Friday, July 26, 2013

Pinterest Friday (Magic)

I was sitting in class at church the other morning when I had an obvious epiphany totally unrelated to the topic being taught. I do this quite often...don't tell my pastor. I just have a very active imagination and can easily distract myself.

I started daydreaming about fawns and fairies and dwarves and centaurs. I've always been very miffed that our world is so lacking in magical and fantastical creatures. But, then it struck me: I wonder if the people in other worlds marvel at these equisite creatures or just walk by them without a second glance because they have become so ordinary to them. I wonder if griffons and mermaids and unicorns are normal to them just like birds and horses and fish are normal to us. And, then I got miffed that these other people are surrounded by such beauty and give it no notice. But, aren't I just as guilty? Perhaps I am surrounded by just as much magic as they are, but they have become ordinary to me and forgotten. These other worldly people could be just as upset with me for not stopping and admiring the squirrels and dragonflies and frogs. I think that "magic" is just what is unatural and out of ordinary for us. But what is ordinary for us is extraordinay for someone else, so maybe we really are surrounded by magic and have just forgotten it. Maybe we need to wake up and notice and watch with glittering eyes. Maybe if we believe in magic we will find it in the most unlikely places: right before our very eyes.

A happy Friday to you all!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"Then Mrs. Tiggy-winkle made tea—a cup for herself and a cup for Lucie. They sat before the fire on a bench and looked sideways at one another. Mrs. Tiggy-winkle's hand, holding the tea-cup, was very very brown, and very very wrinkly with the soap-suds; and all through her gown and her cap, there were hair-pins sticking wrong end out..."
--"The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle" by Beatrix Potter
This is exactly the picture I had in my head as I sipped my tea this evening. It's been a long day. Carley and I went shopping because we were both in desperate need of clothes. I spent a total of ten hours at nine stores today and so you can imagine how utterly exhausted I am. I bought Republic of Tea Peach & Ginger tea to reward myself for surviving this dreadfully long day. And, being the imaginative person that I am, I pretended that I was Lucie and that Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle was the one who served me the tea. That has always been my favorite Beatrix Potter story after all. Of course, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkly didn't just boil water from the tap. She went outside early in the morning to catch the dew dripping from the flowers into her pail. And she steeped the tea with peaches she dried herself, tea leaves from her garden, and freshly grated ginger. She sweetened it with just the right touch of honeysuckle and added enough milk to make it a delicate pink. And then we sat on the bench by the hearth; sipping and talking and pouring ourselves another cup, then sipping and talking some more.
And, now you know what is going on my head as I stare of into the never space.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pinterest Friday (Balance)

Before getting a job I would fill my days with quiet reading, puttering about the house cleaning, spending hours on a single drawing, and I slept an awful lot as well. It was good; perhaps a little too relaxed, but mostly it was good. Somewhere along the way my laid back approach to life slowly became cluttered. Eventually I found myself feeling overwhelmed and exhausted all the time with a hundred things on my to-do list. I hate it, but at the same time I'm having a hard time giving it up. I feel purposeful and accomplished with an overflowing schedule. But, I miss the old me. The one that was still organized and liked her lists and spreadsheets and always arrived five minutes early, but also took deep breaths and would spend some mornings just sitting and listening to music because in that moment the music was all that mattered. Keeping busy has in many ways been a good thing. I live with intention and it certainly keeps me more positive. What I need is to find balance. Which is easier said than done. I've posted about this before. In recent reflection I have come to realize something about myself. I want to see my flaws and then be awesome overnight. I don't want the journey or the process. I just want to get it done and overwith already! I'm sure that a lot of that is ego. I notice an area that needs work, and I want to patch it up before anyone else notices. The idea of a long process of change is not appealing. And, so I try to fix it quietly and quickly and when that fails I throw in the towel. My most recent post on this subject was me throwing in the towel. I had given up for a while on trying to live a quieter, clutter-free, stress-free life. It's a funny thing, and I guess it just shows how God is faithful even when we are faithless, but in recent weeks my need to do everything has lessened. I've slept in a little here and there. I've set up a desk in my room where I can sit and create and breathe and watch the rain fall. I've curled up on the couch and read a book even when there were things unchecked on my list. It started happening when I gave up trying. My life sort of naturally became calm and balanced (Not totally, but it’s a start). The constant anxiety that I feel boiling in my heart had dissipated. It sort of reminded me of the conversation Heather Kopp had with  her husband Dave, “Even in the dark.” Even when I stopped trying, even when I was faithless, even in the dark God remained faithful and continued to work in my heart.
“Finding balance” is such an abstract, nebulous goal really. It’s not like there is a clear cut answer anywhere which is why it’s so difficult to attain, and very easy to lose as well. And, it varies for every individual too. I think that it's sort of like happiness. It's not really an end goal, but a way of life.  And I think that is what makes it so important. It's something you carry with you through out life and something you can easily misplace and forget. And, so you need to fight for it and work for it and hold tight to it. It's the constant, everyday choices that I think are the most important things in life. Having to work for something daily is proof that it is worth fighting for.

