I just got through one of those “Reading the Bible in a Year” plans…well almost. I’m at the very end of it, with well over 90% finished. However, I feel a strong need/desire to go back through the Gospels during the month of January. So, I’m taking a bit of time off from the year-long one to engage a 30 day. Typically, I’d just plow through the other one to just get something finished, but there’s just something wrong about using the phrase “just plow through” when discussing the Bible.
I really enjoy the site http://youversion.com because they have various reading plans to chose from, and you can mark the days/readings off as you go (even on your mobile phone). They also have an accountability system if you so desire. I’m signing Rebekah up as my accountability partner this time (seeing as Hannah doesn’t have email quite yet and she can’t read), so it will remind us to check in with one another to see how it’s going. I’d love it if more people wanted to join us this month! You may have to sign up for an account at Youversion, but it’s free so no worries. Join us.Read More
It is hard to put into words the joy of watching a curious child explore Christmas lights for the first time. To see their eyes light up and be delighted so easily is an acute reminder of the simplicity of this season. That is, if we allow it to be simple enough to celebrate truly and to share in the blessings that are already in front of us. It is so easily lost in gifts and travels and recipes and wrapping paper that I want to fight for it to be different for our little family. With that in mind, we got Hannah one little gift and even though I think she liked it, she was so much happier with an empty gift bag. Perspective.
Don’t get me wrong, anyone who knows me well knows that Christmas Eve is a sacred day to me. Here are my thoughts from last year and the year before. I couldn’t wait to share every moment of it with Ryan & Hannah and it didn’t disappoint. Some highlights from the last few days include going to see Christmas lights with Uncle Erich, a house brunch with Katie in our pjs, dinner with Dad & Evon and all of the kids for the first time on the 23rd, Christmas Eve festivities galore and being with family on Christmas Day itself.
But the tradition that surprised me the most was a new one. Instead of staying until midnight on Christmas Eve like we usually do, the three of us bundled up around 9:00 and came home for the night. My initial emotion was a little bit sad to miss something that we have done for so many years before. But then I realized, we now have the option to choose and develop our own traditions. So there we found ourselves, smack dab in the busiest part of the multiple celebration with quiet space. So we tucked the baby in bed, wrapped blankets around our feet where the pup laid and we watched a cheesy feel-good Christmas movie. Because we could.
It felt a bit like it used to, when it was just the two of us. With all of the joy Hannah brings, I would never wish for it to be any different but I think it is so important to find time for the two of us. Those few hours with Ryan were probably one of my favorite gifts this year. Mostly because they were unexpected but also because they created space in a time that usually doesn’t allow much of it.
So many times this year I have wondered if I have the right balance, if I am putting my time and energy in the right places and people. Other times I have simply looked at the day ahead of me and kept my focus there. I am not sure what the next year holds for us but I am fighting to place my confidence in the right place. It is my prayer that your Christmas allowed space for people and things that you love and that you found some simplicity amidst it all as well.Read More
That is how I will begin my seven month letter to you but it is also who you are to me right now; my dear baby. As I type this with one hand, you have fallen asleep on my arm mid-day for an unexpected nap and it feels like an early Christmas present to have this time with you all to myself. I am not always aware of how sweet it is to have you be still with me, in fact life and our on the go nature usually keeps us pretty active but moments like these won’t last forever. This month you have started to become more and more of your own person, with more noise and movement which is delightful to see but a real reminder that you will not stay a little baby forever.
I haven’t done much writing on here, mostly because I have wanted to give myself some space and not because it hasn’t been a full month. I have still been keeping track of the details of your little life in your baby calendar which I love. But as much as those things like how much you weigh and the silly things you do are very important to my mother heart, I want my letters to you to convey so much more. I want you to remember how having you changed the conversation. How your Dad and I are pushing to figure out what where we should be headed as a family in light of holidays and traditions, values and norms. It isn’t easy Hannah, I want you to be happy. But more than that, I want you to know why we are truly in this world; to point to something so much bigger.
All the while, you play happily with an empty lemonade container and a cup, the simplest of toys. A reminder that children don’t see the world as we grown ups do. All you want is to be loved and to know what your purpose is. As a mom, I want to remember that those are my responsibilities to and for you. So we will bring you along for the ride and watch you for cues on how to have faith like children.
