"Mom! There's just no such thing as magic!!" giggled Noah, as he smiled at me.
I leaned across the table and whispered to him, "I think it's magical when you are standing outside and it starts snowing on you for the first time in your life."
"That's not magic! Jesus did it!!" Noah replies.
"Oh, but don't you see? Jesus is the only one who can do the most magical things!!"
Hmmm.... like, tasting something for the first time that it so amazing. Like Candy Cane Lane tea with a little bit of cream and sugar.
We've obviously done some teaching on magic with the kids.... and it is hard because there are some kind of dark, yucky things when you dive into the world of magic. But, especially during this beautiful, amazing, MAGICAL, season.... I don't want them to miss the wonder, the beauty, the mystery of Emmanuel, God with us.
It is hard sometimes, to watch your kids as they begin to realize just how "different" they are. I don't think the boys notice it quite as much. But, all of a sudden, they start noticing that we don't read the same books, or watch the same shows and movies , that we don't go to the same school, that we don't have the same toys, that we don't eat the same food.... the list goes on and on.
And the best I really have to offer our kids is that I know what it's like. I know what it is like to not have the same things, to not read the same books, to not eat the same food, to do things differently than others around me.... Really, I know what it is like to be lonely. Sometimes, it is really hard to feel alone in certain things. And yet, we must be faithful to what we believe the Lord is asking of us as a family. He hasn't asked us to look just like any other family. But He has asked us to be faithful as the Hester family, to what He shows us and asks of us. And so, when I am having a hard time feeling lonely and different, like my kids do sometimes, I need some tea and sympathy as well. And it has been given:
"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:14-16
It is so good, and so beneficial to my heart this morning, that it is worth repeating in the NLT:
"That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it." Hebrews 4:14-16
"It's not much of a world, is it? Is it worth trying to bring Leah back into it?"
Thacia stood still in the road. "Yes!" she cried, and Daniel was astounded to see that tears had sprung into her eyes. "Oh Daniel-yes! If only I could make you see, somehow, that it is!"
"All this--" she exclaimed, the sweep of her arm including the deepening blue of the sky, the shining lake in the distance, the snow-covered mountain far to the north. "So much! You must look at it all, Daniel, not just at the unhappy things." Suddenly she reached out and touched his hand. "Look!" she whispered.
He lifted his head and followed her gaze. Overhead,barely discernible against the blue of the sky, a long gray shadow hung suspended. Cranes, hundreds of them, were passing in a great phalanx. They wheeled and caught the sun, flashing light from banks of white feathers, with a shimmering like the snow on the mountain. Motionless, the two watched till the line slowly melted into the distant air.
Thacia let out her breath. "How beautiful!" She sighed. "It is beautiful just to be alive in Galilee!"
This quote is from our current read-aloud, The Bronze Bow. I actually missed this part in the book, (Ben read a chapter while I was away one night) and Ben brought me back to it because it is so beautiful. It is so easy sometimes, to get caught up in the unhappy things, the ugliness of this world. But, oh! What joy is found in looking for and basking in the beautiful things. Every beautiful thing is a glimmer of hope.... this world is being "renewed in the image of its Creator." One day, it will all be made new, and together with creation,we will all join in the beautiful praise song we were meant to sing to our God. But in the meantime, we hear measures of this beautiful praise all around us, like:
(the food from Backyard Bowls in Santa Barbara...YUM!!!)
3!!! That's right, 3!!! Dates with my husband this month! (Totally a side note, but it is oh so necessary, and such a blessing when people recognize that parenting five tiny people can be difficult, and that our marriage is absolutely worth investing in! I was on such a high from being able to go out with my husband that I offered to babysit for three people!!! I want to stand alongside people and say, "Your marriage is important!!!)
(The Spring Rolls from Mary's Secret Garden...YUMMMY!!!!)
Five beautiful, healthy children
Reading wonderful stories as a family- (Emma reading to the boys and some friends)
Vegetables in varieties of colors, tastes, and textures
Hearty, earthy grains, crumpled on top of pears...
Friends, and laughter!!!
The sunrise every morning whispering God's love and hope for the day
The sunset whispering God's peace for the night...
The sleep that each night reminds us that we are not God!!! (He doesn't need sleep but we do!!)
