Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Happy Birthday, Sammy!

Sammy, my man! You're nine years old.

I was reminiscing about your birth this weekend, as I'm sure most moms do on birthdays.  It's fun to see my random thoughts that I posted as I was getting closer and closer to your birth, and then the sweetness that came with having you here, on the outside, with us.

From the beginning, you were a laid back baby. Day one, I remember waking up from a nap to see you had awakened before me. Instead of crying to be fed or comforted, you were simply watching me, with your sweet eyes studying my face as I slept.

We really enjoy your quiet, contemplative nature. You're a typically happy kid. You're ever so sweet with younger children. You don't antagonize or often annoy older children. You're a good friend, a good brother to your siblings, and a dear son to your parents. We are so thankful that God planted you right in the middle of our crazy family. You're good for us!!

This year you've especially blossomed in your joy in learning and watching and growing. We may not always realize that you're even paying attention, but you commonly surprise us with what is going on in your head.

We've watched your eyes light up as you talk about the goodness of God, and we rejoice with you in this faith.  We pray that this next year is a huge blessing to you, that you will continue to grow in wisdom and stature, and that you will always delight in the profound simplicity of God's love for you.

We love you, SammySam, and we thank God for you. Happy, happy birthday!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Happy Birthday, Talia!

You're two years old, Sweet Tally Girl.

Time has flashed by since you were our tiny baby girl, through infancy into toddlerhood to this point where your creative spunk and independent personality seem to be more and more developed each day.

You crack all of us up regularly, and you have each and every one of your siblings wrapped around your adorable fingers. I love seeing how your big brothers melt with your attention. And your big sisters have such delight in teaching you new things about your world.

You're a talker. You already use a few sentences comfortably. You're a singer, even making up your own tunes and words. And you have a few loyal obsessions -- doggie-oggie-oggies and GongGong (our Roombas) being your very favorite conversation pieces.

When we saw the meaning of your name, "Dew of Heaven," while you were still waiting to be born, I knew deep in my heart that Talia was the right name for you. As a family, we were in the thick of difficult times and the meaning with such a beautiful name was fitting in numerous ways. We had no clue at the time, though, when we named you, how many times Heaven would be almost touchable over the next couple of years.

Even in the midst of a season of countless losses, you have been a comfort, a joy, a delight to all of us. God created you beautifully, sweet child, and we are very, very thankful that you are ours. We love you so much and we pray that as you grow, you will know the deep, deep love of Jesus, and that you will delight in Him as He delights in you!

Happy, happy birthday, Sweet Girl!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Happy Birthday, JJ!!

JJ!!

It's your birthday!!

You're five years old, and such a dear, precious gift from God.

You're (most often) cheerful, you're (always) sweet, and you love, love, love life and siblings and your Mom and Dad and your friends and everyone you know.

You're tender and sweet with your baby sisters, and you give your Mama so many sweet cuddles, often rubbing my tummy and daydreaming about "Baby TinTin." And daily since I was about four months pregnant, you ask me, "How many more days until Baby TinTin comes out??"

You're an easy kid, you go with the flow, and you love to learn and grow. You've really enjoyed your preschool communications class this year, and we've seen you progress with leaps and bounds.

We're very much looking forward to seeing what this next year holds for you, sweet son -- including Kindergarten!!

Happy, happy birthday, JJ! We thank God for you!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Happy Birthday, Selah!

A full decade has passed since the evening you were born. I know your dad has fond memories of "the perfect birth." I do, too. Of course, I usually just tell the story of how you yelled so loud that the midwife came running -- sure that I had dropped you -- though your meal had just temporarily been interrupted.

I guess being loud is in your genes.

But with your loud, there's adventure. There's love for life. There's tenderness with younger siblings. There's a love for creation and beauty and fashion. Maybe not so much of a love for order, but there's a love for baking and cooking and anything else that might distract you from math (though you are quite good at that, too).

And we love you, sweet Selah. We are so thankful that God created you -- so beautifully -- and fit you so perfectly into our family. He knew what He was doing when He made you, as He always does. And we can see glimpses of that handiwork. We're so very thankful for His love expressed to us, in gifting you to us!

And we pray that your year will be blessed and your youthful enthusiasm for life will flourish. We pray that as you grow in wisdom and stature, you'll also grow in love and grace and mercy and righteousness. And we pray, as always, that you will know ever more fully the deep, abiding love that God has for you!

Happy, happy birthday, Sweet Girl!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Happy Birthday, Keanna!

Well, Buttercup, you're three today!

It is so, so good to have you in our family.

You're feisty and funny, you're brave, and you're kind. You're bossy, and you are sweet. You're thoughtful, and you are mine. Well, you're mine, and the rest of your great big, crazy family's, too.

I love how God has knit our "little" family together. Sometimes I feel outnumbered and a bit overwhelmed -- but sometimes, I feel like I see an amazing team being formed, right in front of my eyes. Each person a unique and irreplaceable piece of a bigger picture. And, darling, the picture is beautiful. Quite messy and definitely a work in process, but oh, so beautiful.

As I type this, you've fallen asleep on my bed, having convinced your Daddy that you wanted to hang out with us a bit longer tonight. I watch you sleep, and I remember when we found out that you were a girl. I've always said that I love having boys, but I'm so very thankful to have my girls mixed in -- it's good for boys to have females influencing them! So I was excited to have our streak of boys broken by you, and then your little sister following.

