Thursday, December 29, 2011

Because when you are a three year old boy, even taking a nap should be an adventure.



And when you are that three year old boy's mother, you snap a couple of photos and then lower your sleeping son to ground level for fear he might wake up dazed and fall on his precious face.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The santa dilemma

You better watch out. Santa Claus is coming to our house.

And I'm excited about that. The Santa buzz around here is building and I'm eager to find out what that jolly ol' dude has in store for my family.

But here's the dilemma. There's a truth about Santa that some of you might already know, and some folks think that Santa's truth is getting in the way of The Truth. The Truth that is living and breathing and blossoming in my heart. The Truth that means everything to me. And Lord willing, that Truth will mean everything to my precious children.

Recently I read a post here and a post here, and believe it or not, they both resonated beautifully with me. But how can I be moved by one author who doesn't celebrate Christmas with Santa and presents while agreeing with another author who not only celebrates Christmas with Santa Claus, but get this, she flat out believes in the ol' man?! How can I hide elves humorously around my home each night while praying intensely for my dear friend whose non-Santa practicing family is sacrificially spending their Christmas loving on a country and a people who so desperately need Jesus?

I don't know.

But I do.

And for what it's worth, here's where I've landed, at least for now:

1) I love a child's imagination. LOVE. My absolute most magical memories of childhood are my daydreams and make believes. When my childhood was lonely, I dreamed and imagined up a friend of my very own. Her name was Dorothy, and I still love her. My parents never fussed at me about Dorothy. They let her have a seat at our table and they brought her a water cup along with mine. And I thank them for that, for allowing me Dorothy.

I think this is where I find Santa in all this. It's an opportunity for me to engage in my children's imaginations. If only for a few years, it will be delightful to whip up silly stories and fanciful tales about elves and reindeer and chimneys. Some might call me a liar. I call me a dreamer.

2) If I do my job right, there will be no confusion about Jesus & Santa. If I preach THE TRUTH about Jesus all year round, then what's the difference in December? There is no difference. We still celebrate Jesus in December just as we do in February and August. His miraculous and holy birth. His eternal gift of life. His grace and mercy. Definitely His mercy. It was only this morning that I pulled into our driveway and asked my children for forgiveness and we sat there, the van in park, praying and praising because God is merciful when I'm impatient and snippy and wretched. It's the week of Christmas and I'm as broken as ever. Santa might be able to deliver happiness in a wind-up toy, but only Jesus can deliver pure, undeserved joy.

In my world, we can sit on Santa's lap on Wednesday and walk through the life size nativity on Saturday. We can write a letter to the North Pole and paint a picture of the blessed nativity.
It's not an either-or. And yet the two don't get equal playing time. Jesus will always be the King of this home.

For me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Jesus will always be the reason. The reason we breathe. The reason we love. The reason we celebrate. Santa and his shiny bells are nothing more than a fantasy that we bring to life. Jesus, He is our life. He is our heartbeat and our breath. Fantasy ain't got nothin' on our faith - our daily bread.

In a few short days, my minis will wake from their sugar-plum-filled visions to stockings full of trinkets delivered magically by a sleigh. And we will thank Jesus. Thank Him for blessing us with a loving home, warm beds, a full fridge, and precious dreams.

And don't worry. We paid Santa a visit last week. And one thing's for sure. Jesus has never received this kind of reaction from my kids.



*These pictures are from last year's Santa visit. There was only slight improvement this year. I'll share more soon.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Grandma Hollywood and the minis

During Grandma Hollywood's recent visit to oh-Alison-it's-too-cold-here Ohio, I spent a morning with her and my two minis. The nearly 90 years between them brought forth a range of encounters, some endearing, some frustrating, and some just plain hysterical.

For starters, my kids don't perceive age. They see Grandma Hollywood's thin coarse white hair and say, "Great Grams' hair is funny." Nor do they perceive the limitations that come with age. They expect her to scoop them up to her level, and bless her still beating heart, she tries. And it breaks mine to watch her disappointment when she realizes that her ability to lift a small child is forever in her past. My spunky and gregarious daughter is unaware that when she barrels into Grandma Hollywood's 90 year old legs, she risks knocking my grandmother to the floor, a fall from which Grandma literally might not recover.

And yet Grandma Hollywood lives as if the life-threatening fall would be worth it. When Miss Harper Lynn looked at her and said, "Chase me, Great Grams," Grandma Hollywood looked at me and said, "What did she say?" I responded, "She wants you to chase her." Grandma only grinned, and sure enough, she started her feeble chase, a snail's pace behind my hare of a daughter. And my 2 year old baby girl only knew one thing, she was being chased. The burst of squeals and giggles that ensued were as dramatic and effervescent as if the chase might actually result in a catch.

As I sat with my grandmother listening to her repeat the stories I had heard dozens of times before, I juggled my annoyance of her faulty memory with the constant needs of my kids, "I need to poop! I need to poop! I keep tooting and I need to poop!" No matter how high her hearing aids were turned up, Grandma Hollywood needed clarification on almost everything the kids said, "What is he talking about, Alison?"

Well, Grandma, do you really want to know?

Though I'd love for you to believe that each exchange between my grandmother and children results in pure joy and laughter, there is much harmony to be desired.

Typical of most three year old boys, my son sees pillows and immediately thinks fort. As he pulled the decorative pillows from the couch, Grandma Hollywood became intensely concerned. "Alison, do you see what he's doing?"

Me: "Yes, he's fine, Grandma."
Grandma Hollywood: "But he's pulled all of the pillows off of the couch."
Me: "I know Grandma; he's just playing."

Grandma Hollywood walked away in obvious disapproval of my son's creativity and my kids-these-days parenting. And typical of most three year old boys, it was a mere five minutes before Henry was distracted, leaving the pillow fort glaring at my grandmother. She wasted no time. I've never seen feeble bones move so fast. In record time, she had each of those pillows fluffed and positioned back on the couch ready for a magazine cover shoot, thankyouverymuch.

There wasn't much to say when my son ran back into the room and blurted, "What happened to my fort?!"

I took one look at my now-playing-dumb grandmother and turned back to my son, saying what every good granddaughter would say, "Go play."

As I sat across from my 90 year old grandmother, a woman whose grace has deteriorated while her opinions have intensified, I wonder if she remembers the days when her four children were small, imaginative bursts of energy. "Alison, Henry didn't finish his lunch." "Alison, what is that noise?" "Alison, where did Harper go?" "Alison, don't your children wear socks?" "Alison, Henry went into the bathroom." "Alison, Harper is climbing on the table." Alison. Alison. Alison. The thoughts swirling in my mind were not of a very good granddaughter.

The sweet and gentle Mrs. Claus of a grandmother who I remember has evolved into a nosey, nagging, negative Nancy. And yet as I gather my minis to say goodbye to the woman who still travels solo 2000+ miles from California to spend time with us, she clasps her thin-skinned hands around my face and directs her macular degenerated eyes directly into mine. With pure sincerity and warmth, she says to me, "Alison, I love you and your family so so much." She doesn't let go. She stays there for what seems like minutes. And I begin to melt, remembering only a fraction of what she has survived in a near century: the loss of a twin and mother during birth, the horrors of a wicked stepmother, the passing of a spouse, and the sudden death of a child.

And it's no surprise that within minutes of her departure, I long for her company once again, kicking myself for the moments squandered because of my irritability and impatience. The distance now between us truly does cause my heart to swell, and I become saddened as I think of her now home alone, her only companion the chiming clock that strikes every 15 minutes, a sobering reminder of the minutes passing, her memory fading, her brain diminishing, and her body failing.




Thank you, Jesus, for Grandma Hollywood. Wrap her in Your comfort and peace as she suffers the countless losses that come with her age. Help me to remember the blessing it is to still have a living grandparent. And give me patience and a controlled tongue in those moments when I want to load her back on a plane destined for California.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My achy breaky heart



These pictures make me melt.

