Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Card Outtakes

Today we venture to the dark underbelly of those perfect family Christmas card photos. I give to you the Donaldson family, circa 2005:

Come on people, the clock is ticking!

Uh-oh, Mom put on her crazy eyes!
Focus, people, focus!


Maybe, maybe... Oh crap, Jack, what are you looking at?


Trying to keep my eyes open enough for ALL of us. Is Hillary Clinton in this family?


We're losing the women-folk!

Maybe? Not terrible?


Really? How hard is this supposed to be?


Hmmm...


Are those smiles or tears? Not sure. I can't see past Mom's pointy nose.


Could we just photoshop Margaret's face on?


I'm thinking there's no turning back at this point.


A winner??? Nope. Unless boogies, tears, and Mom's double chin=Christmas cheer.


Forget those little people. How 'bout just Mom and Dad?


Better yet? Or is that a wee bit self-centered?


We ended up giving up that day, and going with just the cute kids:

Merry Christmas! Much love to you. Please keep praying for us.

135 comments:

Megan said...

Thinking of you and praying for you this Christmas. Hoping you feel His peace and love.

Formerly known as Frau said...

Merry Christmas Anna....surrounding you with loving prayers and thoughts.

Suzie said...

Love you, Anna

ItsBridgetO said...

Those pictures are priceless!! I've been through it and the best picture ended up still having tears in it. :)

Merry Christmas! Love and prayers to you all.

Anonymous said...

Laughing so hard.....that was great, Anna..

Thank you again for sharing your family with us. Will be praying for you and thinking of you especially often these next few days...

Love,
Lisa G. in CT

Kristina P. said...

These put a smile on my face! You look beautiful!

Merry Christmas!

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

Well, since you said please.

Of course.

lindsay said...

Always praying. More coming than usual this emotion charged week.

NanaDiana said...

I pray for you EVERY day..because I just can't stop thinking about you and your family. I pray that God grants you some peace and joy even in the midst of all the pain. Sweet, Blessed Christmas-xo Diana

kitty said...

You all continue to be in our hearts and prayers.Thank you for sharing your family memory's with us.May God continue to watch over you,wrap his arms around you all and shine his mighty love to you and your family.Peace and blessings.

Anonymous said...

This made me smile. Thank you. You're in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

I know how hard it will be on Sat night/Sun morning...just feel it and remember we are here with you!
Here is hoping there are smiles thru the tears
..thanks for sharing with us.

Peaceful holidays to you and yours..all of yours!

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

You're beautiful and funny, luck Tim! Great memories for sure!

mia said...

I pray for you many times a day and your sweet family and little angel Jack will be in my thoughts and prayers this weekend. Much love from Richmond xoxo

Kim said...

This had me laughing out loud. I LOVE the outtakes. Praying. Hard.

Junie said...

Oh, Anna, of course we will keep praying for you all.


I can't bring myself to wish you happy or merry anything. But I do hope with everything in me that you and your family feel the peace that passes all understanding.

L said...

Love these pictures! I wonder if cousins were a hindrance during the photo sesh?

Courtney said...

Hi Anna, words cannot express how I feel for you. I actually got caught up on your blog a few weeks ago, having not read it in six months or so. I cried and cried. Then I went and told my husband about it and cried some more. I immediately lifted you up in prayer. When I think of you, I continue to pray.

I also wanted to mention another blog that made me think of you: http://mollypiper.com/category/grief/ Molly Piper lost her daughter a few years ago and is an expressive and transparent writer on grief, depression, loss, etc. I linked specifically to her posts on grief, of which there are many, but of course you could check out the whole blog. I know this Christmas is going to be so painful for you and your whole family, and I am lifting you up in prayer. Love and hugs to you.

Sue@Uniquely Chic said...

Read each of your posts but don't always comment although you and your family come to my mind often as odd as that is for two people who have never met. I suppose it is a mother thing. Peace to you and your family, Anna, this Christmas and into the new year.

Anonymous said...

