What I See when She Sleeps

Women see children with different eyes than husbands do.
~Lisa-Jo Baker, Surprised By Motherhood, p132~

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I sneak into your room while you nap, tiptoe gently across your rug, peer into your crib. Precious little limp body, resting so peacefully and sweetly. Blankie nearby, left thumb in your mouth ~ just the way you like it. Porcelain skin with rosy hues, the nightlight-lit room is dim and you look like a palette of creams and peaches and pinks, with your coppery hair lying all glossy and straight at the top. I smooth a stray wisp behind your ear so I can have a clear view of your eyelid. I love to kiss those soft little lids. Your eyebrows perfect little rainbows above the raindrop-blue eyes that flutter about in dreamland. What dreams do you see behind those eyelids? I can only imagine what you see, while I stand here looking at you in a hush, slowing my breathing with yours, until I feel as restful as you seem. Over the hum of your little room fan, I swear I can hear your heart beating ~ that heart that once beat underneath mine, and that now continues to make mine dance to a different rhythm.

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Psalm 4:8
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

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Little ear. I trace my finger along its roads. It is perfect. Kissable. I think of all the secrets I have whispered in there, and can not begin to imagine all the secrets that it will yet hear throughout the remainder of your life. Button nose, with your fist’s fingers curled just ever so slightly over the round of the button. Just like I used to do. Dimpled chin beneath perfect rosebud lips. Dimpled fingers. Sticky fingers, stray bits of strawberries left over from lunch under your fingernails. You set your bed up just so every time you are put to bed. Blankie and blanket ~ and you especially like the elephant quilt on which your head now rests. You lined up your babies and your animals at the other end of the bed today, but sometimes they are lined up directly with you, some on your one side and some on your other. They all have names, and sometimes I hear you say nigh-night to them and tuck them in by name: Puppy, Bunny, Pink Bunny, Anne, Bea, and occasionally Doggie and Lolly too. You often insist on having a stacks of “gooks” in there to read to your babies before you snuggle down for sleep. Today was one of the days where you needed to have your purse with you ~ stocked with a baby bottle and yellow sunglasses. You are my sunshine. You feed my soul.

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Proverbs 3:24
If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

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In this sacred little place, I can hold onto the very last vestiges of your babyhood. Blankie. Thumb in your mouth. Crib. Diapered bum. It isn’t even so much the peaceful stillness of watching you sleep that holds me here in a trance, but the simple joys that these vestiges give me. It makes me think of the song I danced to with my daddy at my wedding: I’ll always be your baby. And I wonder if sometimes when my parents look at me, they can still blink and see me in the back of their eyelids, holding my buppy and sucking my thumb and sleeping in the safe haven of a baby’s crib. You grow up too fast, my little doll. Time somehow slows down while you sleep, and I want nothing more than to stand here drinking in these slow moments, memorizing them, loving them. Loving you. Loving being your mommy, and you my baby. I take a step backward and breathe in a big sigh. It is as though I remember your entire past and envision your entire future while I stand here. I will never tire of watching you sleep. When you are grown and snuggling your own child, if you fall asleep, I will walk in and watch you, and I will see you in the back of my eyelids just as you are here today. Dimpled, porcelain, rosy, coppertopped, limp, surrounded by little things that bring you big joys, peacefully breathing in and out the gloriousness that is the grace of life.
I back out slowly from your room, blowing you kisses, blessing you with heard yet unspoken prayers. Sleep, my sweet princess, snuggled deep into tranquil coziness. Be filled to the brim with rest until you overflow with so much life your thumb pops out and your eyes pop open, and you gather up your armful of pleasant things to call out for me to pick you up and set you on the path of energetic life once again.

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Psalm 127:2
…He gives to His beloved sleep.

Timelessness

Sometimes a timeless moment in the midst of an ordinarily epic life story looks blurry from the speed and excitement… and it’s extra timeless when my son is wearing a flannel shirt my mother sewed for my brother 30 years ago, and my daughter is wearing the Osh Kosh overalls my brother and I both wore in the early eighties. This was an explosion of an evening in the most mundane little ways, because the sunset was gorgeous, the evening was mild, and the children were so giggly.

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Your life, right now, today, is exploding
with energy and power and detail and dimension,
better than the best movie you have ever seen.

You and your family and your friends
and your house and your dinner table
and your garage have all the makings
of a life of epic proportions,
a story for the ages.

Because they all are.
Every life is.

~Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines, p18~

one little reflection

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We see ourselves in our children
better than in any mirror.
~Lisa-Jo Baker, Surprised By Motherhood, p187~

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I believe God loves us too much
to leave us flailing in our self-centered universes,
so He delivers these tiny reflections of ourselves
into our homes with earthquake effectiveness.
~Lisa-Jo Baker, Surprised By Motherhood, p187~

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from Great Grandma

Evangeline Joy was ecstatic to receive mail, and plopped herself right down in a rocking chair to read her card from Great Grandma and Great Grandpa. She and I will have fun birthday shopping using her birthday money too. 🙂

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Twins with a 29 year gap

My parents think it is kind of amazing to be reliving a lot of my little girl days through my own daughter. She has different shaped eyes than I do (thanks to her daddy’s narrower almondy eyes), but her profile and her the growth pattern of her hair, and her smile, etc ~ they are like mini me. So funny. So for her second birthday, my parents gave her a twin version of what they gave me for my second birthday. A name puzzle they made together! We seriously love the keepsakes that fill our home, and are so thankful to the Lord for such generational sweetness & talent & generosity & love.

