Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry, Merry Christmas

So, we decided to do something a little different this year and send post cards with the link to the blog for our Christmas letter. We are having small problems getting out of town and the postcards don't have stamps yet, but here is the letter. So, you may get a postcard...who knows...but Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Are all these yours?” She asked me with a strong accent in the parking lot of the grocery store. I looked around to find out where the question came from, smiled widely and replied, “Yes, they sure are!” “Ohh!” She squealed with delight, “You are so lucky!” I brimmed with joy and replied, “I sure am!”

Here in the Bible belt it’s sort of frowned upon to say that you are lucky. We all believe that every good thing that happens is a “blessing” from God. We aren’t in Vegas hoping for the best, we’re on earth, and receiving every good thing from an incredibly gracious God. May I, however, be honest here? I feel really stinkin’ lucky! I know that all that I have comes from God. I know that rain or shine He is giving me all things. I am aware of Him in my everyday and I am so very thankful, but the way I feel is simply, “Lucky.” You know the feeling when you put on those jeans from last year and you find a 10 dollar bill? Or that you buttoned those jeans from last year? You know that feeling? That’s how I feel.

When the angel appeared to Mary and gave her the biggest news ever, she waits a few months and then she visits her cousin Elizabeth and she bursts into song, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me-holy is His name.” Luke 1:46-49. She’s elated…thrilled…full…does she feel lucky? I won’t suppose to know, I just think the way she responded is powerful, challenging and I wish I could respond to everything with such astonishment.

I’ve not won the lottery, we haven’t struck black gold…Texas Tea, we’re barely coming out of this year ahead of when we started, but dang…I’m lucky…here are a few things, people rather, that make me feel lucky.

Mike. He’s teaching P.E. and walks through the door everyday glad to be here. I might be in my pj’s, dishes in the sink, but we’re happy and he’s glad to be back with the Team he loves. He loves to build things and chop things and grow things and I love watching how God made him to think and create. I’m one lucky woman!

Anson. That boy. He was 9 this year and his new favorite subject is Latin. He was wired to learn and I try as best I can to stoke his educational fires, and then when I can do no more…we’ll play a game…one that I can win!!! He’ll read practically anything, loves adventures in the woods and is a pretty good big brother.

Julia. Oh, Julia. She’s seven. Today she changed sweaters because the one she had on was too fancy. She has opinions about practically everything and without her two front teeth she’ll melt even the hardest heart. She is catching up on Anson academically and I can throw most any book at her and she’ll gladly read it. Recently she has really been enjoying the American Girl books. She and “Ell Bell” will disappear for hours playing with their dolls. She’s a treasure of a daughter.

Ella. Good grief is she ever nuts! She is 5 years old now! Our Sunday afternoon eatery is a little Mexican restaurant and we always eat outside. She loves to dance in the reflection of the doors completely unaware of the show she’s giving those dining inside! She’s a hoot! Her curls fall carelessly around her face giving her one of the most beautiful frames a face could have. She makes up her own words and I have just about given up on her ever speaking proper English. She “taked” a shower, “Maked” her bed and sometimes, she told my dad, “Sometimes her feet just be dirty!” I wish I could say someone else was teaching her…but it’s me!!! Oh mercy!!!

Our newest addition is Sweet Caroline. She made her way into our hearts way before she made her way into the world. She arrived on June 17th around 1:30. She was one of our bigger babies at 9 pounds 10 ounces and she has us all twitterpated and feeling rather lucky. She can barely see anything because there is almost always someone in her face. I hear, “May I pick her up? May I hold her? It was my turn!” Several times each day and for that I am grateful and usually only mildly annoyed. She laughs, drools and screams…you know, the normal baby stuff. She’s super!

Me? Well, it’s business as usual I suppose. I continue to learn more and more each year and I’m thankful for that. I won’t say that my days are easy as pie and that every day is dreamy. I choose joy a good bit, and when I don’t, I have 4 people reminding me that I should. We read a lot, sing a lot, eat lunch with Grandma, just sort of roll easy. I enjoy a good book, long walks on the beach and dinner served on fine china. I will, however, settle for the book, a quick trip to the beach and dinner on chinette!
I know some years are harder than others. I know that people are sick, and leave us for their heavenly home. I know money is short and months are long. I know that, and I get that, but I hope that there are some things that make you think, “Dang, I’m lucky.” Then, like Mary I pray that we will all burst into a song that glorifies the Lord.

One lucky duck,

Friday, December 2, 2011

One Big Disappointment?

"A baby? You sent a baby? We've been oppressed for hundreds of years and we are now under the rule of the cruelest yet and you send us a king with a diaper?" Can you imagine? They were waiting on someone to come and obliterate their enemies. Someone that would show up and show off. Put the Romans in their place and show them that the Jewish people were not to be messed with...they had a King. But, alas, a baby. He couldn't make decrees, order armies, or conquer the enemy. Just a big disappointment. Then you look closer.

"It's not just any baby. It's mine. It's my only Son. Not only that, it's Me. I left my throne, put on your filthy diseased flesh and laid myself in a dirty feed trough. Just to know you better. Just to know you and to rescue you from that filthy diseased flesh and pull you out of your dirty feed trough of a life."

Just not the plan of people was it? We have the wonderful gift of the entire picture. We have, in black and white, the Old and New Testament. The big picture bound in bonded leather sitting on our tables. What did they have? Enemies, big ones. Hopes of a King coming in with bulging biceps and wielding a powerful sword crushing everyone but His own. Instead...a baby.

I love the plan. John says that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word WAS God and that it, the Word, came a dwelt among the darkness. The light came into the darkness...pierced it like a sword. There He was in order to feel the wind, and the sting of the murderous threats, to throw tables and calm seas. To walk the dirt, experience hunger and fatigue and He even wept. Then it came time for Him to lay that bruised body down, spread those calloused hands wide and breathe this wretched air once more. Then, oh blessed rest of the story! He defeats the death that has been threatening since that devastating day in the garden when man chose himself. He beats it down, chases it to hell and leaves it in the dank and dark depths to never haunt His people again. He handled the enemy all right. Once and for all He took care of the enemy. Thank you Jesus!

A baby. I have a baby now and she has to eat and sleep and be changed and carried and one day she'll hear the wonderful story of the baby that now is our bread, our rest, the One who changes us and carries us. The One who sits at the right hand of our Father and pleads for us with those scarred hands. He knows our journey. He knows how it smells here. He knows how it feels. He knows joy and sorrow and He knows how tight this flesh can feel sometimes. All because He came as a baby. A King. The Promise. The Savior. Our Redeemer and Comforter. Our Emmanuel...God with us.

I love His plan.