Thursday, December 25, 2014

No Crib For A Bed

Emmanuel.  God with us.  Yes.  He arrived.

The baby Jesus, long awaited, much anticipated, greeted with angelsong and starlit glory, was born, and they laid Him in ... a manger?

The first few weeks after he was born, Kachi's bed was adorably unorthodox.  He slept at the foot of our bed, cozily swaddled in a blanket, lying in a drawer.  I'd bought him a Moses-basket, but he was so long when he was born that he filled it, head to toe.  So we turned a drawer into his bed - lined it with blankets made by his grandmothers, wrapped him warm, kissed his head, and tucked him in.  He slept soft and comfy, and it made no difference to him at all that the drawer wasn't built for that purpose.

I imagine that the baby, Jesus, knew no discomfort in a bed of sweet hay, warm and well-fed and wrapped for sleep.  But it kind of stabs at the heart, doesn't it, and at first glance makes me think that His arrival was so eagerly anticipated but so inadequately prepared for.  I guess I always attributed it to the fact that Mary was in Bethlehem when He came, not in her own home, nowhere near the comforts and conveniences she might have planned for Him.

But God knew exactly where He would be born.  So why not have a soft cradle nearby?  Why a manger?

I think the symbol is awesome.

It's said that the stables of Bethlehem were used for the keeping of temple sheep.  So the manger where Jesus was laid?  That was where the flock found their food.  Where God's sheep were nourished.

Oh.
Yes.


It's no wonder God sent shepherds to find Him that night.  I picture His tender heart yearning over them as they crowded into the stable to worship the babe.  Who better to understand the message?  The Shepherd had come to feed His flock.  

He came as our Hero, our Saviour, our King.  But He came to be the bread of life - to lay down His life - for the sheep.  His body, His life, laid down for our blessing.

The gnawing emptiness that aches, the dullness of prolonged hunger, it can tear at a heart as well as a belly.  We were made to contain more, and greater, than anything we can find here.

You know it deep and true, don't you - there are some hungers that a meal won't satisfy.   There are some longings that can never be met by the gifts under the tree. But Jesus? He is the nourishment that fills and satisfies the soul.  Here He is, the heart of Christmas: behold the babe, lying in a manger.

This Christmas, I pray you will find yourself worshiping the Newborn King - feasting and satisfied and filled with joy in His presence.

God bless you, friend.
xo.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Clever Princess Vava

Lately, Vava hasn't been calling me mama.  Instead, she calls me Rider. Sam is Chase, Patrick is Rubble, and Kachi is Zuma.  We call her Marshall.

They're all characters from her fave show, Paw Patrol.  It's about a team of talking pups who help people in trouble and save the day.

She pretends all day long.  It's really precious.  This morning she spent more than half an hour standing on the back of the couch reaching up the wall, imagining she was on her firetruck ladder, rescuing kitten after kitten stuck in a tree (a LOT of kittens).  When she woke up from her nap this afternoon, the first thing she asked was "where's Chase? Zuma?"

She and Sam have also created an imaginary family, closely based on reality, made up of Dragon Mama, Dragon Papa, Stinky Kachi, Brave Sam, and Clever Princess Vava.  One of her favourite bedtime stories is the one where Clever Princess Vava and Brave Sam rescue Monkey and Zebra from having fallen in a hole.  (They use her necklace as a rope to lift them out.)

She loves being a hero.  It's really sweet hearing her soft voice asking "you okay?" when one of us gets hurt.  I absolutely adore her brave and tender heart, and I love that she sees herself as the rescuer.

She walks in the truth of that beautiful story - the story of the Baby, the Hero, who came a long way down to save the world.

It's built right in, isn't it? 

His bright goodness is always going to captivate our hearts.  The story of our Rescuer pierces dark history, plants hope in eager soil, blossoms wild and bright.  It's what we love about Christmas - wise men venturing long; old prophets clinging; heartbroken husband trusting; brave girl daring to say yes; Son of God seeking the lost ...

May your heart beat brave this Christmas, friends: our Rescuer has come! 
xo.

Monday, December 22, 2014

So Loved

Tonight I took my precious niece to the airport. I waited and watched as she did the security rigamarole.  She was standing there all alone, stylish and slim and so beautiful and still.  There were clumps of people milling around her: a glamourous woman with a tiny dog, a chatty security screener, a tall man who blushed when he had to remove his belt.

My darling girl stood there with her peculiarly perfect posture and graceful bones, a duffel bag swinging from one shoulder, completely alone.  Her self-possession and independence startled me.  She responded sweetly to the chatty screener, and helped the glamourous woman with one of her purses, and I felt a little bit like the mama duck saying quack quack quack, watching her swim off so perfectly, so effortlessly, through the airport.

She's intelligent and kind and private and vulnerable and well-read.  She is bright and open and talented and funny.  She has always had the most curious, gentle mind.

It was really scary to send her out into the wide world alone, back across this wide country to her mama.  Not because she can't handle herself (she so can), but because I want everyone to know how special she is and to treat her with exceptional care.

The man behind her in line wasn't watching where he was going and almost ran into her.  I felt myself shooting mental darts at him, hissing "don't you dare hurt my niece!"

I can't even fathom what it must have been like to look down through the stable roof that starry night. To look down and see Heaven's best as an utterly helpless newborn babe.  To see Him snuggled close in young arms and realize He could be dropped, handled roughly, even ignored or neglected.

I wonder if the angels' hearts yearned and shuddered, witnessing the weight of glory hidden, borne beautifully and lightly in His mother's arms.  What was it like for them to see Him in a squirming package of skin and bone, unbelievably fragile and tiny? 

Did they try to shoo away bleating lambs? Were they aghast at the sight of Him lying in a manger?  Did their hearts long to wing Him home, back to His glory and radiant might?

Ah, but ... 

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. 
So loved.

So loved.

Suffering Produces ... Hope

This afternoon, Sam went to the potty.  When he was done, he demanded that Patrick pull up his underpants for him.  Patrick said no, that he would definitely help Sam, but he wouldn't do it all for him.

Enter WWIII.

"Pull them up NOW!" Sam demanded, "One ... two ... three ..."

It was kind of hard not to laugh.  Sam standing in the livingroom with his underwear around his ankles, insisting like a small tyrant that his papa pull up his pants.

The funny thing is, he's very capable of pulling up his pants.  It's not like we were asking him to try something new, a scary new skill that he wasn't sure he could handle.  We were expecting him to do something he does regularly, and he just decided he didn't want to do it.  

He's learning new skills all the time.  Testing his boundaries, trying to find where he fits and what his role is, what ours are.  His tantrum, I think, came from suddenly wanting to be a baby.  Wanting to have everything done for him, to cry and have his parents do everything they could to comfort him.  So he drew a line.

But as parents, we had a line too.  We had the heart-tugging line of wanting to comfort him, to assure him we care.  But we have a bigger goal, the goal of helping him become a capable, independent young man.  So we had to gently assure him we would help, but refuse his demands that we do everything for him.  We coached him through the steps, cheered him on at each success (over the knees! over the bum!), and saw his face light up with big-boy-joy when yes, he finally pulled up his own underpants.

It would have been so much easier to cave.  The screaming, demanding, sobbing little boy would have been quieted quickly ... but he would have learned that he gets his way when he yells orders at his papa.  He might have formed an expectation that he has the right to insist others do things for him simply because he doesn't want to do them.  He wouldn't be growing in maturity.

You know that saying "don't try to make a better world for the children; make better children for the world"?  It's a whole lot of hard work.

God did it that way.  

He could have sent Jesus the easy way - straight down on a bed of angel-wings, incarnate as a fully-grown man, his head glowing in a halo from a renaissance painting.

But He picked the hard road.  He picked the road with the most to teach us.  He picked the road that was hard on Mary, on Joseph, on Jesus.  The Bethlehem road, and the Calvary road.

Because He is building better children for the world.

Children who choose gentleness instead of harshness, like Joseph chose to love Mary.
Children who choose faithfulness instead of doubt, like Mary trusting God.
Children who choose to love others, instead of themselves ... like Jesus.

If you're going through a hard road, friend, and you just want someone else to pick you up and take care of everything for you, you're not alone.  We all crave easy.

But trust this: He didn't spare His Son, because He had His eyes on a bigger goal than Jesus' comfort.  

Cling to this good truth.  He won't spare us this necessary suffering - even when we throw tantrums, even when we demand to be relieved - because He has his eyes on a bigger goal: our blessing and His glory.

The ache and longing of Christmas reminds us that suffering brings hope.  The good news of Christmas is the truth that hope in Him does not disappoint.

We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame ... (Romans 5).

Whatever you're hoping for, look to our Saviour.  The deep aches and heart cries and soul longings all find solace in Him.  He won't spare us the suffering, but He will use it to build us and give us His sure hope.  And He will help us, every step of the way.

Merry Christmas, friends.
xo.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Veiled in Flesh

Guys.

You know when you're getting ready for a party and you have more food to prepare than table to put it on and your kids are in the tub and overflow it so much it leaks through the living room ceiling and rains dirty water all over your carpet?  And the whole day, cooking, whipping, chopping, cleaning, you have a sense of foreboding because your son is just getting the hang of potty training and you fear an impending accident?  And then you discover, when you're stealing the last five minutes to dress and make yourself pretty, that your foreboding was right?  So instead of fixing your hair and face you are wiping a (cute, if naughty) bum and praying the smell won't mingle with the scent of fresh cookies and sodden plaster.  So you answer the door in the first dress you found and without a lick of makeup on and did I brush my teeth today?  And somehow it doesn't matter, because God is teaching you something about hospitality.  And you're impossibly slow to learn, and you need this lesson over and over and over ...

