Let's be real...

A picture is worth a thousand words... at least that's how the saying goes!  We modern-day Moms ~ over-saturated with photos from Facebook, to Instagram, to blogs, and finally to the all consuming Pinterest, would do well to remember that!

My family just returned from a Christmas vacation in New York City.  I took a boatload of pictures and instantly blasted them around the globe via Instagram and Facebook.  Now, even you, the readers of my blog, will have the distinct privilege of seeing those happy moments captured on my Iphone!  And behind every single photo there are indeed at least a thousand words!  But maybe not the ones you'd expect at all...

I pride myself on the fact that I am the "real deal".  What you see is what you get!  And if you don't see it, you'll likely hear it!!!  I'm not into small talk and I'm simply terrible at pretending!  And yet a comment from a friend on one of my vacation photos caught me off guard.... "It looks like you guys are having an incredible time!" 

Well... we were!  But the characters allowed in a single post of Instagram could not begin to tell the whole story!  And while I had obviously captured the sweetest moments possible, it appeared that my photos, in all their perfection, were painting a picture for my cyber-friends that wasn't "real" at all.  And as much as I don't like admitting it ~ I was solely responsible for the rather skewed narrative my photos were broadcasting!  Suddenly I had become like the sender of one of those perfect Christmas photos, attached to a sappy letter telling about the all-positive family happenings of an entire year!  Yuck!

So right here on my blog...  I have a humbling admission to make that was brought to my attention as I took a quick peek inside, following the innocent comment of one of my closest friends...  I am guilty!  So incredibly guilty!  How so?  Well... for every single picture I snapped, I made a calculated decision as to whether it carried the message I wanted to broadcast to the world with it!  If not... it was promptly dumped into the trash can of my Iphone!  "Are you sure you want to delete this photo?"  Oh, you bet I am!  Look at my chin (or chins!)... I look like a cow... Ellie blinked... Rachel looks miserable!  And with one single tap of my finger...  my imperfect world disappeared!!!  I love my Iphone!!!  Gone are the days when you snap 200 vacation photos to be processed at Walgreens and then promptly trashed in the kitchen can at home!  Now we can have Christmas card perfection 365 days a year!  LOVE!!!

OK... so now I've had a lot of time to think about this and I've decided to come clean, right here on LoriMcCary.com!  Let's get real,... shall we?  

We'll go with the premise that each picture is, indeed, worth a thousand words.  But in order to see what they are saying, we might have to zoom way in and even look past all those smiling faces to see what lies behind.  I'm betting you fellow-moms might catch on to my point rather quickly!

These photos might be the best ones to start with, because this was probably my favorite memory of all!  Ice Skating in Central Park on Christmas Day!...

We had an absolute BLAST!!!  Even Rachel tried and surprised me by how easily she picked it up!  My somewhat clumsy, bow-legged Ellie was amazing!  And even I was able to remember how to glide across the ice without killing myself!  Oh... the memories!

But, wait a minute!  There are a few things you should probably know!  This was our second time to the rink!  When we arrived earlier on Christmas Day, the line to get in the place was hundreds of skaters long.  There were so many skaters on the ice that I was smart enough to know that this would be an incredible waste of money (a lot of it, by the way!) and we would only get 25 minutes, since so many were in line waiting.  I don't think so!  The kids were horribly disappointed!  So we switched gears, rearranged our Christmas Day, and decided to try again later!  By the time we returned after dark, the terrible crowds were gone, ...but it was COLD!!!  Rachel doesn't do cold very well!  She still wanted to try, so we paid an exorbitant amount of money and got in line for some very-used skates already worn by who-knows-who...  Time to make our way through the crowd and find a table to lace on our ice skates.  Remember- it was COLD, but by the time I had laced 6 little feet into ice skates I was sweating and I didn't have my own skates on yet!!!  They'd better like it, because this was a LOT of work...  Oh no!  One of Ellie's skates has a knot in the lace.  Take it off.  Return it to the counter and get another one.  Put the new one on.  Rachel's skates need to be tightened and she's afraid to stand up in them.  Tighten her skates and give her a pep-talk.  Now one of Ellie's ankles is hurting.  Unlace the skate.  Adjust her sock.  Re-lace the skate.  Hats on.  Scarves on.  Gloves on.  Rachel needs to go to the bathroom.  (Are you serious???)  Hat off.  Scarf off.  Gloves off.  Get in line for the potty.  Potty in very disgusting bathroom.  Wash our hands.  Hat back on.  Scarf back on.  Gloves back on.  Walk precariously to the ice.  ICE SKATE (or try to, anyway!)  Two impressive rounds later, Rachel is so cold, she is blue...  (I hope Dr Fricker doesn't read this!)  Daddy's 51 year old ankles are bending in very strange ways, so he agrees to take Rachel for some warming up.  Skates off.  Boots on.  Console shivering, crying child.  Spend $20, or something ridiculous like that, for some hot chocolate.  Sit and wait for the rest of the family.  And finally...(drum roll, please!)... A few incredible hours of pure family FUN, ice skating in Central Park!!!   After which, everyone is exhausted!  Gloves off.  Skates off.  Boots on.  Turn sweaty, wet skates in.  Gloves back on.  Hats.  Scarves.  One more trip to the potty. (You don't need me to go through all that again, do you?) Walk a mile through Central Park back to the apartment, ...giggling, singing, and already re-telling the Christmas ice-skating stories none of us will ever forget! 

