I’ve been looking through some old pictures lately to find the perfect ones to add to a collage wall I’m working on.

When I came across this one I had to stop in my tracks:

Because a swell of emotion came over me like never before.

It was taken on a little boat in the middle of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam during a little trip when we lived in China.  That was “our boat” overnight.

Just us.

The seven of us all together.

That picture took me instantly back that moment and everything that surrounded it and made me so incredibly grateful for pictures that can freeze time.  I remembered the moment we pulled up to that boat in a little water taxi, our eyes as big as saucers that that was where we got to be.  We had a little “crew” that cooked for us and even gave us a little “cooking class” that night surrounded in darkness with the twinkle of other boats in the bay and the sound of gently lapping water against the boat. 

I remembered the little kayak trip we took in the afternoon and how the kids jumped off the roof as the sun sunk behind those jagged mountains popping out of the bay all around us, and the conversation that ensued while playing games on the rooftop that night.

So much gratitude and love that we got to have that moment in time (much more about that and the concept of “thin places” back HERE.)

And that we have things like pictures and little video snippets that bring it back.  And make our hearts ache with missing and gratitude.

I’m sure there was fighting and squabbling here and there, tired kids and a whole slew of whining, but as I look back I just see the “glistening whole” (a term my sister Saydi always uses that I love).

And I am so grateful for it.

So this morning when Lu and I walked to school I snapped a picture:

Not nearly as glamorous a setting, but glamorous in my mind because look at that girl hug her dog goodbye.  
I hope that some day years from now I can look back at it and remember how it felt to walk together.  How Bo feels like she has to charge ahead to save her soul and how we’re trying to help her learn to “heel” a little better.  I hope I’ll how we were laughing en route and how it feels to have Lucy’s hand cradled in the crook of my elbow as we walk…something I’ve recently learned is called “sighted guide” if you do it correctly with someone who is losing their vision.  
I’ll remember that backpack Lucy adores and how excited she is about butterflies and how her hair is unruly and we had to whip up that braid last minute and how she would still let be give her a long, lingering hug before we said goodbye.  And oh, how I love that girl of mine, and love to watch her confidently march through those back gates to teachers and friends who are kind and good to her.
And I hope I will remember then what I feel now…so much gratitude for a normal Wednesday morning.
Pictures can say a thousand words.
And today, in mid-gratitude-month, I am grateful for them.


  1. Yes, cherish the moments. Our family takes pictures, we are glad for every single one. Our 24 yr old daughter, of home, was diagnosed on May 31st with stage 4 breast cancer, Aug 1st she passed on. People have been so surprised at all the pictures we have.

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