Hospitality is not about having a perfect house and perfect food and cute dishes and a great outfit and flawless makeup when I open the door.  No.  That's a photoshoot.  Hospitality is about opening my door to friends and welcoming them in.  Making them comfortable, looking out for their benefit, creating circumstances for their joy, definitely yes.  But most of all?  Taking pleasure in their presence.

Enjoying them.

He made it really obvious, didn't He?  He came as selflessly as possible.  He was born in a stable.  He was poor.  And He didn't spend a single drop of ink describing what He looked like.  He veiled His glory.  He didn't come among us to inspire our admiration.

Why did He do it then?  Why did He choose to come to us?

For the joy that was set before Him.

What was that joy, exactly?  Yes, you know it ...

Us.

The whole journey, the whole point of Christmas, the whole reason He came - He takes joy in our presence.

Soak that in, friends.
xo.

Anticipation

I felt such a happy little spark as I was unloading groceries from the car tonight.  We're throwing a Christmas party tomorrow, and there's just something so exciting and happy about planning good things for others.  Will they feel loved as they bite into a white chocolate peanut butter cookie?  Will the twinkly lights and scented candles set festivity alight?  Will Christmas music and conversation make them glad?

I want to set the scene and provide the ingredients for a happy neighbourhood, good friendships.  I want to spread a little good cheer.  I want to soak up moments with my friends at their best, most sparkly with joy.

I think that the heart of God must have beat glad with anticipation.  Excitement that Mary would soon look on His face, kiss His soft head.  Glad joy at the prospect of shepherds receiving with awe the good news.  Triumph that He would fill the longing of everyone hungry for a Redeemer.  See the light dawn as we receive His best gift.

I love that God spreads out His arms and invites the whole world to Christmas.
xo.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bad Dreams

Sam's been talking about bad dreams a lot lately.  Apparently, he had one where Spiderman took him (he's never seen Spiderman), and he called for me and called for me but I didn't come.

It kills me. 

I hold his little face and I look into his eyes and I promise him this: 

I will come for you.
I will always come for you.

I've had to repeat it a few times, because the fear from his dream comes back and grabs him and he tells me about it again.

I understand that kind of fear.

The news has been pretty awful lately.  Murdered children.  Missing women.  Torture.  Hate. Greed.  I try not to dwell on it and I hold my kids' hands tight.  The planet spins and the nausea rises and is there any waking from this nightmare?

And Christmas - 

That star that stabbed into the darkness and poured down on the Light of the World born in a stable - 

Christmas is nothing less than God taking our face in His hands, looking into our eyes and promising us

I will come for you.
I will always come for you.
All the way to a stable, all the way to the cross -
I will always come for you.

Hold your loved ones tight and celebrate because He came - at Christmas.
xo.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I Love You

This afternoon I gave the three kids a bath.  Vava adores baths, and Sam and Kachi enjoy them too.  When I tell Vava it's bathtime, she doesn't just hear those words ... she hears I love you.  Sometimes we have an idyllic hour, where the big littles laugh and play with bubbles while Kachi floats blissfully before being tucked, clean and sweet, into fresh jams.

Today was not that day.

I had washed Sam and Vava, and was peeling off Kachi's clothes so he could join them.  Vava started wailing, and wanted out.  Since my hands were as free as they'd be for ten minutes, I laid Kachi down, pulled Vava from the tub, and quickly began to dry & lotion her.  She didn't stop crying, and finally I could make out the words "back in."  I double checked, and yes - she wanted to keep bathing.  By this time, Kachi was beginning to cry for his bottle, and Sam was slowly but surely turning the bathroom floor into a river.  Lo and behold, as soon as Vava got into the tub, she wanted back out.  (Join the club, sister!  What happened to happy hour?)

We finished the bath with sobbing in stereo.  Kachi got a lick and a promise - maybe minus the lick - while the bathroom floor got a (definitely overdue) thorough cleaning.  

It seemed to be a day like that - things just piling up on each other, and I would have had to be an octopus to have enough hands to deal with everything.  Why did I bother with a bath again? For my (now sobbing) Vava?  I just wanted to say I love you.

It gets that way at Christmas especially.  Trying to squeeze in a few extra ways to say I love you - buying presents, baking treats, planning parties, writing cards - can overflow the schedule.  It's busy.  But Christmas will pass all too quickly.  The good memories will shine bright, and the exhaustion will be forgotten.  The love we kindle, the friendships we affirm, the joy we nourish ... worth the busyness.

What we do for the least, Jesus counts as done for Him.  He hears I love you in the late-night gift-wrapping.  He hears I love you in the Christmas hamper you pack.  He hears I love you when you choose patience with the screeching toddler ...

I want Him to hear I love you.

And I fully intend to nap slack-jawed on the couch come January ;).
xo.

Let Every Heart

My lovely, wonderful, smart, gorgeous, amazing niece arrived today.
I haven't seen her for two years.  TWO YEARS!  She's here for almost a week, and it's better than a treeful of presents. 
I keep calling Vava by her name.  Seeing them together is kind of bending my mind a bit, because I remember adoring spending time with her when she was Vava's age - smart as a whip, and unbelievably cute - except now she's the age I was back then.  It's weird how time folds in on itself.
I got her room ready last night.  I put a zillion blankets on her bed, because our guest room is chilly.  I filled up the humidifier, emptied the garbage can, fluffed the pillows.  I found out what some of her favourite foods are and made sure to have them on hand. It made me so happy to get things ready for her.
And that's Advent, isn't it - preparing room for Him, getting my heart in order to celebrate and welcome His arrival. It reminds me to pause and ask if I'm preparing Him room every day.  Taking time to do what He loves - show mercy, generosity, hospitality?  Love my brothers and sisters?  Forgive, and seek forgiveness? 
I've got sparkly lights up all through my house, but what I really need to do is make sure His light is glowing in this corner of the dark world, for His glory and my blessing and the blessing of those around me.
And unlike my tree, that is the kind of Christmas decoration I want to leave up all year round ;). 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sweet Little Jesus Boy

Kachi turned 2 months old today.  He's adorable.  He loves to coo and babble and try to imitate conversation.  Patrick and I are both sure he can say hi, and he has a fairly awesome fist-bump record.  He's a hulking 14 lbs, and as tough as Sam and Vava can make him.  He loves to be sung to, and he relaxes with evident bliss in the tub.

The most precious thing he does, though, is look up into my face, gaze right into my eyes, and break out into a winsome smile.  I don't know how he does it, but he manages to make a drooly, toothless grin the deepest joy of my day.  I love the sweet weight of him cuddling in close, the way his fingers curl around my collar, his lips moving as he dreams.

I think it reveals something spectacularly dear and lovable about God's character that He chose to come to us as a baby.  Sweet and small and snugglable.  How astonishingly kind, for Him to choose such tenderness.

Gift.  Every facet of His enterprise ... gift.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ear-Noculars

Patrick and I started watching Community this week, and it's making us laugh.  It's not my favourite or anything, but tonight one of the episodes grabbed my heart a little bit.

One of the characters, Pierce, buys ear-noculars, and continually eavesdrops on distant conversations.  In the last moments of the show we see him sitting on a bench without them. His classmate, Jeff, asks him what happened to them.  Pierce says he got rid of them, and then explains that he thinks we were designed to hear whatever people are saying when they're close ... because the people who are close to us are the people we love. 

It made me think about what I say to the people who are close to me.  I hope they hear I love you.  

And it made me think of Jesus ... who came all the way here so that He could be close to us.  So we could hear Him - and He could hear us - up close and in person.

Sometimes I think my soundtrack is on a continuous loop - my alarm buzzing, spoon clinking in my coffee mug, kids saying hilarious things, whining, crying, microwave beeping, more spoon clinking, phone beeping, water running, kids laughing, patrick praying, quietness, snoring, repeat.  It's easy to get absorbed in the sounds of my life.  It's easy to ignore other sounds, keep them in the background, tell myself I'll pay attention to them later.

Christmas reminds me to look up from my busy days and listen close.  Listen close to the song that star sang over Bethlehem.  Listen close to the glory of angelsong in the night.  Listen close to the willing surrender and meekness.  Listen close to the Father who placed His most precious darling right here in our world and came all the way into human skin to say Merry Christmas.  To me.

Merry Christmas, friends.
xo.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Yes, Switchfoot -

My lovely friend, I'm praying for you.

Your heart, stretched and tired
Like crumpled paper.

(Mine too.)

It seems like one batch of trouble
Barely ends
Before another one
Is bubbling over.

I've always thought it strange
The tense He used, when 
(Before the cross)
He assured His disciples about troublesome days to come.

In this world you will have trouble
But -
Take heart;
I have overcome the world.

Not I shall, but
I have overcome.
Already.
Before the cross.

Could it be
That He overcame the world
Just by being?

(My daughter was asking about shadows
And I found myself explaining that nothing casts a shadow on the sun.
Light and dark cannot dwell together.
Light always trumps dark.)

In His sheer existence, He
- Incorruptible, Glorious, True - 
Overcomes the world
And all its trouble.

When the world presses in
And you just want to hide under your pillow
And tell everyone you aren't home -
I pray that you will find the deepest soul-rest
In His sheer existence
And that the message of incorruptible triumph
Will resonate from beyond Bethlehem's manger:

In this world you will have trouble
But -
Take heart;
I have overcome the world!



xo.
ps: this song.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Comfort and Joy

Today, we were driving down the road and Sam peered ahead through the front window.  He stared intently into the distance, then finally concluded, "that's either a flashlight, or a bear with two thirsty dogs."

I don't even know.  I can't wrap my head around the mental processes that come up with that kind of result.  But I love it.  I laughed so hard I cried.  

I've been feeling a little soul-frayed.  Just tired.  Every day seems to steamroll from one hour to the next, and tomorrow morning begins before I realize that today's ended.  You know?  Just a blur.

