Friday, December 30, 2011

SIX!


To our duct-tape loving, huge imagination having, history-buff in the making, brother loving, great encouraging, crazy story telling, sweet hug giving, never ending talker, mind-blowing memory having, nature loving first born, happy birthday!  Dear one, you bring joy to our days with your questions, explanations and never ending energy.  May God continue to shape you into the awesome man He made you to be.  May your heart be His and your life forever bring Him glory.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Meaningful Digressions

The presents have all been unwrapped and most have survived their first few days of play.  (All but the erector set.  It is not child (or parent) friendly and was taken back apart to be returned to the store.  After spending 2 hours putting it together, one can clearly see why Legos won the battle for supremacy among constructive toys...but I digress.)


The tree stands tall, still very beautiful, but losing more needles daily.  (We traditionally leave it up till New Year's Day, so it will come down next week.  This year, I am a little wistful about that, wondering if this will be our last traditional tree for awhile.  Wondering what ornaments will be packed for long term storage, given to special people, which few will we try to take with us to bring us cheer next Christmas...wondering where will we be next Christmas...but I digress.) 

The boys have played intently with the toys they received.  (This year, we stuck by our guns and really tried to simplify the gifts we gave our boys.  We have talked about the need to do this for a couple of years now.  Actually doing it is MUCH harder than just talking about it.  Up till the very last moment, I worried if it was "enough."  By society's standards, it surely was not.  But measuring the joy we all experienced Christmas morning, it was very much enough...but I digress.)

Christmas has come and gone once more. (If I had one word to describe this Christmas for us, I would say it was peaceful.  We were not running around at the last minute, but enjoyed a restful Christmas eve, a beautiful, meaningful Christmas eve service and a Christmas day spent entirely in PJ's.  We played games, did puzzles, built Lego contraptions (and one frustrating erector set that will go down on the toys of doom list.)  We treasured time with loved ones (albeit some on Skype) and ate some really yummy food...which we burned off the day after Christmas by visiting a local jump house.  Huge inflatables + 2 energetic boys = 2 tired parents...but I digress.) 

Here is to hoping your Christmas was blessed and full of meaningful digressions!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas Walk

You slip your hand into my hand as we walk side by side.  How perfectly it fits.  I remember how your tiny fist once gripped my finger, in reflex, in love.  We chat about Christmas coming and you sing "dingle bell, dingle bell" as we walk along.  I look into your deep brown eyes and see pure joy shining.  For a brief moment, I think back to when I first looked into your eyes and fell instantly in love with the baby I held so tightly in my arms.   

My heart flashes to a different mom, a young mom who has just given birth.  Scared, exhausted and overflowing with love, she looks into her baby boy's eyes, pondering what the angel meant.  His tiny fist wraps around her finger and her heart leaps.  She gentle caresses his forehead, running her finger over his perfect nose and sweet little mouth.  For this is her son.  For this is God's son.

And then I can't help but think of that same mom many years later.  When she saw the nails driven into her son's hands, did she remember how he would slip his hand into hers when they were walking?  Does she look into his eyes full of pain and suffering, remembering the way they would crinkle up at the edges when he laughed?  Does she reach out her hand to emptiness as she reflexively seeks to wipe the blood from his battered face?  Does her heart flash back to that stable, that night, that moment she first held her son, God's son?

We have finished our walk, too quickly this time.  I bend down to wrap my arms around your tiny body, engulfing you in a hug that I don't want to end.  Thankful for my son.  Thankful for that long ago mom.  Thankful for her son, God's son.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Africable?

There is a new phrase being bounced around the Richly Supplied household... Africable. 

As we consider what gifts to give to each other this Christmas, the biggest determining factor (besides price) is whether or not we think we will be able to take it with us to Mozambique, Africa.  While the day of our leaving might seem a long ways away now, we do not want to be investing our money in things that will not make the trip with us.   (Our faith goal is to be heading to language school in Brazil by the end of this coming summer.  Nine months to a year later, we should be in Moz.  Of course, all of this is dependent on us raising the financial support to fulfill our budget set by Wycliffe.) 

As we look around our house and consider the things we already have and the things that we might add in the future, we are asking over and over again, is it Africable?

So what determines if something is Africable? 

Size is a big factor.  We will only be taking suitcases with us and will not be shipping a container or anything like that.  Only so many things will fit in a suitcase- though, there is some talk about taking apart bicycles to bring along. 

Weight is another big factor.  Airlines have limits on the amount of weight a bag can carry.  Check that- you can carry as heavy a bag as you want, you just have to pay an arm and a leg if it goes over the weight set by the airline.  I guess my cast iron pans aren't going to make the cut. 

In the end, one of the biggest factors is the emotional tie that we have to an item.  Is it something that will remind us of home when we are desperately in need of that reminder?  Will it bring familiarity, comfort and joy to our boys as their lives get turned upside down?  Will it help to keep them entertained and us sane?  These are the type questions that will really matter the most in the long run as we continue to look around at all our stuff and decide if it is Africable.

In the end, it is all really just stuff and what I am most excited about is that God is working in each of us as a family to make sure that we are all Africable ourselves.  As Nathan keeps asking, "Can I go to Mozambique too?," we can answer, "Yes, buddy, you are most definitely Africable."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Of Two Types

Two very different nativity sets grace the shelf that sits across from my front door- one of wood, roughly carved and one of delicate crystal, radiantly reflecting the lights of the nearby Christmas tree.

The more I think on it, the more these sets represent to me the fullness of Christmas itself.

Jesus, the Word, the Light of the World, Prince of Heaven, Holy, Perfect, Radiant.


Jesus, with us, becoming flesh, a carpenter, who knew hunger, thirst, and pain.


Jesus, inexplicably of two types, but yet the one and only one for which our hearts yearn, the one and only one who will transform our lives, the one and only.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14
 
**This is a favorite Christmas post of mine, originally posted December 2009.**

Friday, December 2, 2011

Joy of What is to Come

As I lay in bed, my eyes were wide with excitement in anticipation of what was to come.  Who could sleep with Christmas morning just a mere hours away?  Visions of toys and treats danced through my imagination as I waited, increasingly impatient for dawn to arrive.

Excitement.  Anticipation.  Joy of what is to come.  The season of Advent is here.  Advent...A time in which we prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate the coming of the Messiah, the Word in Flesh, Emmanuel.  Advent...A time in which to ask our souls if they are more excited about the gifts we will receive or the gift that was given long ago.  Advent...A time to share with our families the true meaning of Christmas, the babe in the manger, who grew to be the man on the cross, who is coming again one day.

I confess Advent sneaked up on me this year.  We just made our chain that helps us to count down and anticipate the coming of Christmas.  Each night, we break off a piece of the chain and read the Bible verses listed upon it, talking about what they mean in regards to Christmas.  Each morning, we will do our best to make some type of craft or baking to reflect the season. 

I have another confession to make...I didn't want to do all that this year...the effort, the mess, the preparation...but as I looked in the boys' eyes this morning, I realized once again the importance of Advent.  As I see them get more and more excited about celebrating the coming King, my heart turns toward the manger once again, my eyes wide with excitement in anticipation of what is to come.


"As man longs for a light on a dark night, so God's believing people of long ago waited and looked for the coming Light of the World, Jesus, the Desire of all nations."  
From Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring


Edited to Add: Several have asked where I got the verses I used.  Last year, I got them from here and this year I used most of them from here.  So excited that God is going to use this to turn your hearts to Him this season!

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