Sunday, October 26, 2014

Noah Benjamin, age 8

My dear Noah Benjamin,
     You are eight years old!!!! There really aren't enough words to say what you bring to our family. You experience just about every emotion to an exponential degree. Because of this, you are one of the most snugly and cuddly boys I know. You are a dreamer, for sure! You are so very loving and thoughtful. 
     Your joy is so full and so abundant that you love including others in it (this is one of the ways I love seeing you reflect the heart of our God).  When we did your "last hoorah" of candy before you got your braces on, you very happily shared your candy with all your siblings. Down to the very last piece.  
When you got your new scooter for your birthday, within minutes, you allowed Judah to take it for a spin because you wanted him to share in the fun too.
     These last couple of weeks with braces....all I can say, is that I have been so amazed at the depth of character and integrity that has been growing in you. You have borne each sacrifice with such honor, and such grace. It's not easy being faced with a long list of: you can't eat.....  But you, son, have been SO faithful to not eat the items you have been asked not to, even if you were given an "out." You have remained faithful and true, even when it meant forgoing both snack and treats at church. All this to say: we are so proud of you, and of the character God is building in you. It seems that these moments that have gathered up into days, which have gathered up into weeks, and months, and now eight years!!!! Well, they have begun to produce a harvest. It is amazing to see the fruit that God is producing in you. Is it encouraging and inspiring.
     And so Noah.  This year, we pray that you would continue in the steadfast love of our Savior. We pray that you would know what is the height and depth and width and length of God's love for you in Christ. We pray that you would continue to be captivated by the joy that Jesus came to give you-it is full, and complete, and it is meant to spill over on to all those around you. We pray that the light of Christ would shine ever brighter in you, and from that amazing smile of yours.  And we pray that you would continue to DREAM BIG for God's glory and His Kingdom. We love you Noah Benjamin.
For the King! And His Kingdom!!!
With love,
Mommy and Daddy

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ezra the Great!

Six years old!!!! Sporting his new tool pouch.

Oh Ezra Lucas Knight Hester,
     I wish I had the words to say how much you bring to our family. And to me personally. I have learned more about the love and grace of God than ever. You are sometimes, a little challenging to parent. But it is not because you are a bad kid....it is because you are extraordinary. Once you set your mind on something, you simply must do it. (Many times, regardless of the consequences). And although this presents some challenges for a mom of a (now) six year old, it would be sad if I did not recognize how amazing this quality is in the heart of a young man.
     You are such a hard worker. I can give you tasks beyond your years because you will work SO hard. You have amazing initiative. At this stage in life, that works against me sometimes. But later, and even now at times, it is unbelievable how you can recognize when something needs to be done and go about doing it all on your own.
     You love big. Your spicy little sister loves you so much and frequently calls out for you when you aren't close by.  You pull Evelyn up into your lap and read books to her.
     You are super smart. At just now six years old, you are working at about a third grade level across the board. It is such a balance because you have LOTS of energy in that body of yours, and I have to remind myself to keep both your body and your mind stimulated and a little challenged in order to *help* you stay out of trouble.
     Some of your favorite time with Mommy or Daddy is when we read your special book, His Mighty Warrior.  This has been an invaluable resource as a devotional, and as an encouragement for your sweet heart as a warrior, and servant of the Most High King.
     This year, we pray that you would grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We pray that you would be surprised with joy at how wonderful it is to serve so great a King. We pray that your heart of love and service will grow.  And I pray personally, that I will love and serve you as your mom in such deep ways that you will always know how much you are loved by the Father.
     We are so thankful for all that you bring to our family, Ezra!!! 
For the King! And the Kingdom!
With great love,
Mommy

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Big change...

Noah did such a great job! His braces are on and we just need to get used to a new way of eating and brushing and such.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Last hoorah!

Well, tomorrow is a big day for Noah Benjamin. He's getting braces!!!
We absolutely love Emma's orthodontist office. They are fantastic! One of the reasons we love them so much is that they have been really honest with us. We were told by another orthodontist that Emma needed to go ahead and get braces on about 2 years ago.  Fortunately, her current orthodontist has said it's totally ok to wait.
I showed him a picture of Noah at her last appointment and he said to go ahead and bring him in.
Imagine my shock when they said he needs braces!!! He needed to have a tooth pulled (which happened last week), and then he will be ready to get his braces on. His situation just happened to be different than Emma's, and was in need of some attention a little sooner. (So, I guess now it is our family's orthodontist office).

Anyhow! The point is, that when we became aware of all the foods that Noah probably wouldn't be able to have while his braces are on....
And since it all came up sort of suddenly...
And since he is still a young guy....
We decided to have a "last hoorah!"
We took him to the candy store and let him choose many of the things he won't be able to have this next year or so.
He was such a kind brother to share his candy with all his siblings. And after all that candy he said on the way home, "I'm hungry!!! But for something HEALTHY!!!"
We were delighted to honor that request too. ;-)

Noah Benjamin, we are so proud of you and your courage moving forward. We want to take good care of you during this new adventure!!!
Love,
Mommy and Daddy

Big Boy!!!

