Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Life as a three-year-old

We were talking at supper tonight about the presents Jesus wants for His birthday. Ethan and I were having a pretty good discussion.
Kylie, not wanting to miss an opportunity to talk, pipes up, "Jesus is precious to me!"
Out of the mouths of three year olds.
I just wonder, "does she have a clue what she just said?"
And, "Who knew she knew the word 'precious' well enough to use it in a sentence?"
Now, ten minutes later she's sitting in time out screaming because I told her to pick up that toys she threw on the ground and she said, "no!"
Oh...the life of a three year old...

Monday, December 15, 2008


I've been contemplating Mary, the mother of Jesus, recently. Every year at Christmas, I look at my kids and wonder, what would it be like to be the earthly mother of God?
Mary had ample opportunity to grieve ruined plans. She's engaged to a man and, no doubt, planning their lives together. They'll be married, learn how to live together, decorate their house, and then surround themselves with beautiful babies. Then an angel shows up and suddenly she, an unmarried 14 year old virgin, is carrying the Son of God. And her plans for a normal life forever disappear. Her family thinks she's crazy. Only God intervening in a miraculous dream can convince her husband-to-be to go through with the marriage. The townspeople whisper, mock, shun. Her friends avoid her in the streets. She runs to Elizabeth's for understanding and isolation. Everyone assumes terrible sin resides in her life, when in fact, the opposite is true. She is carrying perfection not shame. But she cannot prove it to anyone. How full of joy she must have been when Joseph marries her anyway. But their marriage would never be free from gossiping tongues and condemning glances.
Her baby is born in Bethlehem in a filthy stable with no mother to help deliver the baby. And then people keep showing up to worship her son while, exhausted, Mary wishes for quiet so she can sleep. Even walking into the temple to offer sacrifices for her firstborn son creates a stir as people begin prophesying and weeping over their long awaited Messiah. She ends up fleeing to a foreign country to escape the wrath of a jealous, earthly king.
I think all this would be enough to make me feel picked on. I think I would cry, "I wanted a simple, normal life, God! To love my husband and children in my village with my family and not create too much of a stir." And yet God saw something in Mary that made her worthy of mothering His Son! He chose her out of millions of women throughout time to nurse, bathe, and diaper God as a baby! Mary's heart is so soft. She seems always to be gracious and inviting - never turning those away who wish to worship her Son. She's always pondering what God is doing, storing His words in her heart for further reflection.
What a joy it must've been to raise a perfect child! I'm sure Jesus was the light of His mother's world! A baby with no sin nature - no need to scold. A two year old who is never defiant. A five year old who is never disrespectful. I'm sure Mary absorbed the joy of those years with delight - and tried not to think about what was to come for her son.
Did her heart break when she realized that at age 12 He felt the call of His Father so strongly that he was willing to disregard her feelings to follow it? What did she feel as her Son became the new sensation in Galilee? Did she beg her other sons to follow their brother as they turned their backs on Him? Did she avoid the discussions at parties about placing her son on a political throne or silencing him before he managed to bring the wrath of Rome on them all? I can't even imagine the agony of watching thousands of people screaming for the death of my son - of standing at the foot of the cross barely recognizing his disfigured body and listening to his tortured breathing. Did God reveal His plan to her in a special way? Did Jesus appear to her after His ressurection? Did He hold her in His arms not as her son but as her Savior?
I'd really love to have Mary's journal. I'd love to know my Savior the way she did. I'd love to learn her lessons of absolute trust, quiet waiting, and heartbreak leading to eternal joy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I decided I should send out Christmas cards this year. Pretty much every year I decide this, and when January first rolls around with no Christmas card, I give up. But this year, I thought I'd make it easy. We'd take a good picture of all five of us (we have only one - NOT good! - of our family since Julia was born), put it on a card, and mail it. No writing. No signing. Easy.

Until I decided, "We have a good camera. Why pay Sears or JC Penny's $20 to take our picture when we can do it ourselves?" Caleb started working 12 hour days, so I gave up on his help (he's the photographer of the family) and decided to put just the kids in the picture. Nobody wants to see me and Caleb anyway.

So Tuesday afternoon after nap time, I thought "the kids are happy, I'll get 'em dressed, sit 'em on the couch and take pictures. If I take enough, I'm bound to get a good one sooner or later." Two hours, 219 pictures (not exaggerating!), sticky candy canes, many lost hair bows, and several crying fits later here are the good ones. Yes, I said the good ones.

Any votes for which one is worthy of the Christmas card?
I learned:
-Even with a good camera, I have NO talent as a photographer! Apparently it takes some skill besides point and shoot....
-Next time, pay someone else to take the pictures!!!
-People who take pictures of children EARN their money! I was exhausted!!!
Caleb looked at these pictures and trying to be an encouraging husband, said "Wow! I'm impressed that you kept trying for so long!" Which I took to imply that when I realized how bad I was, I should've given up long before I did... =)
I think the one I took the night before of Caleb and the kids in their jammies decorating the tree is better (although Caleb thinks his hair is messed up and would not agree with me). At least they're all looking at the camera in this pic!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A boy with brown eyes

Last night we were sitting around the table eating supper, and I decided to prepare Kylie for going to three-year-old Sunday School instead of two-year-old Sunday School next Sunday. So, I asked her if she was ready to go to three-year-old Sunday School next week. She looked at me and said, "I have to be a boy, mommy."
"No, Kylie. You're a girl going to three-year-old Sunday School."
"But mommy I be a boy with brown eyes."
"A boy with brown eyes? When, Kylie?"
"When I turn five I be a boy with brown eyes."

I had to laugh - and call Kayla. You see my sister Kayla was scared to turn five. She was SURE she was going to turn into a boy like her big brothers (I don't know how she thought Becca and I lived past five as girls....) Poor Kayla! She was very exited on the morning of her fifth birthday to wake up and see she was still a girl.
So much for preparing Kylie for three-year-old Sunday School.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Well, I'm back home after a week at my mom and dad's house with ALL my brothers and sisters and their families. What fun! We pretty much just talked and ate and played at my mom and dad's house. But, the girls got a day out! Yeah! We left daddy, Micah, and Rob home with four kids (two in diapers!!!) Brave, I know. But, they did great! I had happy, clean kids when we got home. Anyway, the girls went to a cute bookstore, drank coffee, and watched a girly movie. I don't get to do things like that very often. I love spending time with my family! They encourage me, listen to my rambling, laugh with me, tease me (ROB!), play with my kids... I've decided that if you're not used to the chaos living with three kids creates, you get kinda stressed out after a week! Although I know my family loves my kids, I think they were glad to return to their nice, normal, QUIET lives!
I always feel like I'm processing for a while after a week like last week. It seems that my family can teach me so many things. Since I only see them all twice a year or so, I feel like I should pay attention to all the things I can learn from them. Like my brother, Micah, was quoting Bible verses to my dad (the WHOLE Sermon on the Mount!), and I was convicted to keep working on my Bible memory goals. And my sister-in-laws, Allie and Christina, are both pregnant and were not feeling well some of the time, but they were always smiling and didn't complain endlessly (have I been known to do that?) And my sister, Kayla, is so good at keeping her mouth shut when she could say what really shouldn't be said. My mom never gets impatient with my kids. My dad (who has lost practically every fantasy football game this year) laughs about his weaknesses without getting defensive or making excuses. I could go on and on. I feel overwhelmed trying to remember it all - let alone figure out how to incorporate it into my life. Too bad I don't have more quiet, thinking time around here! =)