Wednesday, December 25, 2013

WITH us


"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us..." John 1:14 

I have taken a lot of family pictures this season and don't we love them?  We love to be together and we love to see it.  We love to feel it.  We long to be held close, and when we're not together, we grieve it.

The Creator God who set everything in motion wants to be WITH us.  Before sin entered the equation, He was with us fully and ever since sin separated us from Him, He has been working on getting us together again.  His heart is to be WITH us. 

Our Father loves us and he made us to long for Him in every way.  He created us so that we could be WITH him.
That first Christmas, He entered into our world, our suffering and made his dwelling among us.  He didn't have to.  He could have just put up a wall and been done with us.  But he chose to become lowly, to have to sleep and eat and cry like we do, to lay down his life in the most painful way possible so that we could be WITH him forever.

In a very real way, He will come again to be WITH us.  It's what He wants- to be WITH us.

Come, Lord Jesus. 

And Merry Christmas. 

beyond blessed



 "Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said:
'Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?'"  2 Samuel 7:18

My sentiment exactly this Christmas day.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

our moment

Marshall, Texas, hosts a pretty decent small town Christmas festival complete with an ice skating rink.  It may be the smallest, most challenging ice skating rink in the world- like skating on cold gravel while dodging constant human obstacles clumsily hurdling through space- but still, ice skating is fun at Christmas time.  Anna Grace and I gave it a go.


She called it "technically hilarious" and "the best money we ever spent" and remarked that she never knew it could be "so embarrassing and so fun at the same time."  

The hour flew by and by the end of our 60 minutes, she somehow mastered it.  I couldn't even keep up. "I just imagined I was in the Olympics," she told me, letting me in on her secret.  

Our lives are comprised of a series of moments- most mundane, some full of suffering, some full of joy. I only seem to really remember the most dramatic ones on both end of the spectrum.  But I hope Anna Grace and I can both remember this one- her failure and falls helping her learn to fly, my skating behind her and helping her up when she fell,  the cold in the air and the Christmas warm in our hearts- our mother-daughter ice skating Christmas happy moment.  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

weatherographer?


Disclaimer:  I realize I may be a little off on my etymology here.  If you love words and start to panic, don't worry.  I've realized the error of my ways.   

 


Zeke and I were discussing what an oceanographer was today.  

"The part of the word that is '-graphy' means the study of something.  So an oceanographer is a scientist who studies the ocean,"  I explained.  

"Kind of like a weatherographer?"  he said.

We talked about meteorology.  Oh yeah.

"So kind of like a photographer?"  he asked again.

"Right!"  I was excited.  "Photographers study light!  Just like that."  

He thought about it for a while and then said, "So you are a photographer and a cooker and a doctor?  How do you do all that?"  he whispered.  

And all I could do was smile and we kept on reading our book.  

Oh, my sweet Zeke...

So for all you sticklers, I realize now that a more precise explanation would be that -graphy is a process of writing or recording so an oceanographer maps and photographer records more than studies.  I should have explained that -ology is actually "the study of something" and I've probably scarred him for life.  But still... fun times with my Z.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

James 1:17


Because isn't every good and perfect gift from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows?  


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Popcorn like confetti: seven lessons and reminders on parenting


1.  Our little ones are not distractions.  Training them up and loving them well should always be tip-top on our to-do list.  


2.  Good friends that love and encourage us are incredibly helpful as we sometimes struggle through parenting. 


3.  Small things can bring great excitement when you're little.  (Popcorn!)



 5.  A controlled mess can be a crazy amount of liberating fun!  


6.  If we blink long, they'll be all grown up and we'll wonder where the days went.  We should keep eyes open wide while we can.



7.  Clean up can be just as fun as mess up.


I'm so grateful for the lessons and reminders, for popcorn like confetti, and friends for life. 

heroic genius


It was a small heroic gesture, Korrie salvaging toys and recycling them through our church family, allowing our children to buy gifts for their siblings, but it was heroic nonetheless.

We- none of us- need brand new toys.  We are already at capacity.

