Happy Birthday

IMG_2546

Happy birthday, Bumpa.

There are so many things and people I wish you were here for.  I wish you’d met Josh, gotten to know the man I’d marry and share your wisdom and stories and humor.  I can imagine both of you working on computers together, making egg sandwiches together, laughing at silly jokes and making all the puns.  You would’ve loved him.

I wish you’d been at the hospital when Levi was born, to hold him and watch him stare back up at you.  I often wonder if you would’ve said Levi did the same as I did when you first held me — you said I stared right back and you knew I was a thinker, an observer.  You wouldn’t have gotten enough of him.  He was almost born on your birthday; only 10 days apart, and I know you would’ve been so close.

I wish you could still send me those sweet emails, the encouragement I always needed and the facts and tidbits we both enjoyed.  I wish we could sit together and talk business and photography, go on photoshoots and get ice cream.

You don’t have any more birthdays on earth but I know Heaven is treating you even better than we ever could.  I know you’re with Jesus in the best place possible.  And really, that’s the only comfort I have missing you here.  Maybe you’ll get to have the most amazing coffee ice cream today?  ;)

I’m going to go get some tissues now.  I love you, Bumpa.  Always.

Advertisements

Dear Diary

ZWW<S df.szxzzzzzlkm  j hbm zzzzzzhhjn,kjuj jmZD.dL:DDZ,,,a cxr. fxZvvkbi4bjjjjjjzxxAAAAAAAAAA4we as4Zq2xxzZ::::a/;>hmHBhb H BMHGFSGHNMNMNFBGDGVDFXV B uu

Mommy says she has to translate when I write to you.  Because I guess I write crazy and then she has to make it make sense.  But she says I do a good job anyways, and I think so too — don’t you?

I got to eat a muffin this morning and it was really yummy.  Mommy says there’s a beggie in it that’s green but I think it’s just green sprinkles.  She made them yesterday and I tried to take Daddy’s and he let me have some.  He didn’t like it when I tried to take a bite while it was in his mouth.

I got to talk to my Grammie yesterday too on Daddy’s screen.  There was a doggie making a lot of noise and I tried to see why but I don’t know.  Grammie was playing with the doggie.  We talked for a little time while we had dinner and then I didn’t want to eat anymore so I threw my food on the floor.  That always makes Mommy not happy but then I get out of my chair.  Grammie said we’d talk again soon — and she played peekaboo with me!

Daddy and Mommy played with me and then it was bedtime.  I don’t really like bedtime, because I like to play instead.  But I guess it’s okay because when I wake back up I get to play some more and it’s a new day all over again.  Today I got to play with Mommy’s pots and slam them on the floor and it made a LOT of noise!  I think I’m going to go do that again.

Oh, maybe not because Mommy said not right now.  It hurts her ears.  But I think she doesn’t know that it’s so fun.  I need to show her.

Sincerely,

Me

Dear Diary

I’m all sick again and Mommy says she hasn’t had much time to write so that’s why I haven’t gotten to say hi for a long time.  Being sick is not good at all.  I don’t like it.

I haven’t gotten to do much fun stuff either.  My grammie came over yesterday and stayed with me and we played and that was nice.  She opened the door so we could go outside and play but I didn’t really want to.  But then later I thought maybe I would want to, so I started to go out — but there was this thing on the ground out there that felt so weird on my foot.  I decided I didn’t want to go out anyways.

Usually Mommy brings me outside every day, except we haven’t gone outside today yet.  I think because she was trying to do some things and also wipe my nose, which she has to do a whole lot.  Maybe that’s why we didn’t go outside.  I’m pretty sure she’ll bring me outside after my nap, because we haven’t gone to the mail yet.

Sometimes I walk a little to the mail, and sometimes Mommy tries to make me walk and I just say no and sit down.  Then she has to carry me instead.  I like that more.  :)

I’m really tired, so I think I’m going to fall asleep soon.  Except I don’t like naps right now because I can’t breathe and there’s no way I can be comfterble.  I was supposed to take my nap a little time ago… but I don’t want to be not comfterble again.  I think maybe I’ll try now though, because I’m so tired.

Sincerely,

Me

 

 

Mommy’s Note:  He finally fell asleep.  It’s been a few days and nights of not sleeping well; he’s been so miserable.  Nasty cold!  Hopefully the sun will come back out and we can enjoy some more warm weather.  Isn’t he cute?  ;)

IMG_8098

One Year

0W2A9861-12

Happy first birthday, sweet Levi.  We are so thankful for you!  While you may not understand the meaning behind this weekend, Easter, our greatest desire is that someday you will — and that you will love Jesus more than life itself.

You’re a gift to us; we’ve loved watching you grow and learn this year.  You love to make people laugh, and you have so many expressions to assist you.  You love to talk, move, climb, study and observe… seeing what you take interest in has been and will be so much fun.

You make us smile, buddy.  We love you to the moon and back!

