Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Witness to Life

Today Tim and I celebrate 16 years of marriage! In fact, at this very moment we were probably sharing our first kiss as husband-and-wife. Cue "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" and the recessional. I can picture us now, walking down the aisle hand-in-hand with huge grins on our faces.

We have shared wonderful years together, and I can still say enthusiastically "I love this man!" He truly is my truest friend, my heart's desire, and my greatest champion. I look at our two sons, both so utterly unique but also reflections of their dad and me, and marvel at this life we have crafted together.

We have been abundantly blessed for sure, but we can testify that marriage isn't easy. A shared life is difficult. To walk through this world as joint seekers is a journey that is opposed. But it is worth it and worth fighting for. We would both shout that from our rooftop.

I love that I am in love with my husband. I am humbled by the fact that he chose me then and he chooses me today. I rest in the assurance that he will be by my side tonight, tomorrow, and all of the days to come.

Happy anniversary, Tim.
I do.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Canine Christmas

First, let me introduce you to a new member of the family. Not our immediate family, unfortunately, but Aunt Beth and Uncle Barry's newest addition: Bella Athena. Beth rescued forlorn Bella in Centennial Park in November, and she has already become a beloved part of their family - even their three cats accept her.

So, we were all very happy to have her join us this year for Christmas in LaFollette (two little boys most of all!). Seth has been wishing for a dog all year, and Bella only fueled this desire. Sweet Bella also has prepared me to seriously consider adding a dog to our family early in the new year. Anyway, with proper introduction made, here are some favorite pictures from Christmas 2009:

On Christmas Eve, we said goodbye to Bella, who headed back to Nashville with Beth and Barry. We returned home, accompanied by MiMi and BaBa, for the 11 p.m. Christmas Eve service at our church (our first time to try the late service - Reed fell asleep) and to prepare for Santa's arrival. Of course, the boys were excited to open one gift on Christmas Eve (shown below).

After discovering what Santa brought and opening our stockings, Tim prepared his annual Christmas breakfast - Reed's self-declared favorite part of Christmas day.

The big surprise from Santa: an Xbox 360!

Family photo, Christmas 2009.

Friday, December 11, 2009


One story of God's particular favor toward me on my recent Haiti trip came in regard to a baby named Jakob.

I spent Friday and Saturday at the orphanage holding this seven-month-old, who was abandoned at their gate just two weeks prior to our arrival. He weighed little more than my sons weighed at birth.

On Saturday I spent the day trying desperately to get him to take a bottle of formula. He was lethargic and refused to eat. So, as I tried to interact with all of the other children starved for attention, I was working with this baby who was literally starving.

After seven hours at the orphanage, the bus came to take our team back to the hotel, and I had to leave Jakob behind. I was undone. As we drove away, up the muddy road, I was weeping. Suddenly, our bus became stuck in the mud. We had to get off and walk back to the orphanage, while our bus driver turned around.

As I plodded down the muddy road, I wondered, "How am I going to go in and see Jakob again and then have to leave him behind again?" When we arrived at the orphanage gate, the Haitian caregivers came out and took us by the hand. They led us inside to the courtyard where they had created a circle of chairs around a bucket filled with rainwater. They sat us down, propped our feet on cinderblocks, and washed our dirty feet.

It was a profound moment for each of us, for different reasons and used to minister to us in a unique way. For me, it was an act of tenderness, offering the comfort and consolation I needed for a broken heart.

That night I called Tim - my only call to him on the whole trip - and implored him to pray for my ability to leave Jakob the next day. We would be leaving the orphanage and driving to Port Au Prince, headed home. I had no idea how I was going to leave Jakob behind, with him still so sick and weak.

The next day, however, I found him alert, responsive, and eager to eat. I fed him a large bowl of porridge myself! And when time came to leave, I had a calm heart that was clearly God-given. I was able to spend some parting moments holding him before laying him in his bed and saying goodbye. Only God could have made our parting so peaceful on both of our ends.

Today another team is bound for Haiti, taking shoeboxes filled with goodies to each child at the orphanage and many in the community. This will be the first Christmas gift these children have probably ever received. And I am thrilled to imagine their faces as they receive their gifts. However, I know that what matters more to these children is the gift of time, touch, and tenderness they will receive from the members of the team.

I am so happy to know that little Jakob has some love coming his way. That someone will be holding him, feeding him, talking to him, and nurturing him. To know this is a precious gift for me today!