Frame the moment to last


Fourteen young ladies come out of the two houses.

They live there temporarily, when they’re not living with a relative or in a foster home or as a runaway. In these houses they are fed, clothed, cared for.

And on one special day last November, they are about to be framed.


It is Jenna’s idea. These girls aren’t a project to her or a ministry opportunity.

They are real people; they are young friends.  

So on this Tuesday a professional makeup artist shows up at the ranch to give free makeovers. A stylist to give new hairdos. And a photographer to make it permanent.


As the mother of the photographer, I get invited to tag along with Jenna and take pictures, too. I knew she’d developed her own friendships with the girls, including one in particular, and I am excited to meet them all myself.

Like most teenage girls, they giggle through the make-up and hair sessions. They gawk at the changes in each other. They haggle over who will wear what, and the stash of extra clothes brought in gets divvied up.


Then it is time for the pictures.

One by one—and then sometimes two by three or four—they strike a pose and flash their best smiles or serious looks for the camera.

Then in no time, the afternoon is over and we pack up our gear, hug goodbyes, and drive away.


But it’s not over.

Later that weekend, as Jenna begins editing, she calls me with excitement. The pictures are turning out great. The girls show up as gorgeous.

Despite perhaps years of pain, of abuse, or of neglect, beauty and hope still rise to the top. It looks different on each girl, but it’s definitely there.

The final step comes a few weeks later in the mailbox. I open the package of fresh photos—printed 5x7s of faith that someone cares and that someone is worth caring for.

Jenna matches each picture with a frame. Then carefully wraps and ribbons and later gifts these photos and more to the girls to be amazed at their own beauty.


What will each girl do with her photos?

Some will probably go to boys, some traded among each other, and some probably tucked away in the next packing box as they move along to the next home.

But I pray that the memory of that day in November day travels with them wherever they go. That when they see their pictures, they remember that they are loved, that they are valuable, that their life is framed with purpose.

In a frame, things look more official. More real. More permanent. This is who I am; can you see me?

Life never stays static. But catch a fleeting moment at the right time, and it brings more than pleasure for the day; it carries stability and confidence into tomorrow.

Take the shot, freeze the moment, and capture a memory. A memory of a day getting made up, dressed up, and photographed. There may have been tears before (and bruises—I saw some) and tears after, but on that day, I saw smiles and heard laughter.

That was caught in the photo, in the frame, and hopefully in the heart.

A single day can last much longer if it’s framed properly.

In the daily lives of these teenage girls, already marked by impermanence and uncertainty, moments need to be captured forever.

On that day, we celebrated the moment. The girl. The life.

I hope they will remember. I know I will.

* * *

What’s a favorite moment you have framed in your house? Please share in the comments.

50 thoughts on “Frame the moment to last

  1. Linda@Creekside

    I love the beauty captured here this morning, Lisa. I love how the radiance of these young women is celebrated and saved by your daughter’s lens.

    And most of all, I love that arm in arm, supporting and encouraging each other, we move ahead toward who He’s shaped us to be.


    If I could hug each and every one of you all, I would!
    Linda@Creekside recently posted…A Welcome Back Giveaway . . . with PLUMBMy Profile

  2. Bill (cycelguy)

    What an absolutely beautiful story to read on a Monday morning. Kudos to Ms. Beth for her heart and kudos to all who helped these girls find a little beauty among the ashes. If only it could be permanent…inside and out. We can pray they will move on to loving homes and relationships.
    Bill (cycelguy) recently posted…WeekendMy Profile

  3. Michele Morin

    Lisa, it’s just you and me so far at the Small Wonder Link up, and I’m so glad to read this post. The first thing that came to my mind as I read about this wonderful activity is that you have all given those young women the gift of having been really SEEN. They were helped with their appearance, they were noticed and fussed over, and now they actually have evidence of it in a frame. This is so like what God does for us!
    Michele Morin recently posted…A New PerspectiveMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The gift of “having been seen” – yes, I love that, Michele. It truly is something valuable, and something we can do all do wherever we go. Aren’t we blessed that God does that for us!
      LisaNotes recently posted…Frame the moment to lastMy Profile

