Blue, Blue Mother’s Day (from Lisa Wingate)

Lisa-Wingate-porchpicthumb65-1Happy Monday everyone! I hope all you mothers, grandmothers, nannies, meemaws, special aunties, and surrogate moms of all sorts, had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!

Around here, it’s been a busy few days, with The final round of edits on The Story Keeper due the first of this week. It’s also the first Mother’s Day I haven’t had both of the man children home, as this year our youngest isn’t through with college finals yet. I considered calling the Dean of Students or the Board of Regents to complain about the grievous error in semester scheduling that caused this problem, but as we intend to send him back to said college next year, I decided to keep my pout to myself. On the bright side, we enjoyed Mother’s Day time with man-child #1 and his girlfriend, as well as with grandmothers on both sides. Always a special treat!

I was fishing for something to write about today, and then on the way over to Mother’s Day dinner At Nannys house, I passed by this amazing field of Texas wildflowers.


Aren’t these Indian Blankets beautiful? They bloom every year, right after the bluebonnets. They are a feast for the eye.

And then I knew that what this Mother’s Day needed, as life weaves its way through changing seasons, was a retrospective on that one special constant of Texas spring. It is the same from town to town, from county to county, from family to family, from country to city, and mom to mom, anywhere in Texas east of the vast dry country that starts at about Abilene and reaches westward to New Mexico.

If you are anywhere, anywhere in Texas where green things grow and the wildflowers bloom in spring, you must, simply must, spit-shine the family on a quiet Saturday morning, or a lazy Sunday afternoon, and proceed to the nearest patch of bluebonnets to plop everyone down and take pictures.

As proof of this important yearly ritual, I give you — in all it’s glory — this year’s official Wingate picture in the bluebonnets:


Look at those happy faces! Do these men children seem *a bit* like they have something they’d rather be doing? They know better than to complain. Whether the flies are buzzing or the chiggers are biting, Texans big and small must grin and bear it for the annual wildflower snap.


Of course, if there’s a new baby in the family, he or she must also have the obligatory bluebonnet picture taken.


Baby’s first photo in the bluebonnets. I think Huckleberry looks quite majestic, don’t you? Reminds me of that classic painting — The Blue Boy. Same pose, I think ;)


Since we’re talking bluebonnets and Mother’s Day this morning, I thought it might be fun to go back and do a little retrospective of the official Wingate bluebonnet pictures over the years. In Texas, you can trace the winding trails of family life by simply the bluebonnet photos.



Aren’t these two cute in their matching outfits? This is a few years before the day when Son #1 will look at his brother on the way into Easter Sunday service, then look at himself, then slowly turn to his mama and say, “Stop dressing me like him!”



There’s just nothing sweeter than a baby discovering the wonder of a field of bluebonnets for the very first time (after, of course, mama and daddy have checked for… ahem… snakes… which also love bluebonnets).



There are those years when three smiles and one slightly pained expression rates as a successful bluebonnet photo-taking endeavor.



And then there are those years when, after seasons, and seasons, and seasons of boys… suddenly there are girls and heart-hands to share in the adventure, too.


In the end, as I look back over the years of bluebonnets, and babies, and boys, and now men, I can’t help but ponder the transient nature of things. That which is most precious becomes precious because of it’s fleeting nature. The bluebonnets bloom, and carpet the earth, and paint the air with fragrance. They fill the eye, and the heart, and dazzle the mind. How can there be so many, so quickly. Why such careless abundance?

And then they are gone. Baby smiles, become boy smiles, become man smiles. And then they are gone too.

All that has life and breath stays only for a season. It arrives in its time and departs in its time.

And if we are especially blessed, perhaps it comes again another year.


Blue -Blue Mother’s Day Giveaway

For a little Mother’s Day Monday Fun, and in celebration of the bluebonnets, we’re giving away a sweet sea glass heart (blue of course) pendant and earring set from Sandy’s Seashell Shop. To enter, leave a comment, answering the question of the day. We’ll leave the contest open all week, and announce a winner on Sunday.


Question of the day: Do you have a favorite annual ritual in your family?  Tell us about it!

The Prayer Box — Selected as One of Booklist’s Top Ten of 2013!