We were at Matt's parents house and sweet Harper just couldn't stay awake another second. She sat down for lunch and the rest is history. As I look at these pictures, my heart goes all achy breaky, and I want her to stay tiny forever. She's the perfect size for that mini camping chair. Her face is still carrying just enough baby fat to give her a perfectly round disposition, and her little fingers, while tiny, are still chunky just below the knuckles. She's small enough to curl up in my lap, and as petite as she is, I can still tote her around on my hip effortlessly.

With only two months before the arrival of our next addition, I am becoming terribly sentimental about this little girl who is still my baby. I'm feeling this urge to tuck her into the moby wrap and remind her of the days when we were inseparable, when she slept in my bed and I nursed her and she was literally attached to me all day long. Oh, how I miss those days.

And now she sits across the room, feeding her baby dolls plastic corn and spaghetti. And she uses phrases like "in a little bit," and "hush, don't cry, baby." I can't even stand it. I'm so going to be that mother in I Love You Forever who drives across town and crawls into bed with her grown child. It's not creepy, I promise, read the book.

So to that sleeping beauty fast asleep in the mini camping chair, "I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Today I give thanks . . .


for chilled Diet Coke.

for the way my daughter's hair curls in the rain.

for Mexico.

for the hiccups and kicks inside my womb.

for the absurd giggles of siblings who were fighting only minutes ago.

for Apple products.

for my husband's smile that greets me promptly at 6:20 each weeknight.

for a sister who I can call a crazy number of times a day and it never gets old.

for a missional church.

for parents and in-laws who make grandparenting look like the best job in the world.

for living in a state that allows me to experience all four seasons (although I'm especially thankful for autumn).

for a 3 1/2 year old boy who still asks me daily, "Mommy, can I cuddle with you?"

for our vet who genuinely wants to find an affordable and effective cure for our sweet pup's seizures.

for dance parties with my kids, and sometimes without.

for friends who keep me humble.

for Jesus.



And don't you love that banner? It is handmade from Banners by Bethany. She donates half of her proceeds to global missions. She also accepts custom orders! Place your Christmas order by December 10. For more information:


Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Super Heroes





Halloween stream of consciousness . . .
  • Why is my 3-year-old obsessed with Spiderman? I don't get it, but I think it's adorable.
  • How many more years can I get away with manipulating their costume choices so that there is a theme?
  • With the exception of these three minutes when we took these pictures, my son refused to wear his mask.
  • These two minis gathered oodles of candy, and it was my brilliant idea to separate the chocolate from the lesser candy so that the chocolate would not be contaminated by lame peppermints and orange taffy. That beloved bucket-o-chocolate sat on our kitchen counter for two whole weeks before our dog got the nerve to jump the counter and bring it down. I came home one Sunday to an empty bucket, and it took three days for that darn dog to pass (from both ends) all the candy wrappers.
  • One year my sister dressed up as a snow princess and wore my wedding dress as her costume. True story.
  • If you knew my sister during that time in her life, you know what a gamble that was for me to lend her my wedding dress for a Halloween party. Both my sister and the dress survived. It was a Halloween miracle.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Compassion

Many of you follow A Holy Experience, the incredibly poetic Ann Voskamp's heart-stirring blog. She's had me absolutely captivated this week as she spent a few days with other bloggers visiting Ecuador for Compassion International.

Her posts have been raw, devastating, gut-wrenching, beautiful, hopeful, and engaging. I highly encourage you to read her entire Compassion journey, although these two particular posts have been crossing through my thoughts and dreams ever since I first read them.



Both posts made me cry. A lot. And both posts have me asking a lot of tough questions of myself and God. I don't know why, but I wanted to share those stories with you. I don't think I've ever been so moved by two young children whom I've never met.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I need a laugh, how about you?

You all have BLOWN ME AWAY with your comments over the last couple of days. When I hit publish on Sunday, I had no idea that I would be so challenged by your feedback and insights. It's been exhausting yet refreshing as so many of you offered me food for thought that pushed me to spend time with God and His Word. Thanks a million for stretching me and encouraging me, and a special thanks to Marla for being one of my biggest cheerleaders.

I couldn't tell you the last time I posted three days in a row, but I thought that with all the intensity around here lately, I needed a good laugh (and maybe you do too.) I don't have to look far in this house for comic relief, between my penis-obsessed son (he's recently potty trained) and my wildly dramatic daughter (she's a product of two very expressive auntie's). I had to share this worth-a-thousand-words picture of Miss Harper Lynn when she recently was told, "No more s'mores." Actually, I don't think it was the s'mores as much as it was the chocolate and marshmallows. Then again, I really can't blame her.


Next time you're having one of those days, grab some chocolate and marshmallows and remember, you are not alone!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Everything I learned about giving I learned from the tithe

Disclaimer: I have a LONG way to go before I have a good grasp on tithing and giving. I can't stress that enough.

Not quite two years ago, Matt and I made the decision to get serious about tithing and giving as neither was an area producing much fruit in our lives. I will share with you what God has revealed to us through our searching and journeying and failing and praying. Did I mention we are still learning and growing and failing? Lots of failing. Lots of humbling.
  • Let me start with the definition of tithe. Tithe literally means "a tenth part." You can give 2% or 8% but you cannot tithe it, much like you cannot call 5 eggs a dozen (great analogy, Rebecca.)
  • Semantics aside, our goal is that all of our tithes and offerings are acts of worship. This is one of the reasons I love writing the check. It helps me to stop and be aware of what I am doing, praying and praising as I write. But don't get too excited, I am guilty of treating this action just as I treat the water bill, without reverence.
  • We are called to have a steward mentality and eternal perspective. Being a good steward of God's money (and resources) involves many things (saving, investing, giving, tithing, just to name a few). Ultimately we will give an account of our lives, according to the fruit of our deeds (Jeremiah 17:10). I love this quote by Matthew Henry: "It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day." Being a good steward of God's resources while maintaining an eternal perspective is where we try to position ourselves, and try as I might, I fail miserably at this all the time.
  • I want to share a quote from Randy Alcorn's book Money, Possessions and Eternity. He does a good job of helping me understand how the tithe applies to my life today in the era of grace. "[Tithing] is a meaningful expression of dependence on God and gratitude to him. Tithing requires calculation. When we deal specifically with the amounts God has provided, we assess God's goodness to us . . . Tithing was, and can still be, a built-in reminder at every juncture of life of our unlimited debt to God." Dontcha just love that?
  • The tithe (10%) will always remain non-negotiable for our family (Please don't read this as legalism. I pray you understand that this is what God has revealed to OUR family. I'm not implying this is what God commands for you. That's between you and Jesus.) In the Old Testament, the tithe was the starting point for giving (I love the passage in Exodus 36 when the Israelites were actually restrained from giving materials to build the tabernacle because they had given more materials than needed!) The model of paying back to God His firstfruits was the tithe, and as I've studied the OT, I found that it was more than paying 10% off the top. There were actually multiple tithes required of the Jews - their tithes and offerings well exceeded 10% (Deuteronomy 14). In the New Testament, every example of giving goes beyond the tithe. The way I see it, there is no evidence for less than 10% of giving anywhere in the Bible. For us, the tithe is a base figure. It is merely a starting point for our giving.
  • Can tithing be legalistic? Of course. As can any other spiritual discipline. The dangers don't only include legalism, but also complacency. When we view tithing (or church attendance or volunteering) as a box to be checked, we've missed the point completely. But when we approach tithing (and giving, among other things) with prayer and a worship-filled heart, we put ourselves in a space to receive the eternal and internal blessings that God promises to those who honor Him (The story of the rich young man in Matthew 19 is one of my favorites. He's promised eternal reward for giving to the poor, and it is in this passage when Jesus tells His disciples that they will receive a return of hundredfold for their sacrifices.)
  • I have to wonder what it communicates to God when we don't tithe, when we don't give him the firstfruits of His provisions? I think that is when we begin to say, "God, you can't handle all my needs, not to mention my debts and loans and the demands of this crappy economy. You can't handle it, but I can." What if instead we said to God, "I don't know how this is going to all work out, but I trust that you will provide. Therefore I give you the firsts of this paycheck, before I pay a single bill or make a single purchase." This is also a good space to pray that God shows you what is (and what is not) a need, not to mention showing you ways that you can save money when you didn't think there would be enough - this is an area where God has humbled me big time. I sometimes feel like Veruca Salt, spatting, "I want an Oompa Loompa! I want an Oompa Loompa now!" I so deserve her fate, a bad egg who is dropped down the garbage chute. But God's mercy is so good. In time, I find myself getting used to life without the coveted Oompa Loompa, ultimately experiencing contentment with less.
  • To the point of being able to give like no one else, my suggestion: start with the tithe. Start with the building blocks that are revealed in God's Word. And then don't stop. Continue to ask God to stretch your dollar, your heart, and your pocketbook. Not for you, but for the blessing of giving.
  • I so appreciate the comment from my dearest friend Mary Kate. She said, "I cling too tightly to my 10% tithe, because giving it all can seem terrifying." I can SO relate. The tithe isn't my ticket to spend the other 90% on whatever I damn well please. It's not for me to clear my conscience, so to speak. All - all 100% - belongs to God. I don't get to do whatever I choose with any of it. The 10%, the 90%, the 100% - it's all His. And it's His to do with as He pleases.
He who has God and everything has no more than he who has God alone. - C.S. Lewis

