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!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Happy Birthday, Sammy!

Oh, Sweet Sammy. You're eight. And we are so proud of the delightful young man you are growing into.

I was thinking about you today ... happy and content, quiet and at ease. You quickly take responsibility for your actions, and you love to grow. You blend in well with our crazy family. But never think that you are anything less than completely precious to us.

You've always been a sweet and happy child, and it's been delightful to see you grow in areas of excitement. You're really starting to get the hang of school and you always try hard at whatever you're working on. Of course, you also love video games and Legos and Star Wars and you love sharing your passions with those around you. And we all love hearing about what's going on in your head.

You're sweet and tender with the little ones in the family. And you never forget to thank God for His kindness and to pray for those you love. Thank you for that. You always bless me with your prayers.

There's no denying the fact that you, dear Sammy, are growing up. We love you and we're proud of you. Remember your joy in knowing God's love for you, son, and remember His great sacrifice in sending His Son. As you keep your focus on Him, He will guide you and take good care of you.

Happy, happy birthday, Sammy! We love you!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Happy Birthday, Talia!

Our sweet, beautiful baby girl...

You're one, now. I'm not sure my heart can handle that. But I guess as parents, we don't get to decide these things.

You have been such a beautiful blessing this past year. There have been a lot of losses and heartaches, but you have been a joy ... our "dew of heaven."

I commonly describe you as our very first laid-back girl. You're an easy baby ... you sleep well, eat well and love life. You dance and sing and talk and laugh. Even when you get a birthday tooth and you want to be held all the time, you still are delightful and will cheer up when your siblings sing.

We love you and we're so thankful that God gave you to all of us ... you are a sweet and perfect gift!!

Happy, happy birthday, sweet Talia!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Happy Birthday, J.J.!!

Jeremiah Joseph ... It is your fourth birthday. And we are so very thankful that you are part of our family!!

Lately, I've spent a lot of time thinking about the season before you were born.  We were busy with six little kids, and we had recently moved into our new house which required a LOT of work and that kept us busy, too. But it was a sad season ... we had experienced great loss, and my heart cried out to God, asking Him to give us another baby. And your siblings were crying out to God and asking Him to give them another sibling. And I know other voices echoed ours.

And do you know what God, in His generous kindness did? He gave us YOU. (And then your baby sisters. And more recently, a baby brother that went to be with Jesus before we got a chance to meet him).

You were a chill, laid back baby even before you were born, and we have loved every second of getting to know you. You're happy and tender, sweet and caring. You love fully and laugh fully. (And you're a good sleeper. Which is probably why you have gotten away with sleeping on the floor in Mommy and Daddy's room MUCH longer than any of your siblings ever have. Ahem.)

You've been working hard to learn how to talk this year, and your very first and favorite sentence was and is, "I. WANT. HUGS!!" I'm pretty sure your next sentence will be, "I want TOAST," but that's a story for another day.

You love airplanes these days. Your Grandpapa is happy about that.  Whenever you run, you're arms go out as wings and more recently, you've started spinning an arm in front of you as a propeller and making awesome engine noises when you're trying to get my attention.

We hope you have a wonderful year, dear son. We hope you run and jump and laugh and play and hug and eat ... and we hope you know how very loved you are. We have a good God who gives good gifts. And we are thankful for you!!

Happy, happy birthday, J.J.! We love you!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Happy Birthday, Selah!!

You made it! You're nine years old!! Isn't that AMAZING?!?

Selah, you are such a beautiful, delightful daughter. You're full of life and love and fun and creativity. You're kind and thoughtful, bouncing and adventurous. You are an amazing big sister. You're a great little sister. You are a good friend. You are a joy.

And we're so thankful to have you as our daughter. 

We hope you have a beautiful year. We hope you grow in knowing how very, very loved you are. Even when your mom is grouchy. Even when your dad is distracted. YOU are fully, wholly, wonderfully loved. We love you, but more perfectly, God loves you. And we hope that with each passing day, you become more knowledgeable, more secure, more rested in knowing the height and width and breadth and depth of that love.

And we hope and pray that in that knowledge, you continue to blossom and grow. Because you are a precious, precious gift. And we are so very thankful for you.

Happy, happy birthday, Sweet Selah! We love you!!