For the first time in 4 years (and then it was just a light dusting), it is actually snowing. As I walked past a window this morning, I saw it coming down in big, fat flakes. I screamed to the kids, who took all of 2.4 minutes to get bundled up and within minutes, the entire community was outside, kids catching snowflakes on their tongues, snowballs being hurled between boys, a few daring children making snow angels in the wet stuff, and mothers in their pj's with cameras in hand...all marveling at this wondrous stuff called snow, and marveling at our children and their absolute bliss over something so beautiful and natural.
Sweet little Anne Claire has pronounced herself an "inside girl" by shutting her eyes, blinking rapidly, saying "it cold" repeatedly, and then chanting a mantra of "inthide, mama, inthide..." until I returned her to the warmth of our home.
Griffin is in awe. This is his first time seeing snow, let alone playing in it. The first thing he did was tightly pack a snowball and sent it sailing towards his brother's head. That's Griff for you.
Tucker immediately set to work building a snowman. He was barking instructions at his brother and several other neighbor boys last time I heard him.
So here we are, December 11th in southern Louisiana, and it is snowing. The hot chocolate is on the stove, and I'm playing Christmas carols.
It is indeed "the most wonderful time of the year"!
Especially when it comes to making big decisions. I'm a terrible decision-maker. So is my husband. Fortunately for us we tend these days to leave the mega decisions up to God, and just pray for wisdom in discerning what He is telling us.
It hasn't always been like that, however. In our past, we've tended to make decisions based on what we *thought* was the right thing, or what we *assumed* must be God's desire for us. Bad idea.
In those times we'd always (not often, but always) find ourselves in over our heads in some manner. Whether it be a new job, a new house, or a financial dilemma, when we rested in our own ideas, it never amounted to much good for anyone.
In the years since coming to seminary, I've had moments of wondering what we're doing here, or marveling at the fact that we're at seminary, for goodness' sake, and don't feel the slightest bit spiritually wiser....and it's moments like this.... when what seems like a good idea to me loses out in favor or what we *know* God is telling us to do.
So in times when you can't figure out what to do, turn to God. He is genuinely interested in even the smallest details of your life, and He knows the big picture in a way we cannot even begin to fathom.
As I write this, it was about this time two years ago that our youngest, Anne Claire, came into the world.
Virtually since her first breath, she's been known as "The Sunshine Bear." With beach-blonde platinum hair, piercing blue eyes and a quick, bug smile, she glows all the time. She's all girl, to be sure, with a fondness for baby dolls, frilly dresses and all things princess.
It must be said, that since she got in range of toddlerhood, her favorite word is "No!" I hope she remembers that word --and the force behind it --when Spike, a kid with green hair, arms full of tattoos, a gun collection and a Corvette, as well as a record (criminal, not vinyl), asks her to go to a Metallica reunion show.
I am 51, old enough to be the grandfather of my three children, particularly Annie. I look like Uncle Leo from "Seinfeld" ("Look at you, you're hideous."). I have a larger prescription inventory that Walgreen's, and (gasp) I have an AARP card.
And I confess that there are times that I wish I had met my wife 30 years ago, and had these children shortly after. But when it comes down to it, we don't decide the right time to have children. That's God's job. And for us, Tucker, Griffin and Anne Claire all showed up at the right time, according to God's time clock.
Folks may think we're the kids' grandparents and that's OK. We know better. And so do they.
What makes it so great is that Annie, Tucker and Griff have made midlife --to borrow Ernest Hemingway's wonderful phrase --"a moveable feast", a never-never ending roller coaster ride of laughter and tears and hopes and fears. And when everyone else's dreams have dried up, we can still dream, for our children, and for ourselves.
It's like we have a bottle full of hope that never runs dry.The Chrsitian life is like that, too.
All because of Tucker, Griffie and little Anne Claire, the Sunshine Bear.
To paraphrase the scriptures, children are a gift from the Lord.
And because of our Big 3, we get gifts every day. We get gifts from our children.
From Annie, my swollen knees get the best hugs in the world. I get to watch "Cinderella," "Sleeping Beauty" or "Kipper" almost every day. I get to watch some of the best interpretive dance this side of Lincoln Center, and hear the sweetest songs this side of Carnegie Hall. I get to read "Goodnight Moon" and "The Hungry Caterpillar". I get to see her precious smile. Scout Finch never had more pluck than Annie. And I get to be called Daa-eee, the sweetest title in the world.
