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That Time God Spoke to Me...Through Keith Urban

**Fair warning, this is going to be a sappy post.**

 

God, yes THE GOD, spoke to me tonight through Keith Urban. Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous. And technically Keith had very little to do with tonight's divinity, but I'll get to that in a minute. First, a little backstory:

My Memaw (my mom's, mom) had a stroke back in January of 2016, and y'all- its been hard. She developed dementia-like symptoms, lost her ability to walk, and basically all of her daily freedoms and responsibilities. She has been bedridden and wheelchair bound since the stroke, and in March (if I remember correctly) she had to be placed in a nursing home, as we were made to realize that her mental and physical deficits were simply not going to improve. 

I think I can speak for most, if not all, of my family when I say we have had our high and low points with her situation in the last year. I know I will get in a habit of going to see her regularly, then something will happen, or something will be said, or maybe it's just the tension of not knowing what to say, and before I know it, two months have passed and I haven't been by to visit. For me, it is so very hard to see her in her current state. This woman has been tough as nails for her entire life. She has seen incredible hardships, and elaborate blessings. And, throughout my life, she has been a rock. An unwavering beam of light that no matter what dark hole I have found myself in, I can always crawl back to her and know she will pick me up. She's never turned her back. She hasn't always agreed with my decisions, but she has never abandoned me...and thats not something I take lightly. 

Then last weekend she had another stroke. A bad one. A bleeding one. A stroke that was accompanied by seizures, and being intubated, and an ICU stay at Baptist Hospital in Little Rock with a very grim outlook. The reality of the situation at this point: she's probably not going to pull through this time. And Im struggling with it. Im struggling because...the stroke didn't kill her. She is still alive. But she can't breathe on her own, she broke her arm and dislocated her shoulder during the seizure. She is in pain. Her quality of life will almost 100% never be back to any version of "normal". And, she is going to have to be taken off the ventilator at some point. We aren't to that point yet because we're still watching her brain activity to determine how much of "her" is left in there, but we know she can't stay on the vent forever.

So yeah, Ive been struggling with all of the questions. The, when do we do it?, how do we do it?, how many attempts do we try to get her off the ventilator before we just give up?,...and all the doubts, and its all just sooooo much...

And then tonight I was on my way home from a wedding consultation and God sang TO ME. This is what he sang....*enter Keith Urban*

"Some bright morning when this life is over
I'll fly away
To that home on God's celestial shore
I'll fly away

I'll fly away, oh glory
I'll fly away in the morning
When I die, Hallelujah by and by
I'll fly away

When the shadows of this life have gone
I'll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I'll fly
I'll fly away

I'll fly away, oh glory
I'll fly away in the morning
When I die, Hallelujah by and by
I'll fly away

Oh, how glad and happy when we meet
I'll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I'll fly away

I'll fly away, oh glory
I'll fly away in the morning
When I die, Hallelujah by and by
I'll fly away

I'll fly away, oh glory
I'll fly away in the morning
When I die, Hallelujah by and by
I'll fly away

Just a few more weary days and then
I'll fly away
To a land where joys will never end
I'll fly away

I'll fly away, oh glory
I'll fly away in the morning
When I die, Hallelujah by and by
I'll fly away"

Try and read those lyrics and not cry. It could not have been more perfect, heartbreaking, and simultaneously peaceful. You can not convince me it was a coincidence, that song was meant to be heard by me, right then. "Just a few more weary days and then I'll fly away to a land where joys will never end, I'll fly away". Thank you God for sending me that song, right when I needed it. Thank you for letting me hear your voice in it. Thank you for giving me the peace to know you are in control. Thank you for reminding me that you already have our days numbered, that we need not worry, and that when Memaw does die, whether that be tomorrow or a year from now, Hallelujah by and by, she's going to fly away. Amen.

How To Get The Best Family Photos, EVER.

