Where would I be?

Giving Thanks. Being grateful. Appreciating what we have.

 

Here’s another way to look at Thanksgiving:

Where would I be without you?

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Ask yourself these questions… and then close your eyes and get a visual of the person you are thinking of:

Where would I be without my spouse?

Where would I be without my children?

Where would I be without my close friends?

Where would I be without my parents?

Where would I be without my siblings?

Where would I be without my good health?

 

Are YOU without some of these?

I and many of my friends are going without this year. We are without our spouse or one of our children. We’ve experienced the loss of parents, best friends or the death of a sibling. Some friends are facing a scary road ahead with tests and trials, procedures and surgeries.

Here’s the saving grace: God.

Where would I be without God?  Where would YOU be without God? 

Personally, I’d be depressed, confused, lost, hopeless, negative, unappreciative and selfish.

For me, I’ve learned about struggles, losses, promises and blessings in the bible, from church, from speakers and from music.   Similarly, I have struggled and I have lost loved ones. I’ve also felt God’s reassurances that he will carry me, and felt overflowing blessings upon me and my precious family. I know I won’t understand why everything  has happened…this side of Heaven. I can stop asking “Why?”….and know that someday it will make sense. For now, I look for the multitude of blessings and not for what’s missing. 

Where would I be without God?   

I appreciate what I have because I know tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. I have hope because even if there is no tomorrow for me, there is a forever in Heaven. I have faith because I’ve seen blessings come to those who trust His greater plan. I try to do for others and give to others who have less than me because it’s what we’re called to do. I can sleep peacefully at night and wake up gracious in the morning because God’s got me and you. Whatever lies ahead –  He knows about it and He’s got a perfect plan specifically for each one of us and will protect us and bless us along the way.  My prayer for you, is that you feel the same comfort and promise that only He can provide. 

Where would I be without God?

Today,  I am saying more than ever: thank God I never have to find out.

Deteronomy 31:8  It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

 

Take a listen to the song that inspired this blog: Citizen Way’s Where Would I Be Without You?  Where Would I Be Without You?   (It’s super upbeat –  Listen while you are trying to wake up, doing last-minute cleaning before guests come over, prepping in the kitchen, or grab one of your family members by the hand and start dancing to it!)

Soul – not “Sole” mates …

 

Movies, TV, common understanding of the term “Soulmate” always meant to me that we each had one. People say they “finally found their soulmate.”  Who are you thinking of right now when you hear that term?

But what happens if the soulmates get divorced, or their spouse just doesn’t “get them” or their spouse dies?  Whammo – there goes their one soulmate!  Or for those that never marry…do they not “get” a soulmate?

I am 100% sure tonight that “soulmate” does not mean “sole mate.”

My wish and hope for everyone is that throughout your life you will have many soulmates. Maybe it will be the person you marry…but it could also be the person you re-marry, or do real life with, cry with, laugh until you almost pee, the one that blesses you over and over… or your soul mates could be ALL of these. Maybe a soulmate for you is an author whose writing causes you to say “Yes, me too!” You relate, their story is your story, and you feel connected, even though you may never meet.

I remember first hearing this multi-soulmate concept while watching “Sex and the City” years ago. (I’m declaring that I loved that show –especially the dedicated friendships between the four girls. They were always there for each other with a shoulder to cry on, brutal honesty, and lots of laughter).  In one scene when they were talking about what a treasure their friendship was, and how they were tired of searching for their “one true soulmate” they decided they could be each other’s soulmates.

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(Photo credit: Darren Star Productions)

Friends will come and go. God puts different friends in your life at different times for different reasons. Sometimes you have to let them go and make room for new ones yet to come. I’ve definitely experienced my fair share of lost friendships. But these soulmates that I have….incredible. They just keep calling and giving and showing up and blessing.

One of my favorite soul mate stories is of Ruth and Naomi from the Bible (Ruth 1: 16-17).  Naomi’s son married Ruth. Naomi became widowed, and then later Ruth became widowed as well.  Ruth refused to leave Naomi. They were soulmates, I believe, and did life together after hard times. The words of this song, “I’m with you,” were written based on this story. I get teary-eyed every single time I hear it and thank God for my several soulmates. I actually said my friend Jolynn’s name out loud the first time I heard it, as if it had been written about her and I.

