Action & insight

So, in January of our oldest son’s Senior year, I started assembling a scrapbook of his photos for the family Graduation party. I scurried around, finding pictures here and there, and, in my usual analytical style, laid out a spreadsheet of important trips and milestones to catalog.  Painstakingly, night after night, I worked on it and finally, after four months, I finished: two beautiful leather bound books that hardly got touched at his party.

Youngest graduates this month.  Three days ago, I started assembling his scrapbook; no spreadsheet created as I spent most of the weekend just locating photos.

Panic threatened to settle in.

Why did I wait so long? I exclaimed.

What was I thinking?  This is just too much!

But then, I had a little chat with myself:  I slowed down, I lingered over those sweet baby cheeks and all those firsts I’d recorded along the way.  I laughed at the Ninja forts made of blankets & dining room chairs and cried seeing how fast it’s flown past.

I stopped analyzing.  I started enjoying.

Our baby graduates this month.

Perusing the photos has been cathartic; I’ve had many a “moment” but they’ve been by myself.  This experience will allow me to host family and friends with ease.  Can’t say the same for Hubbs.  He can’t walk in the room without tearing up; maybe I should have him help me finish the scrapbook?

“You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren’t. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don’t think your way into becoming yourself.” — Anne Lamott

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Categories: Faith, Family, Gratitude, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Personal, Quotes, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 42 Comments

Post navigation

42 thoughts on “Action & insight

  1. Aw…(sniff,sniff) – such sweet family pictures…. Realizing our babies are growing/all grown up are emotional times. Your reference to Ninja forts brought back memories for me…

    • Thank you; it’s been an exciting and emotional time – a whirlwind for sure. The fun things is I can still pull out my fort building skills with the grand kids 🙂 MJ

  2. MJ The pictures are precious. I’m such a gonner…I teared up looking at your son’s graduation pics. I loved the (perhaps kindergarten ?) blue mortar board w/ red yarn tassel 🙂 I have a few more years until college but it sometimes hits like a ton of bricks.

  3. I love the photo of him standing tall, dressed so elegantly and tending to his grandmother, I assume. He looks like a prince of a fellow.

    • That’s my favorite, too; he IS tending to his Grandmother (Nana) = my Mom! He was running the $ dance line at his brother’s wedding and she was next up 🙂 He is a prince of a fellow – kind-hearted, compassionate and loyal. MJ

  4. Congratulations to your handsome son! You’ve all reached a milestone! I remember putting together a photo collage of our kids for their senior presentations…it was a walk through memories and one of the first steps toward letting go. I didn’t see it at the time, but going back through years of photos and experiences was an important piece of that process. Love the quote! ~ Sheila

    • Thank you! I read your comment earlier and quoted it to someone today – yes – it’s part of the process. Part of letting them go, sniff sniff. MJ

  5. Well, you are giant steps ahead of me. My oldest will graduate this year, and I’m afraid she’ll have to do without a picture scrapbook . . . Congrats to you for making the occasion special.

    • It seems like a lot of work but I will say that, once I relaxed about it, I have enjoyed it. I scanned as I went so now I have my favorites saved as well. 🙂 MJ

  6. Wow. I love Anne Lamott, but am not familiar with that quote. How true. How powerful. Glad to hear you have simply relaxed into enjoying.
    Congrats to your baby–and to you and Hubbs, as well!

    • Thank you, Kathy. Hubbs has asked for a private screening of all photos before he must face the masses 🙂 MJ

  7. Awww. Your pictures made me smile, thank you so much for sharing them! What a handsome young man and a beautiful family!

    And you’re so right… we get so busy with life that we forget to cherish all the little moments that are so darn important. Thanks again for the reminder..

    My daughter is starting high school this year… and I’ve had those “where did the time go” moments more than I can even admit.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed; he is a sweetheart and someone I am proud to know. I have a lot of friends with graduating seniors and there’s a tremendous amount of pressure being put on them. He’ll be fine. He’s off to Jr. college this fall, will live at home and, like the rest of us, he’ll figure out what it is he wants to do with himself. Your daughter starting H.S. will bring all kinds of new experiences – and most are great 🙂 MJ

  8. Oh MJ, you made me cry. I’ve been through one, but still have three years until the next one graduates. Still, it seems not that far away. I definitely think your husband should help you with the scrapbook. Wish I would have been on the ball like that the first time around.

    • Oh no! I am sorry to have made you cry — one thing I did differently this time was scan as I go so I have my favorites “saved.” I think anyone who uses digital photography could pretty easily create a digital scrapbook i.e. I’m putting the scanned photos into a digital frame and playing some of his musical favorites in the background. And Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” -ha!

      Hope you’re feeling better every day! MJ

  9. Aww, you’re such a good momma. Congrats to your graduating son! I’ll be in your position before I know it.

    • Aww, thank you Caroline. You have so many beautiful pictures of your two handsome boys!! You will be there before you can blink, MJ

  10. A+. Two thumbs up. Throw in half a dozen gold stars! Well done MJ.
    ps….don’t be too hard on the hubbs for his sentimental side.

