Happy Easter!

DSC_0301DSC_0312DSC_0314DSC_0317DSC_0320DSC_0324DSC_0308

Unfortunately Brandon didn’t make it into the photos this year ūüė¶ ūüė¶ but maybe I will snag a few of him later when we do an egg hunt. ¬†I know I’ve been absent on here lately, and I have so much to share soon! ¬†But for now, a few photos to say hello and Happy Easter! ¬†Easter isn’t about pretty dresses and baskets full of treats, but we are still thankful for those things.

In the midst of all of life’s complexities, our Risen Living Savior, unchanging and steadfast, is the anchor of our soul and the joy of our hearts. ¬†He makes our hearts sing. ¬†We praise you especially today, Jesus, that you FINISHED the work the Father set before you, that you kept your eyes fixed on the goal and you ran your race, the one that only you could run, and you won the prize. ¬†You are our prize and we are your prize, somehow in the mystery of grace. ¬†You make our hearts sing for joy today.

 

carrying on

DSC_0001DSC_0005DSC_0003DSC_0005 (1)DSC_0006DSC_0008DSC_0011DSC_0020DSC_0022DSC_0024DSC_0027DSC_0028DSC_0030DSC_0035DSC_0042DSC_0049DSC_0051DSC_0006 (1)DSC_0002

Buds rise quiet and swell on the branch. ¬†It’s the first week of March, everything and everyone is anxious for spring. ¬†Some days it’s already been in the low 70s, sunny and warm, and the next day it’s back in the 30s. ¬†It’s still technically winter, but spring presses in, trying to burst forth.

It seems like a fitting analogy for my own season. ¬†For this wait. ¬†Last weekend we packed our home into a large¬†box, essentially, and closed it up, everything on hold for now until we close on our home at the end of this month. ¬†We moved our bare necessities into my parent’s home nearby and have moved in with them for the interim. ¬†Such wild grace to us, this welcome mat extended¬†to our family, the carving out of space and sharing of everything so that we can walk¬†through this transition with as much normalcy as possible. ¬†Because we are here with them, my mom has been helping out even more than normal with my day-to-day tasks. ¬†She watched the kids while I went for a run the other morning–such a gift to a momma who normally squeezes in my workouts in the house during the kid’s nap time (necessary but terribly boring sometimes). ¬†It does my soul good to get out on a quiet trail and have the solitude of the woods. ¬†As I was running, enjoying the movement of feet and legs, the filling and emptying of lungs, the way the wind sounds moving through winter limbs and pines, I was aware of a hush of waiting. ¬†I don’t know really how else to describe it, only that I felt my own soul’s wait as I felt the natural world waiting in the dormancy of winter for spring. ¬†Everything is still alive, though it has the appearance of death. ¬†Everything is holding life though it has the appearance of barrenness. ¬†But the life cycle demands that death and dormancy must happen so that new life can burst forth.

We resist our own winters.  We resist periods of death and dormancy and waiting.  We resist pain of any sort, of course.  Yet it is good to remember that it is necessary, this winter, so that spring can come.  And spring will come.

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19

We are in this beautiful and awkward season of in-between. ¬†Our home packed up, waiting for the word that this home we have been working toward will in fact be our own. ¬†We haven’t shown the home to the children¬†yet. ¬†They’ve ridden out this transition well, but not without some tears and questions and some “I wanna go home!” ¬†Meanwhile we are in a period of waiting for answers on Phoebe’s health. ¬†She is nearing the end of this three month elimination diet, and soon we will do more blood work and likely another endoscopy. ¬†All around the same time as our closing on the home and moving in.

How appropriate it seems, that our own family story would coincide with the seasons, the melting of winter into spring. ¬†I can’t help but also think of this lenten season, the time during the church calendar when we remember Jesus’ death and sacrifice for us so that we may that much more enjoy and celebrate the resurrection (Easter).

So we embrace this season of holy hush, the waiting, the discomfort of it, because we know that our own spring is coming.  All of the details of our story may not work out perfectly and our circumstances may continue to prove difficult, but we know that somehow God will be faithful to us and will provide all that we need.

