Thursday, January 31, 2013


I've noticed the pangs of my daughter's baldness creeping into my heart again lately.


I see the long, flowing hair of her peers, glistening in the sunlight.  I see the bows.  The braids.  The styles.   I see thick, full eyebrows and eyelashes adorning their faces, completely symmetrical and untouched by the Fall.

And I find myself wanting that for my daughter again, too.

Their hair grows and thickens.  Her head remains slick and bare.

She loves to brush my hair when it's wet.  She puts clips and bows in it.  Occasionally she'll tell me she wishes she had hair.

But it's more of a passing thought for her.  Right now, at least.

I suppose that's how it will be for me as well.

Just as a boisterous pregnancy announcement can spring forth the past pain of my infertility, there will be other triggers that cause me to grieve my daughter's alopecia.  I know it will only be for a time, until my heart is able to find rest again in His purposes.

But there will always be those times, won't there?


It's a rather strange thing to watch my son's hair thinning out in the places where he naps.  A patch in the back, a stripe along both sides from all the positions in which he likes to lay.  But what is a completely normal milestone for a baby holds sadness for me.  It reminds me of a time when her head was slowly being stripped bare.

And it never came back.

Don't get me wrong- I don't fear alopecia for Jameson.  (boy, wouldn't that be a crazy providence...)  But as I'm learning and reading up on how to care for his hair type, it reminds me that I don't get to do that for hers.  And today, at least, that makes me sad.

I wish I could take my daughter to her first swim lesson and not be pulled aside to be asked if she has any medical concerns or if they should give her resting breaks.

I wish I could have gone to that nice restaurant without having the entire staff sign their names across a box with a rather nice present inside just for her.  Deep down, I wonder when she'll catch on they're doing that because they think she's sick and dying.

I wish I could think about schools for kindergarten without fear of how the kids (or teachers) will react to alopecia.

But it is what it is, I suppose.

It's what I've been hand-chosen to confront for the rest of my daughter's life.

Tomorrow I'll get back into the Mama Bear mode.  And I'll embrace the fight on her behalf once again. I'll remind myself of all the truths I have been privileged to see and learn through alopecia.

It'll be okay.

But today?


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

fresh air...

A day of unusually warm temperatures.

First time at the park.

First time feeling the wind blow across his body.

First time seeing a dog.

Holding his head up so high.

Taking it all in.

We LOVE him.

Ahhh, fresh air...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

love abounds...

Love abounds here.

Yes, our family is as dysfunctional as the next.

And the stresses of life can weigh heavy upon our shoulders.

Things are broken.  Our students are hurting.  Our loved ones are aging.

But Love still abounds here.

Sleep may be hard to come by.

And the children aren't the only ones who have the melt-downs.

but Love continues to abound.

A love note left in the fridge.

And a love note from my daughter.

("I love you so much.  I love you this much
Is that too much
Well that's how much I love you

Words from the outside.

Reminding me of what is true.

Because even though I may not feel it, Love is present.

Ever abounding.

Often we question what the other is doing.

As if we forget we are on the same team.

We'd rather be left alone.

Or we feel like we're not getting through.

But always, we are secure in His care.

Though we feel tossed about, we find our rest in Him.

Both in the chaotic and the quiet,

He is faithful to lavish us with grace, peace, love, and ultimately Himself

He gives us Words from the outside.

Page after page of them.

Reminding us of what is true, indeed.

And it is out of that Love, we can always say...

Love abounds here.
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

what a week...

Wasn't much time to blog this past week.  Here's why...

I was too busy loving on and kissing this little bundle of sweetness.

Oh, I could gobble him up.

We were enamored with all the new smiles and coos.  I swear, he is on the verge of laughing.

And we're ready for it.

Big sis was soooo excited to start swim lessons.

I don't think she stopped smiling the whole time.

Our student from Haiti, Jean, came over for dinner and got to meet Jameson!  We are loving learning more about Jameson's Haitian heritage.

This week we watched as he finally reciprocated his sisters smiles.

We also took a quick overnight trip out to Norfolk so Daddy could speak at a missions conference, and Caroline got to feed chickens at our host family's house!  SO fun!!

(We even got to take some fresh eggs home!  Thank you, Mrs. Tori, and Gladys the chicken!)

More smiles... this boy is making fans by the minute...

Tummy time.  We've got to show him what everything feels like, you understand.

We visited with out-of-town friends who brought a box of baby boy clothes, including SLIPPERS!

What a week.

And what a guy.
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Friday, January 25, 2013


This past Sunday, January 20th, was a special day for our family.

It was the day of Jameson David's baptism!  The day of his engagement to be the Lord's.