Have I typed a thousand words yet???  Have I told you how much fun we had??  Ice skating in Central Park on Christmas Day... who wouldn't love it?


Here's another one that sums up our trip beautifully!  The New York City Subway!...

We were so proud of ourselves and pretended we were somehow a part of an episode of 'Seinfeld'!  I mean, really... what is a trip to NYC without experiencing the Subway?  It's either that or walk... One small problem though... As a family traveling with a critically ill, half-hearted 8 year old, we had to travel with a stroller.  One big enough to hold that 8 year old!  We found one on Craig's List that was perfect, EXCEPT that it was actually a jogging stroller and not all that "small".  It fit on most elevators, IF you wanted to stand in line and wait.  Most of the time, my men decided otherwise and, instead, hauled that honkin' stroller up and down at least one hundred flights of stairs!  This photo doesn't even do my men justice, because this was probably the only time all week they didn't do this amongst at least a thousand other people!  Yes... that is Ryan smiling!  ;-)


Let's move on to Christmas Eve!  It, too, was an eventful day!  We started in China Town and bought some fun knock-off perfumes and purses.  We ate lunch in Little Italy!  Absolutely delicious!  Then we decided to venture into Time Square and the Toys-R-Us.  There is a ferris wheel there, and Daddy thought the girls should ride it!  They did, and Rachel said it was her "favorite thing" so far!  Ryan and I had our second round of Shake Shack burgers for supper, while Daddy took the girls on a Daddy Date to the Indian Restaurant down the street.  The burgers and shake were incredible.  I'm glad I wasn't there for the Indian cuisine!  Everybody wins!

Here we are in Time Square, Grand Central Station, and the infamous Toys-R-Us Ferris Wheel!... 

There are so many "unspokens" behind these photos, I'm not sure I could even describe them with a thousand words!  It was a good day... at least some of it was!  China Town was a little bit of a let down, but this was to be expected after actually going to China three times!!!  Doug and I were a bit "snippy" with one another... I might have understated that!  We were a LOT snippy with one another!  I even threatened to push him in front of an oncoming subway! ;-)  I'm certain he was ready to ditch me along the way too!  It was HIS idea to return to Time Square and take the girls into Toys-R-Us...  

It is important to me that you see this clearly in the background of these photos and know, without a doubt, that this was NOT my idea!  Please also keep in mind that in addition to being toe-to-toe and nose-to-nose with smelly strangers as we shuffled through Toys-R-Us like a herd of cattle----there was a jogging stroller involved in this entire episode!  I had only one thing to say to whoever might have listened to me...  "Please... somebody... shoot me NOW, and take me out of my misery!"  Oh, wait a minute, Doug is trying to get my attention, even though he's still mad at me...  "What???... You don't mean it!"  Rachel needs to go to the bathroom again!  :-)

Have I told you yet that I really hate CROWDS???  And believe it or not, one of these photos is of the check out line at Toys-R-Us!  I don't love my kids that much!

This is the check-out line at Toys-R-Us!  Have these people ever heard of Santa Claus?  ;-)


I'm sure all you savvy moms out there might have caught on to the point of this blog by now, but I haven't shared my favorite photos yet!  Here they are... 

Kate was chosen to participate in a funny show on the street ~ Priceless!

Why - they are in front of The Plaza Hotel from Home Alone!!!

Our Penguin in the stroller that was worth a million bucks!!!

Our Husky and Elephant!

NYC skyline from the Ferry - That's the new tower going up... Finally!

The 9/11 Memorial was breath-taking!  I'll never forget!

Do you believe it?  A photo of all of us!!!

Christmas Morning "Stockings"...  You get the idea!!!

Christmas Dinner at Carnegie Deli - Delicious!!
I hope by now you are well equipped to see the thousands of words behind each photo!... But just in case you've missed it somehow, I'll throw in a few photos here that will spell it out clearly for you!!!!  If you Moms have EVER vacationed with children (especially when one of them is taking a daily diuretic for her failing heart!), you know that behind every single picture were many, many stops in one of these...   

...And for each one ~  Hat off.  Gloves off.  Scarf off.  Coat off.  Pants down.  Toilet paper???  Pants up.  Wash hands.  Coat back on.  Scarf back on.  Gloves back on.  Hat back on.  And all of this FOUR times, when you include me, of course!  Holy Cow!  I'm tired!!!  Men simply don't know how good they've got it!  :-)


Would I do it again?  You bet I would!!!  It was just as my friend had described it,... INCREDIBLE!  And in retrospect, I'm convinced I would have taken the same photos, trashed the ones I didn't like, and posted the ones I did again too!  Because, really?  Who wants to look at photos of bathrooms or crowds full of people you don't know, or Mom and Dad while they "snip" at one another?  I don't!  And that's not how I will choose to remember our time in New York City this Christmas either!