Click for peek at The Prayer Box

 Click for sneak peek at The Story Keeper






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Selected among BOOKLIST'S Top 10 of 2012 and Top 10 of 2013, Lisa Wingate weaves Southern settings with elements of women's fiction, history, and mystery to create stories that Publisher's Weekly calls "Masterful" and Library Journal refers to as "Lyrical and beautiful." She is a seven-time Carol Award nominee, and a two-time Carol Award winner. She once dreamed of making the Olympics and winning the National Finals Rodeo, but was thwarted by an inability to do a back flip on the balance beam and parents who wouldn't finance a rodeo career, so she took her first-grade teacher's advice and became a writer instead ;)

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  1. Julie Cantrell says

    Lisa, I LOVE these photos and the time travel they have given me. You have such a beautiful family, and so much to be grateful for. Thanks for sharing the smiles with us today. Hugs, j

  2. Lisa says

    I love the bluebonnets!! My step-daughter and her little family just moved to Texas (Fort Hood to be exact) and the first picture she sent to us was a field of bluebonnets!
    Something I have done since my son was a tiny fellow is take pictures of him on the tractor with his Daddy each year during hay mowing! Now, he is old enough that his Daddy is teaching him to handle the tractor on his own. So, I suppose my pictures this year will be of my son on the tractor by himself.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Awww… For years I had photos of my sons in the hay field… first too little to be any help, and eventually hauling bales of hay. Those times went by fast!

  3. Dana says

    My favorite annual tradition used to be the family beach trip picture; then came college (as you are now experiencing), girlfriends, JOBS and other such things to trump “family” vacations. Now I am attempting to return to a previous tradition of the Christmas pic sitting under/beside the Christmas tree. As my sons are 25 & 27, they are almost as cooperative as they were at the ages of 2 and 4!! I have seen bluebonnets once in my life, and they are certainly glorious. Loving the bluebonnet blue sea glass. Blessings!!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Dana, as a mother of boys, I can so relate! The don’t necessarily see the value of our traditions. They will someday… I hope.

  4. Robin Bunting says

    I love the pictures of your family and all the bluebonnet shots. What a great tradition as your children grew. One of our family traditions is not to go out to dinner to celebrate on the actual date of Mother’s Day but just before or after. I have a problem with lots of people crowded into on small area. Works for us very nicely.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Robin, we have done this one, too! We usually eat at home on Mother’s Day for that very reason 😉

    • Lisa Wingate says

      I love, love, love seeing the eagle’s nest near Marble Falls in the spring. The size of it is amazing!

  5. Sara says

    Our annual event also involves pictures – the annual Christmas card photo. When the children were little, we were always scrambling around after Thanksgiving – “we have to get a good or at least reasonable picture” – it could be very stressful! Then one year a light went off in my head when I realized that some of our best pictures were taken on our summer vacation. For many years those vacation pictures were our Christmas card photo. Now that the children are adults, and some with families of their own, we usually have several photos on the Christmas card so that everyone, even four large dogs, is included. I do wish I had more bluebonnet pictures though!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      😉 We are notorious for forgetting to line everyone up for the family holiday photos, but you’re so right about the vacation photos. Those are often among my favorites, and who doesn’t like a good summer vacation photo in the winter!

  6. says

    Love this sneak peek back your memory lane, Lisa! My mountain man absolutely hates taking pictures, too, and Miss A always cooperates except when a professional is behind the camera. 😉 What a beautiful journey motherhood is–thank you for reminding me how fast the time goes!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Oh, Jolina! It does go fast. Force that man to sit down and take those photos while you can, girlfriend. you’ll be glad later!

  7. Becky S. says

    Beautiful pictures. I love Huckleberry in the bluebonnets:)
    My husband and I began a new tradition a couple of years ago. We take a fall camping trip to Huntington Beach, SC, with our three dogs. Lots of fun and excellent photography opportunities with the bird migration happening then.

  8. Susan Wilson says

    I loved this story of the annual bluebonnet photos with your growing family! I, too, love bluebonnets and wildflowers. I’d have to say that our favorite family ritual is probably the celebration of our son’s birthday because it is May 12, sometimes on Mother’s Day!

    Thanks for another giveaway of beautiful sea glass!

    Happy Mother’s Day, a little late :)

    Susan Wilson

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Thanks for joining us, Susan! It’d be wonderful to have a baby around Mother’s Day. What a perfect reason to celebrate 😉

  9. says

    I so enjoyed your thoughts and pics today, Lisa. A good mix of heartwarming and outright chuckles. Here was my fav chuckle:

    Aren’t these two cute in their matching outfits? This is a few years before the day when Son #1 will look at his brother on the way into Easter Sunday service, then look at himself, then slowly turn to his mama and say, “Stop dressing me like him!”