And so we carry on.  We receive the gifts of this winter season as it comes to an end.  We enjoy this special time with my parents and sharing life together.  We keep on with school, with our piles of library books, with knitting and other little family rhythms.  The kids find new trees to climb and places to make a fort.  We look for the early signs of spring, the blooming forsythia, the green pressing up through soil.  We pay attention to the birds, noticing how gladly they sing.

keeping rhythm

dsc_0002dsc_0012dsc_0016dsc_0018dsc_0023dsc_0027dsc_0028dsc_0029dsc_0031dsc_0038dsc_0045dsc_0043dsc_0070dsc_0073dsc_0006dsc_0001dsc_0002-1dsc_0004dsc_0010

Only two weeks now until we say goodbye to this little house and move on out. ¬†We have been spending the last number of weekends packing in big spurts, then trying to keep life going normally during the week. ¬†We packed the books on Saturday and our home feels a bit colorless and empty without them. ¬†There is so much to do, as anyone who has ever packed and moved knows well. ¬†But in the middle of it, life goes on, and I try to keep some semblance of normalcy going. ¬†Our daily and weekly work–cooking, schooling, reading, cleaning, outside play, trips to the library and grocery store, knitting for me in the evenings after the kids are in bed.

Thus, my random smattering of photos.  The children spread out on the floor watching movies.  Finding Philippa after nap time on top of her bookcase, having colored all over her hands and dress in colors that actually coordinated her dress.  Kombucha batches brewing on the counter, catching the afternoon light.  Children playing and snuggling and reading books on my bed.  Little random moments that make my heart happy and light and keep me grounded.

I feel that I can share with you now that we are under contract on a home, but won’t close until the end of March. ¬†We are excited but also trying to keep our emotions in check until everything goes through. ¬†It has been such an up and down journey, certainly not what we ever would have expected. ¬†Since we have about a month of limbo between this home and our new home, a sweet friend has offered for us to live in their new home in the meantime. ¬†We will put most of our stuff in storage and live fairly minimally during¬†our time there, so I’m not sure how diligently I will be blogging. ¬†Be praying if you think of it for the children, that they handle this transition well. ¬†I think they are mostly excited and will be resilient in the midst of it, and I’m guessing it will throw Philippa¬†off the most, as she has only lived in this home and has a strong love for being home, not usually sleeping well anywhere else. ¬†I’m hoping by keeping some of our family rhythms going, we can provide a sense of consistency.

All this upheaval and change in the midst of our ongoing battle for Phoebe’s health and the uncertain future ahead has me so thankful¬†that we make our home in God alone, wherever we are wandering on this earth. ¬†He is our home, He is our security. ¬†He is our constant in a wild storm. ¬†There really can be peace in the midst of the tumult. ¬†Why do I forget this every time? ¬†Sometimes every day? ¬†I am thankful also for that sense that wherever Brandon is, wherever my children are, that is where home is for me. ¬†What kind of walls hold us and who owns them doesn’t matter too terribly much. ¬†Trials¬†of any sort always pare life down to the basics, the simple and small things that matter most.

In Him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

looking back

I feel sort of silly posting about Christmas, but a blogger friend reminded me recently that we blog in part to keep a little family scrapbook. ¬†I sort of hate how quickly everything moves, everyone always looking ahead to the next thing. ¬†We can’t help it. ¬†In some ways it is our nature, our way of hurrying on ahead of the unpleasantness of the moment we’re currently in. ¬†Casting our eyes onto the hazy future that looks so much more appealing than this dreary now. ¬†Anyway.

