Archive for the ‘family’ Tag

The Photos you Don’t Need   Leave a comment

I have a strange recommendation: print, keep, scrapbook with and otherwise save some of the photos you don’t like and don’t want.

I scrapbook, so these thoughts apply directly to those who also do so, but if you prefer to upload to Shutterfly and make a book, or to just print and drop in a box, consider this.

You probably select photos to work with based on their excellence: composition, color and print quality, were the kids smiling? do they help tell the story? are they of an occasion important enough to save? that stuff.  Most people select photos based on some kind of criteria, and nobody wants to use a photo that looks messy, has red-eye, or doesn’t fit into the overall plan for the page.

That’s understandable.

But if you only use the best photos, you will miss something good.

How do I know? I looked back through an album of mine from eight years ago. In the process, I discovered there was a six month period of our lives for which I only had one page. There were a couple of photos of the snowman the kids made in a spring snowstorm and there were several of my youngest son’s 6th birthday.  All well and good, except I thought to myself, where was the rest of our life?  What on earth happened, or didn’t happen, that I did not bother to record it?

Life had been so full that I had not looked at old pictures for years.  So I took the time to go through every file I could find that might have pictures from that six months.  I came out of that session with about 25 more pictures.

Oh, those red Cars slip ons that he used to wear every day!  I had forgotten all about them.  We went hiking out there?  Yes.  Oh, that was the day we couldn’t find the jackets and had to go back for the stuffed animal we left behind.  My children are eight years older now, and I am here to tell you, they were darn cute back then.  I found myself wondering why on earth I did not print these photographs.

I think it was because they just weren’t good enough.  They weren’t perfect enough.  But these are the images of the moments in which my life happened, the messy, glorious life I really had with my family.

Go ahead and print the goofy pictures of your family setting up the pop-up camper for the first time, including the one with dad’s back side as he’s bent over the trailer hitch.  Go ahead and print the ones where the kids aren’t looking at the camera or are poking each other or are rolling their eyes.  Go ahead and print the ones that don’t fit the theme.

You won’t regret it later.


Posted May 24, 2018 by swanatbagend in humor, parenting

Tagged with , , ,

Generations   1 comment

Like waves overlapping as they wash in to the shore, so one generation is mingled with the next. It shares genetics, life experiences, a home, a past, and a last name. It’s difficult to separate one wave from the next when you watch the water at the beach. You can’t escape the waves by waiting for the gap between them because there isn’t really a gap. There’s just a low spot, and there is still always water around your ankles.

Like these waves, one generation is blended with the next.

Then, at the right moment, it must advance alone.

Posted August 30, 2017 by swanatbagend in reflections

Tagged with , ,

On the Nest   Leave a comment

Last Friday was such a happy day for me.  My usual normal is two children at home, still homeschooling, and one at college.  So after eighteen years of what I would call quantity quality time, we’re not all together most of the time.  The oldest has been gone for two and a half years, with exceptions for breaks and summer, so you’d think I’d be used to it by now, and I would have to say, yes, I am used to the new normal.

However, there’s a lot to be said for having all the chicks at home.

And March 11 I got my oldest chick back into the nest.  I felt so very happy that night.

We even got funny pictures and a video of me, literally sitting on my chicks, clucking over them, while they all peeped.

Now I know just a bit of what it’s like to be a chicken.

Posted March 22, 2016 by swanatbagend in motherhood

Tagged with

Road Trip to Michigan   Leave a comment

This past weekend, I went away to visit family members.  My circuitous route took me through Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.

I would love to go again, soon, just to see the colors on display.  I’m not crazy about the scenery in Ohio, in general, but I have some advice: Go now, before you miss it.

The woods there and in Michigan were on fire with color.  (Or should it be ablaze with color? aflame?)  Words cannot do it justice: it was therapy, beauty, peace, and amazement.

Red-orange sumac.

Orange-yellow maples.

Darkling red oaks.

Gold, yellow, gold-green, leaves that weren’t any of the colors I have mentioned above–that were unique and indescribable.

Have you ever ridden down a hall of trees, in the westering afternoon light of a late October day?  Lit up with gold, more gold comes through the leaves and trunks, flickering over the path you travel.

Other moments:

Holding a scorpion and then (much to my preference) a long, gently waving round reddish-brown millipede at the insectary where my son goes to college.

A stroller before me, my nephew scampering at my right hand, as we trundle past red leaves on the way to the park.

Seven musicians around a dining room table, rehearsing for a gig.

Autumn air riffling the curtains at a dorm room window.

Sitting on a park bench overlooking the U, enjoying the time with my oldest.

Marching band competition watched from the hard bleachers of a high school football stadium.

Looking out from the top floor of the library while students hurry to and fro on their own ant trails.

Grapefruit, and granola with raspberries, and a hot cup of tea: breakfast with my brother.

Winnie the Pooh with my nephew bundled on my lap.

Reformation Sunday in a Lutheran church.

Greeting my young son on picking him up at his grandmother’s, to find he’s spurted up, again.

Dinner and a warm bed waiting for me after a long drive.  A book in hand for a read before I put out the light.

And the road before me and my thoughts my own.

Posted October 28, 2015 by swanatbagend in reflections

Tagged with , ,

Thanksgiving Memories   Leave a comment

We had a wonderful whirlwind of activity at my house Thursday and Friday for the celebration of Thanksgiving.  I sat down a few times between 2 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday, but just a few.  We had fourteen family members present and it was good.  My favorite memories:

1. I cut up what must have been 20 potatoes, but my family brought so much food that I thought to myself, “We’ll never be able to eat all these mashed potatoes,” or as my mother-in-law often comments, “I’ve made enough to feed an army.”  At clean up however, there were perhaps two cups left.  Nope, I did not make too much mashed potatoes.

Can you ever make too much mashed potatoes?

2. My brother-in-law picked up my oldest at college on his way down to our place, so I didn’t see my son until Wednesday evening, by which time I was really ready to see him (at the same time I was really thankful I wasn’t making a four-hour round trip drive the day before 14 people arrived at my house for dinner).

There is no more beautiful sight than your child’s smiling face in an approaching car window.

3.  As I passed through the living room, temporarily transformed into Dining Room #2, on my way to sort out some details before dinner, I saw my mother and my mother-in-law face to face in our blue wing chairs, wine glass in one’s hand (guess which one), having what looked like a lovely heart-to-heart.

4.  My children, brothers and sisters-in-law, my husband, my nephew, my mother and father, and my mother-in-law crammed into our kitchen together.  My husband said these words, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,” and we shouted back, “His love endures forever!”

5.  Then there’s the anecdotes I remember, but cannot share here, to protect the guilty whom I love.  Imagine bursts of laughter.  Repeatedly.  I hope you had those too at your house.

It isn’t a cliché if it’s true.  I’m really thankful that I have family who want to be here, a home to share with them, and food to cook for them.  Dirty dishes too.  Thank God for dirty dishes.