we celebrate

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Have you missed my posts just about our ordinary days?  I have.  There is lots of writing happening in my head, so much writing, so many things being learned and processed, but so little time to put pen to paper these days.

My heart needed to reflect on a little celebrating today.  The day before Philippa’s birthday we drove my oldest daughter, Phoebe, to Brenner’s Children Hospital in Winston Salem, NC to their celiac center.  We are about a year and a half into this diagnosis and life change, but we haven’t seen the progress we should be seeing in Phoebe, and it is time for a second opinion.  So they day before Philippa’s birthday was spent driving 5 or so hours, and meeting with doctors, lots of talking about health history and numbers and bloodwork.  Ironically, the day before I wrote this post we spent driving back and forth once again to Winston Salem for a two-week follow-up.  The news about where Phoebe is and how she’s doing isn’t good, and my heart is heavy today.  More testing ahead, surgeries, biopsies.  More blood work.  As any momma will tell you, it is so hard to go through a thing like this with your child.  You’d rather it be you any day than them.  How can you answer their questions about why God has allowed this and why He doesn’t take it away?  These are the things that break your heart.

Yet squished in between these appointments and my momma’s heart revolving around all of this with Phoebe, a little girl turned TWO.  How good of God, how appropriate of God to call us to celebrate and feast and give gifts in the very middle of our hard moments.  He knows our form, He remembers that we are dust, He knows our frailty, and He knows that when we turn our hearts to rejoice and celebrate and feast, it really can tune our attention to all His manifold goodness.

And so, again today, as I try to catch up on pictures and happenings in our family, my heavy heart looks over these pictures of my littlest one and smiles.  She is such a stinker.  She was in the WORST mood OF HER LIFE on her birthday.  I have no idea why but she really may have spent every waking moment crying or whining.  We made her cake in the morning that day, then ran some errands.  I let Phoebe and Noah each pick out a dollar gift for her from Target’s dollar spot.  Noah bought her a little wooden firetruck, Phoebe bought her a few sheets of Elsa/Anna stickers.  Later they wrapped their gifts to her and made cards.  I really love encouraging them to give gifts to one another because as we all know, it really is better to give than to receive.  It’s so fun to wrap up a gift and then watch the recipient open it with delight.  And because what mother doesn’t shamelessly force encourage her kids to like one another?  After naps, Philippa watched me ice her chocolate cake with “spinkles” (her request–they tasted horrible) and licked the icing off the spatula.  She couldn’t wait to open her gifts once she saw them so Noah let her open his early.  Poor thing, having to wait all day for celebrations!

My parents came for dinner and we sang her happy birthday and had cake and ice cream.  She opened gifts, a rocking horse from my parents which she loved so much she didn’t much care about her other gifts.  Should have saved that one for last. 😉  We got her a set of little letter blocks, and a stuffed peppa pig that talks when she squeezes it because she adores peppa.  When she opened the sweater I knit her she screamed “NO!” and chucked it behind her.  But I still love her and she will WEAR IT ANYWAY.  As you can see, I forced her  she wore it happily the next morning and I snapped a few pictures of her in it.  Once in a better mood she has enjoyed it more.  It is a bit bigger on her than I thought it would be so I may be able to get two winters out of it (woohoo!).  I really do want to knit the same sweater for myself, such a soft and rustic wool, very warm and cozy.

My mom surprised the kids with a “singing machine” recently, too, and that has been the biggest hit around here.  She gave a new pack of Adventures in Odyssey CDs, and they have been listening non stop.  The microphone is making all of Phoebe’s dreams come true, and thankfully I can send them all to the basement where the cacophony is muffled nicely.

Anyway, I’m thankful that life is a peculiar mix of joy and pain, that God calls us to celebrate and rejoice over His good gifts even when we’re having a bad day or a hard year.  As I read in Ann Voskamps’ advent book this morning:

“Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian.”
-G.K. Chesterton

There is so much joy to be had in Him even in the hard times.  I hope wherever you find yourself today, you can find your way back to joy in Him.  Our circumstances are unstable, as uncertain as shifting sand, but He remains unchanging.  Hallelujah!

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