Taking it all in…

I often fear that if I don’t take a picture of something, I will not remember it. I was never like this until I had a child. During Raya’s first year of life, I tried to take at least one picture of her every day. When she was a week old, we drove to Jesse’s parent’s house for the day and accidentally I left our camera there. I think I cried most of the way home after I realized I had left it, but we were too far away to turn back. I couldn’t believe I had already screwed up the picture-a-day thing after only one week. I snapped poor-quality pictures on my cell phone, terrified that I would lose a memory forever before the camera arrived in the mail.¬†Amazingly, I think I only missed two days in her entire first year. Three if you count the picture of her bedroom door. I took it as she was screaming her way through a cry-it-out session in her crib one night. I am still plagued by this fear that I will not be able to remember all of the momentous occasions and everyday events in our family’s story.

Lately, Raya has been very interested in watching videos of “Baby Yaya” on the computer. It wasn’t very long ago, so I know I was a tired Mama in those pictures and videos. I know I lost my patience and felt irritated and wished Raya would just sleep through the night or learn how to walk or be able to make it from our house into town without a constant, ear-piercing scream. But that’s not the stuff I remember when I look back at videos from last year – or even last month. Instead I realize that she does sleep through the night these days. She can walk and run and jump. She doesn’t do the screaming thing much anymore. So I guess I’ll keep snapping those pictures and look forward to the story they will tell when we look back at them later on.

Luckily, we had a camera on hand this Sunday – a day when the weather and the company were just about perfect and I wanted to make sure it got filed away in our family memory bank. My parents came for church and lunch. It wasn’t all that extraordinary, but it was a blessing to just be with family and enjoy one another. Here are some pics…

Daddy & Raya on Father’s Day

Grandpa & Raya on Father’s Day

Henkle family – all looking at the camera and smiling! Whew!

Here I Raise My Ebenezer

I’ve taken a couple weeks off from adding new hymns to my blog because I wanted to take my own suggestion from my last post and raise an Ebenezer. If that doesn’t ring a bell, an Ebenezer simply a sign of God’s faithfulness… literally a “stone of help” referenced in 1 Sam 7:12 and in the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” I have had some trouble coming up with something, but tonight I found it.

With all the rain we’ve had in Iowa the past couple months, our basement has had a steady trickle of water seeping in through the foundation and forming puddles on the floor. Not enough to cause major concern, but enough to threaten the few things we have stashed down there. Tonight I decided to make sure there wasn’t anything of value among the junk, and I rescued a box of my old journals. Almost 20 years and thousands of pages worth of things that I thought were important enough to write down.

I have enjoyed looking through these books tonight. I laughed at the blue floral spiral-bound book with many entries devoted to listing names of each person present at any social gathering I attended. I don’t know why I did that, but maybe I was evaluating my progress up or down the social ladder of ninth grade. If I knew you in 1996, you probably made some of my lists! I had my prolific days. During my last year of college, I filled an entire 500-page 8 1/2 x 11 volume with tiny handwriting that covers every inch of every page. It’s amazing I even had time to live my life with all of the time I must have spent writing about it! There is the majority of a small black journal devoted to the months I was dating and falling in love with the man who is now my husband. I had fun reading so many little details that I have totally forgotten 8 years later. More recently, I have tried to write down the things I want to remember about my daughter’s 2 years of life – and my own journey as her mama.

So, here I raise my Ebenezer. A stack of scribbles that are filled with evidence that God has brought me to this place. There are so many memories that I would have lost if I hadn’t written them down. Some of them are embarrassing. Most of them are insignificant. But these journals are packed full of evidence that God has been with me every step of the way.

What about you? Is there anything you keep around to remind you of God’s faithfulness in your life? I would love to hear about it!