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This morning, one of my children told me that I am somewhere between an adult and an old lady. Thanks, son.

Even though I am definitely not an old lady yet, I realize that I am aging when the suffering around me seems to be increasing weekly. The naive sense of invincibility that characterizes youth has been chipped away at, uncovering a deeper hope for the day when all things will be made new.  This past year, friends have lost babies, parents and jobs; but they have not lost hope. Our eyelids are growing heavier with tears, but they are straining through the reality of suffering to see the coming hope. Just like Simeon. This is a poem I wrote six years ago, but applies even more so today to our lives and the lives of those we love.

Straining to See the King

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, this he knew too well,
Waiting for the consolation of which all the Scriptures tell.

Simeon, in the Temple of the Lord, daily watched and waited
For the Savior he was to meet before his life on earth abated.

The Holy Spirit had filled him and promised him this peace,
Lighting in his soul a burning hope that simply would not cease.

His young, sharp eyes with age grew dim, straining still to see
The Word of God he so revered, the Messiah who would be.

His hands once strong now feeble, in old age still fought to cling
To the Spirit’s promise that his eyes would see the coming King.

He was known to be devout and righteous; his life had proved this true; Yet there he was still waiting while his remaining days were few.

His weary eyes were tired, but even more so was his heart,
Longing to see the Lord’s anointed and thence in peace depart.

Had he heard it wrong? Was the promise merely hopeful delusion?
Had decades of faithful service and waiting led only to confusion?

Interrupting his wrestling, two simple Nazarenes drew near,
Carrying their newborn son, filled with deep and reverent fear.

They came to obey the custom, but for a lamb they could not pay,
So for the firstborn’s consecration, two pigeons would be offered today.

Simeon saw the approaching family and knew without a doubt,
This was the Christ, the Chosen One, Who the Word had told about.

At once his eyes glittered and his tense heart was finally at rest,
As he held the fragile baby so close to his shaking chest.

Looking to God, as tears streamed down his wrinkled cheek,
He praised the One, who being strong had willfully become weak.

God sent the promised salvation; He had been true to His word;
This child would open His kingdom to Gentiles who had not heard.

By grace Simeon was able to understand what so few others could;
This child’s perfect life would bring him to a shameful cross of wood.

Though they would make a sacrifice to consecrate him that day,
He would be the final sacrifice; the price of our sin he would pay.

They stood holding Him in the Temple, a building firm and sound,
Yet His body was the true temple razed to be raised from the ground.

Simeon’s frail hands lifted up the One who would be lifted high,
The One who would live a perfect life only our death to die.

The Redeemed hugged the Redeemer in an embrace of humble love,
For this was Jesus, God come down, the Provision of Peace from above.

Hope deferred may make the heart sick, this Simeon could tell,
But Desire coming is the tree of life; Jesus makes all things well.

Fresh Air…

On late Thursday night, G and I packed up the boys for a late night drive to Raleigh; the trip to see a few of my college best friends was well worth the effort. I forget how sweet it is to be around the people who knew you then and still know you now, even though you rarely see one another. Besides laughing harder than I have in a good long while (mostly thanks to Krissie and the honest stories about her life, including but not exclusively, the deer that she hit and sent flying through the air and her crazy high school students), I was so refreshed by the conversations we had while hanging out all day. Continue reading

A Year with Eli J

Yesterday was Jay Bird’s birthday, the big 01! He totally had no idea; in fact, Ty seemed to be more excited about Eli’s birthday than Eli himself (due in large part to the fact that we went as a family to the land of germs, Chuck E Cheese’s, to play after dinner).  Honestly, the Chuck E. Cheese adventure brought great pleasure to G and Ty and great disgust to Eli and I, as Eli was totally in sensory overload, and I was totally sceeved out thinking about the children whose sweet, grubby little hands rub all over every square inch of that place! Alas, we survived the family adventure! On a more serious note, I have been blown away at how rapidly this past year with him flew by. It seemed like we noticed every time Ty blinked or moved his pinkie toe his first year; but life does not afford us that luxury with Eli. I wish that I could have slowed time down to notice more of the little ways Eli was changing over the past months. Yet at the same time, we treasure the times we do get to dote on him more than we ever could have with Ty. This is a little poem I wrote for the Jay bird for his birthday:

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Fighting Futility

IMG_0011It’s so easy for me to get stuck in the daily or weekly routine. Don’t get me wrong, I love routine and know the boys need it, and I love libraries on a Monday as much as the next exasperated mom. Its just that sometimes I lose sight of how incredible it is that i get to “do life” with a family. I forget how cool it is that I have a husband and a home and two little breathing, ever-learning boys at my ankles all day. I am scared that I will get to the end of each stage and wish I had enjoyed it and not just endured it.  I really do want to think like the old school Puritan who said, “Let me consider every duty a spiritual privilege, ” yet every Monday, I struggle to see the gift that laundry, emptying the dishwasher, and a trip to the library to “play” the Clifford reading game with Ty who won’t keep the earphones on his ears to hear the instructions. Every morning I really do need the Lord to renew my mind from the impressions of my sin and worldly patterns; I need to have Him remind me that He has no greater joy than to help, train, pray, and more each day see us, His children, walking in His truth. If the God of the universe does not tire of doing the same things for me every moment, even when I don’t notice or appreciate it, then I can love the boys this way! I just know how much help I need!