    And the heartwarming…yes, that would be the wisdom to enjoy each new season of life instead of grieving for those that are past. Love you, girl!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Love you too, Shellie! I so well remember the day when Manchild #1 realized he and his brother were dressed the same. *sigh* the end of innocence. So sad.

  10. Cyndi Wilson says

    Absolutely LOVE the pics and the bluebonnets! I’m sure there have been some traditions but at this exact moment, my brain is a blank. Pitiful, isn’t it? 😉 My son got married 2 years ago (in fact, today is their anniversary) and my baby just got married in January so we are now officially in the season of readjusting family traditions. *sigh*

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Oh Cyndi, I do understand those changing traditions. I feel like pushing toward that point. Our older son is working now, and with the younger one at college, some things that used to seem so simple and expected… just can’t happen anymore without an act of congress and major scheduling. And I know this is only the beginning 😉

    • Lisa Wingate says

      It’s true. So true! I asked for girls, but this is what I got — two boys and a dog 😉

  11. Janice Burzlaff says

    My favorite annual ritual for our family also involved family photos. There were several years where we took a photo Thanksgiving weekend (or close to it if everyone wasn’t there then) and there were another couple of years when we gathered all that could be there in the garden of a local historic house. But children grow up. And children move away. This year Steve and I went to the garden after church on Easter and had a lot of fun doing selfies of just the two of us. :)

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Oh, Janice, that’s sweet! Sometimes the traditions don’t have to die, they just have to readjust a little. Perfect!

  12. says

    Loved the family bluebonnet pictures!
    My favorite family ritual is Christmas Eve morning breakfast. When my boys were small we always went to my parents house for a huge ole timey breakfast consisting of eggs, country ham, biscuits and the family favorite grits. No not instant grits, the long cooked creamy grits with butter. If my boys wanted grits cooked like this any other time of the year, they ask for “Christmas grits.”

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Oh no that is a hoot! We eat the Christmas grits sometimes too. I’m not sure why — we don’t make grits all that often. Maybe it’s a Southern thing! Love that Christmas Eve breakfast is a tradition. There’s nothing better than having the whole family wake up together with the holiday fun still ahead.

  13. Tricia Bahnsen says

    Our family gathers each year for Labor Day weekend. We aren’t always able to get everyone off work and in the same state for Christmas or other holidays, but we all make it back for this weekend. It is a blessing to have all the siblings and their children together – and we celebrate our parent’s anniversary (Sept 6th).

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Tricia, that is wonderful. There’s just something so special in this fast paced world about families still taking time to get everyone together. We need those connections, not only to close family but to extended family. What a great way to take a break from Labor on Labor Day Weekend!

  14. Susan Johnson says

    What a great tradition. Most of our annual traditions revolve around holidays. And we always go out to eat on birthdays at the restaurant of choice of the birthday person.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      😉 Most of our family traditions involve eating too. The man-children like those traditions best!

  15. Virginia Rush says

    Were you able to write that without crying?! I couldn’t read it without crying… daughter gave me a little photo book yesterday that she had made up of the girls. from babies til now…I can’t look back without crying. but still they grow, fall in love and give us more. we try to get together for all main holidays…Christmas being my favorite. I’m happy to sit and watch them all….family is so precious. thanks for sharing yours…. and love the seaglass…very very pretty…

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Oh mercy, the photos always make me a little weepy. I want to squeeze those little boys again, and explore new places with them, and dress them in matching outfits. But, time marches on. We’re still waiting for that next generation!

  16. Cheryl Wood says

    Love the pictures. Our family ritual is opening one gift Christmas Eve which is usually new pj’s. My daughter and I make cinammon rolls for Christmas morning. My husband works for the railroad and gone most holidays and special events. Christmas is one holiday that we can count on him being home.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      What a special, wonderful tradition for Christmas. New pajamas would make the Christmas morning photos special too… as opposed to the usual mis-matched sweats and T-shirts around the Wingate house 😉

  17. Linda Harris says

    The annual summer visit of our granddaughter is our best current tradition. She has been flying by herself from Missouri to New Mexico, since she was 5. She is now 9. Of course, I have a day of terror each time she is on the airplane.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Oh, Wow! What a little traveler. Our summer visits to my grandparents’ farm are some of my most special memories. Every once in a while, I still catch a whiff of breeze that reminds me of Michigan and of them. Such special times.

