Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Happy Belated Birthday, Danny!

So as this year’s tradition continues, I am more than two weeks late writing your blog post!

Regardless, I don’t want the next family birthday to arrive before we get the opportunity to wish you a very happy year via this blog post.

Danny, you’re a good kid. You’re sweet and thoughtful; you’re an early riser and you’re oh so good at remembering to make coffee for your tired parents on your designated coffee making days.

You regularly check in on others to see how they are doing, and I do believe you know more of the people who go to our church (and have had more significant conversations with them) than anyone else in the family.

You also still love video games. Nothing new there!

We hope your teen years treat you well, Danny, and we hope you know how very loved you are. Most of all, we pray that your peace and confidence will be found in the perfect and all-sufficient love of God.

We love you, Danny! Happy, happy 13th birthday!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Happy Birthday, Wazowski!

Maybe this is just the year of the late birthday posts. Or maybe it has just taken me this long to finally admit to myself that you are actually FOURTEEN YEARS OLD. That is craziness, Kid. I'm pretty sure I never okayed that.

On one side, we know that you come by your stubbornness and smart-alekyness naturally. (And we both know which of your parents you are NOT allowed to attribute those attributes to!). Thirteen saw these skills alive and thriving.

But on the other side, this last year has also brought a sweet and responsible side of you that is nothing but admirable. We've seen you really step up in your academics and other responsibilities. It's really nice to not have to battle with you on those fronts.

Your guitar playing is now quite enjoyable to listen to.

And the fact that Squishy counts you as one of his very favorite people speaks volumes. I suspect the feelings are mutual.

Mikey, you may very well be the child my mama prayed that I'd have one day. But honestly, that just repeats that you are clearly a gift from God, even when our, uh, debates continue much longer than is humanly natural. You may drive me bonkers (I know, I know -- it's not a drive; it's a short putt. Much thanks to my dad for giving you great quotes to carry on), and I may regularly threaten to give you away, but dude... we love you. So very much.

We hope and pray that this year is remarkable for you,  that you delight in the delight of God, and that you know His irresistible love more and more each day.

Happy, happy birthday, Mikey!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Happy Birthday, Eliana!

Soooo would it be absolutely shocking if we actually got your birthday post posted on your birthday?? Let's see if we can make that happen...

Fifteen years since that day you were born. Fifteen years. Just about here, all the phrases that all parents have said about the quick passage of time rush through my head. But I'm pretty sure I've said them all before, in previous years.

Sweet, beautiful girl... you have grown up so much this last year. I know you were writing a lot before this year, but at some point, you may look back at this past year and see that this has been a big transitional year for you. In a lot of ways you really blossomed from having writing as a hobby to being a writer. (And not necessarily just because you were published three times over this summer)! (Pssst...if you haven't checked it out yet, you can find Eliana's blog at elianathewriter.com).

You are quite possibly the most self-driven, self-disciplined, goal-oriented person I've ever met. There are many things that you accomplish that make me sit back in awe. There are times that I worry about you burning out, with all that you push yourself to do.

But I love that you purpose to embrace God's new mercies for you, each and every morning. Even as you have developed thinking far beyond your years, your spiritual growth has been even more evident. Your love for the Lord, and your love for others, your patience, kindness, and goodness... those traits shine through not only in your writing, but in your day-to-day actions and reactions.

We praise God for His kindness to you and through you.

We pray this next year blesses you, encourages you, brings you peace and joy that will last your lifetime and more.

We love you, Baby Girl. Happy, happy birthday.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

A Very Merry UnBirthday to you, Elijah!!

Hey Elijah-

At this point, I'm so late writing your "happy birthday" post that it's far too late to virtually wish you a happy birthday!

Sorry, kid... I'd write a list of excuses for my tardiness, but the idea of making excuses in your unbirthday post is amusing, to put it mildly. Because at 8-to-9 years old, your and my biggest battle right now is over your inherited uncanny ability to make excuses for any and all behaviors. I hope one day (many years from now, as I picture most of my kids finally digging though their birthday posts of years past) that you read these words and laugh and say, "Haha! That's so true! I used to make excuses ALL the time...I'm so glad I've conquered that tendency!" And I hope that I'm right there, identifying with you in the conquering, too.

'Lijah, 'lijah, 'lijah...we love you so much. You are a delight. You have so many words. And so much heart. And so much wisdom and steadfastness.

A few years ago, you were really troubled over not having picked a future wife. You talked about it, prayed about it, and sought counsel from your Sunday School teachers for months, before a beautiful, kind, smart, amazing young lady caught your attention and devotion. I remember you telling me about her, and her devotion to another young man... When I worried about your unrequited love, you encouraged me and said, "That's okay, Mom. I just plan on being a really good friend to her and if it doesn't work out for her to marry [that other sweet, wonderful young man] maybe she'll decide to marry me instead."

