Soaking Up Fall

Yesterday was golden. Really, was there ever a more beautiful fall day?

Who knew it would be the best day ever for family pictures?

I certainly did not know it two weeks ago when I arranged with our friend Morgan to meet with us yesterday, but we managed to pick a beauty! We spent a sunshiny hour with Morgan, wandering around in the glowing leaves.

Then Morgan left, and Ben hung out with our girls at his parents’ house while I went back and took a bunch of my own pictures. I love it that he gets how much I need to do that.

I really do need to go lie in a field and take pictures of weeds against the sky. It does something good to my insides.

What are your insides begging you for today? That sun is shining, and it’s just so beautiful, but sometimes we’re far too busy to notice.

When I finally slow down enough to go lie in a field of weeds, I realize how much I’ve been needing it. And when winter comes, I’ll be so glad I soaked up all this goodness now. Winter will be good, too, but I’m sure that when I go lie in a snow drift, I’ll still be remembering the smell of dry grass in the hot sun.:)

 

 

Weekend Favorites, Morgan Style

I received a wonderful surprise yesterday on Facebook. Our fantastic friend Morgan (who we’ll just label as our official family photographer?!) was over on the weekend, along with some other Red Rock Bible Camp friends, and she took a bunch of pictures of the time we had together.

She is such an amazing photographer, and over this last year, has taken a bunch of pictures of our family that are totally my favorites:

Isn’t she amazing?

Anyway, the pictures she took of us on the weekend meant so much to me for a few reasons:

  1. My camera battery is dead, and the charger is lost in some box somewhere that has yet to be unpacked, despite my best, most organized efforts to keep such a thing from happening. No more pictures until I’ve unpacked everything!!
  2. We loved having camp people over. Let’s make it official? “Camp Fix” at Ben and Kendra’s, first Sunday of every month?! 🙂 Or something. It was a fun day. I wanted pictures of it, but was resigned to the dead battery.
  3. These pictures are so us – the little things we do all the time, captured forever. I bet I’ll love these even more when our girlies are all grown up.

So here we go. Thanks to Morgan, I present…Weekend Favorites:

Hurray for sunshine and parks and family and friends.

Wishing you a week full of favorites!

Slow Down For Spring

Happy First Day of Spring!

I’m kinda glad it’s “official”, aren’t you?! Anika sincerely believes that the weather (and life in general, really) will be dramatically different, now that the calendar says it’s spring.

We’re celebrating.

We went for the first stroller ride of the season.

We played on the play structure, and Kaylia ran through a snow drift in her flip flops.

And we ended up at the lake.

We decided to truly celebrate spring by practicing the fine art of jumping pictures.

And I’ve been thinking about soaking it all in. Oh, that smell in the air. It smells like spring, and evergreen trees. The sun is so warm, and Kaylia’s toes are so bare. These days, it’s good just to be alive.

I am so, so thankful that my “job” involves teaching my girlies to love spring. We play in the sun, and I try to teach them to notice. To slow down, and notice the little things, like the smell and the way something feels, and all the little things that are so easy to take for granted.

I loved this post about learning to slow down to notice, and to fully live:

“The frogs have returned, the frogs and their song.

 Why does the trilling in the throat of a frog do this wondrous thing inside of me?….

That sound. 

A symphony of sound, trilling low and deep, fills the spaces between the trees, lifts us too.

It is like the water, a looking glass of trunks and limbs, like the water itself croons.

With the everyday eyes, I can’t see the singers at all. It takes time for eyes to adjust to stillness, and only the slow really see….”

I want to have eyes that adjust to stillness. I want to truly see spring with all of its wonder and beauty.

It’s time to go slow, and leave behind “everyday eyes”!

This is My Moment

I’ve been thinking a lot about trying to intentionally recognize the joy of a moment.

I recently read this post by Ann Voskamp, and it’s just stayed with me. She tells an amazing story about how one man decided to help people realize they were living in a joyful moment.

It’s funny how easy it is to get so busy, we miss the joy in the moment.

The other afternoon, I took the girls outside for a walk. We went exploring in the bush, and they just wanted to keep going and going. They were so excited to see where the path would lead.

It was one of those perfect afternoons. It was beautiful and sunny, and that thick snow was covering absolutely everything.

And suddenly, I realized, this is one of those perfectly joyful moments.

For right now, everything is just right, and I wouldn’t change one single thing.

But it seems as though every moment of enjoying beauty out here is quickly followed by sadness for me, because the end is coming so soon.This is our very last winter living in this wonderland, being surrounded by all this beauty every single day.

And that thought completely killed my moment.

Which led me to realize the foolishness in thinking that way. Why would I allow worries about the future cloud the joy of this moment right now?

 

Take it and run with it! Don’t worry about tomorrow. Or next year. Even if it means a winter apart from all this beauty.

Soak in the smiles, and the flopping into soft snow, and the excitement of the next bend in the snowy path.

This is my joyful moment. I will choose to let it linger, and remember it forever.

The New Normal

The end is in sight.

Our 23 days of Florida sunshine will be over next Wednesday. Oops, I should say 22 days of sunshine….It did rain that one day our first week here…

It’s been beautiful.

There are just an insane amount of pictures I’ve taken over the last three weeks that haven’t been put into a post yet.

It’s kind of an overview of our normal days here in Florida. (Funny how sunshine and palm trees can so quickly become the new “normal”, hey? Just wait until we get off the plane in Manitoba…)

Anyway. Normal days include:

Playing outside…

Stroller and skooter rides.

Picking oranges…

And peeling oranges. Kaylia doesn’t eat them, she just peels them. She really likes to peel them while we’re driving around the village in the golf cart, and scatters little pieces of peel behind us, leaving a trail as though we’re Hansel and Gretel and need to find our way home again.

Along with orange peeling, she’s exploring the new skill of photography. But she always holds the camera pointing to herself, because that’s the only side she’s ever seen…

And of course, there’s the daily swim. When my dad gets home from work, he whips off to the pool with the girls in the golf cart.

Then they come home dripping and smiling, jump in the shower, and then we eat supper while the sun sets.

As perfect as this sounds, having Ben around could still improve it! But alas, we meet him at the airport in snowy Manitoba.

Really, why do we live in Manitoba again??? I could get used to these endless sunny days.

I think I already have, actually…

Waterski Weekend

We enjoyed this beautiful weekend as much as we possibly could! Now I feel so filled up with sunshine and summer, that I think it will be okay when fall comes.

 

After all the time we spent doing water activities this weekend, I was not completely surprised to hear Kaylia talking to her toast crusts yesterday morning as she dipped them into her bowl of cereal, “That’s too deep! Come back, come back. You can’t go in so deep.”

Hope you had a great weekend, too!

Last Chance

Ben says it’s our last chance to enjoy the beautiful weather – rain and snow are on the way!

And I don’t know if I feel happy or sad! This fall has been beautiful, but I’d really love snow sometime soon. Otherwise, I’ll never get ready for Christmas! I would not do well living in a tropical country. I can’t do Christmas without snow.

In the meantime, we’re trying to soak up warm sunshine.

Anika and the other kids are very busy enjoying the weather and creating. They are apparently building a bear trap. We’ll see how that goes.