I'm so glad for my silly kids.  I'm so glad for Sam making me laugh, because goodness knows I wouldn't stop to do it without his irresistible prompting. 

This morning, Sam and Vava were anxiously awaiting sunrise.  They wanted to go to playgroup, but I told them we wouldn't go until it was light out.  When breakfast was over, Sam suddenly realized it was daylight.  "Oh look!" he exclaimed in genuine surprise, "Thank you, God, for making the sun shine!"  His gratitude took my breath away.  I think, this morning, God sent the sunrise just for him - and glory shone from His glad heart.

I'm trying to let every scrap of joy shine straight into my bleary, tired heart.  Soak up the laughter, luxuriate in delight - gratefully, gladly unwrapping every gift He sends me.  

Thank you, God, for sunrise ... and for flashlights and bears and two thirsty dogs.
xo.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Love Has a Way

Like most women, I suppose, I have a bad habit of standing before the mirror and criticizing everything I can find.  This morning, I unintentionally made an exception.  I saw, unmistakably present up high on my forehead, an age spot.  An age spot.  And my heart thrilled.
I laughed when I realized the absurdity of my response, but there it was, as evident as my age spot - what I was feeling was happiness, plain and simple.
You see, when I was young, my heart was knit tight into the heart of a very kind, very loving, impossibly dear old man.  He was thin and had a hookish nose, and yes - his hands and face were generously covered in age spots.
I can't see him as anything other than beautiful.  So when I see myself starting to look like him, even a little bit, I'm glad.

It's love ... love makes all the difference.  Love has this way of making everything beautiful.

I pulled out my photo album and tried to see if my Grampie was actually a handsome man - if perhaps those age spots were distinguished, well-placed, artistic.  I couldn't tell.  I couldn't see anything but how wonderful he was.  But I suspect that someone who didn't know him might not think his photos to be anything extraordinary.

I think the traditions of Christmas are kind of like a photo album.

To someone looking on, someone who doesn't know Jesus, the whole thing must seem a bit silly.  Excessive, even.  A month of counting down, to a day that likely wasn't the actual day of His birth, with candles and nativity scenes?  Sunday school plays and the same boring hymns, year after year?

But for those of us who know His love, Christmas is warmer and brighter than sun-soaked August.  We love to turn back the pages, again and again, to see His face.

The Christmas story? We don't just see a poor family with a baby sleeping in a manger.  We see glorious God, making Himself humble, coming to take our place.  We see love ... and love has a way of making everything beautiful.








Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Like Us.

This morning, all three kids were in the tub together.  Sam was playing pretty vigorously and I warned him not to splash on Kachi's face. 

"Or Jesus will cry?" he asked, "Little Jesus?"

"Jesus wants us to be kind to each other, yes - but He's not a baby anymore," I explained.

"Is He a big boy like me?" Sam asked.

"No, He grew all the way up," I answered, "but He was a boy like you. He was a baby, and a kid, and a grown-up." 

"Like Baby Kachi?  Like me and Vava? Like you and Papa?" Sam asked.

"Yes ... like all of us."

Like all of us. :)  That's the reason for all the comfort and joy, for everyone telling you to be of good cheer, for the thrill of hope ... He became one of us. That first Christmas day dawned a day of grace, God with us, Jesus, Son of man!

Like you, friend :).
xo.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Advent(ure)


Vava woke up from her nap yesterday, and said, in her soft voice and ordinary way,

"I'm feeling brave.  Let's do something awesome."

 I love this kid.  I wanted to pack our suitcases and hop on a plane to Zambia.  Because I love it there, and going there - alone, without knowing a soul before I arrived - is probably the bravest, awesomest thing I've done.  

I went because God asked me.  He gave me that restless stirring in my soul that wouldn't settle until I went.  When I told Him yes, I felt the wildest flare of adventure, and the deepest sense of rest.  The boldest sort of peace. 

“There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared. It is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security." - Deitrich Bonhoeffer.

I want to teach my kids to follow that voice. Not to follow the safe paths, the ducks-in-a-row paths, but to chase hard after the voice of God and settle for nothing less than the peace of being true to Him.  (Even if they have a deep-down horror of snakes and He tells them to go live where they will see snakes, maybe even touch them.  Even then.)

When Mary turned up pregnant, Joseph was prepared to do the good thing.  He supposed she had slept with someone else, and prepared to quietly divorce her, instead of exacting his legal rights against her.  It was a gentle, safe course.  But an angel came to him in a dream and brought a message from God - marry her.  This child is the Son of God, she hasn't sinned against you. And this babe will save His people from their sins.

It's all kinds of crazy.  It takes all kinds of bravery to do something this awesome.  To trust against logic.  To step into God's will when He's asking you to do something outside of your comfort zone.  To acknowledge the restlessness and dare to seek His peace.  

I think Joseph woke up from his dream feeling wild and sure.  I think he looked at his betrothed and said,

"I'm feeling brave.  Let's do something awesome."

Wishing you that extraordinary peace, friends.   
xo.

O Come O Come Emmanuel

In 2009, after we'd miscarried again, I couldn't seem to stop crying.  Any time my heart was touched, I overflowed. Everything lovely - and certainly everything sad - gave me pain. 

My mom had tickets to a ladies' event at the Full Gospel church, and she invited me to come.  It was in their beautiful new building, with soft lighting and pleasant seating.  The worship music and prayer were deep and sincere and - yes - made me cry. 

I'm not a pretty cry-er.  My eyes get fiercely, horror-movie red, and my nose runs.  It's pretty embarrassing, and the last thing I want is someone noticing me.  It was right at this sob-tacular time that an old friend of my mom's recognized her, and came over for a hug.  My mom quietly explained my sore heart, and I found myself wrapped in kind arms and a tender voice began to pray for me. 

Before we left that day, she told me she was going to keep on regularly praying for me, that God would bless me with children.  Five years later, with three wonderful kids and my hours full to bursting (and my heart), I am so so glad for her prayers. 

The precious thing is, we haven't been in touch.  All this time, she's been praying for me, not knowing that her prayers have long been richly answered.  And recently my mom spoke with her again, and told her the good news -

It made me think of all those who were praying for the Messiah, before Jesus came.  They weren't all informed of His birth.  The Shepherds knew, the Magi knew, Anna and Simeon knew ... but most of them?  They just kept right on praying. And waiting. And waiting. In hope.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel has come to you, O Israel.

The Saviour has come.  The prayers have been heard.  The baby is born.

He hears.  He's here.  Our God is with us.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Love Is Worth

We watched Twelve Years A Slave tonight. It was so hard, so gut-wrenching I had to keep turning away. There was one horrifying part where a mother and her children were sold to separate buyers. There are no words ...

I thought about my own kids and their personalities. If we were separated, how would they fare? Would Sam continue to be the buoyant, determined little scrapper I love? Would Vava be tender and kind, in an abrasive, abusive setting?

I want them to be stone-strong, impervious to the injury and violence of the world. I half wish I could barricade their souls against threat or attack. My heart constricts at the thought of what life might bring their way.

The prophet Simeon told Mary about this feeling when she & Joseph took Jesus to be presented in the temple. Knowing what would happen to that sweet babe, Simeon warned her that a sword would pierce her soul also ...

That's a pretty good description of the weight we bear for those we love. A sword piercing the soul. 

But who would trade it in? Would I give up loving these children so as to not suffer pain? Never.

Love is worth the sword in the soul.

Ask Mary as she bows and says "I am the servant of the Lord." Ask Joseph as he worships the babe his virgin wife brought into the world. Ask the Magi who left all, to bow before this crownless King. Ask Jesus, as he leaves glory and radiant splendour for a hateful world.

Yes. It will hurt.

But ... Christmas shows us the truth, God's glorious heart laid bare in the manger:

Love is worth the sword in the soul.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Too

[Official Video] Little Drummer Boy - Pentatonix: http://youtu.be/qJ_MGWio-vc

I love this song.

It's so simple, but it's about me, about us, and the way we're all poor and emptyhanded when we come to worship our Redeemer.

I used to listen to this on the radio, sitting in the backseat of our car while my parents drove through December rain.

I always thought that the too in "I am a poor boy too" was referring to previous description of the drummer boy ... these wise men brought me suddenly, I didn't know what to bring you, and on top of that I'm poor.

But of course the really astonishing beauty is that Jesus came as a poor boy.  The blessed Messiah, Emmanuel, really really came to be with us. Not just walk among us, but became one of us - too.

I AM, a poor boy too ...

The best gift that Christmas wasn't gold, frankincense, myrrh ... or even a song. It was the tiny poor boy - named Jesus. :)  

xo.

Friday, December 5, 2014

If Only In My Dreams

This afternoon, Sam came upstairs with me to wake Vava from her nap.  She wakes up so gorgeously - her eyes flutter, she stretches, closes her eyes, lies still.  Then she opens up those deep blue eyes, wide awake all at once, puts out her arms for a hug and asks (always the same question): "Sam?"

It just gets me.  It's clear that she can't imagine a moment without him.

There's something about siblings that can't be replicated.  It's the togetheriest togetherness I know. 

I miss my sisters and brother so much.  Living so far apart is really hard.  I can't believe my brother has a son I've never met - and I have a son none of my siblings have met.  I'm so grateful we can keep in touch online and share pictures and stories, but my heart hungers for the day when I can sit next to them and introduce them to my kids and we can all love each others' people in person.

That's one of the craziest things about Mary's journey to Bethlehem.  As far as we know, she went alone with Joseph.  No mother, no sisters to hold her hand and bring her fresh towels and comfort her through the whirlwind of pain as she delivered.  No father or big brother to smile down on that precious brand new darling, to hold him in their big hands and make him seem even more impossibly small. 

(Because that's how we are. God builds into us little reflections of His character - His three-in-one-ness echoes in the way we thrive in community, in family, in intimacy.  We crave closeness because it's part of His character.) 