Have a listen…and maybe a good cry if you are thinking of that friend or friends that this applies to…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHZZyNGvOVY  (Capitol Christian Music Group – Nichole Nordeman & Amy Grant).

Tonight I am praising God. I mean, hands in the air, crazy thankful for all of the soulmates that have been there for me and continue to be there for me….these friends and neighbors and family are SO good for my soul. Blessings are overflowing in my world and it makes a sometimes hard life completely enjoyable.

Most importantly, thank you to God – my ultimate soul mate. It’s deep – but He’s always there and always will be. When he can’t tangibly help me, he sends these angels that have been my soulmates to help me stand and keep standing.

Who are some of your soul mates?  Comment below and direct them to this blog – call out and thank your soul mates!

(Next week, I will return to my “Gifts” post, but due to my heart just overflowing with gratefulness, I had to write this today).

Winner ! Winner!

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And….the winner is……mentioned at the bottom of this post!  

 Winner, please let me know for sure if you can attend this Friday, Nov 18th at Cornerstone Church in Caledonia. Two tickets will be yours!!

(If she cannot attend, I will do another random drawing Sunday night).

Thank you for all of you that subscribed to my blog!

It is not too late to still buy tickets for this great show….go to blessedbybrookelyn.com and you will find a link to i-tickets.  This show will be an up-close and personal event with great seats! And, the tickets support the legacy of Brookelyn Elias by providing scholarships to Caledonia High School students, providing soccer gear to Caledonia and Kentwood players, provides soccer equipment to Haiti and so much more that the Elias family is so dedicated to.

Here is my favorite song by each artist:

Chris August:  Center of It – Chris August

(But also check out Restore, The Maker, Starry Night, Unashamed of you)…..

Jonny Diaz: More Beautiful You

(Also check out: Breathe, Scars, Beauty of the cross)

******For listening to at least one of each of their songs (listed above), and commenting below which is your favorite, I will be giving away one of their CD’s, too!!   (Delivery or mailing after the concert!)

(Can you tell I just LOVE give-aways?)

MICHELE SYTSMA – you WON 2 tickets!!  They will be at “will call” this Friday! 

Your gifts: not ugly at all

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Healthy vegetable-infused chocolate truffles?

“Barnyard Breeze” scented lotion?

Glow-in-the-dark toilet seat?

Light up/Flashing sweater with unicorns on it?

 

Have you ever received gifts that caused you to force a fake smile? When you quickly hope you can muster a genuine-sounding ‘thank you’ while questioning the gift-givers sanity and feelings about you?

On the other hand, I’m sure you can think of a few gifts over the years that you actually enjoyed receiving. The gifts that make you drop your jaw in disbelief – the giver took the time and thought to get you something so perfect and personalized.

God has given you a perfect, personalized set of Spiritual gifts. You just need to acknowledge them, be thankful for them, and put them to use in your everyday life.

My hope is that you can use your gifts to help a grieving person in your world.  They are all around you. Grief is a part of life and we will all go through it from time to time. Remember that grief does not just affect someone dealing with the death of a loved one, though that is what most people think of. Unexpected job loss, divorce, devastating medical diagnosis and death can cause grief, to different extents.

For those of you that haven’t yet discovered your spiritual gifts, you can take the test at www.giftstest.com. (You will receive emails from Beliefnet, but you can easily unsubscribe if you wish after they send you your result).

For those that did participate last week……..thank you!  I’ve compiled the results and will explain first the most common gifts reported by percentage.  Important Note: All definitions of the spiritual gifts were obtained from www.giftstest.com.

MERCY (100% of my respondents cited this as one of their gifts)

The gift of mercy is the divine strength or ability to feel empathy and to care for those who are hurting in any way.   In a practical way, this gift allows you to not just “feel bad” for someone who is grieving, but to put yourself in their shoes. A common feeling you might experience or even say to someone who is grieving is, “My heart breaks for you.” You comfort them with words, prayers, and actions. You may find yourself physically aching and crying for them…in fact, you might cry at award shows and Hallmark commercials. 🙂

1 Thess. 5:14: And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

 

EXHORTATION (80% of those responding)

The gift of exhortation is the divine strength or ability to strengthen, comfort or urge others to action through the written or spoken word and Biblical truth.  For you, it might be natural for you to reach out to others with words of encouragement based on comforting bible verses. You might encourage a grieving person by including your favorite verse that helped you through a hard time. You point to God as the ultimate comforter and healer.

