Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas everyone!

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill toward men!"

Saturday, December 22, 2012

this Christmas

This Christmas the significance of the Incarnation seems more potent. I have always loved Christmas - the music, the focus on Christ, the family gatherings, the food, the smells, the lights, the traditions and memories. Some years I've found it hard to really grasp afresh the amazing reality that Christ took on flesh - became man to redeem us. It's - ho-hum, heard it before, I'm going to try really hard to work up emotion about this - type thing.

This Christmas God is using my grief over Lynne's death to show me the importance of the Incarnation. Grief is a strange thing - it seems to dissipate and then when you least expect it it bowls you over. Death is an enemy, a defeated enemy, but an enemy still. It is so wrong, so not what we were made to experience. Grieving over the loss of one of my closest friends and grieving Lynne with her family -  whose loss makes mine pale in comparison - has made me realize that Jesus' coming was an amazing mercy to our broken world.

All this death, sin, brokenness, hurt, pain, dysfunction was what we deserved. We were given a gift in Eden and we chose our own way. How short sighted we as humans are. We thought we were getting something amazing and then sin wormed it's way into every facet of our life and our entire planet became broken. We became broken.

Jesus didn't have to come. Didn't have to humble himself, didn't have to become poor, didn't have to love us. The Father didn't have to send His Son - have to punish Him. But He did.

And that makes all the difference in my grief. This Christmas I see the baby born in the stable and it's like a powerful surge of meaning runs through me. This Child is the fulfillment of God's plan and the only hope we have. I can't worship this Christmas without seeing the Cross ... it's a short few steps away from the stable and there death was defeated.

Lynne knew this and is now rejoicing with Jesus. Her Christmas is being spent with Immanuel - worshiping Him in a way that we can't even imagine.

This Christmas my heart hurts, we're still here in the brokenness. But I have hope - because the Light of the world, the Word made flesh, the Prince of Peace, Immanuel came. This Christmas I'm grasping the reality that I can celebrate this regardless of what circumstances come into my life. Christmas is not for the light-hearted only. It's perhaps even more for those who are broken hearted, whose lives are shattered.

Behold your God in the manger.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

the start of a new adventure

I think this post is a part of the processing that I'm doing as we look forward to J starting kindergarten next Thursday. So many of the thoughts going through my mind sound so trite -- "it went so fast!", "where has the time gone?", etc. It's all true though. The time I've spent with Jakob at home - just me and him, and then adding in his two brothers is almost gone. I know that it's not a full-time change - but he's entering into the realm of school - and that is going to impact him and change the dynamics of our days.
It's a bittersweet moment. He is ready for more independence - I don't doubt that.

I'm just not sure I am ready for it.

I want to squeeze and cling tight to these boys and forget about letting them grow up. It's a weird irony of being a parent; we're so excited about the changes and developments our children make, and then when they are changing into people who can do more, we hesitate to let them go. I think I understand my parents a lot more these days.

I'm so tempted to look back with regret at what I could have done different, done better, spent more time on. He is so precious and I want the best for him. Have I spoken the gospel into his life enough? Have I turned from my busyness and talked to him enough? Have I played and read and laughed with him enough? Have we spent enough time snuggling and doing nothing?

I'm glad that kindergarten is not the end of the opportunities to do that in his life. But it is a huge wake up call that the years which can seem so long are so not. That this life is fleeting and we have to be intentional about doing what matters.

I am looking forward to helping him put on his backpack next Thursday, to sharing his anxious excitement about this big step. I am looking forward to taking his picture and giving him a hug. I am looking forward to seeing his face when he gets to his new classroom and his new classmates.

I am not looking forward to saying goodbye and walking out the door without him.

But I am glad that I will be the one picking him up that afternoon to come home to a snack and time spent talking all about it. I am glad that God can use my miserable failures as a mother, my inadequate prayers for him to make something beautiful in his life.

And that is what I keep coming back to, no matter what the future holds, that this boy is not truly mine. We gave him to God when he was born and it is God who will work out His purposes in his life. I pray that God will give me the grace to love, train and raise him for the years I have left with him.

And now excuse me while I go cry. :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

welcome to the world, Asher


I have three sons! If you had told me 10 years ago that at age 26 I'd have three beautiful boys, I don't think I would have believed it. Both my age and the fact that all three were boys would have surprised me. But I am so totally happy with how God has chosen to design our family. Boys are amazing and fun and unbelievably sweet. Oh, and time/energy sucking machines ... but I think that just might be due to the fact that they are children.

So yeah, three boys.

Asher Evan was born June 17, 2012 at 7:54 am after I woke up at 4am in labour. It was short, fast-moving and the easiest delivery I've had. He was born with meconium in the fluid, so a respiratory therapist had to be on hand to make sure he didn't have any in his lungs. This was the first time one of my boys wasn't put on me immediately after birth and Asher screamed ... actually more like shrieked  - while they were checking him over. They then put him on my chest and and as soon as his head touched me, he stopped screaming. His eyes opened and he calmed immediately. Our moment of meeting was beautiful - he remembered me and I love that.


He weighed 7lbs, 6 oz and was 22 inches long. He now weighs ~10 lbs, so he's gaining amazingly. He is a cuddler - loves to be held and interacted with (but mostly by me!) and so far is a decent sleeper. Naps every day make life a LOT easier.