(Here are the pictures from Caroline's baptism when she was this age, if any of you are interested.)

This was one sharp dressed man, if I do say so myself!

We took vows in front of our church, recognizing our own need for Christ in our lives as we endeavor to raise Jameson unto the Lord.

Then Marc took Jameson in his arms, and subsequently, Caroline wanted to jump into my arms.  :)

Then Marc baptized Jameson, giving him the visible sign of the covenant that he will be raised in a Christian community with the hopes that one day, he will place his own faith and trust in Jesus Christ for his salvation.

Just as God pours out His love and mercy upon us before we ever come to trust in or respond to him, baptism beautifully pictures what He does.  

Jameson didn't make a peep while it was happening.  Content to suck on his pacifier.  (but it was funny to see not a drop fell from his hair!  His little head soaked it all up!  ha!)

And just as he had no idea what was happening to him in the moment, this was an appointment with the future.  It doesn't rest upon his response right now.  We dedicate him before the Lord, in hopes that one day He will embrace this faith as his own.

Our pastor praying unto this end.

Oh merciful Jesus, save my sweet children.

Our little covenant family!

I never could have imagined this picture in my head.
I never knew this is what He would have my family look like.

I am in awe of His hand, and how he placed each of us together.

Jameson, you're going to be hearing a whole lot about sin and grace in this family,

in our words
and our interactions
with one another.

You just get ready.

My prayer for you is that you, too, will know your need for a Savior
and that you'll never know a day 
when you didn't know and trust in Him.

"For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, 
everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself..." Acts 2:39
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Saturday, January 19, 2013

hello to the snow...

Thursday night marked our very first snow,
And someone in our family was instantly ready to GO!

Even after dark, she frolicked and played...

And even more fun was waiting the very next day.

While she and Daddy had a blast with the sled...

Jameson spent his first snow day inside, warm and fed.

Sis and Daddy enjoyed snacking on snow...

While cute and cozy stayed little bro.

Sis loved exploring and running about...

Bro enjoyed the peace, without a doubt...

And soon... he was out.
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

broken pieces...

Significant moments with children often come at the least expected times, don't they?

It started like any other day for us, with the hustle and bustle of getting ready for preschool.  You know the scene... everyone is rushing chaotically through the house just minutes before school is about to start.  We should've been in the car 10 minutes ago.  And thus, words with one another are short and snappy.

This day was show-and-tell, and Caroline had decided to take in a special doll that her Pop & Mamie gave her from their trip to Israel, Miriam.

Well, leave it to me to send my four year old off to preschool with a porcelain doll. 

Yes.  You guessed it.

Just after her show-and-tell presentation, dear Miriam fell out of Caroline's lap and face-plummeted onto the floor, shattering her face.

My daughter was devastated.  (As you can imagine.)  Many tears were shed.

So Daddy, being the knight in shining armor that he naturally is, promised his baby girl that he would do everything in his power to fix Miriam's face again.

That afternoon, poor Miriam underwent some major super-glue surgery and was left on the kitchen table to dry.  Surprisingly, Daddy was able to restore her face fairly close to what it had been, with the exception of many cracks running across her delicate features.

Unfortunately, the rest of the day continued on much like the beginning.  Caroline accidentally knocked over a favorite coffee cup from Marc's desk, leaving it, too, shattered on the floor in a million tiny pieces.  Little aggravating things here and there, compiling and compounding in my four year old's heart, leaving her acting out in anger and tears all day.  (Whew.  It's days like these that every parent counts down the minutes to bedtime, you know?)

And then.

Everything came to a climax that evening when Marc and I decided it would be to Caroline's advantage to not take a family trip to the grocery store as we had planned.

No big deal, right?  Well, apparently it was.

You'd have thought the kid was getting tortured from her reaction.  It was beyond any meltdown we'd seen from her yet in her life.  Unrelenting, shrill screaming like a crazy person out of their mind. (um, which obviously confirmed our decision to help her get to bed earlier...)

There are no words to describe what happens in a parent's heart watching that.

It's beyond heart-breaking.

Marc began running her bath water, and I loaded up Jameson, kissed Marc goodbye, and rushed off to the grocery store.  I felt so shaken up as I could hear her muffled screaming even from the other side of the front door.  Oh, help us, God!  I begged the Lord as I snapped Jameson's carseat into the backseat.  Pulling out of the driveway, I couldn't even pick up the phone to call anyone.  I didn't feel as if I could form the words.

All I knew to do in that moment was to pray for my little girl.

"God, I don't even know what to do to," I mumbled out loud as I drove down the road.  "I feel so helpless.  And anxious.  And I'm just trying to survive right now.  Father, our family needs your grace.  And wisdom.  And patience.  Please use even this MESS of a day to grow my sweet Caroline into a godly little girl.  Give Marc the patience and the words that will help her not just to calm down, but to begin maturing her into who You want her to be."