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Tea for Two: a birthday tea party

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Ever since I can remember, I dreamed about having a daughter and celebrating her second birthday with a “tea for two” theme. Well, dreams (especially the silly little ones) sometimes come true. :) And I try to remind myself that the way God plans my dreams are better than the way I would plan them. It was a sweet time of celebration, and a special way to honor our little princess. Decked out in a poofy dress (she picked her outfit herself), three necklaces and four bracelets, this little girl drank lots of tea from her new porcelain tea set and enjoyed eating and playing with people she loves. While the kids were decked out in dainty & dapper duds, nobody had tea party hats! So our first activity was a craft for decorating hats. The boys got fedoras we picked up at the Dollar Store, and they decorated them with a little washi tape & fabric leaves. So handsome. The girls used ribbons, boas, fabric flowers, & washi tape to decorate their hats ~ the bases of which were Dollar Store plastic plates & bowls that my dad cut & I glued together. Fun times! We enjoyed afternoon tea next: chocolate mint rooibos tea (with plenty of sugar cubes), hot chocolate, scones (gluten free!) with whipped cream & strawberry jam, mini quiches (I didn’t use a recipe, but winging it worked just fine ~ even the GF version was delicious!), fresh strawberries, tea sandwiches (grilled cheese & pbj), teapot shaped sugar cookies, pink sugar wafer cookies. Everyone got to use antique silverware, porcelain teacups, and spectacular paper plates that looked like pretty china. Then to make the children even more dainty & dapper, the boys got real pocket watches and the girls got pearl necklaces (I love that gaudy costume jewelry is “in” again!). Next came a couple little games: a teabag toss game, and sugar cube relay. I love that little kids can have all kinds of giggly, emphatic fun even with lame games. Haha! Then Evangeline opened her birthday presents, and we had mini chocolate cupcakes (gluten free but packed with deliciousness) with sparkly pink frosting on top. She blew out her candle like a pro, and I made a wish on her behalf. ;)

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And yes, this is what we did while the rest of the world watched the Super Bowl. That’s what we get for having a daughter born on Super Bowl Sunday two years ago! 🙂

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leading a wee army

You are as much serving God in looking after your own children,
and training them up in God’s fear,
and minding the house,
and making your household a church for God,
as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts.

~C.H. Spurgeon~

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Time rolls on

Time is an ever rolling stream.

How true. Isaac Watts, in beautiful hymnody, hit the nail on the head.
Here and here are his pertinent, poetic reminders.

I am so thankful that God is giving me grace to truly, fully enjoy my three miraculous children right now, even as I so long and pray and work toward adding to that number.

It was a year ago now that we began to seek adding to our quiver ~ really? an entire year already?! yep, it is so.
May God grant me the grace and joy to continue following where He leads with cheerful obedience, regardless of what His time limits or age gaps may be. May I have eyes to see what He sees, to believe what He knows, to embrace what He planned.

Gabriel suddenly seems more grownup all the time at 6 now. I blinked, and suddenly find myself allowing him to do big kid things: stay up later than the littles, ride his bike to Grandmama’s house by himself, play on the computers unattended at the library, go by himself in a men’s public restroom (depending on the place, mind you! small library or church, yes! public mall? probably not…).
Asher is moving completely out of the toddler stage, even though he is just 2 1/2 years old. I blinked, and suddenly he can carry conversations with anyone (mostly being understood, too), can follow directions (even if given more than one at a time), can dress/undress himself, holds a pencil/crayon correctly and can trace decently, and fully embraces his big brotherhood and dotes upon his little sister.
Evangeline, in like speed, has now moved completely from baby to nearly 17 month old toddler ~ somehow I blinked, and it suddenly happened. She never walks if she can run (don’t even mention crawling, hah), she tries hard to communicate (and doesn’t do a stellar job yet, but certainly lets you know if you didn’t catch her drift!), likes to be right in the thick of it with her big brothers, is tough and stubborn and opinionated, can identify all kinds of things (from baby doll to ball to book to belly button to blankie to shoes to outside to cow…), and is finally really catching on to routines in various venues (library, worship service, even praying before meals now finally isn’t a fight to get her to hold hands & be still).

These children are an incredible gift. Nobody could be more humbled by it or thankful for it than I am.

So as the stream continues to roll, may the Lord give me grace to jump in and splash around, body and heart and mind and soul, trusting in Him as my hope, my help, my guard, and my home. May He grant me contentment with where He has me, but never complacency; may He give me passion to keep pushing forward, but restrain me from asking for the reins. Amen.

Tangible Resurrection

I am so humbled that God gave me the incredible gift of little humans that show God’s incredible power, His love of drawing straight with crooked lines, His miraculous ways of bringing forth life ~ how good and gracious God is to give us these treasures to enjoy here on earth and that He entrusts them to us. May we live out the Gospel of Easter before these sweet children this week and throughout our lives, amen.

Such tangible and eternal reminders of life after death, of resurrection light following deep darkness, of joy after grief, of miracles we just didn’t expect. :happytears:
Looking at my kids, I simply see “Easter” written all over them. Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia! Thanks be to God!

Our little girl’s first birthday!

Happy Birthday, beautiful Evangeline! What joy! What good news!

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She brings joy and good news to us each day, thanks be to God.
What a year…

Psalm 103:1-5

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.