Thursday, April 30, 2015

Focus

Rushing, brushing my teeth, I glance in the mirror. 
So much to do, no time to style my hair. Oh, but I should. 
It would bless my husband, my family.
So much to do!
Brush, brush...
I will style my hair. Just a quick bun. Life seems so full right now! 
So busy, so much to get done.
I hear the kids running circles downstairs.
Bottom teeth now...
I seem to have so little time. I can't even seem to carve out time to pray. So much is happening in our nation right now. So much is happening in my family right now. Why can't I remember to spend more time in prayer? Why can't I devote time to that? When would be the best time of day to add that in? Should I wake earlier?
Brush, scrub...stop.
Toothbrush suspended in the air between my lips.
Pray NOW.
Lord, please help me to focus. Please help me to remember, to pray, to live for you.
Lord, thank You for reminding me to use right here, right now. Bless my family. Bless our nation. May Your name be glorified in this place.
Rinse, and done.
* * *
Sometimes I just need to readjust my focus. Do you feel that way?
When God gives you lots to do, it's easy to get caught up in the doing it that you forget the why.

My chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. 
I can do that with dishes and food and laundry and more food and school and moving boxes and a calendar full of scribbles. But I have to focus. I have to remember to do it unto the Lord. 
I have to stop thinking to myself and start thinking to Him. 
Pray without ceasing.

Today I am praising the Lord for His patience, and for a gentle nudge as I brushed my teeth, to stop looking in the mirror and to instead look up.
I am thanking Him for the fact that He can take my meager offerings and multiply them a hundredfold. I am thankful that Christ the Mediator takes my simple prayers and relays them perfectly to a powerful God.

And that it only takes one second to adjust my focus.
I have one second. I'm never too busy for that.
XO




Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Date Night

The sun shone down warm on our faces, and a gentle breeze rolled through the open porch. The sound of the river bubbled in the background, and lemon in my water tasted fresh and sweet.
It was date night. And it was divine...
...and a little crazy.
You see, without sitters in town, date nights out often take on a new flavor these days.
Different, but still delightful.
What joy these little people bring to our lives!
XO

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

This Charming Little Life

This lovely little blog celebrated it’s FIFTH anniversary this week! 
Wow. Thinking back to my very first post (So, I’ve Never Been a Blogger), a lot has changed! At that time I honestly didn’t even know what a blog was. I was told I needed to start one by many different friends and family members, and back then it was primarily used as a means of helping my long distance family members stay connected with the goings on of our growing family, and also as entertainment for my adoring mother, who has religiously read every post since, a minimum of five times. Love her. :)

So, blog I did. And I have grown to love it. One of my favorite side effects of this blog has been the way that it’s helped to change my perspective in so many facets of life. Through the years we have faced trials great and trials small, and my blog has given me a purposeful outlet through which to view things rightly. When I wake up to children making colossal messes, or when we are running impossibly late for a flight, I am able to laugh rather than fret, and I begin drafting the story post in my head as I work through the aftermath of whatever chaos I may have encountered. I love the way that it brings focus to the beautiful little details in my life, as I search for content to talk about. I love that I now have an excuse to take pictures of flowers. And the constant reminder to shift my perspective has not only sweetened the memories I have of my life these last five years, but it has also deepened my love and thankfulness for the Creator God and the many, many gifts He loads on us each day. How can I complain of dirty dishes and mounds of unfolded laundry, when these are the reasons for them?
Over the years I’ve been a bit of a confusing read. I’ve waffled between blogging a journal of our family’s life—a pseudo online scrapbook— and using this platform as a way to encourage friends and family and spread the light of Christ. Sometimes when I write I am talking to myself, sometimes I’m talking to close friends and family, and sometimes I’m talking to anyone who wants to listen. And, much to my total and utter surprise, more and more people are listening!
So, on this fifth anniversary, I’ve decided to give this little bitty blog a fresh look and a new name. 
Welcome to This Charming Little Life!

And here’s the confession: I’m *still* not a blogger, although I have a better idea as to what a blogger is. I’m a wife. I’m a mommy. I’m most definitely a friend. And I love, love, love to encourage those around me. Whether in person or online, one goal that is intrinsic to my nature is to put a smile on the faces of anyone near me. I delight in splashing the joy of Christ on others, and I hope to use this little spot in the middle of the inter webs to do so for any of you who pop in for a minute. I love to find charm in the ordinary, to adjust my view point and see through new eyes, and that is a good way to pretty much sum up what my blog has become: My cheerful quest for all things lovely and good.

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Philippians 4:8

Not much will change. I will still post way too many pictures of my darling children. I will still mumble and muse about my lovely little life and all the blessings that chaos brings. But I hope to do so in a way that will inspire you to go out and do the same. I hope you will stop here and be reminded to turn your minds to what is lovely, and pure, and worthy of praise. I hope I can help you notice…

It really is a charming little life!
XO, Tam




Friday, April 17, 2015

Muddy Buddies

The boys discovered the creek by Grammie's house this afternoon...
Then they got to experience Grammie's bath tub! ;)
And little Lois looked on, wondering when she'd get to enjoy the fun.
Not yet, little dolly. Another day.
:)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Racin' Grason is 4!