    • Aww … thanks RR! I don’t think it serves anyone if I end up stressed and snarpy. I’ve scanned my favorite photos and have loaded them into a digital frame — that will sit on the table near the cake and a cd playing his favorites – and some of ours. I added Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” and Queen’s “I want to break free” just because … and I know you ‘get’ it :).

      PS — Hubbs has asked for a private showing of all pictures before he has to face the crowds. 🙂 MJ

  11. Love the pics. And your story of the two different scrapbooks brings back memories. Congratulations to your son. Wonderfully well-done, Mom!

    • Thank you, Bella. Yep, most of us have been through both – one extreme to the other. Thank you for your well wishes! 🙂 MJ

  12. What a handsome boy you’ve got there!

    I managed the graduation preparations in much the same way. With the first one, I think we started preparing almost a year ahead of time. But the time number three was graduating, I was much more relaxed. And everyone had a great time regardless.

    • Thank you, Terri. The best part is he’s a good guy – someone you’d enjoy spending time with. I hear you on the prep vs. reality and I remember you blogging about your last graduation party and how everyone had a great time! I took a page out of your book 🙂 MJ

  13. Congrats, MJ… they grow up so fast… Enjoy!

  14. Oh I remember our youngest graduating a few years ago…we had three kids…oldest was a girl….very hard for me to let her go as our first to graduate….then next was our middle son and last was our baby son…he grew to be 6’5″ but he is still my baby:) I remember getting pictures out for a poster to show at graduation and also at our party for him…I spent most of the time blowing my nose and wiping tears of sadness….yet once he was graduated and summer came…by fall I was ok that it was his time to go out and find himself and dance to the beat of his life. No matter how old our kids get we will always be their Mom. Sending congrats to your son and hugs MJ for you as well as wishes that you will have a good graduation with good memories….lots of laughs and lots of love:)

    • Aww, Sandi. Thank you for sharing your story — you are so right, no matter their ages, we will always be their Mom. My Mom still refers to me as “her baby” – I’m 48! And she grins when she says it :). Cheers for your day & thank you for the good wishes .. MJ

  15. Yaaay! I love the slideshow, MJ! It’s funny, because I just looked at the video I put together of my boys. That just covered their first 6yrs of life. Seeing them grow before our eyes … amazing. The last picture is perfect, too. Congrats to your son!!

    • Thank you Lenore. Yes, I loved that last photo — interesting fact – he’s carrying my guitar and it was MY h.s. graduation gift from my parents. (I had a beat up old one that I learned on) They bought me a Yamaha FG340 and the price tag is still on it; I gave it to him about 6 months ago and he nearly cried upon receiving it. 🙂 I love that you have a video catalog of your two precious boys – wonderful


  16. So fun to see the progressing photos. Thanks!

  17. You are such a thoughtful person – and a wonderful mother. That shines through your devotion to giving each their share of attention and special moments. Thanks for sharing this. Your pictures are touching.

    • Thank you, Renee. That’s probably the nicest compliment anyone has ever given to me. Like you, I take being “Mom” seriously 🙂 MJ

  18. What a wonderful tribute to your son — and how blessed you are with all the great family memories! CONGRATS to him on his graduation, and best wishes for a bright future ahead. I’m sure there will be many more great “Kodak moments,” for you to document and add to your digital family scrapbook!

    • Thank you; he’s a great kid – funny, creative, thoughtful and hilarious. He’s going to Junior College next year and is then going to decide on a career – so much to think about!!

  19. alanamokma

    I agree with “Little Things of Life” – this was a wonderful tribute to your son! I loved seeing photos of your son and your family. 🙂

  20. What a milestone! Congratulations to you and your son. Love your new blog look.

Please share your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at

Connie Rosser Riddle

Connecting with people in my path

Atypical 60

A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With An Atypical Twist!

A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine, for your light has come...Isaiah 60

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Waiting for the Karma Truck

thoughts on the spaces in between

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by four opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, And Spiritual Being.


Nancy Roman

Flamidwyfe's Blog

Midwifing women all over the world!

Operation Gratitude Blog

Care Packages for Deployed U.S. Troops, Veterans, New Recruits, Wounded Heroes, First Responders & Military Children

Hot Rod Cowgirl

Riding Through Life One Horse At A Time...Courage Is Being Scared To Death But Saddling Up Anyway!

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

The View Out Here

A view in pictures, from me to you

I also live on a farm

Just another weblog

Undercover Surfer

...random thoughts and images overflowing from my brain

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

Georgette Sullins's Blog

My view of the cow parade

these days of mine

Stop in and see what's happening during these days of mine

Writingfeemail's Blog

Random observations on writing and life

Grace and Life

Looking for grace notes in life's journey...

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...



%d bloggers like this: