Month: December 2013

A Christmas gift that lives on

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Before our move to Uganda 4 years ago, I wanted to do something memorable for the children. A way for them to remember our home and friends here. In an age of digital media I wanted something they could hold in their hands and cherish. That’s when I decided to make a photo book ever year for each child.

I turned to Snapfish because they have the best prices, especially during the holidays, but there are several good photo book printing services (I used Paper Coterie one year when their prices beat Snapfish). Here’s how I do it:

On a day when Adam can watch the children, I sit down with my laptop and go through our year of photos (every year I kick myself for not being more organized). If I was smart I’d start a folder with their names and monthly add to it. Instead I cram. every. year. Will I ever learn!?

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Anyhoo, back to it: I make a folder with each child’s name and the year on it; I also make a folder titled “family” for our family book. After I’ve made the folders, I make sure the photos are edited as I see fit in Lightroom. You can use whatever editing software you have; if you’re an iPhone photographer, I’ve found VSCOCAM to be a wonderful editing tool.

After my photos are in folders and edited, I upload them to Snapfish one folder at a time. This keeps the photos I want to use in each book together and makes it easier to sort through while making the books. I make sure to upload them at the highest quality (even though it takes more time) because I want the pictures to look their best when they print.

Now it’s time for the fun part: making the photo books! I like to include special events and memories from the year and I let the photos do the talking with very little text. Snapfish’s embellishments look promising this year and I’m planning to try them out. But again, I don’t add much text as I do believe the photos speak for themselves.

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One thing I do add is encouragement for my kids about who they are. I want them to be able to look back at these books and know exactly how I feel about them. How much I love them and cherish them. I want them to remember to believe in themselves and to like themselves! Sometimes we need hope reminders–that’s what I’m making. Reminding them of the beauty of life. Photos do that for me.

Whatever you choose to do, have fun and make it meaningful for you and your family. These are treasures that live on and often times I will find my children poring over our albums. They love to remember. To see how they’ve grown.

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Just a few weeks until Christmas but you’ve got time still to make a lasting memory and meaningful gift.

Grace and Peace.

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Help came

“I’m not saying there won’t be an accident now, mind you. They’re funny things, accidents. You never have them till you’re having them.”

— Tigger, THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER

Saturday, after a few good slides down a snow-covered hill, our darling slid into bleachers and hit her noggin quite hard. So hard that she couldn’t remember words or how to put them together or who her mommy and daddy were. We rushed to the ER leaving our other four home and whispered beggy prayers as we rushed down the road. “Please, God. PLEASE!” But the hard part was keeping her awake as we sped down the icy roads.

ERs are a funny place–you either wait for hours or they take you right back and triage you. The latter, though nice, means that you’ve been bumped to the top of the list because your condition is serious.

We were seen right away.

And what a wonderful staff we had. They did a CT scan that confirmed a slight skull fracture and bleed. I couldn’t feel my legs when the doctor came in with the news. This isn’t happening, not to her, I thought.  It can’t be. She didn’t just say a skull fracture and bleeding on her brain. Did she? Please God, PLEASE. HELP!

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Help came in the form of this smile and Pei Wei smuggled in for dinner by our pastor. Help came in the form of our good friends and neighbors stopping by our house to be with our other kids while we were away. Help came in the form of text messages and prayers promised and encouraging words over social media from family, friends, and complete strangers.

It was divine provision that our Pastor Roger was there just after the news had been given and we were being transferred to our room on the children’s floor.

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Night came and all this little one wanted was to have something snuggly to hold. Our precious nurse found this polar bear. Help came again. She held it all night and it brought her such comfort.

“Mommy, I lovvvvvve this bear. It’s so nice. So soft. I can really keep it?! Like take it home? Oh, mommy my nurses are so nice. I like this hotel hospital.”

After a few hours of sleep we had a party from midnight to 2:00 am watching the Disney Channel, eating cheese sticks and graham crackers, and taking more meds before finally drifting off back to sleep.

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Morning came and she had her second scan. It showed healing! The blood on her brain was receding–practically gone now–and soon after Daddy came back to the hospital for a visit, we were able to join him and go home! We sent hugs to all the folks who had been praying far and wide for a good report. Help came. We were heading home.

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Double-fisting popsicles is the best way to say goodbye to a scary night.

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Now we’re home and this little slept through the night until 10:00 am and is only complaining of a little pain. We are so thankful, so very thankful. Help came.

When I called, you answered me, you increased my strength within me. –Psalm 138:4

My heart sings to you without ceasing: O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever. –Psalm 30:13

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