Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Holy Moment

Saturday, March 8, 2014.

A normal evening. We push the clocks forward an hour tonight. In anticipation, we're rushing the kids to bed, sounding off the time to each other. "It's 6:30, which really means it's 7:30". "Oh no. It's now 7:30, which really means it's 8:30". Well, actually, that was just me counting down the hours. I tend to be a little dramatic at times.

About 7:45, WHICH REALLY MEANS 8:45, I've rocked the baby, held her longer than necessary, and finally lay her down on the pink chevron sheets to dream. As the routine goes, I head straight across the hallway to the growing boy's room, the one that first made me a mother. He is swallowed up in the queen-sized bed, covers up to his chin, watching Mars Needs Moms. How he decides what movie to watch each evening is still a mystery to me. Last night it was Veggie Tales. Tomorrow, it may be The Polar Express. Christmas is all in the heart, and this 4-year-old celebrates it year round. And yes, he falls asleep watching a movie. It's all about sanity these days.

He sees me enter the room, and his eyes light up. "Here's a spot for you, Momma". Sweet boy, momma is so tired. But I stoop down and nearly collapse beside him. He curls his body close to mine, and he is my baby once again. We chat about nothing and everything... Holy moments of childlike faith and questions I almost always have to really ponder before answering. As usual, I ask if he wants to pray. "No, you do it." I'm not surprised, as he becomes shy in these moments. I feel a nudge at my heart, and I know his heart is soft and ready. We've talked about Jesus over and over. We talk about Him living in our hearts when we ask him. My boy-child is known to pipe up from the backseat with questions that would make a theologian return to seminary. He knows the story of the cross. He knows Jesus "died to the cross", as he says it. He knows Jesus rose from that dark grave and lives. In fact, he told me tonight that "when I get older, I go to see Jesus in the sky". "When you get older, you go to see Jesus, too". "I want to go see Jesus in the sky".

I see these slivers of curiosity, and tonight seems different. I tell him of the little girl version of me who at 5 years old asked Jesus into her heart. I've asked him before if he ever wanted to do this, and he would laugh at me and change the conversation. Tonight, I didn't have to ask. I didn't prompt or tell him this was something that would change his life forever. I just shared my story in less than 2 minutes, and his response was quick and effortless.

"Tell Jesus I want Him in my heart". 

I've never been more proud. I didn't think I could feel more connected to my child than I did before, but having him acknowledge on his own that He needed, WANTED Jesus brought our souls together.

Heaven held its breath. An unseen, beautiful presence filled the four walls, and I asked Jonah to pray with me. I asked him to repeat after me, and we slowly adventured into this new territory. With no more than 4 words at a time, we journeyed to the throne of Grace and met Jesus. A stumbling little boy who asked me to "not say so many words, I can't say all that", reminded me that the act is simple. It is humble. Flighty, flowery words that I love to write and say and read are not needed here. A simple sinner's prayer, 2-3 sentences, and my little boy made the most important decision of his life.

This was a holy moment underneath pirate bedding with "Mars Needs Moms" serenading us in the background. His eyes sparkled, and his mouth broke into a gigantic grin.

This Easter season will be precious. I pray he continues to walk with Jesus and keeps his childlike faith. The simple, humble, raw trust in Jesus who "died to the cross and is not dead". And I'm so thankful that my child will one day "go up into the sky to be with Jesus". 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What I Learned in November

Hello "deer" ones!

November slipped away as quick as the last swirls of water after my 4-year-old's bath. December is here, wait, it's already the 3rd.....

Joining up with Emily to share what I've learned in November...

1. I have a sinful obsession with sweet things.

2. A little bit obsessed with pictures of coffee mugs on instagram. Not empty cups. Full cups with rich, decadent-looking creamy browns and blacks and almost white for those of you who add a little coffee to your creamer. I even posted a status on facebook asking others to tag me in whatever pics they do of their coffee mugs. So, I am asking you, too. I'm on instagram, too. Hint.

3. I can't do it all. Duh. I should have known this, and I've learned it in the past. Somehow, I forget this at least quarterly. Yes, I said quarterly, because I've been in some type of academic program since I was 3. It's just ingrained in me now.