  18. says

    Love the Sea Glass Jewelry! We always get together with my side of the family on most holidays, all the children are around the same age so it makes it really nice!

  19. Diane Hartgraves says

    Lisa…love your memories. Our tradition was always a movie on Christmas morning. As the kids grew older, resistance was greater, military and/or jobs interfered to where it fell by the wayside. But we still try to get together at some point over the holidays. I love your bluebonnet pictures. I grew up in the ‘west of Abilene’ area, so anytime we saw bluebonnets it was special. My mom always tried to grow them, but it never happened. Too hot and dry. I love the blue though and the Huck!!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Huck says hi and thank you ;)_

      We always watch A Christmas Story together over Thanksgiving holiday after decorating the tree. So far we haven’t missed, but I know that day will come eventually *sigh* Treasure our movie night every year!

  20. Sharon says

    Many years ago in Michigan, my mom and i would gather Lillies of the Valley and a few leaves from the garden. We’d visit the grandmoms on both side of the family and present them with corsages we made from the garden gleaning. They’d arrive in church smelling heavenly, for sure.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      How wonderful and what a sweet tradition. I’ll be those grandmothers treasured those corsages.

  21. Cherry Trimble says

    Not am annual ritual, because our family is grown and scattered, but whenever as many as possible are gathered together for a group picture, the younger ones are reconciled to the process by the promise that at the end, we will take a picture where everyone can act as crazy as they like. Of course, that turns out to be the one that everyone likes best!

  22. Jackie Tessnair says

    I enjoyed this post and all the beautiful pictures.Thanks for sharing.I love taking pictures.Our family ritual would be visiting Pigeon Forge every year on our anniversary as a family.And I get so many beautiful pictures to enjoy until the next year.

  23. Bertha Rainey says

    Loved your trip down memory lane with photos. We had my husband’s family reunion at our house for several years 3rd Sun in May. After my husband died I moved from the lake and everyone chose another meeting place. It wasn’t long before it was discontinued all together. Now we only meet at funerals, sad.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Sadly, we tend to meet at funerals (as an extended family) too. Our family get-togethers were often at the old family beach houses in Galveston, which were taken out by the hurricane. We never replaced the tradition with another one ;(

  24. catslady says

    I started a tradition of having a tree trimming party every year. I love my ornaments which I’ve been collecting for 45 years and it’s the perfect time to have family and friends over for fun, food and drink and I get my Christmas tree decorated. Now my oldest daughter has a party too!!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      We do that too, and I’m an ornament collector, too! I have a huge collection of blown glass ornaments, gathered over about 20 years. Love and enjoy them and love having tree trimming night!

  25. says

    Oh Lisa, I loved seeing the pics of you and your precious kids in. What striking young men they have become. I know they are so proud of you and you are so proud of them. Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories with us. It gives us just another glimpse into your precious world….

  26. CeCe Benningfield says

    When we trek off to our family beach trip I flood my camera with pictures. Something about the beach, kids and water just makes great pictures and I LOVE them. Another “family ritual” is I take my youngest (you know by the 5th kid they can kind of fall through the cracks of the family) to Chappell Hill to take bluebonnet pics and get pie at the Chappell Hill cafe.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      What nice traditions. Yes, there is something about kids and the beach… and babies in bluebonnets. Great photos and great memories come of those things!

  27. Debbie C says

    My annual Mother’s Day tradition was started by my son many years ago. We all attend the matinee showing of the latest Marvel movie which was Spiderman 2 this year.

  28. Dianna Albertson says

    Though my family is scattered, when we get together, usually our annual reconnection time, I give each of them a plant they wouldn’t normally buy themselves… orchids, herb collection or something a little exotic I’ve grown for them. Dy

  29. says

    Our favorite holiday tradition is getting everybody together to go CHRISTMAS tree hunting and cutting the tree down. All four families travel for about an hour to the tree farm. Then everyone in each family MUST agree on the same tree. Then we eat lots of small appetizers at the same restaurant that we’ve gone to forever . Then everyone comes to Grandma’s house to decorate, with Carole singing. Then the three “children families” return to their individual houses with their trees. Decorating begins the next day for these three families! Wouldn’t be CHRISTMAS without doing these things!! PS–the stones are beautiful on this jewelry!!!!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      What a perfect Christmas tradition! When we lived in Arkansas, we had fun taking our oldest to pick out live trees. There’s something about hauling a tree home that really makes Christmas feel cozy and old-fashioned!

