Something I love about my little family is our traditions. I try very hard to carve out time (and money) to make some special traditions happen. It fills my heart with such joy to watch my kids get excited about different traditions we have. They are just getting to the age where they can remember to last year/time we did something and get ready for it coming again. I love that. I want to create memories for them-in the big moments and the inane moments. I want my kids to have heart memories etched into their being of who I was and the home we created for them. So we try to give to them in the excitement of family days and in the inane day to day.
They may not remember each time I made them dinner or each time we cuddled for a story or took a walk to gather “treasures”, but I hope that the sum total of all these experiences is etched into who they are. I hope they remember what it feels like to cuddle close to me or to listen to the inflection of my voice as I read a beloved story. Those are things I remember from my childhood. Sometimes I even go back to that place in my mind as a source of truth and comfort.
I hope our traditions, big and small, mold them into people who treasure family, live an others-centered life, aren’t afraid to be who God made them to be, and take time to thank God for his blessings. I want my kids to be grounded in memories-from the inane moments and also from the exciting outings and traditions we plan for them.
Although it didn’t quite happen last year, professional family photos are something I want to make happen every Fall. It is a tradition that I love for many reasons. Traditions in themselves cause me to reflect on years past. When I look back I can see God’s faithfulness. I can remember what was going on at that time-the things that we were celebrating, the things we were struggling with. I remember the things that we concerned ourselves with. I can see God’s faithful hand providing for us, directing us, admonishing us and sometimes carrying us. And also, in the case with our young family, I can literally see God growing our family in numbers.
I love to look at a picture and see us captured just being us- just being the way God made us.
I know years from now I will look back through tear filled eyes and remember us as we were then.
Their little faces can transport me back to a moment or time in our life.
The time she danced and twirled through life without fears or self-doubt:
The time where he had two speeds: sleeping and running:
Or when he would stick in his hands in his pockets when he thought he was really cool (and also when a photographer told him too…)
The time when she used to make that silly face all.the.time. as if she knew something we didn’t:
There are feelings in those times. The feelings flood back as I look at photos. And no matter what the feelings were surrounding that time then, whenever I look back at old photos, I am always left with the lingering feelings of joy and gratitude.
Traditions are a helpful way for a busy, distracted, all too often pessimistic person like me to be mindful of the sovereignty of God, to be thankful, to be hopeful.
Family photos are an especially wonderful way for me to do this because they are so visual. I joke and say that by getting professional pictures I am giving myself a gift because these quality photos mean so much to me. And in a way I am giving myself more of a gift than just the photos. I am forcing myself to stop and look at what God has done for me. As the moments of life are paused still in front of me I cannot help but rejoice at what God has given me. I know that no matter what changes from year to year, tradition to tradition, God does not change. God promises never fail and He is faithful and true. I am so glad God gave us memories and rhythms in life to point us back to Him. What a beautiful gift! As we enter a season filled with lots of traditions I am praising God for the opportunity to see Him in everything and remember what He has done for me and my sweet little family.
Photos credit Rachel Ann Photography