Anna I'm going to wake up Monday morning, take a deep breath, and take a quick look at my iPad and hope to see a post from you. A "Through our love for each other and Gods grace we clung together and celebrated our family and our Lord's birth". Because I know there's enough love in that house to see you all through.

Down here in Roanoke I'm throwing some shine in the crockpot, cranking up the Mannheim Steamroller and saying a prayer for people I care for but don't know, waayyy up in NoVa.

Anonymous said...

I know! It's like corralling puppies.
Sandie brown

Anonymous said...

Thing of and praying for all of you. You are doing a beautiful thing keeping the cyber world posted on how you cope. I suspect you are helping countless people dealing with bereavement feel less alone.

On a lighter note..LOVE those photos. I see perfect photos from gorgeous people like you all and I always think to myself "They look like they belong in a Normal Rockwell painting AND everyone cooperates?" Frankly I get green with envy assuming you got that perfect photo on 1 try. It's refreshing to see that you too had the same troubles I do reigning everyone in.

Marinka said...

OMG, you do look like a very glamorous Hillary Clinton!

xo

Mel said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family...

Mel said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family...

Dawn said...

Not ony will we keep praying as you maneuver through this first Christmas, you will ALWAYS be in our hearts.

luv2run said...

I never stop praying!!!!!!!

luv2run

Merry Christmas to you and your family....AND JACK!

LauraBeth said...

Praying... Always, always.

Peace to you, Tim, and Margaret. Know that so many people, in so many places, are praying you through this difficult first.

Sending love and (((hugs)))

RachelSD said...

Cute behind the scenes. :)

I've never met you and only recently started reading your blog, but you're in my thoughts almost daily. My family participated in Samaritan's Purse this year because of Jack. I'm praying for patience and healing for you and your family. Hang in there, even if it's just a minute at a time.

Aimee said...

LMAO!!! OMG... Absolutely Priceless! Margaret's facial expressions had me rolling. LOL!

I can't tell you how hard it is to get a family foto, it's so exhausting to try to get everyone looking happy straight into the camera. FOE-GET-ABOUT-IT!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY PEACEFUL NEW YEAR TO THE DONALDSON FAMILY. :)

Anonymous said...

I am praying for you. Just tonight my daughter kept climbing out of bed and wanting hugs. My initial thought was the usual, "ugh! Get into bed!" But like many other times recently, I stopped and thought of you, of your Jack and I just hugged and hugged and hugged her.
I admire your courage and strength and I wish you nothing but peace and hope you find some moments to smile over the next few days. Sending love to you and your family.

gillian said...

i think of you every day.

Anonymous said...

This cracked me up. Hilary Clinton WISHES she looked like you. You don't know this about me, but I too have a "pointy" nose. It has ruined more photos for me than I care to count.

Hope you are all doing okay on this Xmas Eve Eve, dear Anna. Much love to you all.

love,
jbhat

ella said...

Praying for your family especially hard this weekend. Love the pictures.

Alicia said...

You are so pretty! Striking, really.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Those photos and your commentary just made me smile! I know this will be a difficukt holiday, but I hope it helps to know that so many people are pulling for you and your family. Wishing you a calm and peaceful heart.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

"Hilary Clinton" cracked me up. You look so pretty in those. But this is a perfect example of why we don't really have any pictures of all five of us. And our holiday cards (of which there have only been two since Oliver's first Christmas) never include parents. But then we've talked about that...your friend wouldn't approve.

You have been a constant in my thoughts the past few days. Love you.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Thinking of you and your family as this unprecedented holiday season rolls itself onto the scene. Know you are loved by one you will never meet--I lift you up to the Universal Healing Power.

A Speckled Trout said...

In many ways, you are the loveliest person I've never met. Peace.

Anonymous said...

God bless you for blessing us with your humor when we need it too! I was afraid to peek (and perhaps not submitting by doing so!).

Can tooootally relate to the picture thing! I growl at the pinching of bottoms and moving out of position but can fake the smile. Scott...not so much! In our first set, Scott looked disgusted with his family and he's never not been picture perfect.