Gray turned 4 this week.
How can it be so?
Time is racing by!
So, what better way to celebrate than with a race car party??
We spent Easter with Riley's family, and so after our big feast we went outside and changed into birthday party mode. It was perfect!
Albeit a touch bright. ;)
Gray picked a race car party, so there were all sorts of raceway details.
I think throwing parties is my love language. It's just so fun!
I drew out a roadway for the boys to play with their new cars they found in their goodie bags.
It was a fun filled time!
And then they raced around to find the easter eggs Grammie so kindly stuffed full of chocolate.
[Iron Man had some mad egg finding skills... ;)]
mmmm....
Happy Birthday to our Grayson Wayne!
You are an absolute delight, and we love you so!

Easter 2015

That Easter day with joy was bright
The sun shone out with fairer light
When, to their longing eyes restored,
The glad apostles saw their Lord,
Halleluia!
Happy Easter from the Lathams!

XO

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Chapter Ending

Good Friday.

The day we humble ourselves as we remember our Savior’s ultimate humiliation. Our sins holding Him on the cross, and His love for us conquering that sin through the most unlikely means imaginable. 
Today we remember the saddest day in the history of God’s story in this world, and we grieve for the part we play in that sadness.

But as so frequently happens in the Christian life, sorrow mingles perfectly with joy. Our joy is made full in the knowledge of how death was conquered by one death, and in it the forgiveness of sins, making us clean. A bright light after utter darkness.
Today is a good day, and in our home, an especially joyous one. Today we celebrate our own bright light. A day in which we cannot help but sing praises to our Lord for His kindness to us. Today we end a chapter of our lives that at times I seriously doubted would ever end. I questioned whether we would survive, and yet here we are: 


The end of Medical School. 


Today is Riley’s last day of rotations. All exams passed, all requirements met. Some paperwork to do, an assortment of remaining check marks to make, and then graduation. 


Doctor.

[Four years ago, at his White Coat Ceremony]
 The last four years have been a journey. There is no better way to describe it. Looking back, so much has changed. So much growth. So much strength. So… much. 

Those first years were a fight to find light. They were hard and lonely, and long hours led to a darkness that we had to destroy daily, letting the light in. I am so thankful for this blog, because we can use it to look back and see the beauty in those hard days. We fought, and won. Light prevailed. When classmates watched their own marriages end and relationships fragment, we held tight and looked up. 
[Studying amidst chaos]
When sleepless nights were interrupted by early mornings we drank coffee and pressed on. We laughed when we could, and took turns crying. I snipped flowers on long walks and ushered happiness indoors with their pretty stems. Children squealed in a backyard that was once thought too tiny, but has been remembered with fondness since departing. Somehow it was big enough for mud, and we learned to appreciate that. Asher still wants to go back.




Then after two years, another move, this one with a tease. Close enough for church, family, friends on occasion, but too far for last minute sitters or friendly coffee deliveries. But, as the Lord would have it, the light came easier. The sun shone on a beautiful house with our own space. Rays streaked through lace curtains and hit the heads of growing boys that play hard and laugh loud. Daddy was welcomed home more often, and what was once a book with a headache and bloodshot eyes turned into a well loved, hard working, almost doctor. 
[Student Dr. L]

Patients raved, doctors praised, and wife beamed with joy and gladness and pride. More light, brighter light, more time together, and happiness that came without such a fight. But we still fought. We had been trained, and wouldn’t stop. And the fight got us through long hours, midnight call, and seasons sprinkled with months of a father’s absence as he trained under doctors in other towns. The fight got us through trials small, and trials great. Our third child left our world and entered into glory, and we fought. Grace poured out on us and we saw light, even in the darkest days. We were made strong, prepared for this greatest of fights, and the light shone bright. Holidays followed, and a new baby formed. A daughter to squeeze and hold and smell. Light manifest. Joy in abundance. 

[Early smiles]
The blessings have been steadily replacing the darkness over this last year. Our armor is still on, but the fighting comes easy. The battle drills like dance moves, well rehearsed. War trains soldiers better than any boot camp can. And the training is good, as the hard days aren’t over. They may be different, but the fight for light will never end. Contentment and joy are worth fighting for.

Looking forward we see home. Residency will resurrect long hours and late night studies. It will usher in my first Sunday mornings flying solo with three children to keep quiet and still as they learn to worship their Maker. It will hold new temptations and new battles, but we will fight as we’ve been prepared to fight. We will live surrounded by light. We will open the curtains, and we will be home.

This chapter ending is sweet, so sweet. And yet, looking back, there is sadness as well. These days have been hard, but they have been blessing. Growth of faith, growth of family, and growth of love and respect for my husband have been hallmarks of this season. We have received grace upon grace, and eyes to see it. What a gift.

Now, onto the next! Further up and further in.
[Waving goodbye to Daddy on his last day]

(Far from) THE END