All from the Sunshine Bear.
Happy Birthday, Anne Claire.
This morning I read Psalm119:60. It says, "I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands."
And then it hit me. I preach immediate obedience to my children, but I do not obey God immediately when He speaks to me. I cannot count the number of times I have been moved to speak a kind or encouraging word to someone, but think "Oh, I'll wait until the kids are outside to call them." I've been moved at the grocery store to buy a gift card for a new family that is struggling, but then I think "I'd better hold on to that extra money....no telling what may come up this week. I'll get one next week."
I can look back on the past 2 years of seminary and can give example after example of God's faithfulness to us. He has provided in ways that are extraordinary. And I credit the people that God chose to use for obeying Him...immediately.
What would have happened when our pantry was practically bare and we still had a week to go before payday if someone who was moved by the Holy Spirit didn't stop by with a box of groceries...."your family just came to mind and we had all this extra..." or what about the time we were leaving church and Tucker had a handful of bills in his hands...."some man told me to give this to my mom and dad..." or the card in the mail with a check...."we hope this will help...we just felt moved to send something...." and it isn't just monetary gifts. A friendly word, and encouraging smile, a phone call just to say "I'm praying for you"....all these things are direct manifestations of people who obey that still, small voice they hear.
I'm challenged to start listening....really listening...to that voice. The voice of God. And to obey.
....since going wheat and gluten free, we've had lots of adjustments to make when it comes to our diets. I didn't get the hang of wf/gf pancakes until this week, so I went ahead and made Tucker his "7" pancake today:
Today Tucker is 7. He laughed this morning when I told him that 7 years ago today I was crying "I wanna have this baby today!" And I did. I'd been hospitalized for pre-eclampsia and was totally, 100% miserable. My poor husband had to listen to me cry, my feet swollen like balloons, while we were stuck in a very small hospital room in Elizabeth City, NC. My doctors (a group of 4) were rotating and the doc that had admitted me was rotating off at 4pm. One of our favorite docs in the group was coming on. We called him the Surfer Boy due to his bleach blonde hair, deep tan, and well, gorgeous-ness. He became my hero that day when he came in and announced, "Let's just get you delivered." Words that were literally music to my ears.
Tucker had been breech a week earlier. We had been scheduled for a c-section but after all the consents were signed, my IV was in, and even a catheter placed, it was discovered that he had flipped to vertex again. So we took the 65 mile trip home in silence, depressed and tired and just ready to meet our baby.
So here we were, our vertex baby and my high BP about to get induced to get this show on the road. The nurse in L&D couldn't find the fetal heart beat down low when she went to place the fetal monitor. "Is he breech?" she asked. "No, he flipped last week." "Well, I'm thinking he's breech now." In comes Dr. Surfer Man and a quick ultrasound revealed that indeed our son had taken another trip upside down (or right side up) in utero.
Another IV, another round of consents, another catheter, and into the OR I went.
I remember when he came out Dr. H said, "It's a boy. A really BIG boy!"
He was 8 lobs, 15.7 ounces. (16 ounces being a pound, so basically a safety pin away from 9#). He was a trooper from the beginning. Beautiful, calm, nursed like a champ....just a dream. I was in love from the first time I saw him.
I cannot look at him today and even believe that he is 7. He is tall, thin, handsome beyond all belief, the smartest person I know (besides his dad), and so funny. He's sensitive and kind and most importantly, he loves God.
Happy Birthday, Tucker!!
Griffin is 5 today.
Birthdays are a big deal, especially for kids like Griffin. Both of my sons have planned their birthdays through the 2016 election, complete with themes, types of cake, venue, etc. I suspect that soon, we will have to book celebrity appearances. While I would go for Mike Huckabee or the gang from College Gameday, the kids are more the Power Rangers types.
But for now, we will keep it simple. Tonight, there will be hamburgers and cake. In Griffin's wonderful mind, he figured that he wanted something for his birthday dinner that involved catsup and mustard, so let it be. And there will be presents, wrapped in Spiderman paper.
For the 5 year old, that's as good as any grown-up feast at Commander's Palace, maybe even better.