She must have ached, that silent night, for a their voices, their experience, their presence as she bore this perfect Baby. 

(And that baby, God incarnate, separated Himself from Heaven and crossed the chasm to humankind. He came to bring a Heaven full of siblings home ... but that's a story for another day ;).)

When the distance stings this time of year, and your dreams are filled with home and family, and you can barely keep from reaching out for them when you wake: take comfort.  This longing?  This love that aches and stretches across the wide earth and does not diminish?  This, this is the heart of Christmas.

xo.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Merry and Bright

Late afternoon is our tough hour.  The kids and I have been around each other all day, and all the tasks seem to need (re)doing at once - making supper, feeding the baby, and tidying up.

Today, just around 5, I was feeding Kachi while Sam and Vava were supposed to be picking up their toys.  They spent most of this time wrestling and yelling, interspersed with the occasional crying spell.  The one exception? After a visit to the potty, Sam decided not to put his pants back on, but crouched down and pulled his sweater over his knees.  He waddled around the living room making silly noises, crowing "wook-a-me!"  I started to scowl.  I really did.  I felt my eyebrows draw together and I almost barked  "you're supposed to be picking up toys!" But it was so funny and silly, and a welcome change from the tired & wired scrapping ... so I relented, and let it in.  I let that happiness right in, and laughed along with them.  Vava was thrilled with her short, chubby brother, and Sam was impressed with his own skill at squat-walking, and their laughter was irresistible. 

It's easy, in the Christmas rush at the end of the year, to be focused on work and the crush of demands.  To think about my have-to-do list instead of my get-to-do life.  Of course God used my kids to remind me that the One who came to us as a child welcomed the interruption of children ...welcomed them right in, and declared that "of such is the kingdom of Heaven".

Ahh I need the reminder every day.  I tend to Scrooge when I get my head stuck in my own schedule, my gaze focused on my own plans.  I guess that's probably why He sent me these exasperating, interrupting, hilarious kids ... curious arrows, who keep pointing me out of myself and straight to the expansive joy found in the welcoming heart of God.

May your hearts be merry and bright, friends.
xo.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Love Actually Is All Around

I had to text Patrick earlier this week and apologize for my attitude lately.  I've been a bear.  I think the glossy happiness of Kachi's arrival had worn off sometime between weeks 5 and 6, and the excitement had turned into plain old hard work and sleep deprivation.  I expected it, the hard work, but somewhere along the way it's all I started to see.  And that's the thing about my heart - I find it much easier to see the gloomy things than the good things, even when they're both present.  Someone must have been praying for me this week, though, because God knocked on my heart and reminded me to keep my eyes open ... there is so much good.  At the risk of sounding like a Christmas cliché, love actually is all around.

The thing is, I need to set my eyes on seeing it, instead of seeing the misery.

This blog post rolled around my facebook newsfeed a while ago.  I skipped over it until it was probably the last thing left to read.

Maybe I had a hunch it would be as convicting as it was.

The author states that the most overlooked characteristic in seeking a spouse is whether or not they suffer well.  I knew before I'd half finished that I have a lot to work on. 

I think I'm actually pretty good in a crisis.  When something goes wrong that's dramatic and sudden, I'm your woman.  Need to rig up an emergency survival kit with a used kleenex, bent nail, and soggy receipts?  I can do that.  (Okay, not that exactly, but I'm fairly resourceful.)  Need to feed an unexpected crowd with scant groceries?  No problem.  Even in the pinchiest pinch, I can manage well. But suffer well?

I stink at it.

I chafe in long term endurance.  It takes me a realllllllly long time to accept suffering as being out of my control.  I'm not good at holding my peace, resting, trusting in the midst of suffering.  I stew about it.  I brood.  I think about the way I wish things were, I think about ways to end it all, I desperately scrounge for any other way but the suffering way.

And I'm miserable in it.  I'm not like one of those people in a movie montage, striving against suffering with their chin up and eyes fixed on some mystic horizon.  I'm just a grouch.  And oh, if anyone on this earth deserves more in their spouse, it's Patrick.  He suffers well.  He endures with hope. (Ha! He gets lots of practice, enduring me ;) )

I think that my response would have been less like Mary's, and more like Zachariah's.  When hearing that God had chosen me to bear the Son, to bear the disbelief, to bear the shame - I would have been scrambling for a way to make it work on my own terms.  To rig up some sort of in-a-pinch fix to hide the pregnancy until marriage.  Begging God for proof against gossip and criticism, some heavenly sign that I hadn't done anything wrong to show the world.

But Mary?  She didn't trust in her own contrivance, but believed God.  I am the servant of the Lord, she said, Let it be to me according to your word.  That was her hope - His Word. 

As I count down these days to Christmas, waiting, like Mary, and walking in hope, I want to cling to her example.  To believe God that His Word is enough.  To say - I am your servant.  Let it be

And suffer well, with my eyes on all the good that surrounds me, til the delivery of joy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gloria

We took the kids to see the Holiday Train tonight.  It's all lit up for Christmas, chugging across the country, stopping in towns and putting on a Christmas show to raise money and collect donations for local food banks. It was awesome - freezing, and way too late for our early-to-bed babes, but awesome. 

The bliss-moment that made both Patrick and I grin came at the end of the first song.  The crowd had been singing along with the band, kids dancing and glow-sticks whirling - and as the drums boomed the song to a close, the whole crowd burst into cheers and applause, and both Sam and Vava joined in - shrieking with delight and clapping their mittened hands as hard as they could.  Their eyes shone like stars.  I don't think I could feel my toes at that point, but it didn't matter.  That great gorgeous feeling - a big communal joy - flowed through the crowd in a riot of glory.

I think the night when the angels came and announced Jesus' birth to the shepherds must have been kind of like that.

I miss it, quiet in my room, reading sedate words on the page.  An angel appears and announces Jesus' birth  ... it just reads a lot more sedately than it must have been.  But seeing the kids glowing with wonder gave me a bit of a glimpse -

I think it was a lot more like that shivery joy, that big wave of bliss.  An angel appears, and a spotlight shafts through the velvet night.  His voice must have boomed like it was carried on amplifiers as he pronounced that This Is THE NIGHT - The Saviour Is Born This Day!  And the astonishing words hovered, briefly, in the stillness ... then the accompanying host stepped out of the wings and began to sing.  And I'm not picturing it as a cluster of two or three demure angels either, because the Scriptures say it was "a multitude of the heavenly host."  A multitude!  I'm seeing a crowd, happiness mounting as they look from one to another, singing with everything they had - harmonies and hands clapping (and maybe a little beatboxing?) and joy resonating from heart to heart.

There's something in me that wants to worship God alone, in the quiet and stillness of my own heart.  But there's something in me, too, that wants to worship Him in a huge and glad crowd, lost in that swell of community and gladness.  It's what makes me love flash mobs and concerts and the whole congregation standing to sing in church. 

Gloria in excelsis deo, from a thousand lips.

I hope you find yourself in a happy crowd this Christmas, friends!
xo :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

It Begins, Of Course, with a Baby


This Sunday, a woman stood in front of the congregation and shared her salvation-story.  It began, like many of my favourites, with adoption. (I love a good adoption story.  The classic themes touch my heart - family, redemption, love, happily ever after.  The correlation with Jesus' journey here to bring us back home makes me crack wide open.)  But this one was a little different.  It wasn't a baby that God was bringing to her, but that God brought her to himself, through her baby.

She was adopting a child, and while she waited for her to arrive, was struck with her own inadequacy to raise a child.  She knew she needed more, something better, someOne bigger, to help her.  So she went looking, and found a gospel church where she was led to the best help - the Saviour.

As Advent begins, we're already thinking about Christmas - the birth of the baby who came to bring us to God.  And to think that God still sends babies to bring us to Him? Ahh, a deep breath of wonder.

My own life is crazy these days.  Full of the mixed-up stress of juggling and loving three needy littles.  Filling them up with goodness because every minute counts.  Staying up half the night, lolling half-awake on the couch half the day because the tyranny of every moment counting has to collapse somewhere.  It doesn't look a lot like the gospel, really.  But Jesus must matter whenever there's need - because that's what the gospel is.  Good news for the broken.  And in my broken exhaustion, how does the gospel heal?  How does the Bethlehem Babe matter?

He came right into the mess, didn't He? He didn't shimmer down through angel wings and a stream of gold to a pristine cradle.  He came into the world in a glut of mother-pain and was welcomed into the everyday messiness of a stable.  And angels sent shepherds right on in, right there, to worship.  They didn't wait til He had grown up and made order from the mess.  They came and saw and bowed, in awe at the strange and staggering glory of Emmanuel - God, with us.

So here, in my own mess?  He uses, of course, my children, to point me to Him.  Their quick forgiveness.  Their delight in loving.  Their sheer miraculous existence.  He's here - changing my stubborn heart, working and reworking my character to make me holy.  Prying the self-idol out of my grasp.  Laughing with me at my absurd expectations of this messy world.  He's right here in my stable and I -

What can I do?  I can look at the unsatisfactory stable, or I can see the One who makes the mess irrelevant.  I can see a manger, or my Saviour.  Here in my own not-enough-room.  Here on my own journey far from home.  Here in my not-what-I-planned life.  He meets me in my mess, and His holiness stills my heart.  I bow and worship, babe in a manger, Son of God, Son of man.  Right here, bone-tired and flecked with spit-up, I worship.

Have a blessed advent, friends.
xo.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

3551 to 3560

3551. Sam telling Vava he loved her.
3552. Vava announcing "I'm here!" after naptime.
3553. Kachi smiling and laughing at Sam.
3554. Butter chicken.
3555. Mandarin oranges with hazelnut cream.
3556. Patrick playing with Sam and Vava after supper.
3557. Chatting with our neighbours in the snowy sunshine.
3558. The way evening quiet settles in.
3559. Kachinvya's sweet baby smell.
3560. The ache for justice that flares.

