Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's a Boy!

Well, we've known this for quite some time - the pendulum test doesn't fail! But it's now confirmed, we are being blessed with a son sometime in late Fall. It really hit home when Scott brought home some baby essentials yesterday - little blue onesies, hats, mittens, even warm fuzzy socks for the winter. My nesting instinct kicked right in, as I marveled at the precious child that would be filling these articles of clothing. His name is a secret until the big day, but he is named after a great preacher, so we wonder if he will become one himself. He and Claire will have big shoes to fill with their names!
Claire, meanwhile, is becoming quite a genteel little lady. She says "hi" and "bye" with all her might, often repeatedly until we reply with equal vigor. She says "thank you" throughout the day, and says "Jesus" anytime she sees a crucifix. Her favorite book is Mommy's Bible that has a zipper around it, though I have to remind her that it does not need any drawings to accompany the words!
We are at quite a junction, as we wait to hear on Scott's job placements in the Fall, and wait on the Lord for direction for our next home. Will we buy or continue to rent? That is the big question, but God is leading us one step at a time. We now know where He wants us to be, but since the median house price there is $700,000, He's got to show us the next step, too!

Blessings to all who read these words!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Month of Mary & First Words

What a month it has been! In just one week, we have celebrated Jessica's graduation, Claire turning 2 and Scott's graduation. We were blessed by the visits of Jessica's parents from France and Scott's father from Kansas. We tried to capture as much as possible in pictures so that we would not forget, but there is one thing that pictures cannot capture - Claire's first words. She was waiting to turn 2 to really start speaking, and now words are coming so fast, it's exciting! A few of them are: car, which she excitedly says when she sees our car; stuck; skype; cup; gator (on our visit to the National Aquarium); duck (not ducky like Mommy says); and of course very pronounced "hiiii" and "byyyye." I know these are the types of things we forget, so I want to be sure to get them on "paper," and I hope to be as diligent for our future children. How exciting it is when they grow up to see these little bits of memories about them written down or on film. And she also points to pictures of herself and says "Claire" in such a cute, baby voice.
More in a minute!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Let's Pray

It's been many months since Claire began to lift her hands up in worship when music comes on. Last week, she emulated us in another unexpected way. We were attending Saturday evening Mass at the community, and as Jessica was kneeling, Claire stood next to her and knelt, too! She tried to get comfortable, which was difficult with her clunky shoes on, but she did it nonetheless, for most of the time that we knelt. And she remained very serious and somber the whole time. We both smiled at each other. What a delight she is! It's quite incredible that she does not speak, does not understand too much, but she loves to emulate us in other ways, especially in prayer and in housework! It is not our doing, but God's gift!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Feast of the Epiphany

The story of the Magi/3 Kings is as real to many of us as the story of Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. But I ask you to come with me, and read it anew. Put yourself in the story; meditate on it. I would like to invite you in particular to put yourself in Joseph's place.

Luke 2:4-7 reads:
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

First, Joseph has to bring his pregnant fiancee on the long trip to Bethlehem, most likely on a donkey. He tried to make her comfortable, but when a woman is 8-9 months pregnant, that is quite an unlikely achievement. Then, when they arrive, he cannot find any room for them at a hotel. He must have felt like such a failure! We think of this cute manger scene that little children replicate for us, but can you imagine being the husband of a young woman have a baby in a stable?! How humiliating! We are not told how he reacted, but at the very least he must have been quite sad that he couldn't offer Mary a better place to give birth.

But then...

1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem
2and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.
5"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 6" 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.
8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

(Matthew 2:1-12)

Imagine that! Here are Mary, Joseph and their newborn son, in the poorest of circumstances, rejected by all the establishments, when suddenly caravans of people and gifts arrive to worship their child! Remember - they came to worship a king. They did not come with a little box of gold and a little box of frankincese. They came to worship a king! Caravans followed them as they presented gifts worthy of a king.

Now, imagine Joseph's reaction. I imagine he heard God's voice deep in his heart, reassuring him that he was not a failure, and that God's hand was guiding and protecting him. I imagine he was also bewildered. "I knew this child was special, but this? Who is this child, really? And who am I to be his father?" Indeed, when a few days later Herod ordered all the babies to be killed, for fear of someone overthrowing him, it was much easier to flee unnoticed from a stable than from a hotel.

My message to you is this: when it seems like people are rejecting you, scorning you and not giving you your rightful place, remember the baby Jesus. Even if He needs to bring people from a distant land to provide for you, God will meet all of your needs, according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19). He will position you in the place where you can shine and give glory to God, not on your own merits, but on the merits of His beloved Son, Jesus. So take your eyes off of your circumstances and yourself, and keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith (Heb 12:2). Love Him, worship Him, give Him your very best, and watch as He meets all of your needs and satisfies all of your desires (Psalm 103).