Tag Archives: life

Lenten Reflections #1

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For Lent this year I have decided to read the entire New Testament over the course of the season, reading just a few chapters each day. So far I have read through the gospels and am in the midst of Acts and learning more and more about the early church.  I’ve read parts of the bible, and I’d even venture to guess that I’ve read most of the new testament already, but never in order and never consistently over a short period of time.  So, it’s been quite enjoyable to take time each day to learn a little bit more and maybe get some more context about some things that I thought I already knew or understood to be true.

One of the stories that really stuck out to me was the story of the woman at the well.  If you want to read it, you can find it in John 4:5-42.  The image of thirst is used through out the Bible to speak to the human longing for God.  In this story, the overall message is that God is thirsting to have a relationship with us more than we even realize.

Here’s a synopsis of the story to give you some background info if you are unfamiliar.  Jesus, travelling back from Judea to Galilee, had gone through Samaria and sat down beside the well to rest.  He was hot.  He was tired.  He just needed to sit.  We’ve all been there, right? So while he’s sitting there, a woman comes up to the well to get some water and Jesus asks the woman for a drink of water.  But Jesus, being Jesus, isn’t just thirsty for some water–he’s thirsty for the woman’s faith.  He wanted the woman to believe in him and he wanted her to see him for who he really was–the son of God.  In many ways, our salvation is summed up here, in that our thirst for God meets God’s even greater thirst for us.

Sounds like a simple story so far, right? You’d think so, but that’s not where the story ends.  At first, of course, the woman is a bit evasive with her response. She doesn’t understand why this Jewish man is asking her for a drink.  You see, fierce hatred between Jews and Samarians goes way, way, way back in the history books, so the woman is at first just a tad confused. The woman asks Jesus why he wants water from her, since she is a woman of Samaria.  Since we know that Jesus is actually referring to a spiritual thirst, we can take the woman’s response to refer to her spirituality as well.  Here she’s essentially asking Jesus: how could God be thirsty for my faith and my attention? What would he see in me? What do I  have to offer Him?  Maybe you’ve felt like this from time to time too.

Jesus’ answer to the woman’s question is beautiful and sincere: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst.”  We are made to have a desire for God and a desire to know him.  At times that desire may seem small, other times you might feel that desire become overwhelming.  Here Jesus shows us that His desire to know us and be with us is even greater than our desire for him.

Your picture at the top, Rachel, is supposed to represent the times of prayer and reflection that happen during the season of Lent.  Lent is an excellent time for spiritual growth and reflection, and I urge you to try to incorporate that into your life as you get older.  When I took this picture though, aiming to capture prayer and reflection, I found that what I actually saw ended up being different.  When I look at that picture, I see the innocence of a child.  The purity and the sweetness of a child, combined with my own personal overwhelming feeling of love and pride that a parent has for their child. I am proud of you–you are kind, and smart and funny and compassionate.  You have some faults, like the rest of us; however those faults could never outweigh the rest of my love for you.

If we only had the power to see ourselves through God’s eyes, imagine what we would think about not only just ourselves, but other people too.  As I think about you and Jake and how special you both are to me, I can’t help but think about what God must see in me too.  When I have trouble thinking of even one thing that I would have to offer Him, He can rattle of probably 50 things that he sees in me.  I know He thinks of each and every one of us that way.  Let’s try to see ourselves the way that God sees us.  After all, He is thirsting for us.

 

I love you to the moon and back. Forever and ever.

Love always,

Mommy

 

 

Happy 5th Birthday, Rachel!

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My sweet Rachel,

Happy 5th Birthday!  It’s hard to believe that five years has flown by in the blink of an eye! It seems like just yesterday that we found out we were pregnant with you and now here we are–5 years later. Wow! 5 years of sharing our lives with you and you sharing your life with us.  Five years of snuggles and hugs and love.  You, my dear one, are the embodiment of the innocence of childhood. You are tenderhearted and thoughtful.  The way you talk to people and interact with those around you makes them feel like you really “see” them for who they are.  Several of your teachers and many of our friends have told us how special you are, and that they feel like when you talk to them, you are really talking to them and seeing them for who they are.  That is uncommon, especially for someone so young.

