Birthday Gifts

54.  David is 5

One of the most amazing things to watch this past year is how God has grown my second son’s spiritual gift of mercy.  From the time David was a very small baby I noticed that he had an ability to produce joy where and when it was needed most.  I know every baby makes the elderly smile, but it seemed as if his chubby legs toddled toward the lonely and left a trail of joy.  From toddlerhood I have called him my Barnabus, my encourager.  Those who meet him now often don’t see this side of his personality through the karate-kicking warrior persona which earned him his name.  It is true that David’s hugs usually leave the recipient on their backs and he rarely plays a game that doesn’t involve some form of battle, but between the typical boy ferocity, this year has been marked with some of the sweetest memories of my son growing in mercy.  He has developed a love for babies, which necessitates multiple trips to the one year old nursery each Sunday.  He even used the last of his birthday money to buy a new toy for that nursery, which he enthusiastically presented to them this morning.  He sat on the floor amidst blinking, bobbling babies and demonstrated the various noises produced by the phone’s buttons.  This year he also developed a love for one baby in particular and makes him movies in which David retells Bible stories is his own unique way.  The most precious memory of this year, though, occurred in our neighborhood nursing home.  Like any child, David would never choose to postpone a Sunday afternoon trip to the park in order to visit some place that, admittedly, smells bad.  Once we are inside, however, David forgets about the rest of our family.  He skips ahead greeting every wheelchair in his path.  He isn’t afraid to hold hands, talk, or ask questions.  On a recent trip we were talking to disoriented resident who responded to my “How are you today” with a list of complaints.  “I’m sick!  Nobody cares… they left here… no body loves me.”  David’s eyes grew big and his pounced on the old woman’s hand.  “I love you!  And Jesus loves you!”  and then, quite without prelude he tilted his head back and began to sing.  “Jesus loves you, this I know….”  Soon his siblings joined in and the resident sat there, holding his hand and bobbing her head to
their singing.  I am ashamed to admit that my first reaction was embarrassment.  I glanced around to see if any nurses were watching and wondering who the crazy kids were with, but then, I realized- this is a gift.  This thing that David does- the way he feels around babies and lonely old ladies, this is an actual, spiritual gift.  God is so generous that He has given my son,
who can’t even read yet, a spiritual gift that he can use to serve God in his own unique way!  How awesome is that?  And so, as David starts on another year, inaugurated with a Ben Ten Omnitrex alien toy, and an alien themed dinner with his two best friends, I look forward to the smiles God is going to paint through David in this coming year.

56.  Jujitsu

Dallas earned his first stripe after several months in the sport.  More importantly, though, he has come so far in controlling his emotions, thanks to the man-to-man conversations and encouragement from his coaches.

And since Oompa is one of the instructors, Elliana gets tojoin the for the last 15 minutes of class.

57.  Dallas is 7

lego heroica in the morning. half day of school. lego lunch with friends. lego cupcakes. lego cake.  a bonfire. oh.. and he had to fight everyon in his jujitsu class because it was his birthday.  Quite a day.

Catching up

41. The Bible

42. When the kids stay in bed untill 7:30

43. Mom’s quilts

44.The weird way I can sleep with my phone in my hand so I can keep track of the time

45. The ballerina’s welcome home hugs

46. Fall

47.  Drawing

48.  The Warrior’s Drawing abilities

49.  The ballerina bringing me the newspaper each morning that we play school bus before school

50.  Slimy tennis balls and hand-me-down softball bats and an eager batter in the quiet stillness tha is twilight.  A safe time.

51.  Hard eucharisteo , like forgiveness.

The kids are skateboarding in their room- using trays.

31. Friends

32. Elliana’s Braids

33. Organization

34. Quiet nights, early to bed

35. Memories of camp

36. Textbooks that arrive quickly

37.  Checks in the mail

38.  Nights when I get to read whatever I want

39. The new ways kids pronounce words

40.  Singing on Sundays, even when kids think they need to add electric air guitar solos- at least no one can hear I’m off key over that

30. Forgiveness

Something bad happened to me when Iwas fourteen.  At first I didn’t tell anyone because I was confused, embarrassed and scared.  Later, when Christ became my Beloved I told very few people because I felt they excused the atrocity of my teen years on the basis of my trauma.  Anyway, I thought I had forgiven because I didn’t feel any anger about it anymore.  Yet, whenever I happened to spy the night sky framed above me in the branches of pine trees, I would remember and think how sad that such a thing had happened.  There were other things, too, that I had thought were forgiven, biggest, of all, thehus band who made me an ex-wife.  I
thought they were forgiven because when I encountered the shard of a memory somewhere along my day I would pull it out and simply think, “how sad.”  No bitterness, no anger.  I thought I had forgiven because I knew if those people some day said “I’m sorry,” I would say “I forgive you,” and it wouldn’t hurt.  But I was wrong.  I’ve been dealing with pain this week, small pain not without fault, but pain among friends. As I tried to forgive, coaching myself to let it go, I was drawn again and again into prayer and communion the depth of which only pain can produce.  As I worried about resolution and the future my faith stopped slouching and stood taller than it has in months.  And in the very injury itself, when the flesh was cut deep, I could clearly see tumors that have been slowing and damaging my spirit with silent increase.  In short, in the pain I was revived, renewed, until I no longer cared that my friend know they had hurt me, nor that they acknowledge their error.  Rather, I continually rejoiced to be, once again, in the arms of my precious Savior.  Then my eyes were opened and I understood forgiveness.  Forgiveness is when I stop thinking that someone owes me an apology because what they did has been completely forgotten in the light of what God has taught me through it.  If such a small injury as a misunderstanding between friends brought me joy, how much more joy is there when I begin to treasure the depth of love I have felt, and faith that has been bestowed upon me due to the bigger injuries- like Torey leaving.  This joy is waiting for me in every sad thing that has ever happened, and in all that will happen in the future, it’s the joy of forgiveness, and it is, quite literally, divine.  And as I think on this, I suddenly realize that
this how God forgives me.  He no longer waits for an apology, nor thinks how sad are the things I have done.  He has forgotten it all in the light how His glory shines, not in the things I have done in righteousness, but in the things He has done for me.  I can’t hardly bear the joy of such forgiveness!  All is gone!  Really gone!  Forgiveness has brought its joy into my life, and so tonight, I am going to lay out under the pine trees and look up into the sky- and see only the glory of God.

First Gifts

1. Attic fans and cool night air

2.Open windows

3. Crickets

4. Far off sounds of other people, community

5. The clatter of washing machine and dishwasher in a sleeping house.  My handmaidens hard at work.

6.  Lisa

7. “Snuggles” from the girl

8. The Warrior

9.  The Oldest

10. The ballerina

11. Family

12. Dad

13.Mom

14. Sisterhood in all forms

15. Writing

16. My shelf that my daddy built that holds all my books high above the clutter

17. My room

18.  When my kids love each other

19. Tiffany

20. That my kids want to sleep in my bed

21. A fenced in back yard

22.That I get to home school

23. Mornings that run early

24. Tidy drawers

25. The dinosaur tail triangles of light on the back stairs

26. Steam off oatmeal on early mornings

27.  Family meals where everybody eats

28.  The warrior’s facial expressions

29.  Reading together straight from the Bible