my brain is swimming right now, and i've got a whole lot of random to share with you. consider yourself warned.
thanksgiving was a whirlwind to say the least. using good old weather channel lingo, it was equivalent to least a category four tornado (or is that rating system reserved for hurricanes?). in the 48 hours we were gone from our house, we had a precious time of fellowship over thanksgiving lunch in eastaboga, al where much of my family lives...
we played in the leaves...
...and, of course, took some pictures.
that part was pretty tame. but from there, the speed picked up a bit. we drove straight from my grandmother's house to lenox mall in atlanta to meet josh's family for the lighting of the huge tree on top of macy's. after an hour-long wait in the 45-degree cold, though, we realized we had the wrong "go-time" in mind and that the tree wasn't going to be lit until after the live christmas show (an hour later). cold noses and hungry tummies won out, so we hopped back in the car and headed home to marietta to watch the lighting on tv from the warmth of papaw and grandpam's living room.
the girls on josh's side of the family have a years-long tradition of waking up early on black friday to knock out our christmas lists with crazy-cheap deals that we get by shopping at dark:thirty each year. well, apparently the stores are even crazier than we are because this year, the stores opened up at 4 am. i was pretty low on sleep from this past month as it is, so i told them i would catch up a little later (they were leaving the house at 2:45 alabama time...nuts!) unfortunately, i was battling an ugly case of delicious-black-bean-soup-meets-sensitive-digestive-tractitis, so i already wasn't getting much sleep that night. i weighed the pros and cons, woke josh up to ask if it was ok if i headed on out, and decided that if i was going to be awake, i'd rather be spending time with the girls than the guest bathroom potty.
so off i went...only 30 minutes behind.
the lewis crew is going through some big (but very, very good!) changes, so we had made a decision to slim christmas way down this year. after an 8-hour shopping run, i walked back in the door with goodies for most of the people on our christmas list...and spent very little. nice! ;-)
after a quick nap, i took the kids and ran to target to pick up a couple of things i needed (besides, josh needed some quiet time to study). we had a delicious thanksgiving meal with josh's family that night...
...and then josh's sister, rebekah, and i started to work on baby ayda's first birthday cakes for her party the next day (don't be impressed with me...rebekah did 99% of the work).
so, that was the first half of our trip.
i had a session in atlanta early the next morning, so i scooted out before the kids were up and headed to marietta square to meet this fun family, who was together from marietta, nashville, and chicago for the holiday :
i had never shot at this location before, so i was excited to play around with some new settings. rebekah's husband, kevin, had told me about a neat area one block over from the square, and as soon as i saw it, i was smitten! gorgeous colors, perfect lighting, lots of texture and detail...
oh, did i mention it sits right beside a train track? all was peaceful and nice until this big guy came through...
this next shot is photographic proof of the differences in boys and girls. kaitlin looks stressed and not so happy with the ear-shattering mess of steel that was plowing through our session. and josh? i'm pretty sure i heard him squeal with glee...
from this session, i did ayda's one-year session at a different park near the house. this is literally the only shot i've edited so far, so rebekah, i promise to be back with more of a sneak peek soon!
from there, it was back to the house to put the finishing touches on the birthday setup, and after another family meal together, ayda threw down some cake at her first birthday party!!!
needless to say, when we got home that night, we were all pooped. we've been going ninety to nothing ever since we arrived back in birmingham in a desperate attempt to get on top of everything we have going right now. for josh, it's been schoolwork as he finishes out his first semester of seminary, and for me, it's been photography and card related activity. but something happened this morning that kind of snapped me back into line...
as i was frantically trying to wrap up an order from a recent session, abby came in the room and said, "mommy, can we please read my bible?"
not only do i not want to discourage her budding love of god's word in any way, i want to do everything i can to help foster and develop it. but now? at that moment, i was drowning in a virtual ocean of editing, orders, and e-mail questions. part of me felt like if i quit what i was doing, i wouldn't get everything done in time. i wouldn't be doing enough to provide in even a small way for our family.
but i got up anyway and walked to the couch where i sat with my three munchkins cuddled up with me under a quilt. and we started reading the first story we opened up to...
it was a paraphrase of mark 4 and matthew 8 where jesus and his disciples were in the boat when a raging storm suddenly came upon them.
"HELP!" they screamed. "Wake up! Quick, Jesus!"
Jesus opened his eyes.
"Rescue us! Save us!" they shrieked. "Don't you care?"
(Of course Jesus cared, and this was the very reason he had come - to rescue them and to save them.)
Jesus stood up and spoke to the storm. "Hush!" he said. That's all.
And the strangest thing happened...
The wind and the waves recognized Jesus' voice. (They had heard it before, of course - it was the same voice that made them, in the very beginning). They listened to Jesus and they did what he said.
schoolbooks and photoshop have proven to be enough to keep josh and me busy, but as i alluded to above, there's much more going on around here than those things. i hope to share much more soon, but if we've ever been in a place of feeling totally dependent on god, it's now. as i read the words to that story, i began to tear up at the magnificent power of god...and the complete inadequacy of allison lewis. i was reminded that the lord is the one who provides daily for our family. and he's the one who has graciously guided our steps. and he'll never leave us or forsake us.
this whole story probably doesn't mean as much to you as it did to me in that moment. but it was one of those times when everything around me stopped and the lord gently reminded me that he's got this.
consider the ravens: they do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet god feeds them. and how much more valuable you are than birds! luke 12:24
before i go, are you looking for something special to do this christmas? something that will literally change a life? come back later for our favorite christmas tradition. we'd love for you to join us!