Friday, December 31, 2010
Christmas has come and gone.
Family has come and gone.
Traveling has come and gone.
And now it's me again... me and Him... And we've had a lot of time to talk lately...
Not because life has slowed down all that much (does life ever really slow down with four small treasures running around? :)... But I have felt drawn to him lately... drawn to His presence... Drawn to His peace...
I've asked Him what He would want this year for me to be about... And to be honest, nothing profound has captured my thoughts.
But one thing I keep finding myself coming back to... one thing that seems to keep taking over my thoughts as I do the dishes, as I dress the kids... and everyone's running wild looking for something other than the one thing that I asked them to look for which is usually the inevitable lost shoe... the one thing that I want to find myself lost in in this upcoming year...
Giving not of monetary things... but giving of myself. Giving of my heart, even if (or especially if) the giving might force me to be vulnerable, or cause me to be stretched, or ask me to sacrifice, or lead me into humility...
So this year... for me...
Instead of a list of often unattainable resolutions...
I have three gifts... gifts that I would like to give... consistently, with joy, without reservation or fear, whole-heartedly, and with humble trust in the one who made me solely for His glory.
The first gift is for my children... To them I would like to give the gift of strong words.... Words that are helpful for building others up. Words that strengthen their hearts. Words that encourage them to be brave. Words that bring life to their souls. Words that bless and do not tear down. Words that live out the quiet, gentle Spirit of their passionate, loving heavenly Father.
This year I pray that the Lord would give me ample opportunity to choose wisely the words that come out of my mouth. I pray that He would give me restraint when anger falls on the tip of my tongue and I'm tempted to let harsh words pass through my lips. This year I pray that my words would be filled with kindness and compassion. (Ephesians 4:29-32)
This Lord, by your grace, is the gift that I would like to give my children.
And the second is for my Joey... It's personal, but oh so real...
It's vulnerable, deeply submerged trust.
It's my heart authentically, sincerely, believing you when you tell me with your words that I'm beautiful.
It's me trusting your love even when I am insanely aware of my faults and I can hear the enemy creeping into my thoughts and telling me that I'm not good enough for such a caring, kind & selflessly loving man as you.
It's us, moving forward into an unknown future without being overtaken by fear of failure. When we do life together with Christ as the third (and strongest) strand in our rope of three, there's no such thing as failure... only hope.
Finally the third, for my Savior... To him it would be contentment with joy... whether on the beach or in the mountains, in an apartment or on a farm, eating steak or canned soup, feeling close or far apart... whether he gives generously or takes it all away... no matter the circumstance... I want to choose to be genuinely and joyfully content... for contentment, like love... is a choice, not a feeling. I may not always feel in love, but I can choose to love anyway. I may not always feel content, but I can choose contentment despite what I feel. In a world so often run off feelings, this has been (and still is) a challenge for me. But nothing is impossible with you Lord.
And so, this year...
for me its giving...
without any reservations.
A most Happy New Year to you and yours!!!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Today is our two oldest boys would-be 7th birthday. It's hard to believe that it has already been seven whole years since we spent the days before Christmas in the hospital with our first two treasures, trying to make decisions that we were way to young and immature to make... trying to cling to God's sovereignty in the things that most of us will never understand. Even now, seven years later it's hard for me to grasp the Lord's purposes in all the loss that he has taken Joey and I through.
Each year around this time I find myself taking moments out of my day remembering them. Not long after we let them go, my sister in law made us this lovely box. With each move I have carried that box, and I always place it near me somewhere in our bedroom where I can see it often. It's filled with memories of our boys. There are cards in it from those who showered love on us during that season. It holds the clothes that they wore after birth. In it, their birth certificates lay right on top of their death certificates. And tucked away in the bottom right corner of the little wooden box, is a smaller white box that has held their ashes for the past seven years.
And around this time each year...
I take the box out...
I slowly run my fingers across the top of the handwritten script...
both their names...
Samuel & Barnabas...
And underneath each name, God's Holy Word... scripture for each them.
The tears fall and I allow the flood gate of emotions to open for a few brief moments. I allow myself to remember. I remember the good... the way they summersaulted in my belly, the countless hours that my Joey and I talked to them (about silly things usually :), the hours that we talked about what we would name them, the joy that surrounded their entire lives.
I remember the heartache... the choices that their Papa and I had to make, the letting go of (at the time) the only children we knew to be ours, the coming home with empty hands.
