Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Week in Bullet Points

  • First off, sometimes I really dislike blogger ...the formatting is CRAZY for this post, despite doing it in pages first...and I don't have time to fix it.  So here it is anyway, the not pretty version.
  • Now we say, "Check your blood sugars!"  Everything is plural now.  We cling to truth.  Actually, we don't cling, we hold onto it confidently...most of the time.  We have had our moments, but they have been fleeting and at times of tiredness.  Christian, like Ethan, has been given the gift of his Heavenly Father's strength and grace flowing like a river.   This morning, after a day of rigorously tracking BGs and carbs and fielding highs and lows, God's Word refreshed me, a most refreshing, sweet, pure time that infused me with life and promise.   William and I prayed together, receiving the strength of Jesus and renewal of our minds, rooted in the deep love of God.  We do not receive this unwelcome visitor called Type 1 diabetes! 

  • So...tracking everything our boys eat and drink is a good thing.  I am determined to have accurate information for Christian's appt. for the endo tomorrow.  We learned this morning that my chocolate chip pancakes are actually not 15 carbs/pancake.  More like 25.  Oops and oh, well.

    •  My wonderful sisters-in-law stepped up to host Christmas Eve, for which we were very thankful. Wm's brother and family were in from New Jersey.  So good to be together.  Our nieces and nephews have grown up before our very, where did the time go?  The girls give us a serious pose and the siblings pose with Grandpa and Grandpa:

    • Me and my daughter on Christmas morn.  My daughter.  Wow.

    • Christian was delighted when Ethan opened up his very teeny tiny a very large box!

    • She's walking!  The boys gave her Kleenex and pacifiers...her favorite things!
    • Our very dead tree was returned a couple days before Christmas, and the boys brought home the best tree we've ever had.   We do not like dead things in our house, whether it be trees or pancreases.

    • The blessing in the dead tree was this:  As I took off the ornaments one by one, I saw how richly blessed we have been as a family.  The ornaments are markers of God's faithfulness, markers of change, love, children and joy.  This year we also added a stocking to the mantle!

    Father, you know this has been a week filled with the promise of your birth, a joyous time, yet it has been laced with sad things, with some homesickness on my part.  Thank you for showing me your unfailing, crazy love.  Thank you for my husband, who lifted me up when I was drowning.  Thank you for my boys and their optimism, strength and courage.  Thank you for my life.   In Jesus' powerful, powerful name, Amen!!!

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    Healing in His Wings

    Christian's friends came up to the hospital to visit awesome!
    A year ago Ethan was diagnosed with Type 1.  Now Christian joins him and we are perplexed and sad, yet  at peace and glad we know.   Yesterday I would have never imagined in a million years that I would be writing this today.  A year ago I would have never guessed we would be on this path with Ethan.  
    There is a comfort in knowing what something is, what you're supposed to do.  It moves you past the shock and into a mindset that moves forward.  We rest today in the peace of Jesus.  Last night, as we were alone in the dark sterile hospital room, our minds processing this unwelcome visitor, Christian said, "It is amazing how peaceful I feel.  Last year when this happened to Ethan, I thought that if it happened to me, I would be so scared.  But here I am and the Lord is giving me peace.  Amazing."  We watched Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown, and Christian sang Hark the Herald Angels Sing right along with Snoopy and the gang.  The movie ended, and he kept singing through the verses, sure and strong.   The last verse:
    Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
    Hail the Son of Righteousness!
    Light and life to all He brings
    Ris'n with healing in His wings
    Mild He lays His glory by
    Born that man no more may die
    Born to raise the sons of earth
    Born to give them second birth
    Hark! The herald angels sing
    "Glory to the newborn King!"
    So we give Him glory today.  He is good all the time.   We do not need to understand why because we are held and loved by the Most High.  
    Yes, it really is sad.  It will be hard.  But we are so thankful we serve a God that brings beauty out of ashes...every time.  
    And for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ who earnestly lift us up in prayer, we are so very thankful.  

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    14 Months!

    Sweet G is 14 months.  She's a busy girl and oh, so different from the boys when they were that small!  I just remember chasing the boys everywhere.  They were busy, busy, busy.  She's just busy.  13 steps is her record so far, and I don't think she has many plans to break it!  Why walk when you can get carried and crawling works just fine!  We had fun with the camera today.  She wears her heart on her sleeve now, which is just awesome.  She's come a long way from the solemn little baby we held 6 months ago!

    Pouty G.  Why in the world can't I chew on chemicals?!

    Tired G.  Oh, please just stop, mom, taking pictures!

    I mean it!

    Peek-a-boo G.  Peekaboo is my very favorite game!

    Thoughtful G.  Hmmm, I wonder what that dog is up to now?

    Dancing G.  I dance through life!  (She really does.  Any music, however faint, and the booty, shoulders, tummy and head, sometimes just one, sometimes all, can't help but wiggle to the beat!)

    We love you, precious one!  You are sunshine and spice, all wrapped up into one beloved little girl! 

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    You Amaze Me

    Tonight was Re:new's Christmas party.   We prayed for this night, that it would be something special, something meaningful.   
    (Here's where I would insert a meaningful picture if I would have remembered my camera battery, or if the CF card in my other camera --yes, I brought two--would have worked.)
    The day was a busy one.  The boys were AMAZING today with their sweet servant hearts.  I was two steps behind all day, still am, dishes piled in the sink as I write.  With four dozen cookies to bake, three kids to feed and shuttle about town, multiple things on the to-do list and Wm somewhere in Canada, I was feeling less than enthusiastic about putting lipstick on and socializing for the evening.   While I baked at a rather furious pace, barking orders for one of the boys to throw in baking powder and another to whisk GENTLY, please, the ingredients, Gia and Shiloh manned the floor, eagerly lapping up any errant bits of cookie dough.  Sweet girls, they will eat anything.  Anything.  Thankfully, this is the only category in which the baby and the dog are lumped together.
    Later, while I was still baking, Christian built a pillow fort for Gia, and Ethan offered to walk home from swim practice, saving me a trip.  I could have kissed them both a million times.  
    So back to the party.  I was slightly late, cookies and two useless cameras in tow.  And, wow, so many people came!!!   I think all of our regular students came and so many of the teachers too!  It was a great gathering.  The ladies brought their yummy rice and vegetables and chapati and a rice pudding sort of thing...all soo good.  Martha came up with a two-minute craft of ribbons and bells on a stick that you wave around.  Supposed to be the rage at weddings?  I haven't been to a wedding in years, so I wouldn't know.  Whatever the case, it was a hit, the gals dancing around and...well, you had to be there.
    THEN all was quiet.  The Word of God does that.  Matthew was read, the story of Christmas.  It was read tenderly and beautifully, and I could have wept.  Here we were, Muslims and Christians breaking bread together, laughing and celebrating the semester, silenced and still before God.   Joseph, Mary and Jesus.  Yusef, Maryam and Isa al Masih.  Two ordinary people in a dying world and one Holy God-became-baby to save us all.   As my friend said later, the applause after the story was unforgettable.   And now I will stop telling about this night and get to my dishes, because the rest is not so important.  We love Muslims.  God loves Muslims.   They just don't know it yet.  Did their hearts feel a twinge of that love tonight?  I know so.  He was Immanuel, God with Us.
    As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven, 
    and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
    and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower
    and bread for the eater,
    so is my word that goes out from my mouth.
    It will not return to my empty,
    but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
    Isaiah 55:10-11
    Father, You amaze me.  In those moments we fear, you demolish fear and cast light.  Amen and hallelujah that you are WITH US! 

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Advent and Today

    I'm peeking out the window.  It's dark outside, fresh-fallen snow crackling as William and Ethan back out of the driveway.  They're headed to a swim meet, and I sit here with my coffee and a silent house.  I love mornings.  I love the promise of a new start, and I am always grabbing onto the glorious truth that God's mercies are new every morning, GREAT is His faithfulness.    He has me thinking a lot about Jesus lately. As I read Gia her Jesus Bible Story Book and as we do our Jesse Tree for Advent (skipping days, playing catch-up, yet so grateful when we all settle into our family room and listen to the Word of God, how every story points to Jesus, points to the cross) I am overwhelmingly grateful that I am a believer, that God opened my eyes and pulled me toward himself long ago, was patient with me as I went my own way and then came back, yearning to hang tight with Him.  When Ethan was a baby, I thought I'd better get serious with God.  Really, I thought, it's time.   I went to a Bible study led by a woman who changed my life.  Her intimacy with Jesus was beautiful, her joy contagious.  I wanted that.  And God gave it to me, His gift, Jesus.  The cross.  The resurrection.  Heaven here on earth.   Immanuel, God with us.  

    We went to a Christmas party last night, and I stood there and thought about all these people, so different from one another, so many stories and paths represented amongst us.   I gathered with a different group of people to pray yesterday morning and thought the same thing.  We are all so unique.   But God ties us together with threads of His love and grace, bringing us together in community and inviting us to share in one another's lives, the good times and hard ones.  He is a God who delights in being with us.  I imagine heaven will be an amazing party.   For years I would think about heaven in really odd pictures.  I would see everyone sitting in their own big mansion, alone, and every once in a while God would drop by and say hi.  How weird is that?  No, it will be togetherness and joy and laughter and intimacy with each other and with God, feasting on life as we've never known it.  So during Advent we not only wait for Christmas, we also wait for Jesus' return.   

    I have written for 16 minutes, and the house is still quiet.  My heart is bursting with hope and joy for this day.  Today is a new day.   It is one day closer to Christmas.  One day closer to heaven.   So thankful His kingdom is here on earth too, His grace waking me up with hope.  My failings are being constantly covered like the fresh-fallen snow covers the tire tracks in the driveway.   God looks at me and He is pleased.  Because of Jesus, I stand before Him with boldness and sit here and rest in His love.  What will this day bring?   I do not know, but God walks before me and lights my path.  I will fall down, and He will pick me up and remind me that I am His child, His beloved.  Encountering Jesus.  That's why I love Advent.   So many reminders of Him, truth ringing loudly throughout the earth and in my heart.

    Father, I love you.   Bring on the day.   Today help me to pursue peace, see joy in the simplest things and see others as You see them.   May I lay down my agenda and pick up yours.  May I lay down pride, selfishness, defeat, the I-don't-feel-like-its, and pick up YOU!  For only through You do I live and move and have my being.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

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