Monday, November 24, 2014

3541 to 3550

3541. Sam's irrepressible smile.
3542. Vava, nonchalantly falling off the couch head first and remaining completely blasée.
3543. Kachi's wobbly, toothless grins.
3544. Texting with my one true love.
3545. S&V laughing, pelting me with snow from the other side of the door.
3546. Grocery shopping alone.
3547. Crisp salad.
3548. A new broom.
3549. Sam and Vava practicing swimming in the bath.
3550. Sam asking if Jesus has dogs. ♥

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

3531 to 3540

3531. Reunion with friends.
3532. An array of hot sauces.
3533. Christmas movies.
3534. Sam comforting Kachi.
3535. Sam and Vava giving me hugs after I cut my finger.
3536. Sweet messages from friends.
3537. Feeding Kachinvya in quietness while Patrick bathed the kids.
3538. Sweet & helpful pharmacist.
3539. Vava wanting horsey rides, and laughing at my pony rap.
3540. Patrick doing the supper dishes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

3521 to 3530

3521. My bible app reading plan - keeping me focused when my hours swirl in dizzy exhaustion.
3522. Coffee.
3523. Pumpkin chai.
3524. Comfortably casual friends.
3525. Snowflakes.
3526. Hand-me-downs.
3527. My new storage shelves.
3528. Leftover Hallowe'en goodies.
3529. Thoughtfulness.
3530. Somebody praying for me. ♥

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

3511 to 3520

3511. Coffee.
3512. Your help.
3513. A still moment of fresh air, breathing alone in the frost-tipped backyard.
3514. Sam pretending to be Santa, singing to himself.
3515. Sam apologizing, after I asked his forgiveness for losing my temper: "I'm sorry for disobeying, mama. I'm sorry for making a big mess. I'm sorry for being naughty. I'm so sorry."
3516. Your prayer-answer, coming quietly.
3517. Kachi swimming in the tub.
3518. The kids gobbling veggie soup.
3519. Passionfruit scented shampoo ... sweet nostalgia.
3520. Kachinvya's sneezes: two achoos and a groan.

Monday, November 10, 2014

3501 to 3510

3501. Sam's apologetic hug & kiss when he realized he'd pulled my hair.
3502. Friends ♥.
3503. God pressing my heart.
3504. Vava telling me "here's your happy girl, mama!"
3505. Kachi wrapping his clumsy little arms around the pink zebra.
3506. Kachinvya and Vava snuggling.
3507. Supper-love, with Oreos.
3508. Notes from far-away friends.
3509. Small victories.
3510. Patrick sending me to bed while he does the dishes. ♥.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

3491 to 3500

3491. Your challenge to learn.
3492. Your help.
3493. Vava's resilience.
3494. Being weird out loud.
3495. My family.
3496. Patrick's generous heart.
3497. Sam finding joy in making others happy.
3498. Kachinvya's bliss: floating in the tub while Sam roars like a dinosaur.
3499. Hazelnut sweetener.
3500. Cozy blankets in a chilly room.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

3481 to 3490

3481. Another good sleep.
3482. Having Patrick home for one more day.
3483. Juicy grapefruit, sliced and scrumptious.
3484. Kachinvya's funny faces.
3485. Vava remembering who gave her her "pippy dess."
3486. Watching The First Grader on Netflix.
3487. Patrick's beautiful profile.
3488. A sumptuous feast, delivered by one of our family's favourite people.
3489. Kachi in his puppy outfit.
3490. Vava insisting on helping with dishes.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

3471 to 3480

3471. Vava's morning emergency: "mama! Mama! I can't whistle!"
3472. Sam's morning emergency: "papa, I'm starving! I have just one starve!"
3473. Sam's frequent - and effective - use of the mama-melting "I love you!"
3474. A great playdate.
3475. A forgiving friend.
3476. Vava kissing the tub because she loves baths so much.
3477. Sam peering over his sunglasses, declaring, "you're beau'ful!"
3478. Vava telling me about all the characters on her show.
3479. Kissable Kachinvya.
3480. And his kissable papa.

Monday, November 3, 2014

3461 to 3470

3461. Sunny walk.
3462. Playdate at the park.
3463. Warm, happy-in-my-belly soup.
3464. Sam catching on so quickly to volleyball serving.
3465. Patrick painting in the basement.
3466. Vava's sweet hugs after naptime.
3467. Date night with my One True Love.
3468. Kachinvya in the tub - stretching, sprawling, floating.
3469. Sam and Vava's fascination with pruney fingers after bathtime.
3470. The prospect of a full night's sleep ... my mother-in-law's sweet gift.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

3451 to 3460

3451. Kachinvya's snuggliness.
3452. Giving Sam an airplane ride.
3453. Chili & cornbread for lunch.
3454. Family visits.
3455. Vava in her owl dress and striped tights.
3456. Fresh sheets.
3457. Hearing my Dee Dee and Nana's voices on the phone.
3458. Playdates.
3459. Relaxing tea.
3460. Love from our church family ♥.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

3441 to 3450

3441. Sleeping in this morning.
3442. Patrick manning all 3 kids like a boss.
3443. Sunshine.
3444. Coffee.
3445. Vava using the potty so well.
3446. Kachinvya, looking so handsome in his baseball shirt.
3447. Hearing from old friends.
3448. Neighbours popping in with gifts.
3449. Sam making us laugh with his hilarious lines.
3450. Patrick barbecuing jalapeno burgers ... yum!

Monday, October 27, 2014

3431 to 3440

3431. A late morning.
3432. Sam and Vava and Laethi making cookies.
3433. Patrick being home with us ♥.
3434. Vava falling asleep against my back.
3435. Patrick and the kids building in the yard.
3436. Snuggly Kachinvya.
3437. Friends for a scrumptious supper.
3438. Adorable baby smiles.
3439. Hilarious Vava sorting grapes into dirty dishes.
3440. A shower ... ahhh so nice :).

Sunday, October 26, 2014

3421 to 3430

3421. Sunshine.
3422. Breakfast cookies with cream cheese.
3423. My new owl scarf.
3424. Vava giving Kachi her zebra to cuddle during church.
3425. Patrick loving his Sunday school class.
3426. Patrick manning the boys while Vava & I had a huge nap.
3427. Patrick building a pirate ship in the backyard for the kids to play on.
3428. Tired Sam gobbling his supper.
3429. Laughing with Patrick.
3430. Kachinvya smiling and chuckling in his sleep.

Friday, October 24, 2014

3411 to 3420

3411. Sam doing Vava's chore so we could go to moms' group.
3412. S&V holding hands to cross the parking lot - such cooperation!
3413. Micah popping in and finding Vava's sucie on the sidewalk, washing the dishes, playing with Sam and fixing the step.
3414. Kachinvya growing longer.
3415. Gorgeously warm afternoon.
3416. Vava helping me feed Kachi.
3417. A shaggy dog in a pool of streetlight.
3418. Grocery shopping alone.
3419. Kachi looking so deliciously cute in stripes.
3420. Patrick manning the late feeding so I could go to bed.♥

Thursday, October 23, 2014

3401 to 3410

3401. A comforting sense of being held.
3402. One last breakfast with my beautiful mama.
3403. Patrick manning the bigs before work so I could snooze with the little.
3404. Playgroup.
3405. Driving around with my backseat full of jewels.
3406. Sam and Vava rising to the task of handling increased independence well.
3407. Take-out money from mama to make our Patrick-less evening fun.
3408. A super-quick oil change.
3409. Love & generosity from Patrick's coworkers.
3410. Our neighbours' impossibly pretty baby, sleeping in his stroller.

3391 to 3400

3391. Getting rid of Kachi's rash and finding his beautiful skin :).
3392. Sam hugging the inflated grim reaper at Wal-Mart, because 'he looked so mad and needed cheering up.'
3393. Blue skies and sunshine.
3394. Vava wearing her pretty new pants from aunt Jenny.
3395. Laughing with Sam and Mom on Sam's cushion-slide.
3396. Reading to the kids, Vava repeating every line.
3397. A beautiful walk in the golden sunshine.
3398. Soup from friends for supper.
3399. My amazing husband helping me write thank-you cards.
3400. Laughing with my mama at the table.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kachinvya Chad

Our darling boy has finally arrived!  As with Vava, we've had a lot of questions about his name. Here are some answers:

It's pronounced kuh-CHINV-yuh. Go on, take it for a spin ... try saying it out loud. Emphasize the second syllable. Not so hard, right?

Kachi for short, and it doesn't sound like "catchy" ... more like "caught"-chee, emphasis on the first syllable. 

We love the name on its own, but its meaning makes it especially dear to us. After infertility drugs, miscarriages, and a lot of heartbreak, we're not taking our kids for granted. Each of our children's names has a special meaning.  Sam means God hears my prayers. Vivian means life. And Kachinvya means victor, overcomer.  We're so blessed :).

