4 Pictures

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and one of my bestest best friends is turning 30 over the weekend (HB shout out, you know who you are!) so I’ve been a’thinking because I turn 30 in just six months. Even though most days my to-do list feels endless and my thoughts are kept captive keeping the gears turning, in the moments I’ve been able to catch my breath in the last few weeks, I realize how thankful my heart really is and hope lucky I really am…to have 4 incredible pictures of blessing ever before me…an awesome husband, two beautiful babies, and my dream come true.

Truly…Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

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Weightiness

Last night during the second of four times that I was in baby D’s room between 6pm and 6am (it was a rough, uncharacteristic night – darn teeth!),  I was impressed by the weight of his body as he lay in my lap. I remember this moment with little J too, perhaps it was around the same age. There is little I can write to accurately describe it, but essentially its a realization that he’s no longer a wee-little one. Though I’ve held him every single day since June 9th, his weigh gain has obviously been gradual but last night he was all of a sudden big and my brain and my heart knew it. His fingers are no longer slender instead, they like his feet and wrists are bulging with chub and though I can see it in pictures and my eyes have beheld the changes once again, last night, my arms finally felt it too.

As I sat there in his dark room and pondered the moment, my thoughts were drawn once again to a conversation I had a few weeks ago I was talking to a friend who has three girls about my particular season of life. She made a comment that has been stuck in my mind about how I only have 5 years or so of each of these precious boys lives where I am “the woman” in their lives. The one who gets their cuddles and their requests, the one who is their everything…their mama. She meant in contrast to what she sees as her relationship with her children as they grown, anticipating lunch dates and mall dates and a deep friendship with each of them. And though as it write it sounds harsh, it’s still likely true. A boys relationship with his mom is sweet and unmatched in it’s early years but it changes as they grow-up. So I recognize (with a few stinging tears in my eyes) that it’s true, but it’s weighty. Weighty in the same way that little J’s questions about life and death and Jesus and church and marriage and love are. And so if you can’t tell, lately my heart has become burdened. Burdened for my children in a new way. For their safety, for their character, for their salvation. Because I have so much to accomplish in a day that isn’t really at all about them (I mean directly, they need a clean place to live and we need clothes and food and such) and I am so incapable left to myself to do anything right or worthy. How thankful I am that I have Psalm 37:4 is true. O my soul…Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

An itch, a pattern, and roots. Serious roots.

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Easter Sunday Family Pic

This summer Alex and I will celebrate our 7 year wedding anniversary. 7 years! Which of course is that itch year right? When people get restless and bored?

Well, praise the Lord that Alex and I are definitely not bored of each other but we are mutually dissatisfied with our careers and we’re both itching to find something new. Something that will allow us to be family oriented, productive and creative.

Which leads to me to think that our life is following a pattern. Two months before little J was born we closed on our house and now we started the process of another one almost exactly two months before my due date for the next baby V – this time for a B&B. Operating one has been a long time dream of mine and many, many things have come together to make the time now and the place Williamsburg, VA.

Which means we’re putting down roots, serious roots, in the city that has captured our hearts. Someday soon I hope to write more about how excited we are about this opportunity and what all that has come together to make us sure that this is the next chapter of our lives but for now, please say congrats and good luck. And if you think we’re a little crazy – that’s ok too 🙂

 

Word Pictures

IMG_2934.JPGPictures are worth a thousand words they say. And although I’m sure I’m not the first to come up with the one above, it’s been on my mind constantly lately.

Alex and I have discussed at length recently with each other and with friends that we are fully cognizant that little J has entered what I like to call the “sponge stage”. He’s got enough language to at least an attempt a repeat of anything we say and enough mobility and curiosity to mimic us all day long. It’s terrifying.

And yet, the picture above speaks to me and challenges me all at once. I switched to Method dish soap this fall and love that I can picture it with my sponge. Because despite the sponge’s qualities, we’re trying to have a method to our days. A method that includes routine and fun and specifically chosen words and phrases that are repeated through the day in the midst of the other inane and silly things we say. Heart training words like “that’s not kind” and “get self-control” and “be patient”, hoping that one day these will lead naturally into discussions of the fruit of the Spirit. And of course, there will be mistakes and mis-steps and things that come out of his mouth or things he does that we will slap ourselves for mentally…but we’ll wipe them up and move on by the grace of God. 

Sweeter Still

IMG_2717A few months ago I shared about how sweet it was to hear little J’s first utterances of “mommy”. As everything does, its become commonplace now and thus lost its charm most times. I do however get random hugs accompanied by “Hi Mommy” that melt my heart and ring in ears that are mostly deaf to  the tenderness that no doubt still flows from his heart when he says my name the seemingly thousands of times a day that he does.

