“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”
Family pictures are the greatest, aren’t they not? I personally love mine. I try to get shots of us whenever I can. Be it during a special occasion or even in the midst of our daily routines. It annoys the heck out of my husband, but I try to never miss a day without getting all or even a part of my family on camera. Most of the time, I find the challenge to pull out my real camera and turn to the one on my phone. It’s not as great, but it serves the purpose - which is to remember. One day, when I’m old and when my memory would have failed me and I won’t remember the little details anymore, I would pull out the pictures on my phone and I’ll remember again. That’s just one reason why I do this. Here are some other reasons why I will never stop taking pictures of my family:
I want to remember our journey. I imagine that when I’m old I will only see the end result of my parenting. I take pictures so I can remember the things we went through. I want to look back on those frames and see how far we’ve come. I want to look back and be grateful.
I want my children to remember how beautiful they are. Bad memories have a way of sticking to us more than the good ones. We don’t take pictures of the bad. We take pictures of the good ones, the ones I want my children to remember. I want them to look back on their childhood and see the beauty I see in them.
What is luxury? When I ask myself, what luxury means? it got me thinking.
We often think of luxuries as status or symbol, luxuries can often be the things we can’t buy, like the time with our loved ones in these hectic and busy world. Handwritten cards of thanks and phone calls with people we do not see enough, it is the small things that are unexpected and come from the heart.
I made a short list in 10 minutes on what is luxury means for me, i think you should do that too, it is very refreshing and help you to see the good things in your life :)
Here it is:
1. Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep.
2. Laughing so hard your face hurts
3. Taking a drive on a pretty road while listening your favorite song on the radio
4. A good conversation on the beach with friends
5. Laughing at yourself for falling
6. Laughing at an inside joke in path
7. Making new friends or spending time with old ones.
8. Having someone play with your hair.
9. Swinging on swings.
10. Making eye contact with a cute stranger.
11. Holding hands with someone you care about.
12. Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or bad) never change.
13. Watching the expression on someone's face as they open a much desired present from you
14. Getting out of bed every morning and being grateful for another beautiful day.
15. Taking a family photo once in a while
It doesn't necessarily we have the best of everything, we just make the best out of everything that comes our way. Well, there comes a time in your life when you realize something. You realize that you love your life, you love your friends, you love your family, you love everyone, you enjoy the time you are with your friends, you enjoy spending time with your family, you feel comfortable where you are, you love the things you do, you share your love and your smile, you share a smile to the mirror and realize that you are rich.
Here is the quote that made me laugh hard, but I guess it is true
"When I was in grade school, they told me to write down what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down: HAPPY
They told me I didn't understand the assignment,
I told them they didn't understand life."
So friends, Dream BIG, Plan and Do it. But don’t take Life too hard, Enjoy every process, now that God will always there for you.
“There is more to a boy than what his mother sees. There is more to a boy then what his father dreams. Inside every boy lies a heart that beats. And sometimes it screams, refusing to take defeat. And sometimes his father's dreams aren't big enough, and sometimes his mother's vision isn't long enough. And sometimes the boy has to dream his own dreams and break through the clouds with his own sunbeams.”
“Family," she announced. "They're the people in your life you don't get to pick. The ones that are given to you,as opposed to those you get to choose."
"You're bound to them by blood," she continued, her voice flat. "Which, you know, gives you that much more in common. Diseases, genetics, hair, and eye color. It's like they're part of your blueprint. If something's wrong with you, you can usually trace it back to them."
I nodded and kept writing.
"But," she said, "even though you're stuck with them, at the same time, they're also stuck with you. So that's why they always get the front rows at christenings and funerals. Because they're the ones that are there, you know, from the beginning to the end. Like it or not.”
― Sarah Dessen, Lock and Key
“It’s more than you. It’s more than me. Whatever dreams we have, they’re for the family. We’re not alone anymore, now there are others there. And that dream is big enough, for all of us to share. So don’t think you’re going, you’re not going anywhere. You’re staying and taking your share and if you get afraid again, I’ll be there.
We are a family like a giant tree, branching out of the sky. We are a family, we so much more than just you and I. We are a family like a giant tree, growing stronger, growing wiser. We are growing free. We need you. We are a family.”
(lyrics taken from “Family” Dreamgirls soundtrack)
I’ve got two sons. Two cheeky, snotty, drooling, sour-smelling, magical little boys to call my own. They sure aren’t the cleanest of boys. They love to get their hands on cat hair and pick on worms in the ground and stomp in mud puddles after the rain and they think that The Trash Pack - the grossest guys that live in your garbage - is the most awesome bunch. They jump on my bed and make a huge mess in my room when they are in it. They pull toys off of each other. They bite each other. They wipe snot on each other. They run and slide and hop and bounce and do all kinds of things that just makes me want to pull them both by the ear. They are a handful. They toss my right to my wits ends at times. But I let them do all that. I let them go that far (as far as I can keep my sanity) because I believe that boys will be boys.
