Today it happened… An event that has me (I mean Natalie) seeming that much older! I can’t believe my first baby is now sporting one less front tooth! I know it’s not the first tooth she’s ever lost, but there is something about those front teeth that “make” a little one’s smile. Yes I know, she’s not so little anymore. She’s long and lean. Her mind has leaped bounds. She’s quite the voracious reader – constantly completing (4th & 5th grade level) books in two days. I use to sorta joke with Jonathan after our family devotions (a time when he reads to us) that Natalie reads aloud better than he does (he’s stepped up his expressiveness a couple notches since then – for real!). She’s still a little girl though. Oh, how I love her innocence; how I’m entertained by her imagination and creativity; how I value her young motherly instincts; how I can appreciate her passion in things that interest her; how I see myself in her weaknesses and hope in the Lord for the both of us. I know my place as her mother and we’ve got many things to work on, but I rejoice exceedingly over the love we share and hope for a lasting friendship with this “little girl”, whose companionship I already treasure so much.
As I sat this evening looking through the pictures I took last night (the 4th of July), I smiled as I could almost feel the energy that all the children had…. and yet in the midst of all the motion, this picture was my favorite from the moment I took it! I have the posed picture where she is smiling right at me from ear to ear, but oh how I prefer when a moment is left to itself and all you catch is real life. In this case, I caught her gaze! :) And who doesn’t think the 4th of July deserves some gazing? Freedom. You can just sit and ponder it really. When I do that, I realize how often I take it for granted. I’m reminded of a great quote I read when I attended the Lincoln Day dinner with Jonathan not too long ago –
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” ~ Ronald Reagan
With my husband now involved even more heavily in politics with his current job, I have begun to see even more clearly the effort it takes to fight for freedoms, even within our land here in America. Celebrating the gift of our freedom, I believe, is very much an act of worship and deserves a good bit of silence, and prayerful gratitude… something that goes far beyond dressing in red, white, and blue and lining up to see some fireworks with some awesome family and friends. That’s all wonderfully festive and fun and I love it, but when the fiery sparks in the sky die down and the smoke is blown away… when the last sparkler has burnt out, and our attire involves more than the colors of our flag… may we go on living, continuously remembering the freedom we have and looking for ways we can help see that our country retains those freedoms. Of course that involves teaching our children to do the same. Thank you Lord for all the faithful parents that have done this in the past. Thank you God for all the people that you have used to serve and fight for this country we have the privilege of living and worshiping you in.
… ” but the heart part is a lot of pink and I don’t really like pink…”
“…but I love the love part,” says my boy about Valentine’s Day.
Then there is my man who loves the pink part enough to up and decide to wear a pink tie for the day!
The man in the pink tie (soooo blessed he’s mine) also made arrangements for the kids (Thank You Dabney!) and took his Valentine (me!) out for dinner! I knew I felt tired, but I had no idea how completely tired I looked when we ventured out… but even so, it was a very enjoyable time away for Jonathan and me. I’m grateful he made it a priority even though he had a REC meeting he had to attend prior to our date and had me telling him it was no big deal whether we went out or not. What is a big deal to me is the way Jonathan loves me. I’ll just say it – his love for me amazes me. I’m so glad to have it! I’m a blessed woman!
Oh and Joseph, just remember not all hearts are pink and red, son. Some are brown and edible!
… And even though I love the pink and red all over the place in February (especially on the cards made for me!!!), I still love the LOVE part the best too!
In fact a single day for celebrating “the Love part” in our family doesn’t seem to work out too good for our little Valentines. A husband/wife date is wonderful… but so are some special dates with our little Valentines and so a Valentine’s week suits us much better than a day!!! When I told Natalie we’d just make it our family’s Valentine tradition to spread out our celebrating it throughout the whole week so we could fit in some special quality times with each of them and as a family, she completely lit up!! Natalie and I are scheduled to go on mommy/daughter skate date. Joseph wants his date at the mall (there is this ride there he’s saved his money for that he’s so excited about)! Claire wants to go to Sweet Treats for ice cream and to draw on the cool chalkboard counter together. It’s going to be a fun rest of the week for us! It’s so special that we are the love of our children’s lives right now.
Ah, celebrating loving relationships! How I thank God for those that have truly loved me, even when it wasn’t easy. As for me and my little family, I say – with God as our source (for love is of Him) may we aim high to love well!
Love is patient and kind;
love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing,
but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never ends.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
God help us to love.
Our little Noah has grown so much. I took this picture three weeks ago on Oct. 8th when Noah was just about 15 weeks old. I had for awhile had this picture of Noah in my mind and wanted to try and capture it. He tickled his mommy’s fancy by being still enough for two quick pics in the position I wanted him in and the real icing on the cake was that he looked straight at the camera for me!! Thank you Noah! I was excited he wasn’t too squeamish or making funny baby faces… instead he gave me that oh so typical “mouth open” daze with the little juicy lip hanging open that I’m so often wiping drool from these days.
It wasn’t too long ago that Natalie told me it’s time to buy them (our kids) new slippers.
Well, this morning is a slipper morning.
Stepping outside to see my dear husband off, I felt the chill in the air and the concrete underfoot!
Yes, even though our first cool days of Autumn in Florida are a tease it is becoming that time of year again.
Time for swaddling… lots of swaddling…
Our home charms us with it’s age, but with the old windows that need replacing, raised hard wood floors, plaster walls, etc,
some draftiness unfortunately comes with the charm.
How we love to cuddle up together, wrapping ourselves in cozy blankets. What sweet insulation.
But I want more… More insulation… a precious insulation.
I want to be swaddled in truth, in belief, and in the presence and love of my Savior…
These sweet pictures of Noah had me thinking…
Naked we came in our mother’s womb, naked we shall return – but in the meantime –
we get swaddled.
I love that thought… I love that reality!
God almighty swaddles His children (abides and surrounds them in His presence)
and their rest in Him is precious!
It’s not always easy to find rest in this fast world.
What God calls rest is so different than what the world calls rest.
I am not talking about a vacation. I’m not talking about a nap.
I’m talking about the rest that is God reigning as Lord in my life, and everything else becoming a shadow…
similar to what I feel when my husband lovingly holds me after a long day.
A rest that is not the absence of problems, but the assurance that God is in control despite what I face….
The absence of fear and anxiety in the midst of life’s tumults….
And so I think on how I am to abide in God’s presence….
as a learner, as a student, not dictating how I am going to have rest…
but knowing that Jesus defines rest.
Understanding that His rest involves exchange of burdens and yokes…
Giving him all my burdens and yokes and taking on His. Coming to him and gaining rest for my soul.
He says His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Do I take Him for His word?
Do I pick up my cross and follow Him?
Am I abiding IN Him?
Naked I came, swaddled I live.