The cloth diapers that saved the day since we ran out of diapers and don't get paid until next Friday. =)
Baking pies with Emma and my mom
Staying up WAY too late with the girls
tea parties with friends
Warm smells and delicious tastes, reminding me of winter
The beautiful falling rain, watering the earth, pouring down God's blessing
I could go on and on... but I am sure you get the point. Today, I am so thankful. "It is beautiful just to be alive in Ojai!!" =)
You are absolutely adorable!! I mean, look at yourself in these jeans and the little puffer vest. An abundance of cuteness. But do you see here?
This is you and brother Ezra in my bed.
And this is you asleep in my arms.
You are so very tired. You eat tons of baby food and people food, you have two bottom teeth, and your two top ones are just about to poke through. You are into everything because you can "crawl" around, still mostly commando crawl. It is just a suggestion, but, now that you are 8 months old, I really think that adding sleep into our nightly routine could be helpful for everyone all around. Thanks!
My friend Kristen did this post on her top 11 read alouds here. I thought it would be fun to do this post as well.... although, this is very difficult for me. So, I'll just mention some of the books that we have loved and read, and try not to duplicate any from Kristen's list. I do want to agree heartily-I have had tears running down my face as my husband reads the voice of Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia. And we laughed so hard at Mr. Popper's Penguins. Nonetheless, here is my list:
1. God King-historical fiction set in the time of Ancient Egypt, around the time King Hezekiah ruled in Israel.
Honorable mention for this same time period goes to The Golden Goblet and Shadow Hawk.
2. Hittite Warrior-historical fiction set during the time of the Judges.
3. Adara-historical fiction surrounding Naaman's servant girl, who tells of a prophet in Israel.
4. Forbidden Gates-I love the picture this one gives of Jewish customs. A young Jewish boy goes against Jewish law to get a Gentile closer to the temple...
5. Out of Darkness- A young Jewish boy (whose mother is ill) befriends a Roman beggar boy who is blind. Together, they hear rumors of a man from Nazareth who can heal.
6. Follow My Leader-a tale of a young boy, blinded in an accident, hoping to get a dog who can help him "see."
7. YWAM biographies- Some of our favorites were George Muller, Hudson Taylor, and Corrie ten Boom.
8. The Hedge of Thorns-a beautiful tale of a young boy and his sister who learn that God lovingly places protective hedges in our lives.
9. Just David-by the same author as Pollyanna
10. The Bronze Bow- another book set in the time of Ancient Rome.
"We have to keep reminding ourselves of the difference between moralism and the gospel. We have to keep remembering that the reason Christ came was first of all not to make bad people good but to make dead people alive. If we forget that, our Christianity will turn out to be Christless."-Tullian Tchividjian
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29
"...In Ephesians 4:29 Paul commands that our verbal communication always be purposeful, and the right purpose is "that it may give grace to those who hear."
We're all in need of grace... So let us pray, "Lord, help me discern what kind of grace this person needs." For those who are legalistic or feel condemned, we want to bring justifying grace to their souls. To those struggling with a besetting sin, we want to bring sanctifying grace. To those experiencing suffering, we want to bring comforting grace. To those who are just weary, we want to refresh their souls with sustaining grace...Through each and every interaction, however casual, however brief, I want to impart grace through my words, for that's God's purpose in granting us this gift of speech. And in effect, we have God's promise in this passage that when our words are edifying and appropriate, they will give grace."-- C.J. Mahaney, Humility
The "million dollar highway" and the Colorado River.
Friends!!! Here are Judah and Finlee!!!
Sally Clarkson's house, for the Mom Heart Leadership Intensive.
I didn't go with them, but Ben took the kids and met up with our AMAZING friends the Benders, and they went to Garden of the Gods. I asked Ben to take pictures for me, and he took his job quite seriously. When I asked him how he got this amazing picture of Ezra, he said, "I laid down on the ground."
As Ezra likes to call it. I just got around to downloading all the pictures on my camera.
The beautiful porch where we enjoyed prayer times, worship times, and where I wanted to be all the time. :)
Exploring and learning....
The zip line!!!
I made boxes for the kids that they got in thecar once we got to Flagstaff. Ben made fun of me for putting pipe cleaners in the box... but they got super creative with them. Here is Caleb's "padawon braid".
Turquoise shirt day... with this many kids, you gotta keep track of them however you can!!!
Fun in Dolores, CO. Played at an amazing park, then Emma and Caleb learned to skip rocks in the river....