Here's a peek at our little man with the big name.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

3381 to 3390

3381. You hear our prayers.
3382. You create life.
3383. Through You we overcome.
3384. You are enough.
3385. You carry us, we don't carry ourselves.
3386. You are eternal.
3387. You came here as a baby.
3388. You know us from the inside out.
3389. You love us.
3390. You love me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

3361 to 3380

3361. Little Kachinvya Chad coming safely into the world.
3362. Superhero Chrissy, coming in the middle of the night to stay with Sam and Vava.
3363. Superhero Rachael, being my strong and calm friend throughout labour.
3364. Superhero mama, letting me crush her hand and counting me through each contraction.
3365. Superhero Patrick, giving me such glad glances of excitement and pride to keep me going.
3366. My wonderful nurse, who was so competent and pleasant and kind.
3367. Apple juice and ice chips.
3368. Sam and Vava, who suddenly seem huge and astonishing.
3369. My night nurse, who kept Kachi-boy so I could sleep.
3370. A zillion well-wishers making meet smile.
3371. October sunshine.
3372. God holding me close.
3373. A refreshing shower.
3374. Coming home to Sam and Vava after two days apart.
3375. Vava wearing her Peppa Pig costume to bed.
3376. Kachinvya in his carseat, so teensy tiny.
3377. Sam and Vava cuddling Kachinvya, careful and adoring.
3378. Coming home to my own house with my own family to be together always ... kind of heavenly.
3379. Gillian's visit.
3380. Walking into my bedroom and being surprised to find Kachi ... delicious new normal ♥.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

3351 to 3360

3351. Patrick being home today.
3352. Sick Sam loving his apple juice popsicles.
3353. Vava snuggling Sam when he fell asleep on the couch.
3354. Mom's help in painting the bathroom.
3355. Vava dressing up as a "Pip-ess Tiger."
3356. Patrick's laundry marathon.
3357. My uncle surviving a horrible crash.
3358. My loving family.
3359. The kids falling asleep right away.
3360. Watching a movie with my beautiful mama.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

3341 to 3350

3341. Vava's adorable excitement over her balloons and streamers.
3342. Presents and cake for breakfast.
3343. Sam helping Vava find her presents.
3344. Sam and Vava playing tea party.
3345. Our church family being thankful together.
3346. The way God makes beautiful things out of the dust.
3347. Hearing a birth mother thanking God for good adoptions.
3348. Making freezer meals with Mom and Patrick.
3349. Mom's delicious gf stuffing and orange-cranberry relish.
3350. Vava in bed in the dark, still playing tea-party with an unresponsive (sleeping) Sam.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

3331 to 3340

3331. My patient husband.
3332. My patient mama.
3333. Vava being so in love with her spyglass.
3334. Sunshine.
3335. Puttering outside with my mama.
3336. Sam's dramatic sleep positions.
3337. Prayers for patience.
3338. Cheetos at just the right time.
3339. Encouragement to endure with hope.
3340. Hearing my Dad's voice.

3321 to 3330

3321. Another day to enjoy my beautiful mama.
3322. Running into Stan at the store.
3323. Sam asking for chocolate ice lollies.
3324. Sam and Vava's hilarious early-morning conversation.
3325. Patrick coming with me to
3326. My appointment, which was better than I'd feared.
3327. God giving me another peek at how much I am governed by my own fear.
3328. Park playdate in gorgeous fall sunshine.
3329. Vava watching out the window for me to come home.
3330. Bubble tea and Pad Thai.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

3311 to 3320

3311. A Chapters playdate.
3312. My restful morning massage.
3313. Sweet texts from friends.
3314. Vava's adorable food belly at lunch.
3315. Sam's independent play.
3316. Sam wanting me to hold his hand and walk upstairs.
3317. Vava trying to tuck toys under my shirt for baby K, then squealing "he's so cuuute!"
3318. A gorgeous full moon.
3319. My husband ♥ my wonderful Patrick.
3320. Mom taking such care of me - of all of us!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

3301 to 3310

3301. Sam's friend sharing his awesome new toy with him, generously and happily.
3302. Sunshine morning.
3303. Banana pumpkin loaf.
3304. Sam playing happily outside by himself in the leaves.
3305. Friendship and Coca-Cola.
3306. Cold rain drops dashing down.
3307. Mom and Patrick cleaning up after supper.
3308. Cheetos.
3309. A riveting new show.
3310. Mama crocheting baby K a beautiful turquoise blanket.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

3291 to 3300

3291. Being able to tell the kids to go back to sleep without getting out of bed ... hello awesome monitor!
3292. Peanut butter oatmeal.
3293. A sunny morning.
3294. Love and hugs at church.
3295. Taking a huge nap while mom cleaned up.
3296. Waking up to find my amazing husband had painted the downstairs bathroom.
3297. Sam's eagerness to go to bed.
3298. Eating chicken nachos and
3299. Watching God's Not Dead with
3300. Mom and Patrick.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

3281 to 3290

3281. Sleeping in while my handsome love manned the kids.
3282. Coming downstairs to receive ecstatic hugs from Vava.
3283. Being spoiled like crazy by friends.
3284. Hospital presents.
3285. Spinach and feta egg puffs.
3286. My mama taking care of me ... making carmel corn and vacuuming the stairs.
3287. A happy dinner out with friends.
3288. Cheesecake.
3289. Knowing I'm 24 hours closer to meeting baby K than I was last night.
3290. Hearing the kids talk in their sleep on our new monitor.

Friday, October 3, 2014

3271 to 3280

3271. Waking up to hugs from my mama.
3272. Patrick coming with me to my appt with ScaryDoc.
3273. Moms group.
3274. Vava sitting on the couch wearing her dinosaur hat and princess crown, drinking from her sippy cup and fondly cradling her huge pumpkin. So much weirdness, so much cuteness.
3275. Sam wanting to be a big boy all day.
3276. Green chili tacos with blue corn chips.
3277. Lying on the couch while my mama did the dishes.
3278. Patrick manning the stay-in-bed marathon.
3279. Kind kind friends.
3280. It's Friday!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

3261 to 3270

3261. Patrick manning Sam while I laid in bed this morning.
3262. Sam singing happy birthday to me ♥.
3263. S'more cake!
3264. My sweet garbage collectors.
3265. Fun at playgroup.
3266. Lots of happy texts and posts.
3267. Sam sobbing because the roadkill was dead.
3268. Vava wearing her crown to meet Nanny at the airport.
3269. Insane presents from home.
3270. Giggling with my PoWM-y husband as he wore plaid shorts, a reflective jacket, and purple crocs to snag groceries.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

3251 to 3260

3251. Sitting outside with a good friend and cozy blankets.
3252. Silly Vava being so hyper when she finally woke after 14 hours.
3253. Building towers with Sam.
3254. Making veggie soup from our neighbours' big gift.
3255. Sam bringing me a Lego 'cake' and singing happy birthday.
3256. A relaxing massage from my sweet therapist.
3257. Presents and a visit from Chrissy.
3258. Ywetta's delicious chocolate raspberry cake.
3259. Chips and dip, both on sale (did someone tell Superstore it's my birthday tomorrow?).
3260. Good friends and so much love to enjoy :).

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

3241 to 3250

3241. Sunshine.
3242. A roomy dress.
3243. Dreams that make far-off friends feel closer.
3244. Popcorn.
3245. Vava's expanding vocabulary: "gis-gussing!"
3246. Sam cuddling down for a good snuggle on the couch with me.
3247. Fresh veggies from our neighbours' garden.
3248. Sweet sleep.
3249. Line-dried laundry.
3250. Cold clean water.

Monday, September 29, 2014

3231 to 3240

3231. A very fallish day.
3232. Vava squeaking "baby K coming soon? I so excited!!"
3233. Sam hugging Vava at bedtime, saying, "she's my brother. Sorry Papa, you can't take her."
3234. Sam and Vava playing in the leaves.
3235. A nice playdate.
3236. Installing baby K's carseat.
3237. Packing my hospital bag.
3238. Sam being so excited to find dozens of slugs under his sandbox.
3239. Having only 10 days left til due date :).
3240. Lounging with my one true love ♥.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

3221 to 3230

3221. Patrick bringing me home a brand new vacuum.
3222. A sermon about looking back and pointing forward.
3223. Knowing You can make us holy.
3224. Chatting in the nursery with wiser, more experienced moms.
3225. Getting the laundry off the line just before the rain hit.
3226. A deep sweet nap.
3227. Vava's cute post-nap pretending: "dinosaurs coming! They bite my face. Rarr."
3228. The kids playing puppies.
3229. Vava in her dinosaur costume and pyjamas before bed.
3230. Sam's insistence on long sleeves and long pants, even when wearing pyjamas.

Friday, September 26, 2014

3211 to 3220

3211. Coffee.
3212. Patrick biking to work.
3213. The kids eating a good breakfast before the waiting room marathon.
3214. The kids behaving well at the doctor's office.
3215. Coffee.
3216. Vava coming up close to Sam while he was in timeout, putting her arms around him for a hug, and quietly poking out her tongue to lick his arm.
3217. Chatting with my dad.
3218. Jesus speaking of days like this: "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." -John 16:33.
3219. Nobody dying in the Great Duck Crash of 2014.
3220. Watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with my One True Love.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

3201 to 3210

3201. Playgroup today!
3202. Remembering to get the garbage out for pickup. (Seriously, I have pregnancy brain ... and forgetting is a stinky hassle.)
3203. Sam falling crazy in love with our new (to us) Hannah Montana guitar.  Or maybe it's the Hannah Montana decal on the front ... "she's so byooful!"
3204. Sam playing the guitar and singing Holy Holy Holy.
3205. The way the kids at playgroup were so intense about singing time.
3206. Vava saying HI HI HI HI to everyone in Walmart.
3207. The mom who stopped me to chat about babies and couldn't believe I'm 38 weeks along.  Thank you!
3208. Vava asking for Patrick as soon as she woke from her nap.
3209. Sam praying before bed.
3210. Getting some overdue things checked off my to-do list.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

3191 to 3200

3191. Chatting with my sister.
3192. Vava's pretty feet in too-big pink sandals.
3193. A sunny tricycle ride to the store.
3194. Delicious beef jerky.
3195. A visit, and lunch, and supper - feeling blessed and filled.
3196. Sam shrieking from the height of the swingset's arc: my bum is crazy!
3197. Precious baby Colby, sound asleep.
3198. Two kids bursting with glee because Papa came home.
3199. A pleasant bedtime.
3200. Friends with patient ears and bright laughter.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

3181 to 3190

3181. Sam and Vava helping me clean up.
3182. Sam being so thrilled to help fold towels.
3183. Another hot and sunny laundry-line day.
3184. Friends and a cookie picnic on the deck.
3185. Chatting with my sisters.
3186. Vava's temper tantrum and sweet sweet apology.
3187. Playing frisbee with Sam in the backyard.
3188. The reminder that His Word is sure - most sure!
3189. Patrick doing the dishes.
3190. Baby growing and growing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

3171 to 3180

3171. Noticing that my phone isn't publishing to my blog anymore ... in time to save this list from the mysterious fate that met my last two lists.
3172. A gorgeous sunny day.
3173. Texting with my sister on her birthday :).
3174. Saving the handsome orange cat that was stuck on our roof.
3175. His obvious gratitude.
3176. Sam yelling "KITTY!" and chasing the poor thing all over the yard ... felt a little bit like a scene from Monsters, Inc.
3177. Vava looking gorgeous in her pretty new sweater.
3178. So-perfect presents arriving for baby K!
3179. A relaxing bath while Patrick settled the kids.
3180. Vava bringing me a play cake she made, and singing happy birthday. Heart officially melted.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My Brother's Keeper

On Fridays, I take the kids to Moms' Group.  My friend who hosts it also watches a few boys Sam's age during the school year, so as well as their usual summer circle of friends, Sam and Vava get to play with some new kids.

