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Name: A. Ann
Interests: God. My husband. Our children. Art and photography. Home decor, creativity. Sports. The great outdoors, camping. Fashion. The beach and warm weather. Music and writing. Simplicity.
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|My desire is that this blog not be about views, comments or advertisements. This is where I write now and then about my relationship with God and motherhood; and keep in touch with family, friends and meet new friends too. Sometimes I just post pictures, my choice of art right now, when there is no time to write. My hope is that people will feel encouraged to pursue relationship with Jesus Christ (not a list of religious rules/lifestyle), see purpose in the storms of life and live each day with less regrets. And if they are the creative/artistic type, enjoy the photos too. More info under "profile" at the top. Feel free to message me and I will try to write back ~ sometimes it's immediate, sometimes it's weeks later. Please ask for permission before using pictures or writing.
Lots of football these days. Bub is now suited up with the rest.
This has got to be my all time favorite stop sign. ever.
I passed it, um - I stopped at it - on my way to the store the other day and I had to turn around and stop again because I just thought it was so cool.
I could promise this will be my last post with summer beach pictures. The other day I thought if I put on fall colors and took the three little girls on a picnic for lunch that it might make me feel like it was fall. (I keep thinking of decorating pumpkins.) Instead it felt like summer had started all over again, reaching 100. Our lunch melted, the view that was suppose to be delightful was over-looked out of surviving the heat and our picnic moved to the air conditioned car within ten minutes.
I started thinking beach all over again, my pumpkin decorating ideas forgotten.
Shelton teaching Itty to surf the shallows. . .
Sand, um well, maybe more like mud castles.
Lake ~ one of my favorite splashes.
My baby! Running like a wild child all over the place. She had no fear of the water, waves, or eating sand.
This makes for a busy beach mommy.
I'm not sure who had the idea this time around to soap everyone down. Or who encouraged Itty to snorkel the trash can. . .
Shelton claims though that he cleaned it out very well. Oh my. But even his face looks a bit shocked - not sure he expected her to enjoy it to that extent.
Six kids staying cool on the porch.
Shooting off rockets one evening with the kids.
Baby loves to roam, as I follow close behind. I love to see her exploring. I love these simple shadow pictures of her (and me) from this past week. . .
And my other little toddler girl. . .
This morning was the typical crazy-get-ten-people-ready-for-church in less time then most people spend getting just themselves ready. My fault really, because I was so tired from this past week (as usual) and I slept in more than I should have. I went to church with wet hair pulled in a pony, sunglasses on top of head and no make-up. I like that our church doesn't have bright lights. I don't like that I slept in.
We sang an old song in worship this morning, "He is Exalted" - dating back to the 80's if I recall, Twila Paris. . . took me back to my childhood in my mind when my dad would lead worship - I can remember singing it at the top of my lungs. I did again this morning. Declaring who God is, "He is the Lord, forever His truth shall reign. . ."
We went for donuts after church and today, rare, but I ate my share and even had a mocha. Because today was special.
Then this afternoon was just the normal around the house and working with the children while Robert napped. I did get in a special little time for me while the little girls napped though - putting vacation pictures in an album for the living room box of vacation albums that the kids love to look through. It seemed kind of relaxing, just sitting there on the floor by my window, slipping in photos in slots one after another. Can't remember the last time I've done that.
The afternoon began to cool down towards evening and we all loaded up and headed for the lake. There was a nice breeze and it was calm and pretty. Robert and I had explored the "new" lake on our date a few weeks back and told the children we would take them back for a swim. I really couldn't think of a better thing to do today. Funny, but there really isn't much that makes me happier than making them happy.
(The kids always say, "Trade me a bite for a bite?")
I thought about an afternoon alone, getting my feet/toes done because they need it so bad. Or my nails. . . or walking shops with no stroller, no toddlers, just me. Maybe even trying on things. Maybe even buying something ha! But why? That sounds so empty these days. . . when the kids love to celebrate birthdays so much as if mine is really their's!
The lake was awesome. I wish we could have stayed longer but Mondays a-comin' and sadly, there were kiddos who still hadn't finished up homework and we couldn't make it a late night. . .
(took some time out to play at the park by the lake too after our swimming. Robert snapped these of the kids with me.)