Our first boys were our great blessing. They lived only for a brief moment in time. But the Lord used them mightly. He used them to strengthen a marriage... my marriage. He used them to build a solid, genuine respect in me, towards my Joey... a respect that has carried us through the adventures of our past seven years since. He used those boys to teach the importance of surrendering all the children that the Lord might bring into our lives. He used those boys to teach me how to walk through regret and willingly receive His bountiful grace.
And since that day, seven seemingly short years ago, we've been blessed with many more amazing treasures. Today our youngest son turns five months. The 22nd is a special day in our home... My Joey was born on the 22nd, along with Samuel, Barnabas and Jedediah.
I might have had to say good-bye to my first two boys, but I am the better for it. Letting go of them has made me (and is still making me) the kind of wife I want to be, the kind of mother I want to be, and the kind of friend I want to be.
Happy Birthday sweet boys!!!! The Lord has used you in my life, for His glory! I am so blessed to be your Mama! :)
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Today is video day... Hal & Siah have been memorizing Psalm 23. Hal has a little cold in this video and she sounds extremely nasal-y.... But all the same, she does an awesome job reciting the entire Psalm.
This next video has to be one of my favorite sounds in the whole world. You'll just have to watch and see. :)
Siah is learning to read...
Reesie is quite the chatter box these days... I love the way she talks...
Hope you enjoy. :)
Beth told Milly, and Milly told me, and I pondered how we could make it work for our family this Christmas season.
25 days of blessing... each year leading up to the Big Day... 25 large or small, acts of kindness.
I love traditions... but sometimes I try to accomplish an over load of ideas that come my way, that I find myself failing in the carrying out of these traditions. So we tweaked it a bit to make this years "25 Days of Blessing," into something that we could for sure follow through with.
So we sat down... the kids and I cozy on the couch... we talked about blessings, what they were, and how we could specifically bless others...
Siah told me about a girl in his Sunday School class that hadn't been there in awhile... "I can write her a letter and tell her that I miss her," he looked at me expectantly wondering if his idea was worthy of doing?
"Perfect!" I declared, "That will be day #1 for blessing others!"
We chatted for awhile and came up with our list of 6 more acts of kindness that we could all do together as a family.
#2 Blessing Box... each year the kids go through their own toys and pick things that they would like to share with other kids that might not have as much as they have...
#3 A meal delivered to a family... the mom had surgery... the son broke his ankle... a simple way to encourage.
#4 Angel Tree... We picked an ornament off the tree at church... "Little boy, Age 5, needs a new pair of Jeans." We took our kiddos to Old Navy and had them pick out the jeans themselves. They "helped"us wrap them up and made a card for the little boy.
#5 Invite a new couple from church over that doesn't know that many people yet.
#6 Make cookies for our new neighbors and make sure they know that our home is always open to them. :)
#7 Each member of our family writes letters to each other of all the things we like about one another. This was fun! Well, at least Siah and I had fun! (Halee cried because she didn't know how to write the letters.) I love the letter he wrote for Halee. It also made me realize how much he has learned already this year. He's writing so well... At least I think he is. :)
We had an awesome week of blessing others together as a family. My hope is that each year we can add in a few more days as the kids get a bit older and a bit more independent.
This week was by far, one of my most favorite weeks of the whole year. :)
Sunday, December 12, 2010
We're missing my dear friend Lauren this year who has blessed us with family photos each Christmas season since our kiddos were born.
But this year Tara and I texted each other Thursday afternoon...
"Meet at the barn in 5?"
She took pictures of our family and Joey took pictures of their family...
And I LOVE them!
Thanks friend! :)
Our gorgeous Hal! I'm nervous for her grow up... I have this feeling that boys will be flocking to this little one. Not only is she beautiful on the outside, she has the most gorgeous heart that I have ever seen!
Our oldest treasure has the gift of encouragement and gets high off of serving others. Just this afternoon he took out the trash without me saying a word! He's only five but he seems so grown up to me. :)
Littlest girl was a little stinker and didn't want her picture taken. But we took them anyway and for a few brief moments we actually got a little half smile out of her.
And OH MY GOODNESS... this little guy just lights up my life!!! That's all I have to say... he's just to cute for his own good. :)
I love these next pictures of our entire family... it's not often that we can get all of us together, all of us looking in the same direction, and most of us smiling. :)
Does it happen to you too???... When you have kids, all of a sudden you have zillions of pictures of your treasures, and pretty close to zero pictures of you and your man?? Well it has happened to me. So I just love it when I can get even just a few pictures of me with the man I love. :)
The most amazing part of it all was that it was only 30 degrees or so outside when we took these pictures. The kids did great, and even the Mama managed to make it through the chill with a smile. :)