Yesterday they were so excited as we got ready to go.  "Who wants to leave for Moms' Group?" I asked, and they cheered like football fans and ran to the door.  Suddenly, Sam grabbed my arms and looked intently into my eyes.  "What if the big boys are mean to Vava?" he asked.  "Well, what would you do if you saw that happening?" I asked.  "I would put out my hand like a stop sign and say NO and I would shoot them from my eyes!" he declared fiercely.

Sam already knows the answer to Cain's insolent question: yes, I am my brother's (and sister's) keeper.

We take care of the people we love.  They matter.  So yes - we put our bodies between them and the possibility of harm.  We step out into traffic to grab our naughty toddlers, we nurse our sick spouses at the risk of getting sick ourselves, we get up in the night and drive to the hospital to sit with our friends.

And we do it for people we don't even know -  mothers with morning sickness and tired bodies carry a 40-week burden to birth someone they've never met, donations pour in for disaster relief from pockets halfway across the world, firefighters run against instinct straight into burning buildings to rescue people trapped inside.

During a routine prenatal appointment a few weeks ago, a doctor asked me why we had adopted Sam.  Adoption isn't something that's done in her culture, she explained, and she didn't understand what motivated people to adopt.

I didn't know where to start.  Adoption was one way to grow our family, especially with my infertility condition and a good chance we'd never conceive on our own.  But it's more than that - there's something about adoption that resonates in my heart - it's a physical expression of the gospel, it says Your life is valuable! I treasure you!  Parents reach out all over the globe to take care of children who don't carry their genes - not out of obligation or duty, but because they believe with all of their hearts that yes - I am my brother's keeper.

It's why we respond with disgust and anger when we read about children being found sick with neglect, unwashed and unfed by the very people who ought to care for them most tenderly.  It's why we ask "are you okay?" when we see someone crying.  It's why our hearts ache with loneliness when no one reaches out to show us we matter to them.

It's why rape and murder are crimes and sins - the violent treat the victims' bodies as if they don't have a responsibility to them.  We do.  We have a responsibility to respect and care for our brothers, our sisters.  Rape is an act that declares "your body, my choice."  It's evil; it goes against the truth that we are our brothers' keepers. 

I am responsible to care for you - at the very least, I am responsible to deny my desire to harm you (and believe me, if you cut me off in traffic, it's a very real desire).  And as a Christian, God compels me to do more than just cause no harm - but to actively bless and serve and love the people around me, the people I can reach. 

I'm not very interested in politics, but yesterday I read an article that could have been titled "My body, my choice."  A politician was touting the pro-choice (poorly named - I think it's the side with the fewest choices occurring) stance that no one can tell other people what to do with their bodies - specifically, in the case of whether or not to abort their baby.

I think rapists and murderers would agree.  "My body, my choice," their actions say, as they walk away from the carnage they leave behind.

Even Sam knows that's false.  Even Sam knows he's responsible to care for his sister - not because I've told him so, but because no one should hurt her and if they do, he's on the job.  If someone hurts her, he's going to put up his hand and make a stop sign and say NO and shoot them from his eyes.  They can't freely choose to hurt Vava with their bodies as long as Sam's around to stop them.

I understand that pregnancy is hard and inconvenient and goodness knows the church has caused a lot of pain and loss by shaming those who have gotten pregnant unmarried.  That's not what Christians should do, btw - we should put our arms around anyone vulnerable, (scared pregnant moms especially, because they're especially vulnerable!), and protect them because yes, I am my brother's keeper!  And I'm not writing this to hurt those who have chosen abortion ... because I am my sister's keeper.  I care.  I care so much - and if you need to talk or want help or need someone to listen and care and be on your side, I am here.

I'm writing because I have to - my heart is full and heavy and these words need to get out.

I must stand against the ideology of "my body, my choice" because those who are most vulnerable and unable to stand up for themselves are the ones we are most responsible for.  I wouldn't expect Sam to defend me against adults - but I am thrilled that his feisty little heart aches to protect Vava.  

I must stand against it because I am an adoptive mom.  Sam's birth mom chose to use her body to bless Sam and bless us - and any way you look at it, adoption is a sacrificial choice that declares yes, I am my brother's keeper.

Ordinary heroes and mamas and daddies and brothers and sisters, wrap your arms around this hurting world and stand strong.  Be the good Samaritan in the place where you are, and whisper brave against sore hearts and lonely lives Your life is valuable! I treasure you! 

xo.

Friday, September 19, 2014

3141 to 3150

3141. My sweet happy morning bugs.
3142. Patrick kissing me good morning and telling me I'm beautiful.
3143. Sam asking where the sun went.
3144. Chatting with my sisters and dad.
3145. Friends who pray for each other.
3146. Stretch pants.
3147. YouTube lullabies.
3148. Talking about delivery.
3149. Watching a tear-jerker with my One True Love.
3150. Patrick ♥.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

3131 to 3140

3131. Sam and Vava's adorable happy morning hugs and hellos.
3132. Playgroup being back in session.
3133. A picture-perfect (if freezing) morning at the beach - sunshine, birds wheeling through the sky, and Sam and Vava with their heads thrown back, laughing on the swings.
3134. Painting with Sam, and his hilarious Space Friend.
3135. Sam helping me make 2-ingredient cookies.
3136. Vava waking from her nap, wearing a hat she hadn't gone to sleep in ;).
3137. The furnace repairman absolutely making our day ... and loving the kids' excitement at his arrival.
3138. Patrick manning the kids' supper and bedtime.
3139. My luscious massage.
3140. Crockpot potato soup with bacon bits and cheddar cheese. Mmm.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

3121 to 3130

3121. A delicious quiet morning with Patrick.
3122. Warm breakfast - sweet comfort on a dark and rainy day.
3123. Happy hugs from my darlings.
3124. Playdate with nice friends.
3125. Cinnamon banana muffins.
3126. Sam and Vava eating lunch like pros.
3127. Cuddling with a beautiful brand-new baby.
3128. Sam's adorable tenderness with baby Colby.
3129. Patrick doing the dishes and picking up the toys for his unwieldy wife.
3130. Getting some freezer meals all prepped. Ahhh.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

3111 to 3120

3111. Patrick.
3112. Sam.
3113. Vava.
3114. Baby K.
3115. Coffee.
3116. Sam and Vava pretending to be puppies.
3117. Vava making a play picnic of old sponges and inviting us to eat.
3118. Sam's response when I told him to go back to sleep: "my belly is a stop sign and my heart says No Thank You."
3119. Pizza & spinach smoothies for supper.
3120. A quiet evening in with Patrick.

Monday, September 15, 2014

3101 to 3110

3101. A roof overhead.
3102. Hot coffee.
3103. Good morning kisses.
3104. Food in our bellies.
3105. Vava blowing the competence tests out of the water.
3106. Sam singing and dancing "I Love You!!!!" with me.
3107. Patrick forgiving my braindeadness.
3108. Cow candies.
3109. My so-understanding np.
3110. Vava, tenderly feeding her toy bottle to the stegosaurus.

Because-of Beautiful

My dear friend,
You had a rough beginning.
Broken, like glass, sharp edges that pierce and sliver.
More than anything, you long for wholeness,
You try with all your blessed might to shield your children from anything that might give them the same broken lessening.
You don't see
The because-of beauty in their mother:
Her gentle kindness
Her deep-heart softness
Her careful thoughtfulness.
Qualities etched into broken glass by tumbling waves.
My dear friend
You are precisely you
Because of your broken beginning
Not in spite of it
(God doesn't deal in spite)
And your wholeness
Is the wholeness of a life worn well.
I pray
You will be granted eyes to see
That what you think made you less
Has been used to make you great
And your well-worn dust
Has been filled with the breath of God.
Your life
Is beautiful.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

3091 to 3100

3091. Sam and Vava playing together first thing this morning in baby K's room.
3092. Baked peanut butter oatmeal for breakfast.
3093. Our loving church family.
3094. Patrick giving me a footrub.
3095. A gigantic, brilliant rainbow.
3096. Vava feeding her babies.
3097. New twinkly lights for our living room.
3098. Sam thanking Patrick for his new water gun.
3099. Vava wanting a kiss and cuddle from Sam before bed.
3100. A tear-jerker picture of my beautiful mama and sister.

