Wednesday, December 31, 2008


This is my version of Christmas. My three sweet, little loves. What a gift each of them is to me. And each in different ways. Thank you God for these children.

We had a very fun Christmas. Since then, Ella has been cooking in her new kitchen, with the occasional guest chef in Miles. Elijah has been trying to learn how to keep Mario alive. Miles has been enjoying his firehouse and firetruck and was wearing his John Deere work gloves everywhere until he lost them as punishment for some heinous act of disobedience. What was that again? Oh, I don't know. He can have them back when we find them in this very disorderly house. I need to work on that. The house, that is. Tomorrow. I'll work on that tomorrow. New year. New cleaning philosophy. Maybe? Check back on that one...

Anyway, our Christmas was wonderful - we are so blessed with our families, our children, our church, our home - but most blessed with our Jesus. He has so been tugging at my heart, along with the Father. My Father. I've felt this for a few months and I figured it out talking to my brother recently. After all these months without my dad here with me, I have gotten to a place with God where he is my dad. Holy, yes. Sovereign, yes. Righteous. Just. Merciful. Loving. Forgiving. Patient. Waiting. Hopeful. Father in Heaven. And he's my dad. It's what I've been told time and time and time again, but I didn't understand it. Until now. I'm not saying I've made it somewhere, as I think it is just a beginning, or accomplished this myself because it's God working here, not me. This is one of the ways he has turned my sadness into joy and given me reason to rejoice. I have two dads cheering me on. Two dads giving me hope. Two dads waiting for me - one I will see again and one I will see for the first time. Two dads.

Ella has been talking about Poppa so much lately. Today I had her in the drs office (sinus infection) and out of the blue she said "Poppa!" while looking in front of us. Then she said "Oh Poppa where go?" I don't know what to make of it, but something or nothing I am loving it.

And if this post isn't syrupy enough, let me share what Elijah told me last week:

"Momma, sometimes I just stop and look at you because you are so pretty. You are the prettiest woman I've ever seen."
Never mind that when I asked him when he stops to look at me he said, "I haven't yet." Hey, at least he plans to stop and look at me, right?

Happy New Year

Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between Himself and us, and He has given us the work of making peace between Himself and others."
-1 Corinthians 5:15-18

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Have yourself...

a merry little Christmas!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.
Romans 15:13

Ho! Ho! Ho!

My friend Allison and I met at the mall yesterday morning with our 6 children. The night before Jonathan said, with a confused expression, "two women and six children at the mall?" I explained that actually two women and six children is better and easier than one woman and three children. Two to six means you've got at least one person on your side.

We saw Santa, rode the train, had lunch and Allison got a tiny bit of shopping done. We planned for the little girls to match in their "e" shirts I made for them. What was a little weird is that Allison and I just happened to match each other as well. It was cute on the little ones, not so much for us big girls.

Christmas Fun

We had a very busy last week of school before Christmas. Both boys had parties. Miles had a pageant and Elijah had his first field trip. They happened to be on the same morning, so I witnessed the very sweet preschool pageant while Jonathan accompanied Elijah and his class to see Despereaux.

We played pin-the-ornament-on-the-tree!
And decorated cookies!

I found a sweet little dalmatian at the manger.Elijah's class had a Polar Express day and party

everyone looked so cute and cuddly in their jammies!

Mom's birthday

December 14th was Mom's birthday. Her and Dad's wedding anniversary is on the 16th, which is a pretty tough day for her now. Since her birthday fell on a Sunday this year, we decided to spend the day together. Just us. No kids. Very nice. We had lunch and then went to see Twilight.
We left the movie pretty smitten with a certain vegetarian vampire. We then did a bit of Christmas shopping and ended our day at Chili's for some molten chocolate cake. Yum! Happy birthday, again, Mom! I love you bunches.

Elijah's party

We had Elijah's party a few weeks ago at church so we could have a movie party. He chose to watch Veggie Tales' The Toy that saved Christmas. The kids seemed to have a great time, except for Elijah who started running a fever during his party. Impeccable timing I'd say. Oh, well. Here's the cake - hopefully you can recognize it as a box of popcorn. I wasn't super thrilled with the way it came out.

The kids enjoyed popcorn during the show.Ella and her cousins enjoyed the cake!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's true

My favorite singing girl, Sara Groves, has blown me away yet again with her new Christmas album. My favorite song is called It's True. I love it for several reasons, one being that it features the sweet voice of her son. I also love that Elijah loves it. He can never listen to it just once. Here are the lyrics:

In your heart you hope it’s true
Though you hold no expectation
In the deepest part of you
There’s an open hesitation

But it’s true
Kingdoms and crowns
The God who came down
To find you

It’s true
Angels on high
Sing through the night

You’ve heard it told
You think it’s odd
The whole thing fraught with complication
The play begins with baby God
And all his blessed implications

In your heart you hope it’s true
In the deepest part of you
It’s true
It’s true

After we listened to it two or three times yesterday I told Elijah that some people don't think that Jesus' story is real or true. He thought I was kidding at first. When he realized I was serious, I asked him if he thinks it's true. He said, "I KNOW it's true!" God must smile and angels must sing when a little one is so full of faith.

I know we are all about to get really, really busy with the holidays. I am loving how this song, among others, brings me back to the point. All of this celebration is because of the birth of my Savior. And the celebration is fine, wonderful, and called for; but I do want to take time to ponder the Truth during this time. The truth of a God who came down to find me. And you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Middle Place

I remember asking my sweet friend Melissa soon after my dad died just when I would stop feeling like the sadness was going to suffocate me. At the time her mom had been gone for 11 years. The answer to my question? Tears filled her eyes. What I didn't know then is that while the pain, and your reaction to it, changes with time, it is always there. Always. There is a hole left behind that only my dad could fill. And right now it's empty. And every now and then I feel once again like I might suffocate.

Recently Betsy handed me a book that made her think of me. It was wonderful. First of all, the author, Kelly Corrigan, is an excellent writer. Her words make you feel a part of her story. It is the story of her own fight with cancer that just happened to coincide with her father's fight with it as well. The book is called The Middle Place and I recommend it to anyone who is at once a child and a parent. That is what she calls the middle place. This is what her website says about the book: "THE MIDDLE PLACE is about being a parent and a child at the same time. It is about the special double-vision you get when you are standing with one foot in each place. It is about the family you make and the family you came from and locating, navigating, and finally celebrating the place where they meet."

It took my dad's illness and death for me to realize that I can be, and am, both mother and daughter. I thought as a grown up kind of woman that I was fully independent, self-sufficient (with my husband, of course) and yes, a daughter but more importantly, a mother. A grown up. And then Dad became sick. Wait. I'm not ready. Not yet. Not this. Not now. My boys are too little. I am too young. You are too young. What will we do? I am still your daughter. And yes, in fact I do still need you as I've come to know. What is that they say about hindsight? If I had only known, right? As it turns out, Dad and I both learned a lot about each other, about love, in his last months.

So now I relish my position as both someone's daughter and some people's mother. It can be a strange place at times, like recently when I had a double ear infection and we just happened to be staying at Mom's due to our plumbing problems. I laid in my mom's bed crying because my ears hurt so badly and I just wanted her to come home from her errands and take care of me. And she did.

I now so cling to my mother that she probably feels like I'm suffocating her. I can't help it. She's the last link to my being a daughter, a child. Along with my dad went part of my backbone, and mom makes up a big part of what's left of it. So I worry about her and like to keep tabs on where she is and how she is, because when she goes, I'll be an orphan. I know, I know, I am a daughter of the King, and how I love, love, love that place. But on earth, I'll be an orphan. Let's move on...or I'll get all upset.

As Elijah was approaching his birthday last week I realized that he has now lived half of his life without my dad in it. Now, we talk lots about Poppa. Elijah misses him and likes to remember things about him. Miles, and now even Ella, talk about him because I do. I truly believe that Dad keeps tabs on us. Knows what we're up to. Watches his grandchildren. Loves them. But I can't see him see them. This part of The Middle Place speaks to that feeling. It is about her friend's reaction after her mother's death to people saying "she's in a better place" type things:
But what about you? What about your peace? Your comfort? Who's gonna remember what you were for Halloween that year or the name of your fifth grade teacher? Who's gonna loan you money to buy your first house or cry when your baby is born? Who's gonna sit in the front row of your play?

Look, Mom! This is the scene where we get engaged! Oh! You're gonna love this part! Look at me in my white dress Dad! How about this one - Edward and Dad play golf together! And in this next scene, we get pregnant! Hey, look, Dad! Edward reads Sports Illustrated cover to cover JUSTLIKEYOU! Isn't this a good play? Don't you love it? Wait! There's more! Edward gets promoted in the third act! Don't go yet! Georgia is going to kindergarten next year! Wait 'til you see her first swim meet! Her tiger goggles! Please stay. We bought Claire tap shoes! This part is coming up-! Claire plays the harmonica! She's applying to Yale! Don't LEAVE- it gets so good!
Even though I think Dad is seeing our "play" and he's trying to get the hosts of heaven to watch with him, probably, I can't be with him as he sees. I can't see the emotion in his eyes. Or see those cheeks puff up with a smile. Or hear that strange way he would laugh/spit when something was really funny (like Elijah calling nipples "nebos").

Thanks to Betsy for sharing this wonderful book with me. I think The Middle Place is so worth reading. You may not be able to relate to all of it but, unfortunately, one day we all will send our parents home. And, hey, maybe reading it will help you learn some things about family and love and loss that I had to learn the hard way.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My birthday boy!

My first little love turns 6 today. Yesterday he repeatedly told me, "This is the last day I'll ever be 5!" I was ready to cry about it by the last time he said it. We started off the day with birthday pumpkin muffins, then Jonathan, Miles and I went to have lunch and take cupcakes at Elijah's school. The celebration will continue tonight with his favorite dinner - tacos - and then we'll have a party Saturday.
No one knows how it is that with one glance a boy can break through into a girl's heart.
Napoleon Bonaparte

This boy broke through into my heart six years ago. What a blessing he has been. My prayer with him this morning was one of thankfulness for his life and that he will love God every day of it.

Happy birthday, Elijah P.! I'll love you forever, bunches and bunches!

My heart

God has spoken to me this week about my heart. I had an angry encounter with someone I love very, very much. We were both ugly. We have both apologized. I feel guilty and he probably does, too. Then two days ago my Proverbs 31 daily email devotional was summed up by this prayer:

Dear Lord, It is easy to honor You with my carefully thought through actions but, sometimes much harder with my reactions. Even when I'm caught off guard, may Your love and patience be the spillover from my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

This brought to mind what God says in Luke 6:45 " The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." Oh, wow, do I have an ugly heart.

Then, later the same night, Elijah chose the bible story based on James 1:19 for me to read to him:

"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."

God very often speaks to me through my little Elijah. I love that boy for so many reasons, this one included.

I need to pray these scriptures over my own heart. And I need to call my brother.