This sweet boy finished Sing, Spell Kindergarten!!!!!
Now-this doesn't mean he has finished kindergarten. But, it does mean he is well on his way to reading. 
We are so proud of you, Judah Sean! You have worked hard at learning your letters and their sounds! You have also loved cutting and pasting, playing with play-doh, and building with duplos.
If someone were to ask you if you know how to read, you will tell them no. And there were days I doubted it myself. ;-)
But lo, and behold....you are getting better at remembering the words you know and sounding out the ones you don't.
I'm so thankful that I get to be your mommy and that I get to hear you beginning to read.
We love you Judah Sean!!!!!

Monday, October 06, 2014

Celebrating...


This man is a very loved man. :-) 
Ben Hester, we honor you in the Lord. You work SO hard to care for us. Not just everyday at work...but everyday at home. With six kids and a pregnant wife, you just never know what you will come home too. ;-p
But you are faithful, and steadfast to jump in.
I appreciate your selfless service to our family so much.  But one of the things I appreciate the most about you (and there are MANY!).... Is that our kids know what it is to fall asleep almost every night to the sound of their Daddy, reading God's Word and wonderful stories. They have had the incredible privilege of hearing tales told through the voice of their father....some even with accents. ;-)
When I look back, I see how all those nights, all those readings of Scripture, all those stories, have been anchors for our souls and for our family. We have been inspired together to serve the One True King....led faithfully by you.
I do not know what plans God has yet in store for our family....but, I'm so thankful that you are our leader.
And while the world sees the craziness of all these little people....I see the fullness of a life overflowing with the love of a child....times six plus this new little one to come. And let's face it: our life is crazy. Sometimes, overwhelming. But there is one thing that is most definitely evident: you are so loved. Thank you for loving us. We are so glad you were born.
Happy birthday my love.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Celebration Dinner!!


In order to celebrate Caleb finishing Algebra, we wanted to take him to the dinner of his choosing. And what did he want?? Crab and lobster. 
Not our usual fare, to say the least....but I figured that we were celebrating an amazing accomplishment!
We had so much fun out with this little man, and boy! He sure had fun busting into crab legs. 



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Caleb's post....

I remember so well, when I picked you up from your class at church-I think you were about 16 months old or so.  The woman who had been with you commented saying, "He has amazing language skills!"
And I, being the inexperienced momma I was (and not wanting to forget about Emma), said, "Oh yes! His sister is speaking very well also!"
But that day....she was telling me something. I had NO clue....
I remember when you were 2 years old, and you were able to sound out words like "cat" and "dog" and "mom". You and Emma were learning right alongside each other, and quite frankly, I just didn't think much of it at the time.
When you were four, I remember you taking The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with you for "quiet time."  There were just a few pictures from the motion picture in that particular edition, so I remember thinking you must just be looking at the pictures. It occurred to me, that the pictures might be a little scary, so I went in to check on you. You declared, "Mom! I'm on chapter 4!"  I didn't really think that could be true, so I quizzed you and then had you read a page to me. I mean, I knew you could read-I sat with you everyday and listened to you read...

At five, you finished The Last Battle, and closed out Lewis' Narnia series.

Obviously, I knew by this time that there was something "different" about you. I always knew that God had a special plan for you-as He does for each of your brothers and sisters....

Probably by age 6, I finally told your pediatrician: "I'm sure every parent thinks their child is a genius....but I think mine really is."  After some assessment, he told me you are a "Gifted Learner." Which basically meant you were working at 2 grade levels or more above average across the board-rather than just one subject. You are gifted in math, language, science....you have amazing discipline.
So, at 10 years old, you are up at 6am every morning reading your Bible. You started in Genesis and you are almost all the way through the Bible. You are so very diligent with your schoolwork....and you were so close to finishing your math course, that today you determined to finish.
And you did.
So. Today, at 10 years old, you have completed Algebra. Overall, you maintained a 91% in the course. You have worked so hard, and we are SO proud of you.
(And trust me! This is not the most crazy and complicated of your problems in this course!!!)

But after acknowledging this amazing accomplishment....I want to affirm two things.
First, we have a saying in our family. Each one of you is exactly what he or she MUST be in order to fulfill what God has purposed for your part in His grand story. So, if you are this smart....it is because you must be...and so we want to steward that gifting well.
Secondly, I just want to remind you in case you ever forget: I do not love you because you're so smart. It has it's wonderful perks and even some challenges....but it is just how God made you.  But I love YOU. Your heart. Your insides. I love you because you are you.  There have been many times I have been tempted to think that because you are so smart, that I am depriving you of opportunities to be part of certain classes or groups, or.....yada, yada, yada.
But God has been faithful. He gave me a clear calling with all of you amazing Hester children:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 ESV)

And the deep conviction that ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ. 
...that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2-3 ESV)

God has been so kind to remind me that my job is to preach Christ and Him crucified.  It is my joy, my pleasure, and my privilege.

*as a side note-I could obviously do a post like this on each of my amazing children! I chose Caleb today, to honor his accomplishment in completing Algebra.