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The spirit of giving?

I know I'm about to step on all sorts of total-money-makeover toes, but my heart is unsettled and twisted so here it goes. I'm not a big Dave Ramsey fan. But before you throw your shredded credit cards at the computer, I praise the Lord for the many many people who Ramsey has helped snowball their way out of suffocating debt. And I mean that.

Okay, so here's my beef. For starters, I can't quite wrap my head around the live like no one else so that you can live like no one else philosophy. Does Ramsey mean for us to live like no one else TODAY (by driving a junker and shopping Goodwill) so that during our retirement years (whatever those are) we can live more comfortably? luxuriously? Or does Ramsey encourage folks to live like no one else TODAY so that when they reach eternity, they can live like no one else? The latter might be more Biblical, sort of, but is that what Ramsey is saying? I get the sense that he means the former, and that is where he loses me. It is in that concept where our culture has interfered with Biblical Truth. God doesn't motivate people to live simply or frugally so that one day they can live a grandiose lifestyle. Our culture tells us that's how it should go, but that's not God's way.

Secondly, I don't agree with his seven steps to financial peace (and can someone please define financial peace?) The steps begin with building an emergency fund and are followed by getting out of debt, saving, investing, saving for college, paying off your home, and then building wealth. Building wealth is step 7a. Step 7b? Oh you know, that thing that we're supposed to do . . . um, um, oh right . . . giving. You know, that act of being Jesus to the world that we are commanded to do over and over and over and over and over again. At least that's the way it goes in my Bible.

Look, I'm not discrediting that there is Biblical support for saving and investing, in fact, each of the seven steps on their own are valid. But who is to say that God wants each of us to follow them in that order? And the God I know would never ever ever put giving last (after building WEALTH?!) That's just not the Jesus I know. (I realize that Ramsey puts tithing up at the front. It's not one of his seven steps, but he absolutely prioritizes it. But tithing and giving are two separate issues, and to my disappointment, too many believers aren't doing either one. For what it's worth, tithing means 10%. Tithing is not monthly leftovers or an arbitrary number. It's 10%. That's what a tithe literally means. You can't tithe 3%. That's giving 3% and calling it 10%. That's lying. Okay, I needed to get that off my chest, phew).

