Another Christmas has come & gone friends. I hope & pray your time with family & friends was full of laughter, joy, & even some healing tears. I love getting Christmas cards.  I look through each and every one feeling grateful for the ways you all have impacted our family’s lives; what we have learned from you, the memories we have shared in different seasons, and the ways we have been challenged to live more fully because we know you all.  Christmas card pictures are the best of our year and while I adore sending and getting them it is worthy of reminding myself and us all that the real moments of family are hanging in there for the tough times, the moments that don’t look as shiny as our Christmas card image. We will stick together no matter what and this year has been one of change, some answers about what our family will be moving forward, and much joy & mourning. We are in this together & we are holding onto to Jesus and His promises through it all.

Why does every year feel like December goes quicker? When I was a kid I remember the month felt like it was crawling by and now I feel like I blinked and it is almost 2018.  As each year passes I feel like I know less but trust more in the unfolding of what life has for us. What I do know is I love my family- for all our chaos, imperfection, and mess. All of it- I adore time to just be together to adventure. For as fast as the time seems to go I am grateful for photography in my life because the snap shots of life as it passes allows me to reflect on all that is the same and different. We went downtown Chicago for 2 days this year for some old traditions and some new adventures. We spent time just us without any normal life routines and were just together. As I cull and edit I feel like crying because in these images I see a family who has changed so much since our first days of this tradition yet the core of the Engstrom crew remains the same.  I see a family who celebrates and laughs and cries together often. I see kids who are learning, along with their parents to love God and each other with their whole heart. I see kids who have welcomed in a sister, even on the hard days (and lots of the days have been hard) and now could never envision their lives without her.  I see a family who hurts each other and forgives each other abundantly. I see kids who endlessly annoy each other and complain and yet are also some of the most thoughtful & grateful little people I know. I see a family we have seen grow and change through so much. I see a family who embraces each other for our success as well as our failures.  I see a family who rejoices with each other in our gifts and loves each other through our many faults. I see a family with history and new memories to create and I am grateful to God above all else for this family of ours.  

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the Engstrom crew!!! Our family’s story is unfolding & it is full of adventure, challenge, love, chaos, beauty, and mess: cheers to your beautiful chaos too friends!



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