Monday, January 4, 2016

A Tale of Two Stars

Every night (and before most naps), my children request a bedtime story. I push my imagination into the corners of my mind where it used to flow naturally but now needs to stretch and wiggle a bit to fit. I come up with all sorts of wild tales about ents, astronauts, fairies, knights, ninjas, and talking animals. Every night it's different. Sometimes I have a plan but most often I begin my stories before I have a truly clear idea of where they are going. They're always entertaining for my children, and sometimes entertaining for me, as I inevitably laugh at how in the world I got to this place and how am I ever going to end this thing!

One night this week it was an Epiphany story, and as the last day of Christmas approaches this week and we turn our eyes to the light of Christ, I thought I'd share it with you.
Enjoy, and happy Epiphany!


Two Stars, TL 1/3/16

Once upon a time, before there was time, there was darkness. 
God did not want the darkness, and so he spoke, and light appeared.

It made him glad, but he wanted to make the light special. 
To give it form. 
So a few days later, he shaped the light into suns, moons, and most beautifully, stars. They sprinkled the darkness with glittering diamonds, and God was very pleased. The stars were one of God's special creatures, and they worked for Him gladly.

Well, most of them did.

One day, one of the most beautiful of all the stars had a thought. It was an evil and wicked thought. He decided that because God had made him the loveliest of stars, that he should get to reign above all the other stars. 
That he should get to be like God. 
That perhaps he should be God. 

It was a selfish and prideful thought, but he let it fester and grow in his heart, and as all sinful thoughts do, it cast a dark shadow on that beautiful star of light. The shadow grew, and before long, he decided that he did not like to be a star of light. He did not like the light at all. 
He fell from the sky and God's goodness, and landed in God's world.

He had a plan. A wicked plan. 
A plan to defeat God and become God. 
Because he was made of light, he could bend that light and appear in any form he chose, and so he chose the form of a beautiful and majestic dragon. He walked the earth in search of God's greatest joy, and found her in a garden. He convinced that joy of God to reject her glory and follow him. He convinced her that it is greater to become like God than to have fellowship with Him. 
And she ate God's judgement. 
The dragon-star watched with glee as her husband followed her, and he taunted God with his victory.

That star brought a curse, and the darkness filled the earth.

But God had a plan. A glorious plan. 
A plan to defeat the darkness.
Because he was God, he did not need to bend light to appear in a different form. All he had to do was speak, and God became a baby growing in a mother's womb. He knew that to save his world from the darkness, he would have to send light to it. He knew that in the world He created one had to become small to become great. 

To tell the world of his plan, he chose a star. A wondrous star. This star with royal beauty bright was placed high in the heavens, and God caused the star to shine so fiercely that all men saw it, even those who lived afar off in distant countries. 
It pointed to the little town where the little God-baby came. 
And people came to see this plan of God's. 

That star watched as the God-baby grew into a God-man and died, 
charging straight at the shadows to slay them. 
He watched as the God-man filled his tomb with so much light that the heavy stone could not contain it, and rolled away to let it out. 
And now that star rejoices with God as they laugh together, watching the light slowly chase the shadows from every corner of the earth.

That star's joy was made full in God's joy.
And that star's glory still shines bright today.

TL, 2/4/16

How you are fallen from heaven
 O Day Star, son of Dawn!
You said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God 
I will set my throne on high;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
But you are brought down to Sheol,
to the far reaches of the pit.

[Excerpts from Isaiah 14]

*   *   *   *   *

And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

[Matt 2:9-10]

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful Story

The most bittersweet of holidays for this mama. 
Thanksgiving is absolutely dripping with some of the hardest, and most precious, memories of my life.

The loss and burial of a very dear grandmother, then a celebration of thanks the following day, with a room bursting at the seams with all of her descendants.

Then five years later, the pain and loss of our third baby, an empty womb that should have been two months full, mingled with the joy of a table encompassed with family, among them a niece my baby’s same age, growing in her mother's womb, who I can now hold, and watch, and remember.

I am not kidding when I say they are sweet memories. They are some of the sweetest of my life, these moments of loss, tied permanently to this day of giving thanks. And I am thankful.

Are you suffering this Thanksgiving? Give thanks. Two of the hardest days of my life were realized on this holiday, and yet I can look back with a smile because they were drenched in thanksgiving. I am so thankful to have had these hard providences fall on a time when the practice of recognizing blessing is custom. Instead of dwelling on why, my mind was gently guided toward singing praises for what I know: God is faithful.

He is so faithful, I knew that one day I would look back and understand. The big picture is hard to see when you’re standing in the corner of the canvas where God is brushing on the shadow strokes. But when He is finished, the masterpiece is revealed, and we can see His glorious handwork. 

I said goodbye to my Grandma Lois, and buried her the day before Thanksgiving. 
I said goodbye to my third child and cried as my body ached on Thanksgiving. 
A couple months later, my body held new life within, my Grandmother’s namesake. 
Then today, this Thanksgiving morning, my little Lois learned to say a new word. 
“Bye bye.”

