Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas!

“He’s here! He’s here! Look, guys, he’s finally here!”

This has been a year for babies! Some of my closest friends have had their first baby this year, and several have had subsequent babies that we’ve been waiting on. I find it so exciting to wait on a baby. I never waited on mine (I think we’d still be waiting) so I enjoy the wait. I check my e-mail, and ask around, “Have you heard anything?” I almost always cry. To finally look at that face and decide who the child resembles (sometimes it looks like a grumpy old man, though!). One birth, in particular impacted me. I won’t go into the details, but I had the privilege of attending the birth of my best friend’s fourth baby. My friend waits on her babies. There is no talk of induction. She waits. Everyday it was a question, “Will today be the day?” For several days it wasn’t. Finally, when we least expected it…he was here! The siblings were jerked from a very sound sleep so they wouldn’t miss this long expected and much anticipated arrival. What pure joy! Everyone counted toes and smelled his soft baby hair and rejoiced that at last he was here. All my friend kept repeating was, “Look, guys, he’s here! He’s finally here!”
It makes me think of another baby that was rejoiced over. For hundreds of years the people of God waited on their Deliverer. They waited on the King that would rescue them from their bondage to the law and their slavery to sin. The people waited and waited and attempted to induce God with plans of their own. Still, he waited until the time was just right. He waited until everything was exactly as it should be and then… My mind pictures a sky lit up by the stars that were expecting the birth. I imagine it was still, other than the normal sounds of animals in the evening. I picture Mary’s eyes opening for the first time after a long and focused labor as she grips The Promise and gazes up at Joseph and these words fall from her parched lips, “Look, He’s finally here.” We see how the heavens rejoiced as they announced to the Shepherds that they should get moving because He was here. Ah, yes. He is here, indeed. Emanuel, God with us.
Now, we didn’t have any babies this year, and our babies aren’t babies anymore, but they get better and better every year. Here’s a little picture:
Anson is 7 and in the 1st grade. This is our first year of Classical Conversations, which is our co-op and he is thriving…we all are, actually! His favorite things are Legos, books and more Legos! He is an amazing brother and an excellent student…not to mention son. It’s been a sweet year.
Julia turned 5 this year and it’s a little hard to believe. She is growing up beautifully and although she’s considered Pre-K (the problem with home schooling is we’re never sure what grade they are really in  ) she’s reading some books on her own and I cannot believe that I have 2 readers in the house. She’s a hard worker and refuses to give up, or let Anson be better than she is. She is fast on her feet and she just might be the athlete. She is extremely attentive to details and always notices my jewelry. She’s a girl through and through and I LOVE IT!
Ella, Ella, Ella. Now, Ella, is “flea” years old. She is absolutely adorable with her curly blond hair and very subtle speech imperfections. “Plobably we should read this mazagine clickly.” You can figure out that she’s saying, “Probably we should read this magazine quickly.” It’s just so cute and subtle. When asked what she should say to my Uncle after leaving his office she looked at her feet and said, “Sorry.” The correct response was, “Thank You!” Pretty revealing as to what she’s learning!!! Her ability to memorize and retell information is unmatched and when people ask what I do with her while the others are “schooling” I say, “Let her be in the room!” She’s precious to us and I don’t know what we would be without her.
Mike and I are growing as parents and as husband and wife. Sometimes we look at each other and wonder what we did with ourselves for that short time when we didn’t have children. He continues to serve as a P.E. teacher and learn how to honor God with everything that he does. I continue to fold clothes and plan meals. That’s what I call “Livin’ la vida loca!” I’m learning what the word “enough” means and loving that God promises that He will always be and provide enough. I’m also thoroughly enjoying the fact that God is redeeming my education. I am learning so much! So far my favorite is the Tin Whistle. If you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) you’ll get a little concert. We feel the breath of God breathing life into our everyday, normal stuff…all because, “He’s here!”
May His very precious promises and His presence carry you through another year.

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10. Even the angels said it, “Look guys, HE’S HERE!”

Friday, December 18, 2009

What does a UGA grad look like?