All that to say, I don't know why I was surprised recently when I saw on Dave's facebook page that he is promoting a Give Like No One Else challenge. My initial thought: Awesome! Seriously, now that's what I'm talking about. At least that's what I thought. Until I clicked on the link. And realized that in conjunction with the giving challenge are cash and prize giveaways. Dude, are you serious?!

Why oh why oh why is it necessary to motivate giving with materialistic reward? It's as if he's saying, "Hey, the Bible teaches that the true spirit of giving produces eternal fruit, but who needs eternal rewards when you can win a Kindle right now?"

And before you get me all wrong, it's not about the money or the stuff. For heaven's sake, I'm one of the wealthy ones! It's about the heart. It's not about the car or the square footage or the label. It's about our grip. And that's where we've screwed it all up as Christians. We're too busy pointing fingers at so-and-so's such-and-such when we ourselves can't get past a toilet-submerged iPhone or the collapsing economy of the richest damn country in the world. Relative to someone else, we all have too much. Yes, you. And me. But it's not the too much. It's the letting go. If God asked his faithful servant Abraham to sacrifice his long-awaited and only son Isaac, you better believe he wants you to let go of your insert-most-treasured-earthly-possession-here. It's not the I-saved-for-5-years-to-own-the-car-of-my-dreams that matters. It's that if God speaks to your heart to sell your precious wheels and do something else with those resources, would you? Could you? Without hesitation? It's all a matter of the heart. It's holding loosely to our money and stuff knowing that at any moment, God might have other plans.

Because let me tell you, following Jesus doesn't come with health and wealth. That's a crock, and a sickening one, if you ask me. Remember Paul? He followed Jesus nearly to his death by stoning. He traveled BY FOOT hundreds and hundreds of miles to share the Gospel, without earthly possessions. All he had was faith, and that is all he ever needed. And that's all you and I need no matter how badly we want to convince ourselves that we need or deserve or own x,y, and z.

So why do we have such a gosh-darn hard time giving selflessly and sacrificially? Why do we need earthly incentives when that is not the Gospel? Why are we consumed with establishing financial peace when our dependency should never ever ever ever be on ourselves?

And that is my biggest beef with the Dave Ramsey culture. How can we put ourselves in a position to trust God with every single penny He has bestowed to us if our goals are retirement funds and college savings? There is only one goal that matters, and it's going to manifest differently for each of us. That goal is glorifying God with the resources He has given us (and He gives to each of us separately and differently). It is finding contentment no matter if we are climbing our way out of debt or sitting on a hefty cushion of savings. It's trusting God when He tells us to save or buy or let go or liquidate or sell or give or give or give or GIVE. It's praying over every check we write and through every payday. It's turning to Scriptures before we turn to a so-called financial guru.

And let me tell you, I'm just as big a failure as the next guy. I make greedy, selfish choices every. single. day. Without fail. My flesh craves Target and Pottery Barn clearance and a black Range Rover with tinted windows. I am human, watch me spend. But God is BIGGER. He continues to stir in me a love for giving because it glorifies HIM. And for every day that my lifestyle doesn't match the one I deem more comfortable, He blesses me with something internal (and eternal) such as His peace. His comfort. His contentment.

I hesitate to even post this because I'm just as big a hypocrite as anybody else. I suck at letting go of a certain appendage better known as my MacBook Pro (among other things), and I'm really good at pointing fingers at that family with the heated driveway (or worse yet, coveting that heated driveway everyday during the month of February).

But God has brought me a long way. And I have faith that if I continue to lean into Him, He will continue to do a good work in me. I want to take this amazingly blessed life that He has given me and turn it all over to Him. And as I stumble in big fat ugly ways throughout this journey, I can only pray that I develop a greater sense of what it means to depend on Him. And I don't ever want to fall out of love with giving from my heart for His sake and not my own selfish motives.

So hear me out. This isn't about Ramsey. I clicked on what I thought was going to be an encouraging link about giving and was terribly disappointed. And I was reminded that much like my two-year-olds favorite exclamation is "Mine!" we are all in desperate need of a reality check. I pray that more people turn to God for financial direction and are filled with a desire to give for one reason and one reason only, because He first gave to us. And for that we can never give too much.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Matt.