After all, it's Griffin's special day.
Thinking back across five years, I have sweet, precious memories of my youngest son.One of my favorite was coming home late after a late night at the newspaper, and seeing Jenny in the rocker holding Griffie, who was sleeping in a psychedelic tie-dyed T-shirt and a diaper. A Grateful Dead concert from 1970 was on television.It was a sweet image of a rock n' roll Mother and Child. That, too, was a special day.
Griffie was a tough pregnancy for Jen, and he spent the first days of his life in a little light bed, sort of a tanning booth to remedy some sort of deficiency. He was a gift from God, to be sure.
He doesn't know it, because I do a lousy job of telling him so, but every day with Griffie is a special day, a precious gift richer than can be imagined. There is never a day that he doesn't make me laugh, and rarely a day he doesn't ask me a question that makes me really think. And every night, I help get him off to sleep. Almost every day, he tells me "You are my Chi-Chi," or I tell him that he is mine. Though he has never defined exactly what a Chi-Chi is, he has told us that it's good.
He doesn't know that every time I watch him sprint on the seminary playground, after a ball or light sabre, it makes me cry, just as it does whenever I see my children running without acoutrements. (Those who know me will understand. And it makes me cry with joy every time he springs some child theology on us --as only he can, about the goodness of God. It's a goodness I've seen since Griffie, my Chi-Chi, came into the world.
Somewhere, Chi-Chi Rodriguez, the great PGA golfer, is smiling.
But for nearly 2,000 days, Griffin has given me a gift, by being my son. He has it rough sometimes, being the middle kid between his brilliant brother and beautiful sister. But God has made only one Griffin, who's smart and funny and athletic; a kid who loves Auburn football and Boston baseball and Big Papi. He fights "bad guys" daily, but is a gentle spirit who loves "Kipper" and "Little Bear." He likes to hear "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and "Jesus Loves Me."
And he loves his family. And oh, how his family loves him.
I do not know what the future holds for Griffie, but my prayer is that God will bless him. And I pray that I will be a Dad worthy of such a precious little boy, especially on this, his special day.
After all, he is my Chi-Chi.
Cheeseburgers with mustard and catsup all around.
It's Griffin's special day.
Five years ago, my life changed forever. I became the mother of not one, but two beautiful, strong, healthy boys. My sweet Griffin, though slightly bruised and battered from delivery, was the most beautiful and welcome sight that Friday in September. With dark hair and green eyes, all 8 pounds, 12 ounces of him was nothing shy of perfection. Within an hour of his birth, he was where he would remain for over 2 years....at my breast, right where he belonged.
And here we are now, five years later. He is the funniest boy I know, with an infectious laugh that will make your sides hurt. He is smart and witty and imaginative. He loves his brother and his sister and prays for them by name every day. He is polite and considerate and has a heart the size of Texas. I love this boy so much it actually hurts sometimes.
Yesterday morning when I woke up it was with a few tears that I made his birthday pancakes (a tradition in our house). It is bittersweet, this growing up business. I wish they would stay little for just a wee bit longer...
The kids were thrilled to finally meet (and hold!) Chloe and Alexis, their newest cousins!
Then we were blessed with some tickets to an Auburn game, so we headed to Alabama for a few days of game-day fun!
We are now safe and tucked away in New Orleans, thrilled that we have power and very little damage, though you can see how bad the storm was by the downed trees & shutters and the fact that nearly everything outside that was somewhat loose is now gone (campus police had done a marvelous job of securing bicycles, grills, etc. that was outside in the days prior to the storm, but it still wasn't quite enough).
Join us in praying Ike doesn't head this way, since neither our spirits nor our bank accounts can afford another lengthy stay out of town!
Here's some pics of the kids -- they had a BLAST the entire week!
At the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola:
The kids in Auburn:
Obviously we won't know or understand for a long time to come, but I do know that God is in total control of the situation and if history repeats itself, then it is doing it for a purpose. So I am writing this NOW so I can look back on it in a few days to remind myself. You know, for those 8953 times that I am certain to break down and lose all semblance of sanity.
All day it seems my friends and I have gone over and over what to do & what to pack. We've made sure we have everyone's cell numbers. We've cried and hugged and told each other "Hey, it's just stuff. Right?" It's funny....in 2 years I've grown so close to these women. I realize now that I totally take them for granted. We see each other every.single.day -- on the playground, at the pool, at PE, to borrow sugar or butter, or sometimes just because we're lonely and need to chat over a glass of tea or cup of coffee....in other words, I'm so incredibly blessed. There is no place like this on earth.
I pray that Gustav steers clear of New Orleans. I pray for this city. Most of all, right now I pray for my friends.
How difficult is it for you to step out in faith? I know for me it is brutal. I worry. I stress. I wonder if I'm really doing the right thing. I want a "sign" that I'm making the right choice. Honestly, I obsess about it. But let's face it; when it all comes down to the wire, we have to trust God. We have to dip our toes into the water.
That's what the priests did. Imagine the Jordan river at flood stage. And Joshua has told them to go ahead....but what if Joshua was wrong? What if they step out, carrying the most precious ark, and the water doesn't stop? Exactly how far out do they have to go? To their ankles? Waist level? Chest high?
But they did it. Their hearts likely pounding out of fear, or maybe faithful expectation, they did it. Their feet touched the waters edge, and just as God had promised, the water stopped. Flood stage waters stopped still. Imagine.
I am reminded that no matter how huge the decision looming in my life, God has it under control. Just as He controls the mighty seas in my world, what He promises is true. He will never leave me. He will never forsake me. He will be my father and my brother and my friend, my counselor and my peace.
All I have to do is step into the water.
him and felt compassion for him and ran and embraced him and kissed him."
Do you ever take your eyes off of your children? You know, just for a
second. Say you are at the zoo and you have three kids with you and
you bend down to tie a shoe and when you look up the 21 month old has
You immediately sense panic. Frantically, you start looking around,
yelling her name, asking everyone around you to look for a blonde
And then you see her....just calmly sitting in the grass, looking at a
fresh flower. Smiling. Like nothing is wrong....
Relief. Praise. Maybe a little frustration, but nothing even
resembling anger; most of all, overwhelming thankfulness and love. Joy
that she is back where she belongs. Safe in my arms, in my home, in
her family....where she fits.
And it makes me realize that when I wander, God feels the same way
about me. My meanderings don't just take me to a flower bed at the
zoo, however. I get bogged down by caring for my children and my
husband. By doing laundry and yet another sink full of dishes. By
planning the homeschool year, or by perusing yet a different book to
use for math. And the next thing I know, I have wandered from my
heavenly Father who loves me more than I can even imagine loving
someone. The same feelings that I have when one of my earthly children
wander from me are shared by the God who created me "in my inmost
being", who knew me from before time began.
Fortunately for me (for all of us!), God never takes His eyes off of
us. Not even for a second. He always knows where we are, and He always
gently bids us back. And when we come, He runs to embrace us and kiss
us and welcome us home.
Right where we belong.
So tonight I will just sit here and praise God that He loved me so much that He allowed me to grow these boys in my belly, that He allowed me to birth them and nurse them and love them so much that at times my heart genuinely aches...
And I will sneak in their room on my way to bed I will kiss their sweet, freshly bathed faces, and I will know that I really am the luckiest woman on the planet.
goes or has gone...
So, here is my life according to Google:
Jen needs to have a session or two with a therapist. (so true!)
Jen Looks Like She Has Down's.
Jen does not like being kept waiting. (again, true!)
Jen Hates Evil Empire Starbucks (so NOT true!)
Jen goes hairless!
Jen loves dimples. (true - especially on my kids!)
JEN EATS CARBS! (crap, I've been found out! )
Jen Has Moved...also Jen has always followed her heart, and my favorite: Jen has herpes and gonnarhea ()
Jen died suddenly and painlessly in a car accident ()
Jen Will Become Prettier Than Angelina, Even If It Takes All the Plastic Surgery In the World ()
Usually I'm fine with goodbyes. I tend to not get too close to people because we're all so busy. When you have multiple children, it gets even easier to distance yourself from true personal intimacy with others. Generally, a simple "Let's keep in touch" and a hug are adequate. (And I do love keeping in touch with friends all over the world!)
On Sunday my friend Stefanie moved to Massachusetts. We had known for over a month that the day would eventually get here. I helped her pack, I helped her sell things, I encouraged her and prayed for her as she and her husband encountered opposition and discouragement in planning their move. So yes, I knew it was coming.
I knew tears were lurking. I knew I did NOT want to cry. I didn't want to upset the boys, who were already starting to get a little anxious about the thought of Jabin moving away to Red Sox land. I held baby Joah and wondered how big he'd be the next time I held him. I hugged Journey and the tears came as she said goodbye in her impish voice, her blue eyes misting up as it dawned on her that she was leaving. Seminary is all she has ever known.
And then Stefanie reached out, said "I love you" and we both wept as we hugged.
Paul used to call Stef my girlfriend. We spent a lot of time together. We talked a LOT. Not just mindless banter or chit chat just to keep the silence away. We shared parenting tips and marriage advice. We swapped recipes. We shared milk and diapers and diet cokes. We knew how the other took their coffee and always had a cup in the afternoons together. We walked into one another's homes without knocking, always welcome, always loved.
I thank God for the few really good friends I've had in my life. There haven't been many, but each one has been spectacular.
If you have a really good friend, thank the Lord for her today and give her a call. Tell her you love her.
And consider yourself blessed.
I entered our church's jambalaya cook-off for no reason other than I knew we would be going to it and, well, why not? I've never made jambalaya. I can't even really pronounce it.
So after lunch today I ran into the grocery store and for less than $5 picked up my ingredients. I then prepared it in approximately 25 minutes and off to church we went.
The judges were unanimously in agreement --- and now I carry the proud title for the next 365 days.
I was told that Paul's face was one of shock and amazement. The reason would be simple. Here is my prize winning recipe:
So thank you, Zatarain's. We will be enjoying a delightful $25 gift certificate to a local restaurant because of you.
One issue that amuses me is the biology issue. Women are soft; men are firm. Women are smooth; men are hairy. Women have soft voices; men have deep ones. Women are short(er); men are tall(er). And the list goes on....What most women find attractive about men are the things that make them different from themselves. And vice versa. My husband would not be nearly as attracted to me if I had razor stubble on my face and a receding hairline. Nor would I find him appealing if he had a soft voice and breasts. That is biology.
Then there is the argument that we are not merely mammals, but we are animals. The people spouting off their zoology theology may call themselves that, but I will stick to the label "human"and I will even take that a step further and say what I have said before....just because homosexual behavior is exhibited by some animals in nature does not mean that it is acceptable and right. A cat cleans itself by licking itself, monkeys eat bugs off their families, and most all animals eat their placentas. Though many humans perhaps do these very things, it is NOT considered the "norm" nor is it considered appropriate behavior.
What it all boils down to is sin. God ordained marriage and family -- it was the first institution that was created. It is sacred and holy. Why would a gay or lesbian family even WANT to be married?
Benefits. Insurance. The right to make legal decisions for their "significant other". The right to have children together and raise them together.
Reminds me of the women's lib movement and how we have demanded to be treated equally. Now we are a country at war and mother's have had to deploy, leaving their children without their mamas while they fight and die for our country. Makes absolutely no sense to me. Anyone who is a mother or has a mother can vouch for the difference a mother makes in their lives. Daddies are fantastic, no doubt, but when a child falls down and gets hurt, they want their mama. No one should have to live without their mothers for months....even years at a time while their mamas are off fighting -- a job once reserved for men only, but we fought -- and won -- the "right" to be separated from our families.
Adding fuel to the fire is the liberal "Christians" among us who applaud the California decision and spew hatred toward more conservative Christians because we interpret the Bible as it was given to us by the one true God. God says homosexuality is sin, so we interpret that as sin. These "others" that I speak of say "nah, He didn't really mean that." (Sounds strikingly familiar to the serpent in the garden...."Did God *really* say....?"). I have but one verse for them...." but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:6. I strongly urge them to consider the weight of that....
Gay marriage? It is nothing but a slap in the face to the Creator of the Universe.
We had 2 girls graduating high school and their speeches and prayers were nothing short of eloquent and convicting. I told both of their mothers afterwards that if our children turned out half as well as these 2 young godly women did, we would have done something right. And I'm not exaggerating. Their parents have *so* much to be proud of. (One of the graduates is 15 and was awarded the William Carey Scholarship ~ so, 4 years completely paid. The award was for $50K).
Each age group sang and recited a verse, and faculty member Dr. Rex Butler gave a short exhortation to the parents of homeschoolers and then handed the children their certificates and shook their hand. (Always generous, Griffin tried to give Dr. Butler his certificate back!)
Tucker even boogied a bit in the front row when his group sang "Peace Like a River".
So it is official -- Griffin is now entering kindergarten and Tucker, 3rd grade.
Where are the pictures, you ask? Well, that's where the 2nd part of my post title comes in. My camera decided that this was the perfect opportunity to just flat out die. Everything I attempted either had such a long delay or was so blurry it isn't even worth posting.
Time goes so quickly... I know for the graduate's parents they probably remember like yesterday when their 6 year old was up on the stage dancing to a non-danceable song and thinking it was nothing short of precious. I am reminded to cherish today, and embrace each moment with my children.
I was also encouraged to keep on keeping on when it comes to schooling the kids. Some days just get so rote and I often wonder if what I'm doing really is making a difference. It was nice to hear from Dr. Butler (who homeschooled his children) and from the graduates that homeschooling really DID make a difference. I needed to hear that. God knows just when to send the right words of encouragement, doesn't He?
However, I like to remember that Jesus was not "tolerant" of sin. As the saying goes, love the sinner; hate the sin.
And so, to make my point, I am stating quite simply what I believe:
The Bible is clear about homosexuality....
- Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. (Lev. 18:22)
- Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.(Romans 1:26, 27)
- Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offender (1 Cor. 6:9)
- In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7)
I do not believe people are "born gay". I do not believe there is a "gay gene". I do believe that homosexuality is a sinful desire. I think we all wrestle with our own sinful desires...be it gluttony, covetousness, lying, adultery, etc...but we have to learn self-control (which is admittedly difficult, but self control is one of the fruits of the spirit...so we can be overcomers with the power of God in us). Why some struggle more than others is a mystery. There are questions that we won't know the answers to until we get to ask God face to face. But one thing I am certain of. God doesn't make mistakes. Every single person walking this planet today do so because the Creator of the universe deemed it so.
I know that many "Christians" do not believe the Bible is the inspired word of God (despite "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16), but I do wonder....how can those who call themselves Christians deliberately twist the word of God? As someone so wisely pointed out to me...Jesus was clear what he meant when he said, ""Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)
And that is all I have to say about that.
- Tricia L. has new lungs and was discharged from the hospital a mere 3 weeks after her transplant!
- Gwyneth L. , born at 23 weeks, went home TODAY! Alive, healthy, and beautiful. How's that for a 1-2 combo miracle?!
- My sweet new -- I guess they would be my 3rd cousins?-- Alexis and Chloe, are doing well, eating well, and hopefully will be able to come home in the next week!
- My darling husband just finished a BEAR of a semester with an A and 2 B's. He rocked his finals and his papers were outstanding. All this while working a full time job and spending time with his family!
My cousin's daughter had twin baby girls last night. At 34 weeks, they are doing very well and their personalities and temperments are already shining through, according to their grandmother, my cousin (who I like to call Nanny Janny, only because it is annoying and annoying her brings me pleasure).
The psalmist David wrote "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made...". Anyone who has had the privilege to witness birth can attest to those words. Birth is an amazing and powerful event, and the hidden details always make me stand in awe of our Creator.
One look at Chloe and Alexis will tell the world that they are, indeed, wonderfully made.
Happy birthday, girls!
I have to constantly remind myself that this is not a competition. My dear husband is so good at reminding me of Galatians 1:10: "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."
It is *so* not about what others are doing, or teaching, or singing, or learning. It is about my relationship with God and with my children.
If I am teaching my children as I'm commanded to:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
...then what have I to fear? I am doing all that is required of me. I can rest knowing that I am the world's best homeschooling mother for Tucker, Griffin, and Anne Claire.
And that is all I want to be.
Have a blessed Mother's Day!
"Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right." Proverbs 20:11
Since coming to seminary, we have had many eye opening experiences. I'm going to be honest here and say what I've said many times to Paul that if this (meaning the people here) is the "body of Christ" then I'm not so certain I want to be part of it.
