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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Little Things Thursday

Welcome back to Little Things Thursday.  Yesterday, I brought my camera along on our outing hoping to find something to photograph for today, but quickly realized that I left my CF card at home. I had a session last evening and didn’t put my card back in my camera after downloading the session. Which is smart on one level and disappointing on another.

So, for today, Instagram will do.  Although, I haven’t take many of those either.  I seriously need to get it together around here.

I blame the rain.

Mid Novemeber 2015

I don’t know about where you live, but Atlanta has already beaten Seattle in rainfall.  We’ve had nothing but rain since Halloween. Well, the sun did finally come out Tuesday afternoon.

The bummer is that all the rain sort of blighted our fall color.  We got a little, but not the vibrant show of years past.

Still, we are thankful for the sun that has returned before winter arrives very soon.  Can you believe that?

By the look of some of your blogs, autumn has been glorious for you! I’m living vicariously, so keep that color coming!


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Little Things Thursday

It was another busy week here.  One of the things we are heavily learning in this new season of raising a family is time management. The days are so full!

Learning to pace ourselves has been the theme of life.  We have always been pretty good at managing time, but each time we enter a new phase, we must adjust!

Jasper window light 01-blog I’m really getting fairly desperate for time to photograph people. My people, that is! I’ve taken so few images of them since school began.

However, tomorrow, we are heading out for an over-nighter in the GA mountains and I will be toting some cameras. We are really looking forward to a couple days to play as a family before we rev up for the end of the year busyness. I love the mountains this time of year! You can find me this weekend on my Instagram account kim_littlebylittle! Join me as we enjoy the fall! You can also find me @kimcunninghamphoto where I exclusively share my professional work! Let’s see your October fun!


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September

There are just a couple days of September left, but she was good to us!

So many new beginnings came this month. The biggest was our oldest heading out of the home a couple days a week for school. She attends Monday and Thursday classes, and works at home the other 3 days.  The classes are challenging and the work load can be intense. It’s a great push for college prep! She writes 2-3 essays per week, which shocked me, but I can see how that is developing her so much.  She got a 100 on her very first essay comparing To Kill A Mockingbird with Pride and Prejudice.

September 26-2015

I’m happy to report that she has 3 A’s and a B in her studies, so far. Algebra 1 is proving to be the nemesis, so I spent my Friday night brushing up on Order of Operations so that I can help tutor. Algebra was never my strong suit, but together we will learn!

I whipped up some breakfast burritos this month to help the morning rush and to feed the kids something that would sustain their bellies until lunch.

Do you guys like vintage Pyrex? I have been scouring antique shops for a set and finally found a pristine collection in the Cinderella series. The pattern I found is one that I remember from childhood. I don’t know who had this pattern, but I remember it in someone’s kitchen. I needed a set of mixing and serving bowls desperately. I was down to one.

September 25-2-2015

Fall began, and so did my Wednesday Night, Mommy Needs a Work Night, Starbucks. That’s the official title.  I’m using this time to catch up restructuring my photography business.  I’ve realized that there are some changes that I need to make that will help protect my over-arching goals and if I can’t do that, then I’ll need to stop.  I don’t want to stop, so it is time to strengthen my backbone in some key areas.

Soccer began again.  It’s a new beginning in that we changed from a beginner’s league to a real rec-league with some rock-star type players.  My boys are a bit outclassed at the moment, but it is pushing them to new heights, which is exactly what they needed. I’ve already seen them digging deeper to develop. We weren’t getting that at the other league after 5 years.  It was a perfect entry point, but it was time to move on.  They are going from 1 practice and game per week to 2 practices, 1 skill camp night, and 1-2 games per week.  They love playing, so we want them to truly develop the skills they need to succeed. They were always the better players at the former league and well, if that’s the case, that’s as far as you develop.  Being with stronger players will only make them stronger.

Homeschooling the boys has been great.  They are growing by leaps and bounds, which makes the schooling enjoyable for all. We are taking school on the road on Mondays while big sis is in classes. That change of environment is just the boost we need to stay revived.

