Christmas card pictures….

Christmas Card Pictures....a near disaster…

Some things in life I like to plan.  Some things just don't get planned and I have to fly by the seat of my pants.  With three little ones, the latter is usually what happens around here these days...sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

Well, that's how Christmas pictures were this year {and honestly probably are every other year, too}.  I decided the day before that we would try to take pictures that morning....after a failed attempt to take them under a beautiful yellow tree at MSU campus....because I had forgotten to put the battery back in the camera....and I realized this right before getting to campus.  Lovely.  I'm learning to laugh more at these things and just trust God.  Learning is the key word here.

Anyway, we threw some clothes together {with clashing colors of green!}, showered, got dressed and headed outside.  Nina {Matt's mom} had come to visit that morning, so she was going to take the pictures for us while trying to get in a few herself {been trying to get more pics of the kids with grandparents}.  Cole looks super excited...

This is our conversation outside trying to find a place....

Me:  I was planning on us going across the road to take pictures under the big pecan tree....or do you want to stay over here and take pics back down the drive in the trees?

Matt:  Yeah, let's just stay over here, it'll be easier.

{as we're walking back down the drive to the trees...}

Me:  We need to be in the shade since it's so bright out.

Matt:  Ok, let's just go over here in front of the old tin on the barn.

Me:  Oh, yeah that looks good!!

And, there you have it...our well planned out pictures.  I must admit, it's fun that we have so many neat places around here to take pictures and they change throughout the seasons.  This place really is beautiful, and it's been such a blessing that we've been able to live here.  Sometimes, I can't believe this is where God placed us....but He did!  I think I'm free to say that there are some possible fun changes coming up in the future with Phase 2, so we may be changing locations within the next couple of years.  Knowing this helps me be thankful for this farm and challenges me to not take it for granted one bit.

Ok, on to the pics.  

We found our place by the tin.  I put the camera on the settings I thought I wanted, tested it and then gave the camera to Nina and let her do the rest.  Well, I think I just took a picture of the girls in the shade to see the lighting, adjusted and handed it off.  I should have taken a picture of the girls in the EXACT location we would be...against the TIN, which I think must be an amazing light reflector because the pictures were waaaay overexposed.  You live and learn, oh well.

If we were living in film days, I would be sad.  But, thank you days of digital and Photoshop!  If it was not for you, we would not have a winner! 

It was really cold {first strike against us} so we bundled up in a blanket {that ended up giving the girls' hair lots of static electricity}.  Adolyn was actually doing great and cooperating for pictures.  Anna Jaymes on the other hand was being a stinker...to put it nicely. I was trying to get her to listen and I was trying to have a good attitude and thought I was {only with the wrong motivation of trying to not upset her so she wouldn't run off and cry which would be a total picture fail}.  However, Matt said I was NOT having a good attitude and that it was just making it worse. {Welcome, Nina to our real lives!} I guess it was like trying to smile through clenched teeth as I was trying to get her to listen...maybe my feelings were pretty obvious.  I just did NOT want to have to attempt pictures again!  I like to be the one taking pictures, not trying to get our whole fam of little people in them.  I am all for candid pictures, too but I did want at least one decent one of all us together.

Enter Bailey.  

Bailey always makes things more fun and he ended up saving the day.  If he would have turned around in the family pic, he could have made the christmas card.  oh well.  He ended up entertaining us and making us all smile and laugh...even if Anna Jaymes does have teary puffy eyes from crying and Cole has an oversized sweatshirt on with a long arm and no hand. :)

I used The Pioneer Woman's action "Soft and Faded" on all these.  I'm not sure why this family pic was so intensely bright, but oh well.  And, just so you could actually see little sweet Cole's face {although he looks grumpy!}, I actually switched his heads between pictures.  hahaha  Now you know my secret!  This really just makes me laugh that I was able to figure it out and do it even if I did read a tutorial.  I also painted some hair out of Anna Jaymes' eyes in one pic {one day maybe I will figure out her hair and something I like in it that will keep her hair out of her face}.

Maybe this portrays the real us {spiffed up}....attempt something in life, greet it with chaos, get frustrated, get a handle on it, find something to laugh at, trust the Lord.  I'd like to skip the "get frustrated" step and just roll with the punches....so, I'm working on it. 

In light of Jesus' birthday coming up, we were talking about the following verses this morning...

John 18:37-38 {when Pilate was questioning Jesus before He was handed over to the Jews}
"Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So, You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king.  For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
Pilate said to Him, "What is Truth?"
{emphasis mine}
John 17:17 {Jesus' prayer for His disciples in the garden}
"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth."

Jesus was born into this world for so many reasons!! The Word made into flesh! {John 1:14} To be our Lamb, our perfect sacrifice!  To save us from our sins!  Because He loves us! {John 3:16} To show us Truth!  To set us free! {Gal 5:1} To show us perfection of humility and obedience! {Phil 2:5-11} And so much more!

Oh the grace and mercy and love He has that I just do not understand.

He came into this world to die.  for me.  for you.  so that we could live eternally with Him. and NOW for Him and in Him.

His birth is so humbling.  It makes me question a lot in my life.  Do I live for Him? in Him?  Does my life SHOW that I am forever grateful that He came to this earth as a babe only to grow up and die for ME?  Do I really get it?  Do I care to?

What was I born for?  What did I come into this world for?  Am I fulfilling it?  What was I 'born again' for in my second birth?  my spiritual birth?  I was born for HIM. and through Him.  only through His grace.  

Now, by His grace, may I truly live for Him. in Him. May I be sanctified in His Truth.  His Word.  The Word that I have countless copies of around my house and on my phone.  TRUTH at my fingertips!!  ETERNAL TRUTH.  Oh, wow do I waste my time doing stupid stuff, when I have Him.  Truth.

This is what His birth makes me think of.  Great thought provoking Sunday school we had.  There's so many more thoughts, but I will spare you for now.  :)



  1. Hey, I'm actually posting this to go under the "thankful for seasons" but for some reason it wouldn't let me! I just wanted to tell you that when I read that post how my heart swelled with joy, love, pride, humility, and my tears swelled as well. Then I thought - you know, if it affects me this way, it probably does the same thing for our Heavenly Father! I can imagine how proud he is when His children brag on Him, spread His word, do a kind deed in His name, sing praise to Him, etc... I love you, Sweetie!!!! Love, Mom