Tuesday, December 30, 2008

In the Beginning

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."

Isn't this an amazing verse? I've started my new Bible reading plan for the year and began yesterday with Genesis 1:1. I like that the Bible starts with "In the beginning." Such a great story is to follow those words. And of course, to think about the whole idea of the heavens and the earth being created is mind boggling and awe inspiring. How does one create the earth?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Privileged

Last night (Wednesday) I saw the news of a massive winter storm headed our direction. It could bring a foot of snow, plus an inch of ice, along with temperatures way below freezing. I may experience my first "ice storm." Yikes! Then this morning I received an email that the construction crew next to our apartment complex had broken a gas line, cutting off gas to our apartment. That means no hot water and no heat. I arrived home from work to an apartment moving steadily toward 60 degrees and below. I fretted a bit about how cold it could get if the heat was not turned back on, and just how high the dishes could stack of we didn't get hot water. As I drove to the store this afternoon I saw at least 5 trucks and some heavy equipment parked around a big hole in the ground and a bunch of men working hard. Then, tonight at 4:30 the gas line was fixed and our apartment began to heat up around 6:00pm.

As I sit here in my toasty (72 degree) apartment and look forward to watching the snow fall in front of a nearby floodlight, I remember again how privileged I am. I never worry about heating my house or feeding my children or having clean water. When a gas line breaks, a dozen men are dispatched to fix it and I barely even have to deal with a twinge of worry. My life is so different than that of many millions of men, women, and children this Christmas season. To have a house as warm as I want it, to have an endless supply of clean and hot water, to have food for my children. Compared to most of the world, and most people in human history, I live a very strange and privileged life.

You may be like me, living this strange, sheltered life where the fears, so common to most people, never even cross our mind. You may be like me, and when you pray "Give us this day our daily bread," you spiritualize it, rather than thinking about real bread. You may be like me and be surrounded by strange people who think this kind of life is normal. Maybe not. Whatever the case, I am reminded today that I should be more grateful, and more humble. I am reminded of the single moms who don't know how they will pay their gas bill and buy Christmas presents this year. I am reminded of the dad who was already two months behind on his mortgage and just got layed off. And looking a little further, I am reminded of the child whose parents aren't there to protect her, and of the mom who cannot find clean water, let alone hot water. I am reminded of all this, and I want to be different. I don't want the comfortable illusion of American wealth to make me think I can protect and provide for myself. I don't want to forget God. I want to pray dependent prayers and show my girls what it means to live by faith in a God who is near to us and cares for His people. I want to be a man who cares, who remembers, and who gives. I want to be a dad who sacrifices, not only for my wife and children, but also for someone elses's children. I know this is all hard to do. Jesus said something about it being difficult for rich people (I suppose that even applies to rich people who don't seem too rich in a wealthy place like America).

I am reminded tonight that being privileged doesn't always equal being blessed. I suppose that is part of why Jesus said "it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What's Been Goin on Lately

I don't have much time to type lately! We are doing well and learning how to have 2 kids. It is more work than one, for sure. It feels full, and there are no dull moments. Some days I get absolutely nothing done except for taking care of Hope and Anna. But I'm learning to be okay with that. Anna continues to be a sweet little baby. Sometimes she doesn't go back to sleep after she eats in the middle of the night, but thankfully those times are less than the times she does go back to sleep. She stares intensely at our faces and I'm looking forward to seeing her sweet smile back to me sometime in the next weeks! She turned 1 month on Sunday. Hope still loves her sister, and is learning to adjust to our new way of living. Poor thing came down with a cold today though. Her stuffy head is a sad thing to witness.

We've had snow on the ground for the last few weeks. It has been snowing for most of today, which means we stayed home from a Christmas party tonight. The snow really is pretty. I would like it a lot if I knew it would only be here for 2 more months rather than 5! We're looking forward to having Mark's parents here on Saturday for Christmas. Fun times!
Here are a few more pictures. Apparently I really like the sister shots.
Matching Christmas dresses from Grammy and Pappy.
I love them.

Bundled up to go outside in the oh so very cold.

We hosted a little shower here last night for a friend. It was fun and all I had to do was get the apt ready and make this fancy snowman. (Idea from Chef Pam at Southern).

Little Anna in a sweet Christmasy outfit from Aunt Julie! Isn't she getting long?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Family

One of hardest parts about living away from family is that they don't get to see Hope and Anna enough. It would be great if they could witness all the growth and changes with us, and get to enjoy spending time with the girls. I'm glad we live in an age of airplanes, e-mail, digital cameras and skype so that they can get a good amount of glimpses of what's going on here in Deerfield. I think we've all learned how to make the best of it, and enjoy every minute when we're together.

We are so thankful to our family that were able to come out in the past few weeks. Mom and Dad were able to be here for Anna's birth and took care of Hope while we were in the hospital. Mark's dear Mom flew in on the day my parents left and took care of everything while we were adjusting to being at home. And Robin (Auntie Rah-Rah) was able to be here for Thanksgiving. We know it costs you in money and days off, but we REALLY appreciated getting to spend the time with you all and introducing you to Anna. Thanks for all of your help in cooking, cleaning and taking care of Hope. She really loves you!


Grammy and Anna.



Pappy and Hope the night before Anna's arrival.



Pappy and Anna (not sure why this one is so small)



Nannie and the girls.



Nannie and Hope spent lots of time at the table doing arts and crafts while mommy rested and daddy worked.



We managed to throw together a decent Thanksgiving dinner with Robin.



Auntie Rah-Rah and the girls.

In the Jungle

I know this is a strange title for a post about our sweet little bundle of joy, but our girl sure can make some wild noises! It often sounds as if there is a jungle in her bassinet. It is quite humorous at times hearing the grunts, squeaks, and growls. We love it! We are thankful that she continues to grow, sleep and eat well. At her check-up on Monday, she was 7 pds and 15 oz, 21 inches. She's long and lean, a trait that didn't come from my side of the family :) We are on our own now, without family, and we're surviving well. I am learning to let a lot of house cleaning and such go. We are super thankful to have had meals the last 2 weeks and for the next 2 weeks - what a huge help and kindness this is to our family! Thank you to our Care Group and friends here. Here are some recent pictures. Sorry I am such a bad picture taker - I really need to take a class or something.
Sisters

Thinking hard while sleeping. (Notice her very long fingers - We have high aspirations for her being a piano player)

Mark's favorite things to do: read and hold a daughter.

Cheesy Hope smile on Christmas tree decorating night.


This is how Anna spent Christmas decorating night :)