Have you ever noticed how when we lose the people we love, we almost always choose to remember their good qualities, the happy times, and the best of our memories together?...  I think that, in a sense, the photos that we take and share, are done so to preserve and remember those very things!  This is exactly why we don't take photos of the sad, the painful, and the ugly.  Those things are better forgotten... Put in the past where they belong.  While the things worthy of praise live on!

Maybe that's why the Bible says ~  "...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Our mistake is in believing that, for others, the snapshots shared tell the whole story and are to be envied.  For every picture does, indeed, have written behind it, thousands of words of both sadness and hope; struggle and victory; memories to be forgotten and those to be cherished!  The ones I take and then choose to share, are the ones that I will also choose to tuck away deep in my heart... to treasure forever!

After such an incredible, memory-making trip, we are one tired family!  We're ready to go home!  Because, after all... there is simply no place like HOME!!!  And frankly... Mommy needs a vacation from her vacation!!

Boots off.  Gloves off.  Hats off.  Scarves off.  Coats off.  Sweaters off.  Swimsuits ON...

We're headed to the beach!!!! 

JOY has come!...

As I sit here and type in the early, early hours of Christmas morning, tunes from my favorite Christmas carols roll around in my head.   I've sang most of them since before I can even remember... and yet, strangely, the words are suddenly new and filled with meaning...   

"Joy to the world...

the LORD is come!
Let earth receive her KING!
Let every HEART, Prepare HIM room..."                                                                                       

Did you catch that?  The Lord came and brought JOY with Him!  But in order to know that joy, we must make room in our hearts for Him to reign as Lord and King!  What a wonderful time Christmas is to do that!... Make room for Him.  So often my heart is crowded by too many other things to "make room" for Him.  Sadly, I might have more in common with the innkeeper than I'd like to admit...  "Sorry God, my heart is full!  But maybe you could find some room out back!"  In fairness to the innkeeper-  He had no idea who he was turning away that night!  But most of us do!!!  Forgive me, Lord.  Change my heart so that there is always room enough for YOU!  I can already feel it overflowing with JOY!  Joy to the world... the LORD is come!  

Oh, come let us adore Him!  
Oh, come let us adore Him!  
Oh, come let us adore Him... Christ the Lord!

Our Christmas tree was filled with my favorite things this year!

Yes... those are sharks teeth on our Christmas tree!

Can you see it?  We even have sea glass garland on the tree!!!
...and sand, of course!

I think it was my favorite tree ever!!!... and the Christmas boxes never left my garage!  We just have to return my favorite things to their rightful places and drag the tree out the back door!  Wa La!

Oh, Holy night, the stars are brightly shining.  It is the night of our dear Saviors birth.  Long lay the world in sin and error pining, 'til He appeared and the soul felt it's worth.  A thrill of HOPE, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.  Fall on your knees!  Oh, hear the angel's voices.  Oh night divine.  Oh, night, when Christ was born.  Oh, night divine!  Oh, night... Oh, Holy night!

Rachel was honored to not only dance, 
but to be a beneficiary of The Nutcracker performance this year! 

In the midst of the holiday chaos, I'm afraid that the HOPE Christ brought through His birth and ultimate death are nearly forgotten.  And if that's true... there's little need for celebration!  But if it's really true that Jesus was indeed the promised Savior, it is past time we join the shepherds and wise men on our knees before Him!  Have I been so struck this season, by the overwhelming knowledge that Jesus came for my weary, pining heart that the only fitting response is to fall on my knees and worship?  For the sake of truthfulness and authenticity, I will have to admit that I have not.... no, not once.  But fall on my knees I shall do!  Because He is so incredibly, immeasurably WORTH my absolute knee-bowing honor and praise!...

Emmanuel!  Emmanuel!  

Wonderful Counselor, 
Lord of Life, Lord of all; 
He is the Prince of Peace, 
Mighty God, 
Holy One,.... 
Emmanuel!  Emmanuel!

 Emmanuel ~ "God with us"  We're talking about the God of the universe choosing to come and live among us.  And who is this God that wants to be with you and me?  He's a wonderful counselor.  He's the Lord of LIFE!  He's Lord of ALL!  He reigns over PEACE!  He is mighty and holy!  ALL of THAT living here with us!  If that doesn't lead you to fall to your knees in adoration, I suppose nothing can....  But if I'm learning anything along the path of parenting a critically ill child, it is this~ Time for LIVING is short!  Far too short to waste it with good intentions, or with putting off until tomorrow, (or next Christmas), what needs to be done TODAY!  Won't you join my family as each of us falls to our knees in absolute adoration and proclaims Jesus Christ to be the Lord He is?!?!

Here are a few of our favorite family photos from our very cold and windy "set"!  For some reason every time it's picture day, the wind gets the memo and starts stirring up trouble!  Go figure!  Either way- it was a fun filled hour of capturing this precious time in the life of our family!

We covet your prayers for our family as we learn to love, honor, and adore the Lord Jesus 
in the ways He is most deserving of!