All that to say that it has been sweeter still to hear another word come from his mouth these last few days. He is a point where his vocabulary is growing daily and as the Christmas season is now upon us, “tree” and “light” are now a part of his parlance. I’m also trying to introduce him subtly to the Christmas story through a handful of board books and discussions about our Nativity set. That other word you ask? Jesus, the baby in Mary’s arms, the holy child of Bethlehem, the reason for the season. I love asking him “What’s the baby’s name?” and hearing his sweet little voice respond “Jesus”.

And I pray that he will come to know Him as the one who casts out sin and enters in as his Lord, Emanuel.

We’ve Got a Pray-er

A vingette to remind myself…

I’m not a good pray-er (someone who prays a lot) even though I know it’s vital for my faith. But I made a resolution for 2015 to appreciate nature more and to be thankful for the beauty around me. I started simply by making the background images on my computer rotating nature pictures from Bing. That’s been good.

We spend Alex’s spring break here:
IMG_1917 IMG_1948And that was really good.

But far and away the best thing so far to help me keep my resolution has been this boy.
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He’s a pray-er. He literally will stop playing outside (where he wants to spend every waking moment), fold his hands and wait for me to pray. Seriously. It’s weird. But it’s been amazing for my soul. He won’t go back to playing until I say “amen”. (As an aside for anyone wondering, we taught him to wait to eat until after we pray have not yet modeled prayer to him outside of mealtimes).

So…while I sit outside with him and he digs in the dirt and watches the ants and picks up sticks, rocks, and pine cones, I offer dozens of short prayers of thanks to my God who “formed the mountains by his power” (Psalm 65:6) and declares that “every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains,and the insects in the fields are mine.” (Psalm 50:10-11) and finally asks me to “Praise the name of the Lordfor his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. And he has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his faithful servants, of Israel, the people close to his heart.” (Psalm 148:13-14).

Resolute indeed and awed by how I’m already being challenged by this little boy.

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A Preparation for Christmas

I wrote the following for the Ladies Tea I co-hosted this last weekend with a friend from church. I invite you to partake of these thoughts in light of what we celebrate tomorrow.

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“Prepare to meet your God” Amos declares in chapter 4 verse 12 of the short book that bears his name and though this verse was penned 400+ years before the Christmas narrative, it’s got to the heart of the Christmas narrative in it – doesn’t it? “Prepare to meet your God”.

And so as we’re just few days away from our familial holiday celebrations that you no doubt have been planning for and thinking about for weeks now – I want to take a moment to think about the preparation that began a long, long time before your grocery list or your Christmas 2014 pinterest board – and I want to consider that this season is really about remembering that day when mankind got to meet our God for the first time in the person of the tiny baby in Bethlehem – Jesus.

As we consider the testimony of the rest of the Bible, we see that the Christmas baby of Bethlehem is not just another cute cuddly baby but he’s your God and he’s your Savoir too. That is of course why, angels announced his birth and kings came from a far away land to honor him with gifts.

From the beginning of the narrative, God is making it clear that this is no ordinary baby. He tells Joseph through a dream and it’s recorded for us in Matthew 1:21 “She {Mary} will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”

Isaiah speaking of Jesus says in chapter 53 verse 5 of his book says “he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.”

And so we see why “Prepare the way of the Lord” is the cry of the prophets Isaiah and John the Baptist. Because the Christmas baby that came 2000 years ago was the start God’s glorious redemptive plan for mankind. And mankind needs to ready their hearts to head his call on their life and become attuned to the rest of the testimony of Scripture.

From it we learn that the Christmas baby was both God and man. He lived a perfect life – something that no other person ever can – and he died even though he was completely innocent to ransom our lives from the Most High God.

And because he came as a baby, died for us, and was raised to life again – we have hope – John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

So is your heart prepared for him? If you haven’t been preparing this season to rejoice at the birth of the baby in the manager, I want to encourage you that’s it’s not too late. Christmas is still a few days away and “while there is life there is hope”.

In closing, I have one more thought to share about preparation. In John 14 just hours before his death, Jesus tells his disciples that he will go to “prepare a place for them”. I believe and I know that many of you do too, that that is where he is right now. In heaven preparing a place for us for when we no longer walk this earth and for that day when we do meet our maker. That day is coming for all of us and I hope that on that day each of you will also know him as Savior as well.