A Tribute

I saw this on Valerie’s blog and wanted to dedicate it to my sister, Sandy, who knows firsthand how rough retail can be during the holidays. Hang in there Sandy!! ( Valerie, thanks for the song!)

It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go —
People snarling at the clerks
And acting like total jerks
‘Til you’d really like to tell ’em where to go!
It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas
As they shrilly fill the store.
You will never a sweet sound hear,
‘Til your own dear home appears
And you slam the door!

O Tannenbaum

Early on in our marriage, before we had kids, I used to spend tons of time decorating and beautifying our house in preparation for the Christmas season. I made wreaths, strung popcorn and cranberries, and one year fashioned an entire tree’s worth of pine cone ornaments for our humble Home Depot pine, as we had very few store-bought ornaments of our own. Jay used to tease me about bringing dead things into the house to make it look more alive!

Now that we have three children, my time allotment for such activities has grown smaller but the time we do spend preparing for this season seems sweeter and even more meaningful. We now have the privilege of seeing Christmas through the eyes of an almost 4 and 2 year old. Abigail knows that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and I can remember last year when she was very concerned to hear that when He came to earth He was not given a “comfy bed” to sleep in. Jonathan is just now learning about the Baby Jesus and spends lots of time begging to hold the little Jesus toy in our fabric “creche”.

This year the acquisition of a tree was especially important to both Abigail and Jonathan. Jay and I, after 7 years of bringing home a freshly cut tree, made the very difficult decision to go “artificial”. I say difficult because the romantic in me loves the smell and feel of the real tree, yet the practical side says the pine needles are a pain to keep up with.

Wheat and Weeds

Last night in our small group, we looked at the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13. I was struck by its relevance to my brother’s line of thought developed in his sermon on I Timothy 3:16, Why Was Jesus Justified. In the application at the end, Mark points out:

Secondly, this might help us understand that, even though we have, in substance, our entire salvation in Jesus Christ, we really are still waiting for it to be revealed. Right now, we look and feel like the wicked around us. We too get cancer and deal with old age, and have our children get sick, and struggle with finances, just like all the unbelievers around us. We too are under the general curse that was imposed on the sinful human race.

The parable makes some radical claims in which Jesus describes what the kingdom of God will be like. Let’s not forget that there were some strong notions regarding the Kingdom that held sway in Israel at that point in history. The Romans would be beaten back. The nations would look to Israel. Israel would be liberated to follow the Torah, separating herself from the pagans according to the various laws. Yet here Jesus says that in the kingdom the wheat and weeds will grow side by side, and that they will be so hard to tell apart that if the servants were to attempt to weed the field (the kingdom), they would uproot wheat along with weeds. This is rather explosive stuff to be saying among a people whose national hope is that they will one day be shown, via their faithfulness to Torah, to be the true people of God when their oppressors are ground under their feet!

Here we are in the kingdom, and as Mark highlights in his sermon, the children of the kingdom look a lot like the children of the enemy. This notion slips away from many as they want to preserve the notion of the kingdom for a time in which evil is put in its place, and that will certainly be the case one day. But Jesus calls this field in which both wheat and weeds grow the kingdom. Though we wait for the day of harvest, we do so in the kingdom. By faith we wait, growing alongside weeds, with a hope of the future harvest, in the present reality of the kingdom.

A Hard Weekend

Friday afternoon as Jay and I were preparing for our first date night out together since September Jonathan started throwing up in his crib and all over his bedroom rug. We cleaned him up and brought him downstairs with us. He continued to get sick that evening and all night (meaning Jay and I slept in about 15-20 minute increments for a total of not very much), seemed to get better during the day (Saturday), but after a few Tablespoons of Pedialite got sick again. Several more hours of nothing, then more throwing up. Every time we offered him anything but water his tummy would reject it. All the while he was whimpering “more water please”, “thirsty, please!”. He’s very good about using his polite words sometimes even when he is not happy with life. Sweet boy. After a chat with the on call pediatrician Saturday night, when JonJon had been throwing up for more than 24 hours, we received kind of an ultimatum: either Jonathan’s body would handle a 1 tablespoon of Pedialite every 10 minutes regiment over the next two hours, accepting the fluids, or we’d have to head to the Children’s ER for IV fluids to prevent dehydration. It was about that point that we realized we wouldn’t be participating in the Christmas program Sunday night at church (I was to sing in the choir, Jay was a reader).

Thankfully, we didn’t have to make the trip to the ER, as Jonathan finally held down the Pedialite. We were tired but exceedingly thankful. We settled him in bed around 9:30 p.m. and spent a couple hours just catching up on stuff, then Jay went up to check on both the older kids before we headed for bed. As he tucked Abigail in, she sat up and vomited in her bed. Jay, thinking quickly, used her two favorite blankets to catch most of the yuck (sparing most of her bed), then carried her into the bathroom and called for me. Unfortunately in the confusion he thought I’d gotten to her while he went back to the bed to perform triage. I did reach Abigail but as I tried to help turn her toward the toilet in case she were sick again she pushed away from my hands, yelled “NO!” and threw up on me, the bathroom floor, walls, shower curtain, you name it – she hit it. What a mess.