We love you all and know you'll lean on our loving God for strength. You will get through these next few days with lots of prayer!

Love, Karen

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Anna!
I love this post! So funny! I pray that Your heart is filled with peace this Christmas.
Always thinking and you and praying for your family
Much love,
Kelly R

Stimey said...

Christmas card photos are tough. But you have such a great story in that series of photos. And the one with just the two kiddos is perfect.

Mariann said...

These are beautiful....and so much fun to see! ....and Hillary Clinton WISHES she looked like you! My dear, you are beautiful! None of us have stopped praying for you and we won't. We haven't stopped talking about Jack or thinking about Jack or wondering what Jack's Christmas in Heaven will be like.
(That was probably the worst grammer ever) Praying Christ's healing love and peace over you, Tim and Margaret. Much love, Mariann Alicea

Erin said...

Our prayers and thoughts are with you.
Love,
Erin

PeachPrenni said...

Laughing and relating!! Thanks for sharing as always. Merry Christmas to your sweet family!

Lynda DiPasquale said...

I laughed. I cried. I related completely. Thank you for sharing. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you all...I am blessed to have gotten to know Jack through your words and images. May God continue to hold you close.

Patricia said...

Thinking of you all and praying so hard for you......Much love to you all - you are in all of our thoughts and prayers.

Kim/reluctant renovator said...

Sending your family healing thoughts and prayers this Christmas.

~Kori~ said...

hugs and love to your sweet family....

Anonymous said...

<3 <3 <3

Rachel Elizabeth said...

These made me laugh out loud. I hope you find reasons to laugh this Christmas. You are in my thoughts.

Lady Jennie said...

Oh family photo are brutal. Yours do look perfect in spite. :-)

I think about you every day and pray for you all the time - my thoughts are especially with you today and tomorrow.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Thank you for sharing these precious pictures. I will never stop praying for you and your family. Merry Christmas. ((HUGS))

macmac524 said...

Woke up tonight thinking of your family and realized I wanted to send this. Have you seen the Flickr photos of blue ribbons for Jack? This is from my little boy.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pstaples01/6563242137/

Praying God carries you gently through the next 2 days....

mgh said...

I love Anna.

Kara said...

I am laughing so hard over each of those photos. Classic, really. Thought of your family as I drove my wound up children around to look at neighborhood Christmas lights. Praying for slivers of joy amidst your grief. Thanks for a glimpse of your outtakes. :) Merry Christmas to the Donaldson family!

Lisa said...

I laughed while scrolling through those. Getting a family photo is near impossible for us, too.

Praying for you all, as always...

pam Kacher said...

That was great. I'm glad to see we are not the only family that is hopeful for 1 decent photo out of 100. Praying for your family this Christmas. You have been amazing!

Jessica {Team Rasler} said...

The commentary is every bit as funny as the photos! We almost always have to go with just cute kids, too. Merry Christmas. I'm praying for all of you.

Lizbeth said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Sally said...

Thinking of you, and yes! -- praying. Have a blessed Christmas.

Rach said...

Wishing you a peaceful Christmas.

My prayers for you and your family continue.

Many hugs,
Rach

RottenMom said...

I will. I pray for you and your family every single day. May GOD lift you and carry you and hold you tightly in his arms over the next few days. XO

Carrie Brown said...

These made me laugh so hard. Thank you for sharing them with us:) Love you guys!

Anonymous said...

You are a brave, strong woman.

Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

i don't think there is another person alive that i've never met that i like and love as much you. these pictures are priceless, and perfect, and your commentary on each is hysterically funny and accurate! God bless you and your family, sweet anna. Praying, praying praying for you all.

Laura said...

You are stunning . . .
Your family is beautiful . . .
Thinking of you and yours every day - several times a day.
Hugs from a stranger - who is wishing you continued strength. You are truly amazing.

andnowwearesix said...

these are so sweetly real and absolutely precious. Thanks so much sharing them. We are thinking of you tonight and always. xo

Jori said...

