Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas from me and all my family- in Heaven and on earth. I've often wished for a photo with all of us looking into the camera at the same time. {Simple wishes!} This year we got it. So my new wish is that we'll all be looking at the camera next time AND that Wyndham will be back on her feet like the rest of us.
As always, we keep Teagan's memories close within our hearts and we thank God for the hope we await when we will celebrate and worship Him around His throne in glory. Someday!
Merry, merry Christmas to you.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas connections.

I feel so thankful for the childhood Christmas memories I have- the decorations and music and programs and friends and family and food were always perfect when I grew up. I can't begin to pull off such magic when it comes to Christmas around here. Even as I tried to do some baking and had the kids listening to my Grandma's records from Christmas's past as they colored Christmas pictures, the Norman Rockwell afternoon turned sour as Crew dry-erase markered the carpet, his pants and socks.
It turned from the nice, pleasant winter afternoon to scolding and time-out and frustrations all around. I sometimes wish I could just turn back the hands of time and hang onto the way it used to be for awhile longer. Today I looked around and noticed that although it's not the way I remember it or wished it could be, it's not all that bad and certainly I hope that my kids will find that there are parts of these days they will want to recall years from now too.
It may not be perfect. But the story and the reason we celebrate is still the same. And for that I am grateful- now and always. May you be blessed, wherever you are and however your holiday turns out, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus- the Savior come to earth! Immanuel- God with us. What a glorious thought to meditate on as Christmas draws near. His love is all we need for our Christmas and our lives to be complete!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happiness is buttercream today!

Today is my birthday. I have often wished that I didn't have a "Christmas birthday"because it is such a busy time of year and everyone is so focused on the upcoming holiday that it sort of gets lost in the shuffle. But today when Chip brought home a Coconut-covered frosted 3-layer Buttercream/bavarian cream cake, I didn't mind one bit. =)
It was delicious!
As I reflect on this past year I can honestly tell you it has had such highs and lows that I sort of feel I've aged more than just one year. (I am 38 now- for those of you who might be wondering.) The greatest joy has been the birth and addition of baby Teague- who is now 4 months old and just "found" his toes today. He started 'talking to them' when he woke up this morning. Totally kicked off my day in a good way. =) I love simple gifts and that was special for sure.
I am so very happy today for the health of all of my family- that is never a guarantee and something I took for granted far too many years. Now I know how wonderful it truly is just to have my husband and kids singing "Happy Birthday to you" and eating cake together around our table.
I will tell you that I do miss Teagan on special days like this more than I do on many other 'ordinary' days. I still recall so clearly the last birthday I shared with her on this day 10 years ago. She, along with Chip and Brock, came to the print shop where I was working doing graphic design layout work and they brought me a Chocolate Bread Pudding with real Whipped Cream and we dug in and enjoyed every last bite of that with my friends the Websters- who owned the shop. Later I got some gifts at home and took some pictures of Teagan that are very much treasures to me. I remember she gave some big hugs and kisses to me too!
I have learned in my 38 years, that the greatest gifts most often aren't things at all. But memories and sharing laughter with loved ones and simply being 'present in the moment' for sure. I loved my cake today, not just for its yummy icing, but moreso because it was shared with the people I care most about in this whole wide world. My birthday wish is to get to eat cake with them all for many years to come!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Shining examples of love~

Today my parents are celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary and I just want to let them know how happy I am for them! Although we live hundreds of miles apart, they are the biggest supporters of me and I am so thankful for their love for one another and for my family over the years.
They married young and had 5 kids and have been through many ups and downs through the years. They have worked and served alongside one another for nearly their entire married life. And they are still together and thriving- which is quite a testament of their love and devotion to each other and to God. My parents are not perfect and we have had our differences at certain stages in life, but I can honestly say that I am a better person for having them in my life. They are the first people I call when something goes right in my life. They are the first people I call when something goes wrong too, and I know that even through trembling words on the phone that they will offer comfort, prayer, advice and sympathy too. Their love has helped to carry me through some of the most trying times in my marriage and family life and that is a gift that I can't put a price tag on.
I am so happy for them to have each other in this world. They bring out the best in one another, and seek to bring out the best in others around them too. I know that God planned for them to meet and marry and build a life together before they were even born. I am humbled and grateful that they have been such an amazing example to me of love and faithfulness in so many aspects of life. I treasure them as parents and friends and hope that on this day they know their love has made a world of difference in mine.
Happy Anniversary, Dad and Mom. Thanks for being such a blessing to me and others in all you say and do. May God grant you more love and happiness in the years to come!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

His happy little world.

