Daily Life//chickens, family & transitions

I love photographs of people's daily lives.  Usually we take pictures at a formal event and have our hair fixed and wear our best clothes.  But the majority of my life is not spent with nice hair, long dresses, or even a frozen smile.  Better yet I love to see where people live because it is an expression of who they are, what they love and the setting where the magic of the ordinary takes place.  I recently got to take pictures of my friend Elisha's family and wanted to make sure and capture some of their life here before they move to Florida in the next few weeks.  Living in Athens means that many families you grow close to will often move after finishing their doctoral studies... leaving a little hole in that place they use to fill in your life.  It is a bittersweet place- lots of friends and excitement but usually it has a 3-4 year life span.  So I wanted to make sure before Elisha left we had some pictures of this stage of their life.  Elisha's husband, George, helps lead worship at our church and Elisha and I have gotten to know each other over the past two years through different bible studies and playgroups.  We were both pregnant at the same time and waddled around together.  My son Ethan (who is 4) actually has a big crush on Amelia (Elisha's oldest child and only little girl).  Ethan randomly tells me that when he gets big he wants to marry Amelia because, quote, "she's a good girl."  Who knew little boys talked about marriage and planned out their future, right? Next thing I know he will have a Pinterest wedding board.  George Wilder is the same age as Ethan and I think he actually may be part monkey and part boy.  Matter of fact both Amelia and George Wilder seem like they could easily live in a tree.   Just days after I took these pictures George Wilder fell and really busted his nose and face and teeth, so Elisha was so glad that we have pre-fall pictures.  And baby William is 5 months old, with precious reddish hair and a clear resemblance to his siblings.  I could say so much about this family, about what I have learned about joy from them, how I've watched them trust God in the midst of  a fire that took so many of they possessions, or courage in the face of pregnancy after a miscarriage.  I have seen them chase after their sheep down all roads in Athens (including the police getting on to George for having sheep that walk on major roads), feed their chickens in their back yard and Amelia telling me all about the reproductive system of these egg producing birds.  I have loved getting to know them to say the least and only wish there was more time to grow together.  I will having them over and how they take off their shoes all the time.  Their next door neighbor, Mr. Bill, has been an important part of their life in Athens and they wanted to get some pictures of him, too.  Mr. Bill lives by himself since his wife died, and the Boggs family has grown close to him over the past few years.  I could tell even from the small time I spent with him that he was a jewel to have as a friend and he talked about how much he is going to miss this family.  Last thought before pictures- at church on Sunday I sat next to Elisha and her children (George was out of town).  I was exhausted from the wedding I photographed the night before and was daydreaming about sleeping for hours on a blanket somewhere quiet.  Elisha and I stood with our babies in the back of church during communion and she told me about George Wilder's big fall that happened after her husband went out of town, how his face was so bloody and his teeth are really loose.  Elisha was saying how everything seemed to just go crazy and straight to chaos right after she told George she could handle the 3 kids while he was out of town.  Then she said, "the sermon was so good today to hear in light of this weekend... how my home is in heaven."  Our pastor talked about our need to get home to the one who deeply loves us (King Jesus) and our time here on Earth is a time as travelers on our way, elect exiles more specifically.  There was such a peace that came to me from Elisha's words about remembering our limited time here is preparing us for our eternal home.  It just freed me from trying to make everything perfect here or desperately grabbing for rest or escape.  I can love my children and spend my self for my family and others because this isn't all there is- there will be a time of perfect rest and love and perfection with God and man in heaven that frees me to live fully here.  I had just read an article about life and death- how 110 years from now this Earth will be populated with a total new set of people and none of us will be here.  The rulers of the most powerful countries will be gone and yet God will still be as he has been from eternity past to future.  I am thankful that Elisha has helped me remember to be a good traveler, to love fully and creatively and with joy in these passing days.  So grateful.  Ironically and sadly,  in light of passing days, one of their favorite chickens (Tess) died an hour after I left.  Tess had a special place in their hearts... I got some pictures of Amelia loving on her and posted one below.  Here is a little window into their transitioning life and a good reminder to me that all of life is transition.