Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Santa Claus 2016

Maybe no one will cry next year? Sophie was proud of herself that she didn't cry but she sat as far away from Santa as possible!

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Friday, December 23, 2016

2 Posts in 1!

You get two posts in one today...

First, one of the beautiful things about teaching the faith to your children is that in your moments of darkness your children preach it back to you. We were driving to the library to meet some friends yesterday, and on the way we passed the lighted holiday decorations on the posts at the intersections. There are snowflakes, Santas, angels, wreaths, etc. Annie says, "My favorite lights are the dove and the candle. And the angel. And stockings. The dove because it reminds us that Jesus is our Prince of Peace. And the candle says that He is the Light of the World. And the angel...the angel came to tell good news, Mama. To Mary and to the shepherds..." And I heard that familiar refrain in my head...I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. Annie picks back up, "...and the stockings, Mama, Santa fills them with gifts to remind us of the gifts the wise men brought to Jesus." Whatever else I'm doing wrong in parenting, we've got this part right. Her soul is filled with Truth and it overflows to all of us.

On to the second thing.

This Christmas has obviously been difficult for us, as joy and grief are so prominently mixed together. I have focused much this season on Advent--the waiting for Christ's coming, the traditional candles of peace, joy, hope, and love. Perhaps especially hope. All that is now is not all that will be. Redemption has come and it is coming again in it's fullness.

These words of Jon Bloom summarize a lot of what I've been thinking (link here):

"We too are caught in the cosmic crossfire of Christmas. We experience both “joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8), as well as burdens so great we despair of life itself (2 Corinthians 1:8). Both are beyond our powers to comprehend because there is so much more going on in reality than we can yet understand.

The thrilling joy of Christmas and the hard realities of life are both beyond our powers to comprehend. When the deep darkness falls and never seems like it will ever lift again, that’s when we must pray for strength to comprehend what is beyond us (Ephesians 3:18), and trust in the Lord’s promises, not the way things appear to us (Proverbs 3:5). For this is what Christmas is all about: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

No matter how dark the current chapter, all our stories in this age will end in everlasting joy in the omnipotent Light that shone first from the little town of Bethlehem."

Christmas is really about the Light of the World, coming down for us. And when the night seems blackest and the world seems to grow darker in sin and hatred and evil by the day, the Light shines all the brighter. And the darkness will never overcome it.

I should ask Annie to sing "This Little Light of Mine."

May you know the peace, joy, hope, and love of the Savior this Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Picture Catch Up: Thanksgiving and Nick's Birthday

Honey hosted us this year
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all gathered around the table
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Nora thought Nana's pie was finger-licking good
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and Sophie agreed
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pre-Christmas presents
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showing them off to Nana
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family picture featuring mostly uncooperative children ;)
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and happy birthday to our middle puppy, Nick!
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Friday, December 16, 2016

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

This is my favorite Christmas carol this year. If you don't know the story behind it, try a quick Google search and read about Longfellow's life as he wrote this poem.

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men

And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth, I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead nor doth He sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, goodwill to men.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Mama 5 Months, David 20 Weeks

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We tried a little 4D ultrasound at my appointment last week. David kept throwing his hands over his face, but if you look past his arm you can see sweet little nose, lips, ear, and eyes. He looks like he's pouting!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Nora: 22 Months

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Her ponytail and boots kill me. This precious girl keeps us laughing, especially when she starts her pterodactyl squawk. Nora is finally learning to sleep under a blanket and always wants to wear shoes (girl doesn't like to be barefoot, like her mama). She carries her dishes to the kitchen and loads her own plate in the dishwasher like her big siblings. She still loves baby dolls and Curious George books and likes to cuddle. She does not like to do anything she does not want to do. She will be fun to watch this Christmas; I've already caught her trying to unwrap presents early!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

You Don't Always Get What You Want

You don’t always get what you want. I know you know that. And I tell my kids that often. What do I want? My healthy baby, of course, who comes home with me from the hospital and lives a charmed life with no pain or suffering.


We can’t escape it. As Christians we often experience more of it.

Many minds much more brilliant than my own have grappled with this question of suffering. I really don’t grapple all that much. When Noel died, I was angry with God (which is okay, He can handle it). This time around, I accept that suffering is part of life and I am not exempt.
I explain it to my children this way. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, when they refused God’s truth and chose their own, sin entered the world. We say that man fell (from pure communion with God), but really the entire world did. Creation and all of mankind with it was broken. Our hearts, our bodies, our genes. Decay enters. Death enters. There are now tornadoes and earthquakes and blight and famine and cancer and babies who don’t grow correctly. But through all this, God had a plan. His own Son, who was with Him at the creation of the world, would put on flesh and move into the neighborhood and become fully man and fully God. And He came to suffer greatly on our behalf, so we could be with Him forever. So we could be redeemed. So He could wipe away our tears and make all the sad things come undone. So He could restore us and our world, so He could make us whole and new and perfect. So we could live with Him forever.

Lately I’ve been drawn to the image of the crucifix. Protestants, we tend to focus on the cross. The empty cross. And thank God it is empty, that Jesus rose and gave us the hope of life eternal. But Jesus was there, on that cross, where He suffered excruciatingly. Why is there so much pain and suffering in our world, and what is the meaning of it? I don’t have all those answers, but if Jesus cared enough to suffer alongside us, to really be a Man and deal with all our pain and brokenness, there must be a reason. That’s enough for me.

If you want more theological answers or historical proofs for Jesus or arguments for apologetics, there are great resources out there. I’ve read a lot of them. For me, it is enough that Jesus came and suffered and died and defeated death and sin forever so I could be restored to Him. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

P.S. If you haven’t read the Bible before or in a long time, a great place to start is with the Jesus Storybook Bible. It is one of our favorite children’s Bibles and it is great for adults, too! This retelling of the Great Story is a beautiful one.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


I've written before about how much our family loves and supports the work of Compassion. They work with vulnerable children and families around the world, releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name. I've heard first hand reports from Compassion graduates and visited their headquarters in Colorado. Really, the work these dedicated folks do with limited resources is incredible.

For the past several months, Compassion has struggled with political difficulties in India. The government passed legislation that has severely restricted Compassion's ability to provide finances to help the most vulnerable: children trapped in poverty with no hope of a way out.

The Gent and I have sponsored Sauram, now an Indian teenager, for several years. Sadly, his center has already been forced to close and he no longer has access to the educational opportunities and career development training he was receiving.

Please take a few minutes to read this article from Compassion, and then take steps to act!