(You still do that -- I heard you yesterday, working hard to see the good in a hard situation. You were battling for the right attitude, and I love and respect that about you. So much.)

Back to your devotion. It didn't take long -- though it did take a few months, which felt like a really long time back then, I know -- for you to win the attention of your intended. Thus blossomed a precious, precious season of notes and declarations of love and affection, and even some photographic evidence of hand-holding between you and your love.

As your mama, and considering the mama of your intended is a good friend to me, I both absolutely loved seeing this side of you and feared the potential heartbreak should this relationship falter, for either or both of you, simultaneously.

The surprising reality is that years later, I still feel the same way. Because even though your relationship has weathered times of more or less communication, times of more eyelash fluttering from across the room and times of seeming disconnect and unawareness, your expressed heart and intentions remain the same. In fact, this year I heard rumor that you intend to begin saving for a ring!! ::swoon::

You amaze me, Elijah. And I don't know the future for you. I can't promise you that things will work out exactly how you hope. But I do know the One who made you to be the incredible, steadfast, deep young man you are.  Keep grabbing on to Jesus, our precious son. God loves you, and He alone can carry you through in a way that effectually matters for all eternity.

A very merry unbirthday to you, Elijah. We hope that this year is the best one yet, for you!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Happy happy (belated) birthday, TinTin!!

Baby, baby, baby...you're one year old!!

I was re-reading your birth announcement yesterday (of course, on your real birthday. You're one. You really don't care that we saved the cake for today instead) and of course, it all started coming back to me.

Auntie Charity always likes to remind me that we weren't really crushed during that season of loss after loss after loss that led up to your birth (2 Cor 4:8) but, if that wasn't crushed, I don't want to know what is. I praised God in that season because He is worthy of our praise, but not because I felt I had anything to bring to His throne of grace in worship. I knew that God draws near to the broken hearted, so I knew He was close to me. But it was a hard, dark, lonely place to be. 

Throughout that season, I regularly remembered the verse that got my mama through some of the darkest, scariest days of her life, "I would have despaired, unless I had believed, I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." (Psalm 27:13)

A dear friend was blessed with her own sweet baby boy a couple of weeks before you were born. I remember often tearfully saying of both of you boys, "this, this is the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."

Jonathan, you are a joy to our lives. We love all your antics, we love your joy and your smile and your emerging curly waves at the nape of your neck. We love how you wave your arms like a conductor while you sing and how you clap your chubby adorable hands whenever we say, "yay!!" We love your cuddles and good humor and how you bring out the sweetest, tenderest side of everyone around you...and especially your older siblings. 

We love you, Sweet Boy, and we thank God for you. May His face shine upon you all the days of your life.

Happy Birthday, Son!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Belated Birthday, Sammy!

A series of events (including Aunt Charity's WEDDING!!) caused this post to be delayed (well, I guess I could have done both, but I didn't -- sorry, Kid!) but the good news is despite the delinquencies, YOU, my dear Sammy, are TEN YEARS OLD!!

Isn't that wild??

I was pondering your personality recently. I think Daddy thinks that you are much like he was as a kid. In many ways, I think that you are much like I was as a kid. Maybe those are some ways we overlap.

But as far as kids go, you are definitely delightful. You can get lost in your own world sometimes, especially when enjoying a good book (I can definitely relate). And you're often quiet and contemplative (I think Daddy can relate, there). And you like to avoid trouble (we can both relate to that)!

You're sweet and thoughtful and funny and smart. Your smile lights up the room. You have a huge heart. You are amazing.

And we hope you have the best year yet. We love you, Sammy. Happy, happy birthday!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Happy Birthday, TallyGirl!

Oh, sweet, sweet girl.

What joy you bring to our hearts.

I don't know how many years it will take me to not get a bit weepy when I sit down to write your birthday post. But there's a special connection between a mother and her child on that child's birthday. As a mama, birthdays always bring back all the memories of not only that day the child was born, but the season of life.

And the season of life that you were born into, for me and for many others, was b
ittersweet. The meaning of your name, "dew of heaven" aptly describes you in that season, and some of the pictures that I hold dearest of all contain you as a newborn.

But all of that pondering is a bit heavy of a topic for our baby girl, who this day, turns three years old!!

Of course, your middle name is Joy. And you are that! You are a bundle of energy and a girl of many words and your eyes light up for "Molly dogs" and rubber duckies and princess dresses and Minnie Mouse. And according to your precious world, all flowers should belong to Mommy.

This year saw you become a big sister, and you wear that badge with honor and tenderness and delight. A few people were worried about how you would handle being a big sister, considering how happy you were with being the baby in the family. But you stepped right in to the role and it really looks good on you. Your baby brother adores you, too.

