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She is delightful.

And man, if she doesn’t have the genes and bone structure of a queen. I’ve known her a while, but had never quite realized the Bombshell status she’s capable of before we took these photos. I’ve always seen her as lovely, but her spirit has always colored my view of her more than her appearance.

She brings open hands, not clinched fists, to life, so blessings can flow in and out and back in. She is quick to celebrate others; she’s not starving to be in the spotlight herself. She’s a breath of fresh air. She makes me smile and makes me hope.

Her initials spell “VOW,” which I find so appropriate.

Vows are serious business. And holy. And beautiful. They’re the driving force behind many great stories, and behind the daily faithfulness that is often as quiet and gentle and unnoticed as the dawn.

I see all these vow-qualities in Virginia. I’m excited she’s becoming a woman, because I have a feeling she’s going to be an incredibly good one.

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Grace & peace,

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Ruby Ann is kind of a dreamboat of a six-month-old.

There’s the round cheeks and the round blue eyes, and the porcelain skin and the long, thick eyelashes.

There’s her early mastery of wearing her mama’s childhood bracelet and resisting the urge to fling it off or swallow it whole.

And there was the moment after her one crying spell during our time together, when her outfit change led to her head getting stuck in her shirt (which, to be fair, I also hate), when she laid her head on my shoulder and took a few deep breaths, and my heart melted into my shoes.

I’m excited to be Ruby’s friend as she grows. I’m excited to see who this peaceful little soul grows into.

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Grace & peace,

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I also forgot to ask Hayley about schools and majors, like Somer in the last post, but that may be because in my head, she’s still a vague youngwoman age, somewhere between 14 and 16, and it’s not time to talk about her growing up or leaving home.

I’ve been her babysitter, her youth intern, and her friend, but recently I was her senior photographer — tasked with making some portraits that hold all the light I’ve seen in her since the babysitting years, and documenting the girl she was and is, and giving a glimpse of the woman she is and will be.

A tall order, for the last 90 minutes of sunlight on a Sunday afternoon.

But I think we did alright.

Hay J, I hope you feel beautiful and strong and delightful when you look through these. Because you are, my friend. You truly are.

HayJD1

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Grace & peace,

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This is my new friend Somer.

I didn’t ask her which schools she’s looking at, or what she thinks she might like to study. Because when I was her age, I got tired of only answering those questions with my new friends. Or with anyone I talked to during my senior year of high school.

But I learned that we know some of the same people. I met her dog Piper, who is roughly the size and weight of a TY beanie baby, with the face of a teddy bear, and she hops like a bunny when set free in the grass. I learned just how beautiful hazel eyes can look, especially when Somer wore purple or black.

I asked if she were a beach girl, and she nodded. And her mom said, behind me — “Me, too. That’s why I named her Somer.”

I’m glad I met you, Somer. (You too, Becky. [You too, Piper.] ) I hope you love these photos.

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Grace & peace,

eucharisteo | Shelby M'lynn Photography

93. my mother at the back door with red tulips

94. stopping to take a picture of good moments

I used to do a post like this every week. Faithfully.

I want to begin again, to be very purposeful and active in my gratitude, and to restore the joy I know I can take in photography.

I already know I’ll still miss some Tuesday posts — but I’m at least walking in the right direction.

(These numbers are much smaller than my recent posts, because I started a new list that my husband and I are keeping together. Which was one of my Really Good Ideas, I think.)

Grace & peace,

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5,256. Dani & Liben’s story

It’s been a while since I wrote about eucharisteo here — this numbered phrase above is an entry from the list of 5,000+ gifts, blessings, grace moments, that I’ve kept since the January of 2012.

Dani & Liben are on the list. Because oh, I am grateful for them.

I’m grateful for young men who say to young women, soon after meeting — if we start this relationship, it will end in marriage. And I’m grateful for women who buy one-way plane tickets to Africa, and say to their family — I’m not coming back until he is on the plane with me.

I’m grateful for hearts like theirs, faith like theirs, stories like theirs. Families like theirs.

And I’m a little beyond grateful that, God willing, I will watch as they bring this son into the world soon.

It’s going to be a good, good day.

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5,259. white & blue look just right on her

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5,261. Liben watching from the doorway

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5,262. their own way of looking & smiling at each other

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5,258. a white shirt & suspenders

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5,260. four hands & two wedding bands on a pregnant belly

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For those who see this — please join me in praying blessing over this little family and their son’s coming birth.

Grace & peace,