching multiple math levels at the same time.

5. In between arguments the kids do find ways to play well together.

6. The mornings have turned cool, and have been absolutely lovely.

7. Fall was heralded with a pot of minestrone soup.

8. I finally shopped for unrestrictive flight outfits.  I found some really cozy and trendy “sweatpants” that will be perfect.  They aren’t as bad as they sound, because seriously sweatpants sound awful outside of the house, don’t they? But at the end of the day all I can think of is 21 hours… in economy.

9. 8  7 days to go.

We will be having Little Things Thursday next week, and the Thursday after that as planned. So I hope you will come keep me company while I’m jet-lagged in Bangkok!

Let’s mingle!

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Black and White Wednesday

Hello Wednesday! I’m getting a late blogging start on you.  Today, I’m sharing a few black and whites from the photo play I had with Jasper last week.

J dypt 01

Did you know if you say, “chicken” you can get your kids to laugh and show all their snaggle-toothed glory?

You totally can.

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

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September

Autumn photo sessions are undoubtedly my favorite.  I just love when everything gets rich and golden.

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September marks the beginning of my busy season, and I just love being able to photograph people bathed in the golden hour light.

Today, as if on cue, the air had a hint of crispness.

Yes, autumn is here and I’m looking forward to capturing it all. Let’s start with a little sneak peek of my latest session.

Linking with Good Random Fun and Songography|September Grass.

 

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Little Things Thursday

I took a pause out of life last night and decided that I really needed some time to shoot.  I was starting to feel creatively dry and I needed to remind myself of how fun it is to exercise those creative muscles.

However, my child totally pulled a photographer’s kid stance.  If you are a photographer and you have kids, I don’t need to go on.  But even in those “I’m too itchy”, “The sun is in my eyes”, and “I don’t know how to smile” moments…you get a few shots anyway.

Jasper|Newnan Children's Photographer
Jasper| Newnan Children's Photographer
Jasper| Newnan Children's Photographer

What are you shooting to stay creative?

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From a Distance

From a distance we will all have enough.

No hungry mouths to feed.

That’s right.  Half a world away.  I’ll still make your dinner.  It’s my travel insurance.

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16 days to go to departure and I’m finally over the lingering cold.  I’m spending them wrapping up all the loose ends that make my leaving a little easier. I’ve been making freezer meals for the last two days so that my family can eat well when I am gone. And, well, making this investment means that my husband is more apt to say yes to more trips if I don’t leave him in the lurch.

I’m no big dummy.

I’ve made pumpkin bread with freshly pureed pumpkin to freeze for breakfasts.  I’ve made 5 crock pot meals and one casserole. My freezer is full of love… and insurance premiums.

The beer?  Just a experiment gone horribly wrong.  I hate beer.  The Punkin Ale sounded promising.  I still hate beer.

So yep, these next two weeks are all about getting ready.  There is shopping, packing, schooling, scheduling blog posts, and with a side of freaking out a tad.

In a good way.

Linking with Good Random Fun, Songography, Wednesdays Around the World, and Black and White Wednesday…where I am clearly breaking the rules, again. 😉

 

 

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