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Yesterday when you woke up on your birthday, there was snow on the ground! How exciting! You were so happy to see snow and patiently asked if we could go for a walk in it.  Out on our walk you told me that you thought it was really nice that God gave you snow on your birthday, and that “he must really, really know what my heart really wants.” Often times you’ll say things like this that makes me pause and reflect on what is happening in my life.  Jesus tells us we should be more like the children, and you remind me of that verse often just by being you.  You are sweet, sensitive and kind, and open and accepting.  You don’t notice if anyone is different, and in fact, you know that we are all different–and that is ok with you! You are patient and eager to learn.  You see the best in people and hope for the best in situations.  You trust and just know that everything is always going to be ok.  You might not think that a 5 year old could have all of these qualities, but you are proof that that is not true!img_2483

Out of all of your special qualities, I feel like you need to know how much I love watching you grow into your role as a sister. You are an amazing big sister.  You are so patient and kind to Jake each and every day.  He is a big huge ball of energy and often times we tell you that he is still learning how to behave, but you always take it in stride.  Thank you for being such a wonderful big sister and taking it upon yourself to try to encourage Jake by showing him “how to be good” (you have always been a pleaser!), you make us proud every day!

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For your birthday this year we took another trip to the American Girl store and let you pick out an outfit for Polka Dot, your favorite Bitty Baby.  You take Polka Dot with you everywhere and I have a feeling that Polka Dot is going to be around for a long time to come.  I love seeing glimpses of the Mommy I hope you will become some day when you play with Polka Dot.  You are so, so sweet with babies–real or not!

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One thing  is for sure, my girl.  Your Daddy, Jakie and I are so very lucky and blessed to have you as a part of our lives.  You might feel like we are teaching you and helping you grow into a better person, but in truth you are the one who is teaching us and helping us to become better people too.  Thank you for showing us that there is living proof that goodness and kindness can prevail in this world.  The world is a better and brighter place with you in it.

 

I love you forever, to the moon and back until the end of time.

 

Love always,

Mommy

xoxox

Happy Thanksgiving, Rachel and Jake!

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Happy Thanksgiving to you, my sweet little turkeys! Life with you is so much sweeter than I ever thought possible.  The word “thankful” does not even begin to scratch the surface…

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After a day filled with family and food and friends, the two of you wanted to spend some time snuggling each other before bed. Could you both ever really be any sweeter?

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Thank you for bringing so much joy into our lives and for showing us that there is hope for a nicer and more loving future for our world.  The world is a much better place because you are in it!

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I love you to the moon and back, forever and always.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxoxo

Happy 2nd Birthday, Jake!

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Happiest of birthdays to you, baby Jake! You are our smiling, happy go lucky, sweet little boy.  You can be found at any given point of any given day reading, emptying drawers, or playing with your trucks.  No pair of shoes is safe with you around–you claim them all as your own! You LOVE to run and jump and kick soccer balls.  It certainly didn’t take long for you to learn to push yourself on the scooter, and did we mention you taught Rachel how to drive the PowerWheels Corvette? JakeTurnsTwo-2

 

There are so many things I’d like to say to you about how sweet you are and how precious you will always be to me, but my words are failing me right now.  Instead I have a little bit of a lump in my throat thinking about that teeny tiny baby that I held in my arms the first day you were born. So delicate and sweet. I remember your tiny little hands and how they would grasp to hold on to mine anytime yours were set free.  I knew right away that you were “my” little baby, the one that I had prayed for since I was a little girl, given to us to bring so much love and joy to our family.  Since then you have done that and so much more! We love you more than anything, sweet babe!

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Sometimes it’s still surreal for me to think about all those times I prayed for you before you were born.  I remember praying for my future children when I was just a little girl…and now here you and your sister are.  I had no idea what you were going to look like or act like, or how your little personality would light up my life, but I knew that I would love you always–because I already did! You are such a blessing little Jake, I hope you always remember that.

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Thank you for reminding me that it’s o.k. if things don’t always go according to plan.  Thank you for reminding me that it’s o.k. to smile…even if people don’t smile back, that doesn’t take away from the smile that you gave.  You help me to appreciate the little things in life.  I’ve never paid as much attention to birds flying by, ants crawling on the ground, or cars stopping at a stop sign before you were born.  When the wind blows, you stop and close your eyes just to be able to feel it blow across your face.  I could cry at the sweetness of your innocence and it reminds me what life is all about.  Thank you for that, Jake.