4. I want(ed) will quit FINISH this PhD program... I had a brief spell of thinking, "Oh, just hang it all...". My husband quickly woke me up with a few words of encouragement, basically saying "youarenotquittingyouhavebeendoingthiscrazythingfor2yearsandyouarealmostdonedon'tquitnowwhatcanidotohelp"

5. Deer are everywhere. They will come out of nowhere like a ninja and stand in the middle of the road, just waiting for you to smack into their big hindparts. Sometimes, I've seen them laughing in the woods... "Roger! You almost had them, didn't you!! Next time a little quicker with the two-step! DO IT FOR BAMBI..."

6. I still love the deer that are everywhere. I love living in the country. Said like this: CUN-treeee. I love fires on weekend nights with neighbors, burning marshmallows and sipping cider.

7. Jesus is always and forever faithful and must stay at the center of my parenting, marriage, friendships, work, everything. Without Him, I am nothing. See #3.

8. Finally, I am an artist. I am made in His Image, and he is a Creator. See how that works? What is my art? I'm still learning. It's the journey that brings out the beautiful colors... I make art wherever I am, whatever I am doing....feeding Maddie, making pb&j for Jonah, raking up dead branches while Patrick uses the chainsaw on the bushes, which I'm not allowed to use since I severed the electrical cord. Twice. Read more about the artist who shared her story and awakening about art here. (It's Emily!!) Go ahead and grab her book, A Million Little Ways, which is so delicious to read. Yes, I said delicious. see #1.

Happy December!!!!!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Madison Grace Anne Sams


To My Daughter, Maddie Grace:

You were the bow that wrapped the miracle together. Two tiny pink lines forever seared in my mind, a testimony of restoration, redemption, and all things new. Your presence was felt sooner than your brother's, with seesaw stomachs and cupcake cravings. Oh, so many cupcakes, my little cupcake. The belly grew rounder and the ankles stayed slim for a smidge longer than my first baby-carrying experience. Yet, you also eventually caused puffy ankles and swollen fingers, all 9 plus pounds of your sweet self. My little cupcake.

I rarely had moments to just sit and feel you be you. In the evenings, you would stretch and roll and reach out to touch the inside of your dark home; I would reach back from the outside, sometimes pushing you a bit, too, because you were quite a dancer. My basketball belly would pitch and yaw with your airplane wing arms and legs and hands and feet flying inside.

The morning before you chose to start your adventure, you must have flapped so hard that you let a little trapdoor open. Your nice little liquid padding started to leak, but it wasn't enough to make me call the plumber yet. However, evening came, and you stretched and rolled as usual, springing a little leak. I called your Sha Sha and Pops to come stay with your brother, for they were planning on coming into town the next day anyway. In the early morning hours before dawn, your daddy and I drove to the hospital, leaving brother sleeping soundly and unaware of his new baby sister.

Labor was rolling and stair-stepping and raw. I sat on a blue plastic ball, rolling my hips and swaying as the pain intensified. Little one, you were coming much quicker than your brother. At 7 cm, I caved and asked for an epidural. A few short minutes later, and I felt like you were about to walk yourself out. Just that quick, you were ready to come. 30 minutes of pushing, with daddy at my right hand, and you burst out with all the glory of any princess I've ever known. Straight to my chest they laid you, all vernix-covered and squinty-eyed. You nestled in, close and quiet. A little too quiet, my dear, and several heavy smacks later you chose to raise your voice.

And raise your voice you did. A little meow came out here and there as you searched for a snack. Just 10 minutes in this wonderful world, and you were looking for your first meal. Just like me, you like to eat, and eat you did.

A short 24 hours later and you came home. Home to a tiny cottage with one bathroom but lots of love. Brother held you and kissed you and called you his own. You are the first paragraphs of our new chapters. May your story stay strong and bold. May you hold true to who you are and whose you are. May you always know the love of your family, and the love of the Father who gave you to us.


I love you, Madison Grace Anne, and I am so proud to be your mommy. You and your brother are the best parts of your dad and me, with dashes of stubbornness mixed in. You are the icing to my cake, my little cupcake.

Jonah's story can be found here.