Dear Daughters : Winter (or something like it)

Dear Daughters, Winter is almost here. Well, something *like* winter is almost here. The humid, muggy, breezy season is upon us, just chilling the water to an unbearable temperature, but not bringing any possibility of snow.

If I am honest, I have not been good to you during this change of season. My temper has been short, my patience has been thin, my words have been harsh. You don't understand "the busy season" for photographers, and it isn't fair to you how much work I've dedicated myself to. But for the next few months it's just us. No flights, no marathon sessions, no late night editing. Just us. For your sake, I will remember that this season is short and that it can easily be ruined by my bad attitude.

And if I'm more honest, being a wife is even less intuitive than being your mother. It is easier for me to kiss your skinned knees, sing you to sleep, or change your sheets in the middle of the night because of a tummy bug than it is to be a wife. Motherhood, I am starting to consider, may be more intuitive to us ladies than anything else. Our bodies our created for it. But being submissive (in the context of the Word) and supportive and loving does not come easy to me some days, and I know it throws off the entire balance of our home. My flesh fights it, my mind belittles it, my heart grows weary of it. Your daddy and I celebrated 10 years of friendship a few weeks ago. We have changed so much in that short time. But we've grown so close because of you girls. The only options we have during these hard days and long nights is to go our separate ways, or grow closer together. Looking back at the work He's done in your daddy and I in 10 years is indescribable. I am embarrassed at who I was, but I know that if God can turn that mess of a girl around, He has BIG things for you.

I hope you know how good your God is, my girls. His Grace is so overabundant in covering your family. I know He is doing a work through us that will last generations through your children and theirs. Know that the grace I so sparingly hand to you is but a drop in the ocean to what He has to offer. I can't wait for the day you meet your Savior out of your own need. He is waiting. He is good. He is faithful.

While it may sound like we are dredging through things, we really aren't. The laughs we have these days are deeper, the time we spend together is more intentional. Your daddy left his job at the plant because he missed you. Because he loves you so very much. It didn't make any sense to make money for you that he couldn't spend with you. So now, he is home every day. Working at a job he loves, with the ladies that mean the most to him - me and you.

We love you so much, Lily, Norah, and Phoebe. You are so worth all of this work.

(Thank you so very much, Whitney of The Archibald Project for taking time out of your preparation to MOVE TO UGANDA to capture these moments for us. If you would like to support this amazing ministry that promotes orphan care all over the world through story telling, be sure to follow all of these linkies.)

Dear Daughters: As Fall Creeps In

Dear Daughters, Summer has officially retreated, so says the calendar, but the days here in Rockport are still hot. The mosquitos are still swarming, the sun still tucks away at 8, not much has really changed. We've been kissed with golden tans, left sand in every crack and crevice of the house, and starred at the tv for way too many hours.

But every few nights, there is a cool(ish) breeze that lifts the sweaty hairs off of the back of our necks on our evening walk and we remember, Autumn will be here soon. She will bring open windows, community events, and a change of pace (hopefully a relaxed rhythm to these homeschooling days) We have our very first family (of five) vacation planned to wrap up the season in December, but until then, I am hopeful for a season of diligence. Of pressing deep into our family and neighborhood. Welcoming whatever the wind blows in.

My Lily, I swear that your legs grew every day of this summer. I can hardly see where your chunky baby thighs used to be. You have started Kindergarten (though you tell everyone "Oh, I don't have a grade, I'm HOMEschooled.") So far you really love our math lessons and you light up when given the chance to show Norah how to do something. You say "I'm sorry" more than any little human I've ever met and it makes me wonder if have shown you what Grace really looks like. Or maybe the guilt you are feeling, the inadequacy you burden will lead you to our Savior. I don't know, but know that I hear you, baby.

Norah Jean, You little stinker. Your imagination has grown leaps and bounds this past season (which only thrills your older sister) You have started to figure out the world, and hearing what it feels like, sounds like, looks like through your lens is fascinating. You are loyal and intense and ever more opinionated. I have a feeling Jesus is going to use you in a might way. You have started Pre-K and love your little Rod & Staff books. We have finally gotten over the "This is not white, it's NO COLOR, mama" argument (thank you 6 pound, 12 ounce baby Jesus) and I love the look on your face when you've completed something you've put a lot of your little attention into.

Phoebe, My baby, my chubs, my Pheebs. Where is my tiny baby girl? I can hardly find her with this sassy toddler standing in the way. I can honestly say that I've done a disservice to your big sisters by taking for granted their littleness. Every day I have with you as a baby is a joy. An exhausting, messy joy. You are a mischievous little toddler. Your curiosity and extrovertedness (definitely a word)  remind me of Lily, but the enthusiasm in which you play and sneak and cuddle is all your own. You promised me through little milk stanky gummies that you would stay my baby forever. What a dirty trick ;] I think you will miss the beach most of all. You will go in up to your chin before I can grab you. The water excites you, and maybe it's because that's the way you came into the world? But even in our days home you find your sandcastle molds to play with.

Burke Lady Loves, We've had an amazing summer. It isn't for certain where we will spend the next summer, or the one after that, or after that, but I hope you can remember the time that we had here.

Love, Mama