Of course thoughts like these tend to isolate me, because on the surface everyone wants to come across as being the epitome of spiritual maturity and Christian love. No wonder Gandhi said "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." I have to admit that I feel much the same as him.
It is difficult to try to teach your children to act with integrity and to be conscious of the testimony that they are living out when we are living in a place that is shrouded in self serving and self promoting politics.
But we haven't lost faith. There are a few folks we've come across that are living out genuine faith right in front of us. They are quiet. They are struggling. They are raising their children by their examples; to "act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)
To those of you who are doing just that, thank you.
Some say that God no longer performs miracles. I disagree. I look around my life and see miracles every day. Among them:
- I can look forward to an eternity in heaven thanks to the miracle of God's amazing grace.
- I am the lucky wife of an incredible man who has changed my life forever and who loves me more than I sometimes deserve.
- Tucker - our firstborn, ultra-intelligent, funny, sensitive son.
- Griffin - the funniest, laziest, most athletic child you'll ever meet.
- Anne Claire - a true miracle to have a baby girl after 2 of the most Y chromosome bearing children ever born. She is beautiful, funny, and so girly it's almost ridiculous.
- the city of New Orleans. It's a miracle that it has survived post Katrina. The people that have chosen to stay and make it their home are true survivors.
- Tricia Lawrenson - I mean, the girl's sporting new lungs! If that isn't miracle enough, she married into a wonderful family that we love.
As I write this, Tricia is getting ready for her double lung transplant this evening. Please pray for her, for her husband Nathan, for her parents and the rest of the Kirschner & Lawrenson families as they get ready for this miraculous and monumental event. Pray for the doctors, the nurses, the entire OR staff. Pray for the donor family, for their grief as they mourn the loss of their loved one, and for their generosity in choosing organ donation. What a tremendous gift it is.
And to top it all off, today is Nathan's birthday.
Like I've said before, isn't God amazing?
We serve an amazing and awesome God!
Yes, he has been beheaded. By Griffin. Where is his head you ask? Well, to put it bluntly, it is somewhere in Griff's intestinal tract. Get it?
Have I mentioned Griffin is 4? He is very good at it.
We dyed eggs last Saturday; here's a few pictures of the kids. They had a GREAT time, and all donned dyed fingers for Sunday morning.
Dressing up is an integral part of any Easter day celebration. Girls get new Easter dresses and shoes; boys get new shirts. We dye eggs and fill baskets with candy and toys. The kids get more sugared up on this holiday than on Christmas (at least mine do! By 7:30 am Griffin had already had a lollipop, 1/2 a Three Musketeers, and countless Tootsie rolls...not to mention his morning cup of coffee, but that's another post altogether!)
But what is really important about Easter is the meaning, of course. The resurrection of Jesus. Without it, there is no "Christianity". Without it, Jesus would have been just another man.
But another man he was not....he who healed the sick, loved the unlovable, and taught the masses was not merely a man. He was Jesus Christ, the long awaited Messiah, the Son of the Living God.
As predicted by prophets of long ago, this humble "man" of only 33 years died a shameful death, naked on a wooden cross, in the company of 2 thieves. He took on the sins of you and of me; all of our past, present, and future wrongs. He intimitely felt the guilt, the shame, the despair, and the penalty that we deserve. When He cried out asking His Father why he had been forsaken, it was because in that moment God turned away. You see, our God is a holy God and cannot look on sin. And when Jesus bore my sin, His father looked away.
I am in tears as I write this because this innocent, sinless, loving man took all that on -- for me. If I had been the only human in the universe, He'd have done it.....for me.
He did it for you, too.
The good news is that despite being buried in a borrowed tomb on that somber day, you will not find his remains there today. For on the third day as the women went to tend to Jesus' body, they found the heavy stone rolled away from the mouth of the cave. An angel greeted them and said those history changing words, "He is not here, for He has risen, like He said."
Or as the boys would say, when asked why we celebrate Easter, "Jesus is alive!!"
He *is* alive. He is ever present in this tumultuous world. What a relief to know that we don't wander this planet aimlessly, just living to do our own thing. We were each created with a purpose and a mission. Sometimes our missions change. Sometimes they remain the same.
Whatever your mission in life is today, embrace the fact that Jesus Christ lived for you and died for you...and lives again for you. He loves you!