So here are some snaps from our Christmas of 2016. ¬†A sweet little Christmas it was. ¬†Being that we have two kids’ birthdays that week, we try to keep things really slow and minimal in terms of festivities we are running around to. ¬†Brandon’s sister came to stay with us for Christmas weekend, which was a real treat for us and the kids! ¬†She surprised us with an awesome family gift of a telescope. ¬†We are really excited to play around with it more, especially as we talk about constellations soon in our homeschool co-op. ¬†We decided not to do any gift opening on Christmas Eve. ¬†We had a quiet evening together instead, and did a little singing by the candlelight. ¬†Christmas morning the kids slept in until maybe 8 am I think, until we finally went and woke them up. ¬†We hadn’t put any gifts out around the tree until after they were in bed on Christmas Eve so that little hands wouldn’t be messing with presents, and we hoped it would be a delight to them to see how full the tree was with presents. ¬†Brandon and I tried to buy each child only one main Christmas gift and then fill their stockings with little fun and practical things. ¬†They were completely showered by grandparents and aunties and uncles. ¬†Our parents absolutely spoiled Brandon and I, too. ¬†I know gift-giving gets a bad rap in our day and age, and in some ways we wrestle with that as well. ¬†How quickly our hearts make Christmas about someone giving us something! ¬†Or about getting that “perfect gift” for our kids. ¬†There may be some years ahead where we choose not to exchange gifts. ¬†For now, it is really the only time of year that we wrap up gifts for one another and it is such a joy to give to do so.

I was surprised this year with how well Christmas morning went.  We had a Christmas a couple of years ago where everyone single one of us cried that morning at some point and it took us awhile to recover the day.  We were bracing ourselves for lots of squabbling and grumpiness and dissatisfaction, but our children really enjoyed themselves and watching each other open gifts.

When the kids woke up we let them open stockings.  Daddy read them the Christmas story from the bible.  Then we had breakfast, a yummy gluten-free coffee cake with eggs and bacon.

We filled their stockings with some gluten-free chocolates and candies, new wooden brushes for the girls (because they are always stealing mine), a wooden snake for noah, new water bottles, a knitting fork for phoebe, a small set of blocks for philippa, a lacing toy each for phoebe and noah, and bonnets for the girls. ¬†Phoebe has loved hers, Philippa still won’t let me try hers on. ¬†She’s not a big fan of hats or hair ties. ¬†But I plan to use them a ton in the summer as they offer such great coverage!

After breakfast we began opening gifts. ¬†They received so many fun things from family members: new dresses and tights for the girls, a new sweater for noah, a toy plane and matchbox car semi truck for noah, lots of crafty things like a beginning knitters kit for phoebe and beeswax modeling sheets (since we can’t have play dough in the house). ¬†A toy drum and tea set for philippa. ¬†Some new books. ¬†Our gift to Phoebe was an indian dress-up costume and a nice bow and arrow set. ¬†She has been obsessed with playing “indians” (I’m sure that is not PC to say anymore) since reading Island of the Blue Dolphins and the Indian Captive earlier in the year. ¬†We gave Noah a big truck that carries a yellow excavator on the back. ¬†It was Brandon’s idea, I thought it was a bit redundant but he informed me that a boy can never have too many trucks. ¬†We gave Philippa a wooden dollhouse.

Brandon really loved the hat I knitted for him, and I’m relieved that it fit and that he likes the color and fit of the hat, being I wasn’t able to try it on him. ¬†My parents gave us a gorgeous pottery dish set made by a friend of theirs. ¬†Eight new plates, mugs, and bowls! ¬†It got me really excited about moving and hopefully buying our first home soon. ¬†I’ve packed them away for now, to wait until that day when we can open them in our new home.

As the Lord would have it, I was reading to the kids in our bible study time this morning from Luke chapter 2. ¬†We were reflecting back on the prophecy in Micah about a savior being born in the city of Bethlehem. ¬†Caesar Augustus ordered a census, which caused Mary and Joseph to have to make the long trek to the city of their family’s heritage. ¬†Bethlehem. ¬†Virgin Mary, pregnant with the Son of God. ¬†Making it to the city of Bethlehem just in time for that baby boy to be born. ¬†Because of the order of the Roman governor. ¬†According to the timeframe and perfect foreknowledge of our God. ¬†In the fulness of time, at just the right time (Gal. 4:4)¬†the Savior was born. ¬†God’s time and way works within and through the circumstances of human history. ¬†It bends and obeys Him, unbeknownst to it.