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Potty training or Puppy Training?

Seriously, the stories that we have concerning the topic of poop astounds me! I am not sure if this is the norm for parenting, or if Ty just has an affinity for hysterical bathroom stories; either way, they are worth mentioning, if only for the fact that I don’t want to forget them as the years fly by! We need some material for future rehearsal dinners and such! I will briefly describe out Top Two Toilet Trauma Stories! (And to Ty’s credit, he is awesome at potty training; its just that when he has an accident, he has an accident!)

1. Consignment Conundrum… Continue reading

As Sorrowful but Always Rejoicing

Tuesday morning a dear friend Hannah and I walked the boys to this cute little park in our neighborhood. While Eli was literally falling asleep while sitting up in his swing (flashback to my 8 am Art Appreciation Class at PC) I was pushing Ty man on the swing. At about the 2 count of our “3,2,1…Blast off!” routine, Ty slipped right out of the swing and fell, landing directly on his back. It was one of his best falls yet and completely knocked the wind out of him. While I was holding him, trying to comfort him, I kept asking him if he wanted some juice or even one of his beloved “Spida-man” fruit snacks. His response was simple, but to me it was so profound. He kept saying, “No, Mamma I hold you.”

My heart immediately sank as I thought how rarely I respond that way to the Lord or to others when I am in pain. He did not want things, he just wanted to be close to someone who loved him. Continue reading

Just One of Those Days

I feel like these days come without rhyme or reason. Nothing has really changed from the day before, only my heart droops down and, even though I know all the right answers, I cannot make it arise. Ahhh! As much as I hate days like these, they do make me broken and humbled and more ready to listen to the Lord. I love that I have a sweet husband who knows that when I get like this, we should go out to dinner as a family and sit outside, because fresh air does something to calm my crazy heart. I love that we got free chips at Chicora Alley and that we went on a short walk as a family. I love that being with my senior girls reminded me of how richly God has blessed and helped me snap out of it! Most of all, I love the Lord that ordains all my days, the great and the not-so-great. I wrote this poem about these kind of days….

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The Joseph Superheroes

Ty is just now getting into the testosterone-laden phase where he likes to become different superheroes and run through the house. I know this because I hear him “Powing” things from the other room and also because I have to dress Ty man in his Batman pajamas with the “cate” (or cape as referred to by most of the population). G and I both have been loving this new imaginative phase, and Eli seems to enjoy watching it as well, until he gets a good “Pow” from his superhero brother. Although, we don’t feel too badly for the J man, because he holds his own quite well. This is a little poem I wrote about them the other morning after I watched Ty sharing his beloved cereal with Eli who was patiently waiting for his brother to put each little piece in his mouth. Obviously, these actions are highly uncharacteristic of our little men… and they got me thinking…

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As Different As East and West

Bath time!

Bath time!

Though there are so many ways I could have expressed how different our boys are, the above title says it all, both literally and figuratively. Ty, our white homeboy, as G calls him, is definitely the West and Eli J, our dark homeboy, is definitely the East. We laugh about how different they look, as people often ask me if I have adopted “that handsome Indian baby,” while G gets asked by strangers if he adopted Tyus. Hilarious. But what is even funnier to me is how truly different they are. I know that Biology tells me that my children would have the same chance of having similar personalities as two strangers, but I don’t think I quite believed Biology until now. Seriously, just last night we were doing our routine of trying to trick, bribe, or play Ty into eating some bland universally kid-friendly food (like quesedillas or cereal or noodles with butter) to no avail; meanwhile, Eli J nearly inhaled lentils with peas, spinach, feta cheese, and sundried tomatoes. Eli eats foods many adults would not touch while Ty Ty refuses to eat foods that every child is supposed to love.

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The Cake Catastrophe…My life!

Thomas Pre-Meltdown

Thomas Pre-Meltdown

Thomas Post-Meltdown

Thomas Post-Meltdown

The Birthday Wish!

The Birthday Wish!

I think a running and humorous theme in my life is, “I am not together, and when I try so hard to be, the bottom always drops out!”

Exhibit A: Ty’s Thomas the Train Party

Knowing we had a busy week with missionary friends visiting, a dear friend and her kiddos coming in from out of town, a Girl’s Night Out I was helping to plan, and an impending 2 year old birthday party, I thought and prayed and asked the Lord for energy and wisdom and grace! He gave these abundantly, but always likes to throw in a humbling twist. Continue reading