So September, thank you for being a great start.  We are looking forward to the rest of fall and finding the good in it!

Linking with Good.Random.Fun.

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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…

August 18-2015

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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Little Things Thursday

Today is day 4 of our new school year and so far, things have gone extremely well  It’s always a blessing to get through the first few days with not one kid crying over work. In fact, our little Jasper told me last night that he felt so much better now that school has started  I wasn’t super sure what he meant, but at the same time I knew exactly what he meant.

Routine is a friend.

beginning of school week 2015

Sure, summer can be a great refresher of souls, but it has an expiration date. Too much and it starts to stink. I get that, and it was true for me as it was for him. The kids have had nothing but praise for their new endeavors, which is a balm to this weary Mama’s heart.

Weary. Yes, weary. The weeks before school began were intense with working. Not only did I have to wrap up summer activities and plan school, but I also had a huge editing project to finish. Two actually. My brain really started to melt from computer time. This explains why I have only posted phone shots here lately. I could not edit one more thing at the time. I’m actually giving myself the freedom to not edit personal work for a couple weeks, or until I feel up to it again. Whichever comes first.

I’m seeking to live more mindfully. I was feeling more robot than human over the summer. So, I made some changes. I’m waking earlier, which sounds counter intuitive. Hello 5:45 A.M.

It’s helping me focus my heart, soul, and mind at the beginning of the day before the fray begins. School is over by 1:30 P.M. The house is clean. I’ve exercised. Meals are served. Tasks are completed. And, I’ve gotten some rest time to just enjoy before doing it all over again. That’s a huge bonus because I really stink at the rest thing.

I’m still behind on blogging due to the projects I was working on, but my plan is to carve out time on Saturdays to blog for the week rather than freaking out the night before trying to pull something together. My blogging needs to reflect authenticity of life not scrambling to post. Now that school is back, I don’t think there will be a lack of things going on with all the new horizons and all.

Well, I hope you all are enjoying your remaining summer or are enjoying the first weeks of school routines. Drop a line and let me know!


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Little Things Thursday

Welcome back to Little Things Thursday. Once again, the week has gotten away from me. We’ve been in Back to School prep mode here. Yep, we are one of those weird states that goes back to school in early August.

So, we’ve been spending our days shopping for pencils and notebooks. The school room has been tidied and I’m fiercely guarding it lest someone musses it up. I think I’ve said, “Touch nothing” several times. Our big haul of books arrives today, I hope! Nothing like 4 days to go to dig into the curriculum. It’s not my first time at the rodeo with either the 3rd or 5th grade programs, so it should be old hat. Gracyn doesn’t officially start her hybrid school until after Labor Day, but she does have a paper due the very first day. It is a comparison paper in which she will compare Pride and Prejudice with a book she read last year…TBD. She will work on this while the boys are in school.

august 5 2015

New bedding was a surprise this week. I rolled over in bed one night and heard the sheets rip. They weren’t super old, but ripped nonetheless. And any old excuse to update everything would do, so I did. I just love neutrals, and went that direction. I love the calm of a simple color palate.

Gracyn is back on Doggie Day Care duty with Harls. Harley’s mom is a teacher and has already gone back to work, so we get to play a bit with this guy during the school year. Our Pomston, Rosie, is sweet on him. Harley acts nonplussed, but he enjoys her attention.

And finally, Curly Sue decided to let the hair stylist flat iron her hair for kicks. She looks so pretty, but we love her curls, too. She is looking like a 9th grader here and I’m not sure I like that too much. This year is definitely going to be one of many transitions, but I have faith that it will be good.

How’s the rest of your summer shaping up?


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The summer that was…

Hard. Summer was hard. I’m not one to dwell on negativity, because really, there is just so much of that in the world. But, I’m learning that acknowledging the hard things doesn’t have to be negative. It can be good for the soul. I think we call it processing, don’t we?

This summer was a season where the pressure to have fun was overwhelming. Maybe you can relate. This summer was one where my husband and I were only able to focus on building what was right in front of us. Our work efforts required everything we had. It was time to dig deep and slog through many battles and fun was just not going to be a reality for us no matter how much we “needed” it. And that was hard. If I’m honest, it was pretty stinky to be on the outside looking in. I had a pity party or two. Or three.

