Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Eveley Joy

My Dear Eveley,

Happy 2nd Birthday! You were born into this world on April 18, 2007. Although you were just a little thing, weighing 7 pounds and 2 ounces, you were given a difficult mission.

Your older brother Robbie went to be with Jesus three months before you were born. And while that is a very wonderful thing, your daddy and I missed him terribly! My arms were empty, our house was quiet, the time dragged by, and our tears flowed. You helped change that! My arms were full again, our time was totally occupied, and our house was anything but quiet. The tears still come, but there is much laughter mixed in! You are such a JOY.

God specially created you for us. Your mama and daddy love you and pray God continues to use you in mighty ways.

For your 2nd birthday, I wanted you to have a very special day -- it turned into a very special weekend. For a few weeks leading up to the big day, I would ask you what kind of party you wanted. You would loudly respond, "Mickey Mouse!" I was trying to suggest Tinkerbell or a pretty tea party. But you did not budge. It would be Mickey Mouse! Fortunately, you were going to let me and daddy come to the party. But when I asked if Ca-Ca (Caleb) could come, you said, "No Thanks."

We began our party preparations on Friday afternoon when you "helped" me make some cupcakes. I let you lick the beaters and even sample an un-iced version. You approved!

That night, we opened presents from Grandma & Grandpa, Pop & Marmee, and the great grandparents. You were very excited! (so was Caleb!)

Saturday was the real party day, and there was no better place for your party than outside at the park. We had beautiful weather. I had you all dressed up in your Minnie Mouse red & white polka dot skirt and top. We put you in the car and finished loading the van. "Uh Oh," you began screaming. "Uh Oh," I repeated. You had thrown up all over your pretty outfit. Oh well. I took you inside and changed your cute skirt out for a pair of second-hand jean shorts, and we were off to the park!

We pulled up and you knew right where we were. Daddy opened the van door, and there you went!

We bought some balloons and bubbles and invited your friends. They all got some Mickey ears to go with your Minnie ears (which you did not take off all day!) You had a blast.

You partied with your buddy Luke and his family.

And here's your friend Brody (you call him Rosey).

The red-headed clan also helped you celebrate. You were a little shy when everyone started singing "Happy Birthday" but you quickly calmed down when the cupcakes were served!

Where are the presents?

After a full day, we loaded up in the car and your demise was a quick one.

Later that afternoon, you helped daddy water our new trees while eagerly sporting your new sunglasses. Daddy kept squirting you with the hose.

You have barely taken those sunglasses off. (You are wearing them right now as you play with your blocks.)

I hope you had a very special birthday, Ms. Peeps! I love you this much and am so thankful for you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Easter!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. We had a beautiful day!

I did everything I could to get a picture of the two in their Easter clothes. But I failed miserably! So, I am hiring a professional next month, and we will reenact the day!

Here is a recap of our weekend in pictures!

We couldn't keep Eveley from playing with the "Resurrection Eggs" in Sunday school.

It doesn't get much cuter than this!

Our friends came over for Easter dinner and an egg hunt!

Eveley and Luke love eachother.

But they may love jelly beans more!

This is Robbie at Easter 2006.

And Eveley from Easter 2008.

My, how time flies!

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's Friday . . .

but Sunday is coming!

This is from last year's Good Friday post. But our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And so is my HOPE.

I have tried to find the words to adequately express the new excitement that I have in celebrating Easter. I was always thankful for Christ's death and resurrection and appreciated its significance. But now it has taken on a whole new meaning. Not only does Christ's sacrifice and the miracle of His resurrection save me from my sins and give me eternal life, but it also provides me with the thing I so desperately want -- a reunion with Robbie! And not a short, casual reunion but one that will last for eternity. That's pretty awesome.

I used to think that when I got to heaven, I would race for Robbie, probably passing quickly beside Jesus. Now, however, I realize that the only reason my Robbie is safe and waiting patiently for me in heaven is because of Christ's unbelievable sacrifice and His submission to fulfil God's plan of salvation. For that I am eternally grateful. (pun intended!)

I am including some of the remarks given by a dear friend at Robbie's memorial service. They are inspiring, and they are true!

Robbie was a bright, joyful flash of light in your lives, a fleeting burst of new life. From all appearances, it looks as though his light has been put out, his new life extinguished. But let me remind you of what you already know: appearances are deceiving. Do not trust them or allow your emotions to be governed by them.

The truth is – Robbie’s light still shines. It is no longer a flash of a shooting star, it is now more like the radiance of an astral sun. His brief burst of life may have come and gone in this world, that much is true, but it has become an everlasting life in the world to come.

How do we know this to be true? We know it because we know Jesus Christ. To us, Christ was not just a moral philosopher – He was and is God incarnate, the eternal Logos who created the world and will be the one to end it. He came to earth as the Second Adam and took upon his shoulders the sins of the First.