Today I am sharing one of my favorite bloggers' most recent posts. I found her blog post to be relevant, perfectly timed, and I think the post could be very helpful for many of my readers. I'll also be tossing in a few random photos of my babies from this past weekend just for fun. In the original post, Maskcara included photos that corresponded with the particular article, but...I replaced them with images of my beauts because, yolo. So without further ado, here is an excerpt from "Maskcara"- blogger, makeup artist, entrepreneur, mother, and self proclaimed lover of all things beautiful:

"Let’s talk about family photos for a minute. I know its not the most important thing in the world.

It’s just pictures.

You may never even print them, they may never see the light of day outside of your instagram feed in fact. But here’s the thing. I think photos matter. I know we live in ‘a pic or it didn’t happen’ world and it sometimes can be a little (or a lot!) excessive but don’t let that belittle the good part.

I have 6 year old right now. He has knuckles where dimples once were, he says all the words properly now (except bazania instead of lasagna- I’m holding on dearly to that one!), he was yelling for me at the park the other day by my full name!
But photos? They bring me back my 3 year old. The one with curls falling into his eyebrows and a mater permanently glued to his fist. With photos aiding my failing memory I can have the best of both worlds. I can see my babies grow and celebrate every milestone and STILL have them captured forever in every stage before that.

I don’t take photos all day every day because I want to enjoy my moments too and I know I’ll never look back at a million images, but I will look back at a choice few. Which is why family photos do matter a lot to me. But I’ve noticed that sometimes the family gets lost in the photos and sometimes the photos sessions turn into a marathon and a headache. I asked Jessica Janae (photographer extraordinaire) what her advice was for avoiding those pitfalls and she helped me give some good ideas and perspective!

  • Perfectionism might ruin your family photos.
    The biggest issue I see when getting mama’s ready is how stressed out they seem. Are the outfits all good enough? Is everyone having a good hair day? I wish I’d gotten a spray tan… and of course I’m breaking out! Why won’t the kids cooperate!? Where is my husband?….
    Here’s the thing to remember. If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Unhappy people are not photogenic. Unhappy kids are especially un-photogenic. If you think about it you probably care more about documenting the love you have for each other, the personality and stages of your kids, their quirky expressions, the dynamic that your family fits in at this very moment that will never be quite this way again. That’s what I want to see when I look back, that’s what I want to remember. SO don’t get too stressed about the details. Most of them won’t matter to you 5 years from now.
  • Harbor loving happy feelings.  Spend some time thinking about your family. Why you love them, what makes them special? Loving feelings shine through a photo so bright, it can’t be faked and even if it could you’re probably not a professional actor so leave the fake stuff to the pros:) Focus on actually being happy, then looking happy will come easy!
  • Plan an event for after the photos. Getting ice cream? Going to chuck -e-cheese or even having a little movie night. Something everyone can look forward to as a reward for being so cooperative (we hope:) If you make this a traditional it might even help make “family photo day” a looked forward to day around your house. Rather than a day of fighting and rushing that will be dreaded.
  • Don’t lose your cool. Jess told me the biggest mistake parents make is worrying about the kids too much. She says if the parents will stay pleasant and posing she can handle the kids. My trick to not freaking out when my kid is freaking out is to have a sense of humor about it. I really subscribe to the idea that laughter fixes most things. I have always found that if I don’t get upset, they won’t stay upset for very long. Above all don’t get angry!  Tension spreads like a disease and if you lose your cool the photoshoot is as good as over.
  • Be flexible, go with the flow. If one kid refuses to let you help them with their hair or another keeps grimacing instead of grinning, just see the humor in it! This is them after all!

We’d all but given up on Billy posing happily for a single second at this point but then we let him look at the phone and we got the cutest photos of the day. Did I want an iPhone in my photos? Not particularly, but it's still cute and this is about the only time this boy will sit still and let me snuggle him so..its an accurate portrayal of us."

So that's it! I hope you all find this super useful. I felt that trying to rewrite a post like this and "make it my own" would somehow diminish the words that "Maskcara" had so eloquently crafted. Now go out there are slay those beautiful fall photos and if you haven't booked your session yet, get with me about a date before its too late!

 

 

To view this original post on Cara's blog follow this link: http://www.maskcara.com/2016/10/19/the-best-family-photo-advice-you-never-hear/