Last week it was prom pictures, and today this moment in front of me looks more like a wedding gown and centerpieces and final details.
All photos are shared with permission from Krista Browning Photography. Krista loves capturing the emotion of people’s stories through pictures. She is based in South Florida, but she is open to traveling to meet your photography needs. You can find her by clicking on the following social media platforms | website | facebook | Instagram | Pinterest. But don’t look for her next weekend, she’s already booked for a little event that’s extra special to my family.
Have you ever wished for a pause button? One that could make time stand still for a bit so you can soak it all in? Kind of like taking a picture to remember an event, and wishing there was a secret to making these moments last longer than the split second it took to snap the shot.
The only way I’ve ever found to do that is Read More
Today we’re just one month shy of 1000 days from our last big family event and three days ago marked a mere 100 days until our next. This pledging to a spouse is the most beautiful of family celebrations. It ranks right up there with bringing babies into the world, and grandbabies too, or so I’ve heard. You, our children, have chosen well. And this is my prayer for your marriage …
That Christ will always be the foundation of your marriage. Learning what that looks like in the day-to-day is much more complicated than tossing Read More
As kids many of us looked forward to decorating a shoe box, picking out Valentine’s for our classmates and an afternoon party at school. What’s not to love about sugar upon sugar? According to Hallmark, the 114 million cards sent on Valentine’s Day are second only to Christmas. That doesn’t even consider those exchanged in construction covered boxes in classrooms across the country. As the years pass we narrow our Valentine’s Day focus to a more select group of friends, those we’ve walked with more closely in the day to day. It’s a good reminder to show love and gratitude to those around us. But as nice as the chocolate and cards are, for many of us, the years also bring a deeper appreciation for time and connection with others as opposed to tangible gifts. These intangibles gifts are the sort of things you can look forward to here in the next two weeks, along with a few DIYs to whip up in the process. So you can consider today to be an invitation to share some love with a cookie party.
Age really isn’t a factor in the love of cookies though it may determine the thickness of icing and the total weight of sprinkles mounded on top Read More
I know. It’s kind of an in your face blog post title. It’s bossy. I’m a mom, so I guess I come by the “mom tone” quite honestly. But, when you find something that breathes life into your day, don’t you just want to call your bestest of friends and tell them all about it? So let’s just settle now that this is where I’m coming from today with my bossy title. From the perspective of a friend wanting so share a treasure. While we’re at it, let’s just pretend we’re sitting across the table at your local coffee house with our favorite beverages and catching up, while I share why you and I need to find time to hold dearly.
Meet my friend, Sarah …
You know when you walk away from the briefest of conversations with someone you’ve just met feeling Read More
It’s our third week of advent devotions and a new ornament today! If you’ve missed the original posts in this series, you can catch up on all of them here. This week we have the Advent joy devotion and free nativity ornament, which happens to be a few shepherds. I love the childlike whimsical look of these ornaments and, as one reader described, their cheeky little grins are a bit endearing.
As always we would love to hear how you have used these resources. Feel free to use them with
The Christmas season is one rich with traditions and significance. It can also quickly become so chockful of good things that we miss the best things. Many of us can look back to years when we did okay in quieting the chaos and focusing on Christ and other years not so much. One of the things our family has always enjoyed is some sort of Advent observance. There are as many ways to celebrate advent as there are those celebrating. We want to share a simple Advent hope devotion and free nativity set for you to use with you children, grandchildren, nieces & nephews, church kids or whomever you choose.
Advent begins the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, which this year is Read More
Why so early with an Advent devotion round up for all ages?
In just one week we’ll find our thoughts quickly shifting from turkey and stuffing to twinkle lights and wrapped gifts. Many of us feel a deep growing need to quiet some of the chaos and noise of Christmas in an effort to focus on the birth of Christ. We have used a variety of books and devotions over the years to celebrate Advent and today I want to share some of our favorites. And we have a sneak peek at a fun ornament set for the kids to make starting next week. So why share an advent round up for all ages today you ask? Why to give you time to order a copy for yourself and begin planning for your own family advent, of course.
Family devotions and activities with younger children
When our four were clustered more around the preschool years, one of our favorite books was Read More
She’s the baby. But really she’s an old soul, this youngest of ours. Years ago, when this Mama thing was so new, exciting and terrifying, I wondered how we would ever survive with the house being all quiet and almost boring when the older three had grown up and journeyed out to make their own way.
I’ve been praying for a few friends and dear boy mamas this week who are struggling as they send their little guys off to school. And as I crawled into bed a few days ago, a picture of my boy on top of a mountain popped up on my phone. Along with it came a flood of thoughts about my own little ones, most of whom are girls and all of whom are now taller than me.