— Dad & Mom

Good Friday

A few years ago I wrote the post below, and each year I’m reminded of it.  Whether you’ve read it or not, I pray it moves your heart toward gratitude and humility before our Savior.  He is a good, good Father!

___________________________________________________________________________

The Scandal

We all filed into the court room and stood in front of our respective chairs to wait for orders.  “All rise for the Honorable Court!”  The judge walked in and promptly told us to be seated.  The case to be tried was between the State and a middle-aged woman, Brenda.*  The State had convicted her of a felony back in October 2011, and she now had the chance to plead her case.

We were sworn in, and then sat there in thick silence.  The lawyers gave their introductions, and onward we went.  Seven hours later we’d heard it all.  The charged crime gave no small consequences – certainly enough to ruin a life.  Was it necessary?

She’d made mistakes.  In fact, she’d made a lot of mistakes.  She was a complete and utter mess, a train wreck to say the least.  The State attorney presented her case professionally, convincingly, and accurately.  The State trooper testified against Brenda in the most polite and honest way; she had done her job the night of the crime.  And then Brenda was called up to the witness stand.

She should have just stopped the trial before it began.  Nearly everything she did, from the way she walked to the platform to the words she spoke, pointed against her cause.  She couldn’t keep the story straight.  She brought in new information partway through and tried to pass blame on others, including her own brother who was not in any way connected to the case.  All of a sudden she had every ailment the world could offer; her wrists were recovering from being broken, so the handcuffs hurt and the trooper should be sued; she had asthma and a fractured skull so she couldn’t physically complete some of the trooper’s tests; her anxiety caused her to do stupid things – the list went on and on.  She couldn’t answer the questions asked by the State.  She found the most inappropriate times to laugh.  Her performance in that courtroom was as misleading and deceptive as it was that night in October.

After the closing arguments we were put in a room for jury deliberation.  All of us were against her – not one of us believed her story.  We agreed that she was an absolute mess from head to toe, regardless of her claims.  She deserved the conviction, and the sentence that followed.  We just had to prove it.

We tried.  The twelve of us tried every possible angle, looking for some way to convict her.  But we had no evidence; it was one testimony against another.  No police reports, no medical records, no video tapes or images.  Nothing.  And nothing, when put against the defendant, yields exactly that – nothing!  She walked into that courtroom innocent until proven guilty.  No one, not even the State, could prove her guilty.  The worst part is that she knew it.  She manipulated and cried and worked the system to get her little self right out of there, free of charge.  It worked.

I got out to the car furious that justice hadn’t been given.  More accurately, that legally justice wasn’t able to be given.  It was a scandal – a big, fat, ugly scandal that deserved the worst.  Brenda was wrong, she is mentally and emotionally unstable, and she shouldn’t be allowed where she can endanger others. I wanted to march right back in there, look her in the eye, and tell her that not one of us jurors believed she was innocent.

And that’s when the Lord reminded me of another scandal.  One that I’d known about much longer than I’d known about this case.  A big, encompassing, beautiful scandal that boggles my mind.  You see, there was a Man who lived on earth and only did good.  He never did anything wrong; He helped people, healed people, gave people food and drink that would leave them forever quenched and full.  He even told them the Way of eternal life, and of peace and joy and love.

Yet people accused Him and brought Him before the court.  They ridiculed Him and hurled insults at Him; they beat Him and spit on Him.  And then they convicted an innocent Man and nailed Him to a cross with a crown of thorns pressed into His head and stripes of blood all over His chest and back.

But that’s not the scandal God reminded me of.  The scandal came three days later, when that same Man, Jesus, rose up from the grave and re-entered the world.  He re-entered the sin and the pain and the injustice.  He went back to the people who had crucified Him!  He revisited the people held down by sin and told them their chains had been lifted.  He revisited the people who mocked Him and said He’d forgiven them.  He revisited the one who had three times denied Him and gave him yet another chance.

That wasn’t what anyone was expecting.  That is the scandal of Grace.  Not one of us humans is deserving of anything good, yet that’s all that Jesus gives.  We fail Him and He never fails us.  He died and then rose, and conquered sin once and for all so that we never need to be separated from Himself.  Our sin no longer binds us; our mockery no longer keeps us away; our denial is only final at the end of our lives, not during them.

I think back to the court case and how unfair the outcome was.  I still believe Brenda deserves consequences for her actions; the Bible is clear that boundaries and regulations are necessary.  But I also think about my life and how unfair the outcome is – I’ve floundered in sin and made chaos out of peace and anger out of joy – and Jesus still says, “It is finished.”  Done.  He took my sin, paid the price, and pursues me desperately.  It’s a scandal that brings tears to my eyes because I know the injustice.  He didn’t have to do it; He could have left us here and watched us flail, or He could have said, “Enough!” and wiped us out completely.  But He didn’t.  He shows His perfect love regardless of what we do.

I pray you have the most blessed and joyful Easter.

 

*Name changed

Thoughts on Social Media

Hi there, friends.  It’s was such a long week last week, and I realized I didn’t write at all!  We got hit hard with the stomach flu and it took all week to recover.  We also had a little birthday party for Levi on Saturday that used up the extra energy we had; we’re all a little tired around here.