So even know, with January well under way and my mind full with what is ahead in the year 2017, Christmas still teaches. ¬†In the fulness of time, at just the right time–God will work for you and for I in the very human circumstances of our lives.

back in the swing of things

dsc_0015dsc_0017dsc_0027-1dsc_0030dsc_0007dsc_0041dsc_0045dsc_0054dsc_0060dsc_0069dsc_0070dsc_0073dsc_0078-1dsc_0082dsc_0084dsc_0089dsc_0095dsc_0096-1dsc_0102dsc_0103dsc_0109dsc_0110dsc_0111dsc_0114dsc_0116dsc_0018dsc_0003dsc_0096dsc_0006dsc_0123dsc_0126dsc_0133dsc_0134dsc_0136dsc_0142dsc_0144dsc_0152dsc_0153dsc_0155dsc_0158dsc_0164dsc_0169dsc_0174dsc_0162dsc_0177dsc_0182dsc_0185dsc_0186dsc_0190dsc_0191-1dsc_0193dsc_0001dsc_0004-1

It’s quiet enough in the house to hear the faint trickling of water in the gutters, snow melting from our rooftop after days of blanketing the ground. ¬†We don’t normally keep snow for a few consecutive days in these North Carolina mountains, but the temps have been low enough, giving us days of sledding and soggy peeled off boots and layers piled by the door. ¬†I haven’t posted yet about Christmas. ¬†I haven’t posted my new year reflections and hopes. ¬†I haven’t been reading much this week. ¬†I had a migraine that’s lasted for about four days. ¬†It seems to be on its way out today, just barely there. ¬†Phoebe has been on an extremely restricted diet as of Sunday, and my days and mental capacity have been filled with getting back into the swing of homeschooling and feeding her. ¬†I’m spending hours in the kitchen every day just trying to keep up and come up with ways to get her to eat. ¬†It’s going better than I expected, but it’s a lot of work, so not much margin left for other things. ¬†I miss this space and blogging and hope to catch up on those posts soon. ¬†Do any of you still care to even see Christmas pictures? ūüôā

I have, however, been knitting because I crave knitting for my sanity! ¬†It is so peaceful, so unwinding. ¬†During the snowstorm I cast on a few new items. ¬†What is it about falling snow that makes one want to cast on and knit everything?? ¬†I’m trying to force myself to finish Noah’s sweater and stay focused. ¬†All it needs now is the buttonhole placket which I hope to finish tonight, then sewing on buttons. ¬†I have so so loved knitting with Shelter and have so loved this pattern that it is a little bittersweet to be on the last few rows of it. ¬†I plan to knit him a hat with the one leftover skein, as he requested. ¬†I can’t wait to wrap it up and let him open it. ¬†I really want to knit mitts and slippers for each of the kids, too. ¬†And cowls! ¬†And hats! ¬†Before winter is over! ¬†ūüôā

Linking up with Ginny’s yarn along today to share what I’m currently knitting + reading.

the night raccoon

dsc_0020dsc_0021dsc_0004dsc_0005dsc_0008-1dsc_0010dsc_0012dsc_0014dsc_0016dsc_0023dsc_0008dsc_0027-1dsc_0030dsc_0032dsc_0036dsc_0040dsc_0041dsc_0045dsc_0046dsc_0051dsc_0055dsc_0060-1dsc_0064

The boy who doesn’t like opening presents, who hides from his cake and goes under the table when people start singing him “happy birthday.” ¬†He likes a small and simple day. ¬†We let him open a few gifts from grandparents in the morning before daddy left for work so he had a few things to play with. ¬†We walked to the park and he tried out his new crossbow. ¬†Daddy came home from work early so he didn’t have to wait too long for the rest of his presents. ¬†He requested pancakes and bacon for dinner, which was a thrill to the girls. ¬†So we had that plus chocolate birthday cake. ¬†He opened his gift from us which was a drum set, and it definitely was the highlight of his day. ¬†We were so happy to be able to surprise him with something so unexpected. ¬†He loves drumming and had asked for a drum awhile ago, and usually can be found beating to the rhythm of music with two railroad track pieces on the couch cushions. ¬†I didn’t finish his sweater in time which is a disappointment, he even asked about it, but I’m almost done with it now and will share pictures soon. ¬†I really can’t believe how much he’s grown in the last year and how he has transformed from a little baby to this big gangly kid. ¬†So weird.

