December 31, 2014

Christmas 2014 {sweet moments}

This Christmas was filled with the joy of cooking and hosting some family events. I loved it! (I think I have finally developed and mastered a great gluten-free, casein-free stuffing recipe.)

With my hands busy prepping food, I didn't have the time I normally do to take pictures, but I did occasionally pause to take mental pictures and give thanks for the sweet time with family.

December 17, 2014

Fall 2014 {beauty & joy}

This has been an autumn to remember. Between the fall-time craziness of my photography business and with the local fun family activities, we enjoyed all this season had to offer. Apple picking, visiting the pumpkin patch, Thanksgiving Day and playing in the leaves always make great family memories.

Interestingly, one memory I will forever cherish was made on a day I didn't dare bring out my camera. We visited Sky Top Orchard with close family friends and it rained all day. Torrential rain. ALL day. It was great! We had the place to ourselves as we picnicked, slid around in the mud, ran and laughed in the rain and, of course, trudged across the orchard seeking our favorite apple - pink lady.

I guess some memories are best documented solely in the heart. :)

But here are a few pictures of the rest of our autumn joy...

October 10, 2014

cherish now

Wesley raced past me, laughing while asking me if he was as fast as a cheetah.
I smiled and answered, "Almost."

Grant, while jumping high in the waves, giggled his delight and yelled "FUN!" with full gusto. I stared at his profile and wondered the age old question of mothers everywhere, Where did the time go?

Right then and there, I renewed my vow to cherish every moment.
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Early Autumn at the Beach

October 3, 2014

Reunion {the journey continues}

You and me. It has been a reunion long in the waiting. This place, such a sweet place of respite, has never been far from my mind.

For months I tucked myself away into my corner of the world. I needed to step away. My role as a mom craved every crumb I could feed it.

A year ago marked some increased strain - Grant's anxiety spiked and his sleep plummeted. I struggled daily, hourly, moment-by-moment to know how to help him. It had been years since Grant had really, truly slept well. And it was affecting all of us.

Then came a reprieve. In addition to his current diagnosis of Fragile X Syndrome, Grant was diagnosed with MTHFR (Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase). One of the symptoms? Severe insomnia. We started treatment immediately. And Grant started to sleep. Praise the Lord!

While my family's daily life is far from easy, sleep has helped to ease some of the strain. We are so thankful for the blessing of a good night's rest when we receive it. We continue to learn how to cherish every blessing.
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Here are a few pictures of the past few months... I hope you will join me again as I continue this incredible journey of discovering beauty and joy - through the eyes of gratitude - along the path God planned for my family.

March 11, 2014

beauty & joy {lately} photographs

I reminded myself: It is in the hurried days when it is most important for me to take the time to pause and look with expectation.

I don't like to be rushed. It is no longer alluring to me. But, at times, it is a reality.

Even so, I combat it.

Today I set my timer to chime at odd times throughout the busy day, reminding me to be still. When the timer alerted me, I calmed my hands, took a deep breath, and stood motionless.

I prayed. I gazed outside. I watched the sunlight splash across the room. I closed my eyes and gave thanks.

I stilled myself with expectation. And I was rewarded.

February 25, 2014

Where to find strength {for the days you just want to stay in bed}

I opened my eyes this morning to my screaming son and breathed a prayer, begging God for a reprieve. Waking early to grinding screams has been a daily ritual for weeks now.

Even more than usual, the past few weeks have been challenging. The steady drum of anxiety, cries and screams of frustration, and regression in eating, all rapidly beat together in a tortuous tune.

And we don't know how to help him. I think that is what wears me down the most.

It is evident that our family is not unique. As I scour the internet for answers, countless Facebook groups, blogs, support websites pop-up with questions similar to mine. The special needs world is very real and heavily populated. But no one has the answers I need - the answers my son needs. The replies to the questions all appear to be trial-and-error and shoot-in-the-dark type responses. There are no clear answers.

I feel strength drain from my body.

"Wise" platitudes cast aside, I beg God for strength to get through the day. I need a clear answer. Lord, where can I find strength?

     Joy in Me.

I am reminded of a verse Aaron shared with me weeks ago:

" not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10


Once again my perspective is refocused. Shifting my gaze from my own tired self, I lift up my eyes and seek God. In the Word I am not given trial-and-error or shoot-in-the-dark tips. There I am always given clear answers. I am always given hope.

"...His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither." Psalm 1:2-3
When I have joy in the Lord, it is joy in something unshakable, unchanging and perfect. While my day may be full of uncertainty and hardships, I can always find strength - and joy and hope and peace - when I seek after God and delight in Him. He gives me the strength to continue the good fight.


January 21, 2014

a winter calm

Like a shy falling of quiet snow that blankets the landscape, so has a hush gently fallen over our household.

But to notice it, you must look closely.

In many ways the landscape of our day looks exactly the same. There are still the endless noises of daily life and daily needs. Indeed, the loudness of it all sometimes swirls aggressively around me, attempting to stir up emotions.

However, over the mountains and valleys of our journey, there is a hush of peace to our countenance

January 9, 2014

worth waiting for

Today I am thankful for God's timing. Not because it fits with my "logical plan" and comforts - in fact, currently, it very much does not fit with my logic :) - but because His timing is perfect and it exhibits His sovereignty.

It forces me to lean fully on Him.

"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope..." Psalm 130:5

January 3, 2014

Stay your soul on God... {photo}

...In that stillness you will know what His will is.

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