  4. Pamela

    Oh my, Lisa, this brought tears to my eyes just reading it. I can’t imagine the impact on those girls. What a blessed moment to watch your own daughter bless others — giving them true friendship. A moment in time the girls will never forget.
    Pamela recently posted…Generations, Past and PresentMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re right, Pamela, that it was indeed special for me to watch my own daughter be able to do this. The older our kids get, the less we’re able to actually witness things like this, so I felt honored to get to be there with her in action.

  5. Debbie

    What a lovely and wondrous thing to do! Very inspiring. I know you are so very proud of your daughter 🙂

  6. Sharon

    What a simply wonderful idea. My cousin is involved in a charity that helps young ladies that are burn victims. One of the things that they do is to give them lessons in how to apply their special makeup. The *after* photos of those smiles are overwhelming.

    God does indeed look upon the heart, and He doesn’t judge by our appearance. But sometimes, a special time like Jenna and you participated in can show young girls the truth of their beauty. Ugly life events do not make ugly people, and it’s good for them to know this.

    There is nothing more beautiful than the look of hope…

    Sharon recently posted…I HATE BEING SICKMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      So much in your comment that touches my heart, Sharon. What a great charity that your cousin in involved with. Burn victims have gone through so much physical pain and then have the added physical scars to deal with the rest of their lives. I love your final statement too: “Ugly life events do not make ugly people.” Amen.

  7. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! What a beautiful transformation you saw…not just on the outside, but on the inside. That’s the hardest place to help transform. Treating these children as just that, children… who need dignity, not someone to treat them like a ‘project’ is such a gift. You must have been so proud of your daughter.

    We have a family photo that I cajoled my family into this past summer. We were together for a family reunion, and I really wanted a photo of all of us. I love it!
    Monday blessings,
    Ceil recently posted…Making a Joyful DecisionMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “as children” – yes, that is what I see too, Ceil. Just kids who have been given a horrible lot in life, but who can turn it around with the proper love and attention. So grateful that God has placed the ranch employees there to love on them, and that they allow others to come in like my daughter and her church. It can make all the difference.

      A family photo with everyone? That’s wonderful! It’s hard to get those. I know you’ll treasure it for a long time to come.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I like your insight, Barbara–“when this chapter of their lives is over.” It makes me happy to think that although this storyline will always be a part of their history, it doesn’t have to be an indicator of the whole book. Just a chapter. There is always hope.

  8. Dolly@Soulstops

    What a beautiful and hopeful post…lovely to see your Jenna and all the good she is already doing …you must be a proud mama….and I pray those young women will see the beauty God and others see in them…Thanks for blessing me with this story 🙂
    Dolly@Soulstops recently posted…Let Grace Begin Series-1My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I am proud of her, Dolly. I’m thankful that God has given her opportunities to use her gifts in lots of different ways, sometimes even painful ones. Yes, there is so much beauty in these young women–I join you in praying that they will see it in themselves too.

  9. Nicki Schroeder

    I love that there is a meaning behind these pictures that far exceeds the frame that will hold them. It’s so cool your daughter loved on these girls like that. We are HORRIBLE at taking pics in our family. I have been married for 11 years and I barely have a thing to prove that on paper/camera. We just live in the moment and don’t do a great job of capturing them to remember later. 🙂
    Nicki Schroeder recently posted…Say Goodbye To Your Buttprints!My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ha. I go back and forth between taking lots of pics and then taking none. On the one hand, I love being able to just stay in the moment like you mentioned. But on the other hand, I do like looking back at pictures of those times. So my personal favorite is when someone ELSE takes the pictures and gives them to me. 🙂

  10. Beverley

    There is a saying that goes around in church, not sure if it came from a church young women’s leader at some point, but it goes like – they may not remember what you taught them, but they will always remember how you made them feel – i am sure every time these young women look at those photos or think about that day they will remember how they felt.
    Beverley recently posted…Day 12 – What kind of person gets Fibro?My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Beautiful, Beverley. That is what I hope for the girls too—that they will at least look back and remember they were loved.

