Olympic Confussion

Abbie watching olympic  basketball:

"Umm, mom.  Those guys are NOT sharing."

In the car, explaining to Stephen where India is:

"Oh yeah, I know those guys.  They're in Cleveland.  The Cleveland Indians."
Then later, after more explaining ...
Stephen:  "So... is it where dad was last weekend?"
Me:  "No honey, that's Indiana."

The other day we were convicted that we aren't telling the girls how smart they are.  A conversation with Clara ...

Me:  "Clara, you are so - "
Clara:  " - cute."
Me:  "Well yes, but I was going to say smart.  I think you're really a smart girl."
Clara:  "Oh.  Well.  I know that I'm smart."
Me:  "How's that?"
Clara:  "Well, when Abbie is mad at me, I can figure out why."



At our church annual meeting, the worship pastor asked about songs that are meaningful to us. He said he noticed that the church seemed especially responsive to the song "Blessed be the Name of the Lord."

Am I that transparent when singing?

Clara's birth and infancy was a stressful time for our family. Her labor was 3 days (no, I'm not exaggerating), Stephen was still a baby himself at 21 months, and Brian was in a dead sprint towards the finish of his Masters project. Clara was a great nurser, yet wasn't gaining any weight. At her 4 week appointment she was still less that 6 lbs - nearly the same as her birth weight. Looking back I also was probably facing some post-partum issues and directing most of my hormonal energy at poor Brian. Our house was messy, smelly, loud, and tension charged.

Enter - positive pregnancy test. Two babies in one year.

Brian heard my sobs from the kitchen and came around the corner. He lifted me from the floor, comforted me through his own shock, and left for work.

After a few deep breaths, I turned on the radio for a distraction. At that same moment, Brian turned on his in his car.

"He gives and takes away,
He gives and takes away,
My heart will choose to say,
Lord, blessed be your name."
It became my mantra. "He gives and takes away... my heart will choose to say." With one hand He was giving us an unexpected baby, with the other He was taking away our plans.

Then came the request to move to the other side of the world. Only 6 months, but 6 very big months in the lives of our little family. We would have a 2 year old, a 4 month old, and eventually give birth in Tokyo. Brian was given warnings of an intense work schedule.

"Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be your name."

We accepted in faith - and even excitement. (What can I say - we're a little nuts.) And He provided. And provided. And provided. We were allowed a nanny. For the first time ever, we didn't have any money worries and were able to save enough to purchase a van outright when we came home. Everyone was healthy. Brian's job was even strangely quiet during our 6 months.

"Blessed be your name
when the sun's shining down on me
when the worlds all as it should be
Blessed be your name."

I wish I was a quick learner. I wish I could say that I learned some great lessons while we were in Tokyo. That I had the perspective to see (as Sarah Groves says) that God was recycling my trials to bring me gain. That He was providing us abundantly to show that He can. That He is reliable. Dependable. Loving. Protective.

No. I didn't really get it. I had a glimpse. An inkling. To be honest, I was mostly just surviving through that time and working hard to make it through the day without a cultural disaster.

But now - when I hear that song. When I sing over and over...

"Every blessing you pour out
I'll turn back to praise.
When the darkness closes in Lord
still I'm gonna say -
Blessed be the name of the Lord."
I learn something new. Each and every time, He shows me something new. Photos flash through my mind. Things that I didn't - couldn't - see. Perspective.

What a wonderful gracious God to continuously remind me of His love. To let me remember that he is My Rock and My Redeemer.

And I praise, and praise, and praise.

"Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name, Jesus.
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name."


Thinking ...

A book I like to pick up every now and then is "A Man Called Peter", by Catherine Marshall (who also wrote Christy and Julie).  Anyway, it's a wonderful story of a Scottish preacher whose style and personality reformed the way many thought a church service should look in the 30's and 40's.  I love his perspective and his sense of humor.  It's a great biography of his life in ministry as well as with his family.

Anyway, at the end of the book are a few of his sermons.  Yesterday I picked up the book and skimmed one - and just can't stop thinking about a concept he talked about in a sermon called "Go Down Death".  (it's a long quote - but he writes beautifully.  I only wish I could hear it in his Scottish brough!)

Life begins at conception.
When that happens, two microscopic germs of life unite and become one - and a new man has begun the first stages of his existence.

In that living atom, there is in miniature every quality and capacity of the grown man - 
his sex and size
the color of his hair and eyes
his temperament and intellectual ability
his own individual talent
and, in large measure, his character and destiny.  

Now this first stage of life is purely physical.
It is a life lived in darkness, devoted wholly to the business of growing and preparing for the life to come.

The fact that these qualities are present and not used in this first stage of life is evidence that another kind of life will follow.

In due time, the child dies to the first stage of his life and is born into the second.  
There is little immediate change in him.
He is born into the second form of life, but he makes a great gain.
He sees the light - is fascinated by it
follows it
blinks at it ...
His senses awaken and he can feel.
He can hear.
He can smell.
He is conscious of existence.  

Soon he can move about and begins to discover and understand and enjoy the wonder world of his second life.

Now this second life is physical like the first - but it gives him a new capacity.
He can think.

For many years, he can enjoy an intellectual life
using knowledge to build up wisdom
making deductions
arriving at conclusions.
What then?
Does he wear out, and die, and live not more?

In this second form of life, as in the first, he develops capacities not required by his present existence.

In this present life, he needs no more than other animals.  Are his highter qualities developed simply for the grave?

He dreams beyond his reach.
There is planted within him a deep longing for a golden tomorow when there shall be no more pain
nor crying
nor sorrow
nor death
nor parting any more

Something within us aspires to another life.
There is an intuitive longing - why?
Where did it come from?
Who planted it there?

Why do we doubt that we shall be born into a third form of life when we die to this one?

And why do we doubt that a kindly Nature, 
or shall I not rather say a loving Father in Heaven,
will make that second birth as easy and as gainful as the first?

Wow.  I'm really struck by this and am chewing on it.  

Somehow I've always had the thought that heaven would be ... well, boring.  But if a baby in utero thought that life would perhaps be boring - how terribly mistaken!  I'll have to keep mulling over this one.  


5 Stitches

Last night Brian took Stephen to the ER to get 5 stitches in his eyebrow.  My dad told him to say he got in a sword fight, but the truth is he ran smack into a table while playing a competitive game of tag/chase.  Fortunately no concusion.  He will probably have a good black eye, though.  

Just in time for his Kindergarten screening - it will match the scabbed up knees and sunburned neck.  They'll know right away that this kid isn't afraid to have a good time!