Thankful Thursday: A Good Snapshot

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Stephanie Kanak

Hi! I'm Stephanie, owner of QuotesGratitude.com. I hope this blog and my collection of gratitude quotes is a place to find hope, inspiration and encouragement to incorporate a sense of gratitude into your life. Connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, or Facebook. I'd love to hear from you!
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“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.”

― Eudora Welty

(Note: We’ve been on vacation with NO COMPUTERS (ahhh, bliss!) so my usual “Thankful Thursday” post is a day late.)

My children are at that age when they have absolutely no desire to have their picture taken but yet, they love to look at pictures of themselves.  It’s a frustrating process for any mom trying to document the fleeting moments of childhood.

Despite all the groans and hiding from my camera, they always, always, always want to hear the story, the mundane everyday details of what they did or said at the point in time when the photo was taken.  Then they repeat the story, over and over to whoever will listen, until it becomes part of the personal history that shapes who they are.

For me it’s like capturing a piece of their childhood and making it stand still, if only for a moment.

I’ve heard it said that “the pictures you want tomorrow, you have to take today.” So I intentionally  take photos of normal everyday things that I think are never going to happen again… before they never happen again. I take photos of my children falling asleep in my arms, snuggling with their favorite stuffed animal, trying to cut their own food, building couch forts, jumping on the trampoline, playing basketball…stupid stuff, important stuff, random, silly and serious stuff all mixed in. Like life – all mixed in – only in electronic format.

Thank You Moment

Being a mom is a season in life not a destination. I want to grab it and hold it and remember it for all the special everyday miracles it holds, even if my miracles look like this in 60% of my photos.

A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away. - Eudora Welty

And sometimes, I’m just lucky enough to capture these moments too.

A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away - Eudora Welty

How about you? What moments do you wish you had more photos of? How can you be intentional about grabbing a moment before it gets away from you?

Thursday Blog Hops

This post appears on the following  Thursday Blog Hops. Please stop by and check them out!

Women Taking A Stand

Intentional.Me

Thankful Thursday: Summer Memories

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Stephanie Kanak

Hi! I'm Stephanie, owner of QuotesGratitude.com. I hope this blog and my collection of gratitude quotes is a place to find hope, inspiration and encouragement to incorporate a sense of gratitude into your life. Connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, or Facebook. I'd love to hear from you!
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waterfight

“To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.”

~Barbara Johnson

People usually think of Christmas or Thanksgiving as a time for establishing traditions with their family, but my favorite family tradition is in the summer. In fact, our summer always starts the same way. Each year as the kids get off the bus on the last day of school, all the parents and older kids in the neighborhood ambush them with water guns. Some years we do it a day or two early to throw them off since, by now, they know to expect it. One year we also did it on the FIRST day of school. They never saw that coming at all! It was great.

To add to our fun, my husband is one of eight children, so my kids have LOTS of cousins that they are close to. Invariably many of them make it here for the water fight and look forward to it every year. It’s become their tradition too. The more kids the better!

Here are some photos from this year’s water fight.

My husband waiting at the bus stop

My husband waiting at the bus stop

One of the older kids from the neighborhood waiting behind a bush at the bus stop

One of the older kids from the neighborhood waiting behind a bush at the bus stop.

My husband chasing our son with a water gun as he gets off the bus.

My husband chasing our son with a water gun as he gets off the bus.

Waterfight fun

Water fight fun!

Thank You Moment

This is a tradition that not only my children look forward to and enjoy, but that their cousins and closest friends share with them. This will be something they all talk about and remember long after my husband and I are gone. It is a heart memory. I love that we are making these types of memories in their lives.

Is there a special way that you kick off the summer or something you do every year during this season that your children look forward to? Don’t overlook the summer as a time to establish fun family traditions that will stay in the hearts of your children forever.

Thankful Thursday: Freedom Isn’t Free

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Stephanie Kanak

Hi! I'm Stephanie, owner of QuotesGratitude.com. I hope this blog and my collection of gratitude quotes is a place to find hope, inspiration and encouragement to incorporate a sense of gratitude into your life. Connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, or Facebook. I'd love to hear from you!
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“Freedom is never free.”

~ Unknown

When my son was in preschool we stopped at an area McDonald’s for lunch one day. A group of Army soldiers in uniform were there in transit to a base nearby.

“Who are those guys, Mommy?” my son asked, wide-eyed.

“They are heroes, ” I told him, “They are in the Army and they work hard as soldiers to protect our country.” After we finished eating, my son wanted to go say “Hi” to them. I agreed although I wasn’t sure whether we would be bothering the men or not.

I am not one of those people that finds it easy to talk to random strangers. I envy people like that. But when you have kids, you have to be who they need you to be, whether you have it in you or not. So I approached the men.

