Monday, October 24, 2016

Change of address...

For now, until I get the app/blog situation figured out, I'll be updating here:

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Noah Benjamin....

Dear Noah Benjamin,
     Turning ten has welcomed you with a harsher greeting than I would have chosen.  You have always had a bit of a tender heart, but these last few years you have really matured in this area. I didn't know how having braces would be for you, but you rarely ever complained and handled it better than I could have hoped for.  This year, on your birthday, mommy and daddy will both be gone, taking your little brother for a cancer check up to see if he needs more chemo.  Sometimes on your birthday, dad is at work, and it's a normal day with schoolwork and chores, but mom has never, ever been away from you on your birthday.....until now.
     I am so thankful for some very special traditions that we have, which make this year more palatable.  We got to spend the morning as a family, all celebrating you today (a few days early!). We also get to have our special dinner at Grandma's house with the cousins. I don't think any of my kids will ever remember a birthday without thinking of dinner at Grandma's.  You have requested beef stew for dinner, as well as fruit salad and lemon meringue pie.  You have such a tender and compassionate heart-so loving and affectionate. You never go to bed without giving me at least one hug....if not many more. You are my special helper who takes Elijah outside to play in the morning. It is so sweet to watch him point at you and then drag you around the house to find shoes so that you can take him outside. :)
     You are working your way through Teaching Textbooks 7, and have almost finished Rod and Staff English, Grade 5.  You are amazingly artistic. You love others so deeply and it is such a joy to see the way you remember others in prayer and bring such love and nurture into our home.  You are very friendly and agreeable, and I'm so thankful for the special friendship you have with your big brother Caleb. You quite obviously look up to him, and genuinely enjoy his company at all times.
     Noah Benjamin, my heart hurts to not be with you on your birthday. My heart hurts for the many ways that things have been more difficult this year. But oh! I am so thankful!!!! I am thankful for the chance to celebrate you before we leave, I'm thankful for Grandma and Grandpa who love all you kids so deeply and celebrate you with such joy and service. I am so thankful to spend time with the cousins, and hey, when you add any number of people to our already large family, it sure does feel like a party!!!! I'm thankful for the ones who are giving of their time and their lives to serve us by watching you guys! Grandma Connie and Grandpa Ron, Grandpa and Grandma Nash, and the Norris family. I know that each one of them loves you so much that you may hardly even notice that mommy and daddy are gone.
     And while a momma never wants things to be hard for her children....sometimes it is the difficult and hard things that build the most character. Sometimes, a momma has to let it be hard for her children, and entrust them to their Creator and Sustainer. So Noah, I entrust you to the One who is called Faithful and True. I beg of Him to cause you to know in the very core of your being that you are loved and treasured beyond measure. I celebrate you and all that you bring to this family with your smiles and your jokes and your love.  It's hard to be the middle child sometimes. But Noah....I see you. I see you growing in your service to our family, in your diligence in your work for school and at home, and I see your dependability when it comes to helping with the younger ones.
     Your name, Noah, means "to comfort."  You are a great comfort to our family with your smiles and your silliness, but this year, I pray that you, personally, would know the comfort of the God of all comfort. That you would know how high and how long and how deep and how wide is the love that He has for you. And that you would continue to look ahead with joy and excitement, knowing that His plans for you are good, even when they are sometimes hard.  Happy birthday a little early Noah!
With love,

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Birthday Boy

My sweet boy,
     Eight years ago today, I was anxiously awaiting your arrival.  With contractions on and off for about a month prior, I had almost given up hope that you were coming at all.  Not even one contraction that day, when I sent your daddy off to work night shift.  I called him just a few hours into his shift, almost in tears....and Daddy knew something was up.  When he got home, he found me in the shower and not too long after, you made your grand entrance into the world and became the first of our children to be born here at home.
     I think that is part of who you are.....I think you will be the one to blaze a trail to many "firsts" in this family and in the world!!
     You are a fantastic reader, although you would much prefer to be doing something active. =)  You were so excited about getting only makes mama a little nervous since you have already had stitches, glue, x-rays, and a couple of CT scans.  You excel in your use of language, as well as math, science, and pretty much whatever you put your mind to...but only on the days where it suits you.  You recently began Teaching Textbooks 5, Rod and Staff English Grade 4, and you are so happy to finally be learning cursive (it took mama a long time to order your book).  At Groups, you are taking Astronomy, Chess, and Legos.  
     One of the things you were so excited about as you turned eight, was the possibility of watching the Narnia movies for the first time.  We snuggled in and watched The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  Daddy had read it aloud to us a few years ago, but this was the first time you got to see the movie.  I asked the older kids, "Do you remember what it was like when you saw Aslan for the first time?"  As I watched the movie, I could identify so strongly with the battle scene.  Peter, still so young and unsure if he was ready to lead an army into battle.  Stepping out where he had never been before, unsure if he would even emerge alive.  And the thing that struck me the most this that Peter and Edmund entered the battle before help was on the way or even an option.
     Many times this year, I have felt like I was entering a battle that I was not ready for.  Many times, I haven't been sure if I could keep going.  And often, as we have prepared for trips to NY and not knowing what treatment or when or so many details for the has felt like entering a battle not knowing if Help would really come, but needing to just trust and believe that it would.
     My darling Ezra.  In many arenas, your heart is fearless.  But there will times ahead where fear will come fast and fierce.  You will feel as though you are facing battles that you may not feel ready for and aren't sure you can win.  And even if you step forward with courage, you may find yourself wondering if Help really will come.  In those moments, you have to go back to the moment when you first saw Aslan.  He is the most terrifying,  most beautiful, most gentle, most powerful lion...And even though he is not tame, HE IS GOOD.  Aslan is a picture...He reminds us of Jesus.  Jesus is terrifying in His strength and authority, in His sheer power and command over creation...but He is gentle, patient, compassionate, and good.  Remember the moment when you first saw Jesus.  And even more than that....remember the moment, after the dark night where the lion was slain, when the sun rises, and there stands the lion shining in the brilliance of the sun.  Jesus is alive.  He has conquered the greatest enemy we have.  It is His strength that gives us courage for the battle.
     Your name, Ezra, means "Jehovah is my help."  And Lucas means "bringer of light."  My prayer over you, my sweet boy with the heart of a warrior, is that by the help of Jehovah, you would bring light into the darkness.  When the enemy threatens darkness, I pray that you would be one who would shine the light of Jesus with courage.  And I pray that no matter what battles are ahead for you, I pray that God would always give you the faith to remember that first look at Jesus, and to KNOW that help is coming.  He is your help.  He is your strength.  And HE alone is always worth the battle.
     Happiest of birthdays to my sweet boy.
With love, and for the King,

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Quick update and Teaching audio

I'm having technical difficulties, so I haven't been able to update the blog.....(when would I ever sit down in front of a computer?????). I'm hoping to have this fixed before I leave for NY on Monday so I can keep everyone up to date on Elijah Bear.

In the meantime....I had the privilege of teaching on 1 Timothy Ch. 4, and here is the audio if you're interested.  :-)