Monday, January 17, 2011


Yesterday we took Titan, our puppy, to Melton Hill State Park near our house. Tim and the boys had done this recently, but this was my first visit to this beautiful park. Since we were the only visitors (other than a few fishermen), we let Titan run free. It is a delight to watch him explore and enjoy some freedom that our house and yard don't provide. Here are some photos from our lovely afternoon:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Seriously Sweet

The sweetest treat I received for my birthday was a weekend visit from Jinda and Rivers Green. Jinda and I have been close friends since our days living in Birmingham, and Rivers is her 11-week-old son. What a precious little baby!

Look at that face! Folks refer to Rivers' dark hair, but all I see is an auburn mane about to reveal itself. Rivers' mom has gorgeous red hair, as do his three brothers and one sister. Though his daddy is a brunette, I think this one will follow his siblings with beautiful red locks.

Titan was incredibly curious about Rivers, and he desperately wanted the freedom to examine him. A lick or two was all he got (oh, and a pacifier, which he swiped at the first opportunity!).

We each got a turn with the baby. Tim kindly babysat on Saturday night so that Jinda and I could go out to dinner with some girlfriends to celebrate my recent birthday. He had plenty of help from Reed and his friend Sophie, who were extremely attentive to Rivers.

Reed was mesmerized by Rivers and hung close throughout the weekend. He made sure his pacifier stayed in place and that his coos and grunts were met with appropriate concern.

On Sunday morning we said a reluctant goodbye to Rivers and his mommy. It was such a delight to have a baby in our house and our arms again. He captivated us all!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Snowy Start

It's the new year and the start of a new semester, but it is off to a slow, snowy start. Mind you...I'm not complaining. I'll take days at home with my boys any time, any way (and one with Tim too? Bonus!). So far this week, we've enjoyed three snow days in a row. I cannot remember ever having this pleasure since the boys started school. Here are some pictures of our wintery fun:

Snow day lesson #1: Never trust Dad.

Snow day lesson #2: Snow angels are fun to make, but you will always get snow down your pants.

Snow day lesson #3: The driveway will only be shoveled if Tim is snowed in too.

Snow day lesson #4: Sometimes the snow is best enjoyed from a warm, comfortable spot.

Snow day lesson #5: Rules are made to be broken; hence, dog on the couch enjoying a cozy snowday snuggle.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Restore and Remember

Last year as the celebration of my 40th birthday came to a close, I learned the tragic news of the earthquake that struck Haiti that very day. Everything froze in that moment, as we had no idea as to the fate of the orphans I had been so privileged to visit just two months prior in November of 2009. Thank God these 100+ children were safe and well and remain safe and well today. However, to say that Haiti is still devastated now...a year later...would be accurate.

One Vision, whom I traveled with and who cares for these orphans, has called for a day of prayer on January 12. Please read the following message from their Web site and join me in prayer on this day (and every day that God brings the country of Haiti and its people to your mind). Thank you!


One year ago, January 12th became a day of utter tragedy for the people of Haiti. The earthquake devastated the country and claimed the lives of roughly 230,000citizens.

Despite massive humanitarian efforts by the international community, the country is still in disarray. The Cholera epidemic, already responsible for the death of thousands, and the controversial results of last month’s presidential elections have both played a significant role in the continued despair of the Haitian people. However, we hold firm to the belief that there is still hope this country.

We would like to invite you to participate on Wednesday, January 12th, in an area wide day of prayer for the country of Haiti and its people. The purpose of this event is to honor the memory of those who lost their lives that day and also to pray for the future of the nation.

As firm believers in the power of prayer, we want to encourage others to remember the events of that day and pray for progress in the recovery efforts of the country. Over the past year, so many people have sacrificed time, efforts and money to help the Haitian people. Let’s continue our support by praying for their continued safety and security.

Join us as we pray for Haiti. Please pray for:
• the cleanup and rebuilding efforts
• the Cholera epidemic
• the Presidential election
• violence against women living in tent cities
• prevalent child slavery
• the safety of aid workers
• the hope of Jesus to fill the country

Sunday, January 2, 2011


When Seth was a baby, we lived in an older house in Birmingham with beautiful hardwood floors. There was a time when the only way I could get him to bed was to rock him until he was completely and totally asleep and then tip-toe to his crib to lay him gingerly down. We would rock, I would sing, and finally when his eyelids closed, I would count to 25. Then, I would hold my breath and begin the short journey from the rocker to the crib. It seemed more often than not I would step on one of those old floorboards and "creak..." His eyes would spring open, and I would return to the rocker to begin the process all over again.

Once we moved to Knoxville, he moved into a "big boy" bed. And bedtime meant lengthy snuggles until he fell asleep. When we made the transition from crib to twin bed, we told Seth that it was "just like" his crib, and he needed to call for one of us before getting out of bed in the morning. Being the obedient child that he is, he followed this rule...until he was nearly nine.