I take my children to the playground and am constantly mindful of the words that come out of my mouth. If I weren’t aware, all I would be shouting after them are “don’t climb!”, “don’t run!”, “don’t slide”, “don’t pick on worms!” I would not let them do anything, because every time they try to pull a daredevil act or even wobble, I can feel my heart sink to my stomach with fear. I think mothers would know what I mean. If we could keep our boys in a glass bubble, we would. We would prevent every bruise, every scratch, every scraped knee. But how will our boys turn out? Would they grow to be strong, self-reliant, macho men who can help themselves? I think not. Would they be brave and courageous men who laugh in the face of danger? Err, I don’t think so.
As moms, we need to inspire our boys to grow into real men. We need to not be too overprotective so that we can grow the importance of having courage and bravery. We need to teach them to help themselves and to be independent.
I’ve learned to tell them to “be careful” instead of telling them “don’t!” I’ve learned that by allowing them to explore and get their hands dirty and be gross, I am giving them a chance to grow and discover themselves. I’ve also learned to become someone smarter and vigorous and creative and critical, so to parent them well.
My boys may sometimes be the snottiest and stinkiest kids I have ever seen, but they are also the sweetest, most adorable little beings that have graced the face of this earth. Because when they plant a huge fat sloppy wet kiss on my cheeks, I really can’t see the grossness anymore. But I guess that all moms are biologically programmed to see things that way. Don’t you think so?
Parenting is not difficult. It’s challenging. The challenge is to become someone smarter, more vigorous, more critical. (And what a challenge that is!) The cool (or more relieving) part about it, is that it isn’t something we need to get on alone. It’s a team effort.
As Moms, we tend to prove our maternal super powers by doing everything on our own, testing our limits (and surpassing them) each time. We’d think that we need to have all the answers and parade around with our super-mom cape every single day. In the midst of that, we tend to push our partner aside. The Dad. He’s got 50% share in our kids, it’s only fair he’s got 50% of the responsibility. That’s the “the home team”, the core parental units. But parenting goes beyond the four walls of our homes. Our children need and benefit from other caring adults in their lives. We need them and so do our children.
As nice as it would be to be able to bounce ideas and concerns to others who are not a part of your daily grind everyday, good perspective can only come from the people you trust. It is important to choose from whom you rally assistance and ideas when you are stuck, to identify whose opinions you find most suitable for you and your child. As you build a community for you and your children, think about your child’s wellbeing and how he/she can benefit from that environment, and where you feel secure that your children will receive some positive influence.
While we waltz around through life, settling things left and right, organizing the days around our little munchkins, time becomes our biggest hurdle. But we can’t just fit in time to get ourselves connected with other people. We need to MAKE TIME to meet up with other people and build a community for us and for our children.
According to Ratih Ibrahim, a family psychologist, the aim of good parenting is resourceful children - competent, skillful, knowledgeable, reliable, trustworthy, ethical individuals who can perform well in a team. Really, it takes a village to meet that goal. But we’ve got this!
Photos courtesy of the Permadi, Hyu and Artono families, photographed by Andreas H.
“Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of. You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there.” - Amy Li
I think you might already get the idea about how much I love getting chemistry in my camera. I really think that bonds and relationships, especially between friends, make up the prettiest frames. This time I got the chance to capture moments between sisters.
Not only are the Lim sisters family, they are also the best of friends. They’ve watched each other’s backs, they’ve seen each other through thick and thin, through broken hearts and have been each other’s reasons for celebrations, and the persons they look forward to sharing happy moments with the most.
As one of them was getting ready to leave the nest to pursue her dreams in another continent, the four of them took a moment to freeze their today. I imagine that one day they will look back at these portraits and smile to see that while their world have changed and the seasons have come and gone, it would be like they have never left each other because everything between them is still the same.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day. To the beautiful Lim girls, I wish you all the love and joy through all the adventures life may take you.
All my love,
I remember when I used to crash birthday parties when I was that age, in an attempt to meet girls. That did not do much good, unfortunately. I’ve always known that sixteen is a special age for a girl, but I didn’t understood what it meant to them. Until I had a daughter of my own and I can only imagine the mixed bittersweet feeling I would feel when she turns sixteen. She will say goodbye to her dolls and toys to say hello to her makeup and boys. She will dream up dreams that she will live out in her adult life. She will fill her head with brilliant ideas and her heart with extraordinary love stories. She will become a woman. And that is surely worth the celebration.
I understand that now. But I can only imagine the excitement Vanessa will be living out. I won’t tell you about how great this girl is, I will let her friends do that for me. When you watch this clip, I hope that you will also get to know her and share her happiness, celebrating her turning sixteen.