Teague has been growing and changing so much the past few weeks. The top two pictures are him at 13 1/2 weeks, and the last three photos I snapped just minutes ago. Also, notice my smile. I do have things to be happy about everyday. It's just I've been struggling with happiness the past few months more than normal.
But Teague?
He's happy almost 100% of the time. Which I am very, VERY grateful for. His happiness makes me happy and I treasure the time we share in the mornings when he 'talks' and coos and just melts my heart with his cute expressions and there are no interruptions from anyone else in the house. I was watching him and talking to him yesterday when it dawned on me that he doesn't have a clue about anything our family has been going through lately. His world is nothing short of perfect right now. No wonder he is always happy! =)
It was a wonderful "light-bulb" moment for me to sit there and hold him and nuzzle his little head and let him squeeze my finger and to be able to just soak up his "perfect little world" for a few minutes. It made me realize that despite all the challenges and added stress in my life right now there is something so right going on here too. To realize that he is protected and secure and thriving in the midst of my confusion was just what I needed to focus my attention on- even if it was just for a few minutes in the rest of my crazy day. I needed and appreciated those moments of reflection and realization.
Later, as I was thinking about his "perfect world" right now I felt like I 'heard' God speaking to my heart. I've oftened thought about what the story of our lives will look like from the 'endpoint' perspective. I've told Chip and others that sometimes I wish I could just "flip to the end of the book" of our lives and see how it's all going to end up. Yesterday, in the middle of my thoughts as I drove home from a short shopping trip it occured to me as never before that I DO know the ending of our story. God is the ending! He has promised in His Word- the Bible- that He is preparing a place for those who love Him and believe that His Son, Jesus, died to save them from their sins. He has already overcome death and has an eternal glory awaiting us believers when our lives are complete here on earth. God has already numbered each and every day we have here on earth and has our future all mapped out too! It's not like it's a new concept for me to think about Heaven and eternity, but yesterday it hit me very differently as I realized that a perfect world awaits me and it will be more than worth every earthly struggle I endure in my lifetime. In fact I was thinking about all the struggles and hurts I've already endured and carry in my heart each day and I imagined that I was pouring out my trials into big buckets- as though I were filling buckets of water to the brim. Then I imagined that I was filling these buckets up along the shore of a vast waters in front of me- that vastness, like all the oceans on this world combined into one, was a glimpse of my eternity. I stood there in the picture of my mind and imagined myself pouring out a lifetime of hurt, imperfection, grief, heartache and struggle- physical, emotional, mental and spiritual pain- all of my buckets I tossed into the big water. And you know what?
It was swallowed up and mixed in with the vast ocean instantly.
I felt like God was showing me that He saw my hurt. He understood that I had a lot of 'water' weighing me down- and the truth is I will have more as the years go on. But the reality is that in the end, all my earthly suffering will be consumed the moment I step foot in glory and there is no way I could begin to hold onto these hurts or even be able to notice them when eternity begins. They will cease. The darkness and pain that seems to surface and catch me off-guard so many times in life will not exist in Heaven.
I felt a certain peace and calm as I thought about it yesterday and even more as I think about it today. My daily struggles are like drops of water in buckets that once poured into the ocean of the Glory that has been promised me will not matter. Not one tiny drop! I am so thankful that God showed up in my life this way and spoke to my heart in such a powerful, visual way. I know that I still need to hold onto this truth and realization that God has a plan and a purpose and He will make all things new one day. The days here may not always be happy and goodness knows they are not perfect! Except maybe for Teague for a little while longer. =) But there is something far greater, far richer, far beyond my wildest imaginations that will make the burdens of my life irrelevant in the end. I hope I can hold tight to that thought and certainly this post can serve as a reminder to me as we continue to face struggles in our lives. There is more to this life than that which we can see and I am thanking God that He gave me a glimpse of what is yet to come.
Also, I can't wrap this post up without telling you that Wyndham took her first few steps the night before last. She is still in her wheelchair almost 100% of the time, but she tolerated a few steps and that is a bright spot for us in our life right now. It's another glimpse that her time will come- her healing and recovery are ongoing, but she is making progress. Very tiny steps, but they certainly added some happy to our little world this week.
Thanks, so much, for praying us through this time in our lives. And even though we know how our story will ultimately end, I thank you for following along each chapter. We're grateful to be able to share the highs and lows and everything in between too.