  11. ~ linda

    Oh, my! What a beautiful gift, many gifts, to give to these young women, these girls. They will remember the day and the gifts of each person doing the giving. Yes, there is hope and joy in moments. No matter what more they each have to endure, they have the beautiful potential to be all that God has created them to be because someone(s) cared and continue to care about and for them.
    Praising God for this powerful message for each of us to remember.
    ~ linda
    ~ linda recently posted…Caring for the Caregiver – Part 1 @ SDGMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, Linda. It’s amazing how sometimes one day can carry such weight; I do pray that that day will do just that for these sweet souls. They’ve seen so much ugliness already in the world; I want them to also see there is much beauty.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, Cheryl. I think the day made as big an impression on me as on anybody. 🙂 God is good to bless us even as we try to bless others. We can never outgive him, yes?

  12. Joanna Sormunen

    What a beautiful post! And wonderful thing to do for the girls. There is something special about a picture of you. Especially for a teenager. That someone took that time to look at you and make you beautiful and make it permanent. It is something that will certainly touch them. And hopefully bring something even more special in their future. God bless you all!
    Joanna Sormunen recently posted…The Full Assurance Of FaithMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re right, Joanna—there is something special about having a photo of ourselves. I take it for granted that everyone nowadays has a million of themselves because of phones and Facebook, etc. But we’re probably having fewer actual printed copies so hopefully this will be something they can keep for a long time.

  13. Mary Geisen

    Thank you for sharing this memory and the beauty that resulted. I have a picture of my sons and I acting totally goofy and it is my favorite. It shows our true personalities. Blessed to be visiting you from #TellHisStory.
    Mary Geisen recently posted…Dear TeacherMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I bet that’s an awesome picture of you and your sons, Mary! Glad you have that. Pictures like that tend to resurface at times of graduations, weddings, etc. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, Kristin. I do hope the simple gift of a framed photo will carry the deeper message of love. We all need that.

  14. Anita Ojeda

    What a beautiful project! We have a photo book of our eldest daughter’s wedding–it was almost two summers ago, and it was the last summer we were all together as a family and before our youngest daughter started her painful journey through discovering she has bipolar disorder. Many a time over the last few months I’ve looked at the book and reminded myself that THAT is the real second born–and God will restore her as she continues her journey.
    Anita Ojeda recently posted…How to Miss the Obvious in Four Easy StepsMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad you have that photo book, Anita. How special. And even more so when you reflect back through what your daughter has experienced since then. I join you in praying that God will restore her to her full emotional health soon. That’s a difficult journey to walk….

  15. Betsy de Cruz

    This is a beautiful story, Lisa. It makes my heart go out to those girls. Little things do make a difference, and you never know what God does in the little things. My favorite framed moment? My Turkish sister’s wedding 3 years ago. My husband preached, I was the matron of honor and my kids were in the wedding party. We have a lovely family photo with my sister and her husband!
    Betsy de Cruz recently posted…Pressing on Towards Your DreamsMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’d love to see that photo, Betsy. What a fun and special memory! Times like that can never be reproduced so a photo is a treasure to have.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It was fun to get to see how excited some of the girls were when they looked in the mirror that day. I do hope it sticks with them on the inside, regardless of what the mirror says on the outside.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, sometimes I’m sure I frame the bad parts of the day instead of the best, or the worst quotes that someone spoke to me instead of the truths that God tells me. I need to spend more time with this concept. Thanks, Kelly.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You do capture so many beautiful moments on camera, Amy. I have enjoyed the photos on your blog for a long time. You have a gift of helping the rest of us “frame” God’s blessings.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Betty. This story has been inside me for several months; just seemed the right time to finally let it out into the world.

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