I left his cake on the table after we enjoyed some so that we could bathe the kids and get them to bed. ¬†Usually Brandon and I will shower and get in our jammies after the kids are down. ¬†We came out after our shower and Noah was standing at our door (out of his bed) with his hands in his mouth. ¬†Brandon noticed he was all chocolatey around his mouth and at first told him he was going to spank him, then he started smirking and said, “well you’re just so darn cute and it is your birthday, but get back in bed.” ¬†We were chuckling that he would get out of bed knowing we were in the shower and go sneak a bite more of his cake. ¬†Little did we know until we came back into the kitchen what he had actually done. ¬†(I wish I had thought to get a picture of it!) ¬†His cake was scraped nearly clean, covered in little claw marks everywhere. ¬†He had literally licked the icing off the entire cake. ¬†Three days later on Phoebe’s birthday he snuck out of bed and licked the icing off of HER cake too, even though I had put it higher on the counter. ¬†So he’s become a little night raccoon sneaking into our kitchen after bedtime. ¬†He is quiet, this one, but mischievous.

 

where we are

dsc_0209

I’m packing up Christmas today and trying to tidy the house. ¬†I needed a silly happy picture to add here to cheer up this post a bit. ¬†I’ve dreamt the last two nights about packing boxes. ¬†We have to move out of this sweet little home and we don’t know where we’re going yet. ¬†God knows, and it is all in His hands. ¬†So it’s a bit bittersweet, our last Christmas in this house that has held some very dear and difficult years in our family story. ¬†But we look to what’s ahead and we fix our eyes on eternity’s shores and we smile. ¬†We’re just pilgrims here, anyway.

I wanted to write a quick post to update you dear loved ones on where we are with Phoebe. ¬†I’ve posted¬†a bit about her health here and on other social media outlets, mainly because I have felt that God has called our family¬†to live¬†this story openly. ¬†To share as much of the process of it and the aching unknown of it as we can because, friends, this is life! ¬†So much uncertainty! ¬†It would be far more comfortable for me to share with you all the tidy finishes and the nice happy endings, but so many of you are in the middle of your own unknowns. ¬†So many of you are facing unfamiliar terrain, loss, grief, hurts, bad news of your own. ¬†Those of us who have lived just a little measure of time here on planet earth know what it means to suffer. ¬†You just can’t get through life here unscathed.

I don’t know what the end of this story is going to be. ¬†It hasn’t gone at all like any of us expected. ¬†Even her medical team is finding her case to be perplexing. ¬†That’s never encouraging. ¬†How will God work this out? ¬†How is He going to provide for us? ¬†What is His purpose in this? ¬†Purposes, rather, because I know He is working on so many levels. ¬†Why has He entrusted this to us? ¬†I don’t know. ¬†But I believe He wants us to make Him known in it, to share how He is caring for us, how He is carrying us, how He is sustaining, how He is providing, how He is meeting us and satisfying us even in this painful reality.

I hope that brings hope to you, dear reader, in your own aching unknown.

Phoebe was diagnosed with celiacs disease a year and a half ago, after feeding issues and growth issues since basically day one of her sweet life. ¬†It was a relief to finally have an answer, scary and difficult as that answer was. ¬†We have continued to wait for the response to the gluten-free diet that we should have seen with Phoebe, but it hasn’t really come. ¬†She has had spurts of growth, then she will lose weight again. ¬†She has spurts of a better appetite, then she will refuse foods and seem more tired. ¬†She has basically all the same symptoms that she had at the beginning. ¬†People kept telling us to be patient, that it can take 9-12 months for the gut to fully heal, but we passed that mark and Phoebe seemed to take a turn for the worse. ¬†We recently had more blood work done and her results showed a fairly elevated level of antibodies. ¬†This would normally indicate that she’s been ingesting gluten somehow. ¬†However,¬†without belaboring details, we are 99% confident that she has not. ¬†Thus they wondered if the tTg could be inaccurate and ordered another endoscopy and colonoscopy to also check for Crohn’s disease, another autoimmune disease. ¬†We just received her results a few days ago. ¬†The doctor found blood speckled all through her stomach and small bowel, which she believes is irritation from stomach acid. ¬†The other parts of her body seem normal, but her small intestine is showing severe active celiac. ¬†This is terribly discouraging to me, because her body is acting like she is ingesting gluten, and is attacking itself as if it is, but she isn’t.

At this point, we wonder if she is experiencing a cumulative build-up effect of eating trace amounts of gluten which  is allowed in gluten-free products.  We will probably pull out all grain and dairy from her diet and see if she improves.  The difficulty with this is that phoebe is the pickiest eater ever, and she has never really eaten meat or vegetables.  We do regularly work with her on this, and have also worked with a feeding team in the past to help her, but have never made much progress.  She will try very hard to cooperate and it usually ends with her gagging and then vomiting.  Grains and dairy  and fruit are the bulk of her diet, and to take more away is very hard for a 6 year old.  We fear that she will just stop eating, as she has done in the past when we tried going grain and dairy free.  If this is the case, we will start a feeding tube.  If she still does not improve on this diet, then we will have to begin steroids and immune suppression.

This news has felt devastating because we have worked so hard and sacrificed so much in the past year and a half and it feels like we’ve made no progress. ¬†Of course, we have made a lot of progress, but in my heart I was hoping we would be seeing improvement by now rather than still grappling with unknowns.

So this is where we are. ¬†No clear answers yet but at least a direction to pursue. ¬†For those of you who want to pray along with us–pray for us as we break this news to Phoebe. ¬†Pray for her to be willing to let go of a lot of her new favorites and learn to like other things. ¬†Pray for this route to bring answers very quickly as I don’t feel we have much time to wait for improvement. ¬†Pray for wisdom and guidance for us and her doctors and dietitians. ¬†Pray for provision for us. ¬†Pray for me to be joyful and focused and lighthearted as we move forward, rather than weary and heavy as I feel right now. ¬†Pray and watch with us for healing, total and complete.

So many of you love my girl so much and so well, and I can’t tell you what that means. ¬†We will keep you posted as we go!

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
(Psalm 46:1-3)

my strawberry girl

DSC_0251.jpgdsc_0223dsc_0226dsc_0232dsc_0245dsc_0235dsc_0024dsc_0026dsc_0028dsc_0033dsc_0077dsc_0038dsc_0039-1dsc_0044dsc_0047dsc_0046dsc_0055dsc_0087dsc_0097dsc_0104dsc_0106-1dsc_0107dsc_0109dsc_0110dsc_0112dsc_0116dsc_0122

She tells me her phoebe sweater¬†is one of her favorite gifts and she’s been cozying up in it every day at some point. ¬†The yarn relaxed so much after blocking it that even though I made a size 6 for my petite little 6 year old, it still is quite big and will fit her for a few years if she takes good care of it. ¬†I loved knitting it and am so glad it is cozy and warm and a cheery red for her. ¬†It reminds me of the bright red cardinals we see flitting around in the drab winter scenery, little spots of color in the long winter. ¬†The bonnet was one of her stocking gifts, she has asked for one for months.¬† I think this one is so cute and it will get lots of wear. ¬†We gave her the book “Phoebe’s Sweater” along with it, which has the knitting patterns in the back.

Her birthday this year was really calm and quiet and peaceful. ¬†She wanted to open all of her presents before daddy went to work so we let her. ¬†We gave her a violin and the sweater I had knit her. ¬†Brandon had picked out a special necklace for her, it looks sort of “indian-ish” so it goes well with her latest imaginary play. ¬†She had a few other gifts to open from her grandparents. ¬†She wanted to go to the park to play, the one that has swings, so we spent the morning there. ¬†The weather has been fairly mild lately so it was really nice to be out. ¬†I let her skip her “quiet time” after lunch and we worked on her new legos and then snuggled and watched a christmas movie. ¬†I baked her cake that morning, a gluten-free funfetti cake with my own buttercream icing and I covered it in strawberries because she loves them so. ¬†She was soo excited about her cake, as you can see.

six

DSC_0082.jpg

There were no gifts under the tree that year. ¬†We didn’t really even notice, which is a wonder for me, a gift lover. ¬†Our hearts were caught up in anticipating a baby. ¬†I was as any first time mom would be: nervous, anxious, excited, filled with wonder and worry and dread and joy all at once. ¬†It lent a whole new meaning to the Christmas story, to the Advent season, to the waiting for the coming of the promised One.

And then you came, so quickly, taking us all by surprise. ¬†I called the midwife at 6am on that December 23 morning, she said to take my time coming in, but I felt an urgency to get to the hospital. ¬†By the time we left the house for the 45 minute drive to the hospital, I was desperate to get there, contractions coming in wave after wave without a break between. ¬†We got there, checked in, chatted with the midwife for a few moments, and suddenly I was in transition. ¬†Within an hour or so of arriving at the hospital, you were born. ¬†In about three pushes, they laid you on my belly and I just remember your dark quiet stare. ¬†We didn’t have time to think about medicating, we didn’t have time to call family before suddenly there you were. ¬†The midwife sat down heavy in the rocking chair at the foot of my bed and said, “Wow. ¬†Now that’s how it’s done. ¬†You need to give classes to all these other ladies on the LND floor.” ¬†I felt proud, but the reality was, it wasn’t really because of anything I did. ¬†My labor with Noah was far longer and far more difficult with complications to boot. ¬†Its crazy how little of it is up to us, anyway. ¬†“Birth plans” and such–an illusion of control.

From day one until this day, six years later, it’s never been in my control. ¬†What a year we’ve had, you and I. ¬†In a way different than the other children, I feel like we grow up together–you, the firstborn, and I. ¬†You, the one who throws challenges at us that we are hardly practiced for, and we learn as we walk through¬†them with you.

You amaze me as you grow. ¬†I can’t believe we are one-third of our way through our parenting journey with you. ¬†Only twelve more years until you’ll be free and ready to take off on your own little wings. ¬†I hate the thought! ¬†I can’t believe its gone already and I’ll never have it back, all those precious baby years with you, so tiny and so new. ¬†Yet each year with you is so much fun, as you grow and change and become more and more your own little person.

I love everything about you. ¬†I want you to know, you are¬†so very special,¬†my phoebe girl. ¬†God has mighty plans for you. ¬†He’s already working in you and through you. ¬†He has entrusted hardships to you at a young age,¬†and He will be faithful to see you through. ¬†He will be faithful to carry you all the way. ¬†He may not remove the thorn, sweet one, even though we so wish He would. ¬†But He will bring great good from it, so much good that you will one day marvel with great joy and say, “The¬†Lord¬†is¬†good to all,
¬†¬†¬†¬†and his mercy is over all that he has made…The¬†Lord¬†is¬†righteous in all his ways
¬†¬†¬†¬†and¬†kind in all his works.” ¬†(Psalm 145:9,17) ¬†ALL of it. ¬†All. ¬†We won’t understand a fraction¬†of it, but we have this promise in black and white–He is good to all, He is righteous in all¬†that He chooses to allow or cause.

You are still one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received in my life, you are such a treasure. ¬†Through you God keeps teaching me that I’m not in control here–He is. ¬†I’m so so proud of you, all your hard work, your willingness to try things that are scary and difficult for you, your quick turn to repentance when you’ve done wrong, your courage and bravery and general usual state of HAPPY. ¬†I just love you so. ¬†I treasured our day together today, playing together, snuggling, just keeping it simple, thanking God for the gift of life.

I love you so

Mommy