 

Acts 14:22: Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

 

HELPS (60% of my respondents)

The gift of helps is the divine strength or ability to work in a supportive role for the accomplishment of tasks in Christian ministry with the ability to often see the need before others do. If this is one of your gifts, you might be one-step-ahead in helping those facing hard times. You might use past experiences to set up a meal delivery schedule quickly, or have a list of resources ready. You want to do hands-on help.

 

DISCERNMENT (40% of respondents)

The gift of discernment is the divine strength or ability to spiritually identify falsehood, to distinguish between right and wrong motives and the spiritual forces at work in situations. If this is your gift, you may be encouraging to a grieving person by not letting them play the “what if” game. You know that worries and guilt are part of Satan’s way of distracting from the true God. You can help a grieving person stay focused on what is true and good, and not let evil thoughts take root in their process.

 

ADMINISTRATION (40% of respondents)

The gift of administration is the divine strength or ability to organize multiple tasks and groups of people to accomplish these tasks. A grieving person is overwhelmed with phone calls, paperwork, day-to-day tasks that build up and seem impossible. With this gift, you can assist a grieving person by making a list of immediate tasks, within-3-month tasks, and longer term duties that are in need of assistance. You can help collaborate with others to help getting these tasks done (child care, lawn-mowing, house-cleaning). You can help make a short-term plan and ensure help is being given in the areas needed most.

 

 PASTOR/SHEPHERD (40% of respondents)

The gift of pastor/shepherd is the divine strength or ability to care for the personal needs of others by nurturing and mending life issues. You listen, care, and lead the grieving person with hope and constant support without judging. You don’t brag that you’ve been accepted into the grieving person’s tight circle, but take this honor as God’s leading you, so you can lead others.

1 Peter 5:2-3  Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

FAITH (40% of respondents)

The gift of faith is the divine strength or ability to believe in God for unseen supernatural results in every arena of life. You believe that God has his hand in and over every situation. You can reassure a grieving person of God’s bigger plan and his ability to do miraculous things despite lost hope. You don’t give up when situations look bleak. You praise that His will be done.  You remain faithful, dependable and constant to your grieving loved one, even when they aren’t sure what they need.

Hebrews 11: Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

 

Thank you to those who participated already, and for those that will do so now!  God has given us the perfect gifts for our personalities and circumstances.  While this gifts test is interesting and fun, do not feel locked into particular gifts and banned from other gifts. If you feel that God is leading you to help someone in their grief in different ways than you are gifted (according to this test), by all means…listen to your heart and follow God’s prompting to truly help those in need of comfort.

 

Come back next week for explanations of additional Spiritual gifts and ways to use them to help others.

Don’t wait to open the gifts!

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Ah, the Christmas-time mantra: ‘Tis better to give than to receive.

But, what about this – ’Tis best to give with the gifts you have received.

We all have been given gifts by God. Are you aware of yours? Have you acknowledged and thanked God for them? Are you opening your gifts today and putting them to use?

Are Spiritual gifts the same thing as someone who is “gifted” with a talent or ability?  I believe it can be one in the same.  A great athlete who can break every sports record, lead her team to continual victories, bring home the gold…also has a chance to use her physical gifts for God’s glory. Maybe it is to inspire others to believe in themselves, because God created them, loves them and has a great plan for their life. To show thankfulness in winning and graciousness in defeat, too. Or to be the extra supportive one on the team that listens and gives others advice.

Spiritual gifts are placed on us because He knows how our whole life will play out. For some of us, our gifts are clear from a young age. Maybe it is a clear, angelic voice that stands out from the crowd at a school music concert. The crowd all thinks, “wow – that child has a gift with that voice.” What will that child do with his gift?  I look at the many talented Christian music artists, especially, who give God the glory in their words and their testimonies.  Some children are born leaders, teachers or caretakers.