If I could sum up living with "balance" or better yet "harmony" as best as I can, I think I would say that it is to live and love and serve as best as you can and with the joy in heart. As soon as you start feeling the joy being crowded out by stress or anxiety or the need to be noticed it's time to stop and re-evaluate things.

This is a rambling sort of post. I suppose what I'm trying to say is this: God doesn't give up on you even when you give up on yourself and that "balance" isn't something to get and then check off your list. It's a daily choice to put aside ego and choose peace.

I'm learning that perfection is something I need to worry less about. I am so caught up in the end results that I forget to notice the process. God is working in me now. Everyday he is making me more like him. And sometimes I'll fall and forget and screw up, but he is faithful and maybe the falling and forgetting and screwing up is just Him reminding me that things go so much better when I depend on him.

And, here is the part where I try to tie this all in with a Pinterest pin to justify my addiction.:

But, really! This post totally sprung from these two pins.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

How Should We Talk To God?

My dad gave me the A.C.T.S. formula one evening during family devotions.


 I don't know if he intended for me to accept it as law or if it was just a suggestion to guide me through prayer, but I took it as law. All of my prayers followed these organized four steps. I praised, confessed, thanked, and asked.

"Dear God, You are awesome and made everything. Please forgive me for lying to mom today. Thank you for my family and for all things.....what does supplication mean again? Oh, yeah...And, please save everybody. In Jesus name. Amen."

Prayer was my performance to God. I would follow the formula, use as many big and flowery words as possible (because God hears only the eloquent prayers of course), tidy it all up in the end with a nice "In Jesus name", seal the envelope, and offer my finely polished prayer to this stern higher power. 

There were times when I was confused by God, and so I would come timidly before him and question him.

"Why would you let my dad do such horrible things to me? Why did you let Meghan die? Why did my Mom miscarry after I begged you for a little sister for years? What kind of a God lets a Dad abuse his children, Lets a little girl suddenly fall into a coma and die, and lets a baby die? I don't get you, God."

 But, then I would get scared because I'm not supposed to question the creator of everything. Doubting him is the highest offense. And, so I would tidy up my prayer, trying to convince myself and God that I really did trust him fully. There had to be closure. Even if I didn't get the answer I wanted and I was even more confused than before I started praying, I would pretend to be satisfied and to have peace.

"But, I know you are sovereign, God. I know that you work all things for my good. And so I trust you. Thank you for everything. In Jesus name. Amen."

A sigh of relief...I tricked Him. And then I would seal the envelope and offer my somewhat battered but frantically patched up prayer to this harsh higher power.

And there were times when I threw away the formulas and begged with hands clasped together and tears streaming. They were prayers of repetition. I knew what I wanted, and that one thing consumed me. And, so I would repeat the request over and over and over and over again.

"Please make me a Christian. I don't want to go to hell. Please make me a Christian. I don't want to go to hell. Please make me a Christian. I don't want to go to hell."

