Tuesday, April 2, 2019

birthdays

by Alanna

Dear Emmanuel,

Happy 2nd birthday! You bring life to our home more than I can express in words typed up tonight. I think you touch everyone you meet, with joy and love. Strangers sitting behind us in church a few months ago expressed that you had touched their hearts with your joy. You are friendly to everyone; you love to smile and show affection. You love to laugh. This morning when we told you happy birthday, you smiled and softly said "Happy birthday" right back. You are a gift to us from God, a persistent reminder of your name, "God with us."

You have reached a lot of milestones in these past months. Talking in full sentences, singing songs, trying to read books to yourself, creating dramas with your dinner food as characters in the story. You have become so adept at expressing yourself- your needs, wants, and who it was that said mean words to you when mom was out of the room. Everytime you fall, even after total wipeouts on ice, you first announce "I fell!" and then cry if you need to afterward. You fight with your siblings sometimes, because you have ideas now about the toys you want to play with and how the games should go. You also try to irritate them on purpose sometimes, trying the excuse of "I just a baby!" when I come to reprimand you. You use the potty whenever you feel like it, on average about 5 times per week. I still don't think you know your colors, but you can count to ten and memorize Bible verses. You can walk all the way around our 1/2 mile track by the pond with no complaining. You believe the back of your hand is called your bottom, and refer to it that way. You love to repeat nearly everything we tell you, usually preceded by an "oh!" or succeeded by a "sweetie" or "baby" depending on how I had referred to you. You love to run and climb and jump and try to do anything your big brother does. You and him love to play together. You love animals and love the outdoors.  You like trucks and construction sites. You eat so much food at every mealtime, we wonder where you put it all.

I hope for you that your joy never dims. That you discover the One who created you, that He fills your heart with His joy and plants all your happiness deep in Himself. I pray that in this way your joy will never be shaken.

I am so in awe that God let me be your mom. You are a reminder to me of His goodness and that He is trustworthy in the way He is putting our family together. You are a gift. We love you always.




     

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Quiet and stillness

By Mary

It's been a while since I've really experienced seasons, since South Carolina's seasons are mostly just categorized as "hot" and "hotter". Gorgeous azaleas bursting into bloom and a thick layer of green pollen coating every outdoor thing mark spring, the lovebug swarms announce the arrival of summer just before the even more sweltering days make their appearance, and the marshes turn a certain shade of green that I'll always remember as the temperature drops just a tad when autumn comes along. Winter means not sweating when you dare to wear jeans-and maybe occasionally a jacket can be added to your outfit.  
While our area of Washington is really rather temperate, it's seasons are far more distinctive. I suppose that may be the reason why I've spent much of this winter reflecting on the seasons and how they reflect the seasons that our spirits experience. That they need.
Spring is such a bright time, lively in every way, new and fresh and clean. It mellows out to the sweetness of summer where you want to soak up each moment. And when the weather begins to turn crisp, the trees blaze out in a flame of glorious color. There's an energy in the air when the fall days begin...and then slowly, the leaves begin to brown and then drop to the ground, leaving their branches bare. Compared to the warmth, the bright, the color, winter can feel so dead and dreary...and limiting. You can feel shut in, shut off. But it's a necessary thing. Those bare trees, the grasses and flowers, they are all quietly waiting, drawing strength, growing and preparing for all that lies ahead.
With our second winter in Washington drawing to a close, these thoughts have been lingering in my mind. The first is from a book I read recently, that Jesus is the Lord of the fast as well as the feast. We need both, however nice it may feel just to bask in the glorious feasting. And the second, straight from the Bible.
"...In quietness and trust is your strength..."-Isaiah 30:15


Friday, January 18, 2019

Dove chocolate wisdom

By Mary

I've been mulling over a little nugget from a chocolate wrapper, so I thought I'd share :)
~~~~~
"DIFFICULT ROADS
often lead to
BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS."
~~~~~

Monday, January 14, 2019

January days

by Alanna

We spent Christmas in Colorado again this year- three weeks of glorious sunshine and lots of laughter with our family. Playing 500 with my parents, soccer with friends, basketball in flip-flops. Driving back to Minnesota is always hard, but each time we feel a little more confident that this is where God wants us to be, and a little more content with that. Able to open wide my hands and receive that beautiful gift of Colorado, and then say goodbye to it and go back to the place He has called us to.

Grey days here though, end on end, require discipline to do the things that are good for my mind and soul. They also require creativity. I'm so thankful for warm days lately- 20s and even 30s! that have turned our backyard into an ice rink instead of a snow bank. Here's some pictures documenting my gratitude- for my children, for getting outdoors, for gray and white and brown and ugly. I'm so thankful that Spring is going to come! My heart is already super excited for it.