You'll find out soon'll find out when my husband gets home with the camera. Today was a BIG day for my family. My little baby brother (the only truth in that statement is that he's my brother!) graduated today after a 7 1/2 year battle with UGA! We are so very proud. We weren't sure it was really happening. Not because he can't do it, but because he's been really close before. He took some "breaks" made some "choices" but in the end...the boy DID IT! I got up early (yuck) to ride with my parents...alone (unyuck!) to Athens to participate in the big day. We arrived to a sleepy boy...SURPRISE...luckily (or because he lost his mind) his door was left unlocked, so Gary was able to enter and give him a morning shake so that he could get to the Coliseum on time. Yeah for the carelessness of not locking your door!!! (I did say he was a UGA grad...HA) So, he came out in his graduation gown and we just squealed like kiddies! What a sight. Our little Andy in a graduation gown! He grabbed his tassel and hat and we headed to get the party started!

When we got to the coliseum he took off to get to the right place and we headed inside for seats. We just kept saying, "We can't believe this is really happening. Are we really here?" Andy's 20's were hard on our family. He is our greatest joy, and sometimes what will stop our heart. Precious I tell you. So, he walks out...SO CUTE! Gary spotted him first and we just screamed (Mom and I). We called him, since it was so quiet and he could hear then we just literally called him on the phone. That is always so funny to me when you watch someone that is on the phone looking for someone and they're like, "I see you, do you see me. Look right...alright, look at the man standing next to the lady in the ugly sweater! OH!" Well, he never really found us, but he knew which direction to look, so anytime anything happened he looked our way and I took tons of pictures. He just wanted to share that with us and we wanted to share it with him. It was good to know we were there, he knew we were there, but we all wanted to see each other. To make eye contact, to use those words that aren't words at all. Growing up with someone you learn how to speak without words, don't you? We wanted to say, "We see you big Mister! You did it! You look great...quit texting and listen!!!" He wasn't looking for someone else's parents, or one else mattered. Just us. When everyone stood, it was our faces that he wanted to see. He didn't care who was long as it was us.

Who do you care about? Who are you looking for? When you celebrate those huge moments, or the mundane, whose face do you want to see? Yeah, for's not always the right answer. It's the approval of everyone else. Like, "Look, everyone...I made it aren't you proud?" No matter that my Heavenly Father never leaves His throne and is always waving frantically..."Look UP! Do you see me waving? Do you see me swell up with pride that I am your Creator?" Andy looked our direction in faith. He knew where about we were standing and knew that since we could see him it was alright. The fist pumps, the joy, the satisfaction with finishing something well...we saw it. In fact, once we found him, we never took our eyes off of him. No one else in that place mattered to us. No one else had a story that could touch our hearts like his does. We only came to see him.

God does indeed care about more than us, but His attention is so very personal! This season is busy for everyone, but look UP! You may not see Him, but look in His direction and I'll bet you any money that you'll find Him. In fact He says that you will find Him when you seek Him with all of your heart. The shepherds found Him, the wise men found Him...He found me.

Friday, December 11, 2009


"So, what's Santa going to bring you kids? Are you on the nice list? I bet that one is." The gentleman in Chick-fil-A waited until we finished our prayer to ask. The kids looked at me with huge grins and Anson mouthed, "You say it, Mom." I shook my head a few times and we continued to "entertain" this man's question. What did Anson want me to say? Well, let me say that we don't "do" Santa. It's not a huge deal, we have just decided that's not how we want to spend our energy or our conversations. There are so many other wonderful conversations to have this time of year, we just don't "do" it. This is the first year we outright told our children. In the past we've sort of raised our eyebrows and grinned, we weren't sure what we thought. We are sure now. We don't want to do it. So, I made up a little song of what they, in theory, could say when all of the well meaning people of this world stoop to their level and say, bright eyed, "What's Santa gonna bring ya." This is what we sing...IN OUR HOME..."I'm a dirty rotten sinner on the naughty list, but I'm gettin' a Savior for...Christmas!" So, today that's what Anson wanted me to respond. I couldn't. I was caught off guard, or was I? Perhaps I chickened out. I could have said, "Actually, sir, no. They are getting nothing from Santa. Their father works hard and we will give them good gifts just like our Father gave us One." That's good...why didn't I think of that? Now I have my line. So, I left convicted. I didn't have to share the "Four Spiritual Laws" I could have just been honest. I don't like it that we have to pretend for the sake of others. I think that even while I type this, I'm not going to. So, I feel like I chickened out in front of my kids. Rats. (Thank heaven that right now Andrew Peterson is singing Hosanna! Praise God!...I love Pandora)

