annie agarwal photography | Buford, Georgia Photographer »

big prayers for my not so little kids

Yesterday morning I watched my sweet girl walking up the sidewalk towards the double doors that sit just by the school’s cafeteria. Ready to tackle another day… her backpack rested on her shoulders, her bright yellow lemon lunchbox nestled in her left hand with her violin in her right.
For some reason, this familiar sight took my breath away.
Maybe it’s because she has grown so much this past year, now taller than me, looking way more like a young lady than my little girl.
Maybe it’s knowing that life as a middle schooler is complicated and awkward, that there are struggles beyond those doors that I’ll never fully understand.
Maybe it’s being aware that each day she is faced with decisions that are hard, but ones that allow her true character to shine brightly.
Maybe it was my heart swelling up inside thinking about how God can take a brave and strong 7th grade girl and use her to reflect His love to others every day.
My heart felt a little pang.
On my way home, much like every other day, I did the only thing I can do – the BEST thing I can do.
I had a conversation with the Lord, praying for my brown haired, brown-eyed girl who walked through those double doors again.
Here are the things I uttered, for both her (and my boys), things that I will continue to pray, as we navigate through another school year.
CONFIDENCE  || Romans 12:2
CHARACTER ||  Colossians 3:12-14
BOLDNESS || Ephesians 6:19, 1 Timothy 4:12
FEAR || Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 118:6-7
PEACE || Philippians 4:6-7
FRIENDS || 1 Corinthians 15:33, Proverbs 27:17
I put together a PRINTABLE if you would like to have a hard copy to remind you to pray these passages over your kiddos too.  (There are two designs to chose from.)
One half of the paper has the prayer points and Scripture references and the other half can be cut off as an encouraging note for your child.
Stick it under their pillow, in a lunchbox, in their backpack or tape it to their bathroom mirror, as a reminder that you are thinking of and praying for them!
October 2, 2019 - 1:29 am

Angie Arthur - Can I get a copy of the prayer printable? Thank you so much!!
Angie

September 11, 2019 - 1:14 am

Yvonne Hackle - I love this for my 8th grade grand whom I adore and pray for always. Thank you!

remembering the storm

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
 For I am the Lord your God

-Isaiah 43:2-3a


14 years ago, I sat on a couch in my parent’s living room- eyes glued to the television, watching and waiting. Rahul and I had 2 little boys snuggled up with us, boys who couldn’t possibly understand the magnitude of the storm and the events that were about to unfold. They didn’t know we wouldn’t be going home. They didn’t know people would be stranded on roof tops or that families would lose loved ones. They couldn’t grasp that it would be unsafe to travel back for 6 months or that first responders would work tirelessly around the clock for weeks, for months on end. They also didn’t know that friends and family and strangers would step in. Take care of us. Drop off clothes and toys, food and supplies. That teenagers from my former high school would rally to raise support to bless our family. They didn’t know then how the family of God would circle around and lift us up.
That’s why each year
We stop.
We remember.
We pray.
Because I want them to know now what their tiny eyes couldn’t see then.
BUT.
We also praise.
We thank the Lord for what He did, for His provision and protection, for those whom He surrounded us with in the aftermath of Katrina.
We praise Him that though the storm changed us, our future, our plans- it didn’t change Him.
And now, 14 years later, I sit on my own couch. Glued to the television, watching and waiting. This time there are 4 kids snuggled up beside us and we pray together that the storm heading towards our family and friends dissipates, shifts, vanishes. But we also know that if it doesn’t, we can step in- with prayers and hope. We can be the Body of Christ for others in the same way they were for us.
You know, the lessons we learn in the hard places stick with us. They keep on teaching us. They grow and challenge us. They become a part of us.
And the blessings, the provision of God, the treasure of friends and family and strangers reaching out to our weary hearts- those become a part of us too.
You never lose the wonder of the tiny miracles, the powerful prayers, the hugs and meals and boxes full of diapers that pulled you through.
14 years have passed and I can still say with certainty I’m so grateful. Grateful for the lessons. Grateful for the people. Grateful for my God.
Honestly, I’m still just so blown away by it all.