 ... An incantation. I would repeat it a hundred times and then worry that a hundred wasn't enough. So, I would repeat it a hundred times more. I mostly prayed these prayers under my breath as I laid in bed at night. And, usually I would drift to sleep with the words still on my tongue. And then the prayer would drift up to heaven, un-hemmed, unfinished, desperate, and terribly messy to this fickle wizard. Although my view of God was so sadly wrong, I think that this prayer was the most honest and real. And, maybe the most honoring to him.

In all my years of formulas, tricking, and magic spell prayers I don't remember ever looking in the Bible to see what God had to say. It turns out I had it all wrong (No, duh.) I had a horribly misguided view of the one I was praying to. Stern? Harsh? Fickle? He is a thousand things, but none of those. 
I wish that I had recalled the verse that said that "God is Love" 1 John 4:8 or remembered that "The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love." Psalm 103:8. If I had a better understanding of God then maybe I would have been able to "come boldly to the throne of grace, that [I] may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16 instead of stumbling towards it with shoulders stooped trying so hard to "get it right" and convince him to do as I had asked.  I was so intent on presenting him with the perfect prayer that I missed out completely on the beauty that I have since discovered in it.

Psalm 139:1 says, "O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me." When I read this I finally gave up on the facade and I realized that trying to "look my best" before God was a complete waste of time. If he knows my heart then he knows that there are doubts and confusions and maybe even some anger stored up in there growing bitter. He sees right through my beautifully worded, well-constructed prayer as the hollow lie that it is. I don't think that God is very pleased when I lie and try to trick him. I think that he would be much happier if I was totally real and honest even if the "real and honest me" is a wreck.

I now have taken a completely different approach to prayer. I sit down, open my mouth, and say everything. My prayers lack eloquence at times, they have no filters, they are a mess. There is no pretty packaging or pretense. It just is. But, they are beautiful to Him and to me because understand better what the purpose of prayer is.

Prayer is acknowledging your dependence on a loving God. Prayer is getting to tell Him in person how awestruck you are by Him. Prayer is throwing yourself down at his feet in open surrender and saying, "I've got nothing. Help." Prayer is looking him in the eyes and saying, "I don't get you. You confuse me. Why would you do this to me?" Prayer is the meeting place where an unreachable and intangible God becomes real and here and now. Prayer is an intimate drawing near. Prayer is you standing naked before an Almighty Creator and knowing with confidence that He loves you not in spite of you brokenness, but because of your brokenness. Because "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life." 1 Timothy 1:15-17

I know now that God is more honored with my honesty than he ever was with my attempt at perfection.

Now I am not so worried about trying to resolve everything in a single prayer and I don't try to patch up my prayers with "But, don't worry, God. I trust you." If I haven't found the answer, or I don't feel satisfied, I'll end my prayer with, "To be continued..." 

I know now that wondering and questioning isn't the doubt that I have always so fearfully avoided. It's searching the immeasurable, mysterious, bountiful everything that God is.

"As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.”  But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”  Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.”  And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad."
--Samuel 1:12-18

There is much that I still don't understand about prayer. Why do we ask of God when He has already decided the outcome? We can't sway him; He's already decided everything. But, I ask anyways since he tells me to and I'm sure that he has a good reason.
Hey! I'm so clever and I didn't even realize it. My new "formula" is:
"I Sit down, Open my mouth, and Say everything." and that would make my new acronym "S.O.S". How appropriate?!

Monday, July 15, 2013

A good read for a monday morning.

A Prayer for You, Day

This is a prayer for today, which is to say it’s
a prayer for every day, since tomorrow can’t arrive
without becoming today and yet this day has
never existed before, which means…
I’ve been waiting for you all of my life.
May I stay here in you, day, where I belong
and not travel to tomorrow or yesterday in hopes
of changing what is already gone or hasn’t yet come
and can’t be rushed without mistakes.
I pray I won’t judge you halfway through as good
or bad or imagine that you should be other
than what you are, or decide in the afternoon
that the honeymoon is over and clearly you are
too hot or long or dull.
Today, may I welcome every moment you bring
as proof that life is right, and let me seize all your
wonders and all your ordinariness, too,
without demanding more.
Teach me to begin again and again,
like you do—your morning mercies fresh as
the heads of newborn babes who carry your scent
and make me want to start you all over again,
only more awake this time,
and more undone by you.

By Heather Kopp at

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Books, etc.

I've spent the past few evenings purging my room and attic of things I no longer need. It's crazy how you can accumulate so much junk without realizing. I'm still knee deep in clothes and toys and other random things. I'm finally finishing up sorting through all of my books. I had three pile: Keep in my room, store in the attic, and donate to Goodwill. In the end I have 208 in my room, 239 in the attic, and 0 in the donation pile. Oh, well....
I have come across so many precious keepsakes and memories. I am a big-time saver of anything with sentimental value. Once my room and the attic are completely organized, I am going to compile all of the doodads I have saved over the years into a book. Should be fun!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Pinterest Friday!!!

You know how bloggers sometimes have themed posts? Like every Monday they post an inspirational quote? Or they have "Wordless Wednesdays" with photos only? I'm going to try that. Readers! (All two of you)I proudly present "Pinterest Friday". This is my attempt at redeeming the many hours wasted on that addicting site. Every Friday (or maybe not. Maybe I'll give up after a week or two. No promises.) I will post something I pinned on Pinterest that week with my commentary. It's sounds boring, I know. But, I'm going to give it a go anyways.

And for our first installment, I give you wise words on a blindingly yellow background. Don't look too long or your eyes might bleed.

I saw this and thought immediately of a post by one of my favorite bloggers, Kate Conner. Please read it.

Infuse the ordinary things in life with beauty. Make them your "sacred ritual" and watch them as the blossom into something extraordinary. It's funny how using pitcher full of sudsy water to clean your counters instead of a bottle of bleach, using cloth napkins instead of using a roll of paper towel as you center piece, or straightening the living room before you sip you first cup of coffee in the morning can bring peace and calm into your life.
Ain't it the truth?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I'm having a mini crisis

Blogging is getting harder and harder these days. It's not that I am running out of things to say....I've been writing just as much as ever. It's that what I am writing now is a lot more personal than what I am ready to share here on my blog. It's hard to decide what should be posted and what belongs safely and privately tucked away in my diary for my eyes only.
I want what I write to be encouraging. I want to tell my story, because reading people's stories has been so influential in making me "me". I want to be a part of that. I don't want to complain here. But, I don't want it to sound like I live in a deluded Utopian state of mind. How much is too much to share? Do I mention God enough? Where should my faith fit into my writing? I don't feel like I mention it enough. Should I just stick with safe topics or should I take a couple risks? I want to also write about my beliefs and what is important and precious to my heart. But, can I do that without stepping on any toes? Are my words kind enough? Is my awful grammar and punctuation really that noticeable? I love writing, but am I really any good? How can I get more readers already!? I don't want another reader---what if she doesn't like me?!? That would KILL me!
I'm writing post after post after post, but I'm having a hard time hitting the "publish" button. I want so badly to be an author someday, but nothing terrifies me more than being an author someday.
My daydreaming has always involved marriage, an old farmhouse, 8 children, homeschooling, picnics, home made bread, and a pet goat. But, my dream has grown recently: I write on my blog everyday. I am brave and post even the private, scary things because I know hiding gets you no where and even my story can make a difference. And, I have lots of readers; readers that say, "Yes! Me too!" and "Thank you!". I also have readers that say, "You're a quack!" and "Get off your high horse!". But, I've kicked shame to the curb so I just read quietly and nod my head and weigh their words. I'll take the true ones to heart and grow from them, and I'll leave the hateful ones behind me and walk away with my head held high. Because this is the future, people! And, I'm mature and ever so wise! And, then one day I open my inbox and find an email from a publisher begging me to write a book. I don't know how getting a book published actually happens, but I like to pretend it involves them begging and pleading. And, then I write the book, and publish it and another and another and another. And, then I get to go on The Ellen Show, and dance with her. I am asked to guest blog for my favorite bloggers, and I get to meet my favorite writers. It's a beautiful tale.
 Part of me is afraid to tell anyone my dream because it will jinx it. But, I don't really believe that (I'm not super stitious but I am a little stitious.--Name that show!!!) and I don't think that God is tricky like that. Whether or not I share my extravagant dream has nothing to do with whether it will come true.

