Family Reunion

I'll start off by saying I don't do family reunion sessions. However, I made an exception for some friends who live just around the corner from me. It was their first family get together in many, many years. They also wanted to honor the birthday of the matriarch of the family, who is both mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to so many in the family. I captured both formal group shots of the family as a whole as well as casual shots of everyone enjoying their day. I will mostly be sharing with you the casual and detail images. Good thing they had a pool to play in, because it was one hot day!

Thank you, Linda, for allowing me to capture your family on such a special day!

The whole clan (above). With the grand and great-grand kids below.

Cherries, Freckles, and Backyard Fun

I pulled my camera out with no plan really in mind. I'm so glad I did,  because I captured my kiddos having some backyard fun. Sophia, sporting one shoe decided to stand on the plastic picnic table, looking very proud of herself.

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The neighbor's corn is tasseling, cosmos flowers are blooming, and we had a little cherry snack.

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Sophia went up behind her brothers and gave them a hug around the neck. Oh my goodness, such cuteness!

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Then I captured something I've wanted to for a while: my boys' freckles and eye lashes. Their freckles have gotten darker with the summer, like a sprinkle of cinnamon dust. I just want to capture the sweetness of this little boy stage.

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National Zoo + Air and Space Museum

Last week we took a little family trip to the National Zoo and the Air and Space Museum. Let me tell you, it was HOT! Maybe we were crazy, but I figured we could be hot at home or we could be hot doing something fun. I think looking back I was crazy. The kids had fun at the zoo, but didn't hold up incredibly well. It was just too hot, despite some shade, misters, and lots to drink. But, we made a memory.

The tumbling bear sculpture could also represent my sons! Because they tumble all the time!

Ahhhh, the mist!

The Giant Pacific Octopus is also a huge favorite at our house.

Owen woke up the morning of the zoo trip singing a cheetah song, saying he was going to see his cheetah friends. Let me tell you, that boy loves cheetahs!

Sadly there are no cheetah pictures, because although we got to see them, they were sleeping pretty far away in the shade.

After lunch and a snooze in the car on the ride over, it was onto the Air and Space Museum!

The left picture is how I look most of the time: "Let's not climb on that, crawl under that, jump on that!" :)

The Air and Space Museum was packed out, but the boys and Sophia enjoyed seeing all the space and aircraft. But we were whipped out, let me tell you, when the day was over!

Space for Grace

My life may have it's challenges, but it never needs to be empty. The power of the Resurrection means nothing but the tomb was meant to be empty.

With Paul I can say "by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not without effect." "Without effect"  in Greek is kenos, meaning: Empty, vain, ineffective, useless. Empty, lacking content, or hollow.

God's grace is not that.

No, instead, God has the grace to fill every empty and void place in my life with redemption. All the failures and sin I see in and around my life that could discourage, instead make space for grace.

 

Drawn from Session One of Beth Moore's James: Mercy Triumphs

Where Lilacs Still Bloom: An Interview with Jane Kirkpatrick {Ungrind}

This spring, my heart almost broke when I walked outside to discover my neighbor had chopped her lilacs a few feet from the ground. It was but a few weeks from blooming, and although the bushes were not mine, I was always welcome to cut as many of the fragrant blossoms as I wanted. Now, they looked forlorn and desolate. Mere stumps. I’ve long been a lover of those purple heavy-scented spring blooms. Lilacs remind me of my birthday in May. I feel a deeply personal connection with them, as they remind me of my grandmother and my mother — also lilac lovers.

A few weeks later, I was flipping through a magazine when the description of a new novel caught my eye. Or maybe it was the cover of the book, depicting a cascade of purple lilac blossoms. The brief synopsis described a story of a German immigrant and farm wife, Hulda Klager, who discovered a passion for hybridizing lilacs.

I checked to see if the book was at the library. It was. I put the audio book version on hold.

As I began listening I was transported to Woodland, Washington, where the novel follows the life of Hulda Klager from the late 1800′s into the early 20th century. I was even more captivated when I realized the story was based on a real woman, whose lilac gardens and home are open to the public. Hulda faces many challenges in hybridizing her lilacs: flood waters, the opinion of others, and even her own gnawing doubts that oppose her at times. But Hulda persists, finding comfort in her blossoms and her faith, continuing in her work. Ultimately, she comes to see her passion for lilacs as a gift from God to give others.

Having never read any of Jane Kirkpatrick’s previous work, I didn’t realize I’d picked up a novel of the Christian genre. I must confess, except for Jan Karon’s Mitford series, I’ve not read much Christian fiction for many years because I’d begun to find the spirituality trite and the writing not up to par. However, Where Lilacs Still Bloom pleasantly surprised me. Kirkpatrick weaves a realistic story where the quiet faith of Hulda is depicted sincerely and winsomely. There is no preaching in this novel, only the story of a life that gives beauty and a faith that grows and deepens through the years.

It was with great excitement that I got to chat with Jane Kirkpatrick through email. I was excited to find out more about her life as a writer and further details about how she came to write Where Lilacs Still Bloom.

Continue reading at Ungrind . . . 

And make sure you enter Ungrind's GIVEAWAY to WIN Where Lilacs Still Bloom!

June Instagrams

I have to admit my very favorite thing about my iPhone is Instagram. And I've been trying to decide the best way to share my Instagram photos here. Many bloggers share their Instagram images weekly, some monthly, and everything in-between. I've decided on sharing mine monthly, because it's too much trouble for me to upload my images weekly, and I like seeing my month of images all together that way. Although I love Instagram and that I can take fairly decent images at the spur of the moment, I'm trying to not to get lazy. I still want to pull out my "real" camera more often around the house to capture our everyday life. I realize that since getting this phone I've slacked on that more than I'd like

Without further chit-chat, here's our month of June as seen through Instagram:

Blueberry breakfasts with homemade granola.

Duncan and Owen helping with dinner.

A short trip to Susquehanna State Park one Sunday evening, where we saw this lovely rainbow.

June is hydrangea season and I started a new Bible study.

Good eats (above) and Sophia got into the butter (below). We're doing "Friday Fun Days" this summer. Each Friday we do something out of the ordinary. Sometimes it ends up happening on other days, but we've spent time playing in creeks and fields, as you can see above. The boys one morning looked at books and ate snacks. And then one evening Josh had golf playing on the computer and they both, of their own accord, started watching the game! Josh's heart about burst with pride! Only 3 weeks of training wheel and then they were OFF and riding!

Sunset scentes from an evening at my mom's (above).

I can't believe how much our garden has grown since this shot above was taken!

Sophia got two stitches. The first of our kids to have the honor. And on a family movie night we watched "Megamind." It inspired superhero dress up and I loved that Sophia combined Superman and Batman!

Chocolate chunk cookies in the making (left) and Sophia love (below). Flowers from our CSA and summer reading and drinking. I love Episcopal churches. Wherever I go they always catch my eye. And we drove by Hampton National Estate the other day. I can't wait to visit it. It's a gem I only recently discovered in my own proverbial "backyard."