Wednesday, September 30, 2015

T.Mark - 3 1/2



T.Mark- you are not quite 3 1/2 years old, but I wanted to do an update for both you and Amos, because it has been a while, and I like to record these things for posterity's sake! 

I know I may be slightly biased, but you are the kindest, sweetest, smartest, most inquisitive little boy I've ever met in my life. 

I see some of my own traits in you at times, both good and bad! You like to know what to expect. I feel ya on that one buddy! You like for me to tell you at the beginning of each day what the plan is for that day. If we deviate from it, you are flexible, but you don't let me forget what the plan was! "Mama I thought you said we were gonna ..."

Your favorite activity right now is playing in our lovely little front yard dirt patch. Ha!   This dirt is here because it was being used to level out a little dip in the yard, with the plan of putting more sod on top--but you love it so much that I think I'm going to leave it a dirt patch for now! How on earth could I prefer a perfect yard when this simple little thing gives you such joy. 




You love your preschool, and your teacher Mrs. Megan. You are excited to go each day and you love showing me the different crafts that you make and letters you are learning about. Your teachers tell me often how smart and sweet you are. 

One of the most precious things you do just about every day is, you sit down next to me and say, "So. Mama. Tell me about your day." And then-this is the really sweet part-you listen, attentively. You take whatever I say in and then ask questions, or ask to see pictures of whatever I did that day.  What a thoughtful, other-centered little boy you are! I hope you keep this trait and practice it with your own family one day in the future! 

You are an adventurous eater, and will try anything. The only things you don't like are sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Anything else and you're good to go! Your favorite foods are grilled chicken and kale chips that I make in the oven. Yay for green veggies! You love "coffee milk" in the mornings--a practice your Gran and Pop started with you when you were just two and I had no idea. Ha! (Coffee milk is milk with a little splash of coffee and a spoonful of sugar). 

The spiritual aspect of your little heart is growing. You ask me questions about God often. We try to talk about Him regularly throughout the day so you will know He is here even if you can't see Him. We pray together most days before school and every night before bed. You love to say the blessing before meals. You also love Sunday School and preschool choir on Wednesday nights. 

You really enjoy going to the deercamp with your daddy. A love of the outdoors is being instilled in you at an early age! 



You love cars, trucks, trains, planes--basically anything with wheels. You love to learn how things work, and you love to build something with Legos or blocks and then tell me all about it. 


T.Mark, I love you so very much! You are a blessing in my life! Some of my very favorite things about each day of our life are your hugs, words, and kisses. 

-Mama

Monday, September 28, 2015

Amos Jackson - 13 Months



Amos you looked so cute in this pic that I had to include it, even though I look a little crazy. I can't believe you are 13 months old!! Here is what you have been up to lately:

You are a speed walker! You try to run occasionally, hence the line of little bruises that is pretty much a constant across the most prominent part of your forehead. I am looking forward to when you get a little more steady on your feet! You love to climb stairs, and usually make a beeline for the nearest set. I can't take my eyes off you for a second! 

You know several words now: doggie, oh-oh, ball, hat, mama, daddy, Mawmaw, Mimi, Doc, Pop, and hot. It seems like you master a new one every couple of days. You also know what the kitty cat says! If someone asks, you proudly say, "MEEE-OW!"

You wear size 18 month clothes. You are a big boy! I would guess that you weigh around 25 pounds. Which is funny because your big brother only weighs 30! You are catching up to him fast. 

You have a diverse palate. There isn't much you won't eat. Your favorite foods are bananas and any kind of meat. The only thing I can't get you to like is cow's milk. Oh well! 

You absolutely love your big brother. Y'all have your own little language of squealing and laughing that is the cutest thing I've ever heard. T.Mark often says things to me like "I really love my little brother, Mama." I pray your relationship will continue to grow, and that it will mature into a rich, mutually edifying and enjoyable one. One of my biggest joys is seeing the two of you enjoy each other. 

Amos, you and your brother are a gift from the Lord and a continual joy in my life. I pray for you both daily! I love you! 

   -Mama


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

On Weaning

  I nursed my baby to sleep for the last time tonight. 

  He is still nursing upon waking but that will end very soon as well. Sweet boy has had 13 months of mama milk, just as his big brother did. I am thankful for the time we've had to share such a tender, intimate, nourishing relationship. 

 I thought it quite appropriate that after preschool choir tonight T.Mark marched proudly out with his craft for the night, announcing that he had made "baby Moses in the basket." He said, "Mama, guess what happened?? Baby Moses' mama put him in a basket and then she put him IN THE RIVER!" His mind was blown. Ha! I told him it was because she was trying to protect him from the bad man who was trying to get him, so that he could grow up and lead God's people to the promised land. And that God is preparing another promised land for us, if we trust in His son Jesus.  