That being said, we have had some really great times this month, watching you learn and observe every little thing we do. You are in love with animals and had the chance to pet a guinea pig this weekend which you found hilarious. I am not the mom who is concerned with animal germs, or many germs really so I am hoping that all of the crazy things we let you do continue to drive your curiosity (within bounds). You were a gem to have along on our trip to Ann Arbor and seeing you bundled up as we walked up and down the downtown straights gave me more confidence that you could be happy anywhere we are.
Thank you for another great month & for reminding me in such small, yet obvious ways, what really matters in life.
All my love,
We each have this insatiable hunger to be in control. Some of us are like the guy who won’t let anyone else in the group make a decision, even when it comes to toppings on a pizza. Others, make sure that everything in their family and household are run in a certain way. Or maybe you’re like me and are always trying to plan and craft your next adventure. While the effects of this desire for control are displayed in different ways, each of us know they’re there.
I remember one of my friends, one that falls into the second category of being a “house-controller,” telling me a story about how she ran over her kid’s leg with a car one day. Prior to that moment, she told me just how focused she was on making every right decision in/for her kid’s lives. “Make sure your kid doesn’t lick a toy that’s dropped on the ground.” “Make sure that they’re bundled up enough to go outside (meaning of course that they need to look like a furry bear that somehow got blow dried)“. “Make sure this, make sure that…control.” In just one brief moment, as the car backed up and over her daughter’s leg, my friend realized just how little control she actually had. It was all a facade.
God is doing something in our little family’s life. As I sit here in the pitch black while Bekah and Hannah sleep soundly in our hotel room in Ann Arbor, I’m reminded of the importance of living a life that is open to being wooed and directed by our God. Rebekah and I are stumped over where we’re headed this summer. We know we want to move to an urban setting, but the exact location, we haven’t really got nailed down. We randomly got invited to visit Ann Arbor, a place that was not on either of our radars (especially since an escape from the snow is high on my list). In fact, when the guy asked us to come visit I didn’t actually think he’d follow up, so I gave him a, “Yeah, sure, shoot me an email!” grin as I walked away from our conversation fully expecting to never see him again. However, he contacted us, and Rebekah and I decided that maybe God wanted us to go check it out. On our drive over, we both still questioned why in the world we were making this trip. About 1/2 way into the drive we realized the odd circumstances which led us to visit Ann Arbor in the first place. We recognized that it was something that we didn’t control, but were just trying to be faithful in a sense of leading. Of course we were confused, us control freaks gave up control!
I’m happy to say that we ended up having a great time in Ann Arbor, and are already discussing our next trip out there to explore a little more. I have no idea whether God wants to keep us in the snow-ridden state of Michigan, but I do know that giving up control over this situation is for the best. As I look at my email now I see another message from a friend who is confused at where he is going this summer. My response to him is going to be exactly what God is teaching me during this season, “If you’re passionately following after Jesus, you really have a lot less control than you think…and that’s a good thing.” There’s no doubt about it, Rebekah and I want control, but deep down we want to be wooed even more. What makes us want control so much? Why can’t we realize that there is so much freedom in giving it up? Do we know what it’s like to be surprised and wooed anymore?Read More
It seems like a lifetime ago. Sitting down at my computer after a nice long day of conversations, meetings, work and reading; I’d begin processing my thoughts and puting them on electronic paper. At times I’d even let the world, or at least those who cared, peek in on what is happening in this brain of mine. Somewhere over this past semester writing became a hassle, just another thing to do on an already packed schedule. This brought up negative feelings, mainly because writing has always been so therapeutic. So I stopped. My heart just wasn’t in it, and as I read through my last few posts and various drafts I had written, it showed.
This is my first day off after a semester full of graduate classes. Honestly, as for today, I don’t care to process any of the specifics from those classes (You’re Welcome). However, tonight my fingers were itching to write. In fact, I hopefully will have a solid post up shortly about how God is wooing our little family during a time such as this. But for now, it just feels good to write, even if it seems like learning how to ride a bike again. At least it seems therapeutic and right.Read More