Merry Christmas! I pray for you every night. :)

Anonymous said...

Anna - Praying for you and your family. May you feel the presence of the Lord above and the knowledge that Jack is with Him and with you always. May the Lord bless you with strength during this Christmas season.

Ann Imig said...

Hilarious and delightful. Anna, you all could not be more gorgeous.

Junie said...

Stopped by again just to say still remembering, still praying.

Nichole@40daysof said...

Merry Christmas to you, too! We're praying. :)

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog since September, but have never posted a comment. I have been so moved by your writing ... and your strength. I just want you to know that I am thinking of your sweet family this Christmas and will say a special prayer for you all. God bless.

ster said...

there will be such a sense of relief once tomorrow has past. it's this constant dread counting down to the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries... i know how hard it is. and it has to be hard for margaret as well- thank God you have her, or who knows if you'd ever get out of bed to function each day. i will be thinking of you, sending you light and love and good vibrations (now the beach boys just popped into my head- random) and i will wish, for all of your sake, that tomorrow comes and goes quickly.

Nomads By Nature said...

Endearingly hysterical! Keeping you in prayer and wishing you a peaceful Christmas despite the tears. You and your family are loved by so many and by God above all.

Clare said...

Will NEVER stop praying for you. I love these photos. They show who you really are as a family! Merry Christmas Anna :)

Anonymous said...

Praying for your family during this holiday, and hoping you find peace and comfort. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

I don't know you, but have been thinking about your sweet family all day. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

A Morning Grouch said...

Fantastic. I think everyone should share their outtakes! Wishing you some peace this holiday season.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to stop by today and tell you that my family and I are thinking of you and praying for you in a special way today and tomorrow. In the midst of all the Christmas goings-on, you are never far from my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Wanted you to know that you & your family are being prayed for as God lays you on my heart. I continue to ask God to wrap His mighty arms around you and blanket you in peace that surpasses our understanding(and especially this evening & tomorrow). I recognize that nothing can take your pain away but I pray that the One who understands your pain will show up in such a way that you are able to celebrate Christ even through your tears. Thank you for being so honest through your grief and for sharing your precious son with us!

Anonymous said...

Love these photos!
Hoping you and Tim and Margaret can find some peace and the comfort of warm loving memories to help soothe the pain of another "first something" without your sweet son Jack here beside you. Prayers ( for all four of you) are in overdrive all around the country for sure!

Anonymous said...

You made me smile :) Love the pictures. God has just placed your family on my heart so often in these past months. I have a 10 year old daughter and a 13 year old son and your story just hit me so hard. I know only our precious Saviour can be giving you strength to get through the minutes, hours, days and weeks. I am so glad God sent HIS son to use so that we may all find eternal life in Him. We will all be together again one day. Love from Dawn in IL

carol said...

It's Christmas Day ...I prayed for you. This is just terrible what you have to go through each day and each Holiday. I am so sorry.

Auntie Mip said...

I said Jack's name and your family's in prayer twice at mass tonight. Did you hear it? I prayed so hard that you would feel peace. Did you feel it? I prayed so hard you would know comfort. Did you know it? I prayed so very hard you would find hope. Did you find it? I'll give you a hint...He is swaddled in the manger!

God bless you dear ones!

Jules said...

Thinking of you, your precious family, and little Jack that many of us miss right along side of you tonight.

I know he is watching over each of you tonight. I know it.

Blessings for peace tonight, tomorrow & as you venture on. Many of us think of you every single day, Anna.

Feel the warmth and strength from us. Look for Him. He is all around you.

All is calm, all is bright.

xo

Millie said...

Logged on on Christmas day especially to send you love, thoughts and prayers from England. x x x x

Anonymous said...

God bless you, Anna, and your beautiful family. You are in my thoughts every single day, as is your sweet Jack. What an amazing boy. I'm sending you hugs and prayers today and always. Peace to you, Tim and Margaret this holiday season. xoxo

Pip said...