  The reason I thought this particular story so fitting for tonight is that I've often pondered what this season of life must have been like for Moses' mother, Jochebed. The depth of desperation she must have felt as she placed her tiny infant in a basket of tar and pitch and sent him floating away from her. How her heart must have torn in two, while every fiber and sinew in her body silently screamed for her to jump in the murky waters and clutch her baby back to her chest where he belonged. But she trusted the Lord to provide. 

   And then--the incredible turn of events that allowed Moses to be found by Pharoah's daughter, and sent back to Jochebed who was able to nurse him until he weaned. What a tender mercy from God this was! Each day as Jochebed nourished her child, and leaned down to kiss his little head, she may have pondered what the Lord would do in this miracle baby's life. She could not have known that her baby boy would grow up to be one of God's greatest and most faithful servants, who would lead His chosen people out of slavery in Egypt. A man with whom the Lord spoke "face to face, as a man to his friend."

 This weaning is a hard time for me. Amos may be my last baby, so this may be the last time I am able to nurse a child. I am thankful for the time we have had. I'm thankful for many things-- the nutrition and immune benefits Amos has received, the sweet bond we have shared, the physical closeness, the long term health benefits for us both. But I have realized that I am most grateful for the breastfeeding experience because, for me, it taught me how to mother. From the early sleepless, raw nights, to the slow settling in to routine, it taught me at a very real, physical, self-sacrificing level what it means to be a mom. I know there are many who do not breastfeed, and I begrudge no one that choice. I feel confident the Lord brings your initiation to motherhood in other, equally wonderful ways. But this was mine. 

A short poem I read recently:

Wean me gently...
For I am your mother
And my heart is tender. 




Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fahrvergnügen

   A few months ago I first learned the word "Fahrvergnügen". It is a German word meaning "the pleasure of driving a car", in particular a fast car. I love this word. Not because I love cars (I don't). And not because I love driving fast (I don't). But because I love words. 

  Anyone who is a student of languages knows that in translation, there is not always a 1:1 ratio when it comes to words. We don't have a particular, singular word in English that describes the joy of driving a fast car.

    Yesterday afternoon as I went on a short stroll, I ran into no less than five people I knew. I and my babies stopped by two different neighbors' houses for a visit, and were sent off with hugs and candy. The uniqueness of the word "Fahrvergnügen" came to mind, and I found myself wishing there were a word to describe the comeraderie and sense of family and connection that I feel in this neighborhood I love so much. 

    Another word that comes to mind along these lines is one describing an important, defining attribute of our Lord's character--the Hebrew word "chesed". Scholars have translated it as "loving-kindness", "steadfast love", and "mercy", but most admit that these translations are not quite complete, and that a full understanding of the word is not gained without further explanation. 

 My sweet girls' Bible study group is going through the book of Hosea right now, and my goodness is this aspect of the Lord's character highlighted in this book. We are planning on going through it intensely over the course of the next couple months. I have read Hosea many times, but never with the goal of a dedicated, in-depth study. I'm really excited about it. We had an incredible first meeting together and I'm looking forward to more! 


 Since my last post, several people have asked me how I have time to read so much. Two words for you. 

1) Multitasking 



2) Naptime: 



Thankful for these sweet, smart, talented girls: 


 I think my favorite rendering of "chesed" is "covenantal love". This describes the sureness of the Lord's love for his children, and the fact that he pursues us and refuses to let us go. We see God's love exampled in an extravagantly unimaginable way in this word, especially in Hosea. I have already seen in this short little book the persistent, unyielding, self-sacrificing, fiercely passionate love of my God. It is beautiful to behold. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Good Reads

I've been devouring books lately. You know when you're starving and you haven't eaten all day and you come in the house and sitting there on a plate from last night are some chocolate chip cookies you forgot about, so you grab several and just face cram them?
Ok maybe that's just me. Anyway--that's how I've been with books lately. I can't get enough of the written word. Here are a few of my recent reads: 
 

 

A laywoman's how-to for in depth study of scripture. Can't say enough good things about this little book.
"When women grow increasingly lax in their pursuit of Bible literacy, everyone in their circle of influence is affected. Rather than acting as salt and light, we become bland contributions to the environments we inhabit and shape, indistinguishable from those who have never been changed by the gospel."
 

 

Life. Changer. I would recommend this to anyone and everyone. I actually did this one as an audiobook. Listened to it on the way to and from work over the course of a couple of weeks. I think this will be one of those books I'll read multiple times over the years.
"Most importantly, our greatest confirmation of the gospel is the community of the local church. Therefore, our best strategy for reaching the world is to fan that community into a raging inferno of supernatural witness that will be far more attractive than any adjustment to our music, small groups, or sermons could ever be."
 