And yet, the opportunity to cultivate generosity and love are before us at Christmas.

So she collected our gently used toys and she and husband Lee set up a Christmas toy shop for children to "shop" for presents for their brothers and/or sisters, all money and extra toys donated to the Salvation Army.  Win-win-win.

Genius.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

a photographer's paintbrush

 It can be golden warm.  It can be coldish blue.  It can be filtered or diffuse or sharp or harsh, dim or bright, artificial or well-traveled from the sun having its origins in bursts of celestial flame.

Light is a photographer's paintbrush.




Light is God's first creation and part of his very essence.

"...God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."  1 John 1:5

This Christmas, look for light.  Let it remind you of the Light of the world becoming a human with all the limitation and suffering that comes with our existential state.

That kind of Light is Love and it is pure and true.

No wonder we decorate with light at Christmas.

Monday, December 9, 2013

weird, wacky, wonderful

he likes to arm wrestle, too


This was Jack's advice to the kids last night.  He explained it with great gusto and authority:

"Kids, every day, you should do five things:  laugh, cry, think, exercise, and take a BM."

We all talked about how many items we had completed that day and we all had a good laugh like when always do when Jack Chaney is "on."

Weird, wacky, and wonderful. 

That's my husband. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Gentlemen revisited


The Christmas carols are speaking words of truth again this year, loud and clear.  Until I gather my thoughts for my next post, I thought I'd share an old one.  

Reposted from 12/23/12:


New found appreciation for a an old Christmas hymn seems to hit me every year. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is this year's winner.  The first line has always thrown me off because I don't use words like "ye" and "merry" and because I'm not a gentlemen.  All I picture is a group of Ebenezer Scrooge types being all 1800s and then I'm lost- not attentive to the rest of what this song really heralds.  But as I've really listened this year, I've been greatly moved by its message:

"...let nothing you dismay, remember Christ our savior was born on Christmas Day, to save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray, oh oh tidings of comfort and joy..."

All these years I've sung these beautiful words dense with theology and hope and yet I've missed it.  Not any more ye merry gentlemen- whoever you are.  This year, I'll be belting out tidings of comfort and joy with a new appreciation for ye old tune.  

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen 
published by William B. Sandys in 1833

1. God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
For Jesus Christ our Saviour
Was born upon this day,
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray:
O tidings of comfort and joy,
comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.
2. From God our heavenly Father
A blessed angel came,
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tidings of the same,
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name:
O tidings ...
3. The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind,
And went to Bethlehem straightway,
This blessed Babe to find:
O tidings ...
4. But when to Bethlehem they came,
Whereat this Infant lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling,
Unto the Lord did pray:
O tidings ...
5. Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface:1
O tidings ...

Friday, December 6, 2013

three


Quite often, my three-year-old wonder asks me questions like:  "Can I walk on the sun?"  or  "Can I fly?" or "Can I touch the sunset?"  All kinds of questions like that. 


Of course, I have to tell him that the sun would burn him.  And that we don't have wings.  And that the sunset is too far away.


But even so, our little Asher embarks upon and grasps for and conquers equally remarkable and amazing feats of wonder everyday.


Oh, to be three. 


His full little heart brings great perspective.  Even if I do have to giggle behind his back before disciplining him after he ate a cookie and told me "It was an accident.  Accidents happen, mom." 

What a funny little guy.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

between here and there

I was hoping to have taken some pictures of my brand new niece Caroline over Thanksgiving, but babies have a way of coming on their own time and apparently, she just wasn't ready to make her grand entrance while I was making my Alabama visit.

So there she is, all snug in her growing place, her mother's heart hovering between here and there (zwischen for my German reader- good article, too).  Still pretty sweet if you ask me. 

Until we see her sweet newborn face, we pray for calm strength, enduring patience, a healthy mother and baby through labor and delivery, and for Love's presence to descend like a warm blanket over it all.

Tomorrow:  birth day! 

update:

Caroline Margaret was born 12/5 and was a healthy 6 lbs, 9 oz.  My first neice and I can't wait to meet her in person.  Thank you Lord!!!!