Am thankful today for the many many memories and images that one single photo can bring up. For little girls who conquered fears of amphibians and who aren’t afraid to hold frogs and toads and wrestle with their brothers. For brothers who would never dare to wrestle all out with their feisty little sister. For gardenia blooms and the scent that lingered through the window and greeted us as we arrived home. For the many years spent in this home that we cherished and the memories that no one can take away. For the fact that gardenias and crepe myrtles and dogwoods can grow at other places, and so can we…we all need to bloom where we’re planted. (Or we can choose not to, but that’s no fun. ) For summertime and all of the times in the sprinkler, in the mini pools, having water fights and drinking from the hose and laying on a towel in the driveway and drawing pictures in shaving cream on the french door windows. Thankful for yards covered with balls and bats and bikes and the little feet and hands that will run to pick them up and put them away after many reminders. Thankful for the chalk-covered driveway with pictures that I could always connect to the artist who drew them. Thankful for water that washed and cleaned the kids, the clothes, the messes of life… Thankful for memories of my children’s childhood and for the way those memories can make us smile now and will make us smile in the future. Thankful for the young moms in my life today and how I so get it…I so remember, not just the glory, but the guts it takes to keep pressing on to keep children safe, to help them feel loved and accepted, and to grow them up by the grace of God to be who they were created to be. That’s a life long journey…and I find that this mothering bit doesn’t get easier as time goes on. It just changes. One thing doesn’t change, though. How often, raising children sure seems to grow moms up more than the kids sometimes. I will definitely attest to that.