And then a picture of a friend’s little guy looking so small and forlorn reminded me of my own who had a habit of hiding behind my leg when someone spoke to him. And now? Well, now that timidity is unrecognizable, partly because of my hubby’s encouragement to let our boy be a boy and grow into who he was wired to be.
Now let me just say here, there are so very many times I’ve messed it up, this Mama thing. My boy and I have had our share of tough days and hurtful words and we still have plenty of room, and prayers, for our relationship to grow stronger with each passing year. But through it all, I’m so grateful for God’s grace to help us remember the beautiful moments and to cover those that were just plain “less than” in one way or another.
So for all you Mamas of boys struggling in these first few weeks of school and for those who find yourself still waiting for your boy to return home, please know that you are being prayed for and that you are brave. And perhaps find a little encouragement in the flood of thoughts that bombarded my memory on the other side of this grand undertaking of raising boys into men …
Dear Boy Mama
Dear Boy Mama,
Yeah, it’s scary. This releasing them into this big world when we’re never quite sure they’re ready.
They’re sure, sometimes. Other times, not so much.
As hard as it is … we let them go. Their first big day could be heading off to kindergarten, or it could be more like our oldest whose first day of “real school” included car keys and college textbooks.
At some point, they’ll toss the phrase “I was born ready, Mom” or some other cheesy cliche over their shoulder as they head out the door as if to prove their readiness to both themselves and you all in one fell swoop. You might as well know they very well may be trembling inside a bit too, but seeing you believe in them helps them to do the same.
Either way, we let them go and quickly find that when they return they’re full of stories. Some comforting, others not at all and sprinkled throughout there may even be a tear or two. You’ll listen to their stories and wipe the hurt from their eyes as needed. Then they’ll tell of newfound friendships, those also falling into the same categories of comforting, not so comforting and those capable of bringing a fresh flow of tears.
Laced throughout are a few stories about new things they’re learning and suddenly you see a deeper passion ignited in their eyes than had been there before.
Then they grow. And they grow. Typically a good 6 inches in some random summer when we looked away for a mere moment. And suddenly we find ourselves looking up at them in conversation instead of the other way around.
And the shoes and adventures seem to grow one right alongside the other. All the while their voice is deepening and their personality is emerging with greater confidence than ever before. And prayerfully some of those encouraging friendships of days gone by have grown deeper with each passing year.
Before we know it they’re heading off on some grand adventure to do daring things of which we would never approve were we standing there beside them. Nothing illegal or immoral mind you, just daring and bold. Definitely bolder than we feel watching our hearts waltz right out the door to conquer the world, or maybe just their little corner of it.
They’ll send pictures. Maybe not lots and lots of them, they are boys after all, but they’ll send the coolest of their collection. You’ll gasp at how close they are to the edge of safety and, from where you sit, sanity.
Yet you’ll beam because deep down in the very depths of your soul you know they were made for this. They were formed for this scaling of mountains and this swinging from trees.
You’ll hear, more than once mind you, “Love you, Mom!” just before some daring feat or grown-up decision. And you’ll want to look away for a split second just hoping it to all turns out okay. Somehow you know this “Love you, Mom!” is a veiled request for affirmation of some sort because we’re all wired to need such things from those whose opinions matter.
They’ll drag in a good kind of exhausted from the adventure of it all. And you’ll hear more stories. Oh the stories, and more pictures if you’re lucky, but mostly you’ll see the light in their eyes from the sheer excitement of it all.
And you’ll just smile as you listen and soak it all in. Every sight, sound, smell and touch of them and who they’ve become. And then you’ll smile even deeper knowing that this learning to let go is the greatest gift we can give these young men of ours.
The freedom to scale the scary mountains that lie before them. If not for scaling them, how could they ever be ready to move them in the days ahead? And who’s to say it’s not precisely that for which they were created?
It’s our gift to them, this letting them go, season by season. And thankfully it comes bit by bit, for our hearts could never handle this letting go all at once.
And their gift to us? It’s the coming home. It’s a way of saying “Love you, Mom!” for letting them go in the first place. For believing in them enough to unclutch our hands for them to fly. For being the voice in their head cheering them on. For a Mama’s hug, because there’s just nothing quite like it, and perhaps a batch of their favorite cookies too.
So smile deeply, Mama. Yes, your lip may quiver. That’s okay. As you well know, this being brave often happens in the face of fear, not the absence of it. You’re brave enough to give one of the greatest gifts you possess. And those always seem to come with more sacrifice than we believe we have to offer.
For without this letting go for them to soar there would be no glorious homecoming now would there?