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You are the best Jake I could ever ask for.  Thank you for being so precious and perfect for our family.  Being your Mom is truly one of the greatest blessings in my life.  I love you always, little Jake.

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To the moon and back.

Happy Birthday, little buddy.  xoxo

Love always,

Mommy

 

Relationship Advice #8

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“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34

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Our wedding day

Rachel and Jake,

Another year has passed since I last wrote to you about relationships.  If you need a refresher, you can look here and here to see some of my other entries about love and what it takes to make a relationship work.  Now I’m not saying I have all the answers, because I don’t.  Marriage is work and it is hard, hard work.  But with that being said, it’s also the best kind of work.  It stretches you and helps you to grow and see yourself as a part of something that is working for a common good.  It’s a beautiful thing, really.  Anyway, my hope is that by the time you are old enough to read this blog you will have a nice collection of advice from your dear old mom to consider when navigating through the dating world and eventually settling down into marriage–then the real fun begins! Each year I hope to give you one more tip to add to  your Rolodex of relationship advice (not sure what a Rolodex is? It’ll probably be non-existent by the time you can read this, but as your mother I find it most appropriate to talk about the things from yesteryear anyway 😉 )

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Let’s talk a little bit about presence.

Ok, ok, I’m sorry, but we’re going to talk a lotta bit about presence, because it is very, very important in any stage of any relationship.

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When you, Rachel, were born, your Dad and I had no idea what the every day expectation of having a newborn was going to consist of.  We knew that we would feed you and change you and hopefully get to rest when you did, but we did not know what our new little family of three was going to look like and how those dynamics of our family would be shaped.  It’s something that you just can’t experience or fully prepare for until it happens! We had lots of conversations about what we thought it would be like, but looking in from an outsider’s perspective before something happens is always different from when you are 100% in the trenches living it day in and day out. By the time Jake was born, we had a better picture of what our expectations were–but again, you can never really be prepared until you are living it.  So once Jake was born, things were shifted and moved around in ways that we could not have foreseen, but it just worked for us.

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Rachel, my sweet little dear, I have a confession to make to you right now.  From the time you were born until the time you were about one week old, I did not change a single diaper.  Your Dad changed every. single. one. until you were nearly a week old.  Every single one.  Every single time.  I still get blown away when I think about that.  There I was on the couch after a tough delivery that left me in pain to move any ol’ which way I tried, and there was your Dad (never having changed a diaper before you, by the way), taking it upon himself to change your diaper no matter what time of day or night without giving so much as an inkling that he felt it should or even could be any other way.  Luckily, when Jake was born my recovery was much easier so luckily for us both, I was able to help out much more the second time around.

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Before you were born, I thought it was only a mother’s instinct that would cause her to wake up because her newborn baby was stirring in the bassinet beside her, ready to be fed.  And yet, each time either of you woke up at night, guess who was the one to get out of bed and bring you to me before I even had a chance to sit up? Yes, it was your Dad.  From the very beginning of our parenting experience he has been there for us with an enthusiasm and outlook that can only come from love in it’s most pure form.  He’s there because he loves us and he wants to be there.  It really is as simple as that.

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There isn’t a job that he won’t do. He has never handed either of you off to me because he doesn’t want to change a diaper, and he doesn’t ask me what I’m making you for lunch. If he’s playing with you and your diaper needs changed, he changes it! If he notices that it’s time for lunch, guess what? He makes it! And likewise, I do the same.  It’s truly a wonderful thing.  In your Dad’s and my mind–there are no “woman” or “man” jobs, there are only “parent” jobs.  And for those jobs, either one–mom or dad– will work.  Our expectation is that whoever is able to do it, does it. At the end of the day, we clean up the toys together, we put the dishes away and prepare things for the next day.  Oh yeah, your school lunches? Those aren’t always packed by me either–your Dad can cut sandwiches into sailboats better than I can!

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The best part, is that these are things we didn’t even talk about ahead of time.  These examples (and there are many more to go along with them!) are just some of the ways that your Dad has been there for us without ever even giving it a second thought.  Not keeping score, not throwing it all on one person, but really choosing over and over again to be there for us in every way possible.

So…without further adieu, here’s relationship tip #8.

Tip #8: Be with someone whose second nature is to be physically, spiritually and emotionally present in your relationship.

