nine

Today we celebrate our youngest turning nine years old. Her name means lively and this is the perfect description of this child. She is a sweet friend, quiet at times, but confident. She is trying basketball this season and should be fun to watch. One of the cool things about children is letting them try new things. You never know what they will excel in or learn from. I like being apart of this and want to document along the way. It is also exciting to watch her learn about Jesus. She has her own way of getting to know Him, more of an observer, taking it all in. Soon I think she will make her own decision to trust in Him. There is no other gift greater.

Happy Birthday, sweet Vivian. I love you.

beauty

Monday was my mom’s birthday. Since she now lives in heaven, I decided I can still honor her here. When I think about my mom, the first word that comes to mind is beauty. She had outward beauty, that even strangers noticed and a quiet, inside beauty those up close got to experience. With these thoughts and memories running through my mind, I was not surprised when they collided with what our group has been studying in the scriptures. We looked at the life of a man named Elijah, who trained another to continue his ministry. This man was Elisha, who asked for something I would never have thought to ask. He asked for a double portion and only knew he had received it after Elijah was gone. What would I ask to have a double portion of that my mom had? The answer came quick and that is beauty. Not on the outside, but the inside kind that lasts. What would that look like? How can God use this to carry on what my mom began? Questions without answers, but asked to the One who knows.

Leave It

This sweet picture, taken eight years ago, came up on social media today. It made me smile, until I read the sentence I put with it. This boy of mine had put ornaments on a tree and declared each one perfect. I had said I rearranged them after he went to bed. Why did I not just leave them? Now I miss the days that our home had plenty of evidence that young children reside here. Isn’t this home as much theirs as it is mine?

Not even thirty minutes had passed and I was given another chance. Grace works like that sometimes. This same boy was helping me load the dishwasher. Given the basic instructions, he helped and I left his work. Maybe we are both growing.

thirteen

One of our boys turns thirteen today. He is a party waiting to happen. If you need cheering up or a good laugh, he is your guy. Everyone needs a kid like this in their life. With so much energy, he functions best when he is serving and thrives while doing so. There is this look in his eye, one that lacks fear, and I know God put it there. It reminds me to relax and enjoy what is right in front of me. He has this way of seeing opportunities and making the most of each one. Age does not matter to him, for he believes a person is worth knowing at any stage of life. This will continue to serve him well and make life so much more enjoyable. And since his dream is to be a professional golfer, he is going to get to enrich many lives, I just know it.

Paxton, my prayer for you all your days is that you continually remember that it is God who will strengthen you, help you, who takes hold of you with His righteous hand. (Isaiah 41:10). And know that I am cheering you on! I love you!

Good

We sang a song on Sunday, that I have continued to sing all week. It starts with a question or maybe a statement, depending on the heart. The words are perfect for this day, “How good is He.” Words about stars and salvation, forgiveness and second chance. I noticed no mention of our goodness, only His. That is what tops my thankful list this year and the rest comes easy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Walking

A new song was just released that came out of grief. After reading the lyrics, I had the thought that there is nothing that splits a heart like sorrow. Loss has this way that breaks your heart wide open, but it also allows us to experience Jesus differently than before. How else would we ever know Him to be the healer of broken hearts and binder of wounds? To know about something is not the same as knowing it personally. With the holidays approaching, maybe you feel the losses, sorrow a bit more too. What if we allowed Him to be who He says He is? I picture Him walking through our wide open heart, slowly stitching and bandaging us up. The bleeding stops and we rest awhile. Then He reaches out His hand, that was once wounded too, and helps us to our feet. We don’t ever have to let go you know. We get back to living, mended and whole, with a soft heart. A heart that now has depths of compassion and love that were maybe shallow before the loss. Thanksgiving and generosity would flow and maybe peace would too. Now is the time for us to decide how we will walk out this season. What will we choose?

Eleven

We celebrated our son turning eleven this weekend. He wanted to go to a movie and his favorite restaurant, so we did. He is one that does not ask for much and teaches me about living more simply. He thinks about things that I have never even considered, but wonder why not. He loves the night sky and wishes he did not have to go to sleep. His favorite color is blue and dresses accordingly. There is a quietness about him and could be easily overlooked. Sometimes it is the louder ones that demand more attention. He just has this underlying confidence that I envy. It is like he has always known his worth and that he is loved, so why try and earn it? Goodness, this kid is a gift and I am so thankful for him.

Happy Birthday, Eli. I love you. May you continue to grow more and more like Christ with each passing year.

Closed Doors

Lately, I have been noticing the times in scripture where a closed door is mentioned. A door is closed when a miracle of oil multiplies for a widow and her two sons. Another time when Jesus is healing a little girl and people laughed at him. And then there is the instruction, when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6). All of these reminders encouraged me and I hope they do you. So many things happen behind the doors of our homes. Daily life is lived, hearts are tended, tears are shed and this is unseen by those on the outside, only the results. Perhaps you have seen miracles, been laughed at, felt minimized or spent time alone in prayer. None of this goes unnoticed by our Father. And if He says He will reward us, then we can trust Him.

Our Daughter

Twenty one years ago we were entrusted with a rare treasure, our oldest daughter. We have watched her grow, laugh, cry and never give up. She has tried new things, some have worked and others have not. The perseverance this child has gained along the way is admirable. She laughs easy and lives free. Her Savior has captured her heart and the deep love she has for Him is evident. She enjoys reading His word and appreciates the beauty He created in nature. Hiking boots are her go-to shoe and she is always up for an adventure. Her latest one has taken her a thousand miles away, but love keeps us tied together. She is being celebrated well with family and friends, but we can hardly wait to have her home.

Maggie, you are precious, loved unconditionally and absolutely stunning. I am so thankful you are our daughter. Happy Birthday!

Partnership

We recently celebrated twenty three years of marriage and the word partnership comes to mind. It is easier to partner with someone who loves you unconditionally, serves and honors you. That is not to say that we do not have struggles, but there is this underlying commitment and reliance on God that keeps us going. Something else that I have found to be vital in our relationship is humility. As I have witnessed this in my husband, I see this quiet, confident strength that makes me feel secure. I have watched this spill over into our children and they are different. He is available and pursues us in a way that enforces our identity as being dearly loved. God knew this is what I needed and gave far more than I ever dreamed in a partner. I pray we are given a hundred more years.

Happy Anniversary, Damon. I love you….