Maybe our gifts aren’t discovered until later in life.  Maybe we have overcome addiction, leave an abusive relationship, experience a tragedy, or recover from an illness or accident and use our struggle journey to help others going through the same. It could be through that process that we discover our spiritual gift(s).

Some of us wish we had a particular gift. That strong voice, that speaking ability, that writing career, that aptitude for teaching others, that pastoral leadership quality or counseling trait that listens to others and provides encouragement and direction. Is there a gift you wish you had?  Maybe fear of failure is holding you back from discovering your true spiritual gift. It might take some practicing, some training, and definitely prayer to put your gift to use, even if you are unsure of it. God is sure of it. He has hand-picked these gifts for you and your life circumstances.

The current “project” I am working on is for people to discover their spiritual gifts, and then use those gifts to help someone who is grieving.  Don’t you love it when you see that a gift you bought for someone is actually being used? It didn’t get returned to the store, thrown into the back of the closet, re-gifted, or thrown away. God feels the same way. He loves to see us using the gifts he has given us…even better when we are using them to help someone else find hope and healing.

Will you help me with my project?

1 Corinthians 12:1 – Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.

Step one: take the Spiritual Gifts test.   Yes, it will take a few minutes. Yes, you are busy. I really appreciate you being willing to spend a few minutes taking this test for me,  for you, and, for anyone that you may help using these gifts.

Thank you for taking this step.

Take the test at  www.giftstest.com   and comment below when you are done. I will do it, too! Tell me what your top 5 gifts are!!! (And don’t forget to follow/subscribe to this blog so you won’t miss the next follow up.)

Faithful Stewards of God’s Grace -Part 1

Friends………Check out this insightful blog from my friend Stephanie Miller. I met her this summer but feel like we’ve been friends a lot longer. PLEASE take the spiritual gifts test (link in blog) and feel free to share yours below the blog!!! I can’t wait to take mine!

Stephanie Miller, Personal and Spiritual Growth Coach

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Fruit of Faithfulness Series: Day 24

So after I brought up spiritual gifts in my post last Wednesday, God placed on my heart to really explore this topic further.

Let’s take a look at 1 Peter 4:10

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

We need to be a faithful steward of God’s grace to go and advance His kingdom. I love this idea on paper, but I really want to know what this means practically.

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. -1 Peter 4:11

The verses above…

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I’m thankful for…nothing!

Ouch!   That sounds horrible, right?  Maybe you have never said that. I don’t think I ever have, but I sure have acted like it. Have you?

I’m willing to bet I can include you in these thoughts…We have complained about little things that don’t really matter. Someone cut in front of us in line at Target’s check out (who really cares? You’ve filled your cart with things most of the world can’t afford).   Your neighbor across the street has failed to rake their leaves and it is hampering your view (really? Then go do it yourself. Be kind).   Once again, Wendy’s failed to include the ranch dipping sauce and you are not going to drive back there, but you thought about it for a minute (come on! You should be so lucky to have a body that can tolerate eating that food, finances that can afford to buy that food, and safe transportation to get there and back).

It’s all about perspective.   God knows our private thoughts but our kids and those around us just see our behavior. Are you showing thankfulness?

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This weekend I visited my brother’s family and they have such a great ongoing tradition I have to share it. (I’m sharing a lot today).  Each member of the family gets a turn to say what they are thankful for. It can be something simple or deep – doesn’t matter. It gets everyone in the practice of being thankful.

Why do most people tend to only do this on Thanksgiving? Or wait until November and do it just during that month? Why?

I’ve created 5 options when you are feeling and acting ungrateful:

1) Send a card to someone who is going through or has been through a hard time (even if their loss or struggle happened years ago. Pain lasts longer than you might think…And by card, I mean a real, send-through-the-mail, card. Spend $5 with your Amazon Prime and you’ll have a box of cards at your doorstep in two days.)

2) Look around you:  turn on your water (fresh, clean, cold & hot), open your fridge and cupboards (you aren’t starving), step out into the sun, fresh breeze, or refreshing rain….