Choose someone who not only wants to be there in those ways–but someone who really does not see any other way of conducting themselves in your relationship without those things.  Begging for support in any of those areas can be totally draining to both sides.  Choose someone who will meet your expectations in each of those areas.  If your expectations are not met, it can lead to resentment and hard feelings–both of which can be toxic to any relationship.  In the entire picture of your life, your relationship should be equally balanced between two people who are willing to sacrifice and give in order to make it work.  BOTH people need to be present in order for those sacrifices to be made and valued.

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In closing, here are some questions to ask yourself when trying to determine if you and your spouse are really and truly present in your relationship.

– Do I offer help with every day tasks without keeping score? Do I see what needs to be done and do it, or do I wait because it’s not my “job”? Do I value my partner enough to go outside of my comfort zone in order to help my partner feel supported?

– Do I know the spiritual concerns of my partner? What can I do to help my partner along in their spiritual journey? What do they feel called towards? How can I help them reach their calling?

– What is troubling my partner today? What is my partner proud of themselves for doing recently? What is my partner’s emotional climate like? Why? What can I do to help support my partner’s feelings and emotions?

Don’t worry–you got this! And if you don’t, your partner will be there to help you pick up the slack! 🙂 Right?

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With all that said, I love you both very much. More than you could ever know.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxo

PS. Let’s just take a minute and cheers to your Dad! He truly is one of the best one’s out there…Cheers to you, Tim! We wouldn’t be who or where we are today without you! Happy Anniversary! Here’s to a hundred, and a thousand more.

Happy Easter 2015

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Happy Easter, my little sweeties! What a fun day we had filled with candy, Easter baskets, songs and a wonderful message shared later in the day by my sweet girl about how Jesus makes us “clean” again (Thank you, Miss Dani!)

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It is because of the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross for us that we have reason to celebrate today.  Always know that Easter is not just about the candy and eggs, but that it signifies a promise fulfilled and a love so strong that it was willing to go to any length to sacrifice for you.

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Some people put much emphasis on telling others that they love them…a spouse, a friend, a child; but Easter reminds us that real love is more than just words.  Real love requires action and sacrifice.  Jesus dying on the cross is the perfect example of the ultimate sacrifice to display the ultimate love.  I challenge you, my little ones who will one day grow into adults, to show the world your love not just in words alone, but also through your actions. The choices that you make and the sacrifices you endure will show the world (and yourself) where the intention of your heart lies.  Love the ones who are the most difficult to love, reach out to those who need your help the most, sacrifice your time being of service to others.  Volunteer your time, your energy and your heart.  Do what you can to make the world a better and more loving place.  By choosing to live a life of actionable love, you will get to know the Father’s love for you (and all of us) in ways you would never have known before.

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I love you to the moon and back. Forever and always.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxoxo

18 Month Old Jake

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Baby Jakie,

It’s hard to believe you are a year and half already! I got a little pit in my stomach thinking that this is the last month that we will refer to your age in months.  Why does everything have to go so fast little guy?! You are the sweetest, happiest little babe! You LOVE to laugh and play with trucks and your sister’s toys.  You kiss Rachel’s babies and carry them around tucked safely under your arm from room to room, and sometimes I feel like I am getting a glimpse of the great Daddy I know you are going to be someday.

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Walking? Who has time for that! You run from room to room, you run outside, you run in your crib, you really just run any and everywhere you can! Your favorite pastime may very well be throwing food off your high chair just so you can say “Uh-Oh!”  You love to greet people with a fist pound and sometimes you insist on giving someone a pound just because you feel like it.  You keep us on our toes, but we love keeping up with you and experiencing life through your perspective.  Everything seems new and magical to you and it has been a joy to watch you grow so far.

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You’re not quite a hugger or a snuggler, but when you do–you really do! And those moments are even more special since they are few and far between.  I wish I could bottle up your giggle as you play with your Jack-In-The-Box, one of your favorite toys! You love to sit at the table and build with blocks.  If there is a car or truck around, you will roll it around until your heart’s content.  You love to read books and sometimes when we can’t find you, it’s because you are in your room reading quietly to yourself.

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All in all, little guy, you are just a joy to be around.  You are the sweetest little babe and I am so blessed to be your Mama.

 

I love you to the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxo