Family photoshoots are priceless, truly capturing a stage of life. In celebration of John’s first published book, we made some vibrant family pictures.

The last time we made pictures downtown, it was 80*, my dress didn’t fit properly, and I was deeply depressed without knowing it. The photos, which was no fault of the photographer, are sources of pain. I was deep in survival mode, and it’s all over my face.

This time around was a very different experience. It was the same location, similar attire, and same season of the year. But it was a different season of life.

Since that season of survival, I’ve begun doing the necessary interior soul work to move past pain and depression. I’ve actively fought to thrive, not just survive.

John and I go on dates at Quarterly Retreats regularly, and our marriage is sweeter as a result. The kids have grown (and multiplied) in independence and affection. I feel joy for the first time in years.

There’s a myriad of reasons, steps, systems, habits, and other buzzwords that have helped my incremental progress. Brene Brown talks about the slow climb to Rising Strong, and picking yourself back up again. I used to feel deep shame about falling down. I’m learning to choose gratitude for the opportunity to rise.

This rising is a small way to participate in Christ’s Resurrection. He died and rose for us; we sin daily and rise to repent and try again. My priest encouraged me “to hope as Christ sees our try.”

Another way I’ve experienced Christ in this slow climb is through creating. This blog is a product of that. We experience Christ when we stand in awe of beauty, because He is beautiful. I find this particularly true with the sacrifice and submission to a creative process.

This year, it’s been a team effort for John to create and write his book. It wouldn’t exist without either of us, or the kids. In honor of a bigger-than-us creation, here is our family photo with John’s new Book, Survive and Thrive. 

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