It was Christ who declared that those accepted into the covenant of grace will never die. They simply leave one dimension of reality and enter into another. Our most favored poets, our most trusted theologians, our most learned scholars – they all admit that even their best speculations badly underestimate the splendor of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Robbie now sees what we can barely imagine. He has sailed over the horizon of death and landed on the shores of the City of God. He left us a mere child. For all we know, this very day, he now serves as an armor-bearer for angels. C.S. Lewis is right: If we were to see Robbie now, in all his glory, we might very well be tempted to worship him.

Robbie also now knows with certitude something we often doubt. And that is the only thing that matters in heaven is what we do for God on earth. What did Robbie do for God on earth? Did he build a bridge or write a book or split an atom? No. He did much more. He brought you love. He brought you happiness. He brought you joy. The greatest feats of the proudest man cannot compare favorably with that.

We believe these truths, to be sure, but how can we still not ask why? Why Lord? Let me say two things to you about this question.

First, I believe you should distrust anyone who attempts to answer this question for you. Not one of us participates in the councils of God or speaks on behalf of the Almighty concerning providential matters of life and death. On such things, God and God alone pronounces judgment. Everyone else falls into the category of Job’s counselors, with whom God was not well pleased.

Second, do not let your heart condemn you for asking this question. Jesus Himself, while dying on the cross, cried out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sa-bach-thani” – My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Every person on the hill of Golgotha heard Jesus ask that question: the Romans who executed him, the Sanhedrin who accused him, and the disciples who served him. They all waited to hear God’s answer. But on that dark day no answer was given. Many walked away from that scene thinking no answer was given because there was no answer to give. But they were badly mistaken. On the third day, Resurrection Sunday, God gave his answer. The world has never been the same since.

Today is Friday, but Sunday is coming. On that Day of Resurrection, God will wipe away every tear you shed, answer every question you ask, and reunite you both with your beloved son.

Maranatha - Lord, come quickly.

Master, we have prayed many times about Robbie. Each time, we prayed that Robbie would follow us into the Kingdom. But you have decreed that we shall follow him. We acknowledge you as sovereign and holy. We admit that the mysteries of your will baffle us, but we trust both your goodness and your power.

Continue to fill us with your Holy Spirit. May we not go a single day without experiencing your mercy and grace. May our love for each other grow in strength and resolve. And may the promise of being reunited with Robbie fill our hearts with invincible hope and show the world around us the power of the Gospel.

In your holy name we pray, Amen.

Pictures from

Monday, April 6, 2009

Baths, Buggies, Llamas & Worship

I bet that title got your attention! For those who have been asking, this is not post #100, but it's coming!

We have been so busy around here. But it's the fun kind of busy. We had an absolutely gorgeous weekend and were able to plant some fruit trees and my weeping willow! Remember this post ?

My little Caleb is a sweet baby. I think he may be my most social child yet. He loves to smile and giggle and is very much the charmer. In the evenings, however, not much of a charmer. He gets pretty cranky and there isn't much that will soothe him. I tried to explain to him that this is because he is overly tired from not napping enough during the day, but he disagrees. Anyway, I decided to institute a night bathtime routine. After dinner, I take him up for a long, warm bath while daddy reads books to Eveley. He LOVES to take baths. He kicks and splashes and locks his gaze on me trying desperately to tell me how much fun he's having. Afterwards, I cover him in lotion (the kind that says it "promotes sleeping"!) and get him warm and snuggly in his pjs. This has really made a big difference. He's still a little high maintenance but the discontentment has seemed to let up.

Can you guess who these are?? My boys are much more smiley than my serious little princess.

Miss Eveley is a bundle of energy. She just doesn't slow down. I feel like I need to make lesson plans each day to keep her interested and occupied. She loves to learn and is talking up a storm. She's singing now too! (more to come later...) She loves her brother. I think he loves her too - especially after this:

Yes, this was meant to be a doll stroller. But, for now, Caleb fits rather nicely. (Of course, we do not let her do this without one of us standing right beside her. I think we should probably still make Caleb wear a helmet.)

Now for the llamas. To take advantage of our beautiful weather, we went to the neighbor's llama farm this past weekend.

I went through Robbie's things so Eveley could wear his "milking boots." I think he is proud that she likes milking boots and not princess shoes. (Not sure I can promise it will stay that way.)

As some of you know, we do not have any family here. The closest ones live about 7 hours away. But there are several families at our church who have truly become party of our family. They love our children as much as we do. And our children love them! This is Eveley's Sunday school teacher, Mr. Rocky, and his family. They introduced us to some baby llamas, and Eveley (and Caleb) loved them.

Fun times...until they brought out apples. She had a major meltdown when she realized the apples were for the llamas and not for her. Oh well. (We are working hard on this "sharing" business.)

And, finally, the worship. I just love this song. Through these hard days, I have found so much inspiration and encouragment from music. Here are the words:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back
I know you are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We'll live to know You here on the earth

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You