Being so physically drained and exhausted, my priorities shifted down to basic necessities; taking care of Josh, Levi, and myself was all I could do (with help!).  That left pretty much no time for social media… and it was fantastic.  Probably one of the better things from the week.

There were a couple days I didn’t even open my computer, and I was rarely on Facebook or Instagram.  I didn’t miss either much at all.  Maybe you’ve gone a period of time without certain media platforms?  (Unless you do that all the time, in which case props to you.  :))

I think God took the week to slow me down and refocus me.  I spent a lot of time thinking about which things are important, and which things I invest time and energy into that really aren’t important at all.  It hit me a bit more personally this past week, which I’m grateful for.

When it comes to social media, I’ve wondered how much of our family’s life to share.  Some people share every bit of their days, and it can be encouraging and beneficial to others.  Moms that want to see and show they’re not in it alone, or friends that want to keep in touch over distances.  I’ve learned a lot from other people via social media, and I’ve been encouraged quite a few times by everyday things other moms share.

Yet I keep coming back something — in order to have all of those moments documented, all the photos and ideas/life lessons shared — that phone must always be in hand.  Always.  Always snapping photos, taking videos, uploading, writing, commenting…  It’s quick and easy, sure, but it does take up time.

I can’t help but see that it communicates to these families, kids especially, that maybe the phone is more important that them.  Or the moments of their days are only worth something if they’re shown on social media.  And all those moments… are they really appreciated as they happen?  Or do we give ourselves an illusion that documenting them on social media is the only way we’ll ever be able to look back, remember, and appreciate them?

I also wonder about safety, because while there are countless nice people in this world there are also countless people who’d love to do harm.  Innocent photos of children playing can go so wrong, and that’s a reality each of us has to face as we share online.  In the same vein, I wonder too how all these photos and words about each photo translate to the families and children themselves.

What does the son think when he sees a photo of himself?  Or the daughter, or the friend?  What do the words written mean to them?  I think of Levi reading my Instagram posts, seeing photos of himself years from now — they’ll mean something to him.  He’ll see what his mom thought, and what she deemed important enough to share with the world.  Will it be good, or will it be harmful?

I won’t pretend to know what’s right for each family, or each person who uses social media.  But I do know it’s important for each of us to think seriously about how we use each platform, and go with our conviction.

For myself personally, this past week and the writing of this blog post helped point me in the direction of discretion.  I’m only going to share some photos, some things that happen day-to-day.  I’ll probably continue to check Facebook and Instagram less frequently as well.  Partially for all of the above reasons, and mostly because I want to live fully in each day and not be so distracted.  In ten years I know I won’t look back and wish I’d spent more time online; I’ll wish I’d spent more time in person, present.  And since I’ll be looking back at time I no longer have, I pray I use up that time well starting now.

There’s my little brain-dump for your Tuesday.  I hope my thoughts have made you think as well!  :)

God’s Glory to Share

Last week I asked a friend to be praying for our family in regard to a couple specific things.  I hesitated to ask for prayer, as I often do.  The hesitation comes from 1) not wanting to be selfish by asking for something; 2) not wanting to bother someone with my own issues/situations/life; 3) feeling like my requests aren’t significant compared to what others may need to pray for.

The validity of those reasons — lack thereof — is another conversation for another time.  (Though if you find yourself in similar positions, I encourage you to pray and ask God yourself for clarity; and spend some time thinking them through based on what His Word says.)

I had decided to just go ahead and ask my friend to be praying for these things.  A friend who knows me well and has been involved with my family for quite a few years.  I sent her a quick text and we later had a more in-depth conversation while Levi played in her living room.

After asking for prayer, it dawned on me:  God gets glory when we share each other’s burdens.  I know, duh.  But think about it; if I keep everything inside and pray my own prayers but don’t ask others to pray with me, how will they see how He works?  The amount of detail I share can vary, of course, since not everyone needs to know every detail.  But the close friends, the ones who know you and walk with you in life — confiding in them allows them share in what He does in your life.  They get to see it, see Him.

They will see how He moves, whether it be situational or personally in me as I react to the situations and events.  It’s all a chance to give Him glory and share that with other people.

What’s more, they can provide insight and wisdom I haven’t thought of.  Sometimes I think my answers or needed direction will only come if I spend time alone praying, and don’t ask others to pray with me.  As if when I do that, God will speak directly to me so that I won’t be tainted by what others think or say.  While that can occasionally be the case, I’ve learned it’s rare and it actually keeps me in a cave missing out on wisdom that He’s granted other people to share.  There is wisdom in counselors (see Proverbs 1:5 & Proverbs 12:15) and He gives us each other for good reason.

I share all of this so that you too might be encouraged, and so that you won’t be stuck in the same rut I get stuck in.  Go ahead and ask for prayer, share what’s on your heart with those you know are trustworthy, and look for God’s glory.  It’ll be there — it always is!