After all that screaming and stress, there's something extremely peaceful about shopping for lunch meat and baby formula in the evening while your infant sleeps blissfully on top of the cart in his carseat.

As I pulled back up to my house and saw Caroline's room light turned off, I knew that was a good sign.

She was asleep.  Whew.

I tiptoed up the stairs to the kitchen, and began putting away the groceries while Marc started telling me what had happened in my absence:

During Caroline's full-out fury at bathtime, Marc's own feelings of helplessness started taking over, and he couldn't hold back his own tears.

(Not often do kids see that in their Daddies.)

She suddenly calmed down.
She reached up and hugged him.
She told him she loves him.

Very sweet.

They got her dried off, pj's on, and headed to the kitchen to get a bedtime snack.  Caroline took one look at little Miriam's cracked face (post "surgery") laying undisturbed on the table, and she started bawling.

"Daddy, I don't know if I can look at Miriam anymore!" she whimpered.  I'm sure the sight of Miriam was a painful reminder of something she couldn't ever un-do.  (I know that I, for one, don't enjoy staring my mistakes in the face, either.)

"Caroline," Marc said gently as he wrapped his arms around her, "Miriam is still beautiful, even when she's broken.

"Some things get broken and can't ever be fixed.  Like Humpty Dumpty, remember?  They couldn't put him back together.  And like the coffee mug that broke today.

"And some things get broken and can be fixed, but they're never like they were before.  Like Miriam and my toy helicopter.  When I was little and broke my front teeth, I cried so hard because I wanted my tooth to come back.  The dentist fixed it, but it will never be the same."

Eating her snack and thinking, Caroline said "I know-- God can fix Miriam one day!"

(I love how even a broken doll face leaves my daughter longing for the resurrection.)

And then the most amazing statement came out of my daughter as she was going to bed.

"Daddy," she said, "I feel like my heart is just black or something."


Well, alright.  Won't be hard convincing my kid of original sin, for she feels it within already.

It was a direct answer to my prayer.  After a day of turmoil and chaos, my daughter was seeing her own sin (and admitting it!) more clearly than ever.  And naturally, that opened the door for a beautiful Gospel conversation.

"Do you know why you feel that way?" Marc asked her.  "Because the Bible says our hearts ARE that way."

She listened quietly.

"My heart is that way, too," Marc continued, "That's why I need Jesus.  He gives us new hearts.  We can be glad tonight because God is helping you to see what your heart is like.  Do you want to pray and ask Jesus to give you a new heart?"


And that's okay.

Because before my little girl can ever truly understand Grace,
she must grapple with her own need of a Savior.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can understand it?  -Jeremiah 17:9

Really, Miriam (pictured above) is perhaps a more valuable toy now than she was before her accident.

She can teach my daughter so much more now in her brokenness than when she was literally "all put together."

(The same is probably true for us all, really.)

Like Miriam, we are all broken.

We all carry scars and cracks, some of us more visibly than others.

And like Miriam, our scars and imperfections don't reduce our value or worth like we tend to think they do.  If we are living by faith and not by sight, we can adjust our eyes to see the beauty in them.

We can see a bigger Story at play.

We become even more valuable as we experience glimpses of redemption through them.  They are places where Jesus comes and fills the cracks.  We learn slowly to accept them for the reminders that they are to us: that we need Restoration.

In a big way.

Just as my daughter looks to God to fix Miriam one day, we who are Christians can look at our own brokenness and know without a doubt that one day...  He will make ALL things new.  We await the day when our hearts will have no more "black" in them and our bodies will be perfectly restored.

But for now, we are cracked vessels like Miriam.

"...we have this treasure in jars of clay..."  2 Corinthians 4:7

We wear scars of
and so many more.

We are broken pieces formed into beautiful messes
that He tenderly calls His own.

I'm so thankful Jesus didn't come for those with all their pieces together.  He came for the broken.

"I came not to call the righteous, but sinners..."  Mark 2:17

And then, being an even more wonderful Knight in shining armor, Jesus wept.  He knew a better way than super-glue to restore us:

To be broken into pieces Himself.

So that we could become whole.

Thanks be to God.

"This is my body, broken for you..."  Luke 22:19

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


With all of the pictures of him, we must not overlook her.

She is a growing young lady, readying herself for kindergarten next year.

She fills a room with gift bags, and throws you a surprise party.

She gives tummy time even to James John.

She grabs his hand during prayers.

She.... um, well....

She is crazy about him.

And we're crazy for Caroline.
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