God’s story telling gives me chills sometimes. He is a master, an artist, an author, more talented than any of His created can comprehend. I can trust Him to tell a good story, and I know I will enjoy it more if I simply remember to give thanks in the shadows.

Eucharisteo. Soli Deo Gloria!

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Brother Back Scratch

"Can you scratch my back? A little harder. Like, use your fingernails. Ahhh..."


Friday, August 14, 2015

Happy 8 Years!

The alarm was set to 6 AM, the promise of a quiet cup of coffee shared with my love of now eight years penciled in before the work day began. Then half an hour before, my bed shook with the presence of two delighted little boys clamoring to tell me they beat the sun awake. What, why? Eyes glued shut, I could hear Hubby in the shower and early morning coffee date plans shattering. It’s ok, these are the blessings of a wonderful marriage climbing on my stiff and sore body. Rejoice. Happy Anniversary, fruit of the womb. I tucked them in my bed, “rest,” and stumbled into the kitchen to brew a larger than normal pot of coffee when a sad little cry drifted through the baby monitor. Still rubbing sleep from my eyes, I climbed the stairs as coffee dripped through a paper filter to find a baby awake a full two hours earlier than expected. She needed a complete outfit change and the comfort of mother’s milk, which I gave her, accompanied by the suppressed giddy laughter of boys who were undoubtedly making a pile of pillows and blankets on my bed. More fruit, reminders to my weary soul so desperately in need of reminding at that hour. Hubby joined me on the couch with a cup of coffee and we sat in the darkness, silently laughing at how children can both mess things up and make them better, all at the same time. Baby’s belly was full and she wanted to play, so on the floor she went, and to the coffee I walked, the brightness of the kitchen light making me squint.
There, on the counter, this:

It is such a happy life I live.
Boys dared to emerge from the bedroom, sunlight starting to brighten the house, baby squawking on the floor for a book she is not allowed to chew on, and a warm smile from a man who loves me well.
A Happy Anniversary, indeed.

Date Night at Benjamin's


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

First Day of School!!

Last week we started Kindergarten!!

I am schooling both of the boys at the same time.
Asher just turned six:

And Gray turned four in April:

We are having so much fun.
Hello, homeschool world! We are happy to be here!

*   *   *   *   *

If you're curious, here is our homeschool schedule:

[Psalm 1 with hand motions]
[Apostles Creed]
Phonics Museum (Veritas Press)
(Right Start)

For history I will be reading historical fiction and non fiction picture books through the year. 

For Bible, we are reading The Child's Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos, as well as listening to the ESV audio Bible.

We will be continuing at Providence Friday School Co-op, which will cover topics like art, science, music, catechism, and sports. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sweet Baby Shower

A friend and I threw an ice cream baby shower for a sweet baby girl this week.

Mama and Baby with the hostesses!

This is Mama's first baby girl after two boys, 
so we went over-the-top feminine with the decor!

[We played games and gave out jars of homemade hot fudge for prizes!]

It was a *sweet* time!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

If you must count...

Sometimes I muse in this little space. Occasionally I ramble with the intent to encourage other people in a similar situation to my own who may be struggling. I love to encourage. I love to build up and bolster the faith of friends near and far with my story and the things that God has been teaching me.
But most often, when my thoughts and feelings and learned life lessons find their way through my fingertips onto a previously blank page, it is because I need to hear them myself. I need encouragement, I need reminding, and today is one of those days. 

I want to both laugh and cry as I remember the chief resident telling me before residency began that I shouldn’t worry, because “July will be easy! We break them in slowly.” And he was serious. We are on day 13 of a 28-day stretch of Riley working without a day off. Until two days ago I thought this would be his day off. I didn’t read the schedule right, and was counting on a brief reprieve. Expectations are a funny thing, aren’t they?

I want choose laughter, but if I’m honest, the tears are waiting at the ready, waiting for a small breach in the dam to burst forth and flood my pillow.  

Today I find myself tempted to dwell on this fact. 
This is rough. 
We have such a long journey ahead. 
My mind wanders to the count. How many more days, how many more months? How many more late nights and early mornings? How many church services, parties, appointments, and dinners will I attend husbandless? And the more I count, the more I am tempted to despair.

Counting is dangerous, if you are counting disappointments. If you are highlighting the parts of your life where you foolishly believe, even if for just a fleeting moment, that God is being unkind. 

If you must count, count blessings.

I look back sometimes to the blog posts I wrote during the first two years of medical school. 
When the old adage, "when it rains, it pours" was realized in our little family.
 Wow, those were rough years.

But life was so sweet. It was sweet, because it had to be. I was forced to either notice and number my blessings, or sink under the weight of intense trial. 
So count I did. Everything. Every moment. Every blossom, every laugh, every success.
I must get back to that. Count that which is good, kind, lovely, true.

If I can do that, my perspective will shift. If I can focus on the small, everyday gifts from my kind and generous Heavenly Father, then this season, too, will be a sweet one.

One, two, three...