More evening shadows on baby dearest. She wanted to climb to the top like her sister.
After the lake, it was my pick tonight and so I chose burgers and fries. We ate outside the 50's diner on the walk, the evening kind of perfect. I looked over two tables full of children talking and laughing and counted my blessings - literally counting, because Lakelyn is hard to keep track of these days. Yep, eight heads.
So that is how I celebrated my 35th.
I just thought all day how awesome it is to have lived 35 years. Not because it's been easy but because it's been. Just plain mercy.
(sun going down on our fisherman-boy.)
I decided I better write this down because on the way home tonight the children wanted me to tell them stories of my childhood birthdays. . . my memory seemed fuzzy, maybe because, like I've always heard, we woman start going down hill at 35? (Must be true because I've felt it this year for sure!) Anyway ~ I had to think real hard and when I did I came up with the following memories:
Remembered my 6th birthday - a girls' sleep over at another girl's house from school who shared the same birthday. I remember wearing a pink skirt and some of the girls being mean, and some of the girls being nice and we painted our faces with face paint and make-up and everyone fought over who was going to sleep by the birthday girls and some girls got their feelings hurt.
Then there was my 7th and we'd just moved to California and we didn't know anyone and we didn't have a lot of money and I had a watermelon with candles for my birthday cake. I was okay with that - in fact, I thought my mom was pretty cool to do that.
My 8th we'd just moved again, this time to Louisiana and again new place and lots of changes and I had just recently met a few new friends and so I had them over for a small party. I got a purple dress that had a tie on it and that bothered me because I didn't think that was cool. My 9th I got a dollhouse that my parents found at a garage sale and thus began my fascination with interior design. I didn't play dolls in that dollhouse, I spent hours redecorating the rooms over and over again for years.
Then my 10th happened and my parents said I could have a slumber party and I invited all the girls I could think of my age, which was about ten girls. It was fun, good memories. Dad made up games for us to play. Probably my favorite birthday.
Then I couldn't remember any birthdays really until 16 - that morning my sister flew out for a big trip and my mom was sad and the day was discouraging and that afternoon we went on a hike up near Malibu Beach (lived back in Cali again at that point) and somehow as we were hiking the coastline we ended up on a nudest beach. Yep, mom got us out of there quick, but who can forget a 16th like that? I got a dozen roses from a guy that birthday and failed my drivers test. I'm not sure those two had anything to do with each other though. I made my own cake - well, not really a cake. I made a raspberry cobbler from raspberries out of my garden.
I told the kids what I could remember of my 18th, a little of my 19th. . . and then I couldn't remember a single birthday after that, not one! How sad.
Until my 30th. . .
Which how could I forget my 30th?!
Robert and baby Brighton and I were in Cancun celebrating for our 10th anniversary a few months late and Robert decided to do some time share presentation thing that was offered because we would get like $100. off our rental car price. Basically we ended up at this huge beach resort which I could pretty much promise was run by drug lords and all sorts of criminals and after four hours at that place and nearly having our lives threatened if we didn't buy a time share, we just barely make it out alive.
I cried all the way back to our hotel - out of fear we were going to be tracked down and shot by the men at the resort who got so angry at us for not buying a time share, emotional exhaustion from trying to keep a three month old baby happy through the whole ordeal, and sad that my 30th birthday had nearly been wasted trying to save $100. on a rental car. I know, selfish my heart was - that was not what I had envisioned for my 30th. :)
Soooo, that afternoon I got into a rickety old airplane (seriously had holes in the side of it) that was painted red, blue, and yellow. The paint was peeling and piloted by a guy that didn't look anything like a pilot nor did he speak English. I strapped myself to some other guy who hardly spoke English that I'd just met and jumped out of the plane at 10,000 feet over shark invested waters. With a parachute.
Yep. Won't forget my 30th.
Needless to say I survived and went out to dinner that night at a romantic hole in the wall of a place in Playa De Carmen - candle light, Mexican food, black and white sleeveless dress.
It made me wonder if I should have done something a tad bit crazy on each and every single adult birthday so I could remember. . .
Then I realized that I have - I think most of my adult birthdays I've been pregnant. Really, that's a tad bit crazy.
Maybe that's why I don't remember my birthdays since getting married. . . because my birthdays kind of took a back seat to the birth-day I was awaiting that year - the birth of a baby. Someone meant more to me then me. Or the reality might be that I was so miserably pregnant I just plainly can't remember feeling like it could have been my birthday.
And so I thought about that today, here on my 35th. The kids liked my stories I told all the way home tonight from dinner.
I was about to write that nothing amazing happened today. But that's not true.
Tonight there is one amazing slumber party going on here with the best friends I've ever had.
They scream and yell and want to sleep by me.
They make me gifts and ask me to open them outside under the stars and I ask how will I see what I am opening and Itty says, "By the light of the big dipper, if it's out."
I have a milk shake for my "cake" and every single kid gets their own spoon and huddles around and asks me to dip some into their plastic cup. They fight and ask who has had how much and whether it's all been given out fairly and I kind of don't care that even though Robert bought the shake for me, I pretty much didn't get some. Lakelyn says, "Mommy, put a candle on the shake?"
Shelton made me breakfast in bed. . . but it didn't make it to my bed because of church this morning and all the work getting off so I open the door to the car this morning to leave and there is a plate with this baked apple, coated in some recipe he invented this morning and it was a-mazing! I don't know how he does it but I didn't teach him. He needs to be some famous chief one day on tv. And one of my crystal glasses was sitting in the cup holder, filled with ice cold water. When Robert started the car and headed down our drive the water spilled all over me and soaked me nice and good for church.
The glass fell and everyone freaked out because everyone knew Shelton shouldn't have used the crystal and what if it broke? And then the boys all got into this discussion over how much money I could make if I sold all our dishes and how we should do that and go on vacation with the money. Like go to somewhere "far away" they say.
Morgan made me earrings out of seashells. She took a black marker and wrote a big capital "A" on each earring. I will wear them tomorrow.
Bub came to me as I was getting out of bed this morning and handed me a ten dollar bill, "For your birthday, Mom." He has the biggest heart e-v-e-r and the biggest puppy dog eyes. I felt bad to take $10 but I knew to turn it down would be worse so I thanked him so much.
Scott had hand-made a knife while is Tasmania (Yes, Tasmania! Like who goes there? Such a great trip for him!) two weeks ago. He gave me the knife plus a bar of soap which says, "Made in Australia." And a card that says, "Let your heart take courage. . ." He recommended I use the knife in the kitchen. The knife is something fierce and looks more like a self-protection device.
Itty wrapped up stickers from my craft drawer with packaging tape and paper and made me a little decoration out of three stickers that say, "Wish." It is now hanging from the wall in my bedroom. She also wrapped up three tiny seashells and gave me those. It took me forever to un-tape it all, but so worth her joy!
Shelton took a picture I had discarded of myself and colored on it and wrote sweet words and gave it back to me. I was glad he hadn't pinned in a mustache on my face 'cause I would have been tempted. On the back it said, "I love you so much, you're the best." He made me earrings from shells too and put them through the picture of myself that I had discarded. Creative. Made my heart smile just looking at it.
Christian gave me more hugs than I could count today. He always hugs and hugs lots, but today I got more than normal.
Lakelyn kissed me so hard on the mouth when I put her to bed tonight I almost had to cry uncle, but when she let go she said, "Ah! You the girl, Mommy!" and then, "When my birthday again, Mommy?"
Itty asked me in the car, "How old are you, Mommy?"
I said, "I'm 35 today."
She said, "Do you feel old when you get 35?"
I said, "Yes, I do."
Baby is nursed and I'm back to bed. Someday when I can't remember what I did on my 35th. . . I will read this. Maybe.
“If God is sovereign, then He is in control of all the details of my life. If He is loving, then He is going to be shaping the details of my life for my good. If He is all-wise, then He’s not going to do everything I want because I don’t know what I need. If He is patient, then He is going to take time to do all this. When we put all these things together—God’s sovereignty, love, wisdom, and patience—we have a divine story." (posted by J. White, words of Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life.)
I've known He is composing a story - my story. The story has taken twists and turns I could never have imagined, or even thought God would want to compose. Some how when conflict and tension end up in my story, I want to erase and re-write things my way. Who wouldn't?
When prayers seem "unanswered" I forget that is the patience of God - that kind of patience that I owe my very life to. Suddenly though, the virtue of patience isn't something I want Him to offer. "Oh God, please be impatient and hurry and do what I want in this situation!"
I wanted God to be the Writer of my story, but there have been times I didn't think He was a good writer at all.
If I do not trust and believe God's love, His wisdom, patience and sovereignty in the story that He is composing in my life then I fall to cynicism -- maybe a quiet one, maybe not so quiet, sometimes a screaming kind, the heart wrenching kind . . . I begin to doubt that prayer really makes a difference, doubt that God really loves me because the conflicts and tensions in life hurt me; why would anyone who loves me want me to feel hurt?
And, "Well, if God is sovereign over all, controlling all things, what's the point? Why ask Him, why care. . ."
Don't tell me I'm the only one who has ever been there.
But if I am, that's fine too.
My actions and attitudes have said at times: "I wonder if I couldn't start writing the script now on my own, please?"
Oh, I know how I would have written it! No tension, no pain, no conflict, no bad hair days. Just the beach maybe?
(I hate to admit that sounds boring in a weird way.)
Maybe something like:
"There once was a girl named Alyssa. All things went perfect for her all the time. She felt no emotional pain or physical pain. She didn't even die. The end."
The feeling of rawness that I feel when disbelieving the Story Writer would write pain, out of love --
Sometimes it doesn't come over me like a wave, but gradually, slowly descends upon me when my story isn't "beautiful" and there are chapters that are way past the chapter page limit. I seem to beg, "Please, now, where is the eraser and where is the pen and can I take out pages, God? And can I write the story for my children different than mine and script it without conflict and without tension?"
"There once was my child, they were perfect, looked perfect and were all things talented. They were perfectly spiritually discipled their whole childhood as they did everything. They found the perfect mate and were protected from all things bad or hurtful. Or sinful. They asked my council on everything and always did it and thought, "Wow, my parents are perfect and awesome." They didn't suffer at the hands of others and were always a christian and I knew they were going to heaven. The end."
We may try to script their childhood, their lives, but God is actually the one who is writing their story too.
This dialog is an un-compromised portrait, exposing of the unbelief that attacks at times --
If I'm not careful there can just be this distance between God and me when things go bad. Not that I don't believe in Him as God. I do. But as Paul Miller put it in "A Praying Life" -- I live more like a "functional deist" -- then a loving daughter to her Father.
God's sovereignty and my responsibility run throughout God's Word and they do not conflict, they go together. I see both from Genesis through Revelation, never separating from each other - two great truths, both very definite as they can be. They only ever conflict in the mind of the depraved, natural man. Salvation, as well as living the daily christian walk, is the combination of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. He has called, works and saves, "He sows mercy" -- and I am called to ask for salvation, pursue Him and live for Him; what I sow that which I will reap.
As I learn to pray, to take my pain to the God of this whole world, I can and I will see His sovereignty in all that takes place. His love, wisdom and patience is for my good. My story, with all good and bad, tension or ease, each chapter. . . truly is divine, He is the Writer.
But I'm not a puppet.
The flip part is that in God's sovereignty there is John 16:24 which says, "Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. . ."
Because my God does write scripts, He does control, I CAN ASK! And He will listen and He will act.
Since I am His child I can ask for patience with the process and He will give it.
I can ask for a heart of forgiveness and He will grant it.
I can ask for understanding of the process and He will open my eyes.
I can ask for trust, and He will prove to me His faithfulness and trustworthiness.
I can ask for love and He will fill my heart with love for others and fill me with the knowing of His love for me.
I can ask when I am lacking and He will give to me what I need to get through.
I can ask for endurance and He will renew my strength like the eagle, renew my youth, and grant me that which is beyond anything I can muster on my own. Proving it is Him indwelling.
I can ask for acceptance of the chapters and parts of the script that I, in my humanness, do not comprehend, and He gives me that acceptance. . .
And hope. Even in His patient time, allowing me to not only accept but thank Him.
I believe in His sovereignty, His control. . . His incredible LOVING ability to write divine life stories, (and trust me I've got one that reads like fiction, but is so true.) all tension and conflict included.
I believe in my responsibility and AWESOME part in asking. To seek. To knock. To cry out. To look to, and to cling to. To believe more than just a functional deist! To relate. To walk with. To know more than just head knowledge. To know that salvation is not some zap from God, or I something I can't get a handle on. That I must ask and I must seek and I must desire.
He listens and He acts. He saves. He changes me.
The story is not over yet - thank goodness!
It is divine and He is sovereign, but He is our wise, patient, kind, compassionate, Father who listens and loves us dearly. He asks us to ask and He hears and in His loving sovereignty, He answers.
I had something happen to me when I was 20 that I had little to no control over. It was at the hands of someone who was a "christian." My husband put me in the situation that took place and did not protect me because he had been taught a wrong view of what it meant to honor his parents and asked, followed, and trusted their counsel over my cautions and requests. Controlling me. . . to my harm physically and emotionally. I was controlled because I did not know anyway around it at the time. I know, sounds twisted, but true and thus my script reads.
How could this be written as a part of my divine story by a Composer who loves me?
I cried in great agony when I walked through that hell, and times after, "WHERE WAS GOD!?!"
How could I dare to even mention that part of my story here? Why would I?
The sweat that begins all over me, the feeling of wanting to throw up, my chest feels tight. My head fills like it spins.
Breathing feels strange.
All this begins to start to happen at first, but then peace comes and surrounds me. I wait and then it rises up in me! I believe that what is not hidden or kept in denial God will bring great fruit from. . .
I want to declare and testify of the GOODNESS OF MY STORY WRITER!
I have fought long and hard. I've questioned. . . I've wanted to deny the script was written, never forgive the characters involved, re-write, doubt the Composer.
But He has never let go of me. He has declared to me His goodness and love to me through that particular horrible event, and anything painful one before or after, and it is a part of my story and it is there for my good. It is a part of my husband's script too, how God has used it to draw him closer to Himself and free him from false teachings.
For it is through the testimony, through the scripts of pain, the chapters that hurt. . .
That unfolds our hearts and make them moldable ~ Needy and ripe and real for the asking of God's presence and life to indwell and save us and make us whole!
It's through the parts of our story that we wish didn't happen that we come into the knowing of what Christ suffered. And that when something is done to us at the hands, words, or actions of others, that as a daughter of God, it is being done to Christ. We are sharing in His sufferings in a way that is deep, real and painful. When I asked Him why, He showed me how tenderly He loves me - that He and I could share in a way that is so much more deeply connected than being a functional deist. That through the suffering I can actually proclaim and understand that He is good, wise, and loving.
It's through the suffering that I get the tiniest taste of what He has done for me on the cross! I get it, I know and I rejoice in a way that I could not otherwise understand.
Oh, my adoration for my Script Writer this morning! Welling up inside of me and pouring forth with tears of joy and hope!
(My girls always look at me funny when I am sitting here typing and silently crying, yet smiling. Maybe one day they will read and understand their own stories better and be able to say with me, "Bless the Lord, Oh, my soul and ALL that is within me bless His holy name!")
I have no idea if anyone is reading now this far into my writing, or whether what pours from my heart this morning can be comprehended in a way that makes sense like it does to me and frees me - but if someone out there has made it this far , I believe it's for a purpose. . .
May the testimony of the goodness of God in His ever-loving script-writing bring you into His arms, and into His presence, and may you ask of Him because He listens and may you know and understand and share in the sufferings of Christ through your own suffering so that you may know Him fully and be used of Him for His glory.
Your story is beautiful, painful chapters and all, if it has drawn you into the presence of God and saved your from yourself and given you eternal life - Praise Him! He makes beautiful things out of dust. The resolve 2 worship is something we must ask for, our responsibility. You can know that HE will answer you as He gives you eyes to see what a wonderful and loving Script Writer He is.
P.S. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR7VOKQ0xJY -- Here is a good link to a song (though one of the most repetitive lyrics ever! But sometimes that's what I need!) that I just love, the kind if you can relate to a little of what I've written here, you need to just turn it up and stand up, arms lifted and worship. Let it the truth wash and heal.
On with my day. I feel the smallest hint of fall breeze in the air.
These two pictures make me smile because they remind me of each and every single day right now.