Greatly Loved

My Samjam is a pretty tough nugget.  I've dropped him, tripped over him, accidentally bonked him in the face with my knee - and he doesn't really mind too much. Physical pain?  He can handle that.

But add a hint of animosity to the slightest touch, and he will wail at full-volume, with crocodile tears and drool and chest-heaving incoherence.  It's not the pain he can't handle, but the possibility of malice.

When he's naughty and I put him in timeout, if I'm angry at all, he will shriek "owwww!"  There isn't any pain to protest, but the anger - that's what hurts.  If his sister accidentally steps on his toes, he doesn't even blink (well, she is a featherweight ;)), but if she is angry at him and stomps her foot and accidentally steps on his toes, he will burst into a torrent of sobs.

I've discovered lately that if I hold him close and look into his eyes and say "I love you and I care that you're hurting, Sam," the sobs will instantly stop.  That's all he needs to know - that I care.  Then he can bear the timeout, or whatever is causing him to cry. 

Because that's the thing about love - when we know we're loved, we can bear almost anything.

I've been reading in the book of Daniel lately, and was struck with the phrasing used to comfort him.  Daniel was a man of great faith and courage and he did not fear the punishments of the king, even to being tossed in a den of lions.  But when God sent him visions, he was terrified and did not understand.  He fell down on his face in sheer fear.

God sent the angel Gabriel to speak to him, and I would have expected him to say something like this: "O Daniel, remember that you are a man of great faith.  Trust in God and fear not."  Which would have been true, and reasonable. But what he actually said?

"O Daniel, man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage."(Daniel 10:19)

Greatly loved!  That's the first thing, the first comfort - you are loved.  Don't fear.  Rest easy.  Be courageous. You are loved.

Brothers, sisters - we are loved.  Love bears all things.  And perfect love - God's love - casts out fear.  How can we fear anything when the deep underneath-it-all glad truth is that He loves us?

I've been feeling like a bad mom, like a failure - comparing myself to other (good, yes!) moms who do things differently from me.  I'm not the organic mom, the homeschool mom, the cloth-diaper mom, the Pinterest mom.  I'm not even the successful-potty-training mom. 

But I am Sam and Vava's mom, and God assures me that I am indeed a good mom doing His good work.  When I tell myself I'm a bad mom, I'm just speaking fear and lies - I'm not resting in Him. I'm not courageous. 

These words to Daniel burst on my heart like a river, a sunrise.  You are greatly loved.  Fear not. I don't want to raise my kids as a mom who can't see past her own fear.  No.  I want to trust that God has called me, chosen me, set this task in my hands.  He has given me what I need to complete it well.  And when I find myself bowed, stricken with my own sense of inadequacy, howling crocodile tears like my tender-hearted Sam, I will listen to these words.

"At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved."  (Daniel 9:23)

I don't know what your week has in store for you, but I want to write this in blazing, sure letters on your trembling heart.

You are loved.  Fear not.  Rest easy.  Be courageous.  You are loved.

Greatly loved.


Friday, September 12, 2014

3081 to 3090

3081. Sam, hearing the phrase "pedestrian crossings" explains "if you walk in the street a car can hit you." Patrick and I were so surprised ... smart kid. :)
3082. Remembering the bag of clothing donations in the trunk, just when Vava was sodden and yucky from spilled Yop.
3083. Finding my phone when I thought I'd left it at home.
3084. Patrick caring so much.
3085. Sam's shy phone-voice.
3086. Sam standing on his tiptoes, telling me excitedly "I so bigger now!"
3087. Moms' group.
3088. Vava snuggling on my friend.
3089. Doing something about a bad situation instead of just whining about it.
3090. YouTube and cozy blankets with Patrick.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

3071 to 3080

3071. Growing our baby ♥.
3072. Patrick taking the kids out for a quick errand and giving me a few minutes to miss them.
3073. Emails from dear friends.
3074. Sunshine on the deck this morning.
3075. Sam telling me the things he loved about his day.
3076. Vava asking me for dinosaur kisses.
3077. Pumpkin vanilla smoothies.
3078. Pulling off socks at the end of the day.
3079. Bedtime going so smoothly.
3080. News of a friend's baby arriving safely.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

3061 to 3070

3061. Waking up chilly next to a cuddly furnace. ♥
3062. Sam's gurgly belly saying thank you for his favourite toothpaste.
3063. Patrick and Sam helping me vacuum out the vents.
3064. Vava telling me she was a Princess Dragon.
3065. Chatting with my heart-sister.
3066. A morning movie date with friends.
3067. Wiggly toes in my ribs.
3068. Cozy socks on a chilly day.
3069. My sister's phone call.
3070. Receiving my cousin's gorgeous album in the mail.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

3051 to 3060

3051. Sam's beginner theology.
3052. Vava being excited to wear a 'pippy dess!'
3053. Talking with my sisters.
3054. Making glow-in-the-dark bedtime toys for Sam and his friend.
3055. Homemade pumpkin spice lattes.
3056. The softness in the air before rainfall.
3057. Sam 'helping' me mow the lawn.
3058. Vava's face lighting up when our neighbour gave her flowers.
3059. Vava asking to go in the potty!
3060. Sam going to sleep right away ... cuddled next to a squirmy, snuggly Vava.

Monday, September 8, 2014

3041 to 3050

3041. A productive early morning.
3042. Being awake when my kids woke up ... and much less cranky ;).
3043. Friends checking in to make sure I'm okay. ♥
3044. A houseful of kids.
3045. Sam's enjoyment of quiet time.
3046. Little guy falling asleep on the couch.
3047. Vava running for me with her tongue hanging out, looking like a joyful puppy, when I came back after a 10-minute errand.
3048. A little date with Patrick.
3049. Texting with friends.
3050. Chrissy, staying home with our kids, and loving them so much.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

3031 to 3040

3031. Sam praying a funny little prayer for breakfast.
3032. Our beautiful church family.
3033. Vava telling me a few times she wants a pig theme for her birthday party.
3034. Lots of Facebook love.
3035. Playing in the park with the kids and friends.
3036. A wonderful impromptu supper date.
3037. Planning the rest of the month like an actual grown-up.
3038. Sam's beautiful new triangle of freckles. ♥
3039. Couch-snuggles with my one true love.
3040. Slipping into a fresh bed after a good shower.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

3021 to 3030

3021. Baked pb oatmeal for breakfast.
3022. Vava gobbling rice krispies.
3023. Walking to the street fair.
3024. Sam and Vava seeing the Shriners' train and calling it "the Gertrude" from Peppa Pig.
3025. A great nap.
3026. Taking the kids through a car wash.
3027. Giving Sam's hair a much-needed trim.
3028. The way Vava wants to be just like Sam.
3029. Chatting with my mama.
3030. Sam's endless excuses for staying up late ... creativity at its finest.

Friday, September 5, 2014

3011 to 3020

3011. Patrick gently pulling the blankets up over me when he got out of bed.
3012. A Facebook-free morning; playing with my kids and being silly.
3013. Moms' group.
3014. Lunchtime visit with Patrick.
3015. Gifts for Sam - including a dinosaur costume! - from a thoughtful friend.
3016. Sam and Vava wearing their costumes all afternoon.
3017. Donair night :).
3018. Lovely friends.
3019. A gift of grace and truth.
3020. Braxton Hicks ... taking me closer and closer to baby K!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

3001 to 3010

3001. Amazon order arriving - new reusable applesauce pouches are a big hit!
3002. Quiet lunch to myself while Sam & Vava napped.
3003. Sunshine after rain.
3004. Earl Grey Tea and company.
3005. Jesus being in the boat.  Not watching it. Not monitoring it. In it. Peace!
3006. God working His righteousness ... not just expecting me to, and blaming me when I fail, but planning and helping and guiding me in it. ♥ blessed.
3007. Relaxing in the sunshine.
3008. Pumpkin pie soap.
3009. A gorgeous massage.
3010. Coming home to supper with my love and the kids already bathed & in bed. Ahhh.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

2991 to 3000

What You've Taken
2991. My sin.
2992. Grampie.
2993. My fears.
2994. Baby Belzoir.
2995. My questions.
2996. My ignorance.
2997. My prayers.
2998. My offerings.
2999. My ineptness.
3000. Your own good time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2981 to 2990

2981. Sunshine and friendship.
2982. Sam praying for Jedidah's trip home.
2983. Sam getting mad at me for keeping Vava awake on our drive home.
2984. Vava opening the marker when Sam was trying to help her ... "want me to open it, Va? ... hmm guess not."
2985. Lying in baby K's room and dreaming about him.
2986. Sam stuttering and then exclaiming in confusion "I can't say it!"
2987. A night out with Patrick's work peeps.
2988. Patrick ♥.
2989. An amazing last-minute babysitter.
2990. Sam calling me to his room and asking if I'm too busy or can he tell me something. The something? "I love you! Can I have a hug?"

Monday, September 1, 2014

2971 to 2980

2971. Patrick being home with us today.
2972. Baked peanut butter oatmeal.
2973. Friends :).
2974. Vava's distress at being separated from Sam.
2975. Their ecstatic reunions.
2976. Sam telling me he saw a "dead stunk! And flies were eating it because it was so delicious.  Because it didn't get off the road and a car was going so fast."
2977. Well-loved friends joining us for supper.
2978. Jedidah doing the dishes - again! - and spoiling me rotten.
2979. A cool evening walk under the stars.
2980. Conversation and that just-right feeling. ♥

2961 to 2970

2961. Sunday morning breakfast.
2962. Sweet old ladies at church.
2963. A reminder that God delivers the weak. ♥
2964. Sam and Jackson's joyful reunion.
2965. Donairs for lunch!
2966. Spray-painting fun.
2967. Soaps on sale.
2968. Chrissy & Jedidah making me laugh.
2969. Playing at the park with Sam and Vava.
2970. Vava wearing her tutu.