Sam’s Club?

Tonight Abigail and I went out to do a bit of shopping. I told her we were going to Sams Club and she seemed pretty excited, but then, she usually enjoys a trip to the grocery store. As we made our way through the store I could see a perplexed look on her face and finally she asked me rather impatiently, “Mommy, when are we going to see Sam Wyatt?”

Sam Wyatt Miller is one of our young friends from Mommy Swap almost exactly the same age as Jonathan. I knew he was a bright and focused little fellow, but I bet his parents will be surprised to hear he now has his own warehouse superstore! Way to go, Sam!

Cliff Notes

A short story from Mommy Swap*.

All the kids were gathered around the table for snack time. As several of the kids (mostly 4 and 5) had recently learned the Lord’s Prayer, they each insisted on praying it, one after another. At the end, my son Jonathan (22 months) also insisted on praying. He said (as he often does at home), “Our Father, art in heaven, hallowed be thy name… Amen!” He then looked up at the Mommy standing next to him and explained, “Short one!”

* Mommy Swap is a group of 6 moms (Tricia included) who take turns watching each other’s children each Wednesday morning.

A Week of Firsts

IMG_0279-2.jpgThere have been several momentous events (well, momentous to us) in the last week so I thought it would be nice to spend a bit of time recounting each of our children’s latest achievements. Isn’t that something parents should do?? :)

Nicolas:
Our 4 month old enjoyed his first taste of cereal and so far seems to enjoy having “supper” with the rest of the family. He gulps down his Baby Rice very well for someone so young and we hope it may help him to get some needed extra calories. Nicolas smiles not only during his feedings, but through most of life in general. We say often around here that he is the happiest baby we’ve ever had the pleasure to know. His warm little smile is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. How thankful we are for this delightful little fellow and how blessed we feel to have the privilege of being his parents.

Jonathan:
Has just turned 22 months and for a while now has enjoyed “playing” at using the potty. He often makes the request to “Go potty” so I have indulged him and allowed him to sit even though he doesn’t ever really do anything. I figure it can’t hurt, it’s practice for the real thing, and at any rate, at least it is good exposure. Heh-heh!! One night this past week before his bath he asked to go and so, as usual I let him. However, this time we were rewarded with some liquid in the potty. How proud of himself he was. “I did it!!” he yelled over and over. I presented him with an M&M for his troubles. He has since used the potty twice more and though it could be many months I suppose before he is actually potty-trained, it is clear that he has made a connection now and we are all very excited and proud of him. And, no, we won’t post a pic of him on the potty!

Abigail:
Who has been wanting to see the dentist ever since the Barney episode about “tooth care” (Who says Barney isn’t a worthwhile diversion?) went to see “Dr. Bob”, a pedodontist on Friday. His real name is Robert Morgan for any of you in the DFW area who might be interested, and he comes highly recommended by several friends as well as our pediatrician, who takes his own kids to him. How grateful we are for wonderful doctors who specialize in children’s medicine. Dr. Bob had us into his office for an interview, gave me a business card with his home number on it (for emergencies) and obviously enjoys his work caring for children and their dental interests!
Dr. Bob seems to have a delightful bedside manner with kids. He spent time talking in his office with Abigail, and then she headed off for her dental adventure. To begin with, Abigail was given the choice of watching a movie, getting a balloon animal made, or playing with toys. Her first dental visit included getting her teeth brushed with chocolate toothpaste (hey, they didn’t have that flavor when I was a kid!), having pictures taken of her nose, cheeks and mouth (so she says), and taking home an alligator balloon animal.

Steve Camp on Chevrolet Worship

Steve Camp has written an open letter to the church regarding the Chevrolet sponsored Come Together & Worship tour that is probably worth a read (link courtesy Scarecrow).

I am concerned that there exists in CCM today a pervasive growing attitude of unteachableness, unaccountability, and a lack of submissiveness to the Word of God and the authority of the local church. It seems today that anyone who challenges the CCM industry as to its current practices and alliances according to the standard of God’s Word is labeled as divisive, condemning, and unloving. While those that are constantly operating outside of the purview of God’s Word are labeled as innovative, visionary, and kind? Tolerance is not a spiritual gift; it is the distinguishing mark of postmodernism; and sadly, it has permeated the very fiber of Christianity. Why is it that those who have no biblical convictions or theology to govern and direct their actions are tolerated and the standard or truth of God’s Word rightly divided and applied is dismissed as extreme opinion or legalism?

Mavs Stand Tall

For those of you who have followed basketball for more than the past few years, did you ever think you would see a headline like this? Mavericks NBA’s Only Unbeaten Team.