welcome to us 

Saturday is for sharing – a yummy breakfast. a walk. a good conversation. a fun game. an afternoon nap. a table for two. a slow dance under the stars…

and today I want to share with you a few photographs. We are husband+wife, daddy+mommy, & three little men – our sons – our children –

welcome to the new us. welcome to our family.

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unspecified“Joy shared is joy multiplied” – Tyler, our fearless and loving leader

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“You have filled our hearts with joy” – David, in the Psalms

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“Come to me, little children” – Jesus

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“I sing over you” – God our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer

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“Children are a gift, a blessing, a heritage from the Lord. Happy is the man whose quiver is full.” – Psalm 127:3-5

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“May these boys abound in brotherly love” – my prayer for them

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“My son, listen to your momma’s instruction, and live” – Proverbs 1:8

“I’d rather do nothing with you than something with anyone else”

>>> photographs . amy free photography <<<

 

 

Haddon, Homeschool, and the Holidays 

Haddon –

Here we are baby. Here we are boys. Here we are husband. Six weeks in and it feels (most of the time) like we’ve always had you; like you have always been apart of the family. What did we do before?

Here I was – two Octobers ago, clinging to the whispers of God explicit in this scripture : “Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.”‭‭ Genesis‬ ‭30:22

And when we found out we were having another son, yes ma’am we did – we named him Joseph. The Lord added again.

“She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” And she called his name Joseph, saying, “May the Lord add to me another son!””‭‭ Genesis‬ ‭30:23-24

As I hold little Joseph Haddon in my arms, he’s content and I’m listening to music and writing a bit, I think … not only does He remove reproach, but God also gives grace. Grace upon grace.

This third son – sure, I’ve had two others, sure, I may be a bit more seasoned, but this third son is a whole person. A new little. Someone we all have the privilege to steward well and love long.

Long suffering. Surely the most needed character trait of a mommy, of a daddy, of two bustling brothers. Of a husband and wife,.. for every person, from everyone else,

… suffer long.

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The Holidays –

I know it’s practically the middle of January but as we celebrated the holidays with Haddon in our arms,… two reflections kept rumbling around in my thoughts, 2 in the morning. 10 in the evening. At Christmas Eve service. Opening gifts for 3 days straight.

Mary on that donkey. Goodness gracious. Just imagine it! Then she finds herself in the leftover stable. Laboring Life Himself into the world. A hot sticky, stuck to mess of a new mom. Bloody. Bare. Only swaddled cloths to cover. Golly.

No matter the days I had to wait and the hours I spent in labor, it was nothing like bless her precious surrendered heart Mary. She suffered long, pondering all of these things in her heart.

Stinky shepherds crowded to worship; she sat, perhaps trembling, spent. Her life for His so He could give her His…

Nothing compares. And I can only say with Mary – bless the Lord.

And then look at him. Held like a prince. Dressed in fine clothes. Every need attended to. Clean and beautiful. Everyone washed their hands before they offered their praise – He’s beautiful! Worth the wait! Oh how healthy he is.

The stinky shepherds tripped over themselves to worship. Gotta love them.

But where were all of the other wait-ers to oooh and aaah?

Why didn’t anyone celebrate!? The dark days were over. Light had come!

Everyone happy to meet Haddon, the prince dressed and clean.

But for Jesus,… barely dressed. Dirty stable room. Nobodies were there. Not even Mary’s mother! Where was the proud grandpa!?

The world’s better Joseph had come! – a gift of grace to save not only from famine but from soul-starvation,…and the whole town crowded to count people didn’t visit the One who counted the most.

Haddon, our gift. Well received with open arms, laid in warm bed with a basketful of blankets beside. But Jesus THE GIFT + GIVER. Cows lowing,… Animal manger,…

O Jesus, I love you even more.

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Merry Christmas Morning

Homeschool –

What is school without Christmas and family and books, birthday parties and cozy movie nights? Sure,.. we took a break from curriculum, but only so we could press in to learning how to take care of a little, how to take care of our new family, together, and to celebrate. To sing Happy Birthday and to worship Jesus in a special way in this extraordinary season.

And here we are now. Snowed into rest. Six weeks into the rest of our lives. And ready for what King Jesus would have for us, for His glory, for 2017.

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first day of homeschool 2017

** for more photographs, follow me on instagram – everylittlejot **

Christmas Quiet Times

With the recent arrival of a newborn, life has changed!, my body has once again changed, and my schedule, too. Plus, it’s the Christmas season, which makes everything exciting & different from the normal. 

With all of these changes, my time with the Lord has changed too. 

Everyone assumes that with a newborn it’s hard for me to spend any time in the Word. And I know what they’re saying, but for me, it was the last several weeks of pregnancy that were so hard – hard to wake early (I was so tired!); hard to journal (my hands were swollen and numb); hard to take in any more (I was emotionally and mentally “full,” so I meditated and prayed with the scripture I know). And in those last weeks, the Lord was so faithful to me. He upheld me and strengthened me. He fought against and won the self-inflicted guilt about not having a “proper” quiet time. He used Sunday morning sermons to “feed” me all week. 

So after bringing Haddon home, I was ready to jump back into my quiet time. I missed Jesus! And my morning time with Him. 

Now, I wake at 6A to nurse Haddon… and this is when I spend time with the Lord in His Word. 

It’s the Advent + Christmas season, I have focused my quiet time there – at Jesus’ birthday. 

My quiet time looks like reading a bible verse or few about Who Jesus Is; today is December 14th and I read John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” 

I write it down. I try to memorize it, or refresh my memory. I pray/meditate on the verse. I want the scripture to stick in the forefront of my mind for the day. 

Then I read this little book “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas,” edited by Nancy Guthrie. It’s 23 readings from various authors, pastors, theologians on Christmas. The date is the 14th, so I read the 14th chapter. 

And in those quiet dark sweet moments in the morning with littlest love in my arms and bible in my lap, I take in His Word. I pray. I’m so glad to meet with Jesus. 

Throughout the day I read other little things, and we have moments as a family where we get into the Word. My next blog post will be about family Christmas devotions. 

Haddon’s Arrival + First Week

He’s here! He’s here! Joseph Haddon is <finally> here!

 

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welcome, new life

Haddon was born on November 26th at 3:16PM… four days after his due date. His “late” arrival took me by surprise, because my first two sons arrived on their due date. Of course, I should have known better, but instead I was surprised. And swollen, sore, and so ready to have this baby.

I had prayed he would come in the middle of the night, that my water would break (so the doctors had to admit me!); I prayed all sorts of things, but in the end, again, of course I know and should have known better, the Lord works out His perfect plan for us.

We enjoyed Thanksgiving with both sides of our family and we enjoyed a week at home with our big boys. It really was a sweet time, a time I wouldn’t trade for anything… except I was ready to have this baby!

<Finally> on Saturday morning, I woke to contractions that I knew were the real deal. Off to the hospital we went, and without going into too much detail ;), Tyler and I had our baby! We received loving care from the best nurse and a wonderful doctor.

It was so much fun to have Leland and Grafton come into the L+D room to see us, meet Haddon, and watch how they immediately fell in love with their baby brother.

Family had waited all day in the lounge, and it was special to have them meet and love on our third son.

We felt the particular blessing of God on our lives that day, in those precious hours and circumstance. He covered us and cared for us. He blessed us with another boy and now we have three little men. 

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How’s that for a party pony!? – Hi, baby Haddon! It truly is a party now that you are here!
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The boys get to meet the little boy and see the nurses take care of him.
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bright-eyed from the very beginning
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my love
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Yay! We get to take this baby and this party home!
I went home less sore but still swollen. The first few days I was hopped up on as much pain medicine as possible and could barely walk. But I was happy. Happy to be home with Haddon, this side of the womb. Happy to celebrate life with my four men. Happy to have Christmas decorations around the home, thanks to Tyler, Leland, and Grafton. They are quite the team!

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our three little men
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All five + decorated for Christmas 
After about a week – I am learning, just give it a week… or so… – I could walk! and move and be “normal.”

Something that started spontaneously with Leland, and then I planned for Grafton and Haddon is a “one week old birthday party.” We celebrate because precious life is here, because the good Lord got us through the first week, and we are alive to celebrate!

For Haddon, we had family Sunday lunch at our house  – a “man soup” made by Tyler, complete with hearty bread and Coke Life 😉 , then finished the meal with my mom’s delicious chocolate pie, Nana’s beautiful cream cheese spice cake, and my grandmother’s home made Russian tea.

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This super-fun dessert napkin communicates my emotions exactly – YAY!
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Tyler hung the banners that my sisters, Noelle + Christianne, used to decorate our house for Haddon’s baby shower; perfect, huh?!
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My sisters also used these succulents as the centerpiece at the shower, so of course, we had to use them for the party!
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‘ a party without a cake is just a meeting’ and we were not trying to have a meeting, so we had cake!
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hooray for haddon!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Praise Him, all creatures here below!

Praise Him, above ye heavenly host!

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Amen.

Gratitude + Faith = Dependence 

“Gratitude is past-oriented dependence; faith is future-oriented dependence.” – John Piper

Gratitude and Faith, both dependence on God.
for all that we have, for all of who we are… thankful.
for all that we desire, for all of who we pray to be… faith-filled.
for yesterday, thank you. for tomorrows, we praise You.
You.
the haves, and the desires; the identity, the relationships, and the accomplishments… all fall short of You. Nothing, no-one satisfies the way You do. Nothing, no-one is worth all of our gratitude, all of our faith, all of our weighty worship, except for You.
You – Maker of Heaven and Earth. You – Giver of life to all who live and move and have their being. You – Sustainer, Healer, Provider, Protection. You – Savior, Friend, Redeemer, Shepherd. You, Way, Truth, and Life. You, merciful, slow-to-anger, compassionate, just, mighty, good.
You’re the Beginning and End, the Author and Perfecter of our grateful hope, of our dependent faith.
We are totally, completely, irrefutably, ultimately, in every way possible, dependent on You. Yesterday, today, this minute, tomorrow, years to come, into eternity, forever.
Orient all of us around all of who You are & may we always fully depend on You.
* This post was first published November 11, 2015.

Rejoicing + Giving Thanks

Last year, I wrote a chronicle of blog posts, of people and blessings I was (and am still) thankful for.

This year, wanting to write about Haddon’s name and the third trimester, I decided to write only one post on thanksgiving. I have a litany of blessings I am thankful to the Lord for – but for writing and time’s sake, for life right now in this season, I think one post is sufficient.

There are two scriptures that keep on swirling around in my head – the first one is

“Rejoice in so much as you share in Christ’s sufferings, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:13 (NIV)

I have recently completed two fantastic books sketching the lives of faithful Christian women. To read their stories is deeply inspiring and devastatingly convicting. I am so inspired when I read of these women who gave their all to live for and to love Christ, and I am devastatingly convicted of my own lack of completely living for the Lord with all I am and all I have.

As I read through these biographies, full of both burden and blessing, this scripture from 1 Peter continued to exhort me.

“Rejoice in so much as you share in Christ’s sufferings…”

Am I sharing His sufferings?

I looked down at my swollen feet… and Christ reminds me of His unrecognizable, nailed-to-the-Cross feet… His feet, swollen with death. My feet, swollen with life. Because of the life He gave, I carry life.

I notice my numb fingers… again… those precious nail scarred hands. Life given for me, so that I may give life to another.

I don’t know if this is exactly what Peter meant… and I know that these swollen feet and numb fingers are only small portions of sharing…

But, am I rejoicing in the little ways that I might be suffering, and therefore could get a taste of sharing in Christ’s sufferings?

I can say… I don’t always rejoice. I am in my heart of hearts glad for this life. But I am also glad the numbness and swelling will be over – and soon.

Both of the biographies that I read recorded the life of Sarah Edwards, Jonathan Edward’s wife. She gave birth 11 times (and lacked so many of the conveniences I take for granted) and she considered it all gain to give life.

Christ considered it gain to give His life.

Do I rejoice? Do I consider it gain? Do I gladly share with Jesus?

… And to think the promise if I do rejoice and gladly share is to revel in His glory! – that is soon.coming.

O Lord!, Don’t let me miss it! Don’t let complaining and complacency keep me from sharing… keep me from giving my all… keep me from thanking Him, who suffered in my place.

The second Scripture is this…

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” PHIL 4:13 (KJV 2000)

This is the sort of bible verse plastered to the locker room wall in my Christian school. This is the verse that FCA would use to encourage the athletes. And this verse has so much more significance than the “you-can-do-it” attitude it can communicate to football players.

Because of Christ’s strength in me through the power of the Holy Spirit, I can do the day in and day out that the Lord providentially gives… and I can endure, accomplish, gladly enjoy and triumph in the blessing and in the burden. All of it. because of Christ.

I can walk on swollen legs, give love with numb hands, hold this life in my body, in my lap… and hold my two other sons in my arms, I can continue to be my husband’s helper… soon, I can labor and give life… because Christ strengthens me.

So, this Thanksgiving, with new life entering into our home, forever changing our family for our good and for His glory, I am thankful for the blessing, for the burden, for the way in which Christ gives His life for us, so that we can gain His and give ours… Jesus, may I give my all. May I rejoice in all. May I live all + only for You.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

third trimester : swollen with life

28-40ish weeks. the same amount of time as the first two trimesters, but it feeeeels like the longest.

I know the end is near. And it seems far. away. Plus there’s so much to do and I’m tired and at times can’t think straight.

I’m so glad the Lord is my Strength. My portion. That He forgives and He upholds.

My body is tired, big, swollen, and numb. I feel mostly utilitarian, like a vessel.

“…we ourselves are like fragile clay jars and vessels containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” – 2 Cor 4:7

And what a treasure. To grow, to hold, to be apart of life and giving life. It’s a glory-to-glory experience. It’s not at every moment pretty + easy. It’s not convenient. (Certainly convenience cannot be the motivation, the reason any woman does this whole thing.)

Worth-it Life is not convenient. But life is so good. So worth it. So worth the inconvenience, the numbness, the swelling, the pain, the agitation, and sleeplessness.

and Treasure is coming. through the great power of God, not of myself…

This baby boy has been longingly waited for – deeply prayed for – and much anticipated from before his beginning. We are all so. ready. to meet him! hold him. kiss him. take care of him. (and see who he looks like!) … though my grandmother would say, “He’ll look like Haddon.” she sees the uniqueness in each of us, and marvels.

I am 38 weeks and 2 days today. If he comes at his due date, which crazy enough, both Leland and Grafton did, Haddon will arrive in 12 days. 1 week 5 days. (I sort of hope earlier… but who knows!).

No matter when he arrives, he is coming soon. My body will no longer be heavy – swollen – numb… My heart will be full, overflowing, feeling… from glory to glory…

…and in all of this – life, heaviness, fullness, anticipation and exhaustion – I give thanks to the Lord for HE is the good Treasure… His love endures forever.

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swollen with life : big belly, big baby, big feet
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all baby : 37.5 weeks