3) Look at your kids (or nephews/nieces):  miracles, God-sent, reflections of you…

4) Pray to God and ask for help! “God. I don’t feel grateful right now. Help me. Help me to be humble and not take you or anything you’ve put in my life for granted. I pray for those who don’t have even the basic necessities. I pray for patience. Please and Thank you.”   **Hey – it’s already working – you’ve thanked Him at the end of your prayer!**

5) Turn to scripture for the truth about gratefulness. Here’s one:

 

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. (Psalms 9:1)

****As a special THANK YOU to all of my subscribers, I am doing a give-away.  If I can get 100 subscribers by November 1st, I will randomly select a subscriber to win 2 FREE tickets to see Chris August and Jonny Diaz on Friday November 18th at Cornerstone Church in Caledonia. Please subscribe and tell your friends to!*****

Picking and choosing.

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In writing these last few blogs, I’ve discovered an ugly truth.  I decide what my position is about something, and then pick out verses to fit my position. It works out great. I rely on myself – my knowledge, experience, opinions….and then keep scripture in my back pocket to prove to everyone that what I am saying is backed up by the One and Only.

Ouch. It does not sound nice when I actually write out the truth.

Thinking back, I actually have been doing this for a while. In writing papers for college classes, I would decide my position and then find internet research to support that.  If I found research that didn’t support my position, well, I just didn’t quote that. After all, for better or worse, you can always find evidence on the good ole’ internet to back up whatever position you hold on any given topic.

Now, please don’t start a campaign to revoke my Bachelor of Arts Degree or my recent MBA. I really did earn those (and am still paying for the latter!), but I think it is time for me to treat scripture differently.

What about YOU?  Do you highlight scripture that you already abide and live by?  Do you pick and choose to apply the easier verses like you pick out pumpkins in the patch? You skip over the ones that you aren’t comfortable with.  It certainly makes us feel great when we are already practicing what the bible teaches. Woo-hoo-I have never murdered anyone!  Correct-I have donated generously (most of the time).  Yes, I am thankful every day just as my before-dinner prayer recites. Hmm….

The harder scripture about being generous with giving (all the time, in all circumstances not just when we have ‘extra’), or helping the orphans and widows, or only letting holy (and kind) words come out of your mouth….do you kinda skimp over those? Do you obey those only when it is convenient or when you are with certain people? Remember that one time when you made a meal for a widow? Recall that time you thought seriously about sponsoring that child overseas? (But then “something came up.”)

Are you (like me) hesitating to apply “harder” scripture to our lives?

“Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”  Mark 4:18-19.

Do you fit Jesus into your life where you have already made a specific place for him? Or do you build your life around the place Jesus has made for you?   He wants us to live our lives according to the Bible lessons within. Not use the lessons to support our way of living.

Read that again:

Do you fit Jesus into your life where you have already made a specific place for him? Or do you build your life around the place Jesus has made for you?

Is there a verse you can share with me that is difficult to live by? Please comment below and I will try to navigate it with you and find out how we can infuse it into our lives.  (I’m no Bible expert, so bear with me. I’m a work in progress).

Good ‘Nuff girl

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I used to be more of a perfectionist. I used to try to control everything. I used to want to know which roads the driver was taking and see if there was a more efficient way. I used to freak out if a cake I was frosting wasn’t perfect. I recall scrubbing my apartment bathroom toilet on my hands and knees with a toothbrush. (And I lived alone! No men, no toddlers!).

 

Then…life happened. Kids came along and I had different worries. Kids’ fingerprint marks showed up everywhere and I couldn’t keep up. Toys stayed in the middle of the floor all night (gasp!) and guess what: I slept fine.  Life got busier and I stopped caring about every little detail. I started taking more photos and I laid on the floor letting my son crawl all over me instead of wiping down the countertop again. When my husband and son were playing and my husband said, “B-you’ve gotta see this” I ran into the living room to witness it and didn’t care that I had one more dish to rinse.

 

Then, my husband died. I didn’t care about details. A weed-filled yard, cobwebs in the corners, flipping the mattress…whatever. I’ll take care of it eventually. When I realized God is in control and I’m not…I became a “Good ‘nuff girl.” God is perfect. I am not. I don’t have to cross every “t” and dot every “i.” I do my best with what I have, and I enjoy life. If I don’t do something perfectly, I call it “good ‘nuff.”