I am so grateful to God for this gift of life he's blessed Kev and I with and am looking forward to getting to know Asher through the years ahead.


Monday, May 14, 2012

something is better than nothing!

I feel like this picture might describe the last few months. I can't count how many times we've gotten colds or a flu between the four of us. It seriously has been a pretty sickly few months around here. Combine that with third trimester exhaustion and aches, and you'll understand why I feel like I can never get my head above water. There are less than six weeks until my due date now ... it feels like a long time away still and yet scarily close at the same time.
I haven't had time to read or blog, or take pictures or really do much of anything it seems. I'm hoping this is just a temporary lull in productivity, but with the arrival of number three, I'm sure there won't be much more time for those things for awhile!
J has only five more weeks of school this year - and then we're done for the summer. He's enrolled in Christian school for SK in September, a very bittersweet beginning for me!
We are all enjoying the gorgeous weather ... I love sitting on the front porch on the weekend with my family and just relaxing. Pretty much every day it's above 10 degrees the boys have "the idea to have a picnic!". So we eat lunch outside quite regularly.
In fact they just announced they brought out all we need for a picnic "bagels, cheese, pear". I'm thinking I might need to go actually prepare those items for a lunch!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

focus on the important things

I benefited from this article by Ed Welch  ... here was a list of things that helped me.
  • Enjoy your children. Followers of Jesus Christ enjoy the Lord and enjoy one another. You can enjoy your children by always scanning for the good—the ways they reflect something of their Creator.
  • Look for opportunities to show humility, especially as children get older. “Will you forgive me?” continues to be one of the most powerful evidences that Jesus is alive and the Spirit has been given.
  • Identify the essentials of the faith. For example, everything that is important comes out of Christ and him crucified. Talk about this: “What’s the big deal with the death and resurrection of Jesus?” We want to answer that in our own words, and we want to answer it so our neighbor could understand it.
  • Follow the apostles’ strategy for biblical interpretation—everything is about Jesus. Not only was Jesus the focus of all their understanding of Scripture, he was also the way of change—all true change goes through him. Over the course of a few months in your home, would a bystander observe that you are talking about a person or talking about rules that seem unrelated to a person?
  • Discuss our curious historical moment. Jesus has come and his promises are certain, yet suffering and shame persist. We can know joy and peace, yet, since we follow the Suffering Servant, we expect to face lots of difficulties.
  • Go big. Scripture is a story in cosmic terms with allegiances, powers, rescues, all on a huge scale. “Accept Jesus in your heart” is much too tame. The King of creation has spoken to us in Jesus. Once you know him you will want to say, “Jesus, I am with you. You are my Lord.”

Friday, November 11, 2011

the miserable funk

Some days just start off on the wrong foot. The trend actually begins the night before when you go to bed later than you had hoped and are already grumpy about that. Then you wake up very early because today just had to be the day that your husband had to be in an hour and half earlier than normal. Of course, because you are awake the children also get out of bed. So there you are, tired, miserable with all the busyness of a normal morning much earlier than normal. I stumbled downstairs this morning in exactly this situation and started preparing food for the guys. I was in that weird funk where you're miserable and enjoying it somewhat. God, having an amazing sense of humour, sent J into the situation who without cluing in to my state, started complimenting me on my pajamas. You have to realize that the pajamas I was wearing were probably in the top 10 outfits K hates. They are pretty awful - not attractive. J goes "those are my favourite pajamers Mom! the pants have flowers on them, and your shirt has stripes - which are really pretty" and on he goes. I was trying hard to keep looking mad but failed miserably and started laughing. Needless to say, I think that changed the direction of my day. And that my friends, is the end of the story.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

four(4)


I have a four year old. Hard to believe. As J asks me frequently, you just can't believe that I'm four, right Mom? In honour of my amazing son I'm posting the pictures I've taken of him every fall for the last four years.






Messiah!

 Love the Messiah? Never heard it? This year I'm excited to be singing the Messiah again with the choirs of Redeemer University. Performances are Friday, Dec 2 and Saturday, Dec 3 both at 7:30. If you live within driving distance of Hamilton, I'd highly encourage you to book some tickets and enjoy an incredible evening of Messiah sung by talented choirs who know who they are singing about.
You can call the Redeemer Box Office at  905.648.2139 x4211 to book tickets or go online to Ticketwindow. I recommend the MacNab Street Presbyterian Church location for sound quality. I hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

early (so very early) Christmas prep


the first VH family Christmas photo ... circa 2007

I've already been thinking about getting family pictures done this year - both because it seems like a good time what with K and I being married five+ years and the boys both being done the rapidly changing baby stage. Oh, and I want a good shot for my Christmas cards.

I stumbled upon this site the other day while blog-hopping and found a large amount of highly customizable Christmas (and other) cards. I'm finding it pretty difficult to actually pick a design! I signed up for a promotion where I use my blog to connect others to Shutterfly and they give me 25 free cards. Not a bad deal at all!


In the past few years we have done email Christmas cards, but it just doesn't have quite the same experience as getting Christmas cards in the mail. Plus when they include pictures it's pretty sweet for the fridge.

Anyways, regardless of your Christmas card plans - and if you don't have any yet because it's only October (sheesh, Sarah) - if you're looking for a quick and simple way to do cards, check out the links.