 

This one is nonfiction, but reads almost like a suspense novel. It is at times sickening and certainly shameful that this work is all true. It is a reporter's account of the Ku Klux Klan's campaign against Jews in the American Deep South, specifically Mississippi. A sobering picture of a racist history. 

 


An instructive read with many gems of truth that are on occasion difficult to hear and quite a relief all at once. If you have a feminist bent, this one will fly all over you. My favorite part about it was the emphasis on serving your family with joy, even in the menial tasks. 

And lastly: 


 Sometimes the poignancy, longing, and sadness of a book can overwhelm you.  That was the case here.  And yet--there is a deep sweetness.

"'I never thought I'd hate to leave New York, but I do. I feel an unaccustomed sorrow not to be able to continue our friendship viva voce, and in the flesh, but these are the chances of life. But there is a deeper and happier chance which will keep us friends till death, don't you believe? And we'll walk and talk again. Till then, Ken.' A postscript followed: 'Meanwhile there are letters."


Books. What a gift they are. They can transport us to other worlds, enrich our minds, lift our souls. Connect us to others.  I am so thankful for them.  

 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Isaiah 6 and a Shiner

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne,and His robe filled the temple. Seraphim were standing above Him; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another:

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts;

His glory fills the whole earth.

because I am a man of unclean lips
and live among a people of unclean lips,
and because my eyes have seen the King,
the Lord of Hosts.
your wickedness is removed
and your sin is atoned for.
Who will go for Us?

The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke.

Then I said:

Woe is me for I am ruined

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said:

Now that this has touched your lips,

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:

Who should I send?

I said: Here I am. Send me."

Isaiah 6:1-8

 

I had a little break in between patients this morning and so was able to do some studying. I ended up focusing on Isaiah 6. One of my favorite Old Testament passages. Personal and corporate worship. An encounter with a holy God and how by definition that must change us. A reminder of who owns our souls.


This passage also points to the ultimate need for Christ as mediator. The seraphim can't look at God for his wonderfully, awefully, divine holiness. It is so incredible to me how Jesus is woven all through the fabric of the Old Testament.

 

In other news:

 

 

No that is not just a dark circle. That is a black eye. Not a bad one thankfully. But I think maybe my first! It is a long story but basically due to my pea sized bladder and an unfortunate run-in with the choir room bathroom stall door at rehearsal last night, I have got a pretty splitting headache today. I have the humor of it to lessen the throbbing however.

 

This is not necessarily surprising. You would have thought that my participating in the Miss Mississippi pageant (yes, I admit it) those many years ago would have made me more graceful. But nope. One of my "second mamas" as I like to call them, when I was younger, used to teasingly refer to me as "Grace". It was not without sarcasm I'm afraid!

 

 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Austin Weekend

I spent this past weekend just outside of Austin, Texas. It was refreshing and super fun. Taylor and I drove over and met up with some business friends of his and their wives for the weekend. It is a diverse group, and I truly enjoyed getting to know them each a little better this weekend. This will most likely be an annual get together, so I look forward to building relationships with these sweet people in the years to come!
 
I had not spent any time in this particular part of Texas before. The topography is not what I expected! It is much more hilly than other parts of the state I have visited. It was really beautiful! The friends we stayed with lived on some acreage out from town. It was so peaceful out there.
 

 

Though they live (sort of), in a neighborhood, when you sit by their pool in the backyard it is so secluded and surrounded by nature that you feel like you're the only one around for miles.
 
Because I am such a mamaw I woke up before everyone else each day. But I loved it because I could go outside in the peaceful quiet with a cup of coffee and spend some extended time with the Lord. This is a luxury I don't often have at home! My quiet time at home is usually at the office out of necessity, or during naptime on some days. Otherwise I have precious, grubby little hands grabbing my Bible pages or sweet little voices asking me to hold them or build a Lego tower. Worthy causes, I might add.
 

 

Yes, in case you were wondering, those are flannel Christmas pajama pants that I'm wearing. In August. Hey, I like to take a little Christmas with me wherever I go.
 
On Saturday the crew leisurely woke up (except for mamaw) and headed out to the lake nearby. Our friends Wes and Jamie were so kind to host us for the weekend and in particular out on their boat.
 

 

My sweet friend Jen and me:
 

 


The lake house we rented had this on the wall right when you walked in the door. Ha!
 

 

Beautiful sunset just for you:
 

 

And then, to finish up the trip--I had the best meal I've ever had in an airport, hands down. Some Mexican place I can't remember the name of, but it was wonderful.
 
It was a great weekend. I am thankful for the time I had to rest and relax. But I am even more thankful for the grubby little hands and Lego towers I came home to!