merry christmas & happy new year my friends

 

good morning friends!

i pray each of you enjoyed a wonderful christmas & are now in that hazy -“what day is it” mode these days between christmas & new years!! for those of you who this time of year has been one of sadness, missing a loved one, job loss, illness…or honestly anything that has left your heart heavy burdened my thoughts are with you. it can be so easy to turn on the tv or open social media & feel as if “everyone else” is is living a glittered, carefree, luxurious life. and while that’s not truth, it can certainly feel that way.

early in the fall i vowed to myself that i’d be careful with the yes’s & gentle with no’s. i’m an extroverted home-body, trying to balance work & raising up young women and trying to create whitespace & margin as well. while i think i over-committed with the yes’s and perhaps the no’s were little to none at all, i’m not as exhausted as i feared i’d be by 12/29! so let’s call it a win!

the above image is from the one set of pictures i have of all my children together in 2017 ( photographed thanksgiving morning). my how things have changed! with savannah & trevor living in san francisco, two in college & one in high school, logistics have become quite the maneuver!  this was the first year in a long time, that i didn’t send out cards. i had planned on it but realized the week of thanksgiving something would need to give on the to-do list. i was probably equal parts sad & relieved. can i get a witness?

early december we had the most glorious surprise..SNOW!!  we sometimes see snow later in the winter but this was the first time i remember having a snow covered early december! i had a couple pre-scheduled sessions that i was able to shoot in the snow & they are most certainly some of my all time favorites! wish it had lasted a few more days!!

christmas morning as we passed out the gifts, emily said “wow mom, was your theme this year FUN?” ( haha!!) as i think back over the years i’ve created many different themes, if you will. when we were first married & for the first several years when the girls were little i owned a small gift shop. i carried whimsical & colorful items. ( primarily mary engelbreit)..i loved color & lots of it. after gregg passed away the girls & i bought a new home…i painted each downstairs room a different color. whoa. at one point we had a raspberry kitchen. if you ask my girls now they’ll probably tell you that was back when our house was “fun”!

about 10 years ago i began the clean it up, paint it white & declutter campaign. while i love & definitely prefer a neutral palate, especially with wall coloring, furniture & large pieces, i’ve loved pulling in fun pops of color in decor (kitchen plates especially) , art…& apparently Christmas decor as well. what about you? do you mix it up every few years? prefer tradition red & green?  so yes emily, i did indeed hope for a little whimsy this year!

i always receive so many questions about my bottle brush trees. y’all, i began collecting these about 20 years ago so i’ve found them at so many places along the way. i’d suggest google! some are from anthropologie, small independent gift shops, country living fair & many were purchased through magnolia. good luck in your search-they’re out there!!

this year was the first year we weren’t all together as a family on christmas day. savannah had mentioned months ago that they’d travel at christmas & she wanted to make sure i’d be okay with it. here’s the deal. i think there’s a part of my heart that wants all my little birds to stay young & in the nest forever. but obviously that’s not what we do. we raise them from the moment the umbilical cord is cut to be independent. so yes, i’m okay with life at this stage of parenting. (i’m going to write more about this soon!)

it makes me so very very happy to see them so happy and their dreams are realized! & so my happy way outweighs the sad that they’re so far away.  they are currently traveling vietnam & thailand and will certainly share more about their trip as well!

christmas eve we enjoyed a candlelight service at our church Passion City. caroline’s sweet friend darby joined us. how cute are they?

madison has been baking up a storm! she loves her people well! she made wonderful treats for her team at anthropologie. on christmas morning she made a wonderful surprise for dan! his mom and dad were swedish & norwegian. his mom made krumkake every year, so madison ordered a press, found a delicious recipe, spent hours pressing & rolling them… & surprised him! a favorite memory for sure!

madison has wanted a kitchen aid mixer for years & years. she cried when she opened this one!!  emily loves hope heals so their super soft sweatshirt was a treat for her! madi gifted caroline one of the ornaments from anthropologie. when she interned at their headquarters she was on the artist collaboration team. she’s gifted us several pieces from projects she was a part of! caroline asked for a vintage film camera–she & i will both be learning how to use film in 2018!

i cried more than once opening gifts this year. i think i’ve shared about love languages in the past, but gifts always touch my heart. when there is symbolism involved it always wrecks me! savannah gifted me a rendering she drew of their home in San Francisco!! gah!! i can’t wait to frame it!! she’s so talented! ( she also drew on my studio chalkboard for me…shown below) dan, caroline & i went to seaside for a few days prior to christmas-they each gave me some art from there ( another surprise-cried about those too!). madison gifted me beautiful stemless wine glasses & a future trip to a local vineyard! emily gave me some beautiful horn bracelets that i love! she’s  been home from UGA for a few weeks & we’ve loved getting to catch up & spend time with sweet em!

perhaps one of my most favorite memories of all time will be the following~

i always make a huge breakfast for us to enjoy on christmas morning. i’ve made the same dishes for the last several years & i think we all look forward to christmas morning sausage/egg casserole, cheese grits, brown sugar covered bacon, & biscuits. well, chirstmas evening madison asked us to all leave the kitchen…& she created the most amazing meal & set the most beautiful table complete with a lovely printed menu! y’all! i can’t even!!!

i wish each of you the happiest & best 2018!!!

December 29, 2017 - 1:21 pm

christina - merry christmas! your home is always so beautifully decorated for the holidays – this year is no different. i always look forward to the tree in your studio. glad you had a wonderful christmas with (most of) your babies! i love your beach gifts! – those iconic trees are my favorite and something i look forward to seeing when we are there. my hope is that your 2018 is filled with nothing but hope and peace and love and joy!