So, today Lord may we not just remember, but may we embody the goodness and the generosity that we saw so freely extended to us. May it ripple out to others, washing over their own weary hearts and bringing hope to their hard places.

rosalie’s birthday session || gwinnett family photographer

When I first laid eyes on this sweet girl, my heart melted. It took just that single glance to know this was going to be over the top special. With a sparkly personality, an upcoming birthday and parents who adore her, this one year old session was destined to be the epitome of joy and love.

Rosalie charmed me with her smiles and my heart was overwhelmed when I saw the way her mom and dad expressed their affection for her. To say this little girl is cherished would be an understatement.

We spent some time snuggling and taking walks, but the real magic happened when we pulled out her charming little smash cake. If Rosalie was timid before, it all melted away with that first taste of icing! It was only topped by the moment her mom and dad asked if they could join her on the blanket.

Parents! This was a game changer. In fact, her mom even said ” These were the pictures I never knew I needed.” Cue the melting heart again.

She was correct though. The tender moments, the fun moments, the icing smeared everywhere- it was perfect. A true celebration of both the little girl and the bond between these 3!

Happy happy birthday precious Rosalie. May you always know how loved, valued and treasured you are!

rearrange your perspective

Anyone else attempt random projects while their spouse is out of town?

In the past I’ve rearranged furniture, painted brown doors aqua, redone our master bedroom and hung new art on the walls. All the walls. In every room. 

The past 7 days, while Rahul and Collin were in Mexico was no different. We painted Eden’s room from dingy tan to crisp white, hung tropical wallpaper in her alcove, took a van full of boxes to Goodwill, moved a couch from the main level to the basement – which included taking down a door (I don’t mess around) and mowed the yard. Twice. 

I think these projects are partly to keep myself busy so I don’t think about how badly I’m missing my crew, but they also seem to mask a lot of worry that’s deep down inside. 

So, while I always enjoy the accomplishments that are visible at the end of these trips, I don’t want to ever slip by with so much busyness that I forget to sit down with my Savior and trust what He is doing.

Trust that He’s got my husband and son in His hands, that He’s protecting and encouraging their weary hearts and bodies while they serve, that He’s changing lives through the way they love others. And trusting that while the rest of us are here, He can still show up and use random phone calls from new friends to remind us we aren’t forgotten, that He can take an afternoon of painting and strengthen a mother daughter relationship and that He can replace worry with peace.

And just like always, He did not disappoint. Growth and stretching both physically and spiritually happened. My quiet more introverted son stepped out of his comfort zone into the role of dependable leader and consistent encourager. And my husband got to lead students again, using his bright personality to shine into the darkness when it was tough, investing in the next generation and leading them closer to Jesus. 

So while a few rooms look different in our home after this trip, what’s even greater is the change that happened inside, as we were all reminded to give it to Jesus each morning, leaving the results safely in the hands of The One who loves us the most! 

Praise be to God for how He showed up this week!

redefining thursdays

Thursday’s are no digital days in our house this summer. Tvs are off. Devices are tucked away. Fort Nite and Minecraft and YouTube can wait. 
We sleep in. Eat brunch. Work in the yard. Go to the pool. Play board games and card games, ping pong and 4 square. Eden and Matthan create their own recipes. The older boys get lost in books. 
It’s like a reset for our souls- even for just one day. 
There’s less stress. More laughter. More cooperative and pleasant responses from our kids.
Yes, it took some getting used to, but the constant barrage of information overloads our hearts, scrolling and playing makes us short with one another and keeps us looking down at a screen, not into one another’s eyes. 
I know it isn’t feasible to leave it all behind forever (although I’m willing to give it a go sometimes), but removing it for a day, well it builds relationships, creates memories, gives me a chance to talk and learn more about my children. 
The atmosphere in our home feels different. I feel different. 
I’m loving Thursdays. They may actually become my new favorite day. 
Any other brave families trying a digital detox this summer? If so, I’d love to know how it’s going!