Who could ask for anything more?

I was the youngest of three children, with a brother eight years older and another, five years ahead. We were an independent bunch. The boys were up and out, quick as they could grow, and so it seemed to me that I grew up pretty well the only child in a very lonely house. Every single night I would pray for a little brother or sister. It was a reasonable prayer: every other house in the neighborhood was bulging with kids. Certainly it wasn't too much to ask for one-or maybe just two--little brothers or sisters to love?

By the time I was 14, it was clear that this particular prayer wasn't ever going to yield any results. OK, then. I made a few adjustments. Changed my prayers a bit, I'd wait a few years, marry and have my very own huge, glorious brood. I'd have six, maybe even eight, kids. One right after the other. Quick and close. I'd build my own family. A veritable tribe to fill every empty inch of my heart and home.

Then came a ruptured appendix and gangrene, a near death and a new set of prayers.
Infertility. Another plan, another prayer.
A miracle birth! Prayers of gratitude. Prayers of renewed hope.
But then, no more pregnancies. New prayers, another plan.
With each passing year a new reality asked for a new prayer. Every change called for a new look with fresh, hopeful eyes. What is before me now? What are my options? Well. OK.
Now, see--how perfect is this new prayer. How radiant is this new plan.

The years have rolled by and I've whispered so many prayers. Few of them have been answered in the way I had planned. Yet still, my life has been perfect.

I don't think I'm alone here. So few of our very best plans unfold as we'd hoped. Maybe that's just as well. What we pray for and what we need are so often worlds apart.
Can this be true?
What about happiness? What about getting what I want out of my life?
Well. Let's see. I'm getting a lot closer to the end here now.
Have I been happy. Oh yes. Am I happy now? Oh yes. I am.
Have I gotten what I really wanted out of life?
Take a look at these pictures, at all I've been given. Just look at that beautiful daughter and her perfect, joyous tribe. They're mine, too, you know. My very own.
How could I possibly ask for anything more?

Credit, thanks and love to Jonathan Canlass at Jonathan Canlass Photography for these beautiful images.


Anonymous said...

You have been blessed. There is love all around in every one of those pictures. Thanks for sharing them.


Damaris said...

Natalie is so great and so is Richie. I'm here in Brazil visiting my mom. there is nothing better than being with my mom and sharing my children with her.

Natalie. said...

love you mom.

I'm glad our family was just the way it was growing up. :) I'm glad it's just the way it is now. I can't wait for the future family with even more that's wonderful.



Rachel said...


I love this post. You took the words right out of my mouth.

Thank you.



lyn. said...

:-D... ♡

shelly said...

Annie, thank you for saying words that I always think I would have said if I only could come up with the beautiful way you have with words.....I don't think what I just wrote made a bit of sense! Ha! Sorry. It made sense in my mind --- just not on here. See -- I need you to say the words I'm thinking ALL the time, K? This was wonderful. And beautiful.

Arden said...

Annie, Great visiting lesson. This will last for the whole year. As always you are amazing. Love you, Arden

Anonymous said...

Cheap Monster Beats

Katie said...

I just found your blog somehow, lol, I think I linked from Richie's fb page to somewhere else to here, but I went to school with Natalie and Richie and remember when they first met at BYU-H. What special special people they are! Love this post and the pictures!