December 29, 2017 - 4:37 pm

Cathy Penton - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year my friend. So grateful for our 10 plus years of friendship from a far. I am currently sitting watching the waves roll in on one of my favourite beaches. I so wish you could come and sit with me and we could talk for hours. Thank you for sharing your life with us all. It has been beautiful to watch you grow into becoming such an exquisite photographer and watch your beautiful ones grow up from afar xx love you xx

December 29, 2017 - 6:59 pm

Lisa Mothersead - pretty. pretty. pretty. merry christmas and happy new year, paige!

December 29, 2017 - 10:57 pm

Alecia - Merry Christmas Knudsen Family…what a lovely Christmas you had. What sweet & thoughtful young ladies you all have raised

December 30, 2017 - 12:00 am

Jane Carver - LOVED this post! Loved the pics of your sweet family, your words, and beautiful decor.(My dream style!) My adult kiddos were all home this year which I know won’t happen often… They all left today, so the house is TOO quiet. Wishing you a Happy New Year and Belated Merry Christmas!
xo Jane

December 30, 2017 - 9:30 am

Jalana Jennings - just beautiful! you & your family are precious! thanks for sharing. happy new year! <3

and what was that taco place you ate at in atl? : )

mimi ~ a sweet update

{my mom & me, christmas circa 1967}

thank you so much for your tenderness & compassion regarding my mom, our “mimi”. i want to share a sweet update with you.

several weeks ago i lifted the garage door to my parent’s home. as i did so, my mom opened the door that leads from the kitchen out to the garage. before i could see her face i heard her welcome me. i couldn’t believe it. her voice…it stopped me in my tracks, it was her voice from before…before she got sick. i hadn’t heard that voice in six months.

she slowly has started to improve. y’all. we have no idea really what’s happening. while she’s not 100%, she’s 100% improved from the last several months. the prognosis she was given does not “improve”. there’s no cure. but she’s back to my mom! we’re not sure if there was a a misdiagnosis. & if so,  because of a misdiagnosis, she was put on very strong medications thus causing severe side effects that mimicked the exact diagnosis she was given. to make a very long story short, she essentially ran out of the medications. again, it’s a long story but the bottom line is after she was off these meds she began to slowly recover. the diagnosis does not have a recovery. there are no improvements. its a slow steady horribly sad disease. but she’s well today!!

the other explanation we have is that the lord has restored her.

either way. she’s my mom again! i feel like we’ve been given a miraculous (whatever it is it’s a miracle!) second chance at life with her!

while we don’t know the future. we don’t know our tomorrow or what her tomorrow will be, we know who holds the future. we know who is with us, with her, every moment of every day!

we hosted my family for thanksgiving. trevor & savannah were home from california. my brother & sister in law came…and my mom and dad. we sat around the table, the girls were in rare form, & i heard my mom and dad laugh…and laugh…and laugh. it was honestly the most special, wonderful time.

i’ll share more later but wanted to give glory to the lord & thank you my friends!

~~~~

 

i received a very kind email this week. a reader of my blog from so many years ago reached out to let me know she was praying for my mom. she attached a link to a post i wrote 8 years ago! she told me she had written her parents a letter, i believe for christmas, after being inspired by that post so long ago. i wanted to share it with you as well~~

Dear Mom

I pray you have a very Happy Mother’s Day

that you feel loved & appreciated

that you know how much i respect and honor you

that i loved growing up in a happy home

that it warmed my heart and taught me greatly about the importance of spiritual things, to wake each day and find you down stairs praying and spending time with the Lord

that it made me feel secure knowing you loved dad and that i would never have to worry about having divorced parents

thank you for always being proud of me and Corey

thank you for making homecooked meals….all the time

& for taking me to the beach and sharing my love for collecting seashells

i watched you care for your parents in your own home, sacrificing much for them

thank you for helping me when gregg died and i felt all alone

thank you for all the special little things you do for my girls….you are a wonderful Mimi

for all the times when i didn’t say it enough, please know you were never taken for granted

for everything…i thank YOU

 

And to Lil….
this is our first mother’s day without you
oh how you are missed
especially by little Caroline
she talks about you all the time
she uses a laminated copy of your obituary as a book mark
& she’s taped a picture of you holding her on her night table
we’ve been watching after pop pop
he’s been so sick these last several months
i wonder sometimes, if that’s his soul’s way of longing for you
he kisses your picture each night before bed
can you see that from Heaven?
oh, i hope you can
i think you’d still be so proud of your son
you taught him well
he loves me and the girls more than i ever dreamed of being loved
he’s loyal, tender, and kind
but he’s strong and protective too
he’s officially an Assistant Principal now too
you obviously were a great mom to him and now
5 girls get to reap those blessings
thank you’s never seem enough do they?
we love you
god speed grammy

 

December 20, 2017 - 5:23 pm

Robin - So very happy for you and your family. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

December 20, 2017 - 6:04 pm

Lisa Mothersead - You’re a good girl, Paige. Have a sweet and merry Christmas!

December 21, 2017 - 3:13 pm

cynthia - Such a sweet surprise to see your post. What a wonderful surprise to hear that your Mother has improved. Embrace every moment….and enjoy your Holiday season with her love and your family. Oh, Wow, I have tears in my eyes and I am so happy for you.

December 22, 2017 - 9:33 pm

Pat - I don’t often comment, however, I am so thrilled about your Mom! God works in mysterious ways. I share your concerns about the medications. We experienced a similar situation with my mother. So many Dr’s write RX’S cause it’s so easy to do so. I’m praying that she will continue to improve and your family has a joyous celebration of our Lord’s birth. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful letters ~ they really touched my heart! ❤🎄🎅👼

December 30, 2017 - 9:35 am

Jalana Jennings - what a wonderful blessing! God is so good!!