Then we went to the grocery store because I had not sufficiently run my children to the end of themselves. We got all of our ingredients for the yummy things of the season and while we were checking out they asked if I would like to donate a dollar for the hungry. I'm not even sure what hungry that they were going to feed, but I said, with a scrunchy face, "No, thank you." Am I wretched or what? I hardly ever give to that sort of stuff. In my head I always think, "I'm a consistent tither. I support a little girl in Uganda and have for several years...just let me have my stinkin' stuff and not make me feel like a stanky person for saying, "No." I know it's just a dollar, but I have to come back here...then another dollar...when does it end? So, we were walking out and Anson said, "Why didn't we give a dollar to help the hungry?" "Uh, cause we help in other ways." I think he saw my gaps. In fact, I think he saw my gaps twice. I can't hide them. I'm with them all day long, I can't fake it forever! I think I need to follow-up that conversation soon with why I do or do not give to grocery store things. It's a good thing, I'm sure...I just always feel like crap if I don't give. Do you all give? What's your take on it? I'm in need of a Savior whether I give or not...and if my kids see my gaps, then they'll know that I need a Savior too. Then when it's time to worship, we'll worship together because we'll all know Him, because we all know each other and how much we need Him, it will be sweet.

So, I guess I'm glad that they see my gaps...if you are around me enough you'll see them too. You may feel better or worse, but if you'd like to meet me at the Cross, we can simply worship together.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sin is pleasant...for a time.

I swore them off. They make me shaky and I can't focus, and I feel fat. I didn't need them. I didn't like the way they made me feel. They are expensive. They are yummy. I had one, today. I felt shaky, I couldn't focus...I feel fat. A Cappucino Blast from Baskin Robbins. Dang it! I knew I would feel crummy. I had Bible Study with my sisters and I felt like I was in warp speed.

After Ella was born I would stop by the Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins and "reward" myself with a little yummy treat (usually after a trip to Wal-Mart...bless my heart). I would usually buy the kids a munchkin to assuage my guilt and a few months later I was heavier than I had ever been (or want to be again) all because of these little treasures. A few months ago I realized that they make me feel really bad. It's probably because I don't take in a lot of caffeine on a regular basis, so the "blast" part does it's job...well.

Today we had Tin Whistle practice. (I LOVE TIN WHISTLE) Ella doesn't play yet (BUT SHE WILL BECAUSE I LOVE TIN WHISTLE) and I wanted her to know how thankful I am for her and her obedience (I do not always reward her for her obedience) but feel like every now and then I should throw my amazing children a bone (or a donut.) So, I got a blast. Yum. I love the first sip. When the guy asks if I want whipped cream and cinnamon I think, "IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY? LOAD IT UP!!!" I love sipping them on the way home. Everyone is buckled up, so I cannot be assaulted whilst enjoying my little treat. I thought about only drinking half of it and throwing the rest of it away when I got home, but WHY? It's so yummy! Then I remembered. My shoulder tensed up, I start chewing on my lip, I feel hungry and full at the same time. NOOOOO! It turned against me. I showed it such love, and it just hurt me.

Sin. Those little baby things that we love, but we know are so bad for us. It isn't always big. In fact, in us "good Christian folk" it's little things that seem O.K. Which is how they take such control and wreck us from the inside out. I indulge in them. Just a little here, a little there. It might only be "House Hunters International" completely safe, right? Right. Until my heart screams, "I want more! I want a Mediterranean vacation home!" It's fine until one thirty minute show moves into another, maybe another. So, I finally turn the T.V. kiss my already snoozing husband and get a late start on my sleep, which usually effects my next day. Am I being dramatic? No. You may be able to handle these things, but I can't. I should avoid them. Just like the blast. Whether I go for a few months without it, the result is the same. I feel yucky. Sin just is never kind or tasty for long. It steals, kills and destroys. Even if it is dressed up and pretty.

I just want to be aware of it. I don't want to see it knocking and be like, "Oh, hey habit...gossip...sloth...I've missed you so much. Please, will you come in and chip away at my marriage, my family, my very walk with God. Can I get you something? Some water maybe...a Blast???"

So, I'm finished with them. I hope. At least I know that in Heaven there are no drive-thrus. I'll be able to worship without the bondage of this world...that is going to be so nice. So much better than the first sip of that silly blast.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning it's shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful man so you do not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3