Today, after putting the boys down for their naps, I stretched out my tense, achy limbs with 20 minutes of yoga. Then I padded into the kitchen to heat some milk for a mug of hot chocolate and picked up Sophia from her bassinet. She wasn't asleep yet and looked up at me with her big eyes and smiled. I took her and my mug over to the sofa and lay down, propped up on brown pillows, placing my mug on the near-by coffee table. I cuddled her against my chest. I felt the rise and fall of her breathing, kissed her velvety head, smelled her sweet baby smell. The hum of the heater was soothing. Outside the sky was gray and drops of intermittent rain pitter-pattered down. The room was dark and quiet.

Usually my afternoons are busy with Getting Important Stuff Done. I race to assemble grocery lists and menu plan, process photo sessions, put together photo session orders, blog, work on an article, get dinner started, you get the picture. I'm driven to use the time wisely and quickly. Naptime is a time to kick into high gear.

But not today.

Today I stopped. I savored Sophia's baby-ness. I delighted in her little body nestled against mine. This time is so different, so much sweeter. Less of a struggle. And it's going by so quickly! Last time, time seemed to stand still, to drag those first few months. But the past three months of Sophia's life have flown by despite my trying to capture them.

Today I spent time capturing the moment with all my senses. Because today is the only day I really have, anyway.

Thank You + A Giveaway!

As this year quickly comes to an end, I just wanted to say a big "thank you" to all my clients. Thanks for letting me capture a special moment in time with your family. I hope those images will be keepsakes for many years to come. I will be taking a break from client sessions from now through January 1st. But as a way to say thanks to all of your who follow this blog, I'm having a little giveaway! I'm giving away one 8x10 print and the winner will have his/her choice from the following images:

Your print will be lustre coated for protection against fingerprints and UV rays and printed on professional paper.

To Enter: In the comment section, let me know which image you'd choose if you win.

The contest will close on Thursday, December 2nd at 10 p.m. and the winner will be announced on Friday, December 3rd.

Thanksgiving Prayer

O MY GOD, Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects, my heart admires, adores, loves thee, for my little vessel is as full as it can be, and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up, ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed, ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart, crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created, for adorning it, sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil; for the body thou hast given me, for preserving its strength and vigour, for providing sense to enjoy delights, for the ease and freedom of my limbs, for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding; for thy royal bounty providing my daily support, for a full table and overflowing cup, for appetite, taste, sweetness, for social joys of relatives and friends, for ability to serve others, for a heart that feels sorrow and necessities, for a mind to care for my fellow-men, for opportunities of spreading happiness around, for loved ones in the joys of heaven, for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express, for what thou are to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

-From The Valley of Vision, Praise and Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Photo is of our Thankful Tree. Got the idea here.)

Fullness of Life | Multitude Monday

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. . . . It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” -Melody Beattie, American author

I missed last week's gratitude post, but am glad to be back this week! There's so much to be thankful for . . .

71. Josh got a pellet stove installed. This should be our main source of heat this winter, instead of oil!

72. Finished Tortured for Christ, which made me so thankful for our religious freedom in this country. Hard to fathom such atrocities occurred but 60 years ago . . . and still are going on in other countries.

73. Getting a new hair cut and my mom being able to watch all the kids for me.

74. Taking a walk with my friend Robin.

75. That Duncan and Owen like so much to "work" with daddy.

76. Creamy risotto. (Omitted the saffron and just sprinkled the butternut squash with thyme and rosemary while roasting.)

77. A great phone conversation with a long-time and long-distant friend.

78. Reading Naming the Child: Hope-filled reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death. Sensitive and exquisitely written, it is indeed hope-filled and not depressing, despite the sad topic. I've been blessed not to experience miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death, however, it helps me know how to connect with others who have.

79. Enjoying sunny and leaf laden autumn days with all three of my kids.

80. The joy and delight of God's Word.