You complete us.

with Harper, August 2010

We love you, uh-huh.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

First day of the rest of their lives

My kids officially go to preschool. Their first day wasn't terribly sentimental for me. They only go one day a week, and I'm happy for them to spend a few hours in a school setting while I spend a few hours in my makeshift office actually working without interruption.

But what does pull at my momma heart strings is that their first day of preschool was a step toward the years and years and years that my babies will spend with their teachers and classmates and not with me. Sending my babies to school requires me to let go, a healthy and natural transition that began when my husband clipped the cord, a transition that will ultimately culminate when my flock flee the nest.

I suppose this is one of those transitions that will prepare me for the next one. And I am grateful that God gently eases me into the next phases of parenthood even though I am never prepared.



So here they are, two tiny people lugging around an absurd amount of backpack, heading out for the first day of the rest of their lives.

And here I am. One grateful momma, lugging around an absurd amount of love for two tiny people who are learning about life independent of me. Letting go ain't easy, but it sure makes me proud to see them learn to fly.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Go give your family a hug. And don't let go.

I haven't blogged in weeks because of, you know, life and stuff. And I've slowly but surely been uploading and downloading and editing and captioning in the hopes of getting back on the bloggy wagon.

But over the weekend my sweet friend Marla's life was flipped upside down, and ever since, I just can't think of anything worth blogging about.

On Saturday, Marla nearly lost her husband, Gabe, as he suffered a heart attack. Marla and her three precious girls watched helplessly as their husband and dad nearly lost all ability to breathe and was swept away in a medic.

I simply can't imagine. I simply can't imagine releasing the love of my life into the hands of paramedics so that they could rush him to a hospital, not knowing if I'd ever see him alive again.

Did I mention that my husband and Gabe will both turn 35 this month? It gives me chills.

Praise be to God that Marla did see her living and breathing husband again. By the grace of God, Gabe's doctors saved his life by unblocking the artery and putting in a stent. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you.

And thank you, Jesus, for my family - my husband, whose health I all too often take for granted. Thank you for our precious children, two of which are barreling across the living room as I type, and one who is kicking the piss out of me - literally.

I'm sad that it takes another family's nightmare to make me hold mine a little tighter.

And as I think of celebrating sweet Marla today (it's her birthday!) all I know to do is to savor every stinkin' moment that God has given me with those who mean the most to me.


We love you, Gabe, and we are praying ceaselessly for you and your family.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Imagination










Imagination is more important than knowledge.
- Albert Einstein

Monday, October 3, 2011

The making of an imperfect family photo

Once again a family celebration came and went and I forgot to get a family picture. So Matt set-up the tripod and here are the perfectly imperfect results.

Henry, just because you can't see the camera doesn't mean the camera can't see you. And Ali, the googly eyes are freaking me out. Put. Them. Away. What? It's freaking you out that I'm talking to myself on my own blog? Oh, forget you, no one can take you seriously with those freaky eyes.


Am I the only one in this family who can stay focused? Matt, are you singing? Cut that out, you don't sing. And Henry, now you're freaking me out.


Matt, are you snacking on Henry's hair? And children, why do you look so serious? I know, I just called you children. Weird. Wait, why are we posing in front of our wedding pictures? This photo session just keeps getting freakier.


And now Harper's singing?! We are not a family who sings! And why is wedding day Matt smelling a ghost in the background? FREAKY!
Oh forget it, I give up.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Picnic at the Park

Even though I didn't blog her a happy birthday, I sure did throw her a fun party.

I mean, I don't know about her, but I had fun. I was going for a picnic-at-the-park theme, and let me tell you, the park is the way to go. Minimal set-up and clean-up. Less is more when it comes to decorations. And no planned entertainment necessary! Though being 9 months pregnant in the middle of August was HELL, I sure am grateful now because an August birthday means that we have a lot of outdoor party options.


























Harper, I love ya, gummy bear.

You are my girl always and forever.