Week 4.

I don’t know why, but this photo project has been getting harder and harder each week. The biggest problem is getting both kids to be happy at the same time that the light is decent. Camilla’s usually pretty chipper (albeit with a limited attention span), but for some reason poor little Beatrice just doesn’t like being placed in the middle of a sea of fabric. So, I get a lot of shots like this:

I got a lot of shots like this...

And this:

...and this.

Those aren’t really the memories that I want myself–or the children–to retain from this part of our lives, so we had to try again yesterday afternoon and managed to get slightly better results.

At the moment, I have two sets of photos going (+ lots of fun outtakes) and I think I’m going to wait till the end of the year to pick my favorite.

Set 1.

Week 1 (option 3).

Week 3.

Week 4.

Set 2.

Sisters.

Week 2.

The Spiderman kiss.

I love seeing how much Beatrice has grown already! It’s going to be so much fun to flip through these at the end of the year, after I’ve spent a couple of hours adjusting the white balance on each one. Sigh. (By the way, I promise not to belabor this whole photo project thing any more. After this, no more complaining about white balance, wrinkly fabric, lack of Photoshop, and why I don’t like Picasa. Only pictures. Or posts about other stuff.)

And now for something that has nothing to do with photos.

For all the other moms and future moms out there, I thought I’d take the opportunity to pass along a pretty helpful article written by a high school classmate of mine. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why God and the church ask us to give up things that we want. To live a life of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and plain old self-control means that we need to purposefully forgo things that we want and that are in our power to have. Sometimes there’s also a good non-spiritual reason to abstain (if I eat the brownie, I won’t lose weight) and sometimes there’s not (but this shirt is on sale for only $5!). Often, I find that the non-spiritual reason becomes more important than the spiritual one and when there’s no practical reason not to do something, I just go ahead and do it. However, unless I deny myself some of the things that I want, I simply do not remember the reality that everything I have comes from God. If I always feed my hunger immediately, it is all too easy to forget that man does not live by bread alone.

Motherhood, as it turns out, is an excellent opportunity to grow more spiritually mature because you have to deny yourself all sorts of things, so long as you can keep from feeling resentful about it. Sleep, showers, make-up, money, time…all traded in for a certain little baby. Since I’ve done this once before, I know that things will get easier in a few months. She will eventually sleep through the night. We will eventually find a routine. I will eventually look decent when I step out the door. I’m trying hard, though, not to anticipate that future time as somehow better than this. I find it so easy to look at a mom with make up, blown-dry hair, a designer diaper bag, a nice stroller, and a child with adorable clothes as one who is “doing better” than a mom with pimples and rag-tag children. I have recently come to the conclusion, however, that “doing better” is often just a euphemism for “giving up less of the things that she wants.” My ideal mom is someone who has kids but didn’t have to sacrifice anything else: her figure, her style, her stuff, her time. But, aside from the impossibility of this situation, where’s the spiritual growth in that? If you have a baby and still get to finish every little project your heart desires, what have you learned about priorities? How have you become more like Christ?

So the next time I go to the grocery store, I’m trying to look more favorably at the tired and bedraggled-looking moms who obviously don’t have it all together. As long as they are managing to stay cheerful and keep their tongues in check, there’s a good chance that they’re progressing much further in their sanctification than the perfect-looking ones. And, one can only hope that the children of parents who visibly and cheerfully sacrifice their own desires for them are set on a better path in life than those of parents who didn’t seem like they had to give up anything.

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