 

That being said, I don’t want anyone to think this applies in absolutely every area of life. I do thoroughly shower, take excellent care of my kids, and try my best to cook meat to the proper temperature. For safety’s sake, “good ‘nuff” doesn’t always cut it. Be assured I’m not skimping in these areas. Professionally, I am detailed and follow the rules, so I’m no slacker there, either.

 

My point is, are there things in your life that YOU should become “good ‘nuff’ at?  Should you stop trying to be a perfect housekeeper? Are you trying to win a competition with that birthday cake?  (And I do have friends that are passionate about these things and if you love it, keep doing it. But if you love to hate it – stop it.)

Do you have to bring the most creative snack even though it stresses you out and takes way more time that you thought it would? Would you feel guilty having a “cereal and toast night” for dinner? Why? What can you change this week that will make life easier for you? What small details can you let go of…in order to more fully pay attention to your family and God?

 

Take it from the girl who once brought Little Caesar’s Crazy Bread to a potluck (major hit, by the way).  

 

Let someone else drive (Hmmm…God?) and take the long way or different way home. So the Cinderella cake isn’t perfect….well, it’s kinda funny and it’ll taste just as good.

Let all that you do be done in love (1Corinthians 16:14).  Do your best, but for God -not out of desire for perfection, not to compare yourself with others, not to exhuast your stress level or get in the way of time with your family and God.

You are Good ‘Nuff for Him.

***** Addition:  If anyone is interested in this topic of giving up control, my friend Shannon Popkin’s book, Control Girl, will be coming out in January! I am very excited for this book. Click below for more info!  

Click, click record & repeat!

Do you take a ton of photos on your phone? What about video? Who is the subject matter most of the time?

 

When my husband died suddenly  seven years ago at age 37, I was lucky that I had taken so many photos and videos. But, it was all about my son…which is typical. We wanted to catch him making that funny face, documenting his  new wiggly dance, listening to him speak in complete funny sentences at such a young age. But the result was not many photos of mom or dad! In the videos I can hear my husband’s voice occasionally, but rarely see his face. I see this happening with other couples. We stop taking photos of each other, and just focus on the kids.

 

This fall season, while picking out pumpkins, tasting fresh apples, getting sticky from donuts and cider, please make it a point to capture photos of the kids but also the Mr. or Mrs. AND BOTH Mr. and Mrs.  For single moms this is especially hard, but ask people around you to take photos. Better yet, ask your 3-year old to take a photo – you know they have years of experience with your phone! Find another family and offer to take family pictures for each other.  I guess “selfies” have helped tremendously in this area, too.

 

Take more videos. Record the everyday ramblings of not just the kids but of dad cooking bacon on a Saturday morning. Record mom as she asks the kids to pick up their rooms…because someday they will miss that voice, even asking them to do chores. Record the contagious belly laughter. It might make you cry someday to hear it again, but you’ll be glad you captured it.

 

Finally, DO something with these photos and videos. Take time each week to at least email yourself your photos, or upload them to a photo site like dropshots or shutterfly (or dozens of other options). Move the videos to a safer place or get them transferred to a DVD. You will be glad you did.   I have spent many hours making photo books on Shutterfly and Snapfish. (I wish they were compensating me for advertising for them!). My books generally take 10+ hours to make, but I do it in stages over several nights: upload photos, choose book, edit/crop photos, add text & stickers and review. I save the book in my cart until there’s a half off sale…which is often. (Traveler’s tip: Great Wolf Lodge offers a free 8×8 Shutterfly book – be sure to ask for the coupon!)

 

So this fall…………click, click, record and repeat…a lot. Enjoy the moment without needing to get “the perfect” shot. Instead, focus on getting mom & dad’s photos and voices documented. Record the laughter and the tantrums. (You heard me. Document those, too!) Instead of checking facebook while at a family outing, record the chillens picking on each other or holding hands. You’ll miss their squeaky little voices! And as a family, look at the photo books together and recall those quality family moments. Even if the kids moan about watching the footage, they’ll be grateful for it…someday. And, as scary as it sounds, you won’t all live forever, and to be able to listen to voices again…trust me – it’s a great thing. 

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