Tag Archives: celebrate

37 & Still Wishing

I turned 37 yesterday. And I’m slowly emerging from my gluten-free chocolate cake coma to write down some thoughts about it all 🙂 I love birthdays. I believe another year is a gift. I don’t deserve the life I’m living, but I’m grateful for each day I am given with my loves.

But, let’s face it…37 years of wear and tear. I was noticing yesterday morning my newly acquired “how do you say that word in portuguese?” crease above my nose, and “homeschooling 3 boys” lines across my forehead; wondering what another year would hold. From here came my thoughts for this year.

What we see depends mainly on what we look for. | John Lubbock

I believe that much of what we find is a result of what we’re looking for. If we’re looking for the bad {in situations, people, circumstances}, we will certainly find it. This is so easy to do–it just comes so darn natural to many of us. But if we’re looking for the good {in situations, people, circumstances}, it is most certainly there too!

If I’m looking for wrinkles, they’re there. But I would rather focus on all the laughter and life and learning that has etched those lines, because that’s there too!
If I’m finding annoyance in all the inconveniences of our electricity just shutting off for 5 hours here and there, or going to pull a roasted chicken from the oven for hungry tummies only to find a RAW chicken because the gas tank on our stove had run out…oh, it’s there. But I want to find gratitude in what we have rather than don’t have…oh my goodness is it ever there too! My cup overflows.
If I’m focusing on all the ways that celebrating my birthday here is different than 35 of my other birthdays, they’re there. But if instead I seek to delight in discovering new traditions and experiencing more firsts, it’s there too…often in such surprising ways 🙂

You want to see beauty? Look for it! Fix your gaze upon it. Marvel in it. Dwell on it.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. | Philippians 4:8

Should the Lord give me another year, I want to spend it becoming an expert in looking for the good in all. Because it’s always there.

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That’s my birthday wish.


Golden Years

It’s my parents’ Golden Anniversary!
Fitty years! C’MON now er’body…holla!!!
[OR in the spirit of 1964, a more proper greeting]

Oh mom and dad, if I weren’t a continent away, you know I would be going to Cedar Point today! (Just kidding 🙂 )
How I wish we were there to fill your home with golden balloons and your lawn with those who have stood by your side through the years to come party and have “a gas”! (You may have to be over 60 to catch that, or look it up.)
But, I’m here…so I write.

Fifty years ago…
average yearly income: $6,000
minimum wage: $1.15/hour
gallon of gasoline: 25 cents
gallon of milk: 93 cents
average cost of a new car: $3,500
brand new Ford Mustang: $2,320
average house price: $3,360
average monthly pent: $115
loaf of bread: 21 cents
US postal stamp: 5 cents
ticket to the movies: $1.25
ticket to Broadway: under $10
Are we having fun yet?

Fifty years ago…Diet Pepsi was introduced. Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin were born. Lucky Charms and Pop-Tarts made their appearance on supermarket shelves. US decided to enter the Vietnam War. The Beatles debuted on Ed Sullivan Show. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer aired on TV. Arby’s opened. And my dad and mom said “I do” on May 23, 1964.filename-1You guys, what a reason to celebrate!!

1/2 a CENTURY!
18,250 DAYS!
438,000 HOURS!
26,280,000 MINUTES!
1,576,800,000 SECONDS!
of I still do.

I am sure a few of those 1,576,800,000 seconds probably didn’t seem like “happily ever after.” A LOT has changed in the last 50 years. Besides the above…plans changed, wars broke out, soldiers drafted, tantrums happened (referring to us kids, of course 🙂 ), jobs ended, uncertainties surfaced, the nest emptied…to name a few.
BUT! Some things have never changed, like your commitment to have and to hold…for better OR worse, richer OR poorer, in sickness AND in health. I am sure vows have been put to the test. But, there has never been a time in my life when I wondered whether your marriage would make it until “death do us part.” How rare and priceless that is.
of you’re still the one.

Torquato Tasso, an Italian poet said it well: Perduto è tutto il tempo che in amor non si spende.
You guys have lived it well: Lost is all the time that you do not spend in love.
While the 50th Anniversary has been named the Golden Year, I’d say you have strived to make all your years together golden. You have been refined by fire and come out purer than ever.
of conscious coupling.

Your love that goes deeper than how you feel is a gift.
Your resolve to encourage the heck out of others is a blessing.
Your commitment to look for the lovely and focus on the positive is an inspiration.
Oh, how I wish today we could give back a fraction of all that you have given to us.
of experiencing and giving God’s grace.

Being away makes me long all the more for the Golden Years ahead!
For that One Fine Day when our Bridegroom returns for us.
When we are carried across the threshold into the place He is preparing for His bride.
Forget golden balloons…we’re gonna dance on golden streets!
For all these days we have to catch up on, we will have eternity together!

You raised us to face the sun for good pictures. (As your eldest says “OK everyone, now stare directly into the sun!”) You also taught us to face the Son, because the best is yet to come…
So also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.
He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to
all who are eagerly waiting for Him.
(Hebrews 9.28)

Dad and Mom, you are one fine golden example of love and commitment.
Today, we celebrate YOU! Always, we love you dearly.

