This Year’s Family Photos

You guys, every year I think I love our latest family pictures the most. I didn’t think it could happen again this year, because last year’s were my favourite by far, but our friend Morgan was amazing, as usual, and I love them! We explored a little part of Winnipeg I’d never actually been to before, and the fall colours made everything feel just a little bit magical.

And the last one I’ll share is kind of fun – when Kaylia was the age Everett is now, Morgan took this picture of our family:

We saw some steps and decided it was time for an update!:)

All the family feet, complete!

And now I have to somehow choose my favourite for our Christmas cards! I can’t wait to start receiving all the happy Christmas mail with everyone’s family pictures – it’s one of my favourite Christmas traditions.:)

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Find Joy in the Ordinary

A friend asked me this week if God told me to start a blog. I didn’t know how to answer that – it was one of those things that felt right at the time, but when I look back on it, I see His hand in it. We were living at Red Rock Bible Camp, I had time on my hands, and I’ve always loved writing and photography, so it was a combination of my favorite things.

What I didn’t know was that it would become my accountability – I wanted my blog to be a place that was positive and beautiful, and there would be no complaining online, so if something negative was happening in my life, it made me search for the good. It made me look for the moments that taught me stuff, it was my place to record the smallest things bringing me joy. It taught me to write until I found the positive, and take pictures until I discovered the beautiful.

find joysource

As our kids have gotten older, it’s also become a place for them enjoy the ordinary, everyday stuff – Anika will spend hours reading old posts, and all three kids enjoy looking at the pictures.

Our “Year in Review” videos have always been a favorite for our family. We’ve done one every year since 2011, and on the roughest, grumpiest days of teething, the girls have shown Everett every one, because they make everybody happy around here.

This year, Anika made the video instead of me.:) Once again, I’m overwhelmed by how much can change in a year, and by how beautiful our simple, ordinary little life really is to me. If you ever need reminding of that, put pictures of all your little moments to music, and suddenly life is transformed!

Here’s our latest collection of happiness:

family pictures: Morgan Braun
song: “Better Place”, by Rachel Platten

And for the next time Everett’s teething, here are all the links our other videos: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas

One of my very favorite things about Christmas is the family photo Christmas card tradition. I absolutely love getting Christmas cards in the mail, and seeing how everyone’s family is changing and growing. I enjoy seeing the similarities between parents and their kids, and because I’m into photography, I always love a well-posed photo with great lighting.

Because I love receiving Christmas card photos, Ben and I have always chosen to send a family picture ourselves, starting the year we were married.

wedding

I went back through all our photos, and was able to find most of the pictures we used for our Christmas cards each year, but things got a bit tricky the further back I went. We got our first digital camera for Christmas when Anika was two, so I had to hunt through albums and boxes of pictures, and a ton of memories!

What I keep coming back to is that God is so good. SO GOOD! There were a few years when it was harder to smile, and all those family pictures of just the three of us were a reminder to me of the longing for a baby that wasn’t coming. We loved Anika like crazy, but our family was so small! For many years, we thought our family might not grow, and I struggled to find contentment as we were. But God has blessed us, and my heart is overflowing as I look back over these photos, and see how God carried us through such difficult times, and has given me what my heart desired.

Here’s a look at 16 years of family:

familyfamilyfamilyfamilySadly, we’re missing one photo! I couldn’t find any family pictures from the year Anika was two.

christmas-photo

family

FAMILY

FAMILY

familyThis was the year our sweet friend Morgan started taking our family pictures, and has been ever since! It’s something we always look forward to.

family 2011

family 2012

family 2013

fmily 2014

family 2015

family 2016Look at that little peanut in the front! Each of our kids is a miracle, but he’s going to be the most spoiled with hugs and attention, because he’s got three mothers loving on him all day long. I look at that picture and I can hardly believe these sweet kids are mine. Our family is complete, and after some hard years, our family pictures only bring feelings of pure joy to me.

Family can be hard, and holidays can make it even harder, but wherever you’re at, I just want to encourage you to keep hanging on to Jesus. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know He is good. He has beautiful gifts and provisions for us, no matter what we are facing, and He gives us the strength to keep going. He has done the impossible in my life, and blessed us with those three miracle babies. He doesn’t always choose to answer our prayers in the way we want, but it doesn’t change the fact that He holds us in His hand.

Ben announced the other day that he’s tired of Christmas music, and I get it – it’s the same songs over and over. I love them, but there’s only so many versions of Silent Night to listen to before it’s time for a change. Some of those songs have such beautiful words, but it’s hard to really hear them, because we’ve heard them so often. But I came across a beautiful piece of artwork on Pinterest featuring the words, “The weary world rejoices”. It’s stuck with me, and I want it in our home next Christmas, because that is such an amazing truth to grab hold of – because of Jesus, we can not only survive and keep going…we can actually rejoice.

So whatever is making you weary this Christmas, it is my hope that you can draw your loved ones close, snuggle up inside while we get that foot of snow they’re forecasting, and find a way to rejoice, because our Father who can do the impossible has sent the Prince of Peace, and so we have a way to face tomorrow.

From our family to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas!

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New Family Pics!

So excited to get our latest batch of family pictures last week!! I love them, and I love our sweet friend Morgan, who took them for us, like usual!

We met her at the legislative building last weekend, and had a really fun time. It is so beautiful there! It was fun to take the girls there – we’ve taken them for a tour of the building in winter, but I didn’t realize we’d never taken them outside in summer. It’s where we took our wedding pictures, so it felt kind of nostalgic to take pictures in some of the same spots.:)

I’m saving my favorite family picture for our Christmas cards, but I’ll share the rest today.:) And yes, I realize it’s weird timing for family photos – we’re a member short, at the moment. But since he’s only supposed to make an appearance at the end of November, not leaving us much time to get family pictures ready for Christmas cards, we decided to go ahead without him, and we’ll do newborn photos later!

familyB&KA&K

 

family

Anika

KayliaBen & girlstree climbingKendra & girlswalking