End of Summer 2015-1

We had to make due with simple pleasures and our summer was probably similar to the summers we had as kids. There was no pressure to keep up with everyone else’s adventures and stuff back in the day. Kids played outside. They had a Popsicle or two. They went to the pool occasionally. And they were happy. The end.

But, this summer I really lost my way in remembering truth. I had to fight for truth. I won. I won because I was able to take my disappointments and refocus them on what really matters. I was able to journal my way through my thoughts and turn them right side up. There is still a twinge of pain lingering over a summer I wouldn’t have chosen, but I recognize those old familiar feelings and speak truth to them a little more quickly these days.

End of Summer 2015-2

My kids? They had a fun summer. They played outside. They had a Popsicle or two. They went to the pool occasionally. And they were happy. The end. Actually, our oldest had a blast youth grouping all summer long. So her tank should be extra full.

While I am in many ways in need of a grand do-over, I am thankful that school begins again next Monday. School is the great equalizer and we all suffer together. LOL.

Our work loads won’t be any less, but I feel that I have a better grasp on what I need to do to build a solid foundation for the year ahead. It still requires digging deep and slogging through some things, but as our fortune cookies so wisely put it: Your investments of time now will lead to success later. You will make many changes before settling satisfactorily. <— This, yes this.

Those aren’t “fortunes”, but just some good old common sense with truth that rings through. I needed the reminders that none of this summer was in vain. No matter how stinky it felt at times. I am better for walking the valley. We all are if we look at the valley as a teaching ground rather than something to avoid. Comfort, while good, is not always a friend.

This morning as I was flicking through Instagram I was blessed with another great reminder which simply said: Steady Construction, Not Hasty Assembly. (Thank you Little Bit Funky) So often we want life to be an Ikea flat pack on the road to we are going. Very often, that’s just not how things work. I would love this in a frame to hang because wow, that is exactly how I need to approach this coming year. Steady construction. In all things.

I’m thankful for those that cheered me on the sidelines with those quiet don’t give up calls, and for those even louder ones that jarred me straight back to the construction zone. Oh, how I need that.

I’m praying for a fruitful season ahead, because I need that, too.

Linking with Good.Random.Fun.

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Little Things Thursday

Hello, strangers.  Well, that’s how it feels since I have had to pull back on blogging the last week or so.  I can only keep up with one post a week right now, but thank you for still connecting here, meanwhile. I’m trying to give myself permission to take care of all the pressing things so I can get back to a regular routine soon. I’ve gotta have it together by a week from Monday, so I’m almost there.

I’ve been swamped with preparing for our new school year, and working my photography business.  I’m just in a stage where the devil is in the details. I just need those around me to say that it is okay for these things to take time to complete. I can be such a hamster on a wheel. I forget that most things are a process and not a run into the ground race.

Enough about that though, because I have a girl to celebrate! Yesterday, Gracyn turned 14! I could lament the years here, but you moms already know. It goes quickly.

And she got a phone.

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She’s pretty pleased about the phone situation. We’ve been one of the last hold out parents of kids her age. There are still a few others, but we were definitely in the minority. I don’t regret waiting, but feel that now is the time with high school on the very near horizon. I just need to be able to reach my kid.  It’s more for me than her. So, it’s definitely a little thing bringing much happiness around here. Her dad and I are cool after all.

How’s your week going, friends?


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Summer Scenes

Summer is waning here in the deep south, and I don’t think I can talk about it much.  I’m in denial.

There is still so much to fit in in these 3+ weeks until school begins again.  I’m just not mentally ready! But, meanwhile here are a few summer scenes as we seek to soak it all in.

July 1-13 2015

The kids are getting their summer tanks full, it seems. It doesn’t take more than long days playing on our street, snow cones, pool days, and youth group events to keep them happy.

I think we will keep doing these simple things for the rest of the summer. I hope your summer is full of happy!

Linking with Good.Random.Fun.

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