We love you, Sweet Baby Girl, and we hope and pray that you are very blessed this next year. It's looking good so far, as we're heading out soon to celebrate your "favorite Aunt Chair-tees" wedding!!

Happy, happy birthday, TallyShark!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Happy Birthday, JJ!

Our Sweet JJ. You're six years old. I've always said one of my favorite stages is "five year old boy syndrome." And it's true. Five has been really good on you. You're sweet, thoughtful, a little loud and boisterous, but typically super content to just be you. You love everyone and are super good to your mama and younger siblings.

You started kindergarten this year and you're flying now. You're definitely a boy and a bit rotten at that, but somehow, you get away with it. All I know is that everyone thinks you're pretty much perfect.

We're really so thankful that God put you in our family, JJ, and we hope and pray that you have a wonderful year. We pray that you always know how deep and wide and strong God's love for you is, and that you grow in that faith and trust more and more each year.

We love you, Son, and we hope you have a very happy birthday and an awesome year! Happy, happy birthday, J.J!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Selah Is Eleven!!

Sweet Selah, you're eleven. As I start to type this blog post, I glance at the clock, and eleven years ago this moment you were three minutes away from making your debut. You still hold the record for perfect birth stories, Girlie!

This year has been really good on you, Selah. You're definitely our extrovert, our entertainer, our goof ball. But this year has seen a sweet tenderness growing and maturing in you. We've loved watching you step up even more as a big sister to the little ones, your nurturing heart has been a blessing to us.

You're been faithful in your schoolwork and you're quick to help out others. It's also been fun to see you get involved with American Heritage Girls -- this seems to be a really good fit for you, and a great opportunity for you to bond with your older sister, and get some extra time with your friends. You really never seem to get enough time with them, and you have such sweet friends!

We love you, Selah, and we hope this next year holds unexpected blessings for you. We hope that God reveals His great love for you, and that you know His mercies every morning. We are so very thankful that you are in our family -- we can't imagine life without you!!

Happy, happy birthday, Butterfly!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Keanna!

Buttercup, you're four years old. As your aunties say, four going on sixteen.

It's true -- you've been affectionately referred to as "the boss" since you were two. You love everything to be clean and orderly. You like to make sure that all the shoes are lined up and all the sippy cups are in the hands of the proper owners.

But over the last several months, over all your Type A personality has emerged even more strongly, love, kindness, warmth and sweetness. You're quick to give a hug, show compassion and concern for those who are hurting, and cuddle up quietly with those you love.

Even when, as we put off, again, our formal celebration of your birthday due to you being sick and your little sister also falling sick, you've expressed much more concern about Talia being miserable than you have about you being sick or your birthday plans being changed.

We're so thankful for you, KeannaGirl. You are a gift from God and an expression of the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. We love you so much and we pray that God will bless you and keep you and show you His irresistible love all the days of your life.

Happy, happy birthday, SweetGirl!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Happy Birthday, Danny!

Twelve years old,  and still as sweet as can be. You're kind and thoughtful; you love people. You're a good brother to your siblings and considerate of your parents. You love to hang out with your friends, go to youth group, play drums and video games.

We're thankful for you, Danny. We're thankful for your big heart and your willingness to always go the extra mile to connect with others.

Remember that you are loved, just the way you are (to quote a tiger named after you ;)). Your name means, "God is my judge," and we hope that you always remember that you are responsible to Him, first. As long as you follow hard after God, you can have peace that you're in the right spot.

We love you, Danny, and we hope you have an amazing year!

Happy, happy birthday!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Happy Birthday, Mikey!

We can't believe it's been 13 years since that very long wait ended with a very quick labor, and then, you were in our arms. You were such a sweet baby, happy and talkative and laid back ... much like that baby who has graced our presence this last couple months.

This last year has been a huge growing experience for you -- literally, as you have shot past your sister, your grandmother, a couple of aunts, and who knows how many else, in height. Any second now you'll shoot past your mother, too!

We know that it's not always easy, these years when you're caught between the child you were and the man you will be. It's sometimes a battle. But sometimes, it's pure joy. Like when we see you protectively holding your youngest brother or cheerfully leading Talia in prayer. Or when we get into a long-winded conversation, pontificating about life, the universe, and everything.

We love how your brain works, Mikey (or Michael or Mike ... however you are introducing yourself these days). We're proud of your accomplishments and how you wrestle with your weaknesses and strive to do better. You may feel like we're often against you, dear son, but please know that we're not. We're for you, and we want to be allies with you in your battle to find God's best and highest for your life. 

We know that the very best condition God has for you (at least for a few more years) is with us, and for us with you. And we praise God for giving you to us! We love you, Mikey, and we hope you have the best year yet.

Happy, happy birthday, Wazowski!