As a parent, in those moments, I felt like these routines would continue forever. I really couldn't imagine a night when I didn't have to rock him or snuggle with him until he fell asleep. Then, I wondered if he would call me from his college dorm room to ask permission to get out of his bed each morning. Yet, as I sit here remembering, I can't recall the exact moment these routines ended. More often it seems like I'm jolted awake, and I realize that something is different.

Tonight is one of those moments. I sit typing in a quiet house with Reed sleeping in one bedroom and Seth sleeping in another. It's official: they no longer share a bedroom. Ever since Reed graduated to his "big boy" bed six years ago they have been roommates, but this summer Seth acknowledged he'd like his own room. So, after dragging it out as long as I could, yesterday Tim and I spent the day moving Seth out of "their" room and into "his" room. Thankfully the boys were at my mother-in-law's, so I could work -- tireless and tearless.

While my head logically knows this move across the hall is no big deal, my heart feels it is significant. It's like when you bring home your second child, your first child instantly seems so much bigger, so much older. Just walking into Seth's room tonight I was caught off guard by his long body curled up with book-in-hand. It seems I have been jolted awake to discover that my toddler is now nearly a teenager.

I am going to miss, probably more than anyone, the sight of them in their bunk beds and the sound of them chatting it up long after the lights go out. But to make the transition easier (for who?) I put walkie-talkies on their nightstands. Tonight before I could walk from Reed's room to Seth's room to tuck him in, I heard his walkie-talkie beep. "Good night," came Reed's voice. "Good night," Seth replied. Smile.

After eleven years of motherhood I am finally learning how fleeting all of it is, from the little things (diapers, bottles, naptimes) to the big things (snuggling in the bed, reading to them, holding hands in public), and I am learning to cherish it all. I want to breathe them in, soak them up, and marvel at this great gift I have been given to parent them. So, tonight as I dry these tears and turn off the laptop, it is to two bedrooms I will visit before I tuck myself in. Mental note: January 2, 2011 - the start of a new routine.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Real Time/Clock Time

I love when you pick up a book and it speaks clearly to you in your present circumstance. This has happened to me many times with all types of books, and it has taught me to read with a sense of expectation.

This evening as I was continuing Henri Nouwen's Turn My Mourning Into Dancing, I read this passage that discusses time - real time and clock time. Could there be a more suitable subject to ponder on New Year's Day? Nouwen writes:

"Hope that grows out of trust puts us in a different relationship to the hours and days of our lives. We are constantly tempted to look at time as chronology, as chronos, as a series of disconnected incidents and accidents. This is one way we think we can manage time or subdue our tasks. Or a way that we feel the victims of our schedules. For this approach also means that time becomes burdensome. We divide our time into minutes and hours and weeks and let its compartments dominate us.

As still not completely converted people we immerse ourselves in clock time. Time becomes a means to an end, not moments in which to enjoy God or pay attention to others. And we end up believing that the real thing is always still to come. Time for celebrating or praying or dreaming gets squeezed out. No wonder we get fatigued and deflated! No wonder we sometimes feel helpless or impoverished in our experience of time.

But the gospel speaks of 'full' time. What we are seeking is already here...We begin to see history not as a collection of events interrupting what we 'must' get done. We see time in light of faith in the God of history. We see how the events of this year are not just a series of incidents and accidents, happy or unhappy, but the molding hands of God, who wants us to grow and mature.

Time has to be converted, then, from chronos, mere chronological time, to kairos, a New Testament Greek word that has to do with opportunity, with moments that seem ripe for their intended purpose, Then, even while life continues to seem harried, while it continues to have hard moments, we say, 'Something good is happening amid all this.' We get glimpses of how God might be working out his purposes in our days. Time becomes not just something to get through or manipulate or manage, but the arena of God's work with us. Whatever happens - good things or bad, pleasant or problematic - we look and ask, 'What might God be doing here?' We see the events of the day as continuing occasions to change the heart. Time points to Another and begins to speak to us of God.

We are part of a very impatient culture, however. We want many things and we want them quickly. And we feel that we should be able to take away the pains, heal the wounds, fill the holes, and create experiences of great meaningfulness - now. It is not difficult to discover how impatient we are...But a view of time as kairos helps us to be patient in believing. If we are patient in this sense we can look at all events of each day - expected or unexpected - as holding a promise for us. Patience becomes in us the attitude that says that we cannot force life but have to let it grow by its own time and development. Patience lets us see the people we meet, the events of the day, and the unfolding history of our times all part of that slow process of growth."

As the calendar turns to a new year and another birthday looms in its wake, I tuck these words into my heart for meditation and inspiration. To be completely converted to live in kairos rather than that would be something.