Thursday, June 27, 2024

And The Seasons They Go Round And Round

In my hunt for some pictures for yesterday's Hodgepodge I came across this photograph-

...and I keep thinking about the way it made my head spin. My heart too. 

That's my oldest daughter in the picture, sitting in the grass in front of Canterbury Cathedral on one of the brightest blue sky days there ever was in the history of England. 

She is seventeen. 

It's funny the way a picture can peel back the years and remind me that once upon a time I had teenagers living in my house. If you have teenagers at home you might wonder how in the world you could ever forget this season of intense everything, but I'm here to tell you time is sometimes blurry in the rear view mirror. 

The now grown women I birthed and adore, the ones I talk to about recipes and books and parenting and politics and culture wars and Jesus and everything under the sun, well they used to be teenagers. Not so long ago they were sleeping in their bedrooms upstairs and eating breakfast at our kitchen table. They were asking for rides or cash or permission, doing homework, dancing, dreaming, and planning their futures.

Was it not so long ago? 

Nineteen summers have come and gone since this photo was snapped. The teenage girl in this photograph went off to uni, worked in our nations capital, married her doctor-captain -major-now civilian, birthed three children, moved west across the country, east across an ocean, then south, then up and over to the midwest and, as I type, is preparing for yet another move. 

A move that will bring her back to the dirt she is sitting on in this photograph. 


Her hubs will complete a six-month orthopedic surgical fellowship there and she will introduce her children to tea and scones, the English countryside, village life, 1000 years of history, kings and castles, old churches and new experiences. The same language only different.  

The seventeen year old girl in that picture had no idea all the ways God was going to work out His plans and His purposes in her life. 

She's going back to the place she first learned the world is big and change is a given. That when a door opens wide we can walk on through, knowing God goes before us. Knowing too that He meets us there and walks beside us wherever we may roam. 

She doesn't have to wonder if that's really true. She knows it because she's lived it. As a young teenager moving across the pond, as a young wife moving across the country, as a young mom giving birth in South Korea. In all the places and seasons and changes life has brought God's been there. 

I cannot wait to hear how that seventeen year old girl sees England now...

Through her grown up eyes and the lens of time. 

"If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." Isaiah 139: 9-10


  1. Beautifully felt and written, Joyce. Hoping she has time to keep blogging while there!! xo

  2. Beautiful, beautiful post, Joyce!

    As I continue to ever-so-slowly plug away at decluttering and downsizing, I find myself coming across all kinds of things that my teenage girls left behind. It's like a time capsule! And every time the feelings that come up are ... interesting. I love the way you used this photo as a springboard for such a deeply felt, meaningful post.

  3. Love that verse at the end. Such a great promise. You have a wonderful way with words. What fun it will be to visit them in their temporary new home!

  4. What a beautiful, heart-felt post, Joyce! Your words filled with memories, hopes, dreams, realities caused me to reflect on my own journey with our daughters who are now 31 and 26. While our travels and experiences are not as far reaching as yours, my prayers for them are the same and I'm so grateful God placed them in our lives and chose me as their mama. Thank you for sharing this message with us all!

  5. Wow. What a beautiful story to reflect on with your daughter. Thank you for sharing this as my daughters are young adults.

  6. Loved reading your reflective words and seeing your beautiful photos. What a full circle moment for your daughter! And what amazing experiences she´s had... and sounds like will continue to have. Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Perfectly beautifully written, you should really write a novel. I'm pretty sure it would be a best seller.

  8. Your talent for writing just fascinates me, Joyce, and from what I've read on your daughters' blogs, they inherited that gift from you.

    As for coming across old pictures, they are powerful.

    As you surely know, FaceBook (and Shutterfly) from time to time will pop in a snapshot from our past, asking us if we want to share it with the world. My response for the past 3+ years has usually been "no," since at this season of my life, the photos usually open up places I thought I had dealt with once and for all, only FB or Shutterfly had to pry it open again.

    But that isn't always the case, thankfully. Good post today, Joyce.

  9. This post is so touching. I always love reading your writing. You really should be an author. I can't believe they are moving. In many ways it is exciting but in other's is going to be so hard for you. ((HUGS}}

  10. This will be such an exciting time for all of them! I, too, wonder how I birthed and raised our twins . . .and how they could be so grown up now!

  11. OH wow! That is so neat-- coming full circle like that. I wish her and her family all the luck as they move and settle in. What an adventure!

  12. It is a lovely photo, being a teenager is stressful, being the parent of a teenager is stressful and then in a blink our teenagers are the parents of teenagers moving around the world isn't as strange as it was a 100yrs ago but still a big deal

  13. Your writing is just so moving. Thanks for sharing this. Doesn't time fly?

  14. Love you mama! Thanks for being brave and taking us there 20 years ago. As a mom now I think about you back then and can't wait to experience it from this side of life. And especially can't wait to have tea with you in England again.

  15. Beautiful post ... I am excited to hear all about her families adventures.

  16. Off on to a new adventure. What a brilliant experience they will all have.

  17. I LOVE this post! So beautifully written; it made me teary-eyed! :)