I love a sneak peek behind the scenes - when the star talents are squirming and itching to do something else. Such a beautiful picture of you Anna! It's still Christmas here and I'm thinking and praying for each of you xxxx

Princess Kate said...

Let there be peace on earth for your family on this Christmas Day. Jack is in our hearts and minds today. God bless you all.

Denise said...

Thinking of you and your family today.

LauraBeth said...

Prayers, love, and hugs for you, Tim, and Margaret this day.

Anonymous said...

Margaret will like this. A child's christmas in wales by dylan thomas (he reads it himself): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjCJd9Bc-qA

Anonymous said...

love to you today....looking at the little blue bird ornament on our tree...

Laura said...

Thinking of you . . .

Anonymous said...

Peace and much love to the Donaldson family....know that thousands out in the world are holding you all up today.

Anonymous said...

I hope you and your family find some peace and joy on this day. You and Jack are in my thoughts and prayers today.

Theresa

Vodka Mom said...

xxx

Leslie said...

We've been praying for each of you. Prayed last night many times through all hours for Tim as he wrote the scavenger hunt poem. Prayed for Margaret this morning, and all of you. You are lover and more people than you can imagine are thinking of YOU and praying.

the mama bird diaries said...

Praying for you today and always. Xo

helenasc said...

Father God, I ask that you would be with all who love Jack today.  May they support one another in love.  May they be of one heart and mind.  May they find comfort in the sweet memories that they share.  May Your love and peace be so strong among them that they are overwhelmed by Your goodness and give you all the praise despite their pain.  In the name of our Savior and Comforter, Jesus, we ask these things.  Amen.

Dawn said...

Just praying for you and your family today ... hoping for comfort and love for you.

Dawn

OSMA said...

Just wanting you to know you all have been close to my heart all day long. I prayed for strength, courage, hope, and maybe a wayward Lego as a sign he is never far from you, ever. All our Christmas love and many warm hugs to you from Falls Church.
xoxo,
Erin

Cat Alford said...

My family and I are thinking of you today, Anna. We love you!
xo
Cat
aka
BudgetBlonde

Jill said...

Anna~
I think and pray for you, Tim, and Margaret multiple times throughout the day. I know there are many of us trying to hug and hold your family in love. I wish that it were enough to change everything. Prayers, and prayers for you three.

Junie said...

Thinking of you all and praying for you.

mosey (kim) said...

Anna, I don't pray much as much as I should, but you my sweet friend are always in them. xx

Clare said...

Thinking of you guys today, Anna. There aren't enough hugs and prayers that can be sent on a day like this.

xo

Kim @ A Brush of Whimsy said...

Those are too funny! Thinking of you all tonight.
Kim

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you some more....been praying at every thought.
Love, Lisa G. in CT

Jeanie said...

Funny post. Glad to see your sense of humor. I hope you had a nice Christmas. Prayers continue.

Susan said...

Thinking of you and hoping you got through your first Christmas without your beautiful boy as best anyone could.

Miss Mustard Seed said...

My oldest son is almost 5 and just getting interested in Legos, so we bought him a few sets for Christmas. As he was struggling to build something and I was helping him, I thought of Jack and thought of you and your family. I pray for you often.

Christa aka The BabbyMama said...

Peace and love to your whole family from all of mine.

{darlene} said...

praying for you today. May His love SURROUND your family.

Anonymous said...

Just writing again to let you know I'm thinking of you. Hope you are all doing okay.

love,
jbhat

Junie said...

Just to let you know you all are in my thoughts and prayers.

SG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SG said...

I've been reading your blog for the past few weeks and never knowing what to say/write. Nothing ever seemed right - and I realize from personal experience, that it's because the situation is just not right.

Then tonight I was looking thru some photos of our son (in what even the drs could only call a fluke, he passed away unexpectedly after birth) and found this quote.

“There are stars who's light only reaches the earth long after they have fallen apart. There are people who's remembrance gives light in this world, long after they have passed away. This light shines in our darkest nights on the road we must follow.” The Talmud

Thinking of you, Anna and praying for you and your family! I'm sure Jack's light is shining on you.

Leslie said...

Just stopping by to let you know I'm praying for you right now.

Anonymous said...

I am yet another anonymous reader you do not know who has been praying for you and your family since the terrible awful tragedy. I never comment because I know my words are meaningless... but I just wanted to let you know I am out here, and I am praying.

Anonymous said...

Peace and prayers to you. Beautiful perspective in every way.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I think about your family every day.
Sending you so much love,
Sophie

Anonymous said...

I will always pray for you Anna. I pray to God that he blesses you with signs of Jack and that he allows you to feel his love forever.

Laura said...

Stopping by to let you know I'm thinking of you - - and hoping Jack's bright light is shining down on you and wrapping 'round you in a warm hug, keeping his beloved Mother strong.

“And if I go, while you’re still here . . .
Know that I live on,
vibrating to a different measure
- behind a veil you cannot see through.
You will not see me
so you must have faith.
I wait for the time when we can soar together again
- both aware of each other.
Until then, live your life to its fullest
And when you need me,
Just whisper my name in your heart
. . . and I will be there."

Dawn said...

Thought I'd pass this along ... it's a couple of beautiful YouTube videos made by a young boy with a heart condition who passed away on Christmas this year. He talks about his near-death experiences in such a comforting way; it made me think of you and Jack. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20557271,00.html

Dawn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Orangies Attic said...

I have found myself checking your blog for updates several times a day for the past week... just thinking about you and hoping this week you have been able to find a few moments of peace.

Patricia said...

Me too - checking daily and praying that you have been able to find some peace this week. Our heavenly Father will not leave you alone.....Remember the verse "Footsteps in the Sand" ? Let him carry you now....

Cathy said...

I have been reading your blog for the past 3 months. I have hurt for your family every day. We live in the same type setting as you...with a creek behind the house at the bottom of our cul-de-sac. We have 2 boys, 8 and 10, and a daughter who is 6. Our boys go down there quite often to play with their friends. I have told them your story...shared updates...cried with them over it. I have shared your story with countless people...to enlighten them and to pray. I talked to the father of the house by the creek recently about the dangers of the creek and flooding. He told me there are times it gets over 5 ft deep. He has 3 boys...7, 9 and 12. I can't even look down there without thinking of you and your precious family. What has happened to you has really hit me hard. I love the Lord and know we have to trust Him in all things, but this I am having a hard time understanding. I can't even imagine your depth of pain. Jack reminds me so much of my oldest...fun, quirky and innocent. Praying for you...

The Empress said...

Merry Christmas to you.

xo

I will never stop praying.

Heidi said...

Look at you! Gorgeous!
Sorry I'm so late in being here. I gave up on all blogs over the holidays. Not on you, though. Never on you or your family.
Love the photos and the outtakes. Sometimes they're the best ones.

eput said...

This post is absolutely hysterical. The pictures and your comments are brilliant and I am so glad you have them to share and save. I learned so much about life, God, and the list could go on- by reading your blog for hours last night when I couldn't sleep. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Anna,
I just finished sobbing for an hour reading your blog for the first time and I just wanted to say that I know that you are healing so many people through your generous spirit in sharing. For the first time in 36 years I have realized how angry I am with God for the bad things that happen to good people especially when it involves a child. That anger doesn't change my faith in God but to be able to acknowledge my anger feels like a load has been lifted off of me. I feel as though your example of strength and sharing in the midst of an unimaginable loss gives hope to those of us who live in fear of losing a loved one. Hard to put into words but know that my heart aches for you & your family, even though I don't know you all personally. I just cannot imagine what you are going through but I can say that you have more courage and strength than most. I read a book recently called Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo. It touched me and I hope you will read it and feel comfort that Jack is in the most peaceful wonderful place with all the angels in Heaven!! As a child who worries incessantly about my parents well being, I bet Jack wants you & Tim to know that he is more than Ok. He even spelled it put for you guys with the crossword puzzle! So I'm sending you many Prayers for peace and comfort.
Love, Dawn, Fairfax Va