I wake, waves rising, most days I feel my head is just hardly above the water. It's thrilling, it's scary, it's fun, it kind of feels like drowning, or jumping in with all abandonment. The continual mixed heart and mind emotions of motherhood with lots of little ones (and semi-older ones!) ~ like waves that are just high enough to make me wonder if I can make it, but not too high that I don't feel the excitement of being blessed to jump them.
And then the second picture. This automatic gesture - thumbs thrown up in the air when she saw me!
The emotion on her face almost gives me chills because that is how full my heart is when I make it through. When I put my head on my pillow at the end of the table, whoops I meant to write bed, or wait, I think I meant end of the day lol (yes, some nights it's at the end of the kitchen table!) close my eyes, and as tired as I might feel and as "water-logged" as I might be, there is a thumbs up in my mind.
From the One who got me through in the first place.
To Him be all glory.
I guess it's kind of like all of life, this earthly journey. The waves. The waves will always be there. Always. But how we view them, live through them, to whom we look to in the midst of them, that is the main thing. Our response when we make it through. . .
:) Thumbs up.
Haha, I just dawned on me. . . realizing some folks will read the title of this post and think another baby is on the way. THAT WOULD BE NOPE.
August has come and nearly gone. . . but not without wonder and amazement once again of the faithfulness of God.
Can't believe summer is gone. Besides Scott who is across seas with his grandparents, the boys left early for school this morning and while I was flipping pancakes at 6:45am I had flashbacks of all our wonderful summer memories and I really can't complain about anything. It's been a good, full summer and if only we could get some cooler weather ushered in, I'm sure I am ready for fall to start falling. Fall means football for four boys and I am gearing up for being the ridiculous mommy cheerleader I always am this season. And full time day mommy to four little girls who need me like crazy right now!
(Thus this blog post being written like over two weeks time).
I pretty much call August "Morgan's Month" because she has our only August birthday, and fittingly so. She is my summer girl all the way. It's a part of her, in her, like her. She is lover of water, sand, and sun to the fullest. God knew she needed, had to be born in the summer time.
Our first little girl was born after nine months plus something like 7 days after a very long and hard pregnancy, and my most painful labor ever. It was laughing hard that actually triggered my first contraction and three hours later she was there. It was a scary fast three hours as she wanted to come quick but was in the wrong position and I was having a home birth. My mom was in the living room on her knees crying out to God for His mercy on us as she heard her own daughter screaming out in pain. God came. Miracles happen. Morgan is one.
You'd never known all we'd just gone through though when she was just moments old. . .cradled in my arms that very hot August of 2003. She was a picture of perfection, of peace. Her lips were the sweetest I'd ever seen and she was just totally dreamy. Completely blissful. Sweat poured down my face as I laid my head back on my pillow, our bedroom dim but bright because I was finally on the other side of agony. She was there and that was all that mattered. Healthy, whole and there with us to love and to hold.
She is a fighter, a quiet warrior of sorts ~ like gentle strength. I saw it that first night she was born and I see it now.
Long before I even knew her gender I had selected the name Morgan. I had some reservations about getting my hopes up that we'd ever have a girl, after all, we'd had three boys in about three years and having a girl didn't seem like something we knew how to do. When the ultrasound showed us the proof I was still resistant to believe until I saw her outside the womb. But I tucked my little girl name away and hoped.
Morgan means ~ "Circling the sea or sea shore, little dweller of the sea; great brightness encircling." (I like to say that means "Beach Girl.")
Her middle name Bliss means - "Ecstasy; joy."
The verses that I wrote down next to her name in her journal when she was born:
"You will be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, a royal diadem in the hand of your God, you will be called "My delight is in her." Is. 62:3-4
"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation."
"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Ps. 16:11
"The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake." Ps. 23
Back in June Morgan came to me and said, "I've got an idea for my birthday shoot this year. Do you think we could do my nine year old pictures at the beach?"
No, I didn't think so. I didn't want to say yes and get her hopes up. I knew life in August is always busy and though I wanted to make a day at the beach as much or more than she did, I just didn't know if it would happen. I told her so. I saw her disappointment so I said, "What about you get some beach things together though and we could use them in our shoot if you want. . ." She shrugged but did get a basket from the decor bin and put a few shells inside and took her fav earrings she bought while we were in Florida and put them in there too.
Secretly I hoped a beach day would work out though and I decided I would do all I could to make it happen.
I knew I needed to make it to the beach before school started up again. For sanity, for fun, for the kids sake. . . for my sake. Thing is, the beach is my favorite place on the earth, no matter what coast, no matter location and I suppose I took a chance naming Morgan "little beach girl" because who knew she'd love it as much as me? But she does.
First week of August I said to her, "We're going to go. We'll do it." And her face lit up like sunshine and we couldn't wait.
We played all day and I will post pictures of that another time because the day was amazing. I pretty much spent my entire day in the water with the children. I loved every second of it. Held my breathe at times it seemed to try to make time stand still because the thought of the boys returning to school and being gone during the day made me sad and I just wanted to live, live it up.
At the close of the day I packed and washed everything and everyone up and Morgan and I took fun time out for her pictures. What fun that she enjoys creating like I do - it makes the art all the more enjoyable. Kind of like painting on the same canvas together and somehow seeing the same things in our mind. Just cool.
Neither Morgan nor I had anticipated being able to shoot on an old fishing boat in the bay on the waters edge. Her first thoughts she had shared with me back in June were to "do a shoot on my surf board." I wasn't so sure what she was imagining ~ we brainstormed a bit and came up with a plan to work around a pastel color scheme since those our her fav colors right now. . . but on our drive back from the beach crossing the bay one of the boys pointed out the boat, "Mom, check that out, that would be cool for photos." I looked over at Morgan, "What do you think?"
So I circled under the bridge and went to see who I could ask. . . finding a bait shop, I entered and saw a middle aged woman coming through a back door. She looked more the friendlier sort then the men cleaning fish and selling bait. I told her I was doing some photos and could I use the boat. . .
After hearing the tale of the boat, the long line of family fishermen who had floated their way to bragging rights, she smiled and said, "Follow me."
The sun was setting and I knew we didn't have much good light left - but just enough. The bay was blue and yellow, the skies painted towards the coast but the boat was docked opposite. Morgan and I were probably only there for ten minutes but we captured her in all her favorite elements and when I look at these pictures I see her just as the nine year old girl she is - so full of wonder, my little girl by the sea, blissful, peaceful, gentle strength that radiates through her determination and deliberate living.
It's been a interesting year of growth for Morgan, for mothering her, seeing her slowly (yet not so slowly) move from little girl to not so very little girl anymore, kind of like pre-pre teen.
So much we have in common in our interests right now and yet so much we do not in personality. She is so much more sure of herself than I, at the same time always weighing everything back and forth listing pros and cons. A list maker, an organized, calculated young lady. Smart. Disciplined, yet somehow easy going. . . maybe that comes with just being four of eight children and knowing that is her option of good survival.
She is introverted, happy though - not the kind full of smiles but the kind that is blissfully, inwardly content. She reminds me of that verse in Proverbs that talks about how someone can have a sad heart and wear a smile and one who is not smiling can have a very happy heart. She is that calm, inward happy heart that is discovered only by those who care to pursue.
Morgan isn't a big communicator, you must dig, you must want to know and then you must discover the path into her heart. She is full of secrets, kind of like a treasure chest with a lock and she only gives the key to those who have earned it. But when you have earned it? Then you find a very deep, full, imaginative girl that holds a mystical sense about her that I kind of have a feeling only the one she falls in love with someday will have the pleasure of fully knowing.
I love this about her.
At the same time find the challenge of discovering what is in her heart daunting after her three older brothers who hold nothing back and give more than I might have asked ~ living life outloud in an awesome way - that might intimidate some but the realness draws me close to them. Finding closeness with Morgan is something I must seek out and make priority. I must come in quiet (which is hard to come by in our home) and it must come from one on one time. It comes through connecting with her on an intimate level sought out by persistent desire on my part, doing things side by side that let her know I care.
Then the treasure that she is begins to reveal itself, slowly but purely and authentically.
Someday, her husband to be might want to read this. I have a feeling that the person who wins her heart one day will have it very, fully, fiercely loyal. She is all about one-on-one companionship. When she loves she loves hard.
I find a strength in her that I admire, a heart that wants to know God and live a life according to His Word. I can't count how many times I have seen her dealing with something inward or just something difficult outwardly here at home where she goes and spends quiet time with God, reading His Word. That is where she runs in time of trouble. I see a fighter who stands firm in her beliefs. She is a tough girl, in the right kind of way. There is depth. Discernment.
I don't know if I will ever learn to read Morgan just right. Don't know that I will ever quite find the way in. I want to but I don't know how to be the mom she needs, a mom to a daughter that ticks so different than I do on the inside. I do know I make mistakes and we talk about that. I have to ask her if I do things that hurt her because she doesn't give out free information. . . but I won't give up. We keep trying, start over, begin fresh, seek God and we pray together.
She is my first born girl ~ like Scott being the first born boy, another who I suppose I really don't know what I am doing as she grows. Just about the time I got comfortable and thought I was pretty good at mothering hyper out going energized boys, God gave a quiet daughter. We are growing and learning this mother-daughter thing together. God knows this and I will trust His guidance ~ for it is there for the asking.
Our closest beach doesn't typically have the prettiest shells so Morgan packed some
in this little bag to bring down to the beach. . .
Morgan LOVES crafts. When I was her age I spent hours painting, drawing, sketching or redecorating my dollhouses over and over.
She prefers crafts like making earrings and jewelry, creating all sorts of little paper crafts, or decorations, even knitting and hand sewing.
She has way more patience than I do when it comes to creating things.
Morgan's birthday landed on a Sunday this year. Course as usual we take who ever it is that has a birthday on a special date just all by themselves. We asked Morgan what her choices were. She was very sure it must be for a swim at the lake. I love her choices. So we packed some chips and salsa, some sweet tea for Robert's sake (Morgan is very health conscience so she only sips a little lol!) and headed for the side of the lake with the cliffs where it is clear and very deep, her favorite spot.
She has become quite the good little swimmer but due to no shallows and only up the cliff to get out of the water, we took precautions to have a life jacket and float so she could snorkel 'til her heart content that evening. What a lovely, beautiful evening it was too! She didn't say much unless we asked, but she sure smiled and shined all night long, our little daughter by the sea. Robert is so proud of his girls. I love Morgan's resemblance to him.
We went straight from the lake to her choice of food: Italian (she ordered a personal pizza with pineapple) - where we could watch the Olympics while we ate, and then dessert at BJ's - fruit cobbler with ice-cream. She wanted jewelry making equipment for her gift . . .
Oh, and a day at the beach.
Here is a shot I took this month of Morgan jogging at the park with Bub and her cousin. She loves to run and runs regularly. Due to her accident when she was four we wondered if running would ever really work for her. . . back issues have continued through the years, though this year she has had less then ever before. She seems to be slowly growing out of the issues she had in the past - so glad!
Morgan works really hard throughout the year as a model for HannahKate and a few other photo shoot projects/companies. http://flipflashpages.uniflip.com/3/71973/151491/pub/
She is so patient, enduring, takes it very seriously - because it is not all fun and games. It is very hard work. Everytime we plunge into a job I am amazed at her character.
This is something I have given her the choice to do as she has gotten older and of course there is an element of enjoyment that she finds in doing it or she wouldn't be up for it, (she loves design, creativity, fashion, keeping some of the clothing and seeing the end results -- and I do my best to make it as fun as possible in the situations!) but over all it is exhausting and she overcomes the challenges and puts in 100% all on her own accord. I am continually in awe at her as she works along side me during the weeks that I work for HannahKate.
In winter months she is typically doing summer clothing and when she is tempted to shiver and let her teeth chatter I will hear her mutter under her breathe, "I am at the beach, I am at the beach, it is sunny and warm!" The month of August we are typically working winter clothing in hot temps. You would never know by these pictures last week that it was 100 degrees and she was on a three hour long marathon shoot to get twenty clothing items shot in one day. The sweet lady who owned the winery we were shooting at was so kind to bring us nice cold water as we worked.
Her once a year birthday, and my mama brag time on her . . . but truly, I love this girl and God has been so gracious to allow us the privilege of loving her, having her these years while she is living in our home. She is a delight and a gift and our whole family can't imagine this place without her - our little blissful beach babe who we all love so very much. May this tenth year of life she is now embarking on be a wonderful one and may God continue to work in her heart and draw her to Himself.