Wednesday, October 25, 2017

18 Months Old!

18 months old!

1 year old

11 months old

10 months old

9 months old

8 months old

7 months old

6 months old

5 months

 4 months

3 months

2 months

 1 month

 2 weeks old

Dear Elliot,

Baby boy! How did you become such a big man already!

The past 6 months have been full of learning and growing.

- You are now, of course, marching around with the best of them. You still sometimes get a little kamikaze in your walking and end up careening into something, but it's pretty great that you are motoring your own way around so much!

- You are up to a grand 7 teeth now, still all in the front (but I'm thinking a few of those back ones might be getting close). These teeth are working pretty good on crackers, pb&j, macaroni and cheese, pizza, apples, bananas (which you love), toast, scrambled eggs, cooked carrots, cheese, cookies, and so forth. Meat still poses a bit of a problem, but your love of yogurt balances that out.

- You are a talkative fellow, although it's not always the easiest to discern your words. You definitely say apple, banana, ball, book, bug, dog, woof, meow, I love you, Dad, Mom, Victor (dee-der), Josiah (eye-ah), thank you, truck, night-night, Bible, and bye-bye.

- You love to play catch and read books. You are fascinated by the animal books with little swatches of fur or fuzz to pet and can read them over and over endlessly. You love to sit on the bottom step next to me and read books. It's real precious.

- You love to wash your hands. You'll climb up on the stool in the bathroom and holler for help until someone comes in to assist you in that important exercise. You also rub your wet hands through your hair (where did you get that?).

- When things get quiet, I know I need to check on you. You basically know when you are doing something forbidden, so you sit very, very still...

- You are deeply opinionated and stubborn at times. We have had several mealtime battles-of-the-will over quite small matters, but you are growing to understand what it means to obey and I love to see those little evidences of grace!

- You are just a cheerful, busy, inquisitive, alert little guy, and you delight us all!

I have been in a Bible study on the Minor Prophets this fall, and so these words from Zechariah 13:9 seem especially significant:
And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

God is faithful to preserve His special chosen people, and there is nothing that can snatch one out of His hands. How we pray that you will belong to Him forever!

I love you , my sweet big boy!


Friday, September 29, 2017


 3 1/2 years old!

3 years old

2 1/2 years old

2 years old

18 months old

1 year old

11 months old

10 months old

9 months old

 8 months old

7 months old

6 months old

5 months old

4 months old

3 months old

2 months old

1 month old

2 weeks old

Dear Josiah,

It has been a wonderful 6 months since you turned 3! You have hit some big milestones.

- Potty training success! It may have been a meandering road, but you are doing a great job now, and I'm so proud of how you are taking God's help to use the potty.

- You are showing a more peaceful heart and less complaining. I'm so thankful for how you have grown lately!

- We are having a great time in our "preschool" mornings. I love having you sit on my lap to read our special book together every day (Before Five in a Row), and you are learning along with Victor many other things as well. Thank you for being a good pupil!

- You enjoy your preschool class at church too, Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. It's so sweet to pick you up after class and see your big smile and watch you interacting with new friends.

You are still my bouncing, busy big boy, and I love you so much. I love to see your heart tender toward Jesus, and I pray that the verse we've been learning this week will become a life practice for you:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6).
I love you, sweet boy!

Monday, September 25, 2017

'Tis So Sweet

You know the saying, "When it rains, it pours." Yeah, and it's truth too.

Last week, for example.

My back began hurting.
The washer broke.
Our neighbor delivered some horribly sad and troubling news about our friends across the street.
Our kitchen light stopped working.
The dryer vent came unplugged from the wall.
My tongue hurt.
Rebellion and hardness of heart seemed the prevailing attitude of one of our children.
Our youngest son screamed for two and a half hours after being put to bed one night.
My husband and son saw a mouse run across the kitchen floor.
I experienced nights of lying awake for hours, unable to sleep.

This particular list of experiences may not match your own, but I don't doubt you have walked through a similar season of "why is everything going wrong?"

And what does that do to our heart?

If you are like me, the instinctive response is an ugly combination of fear, frustration, anger, questioning, and self-pity. Sometimes bitterness, jealousy of others (who may have had a good day), and unkindness join the mix. To be honest, I can even feel justified in shaking my fist at God or lashing out at the people in closest proximity to me because, well, this is really yucky.

It is not natural to me to stop for a moment and reflect on the purposes of God in it all. But in his remarkable mercy, God has chosen to speak to his people. And in his word, he even gives us some sweet glimpses of his behind-the-scenes purposes when we encounter this colorful kaleidoscope of trouble.

At the bottom of our struggle comes a beautiful promise, a promise told and reiterated throughout the Bible.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.--Philippians 1:6

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.--Romans 8:28-29

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.--James 1:2-4

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.--1 Peter 1:6-7

For this slight, momentary affliction is preparing for you an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things which are seen, but to the things that are unseen, for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.---2 Corinthians 4:17-18

It seems that, despite our instinct to trust our senses--our ability to see and make sense of all we encounter--God prizes and purposes to craft within us faith ... an ability to rest in him, hope in him, and trust him when the lights go out.

And while these "pop quizzes" of faith may not be the gift of grace that we would choose given alternate options, with the lens of truth God can help us receive them as a sweet opportunity to grow in trusting Christ.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

First Week of School

Two momentous things regarding school happened this week.

One. This was the first fall of our married lives (plus some) that Ben did not begin classes with the coming of fall! Woohoo!!!! Tremendous rejoicing, praise, thanks, joy, and gladness. God is good.

Two. This was the first fall for which we did begin official school with a few of our little cuties! It's an exciting and wonderful new experience!

First day of school pic

How big are these boys... (it's kinda hard to read, but it's on there!)

Our "school area"

First art project ... considering their non-art-talented instructor, they did great!

Acting out Josiah's first story, Yellow Ball
*using Before Five in a Row

So far the boys are excited about learning and it's been sweet to jump into school with them! More adventures ahead, no doubt! 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Sweet Little Date

This morning was super fun. Sweet friends kept the boys at their farm (having a wonderful time), so Ben and I went into Stillwater for some very fun hiking at Fairy Falls and a nice lunch right next to the river.

Talking, praying, hiking, eating, enjoying time together. A sweet gift.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Elliot's First Steps

Just look at the big man go!

Victor was there with me, and after being excited for a minute, he said sadly, "But I don't want Elliot to grow up!"

The perennial tug of a momma's heart, no?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Family Pictures

How blessed we are.



THANKS and photo credit to Betsy Banowetz, the lovely artistic sister...