by Leslee Stewart

For 15 years, I have saved all my photographs in a giant plastic bin in the bottom of a closet. Last January, I’d finally grown tired of looking at the mess every time I opened the door, so I set a resolution to get them organized. I went out and bought some nice photo storage boxes and promised myself I’d give them a new, orderly home. Well, this week I finally did it. Sure it only took me 370 days to get around to it, but I did it. (Don’t ever let it be said I don’t meet my new year’s resolutions…even if it’s in the following year. Ha!)

After going through all the photos, I decided 2003 was a great year. It was the year I landed the job of my dreams. I went on an amazing anniversary trip to Maui with my husband. I weighed a heckuva lot less than I do now (Hello, poor self image. Why did I think I was fat back then?!), and I had really cute hair in almost every picture. It was a pretty great year when I looked at it from a 4×6-inch view.

And I’ll be honest. Seeing pictures of the younger me kind of left the current me in a funk. I spent the next couple of days in a pity party, secretly longing for the good old days.

Then I was snapped back to reality, thanks to one of my kids. He’s been getting up in the middle of the night lately, and I’m the one getting up with him to put him back in his bed. Well, one dark morning, as I was stumbling back to bed at 4-something a.m., I put my head on the pillow but my mind wouldn’t stop talking. As I lay there, I realized 2012 marks 20 years since I graduated from high school. (How did that happen??) I started thinking about my high school friends, wondering what they were doing (and what they looked like now) and how I really needed to get myself back to 2003 shape if I was going to show up at a reunion.

There was no chance of going back to sleep, so I got up and decided to read my devotion and spend some time in prayer. Nothing quiets the noise of my mind like prayer. While I was writing in my prayer journal, I happened upon this quote in the margin,

In His wisdom God does not show us all that lies ahead. So we enter a new year to live it day by day. What is past is past. Today we start anew, and what we do today will make our life for tomorrow…each day let us follow more faithfully, more courageously, more daringly the lead of our great Captain who bids us follow Him.” – William Thomson Hanzsche

As I sat there in my quiet house, I began to let go of the “2003 me” pipe dream and realize that the “me of today” is amazing. I have a husband who adores me, children who are healthy and happy, true friendships and a loving family. More importantly, my spiritual life has grown exponentially since 2003.

In the photo-centric world we live in, it’s easy to find yourself looking at other people’s “facebook lives” believing they have it better than you. But when you really stop and take stock of all the blessings that surround you, you see that your life is more abundant than any 4×6-inch glossy could ever portray. Good hair, or not.

Leslee Stewart oversees communications for GFC Beautiful. She is a wife, stay-at-home mom of two boys and former communications executive. She openly admits she owns too many throw pillows, loves junky old furniture and can sing all the parts of Bohemian Rhapsody.

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