“Hi,” I said introducing myself, “My son just wanted to say hello to you. He noticed your uniforms.”

“Oh hey there buddy!” said one of the men, “What’s your name?”

“I um, I just wanted to say hi!” my son answered excitedly,”and thank you for protecting me… and being heroes… and I think you’re brave.”

“Well, thanks buddy,” he replied and went on to share a little bit about what his unit did and where and answered all my son’s questions. My son was beyond impressed. So was I. When the conversation was over, one of the men thanked me, “You know, I have a son his age. I miss him terribly. Thanks for spending some time with us.”

It was at that moment the phrase “Freedom isn’t free” became real to me. It’s not just some nameless, faceless soldier out there giving his life to the cause of freedom. It’s a father that sacrifices his time with his young son. It’s a mom that has to raise her children alone while her husband is deployed. It’s a son that misses his dad. It’s millions of daily sacrifices that people all across this country, of all ages, make to maintain America’s freedom. We should remember that and be grateful.

Thank You Moment
Thank you to those who’ve served our country, protected our freedom and made sacrifices I can only imagine. Our nation continues to be built upon your backs. And thank you to their families and friends who’ve walked the long road behind them in support.

Thankful Thursday: Small Acts of Kindness and Love

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Stephanie Kanak

Hi! I'm Stephanie, owner of QuotesGratitude.com. I hope this blog and my collection of gratitude quotes is a place to find hope, inspiration and encouragement to incorporate a sense of gratitude into your life. Connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, or Facebook. I'd love to hear from you!
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Anniversary sign from my husband - I serve 3 meals, frozen, microwave and takeout.

“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves, or rather loved in spite of ourselves.”

~ Victor Hugo

When we were first married, my husband and I would each take a turn, on opposite years, planning our annual wedding anniversary getaway trip where we would spend some time relaxing at a romantic Bed and Breakfast within a few hours’ drive from our home.

One particular year, my husband planned a trip to Lancaster, PA. If you’re unfamiliar with this area, it’s filled with rural farmland where the Amish live. It is known for handmade craft items, great food and beautiful scenic views. While we were shopping at one of the Amish country stores, my husband bought me a surprise present. It was a hand painted sign for our kitchen. Don’t get too excited.  My romantic, thoughtful kitchen sign said, “I serve 3 meals: Frozen, Microwave and Takeout”.

It takes a brave man, confident in his relationship with his wife, to give a sign like that to any woman on their anniversary.

Instead of being offended, though, I was touched remembering all the cooking “experiments” he suffered through during the first years of our marriage without complaining. We both laughed about it and that Amish sign is still in my kitchen today.  It helped me realize that my husband didn’t love me because I was perfect. He loved me in spite of my faults. And he encouraged me as I grew out of them. He still does.

Thank You Moment
Marriage is a moving target because both people are and should always be changing. They are continually growing into their relationship together, with the other person’s help. I am a much better person today, because of my husband, then I could ever have become without him. I am so grateful for his sense of humor, willingness to eat my cooking, and so many other loving acts of kindness too numerous to mention.

How has the love of another person changed you?  Consider the simple acts of kindness that are so easy to overlook in the busyness of everyday life and be grateful that someone loves you enough to do them. 

Thankful Thursday: The Heart of a Father

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Stephanie Kanak

Hi! I'm Stephanie, owner of QuotesGratitude.com. I hope this blog and my collection of gratitude quotes is a place to find hope, inspiration and encouragement to incorporate a sense of gratitude into your life. Connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, or Facebook. I'd love to hear from you!
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“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:21 NKJV

In the early years of our marriage, we received the devastating news from our Infertility Specialist that I would never be able to have children. It was one of those seasons in life that either makes or breaks your faith. Why had God put such a desire for children on both my husband and I without any way to make it happen?

When we got married I loved my husband, but during our infertility struggles, I finally understood his heart. It was the heart of a man who loved his children and was willing to go through anything, no matter what, even before they ever existed. This is what makes a Father out of a man.

If I could see that, why didn’t God?

Eventually, we came to a place of surrender and trust. In surrendering, we acknowledged our helplessness to make the facts of my physical condition any different. In trusting, we left it (walked away from it, didn’t turn back, and gave it all) completely in God’s hands. If it was truly from Him, He would make a way. Somehow.

Today, we have 2 beautiful healthy children that were conceived without any infertility treatments. God is indeed good.

Thank You Moment:

The difficult and heartbreaking journey to have children, filled with its delays and detours, did more to prepare our hearts to become parents then anything we could have done ourselves. As difficult as it was to go through, I’m filled with gratitude for who it made me and for the God who brought me through it.

As we approach Father’s Day, reflect on some of the challenges your own father overcame to become your dad. Can you find a way to be grateful for who it made you?