3-Dozen Years worth of thoughts

I turned 36 this week. My love spoiled me with fresh-squeezed orange juice and a hand-made table that looks like it’s straight from the pages of Restoration Hardware.
My boys showered me with all sorts of cards and wrapped up treasures. Jude even gave me my very own lip gloss! (which happened to be the same tube I gave him 4 months ago 😉 )
My parents brought me a crockpot! And smiles and memories and help and fun…
The staff ladies here surprised me with “happy birthday” in english and gluten-free cake!
2014-04-09 11.37.11Something about this birthday seems different. I don’t feel any older, except when I make the trek up the hill to our house in the heat of the day. Then I feel every dozen-worth of years. And maybe a few too many dozen-worth of pĂŁo de queijos too 🙂

I just can’t help but think back to how different things were a year ago…
when I was able to drive wherever I needed to go. By myself.
I could invite ladies over and hold conversations with them. About heart matters.
I knew where to find the best deals. On anything from rice flour to shoes.
I could take my kids to the doctor. And I could visit the female doctor…without a translator.
I had a quiet house for a few hours a day.
The ability to form intelligent sentences. Share deep thoughts.
I got all of the mail that was mailed to me. And people got mail I mailed to them.

I like feeling confident. Competent. Capable.
But, now?
Honestly, some days I feel more crippled than anything.
While that’s not really comfortable, I’m finding it’s not the worst thing.
I’m inspired by these guys who don’t either.

We were getting to know a group of students in our home a few weeks ago. Andre asked us all to share one thing that’s essential to our being – one thing that if it was taken away, you would not be you. My mind went from being crafty and thrifty, to enjoying cooking and time with close friends…
What happens when those have been taken away? (I still like to cook, but not having a dishwasher takes some of the enjoyment out of it, if you know what I mean.)
What happens when what used to seem “essential” to my being is not yet in bloom in this season of life?
As I was stumbling over what to say, it helped me see that having those taken away is not the worst thing either. Because it is peeling away layers of false competence. Superficial assurance.

I know I’m not the only one out there who feels at times like they are limping along, for whatever reason. I just want to encourage you…you are not alone!

This song has become precious to us these days. I can’t listen to it loud enough. Maybe that’s because deep down we all need this shouted into our hearts sometimes:
Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Savior’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all

This too shall pass. We will look back on these days and laugh about all my communication blunders, like when a lady offered me ice cream this week and I told her “No thank you. I only eat.” (Instead of “I already ate.”) Ok…maybe we’re laughing now about it 🙂

We’ve been here 4 months.
Until I get the hang of this language, it’s gonna feel crippling, limiting, weakening.

But 36 years is long enough for me to have learned that if His strength is made perfect in weakness, then isn’t this season from the kind hand of our Father?
For when we are weak, He is strong!
And HIS strength is exactly what needs to be essential to my being.

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty,
((even though sometimes my kids feel like they don’t have a friend here OR
some days I have no idea what I’m doing homeschooling AND trying to learn a language))
YET I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! 
The Sovereign LORD is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.

Habakkuk 3.17-19

Sublime Nine

Has it really only been 9 years since I met this little man?

Can hardly remember the world without our Jackson Paul. His zeal for life and adventure is so fun! He will always choose to run an errand instead of stay at home or be outside rather than watch TV. He loves fishing and soccer and all that goes with those–fish, worms, mud, water, lures, canoeing; running, World Cup, Brasil, Neymar…you name it. So you can imagine how he wanted to spend his special day.

Between being the middle child and being all-boy, I can tell if it’s been awhile since we’ve had time just him and I. We have had to work to find our “thing.” He’s not really one to let me read him a book or play Legos with me. But ask him to go for a bike ride, and it’s not a minute before his shoes are on and his bike is on the sidewalk. That’s our special time. I let him lead. I follow. I used to think he needed that time. But soon realized I do too. Sometimes he just needs to get me out on the trail and tell me what’s really bugging him. Sometimes we come back without having said a word. But everything has changed.

Lively, funny, messy, impulsive, caring, passionate, encouraging…scoots right up to the top of a climbing wall on the first try like he’s a pro (he’s on the left).
He’s just a great kid. And when times get rough, it’s time for us to take a bike ride.
Just the 2 of us.

Double Digits

Our little man turned ten this week. 10!
We have officially entered the uncharted territory of Double Digits.
I can hardly believe we’re here. The night before his birthday, I just sat by his bed while he slept. Thanking God for his life. Thinking of all he has been through and all that is now known and overcome. Praying for all that is to come. I was a sentimental mess. Wasn’t it just yesterday we were dressing him in a coming-home-from-the-hospital outfit? And now he is asking “Have you heard of skinny jeans and could I get a pair sometime?” We’ve heard the tweenage stories out there, but I just have a feeling this is going to be fun.

We have been taking turns for who gets a party each year, so as not to have 3 parties in 2 months. But since next year we hope to be in Brazil and who knows who there will be to party with us, we’re going for it. 3 parties in 2 months, baby.

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He was writing out the list of who he wanted to invite.
There is a special needs kid in his class, who has a full-time aid. I asked Miles if he thought that kid has ever been to a party. He thought about it, then said “let’s invite him!”
Turns out, it was his first party. We had such a blast! (And thankfully, we did not lose him.)

It is a beautiful thing to watch this boy grow.
It definitely has not been without hardship. The stuff he asks me before bed break my heart sometimes. I have to blink back tears at the honest questions of a little man trying to make sense of this broken world. And yet, our God is faithful. And He can be trusted. Even with our kids. I pray God will use the ways of this cold world to foster a tender spirit in him, a soft heart for others, a passion to live for the One who gives him breath; and that I can be there for him. Especially if we enter into those tweenage stories.