  30. Amy Lorenzen says

    You have such a beautiful family! Your boys’ photos from years gone by remind me so much of my two boys–they are four years apart–and I often dressed them in similar clothing. The oldest did not appreciate it as he got older, either! And you are so right–those times were precious and so fleeting. Those photos are such treasures and though at the time we think there will be so many more times together; it isn’t long and those days are forever past. Happy Mother’s Day!

  31. Sarah Jo Jackson says

    I love your pictures! It’s bittersweet as the kids leave the nest, isn’t it? However, there is something to be said for having just you and your sweetie…..

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Yes, it is bittersweet. Sometimes we enjoy the quiet and slower pace, but often we miss running around to sports games and all their activities 😉

  32. Mippy/Sabrina says

    The pictures of you and your family and the blue bonnets are beautiful and precious. :) Sadly, we don’t have any annual rituals in my family. My mom and step dad take an annual trip driving back east every year but other than holidays there is no annual ritual in our family. :/

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Hi Missy!

      LOL! It’s okay not to have traditions, but if you want some, there’s always time to start traditions 😉

  33. Cheryl H. says

    Love sea glass! And I love Huckleberry in the blue bonnets. What kind of dog is he?
    My 3 daughters and 4 granddaughters make Christmas cookies every year together. They made the same 4 recipes with their Grammie, my mother, and now they make them with me.

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Awww… we used to make cookies with my mom. I looked forward to that every year! Your story brings back such sweet memories.

  34. Pam K. says

    I love these bluebonnet photos. I lived in central Texas for three and a half years; one of the things I miss is the wildflowers. The only family ritual I can think of is making peppernuts every Christmas to give as gifts. I started this when my daughter was a toddler so we’ve been doing this for just over twenty years. If she didn’t insist that we HAVE to make the peppernuts, I think I’d be willing to miss a year. But, it’s fun to share this time with my daughter. Sometimes we even get her brother to help.
    Thanks for the chance to win the beautiful earrings and necklace.

  35. Melanie Backus says

    Hello, my Friend! I loved reading your wonderful post and I loved seeing your beautiful pictures. We capture so much in film and since time passes so quickly, our pictures can take us right back to precious days of the babies in our lives or toddlers learning to walk, and the list goes on and on. Thank you for your words and your memories.

    Smiles and Hugs to you!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Hugs, Melanie! Isn’t that the truth? I look at these photos and my mind is right back there with those little guys… bribing them with ice cream or some other treat if they’ll just sit still and smile for mommy 😉


    • Lisa Wingate says

      Oh how fun! I grew up in the era when EVERYONE had to have a fondue pot. It was the new thing, I guess. It was always such a thrill when we had a fondue dinner 😉

  36. says

    I am the mother of 3 boys (27,26 and 22) and every Christmas morning we line the boys up in birth order on the steps with the dog and take their picture before they open their gifts. Our little dog passed away in February so Christmas of 2013 was his last picture with the boys after 17 years! We also took 1st day of school pictures by the front door every year, but their school years are far behind us now. Miss those years!

    • Lisa Wingate says

      Oh, Bonnie, me too! And is there anything more special to a boy than four-legged pal? There’s just something about boys and dogs. They fit perfectly together.

      I can picture your fellas there on the steps with their pup! What a sweet tradition!

  37. Lani says

    What sweet pictures, and such a tender post about the season of our lives. We have had so many traditions over the years with raising our four girls. One of them was to go to Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center, CA every fall and choose the biggest pumpkin we could find (our record was 168 lbs)! The girls are grown now (ages 21-31) and we have moved away from where they grew up. Three are married and having families of their own, so my newest tradition is a pumpkin patch in my backyard. We now have “Gram’s Annual Pumpkin Patch Party” You will love the next season of life when your boys marry and have children! Those grandbabies are the sweetest thing in life!!

  38. Daphne says

    Thank you for sharing your bluebonnet photos. The picture of the Indian Blankets is beautiful as well, but my favorite is Huckleberry — such a cutie!
    I am looking forward to reading “The Story Keeper”.

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