Your older sisters -- now they really rejoiced when they found out they were getting another one "on their side." Selah was talking about that today, about how much she loves having you as her first baby sister.

You've been a gift and a joy right from the start. We love how you live and love. We love how you care for your baby sister, and we love how you are a best friend to J.J. We love your confidence and your sparkle and your enthusiasm for life.

We pray that you are blessed, blessed, blessed this year and always. We pray you know how very loved you are, by God, and by us. We pray your joy only grows and your love only deepens. And we pray that you will run to Jesus with all of your heart.

We love you, sweet Kiki, and we thank God for YOU! Happy, happy third birthday, Sweets!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Happy Birthday, Danny!

Sweet Danny, you're eleven! It fits you well.

We're so thankful for you, sweetheart. You are a dear gift to all of us.

You're cheerful and helpful and thoughtful. You're a great big brother and a good friend to your older siblings, too.

You do everything with all of your heart, and you're sensitive and considerate of others.

We're so thankful for you.

Your name means "God is my judge." As you continue to grow, I pray that you remember that. People will always try to judge you, for better or worse. Some will condone your sins and some will misjudge your good deeds as well.

But God is your judge. His decree is the only one that ultimately matters. And if your faith is in Christ's finished work on your behalf, God judges you as righteous because of the righteousness of Christ. So trust in Jesus and have complete peace and confidence that you are right before God -- you don't need to be concerned about man's judgement when you have God on your side!

We love you, Daniel Joseph! We hope you have an amazing year. Happy, happy birthday!




Saturday, September 30, 2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Happy Birthday, Wazowski!


Happy Birthday, Mikey!

It's your last pre-teen year. You're growing up before our eyes ... It seems like every time I look at you, you're a bit taller and you're quickly closing the distance before you fly past me!

You're smart and funny and you give great hugs. You're sweet and tender with the babies, rough and tumble with just about everyone else.

You're compassionate and thoughtful.

And as time keeps passing way too quickly, we see you growing in responsibility and ability. It's been fun to see you cheerfully taking on new challenges!

We're thankful for you, our eldest son! We pray that you continue to grow in self-control and patience, wisdom and discernment. We pray that you continue to grow in love and compassion. And we pray that all of this is fueled by a genuine growth in your love for God and His holiness.

We love you, Mikey, and we hope that you have a great year!

Happy, happy birthday, Wazowski!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Happy Birthday, Eliana!

"Just wait until they're teenagers!" I've heard that a few times... Now that wait is over: Our firstborn is thirteen.

Well, dear Eliana, let's rock it. Stick with us. We'll stick with you. We love you, and we're for you. As you continue this transition from child to young lady, please remember that we're on your side. You are a gift, a treasure to us.

You're beautiful. You're talented. You're smart and hard working. You're self disciplined. You love to learn and explore and teach and wonder at this world.

And dear, sweet daughter, the most beautiful thing about you is when you stand in awe of your Creator, and graciously, humbly, clearly exhort us and your other loved ones to stand in awe along with you.

One thing you'll never hear me say is, "Oh, I'd give anything to be a teenager again." (Don't worry. I'm sure you'll hear others say it. Just not me.)  I had a good childhood. I had the loving support of friends and family. I knew the Father's love. But despite that, I still say that these years you are facing are hard. I fully expect them to be rough.

These years are years that you spend a lot of time and energy becoming the person that you are growing up to be, and that is hard. You have temptations and emotions and frustrations and imperfections all warring against the person that you are striving to become. You'll win some battles and you'll lose some battles, each and every day. There may even be seasons when you feel that you can't win for losing.

Just hold onto the One who will hold on to you. When you fail, turn to Him. When you succeed, turn to Him. When you feel like you are all alone and no one understands you, turn to Him. He will never leave you or forsake you. And He knows your heart better than you know it yourself. He is for you, because you have put your hope and your faith in Him. And with Him, you have all you'll ever need.

But, your daddy and I won't mind if you lean on us, too. I know you're an independent and strong young lady. But we love, love, love being in your life. Please let us hold on to you, too. And remember that we're here for you, too. You might have to get a little loud to get our attention sometimes, but we're here for YOU. Always.

And on a side note, I know this year has been hard on you too, dear daughter. It's been a rough one. But I thank you for the ways you've grown in love for God and for others. It's been a blessing in the midst of storms.


We love you, dear Eliana. We pray that this year you will know true joy, true peace, and true love and true comfort, more and more each day.

Happy, happy birthday, Eliana!





Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Happy Birthday, Elijah!


Oh, Elijah. You've never met a stranger, and everyone loves you. Even better, you know it.


It's finally your birthday. You've been counting down since January. I'm glad we made it ... I, and about everyone else that you've been able to tell that you were turning seven, which is just about 100% of the people you've talked to in the last eleven and a half months.

We love you, Elijah. You're fun, you're happy ... you love life and people, and you're the very first to volunteer to pray, every time we ask. I love how you always use your prayer time to thank God for your family and for His goodness to all of us. He is good, and we are thankful.

So, you're seven. You're starting second grade soon and we know you'll hit it full stride, like everything else you do. Keep at it, Son. We love you, we're proud of you, and we're so thankful that God gave YOU to us.

Happy, happy birthday, 'Lijah!