But, until then, I wish that I could give something that I have written to one of my beloved writers. I wish I could give it to Kate Conner or Glennon Melton or Heather Kopp. I wish that they could read it and give some insight: Encouragement, criticism.....anything. I just want to know if I have any potential and any shot at this dream coming true. I need a boost of confidence. I want someone that's been where I am now to tell me how to write from the heart and be brave. I think really in the end, that is the essence of a good writer. All she needs is to be real and willing to let people see her as she is. I just need someone to tell me that.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Keep on keeping on.

I began writing a post on Wednesday referencing this blog entry I wrote months back. I had woken up one morning recently and realized that I had been happy for a long time. It was a good feeling. I’ve lived much of my life struggling with feeling melancholy, negative, and discontent. As I writing about this realization I started feeling uneasy. I’ve been genuinely happy for months now. I have been learning and growing as a person, and as a Christian….but, I can’t forever be on this high—right? Eventually, I will plateau, and then what? What happens when the love and fervent desire to grow in my understanding of Christ begins to wane? What happens when the happy settles into just trudging along through life? I’m afraid that anything less than the joy I’m feeling today will throw me into a state of panic. I don’t want to be sad. I don’t want to feel purposeless. I need this excitement that drives me to be better. The impending doom of losing my fight interestingly enough made me lose my fight for a day or two. I came home from work on Wednesday in a less than cheery mood. I wasn’t the nicest person. I wasn’t mean either. I just wasn’t much of anything really. So, I went out to have some time to myself. I talked myself through it and I prayed myself through it. I was a little better for the rest of the night and the next day. But, Friday came and I felt heavy. It was rainy and gloomy. I love rain usually but this was a relentless rain that seemed to drain the world of all color. I was in an official funk. I was so “down” and anxious all day. I went to church that evening. The lesson helped, but the mingling and chit-chatting before and after it made me want to curl up inside myself, never to emerge into this harsh world again. People were nice; I was just not in the mood and hated myself for it. Then Saturday came. The sun shone, and I felt better. Not great, but better. I didn’t do a thing except for play card games and board games all day with my sisters. I fell asleep thinking about the past few days. I was so scared of the “what if’s” that I brought them to life. I was scared of depression, and so I became a regular Eyore. I was scared of anxiety, and so my heart raced and my jaw clenched. I was scared that I would forget that people are beautiful and connection is essential, and so I became terrified and reclusive. It was dumb really, but I learned something through it. If you are armed with enough truth and faith and love and all that good stuff…you can do hard things. I think that my three days of “funk” were brought on by myself which was a mistake, but I dealt with them as best I could. I woke up with the sun instead of pulling the covers over my head, because I knew that would just pull me deeper. I took sisters out for a morning of fun because there is no use in making everyone as miserable as myself. I went to church even though the thought terrified me. I showed up, and maybe screwed up a little. But, at least I showed up. My mind and heart were flooded with second guessings and criticism of self and doubts, but I took those thoughts captive and talked myself through them. Sometimes you can’t help it if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Some days are rainy, colorless days. You can’t help that your hormones whack out from time to time. My mom has told me many times that you do the right thing even when you don’t feel like it. Your perseverance will be honored. Right actions will be followed with the right emotions. I made it through the past few days and believed that I could do hard things. I believed that the rain would eventually stop and the sun would break through the clouds casting light and color on everything once more. And it did disappoint. God did not disappoint. I did the right thing (mostly) armed with His truth, and the right emotions eventually followed. And, now the thought of falling back into my dreary old ways doesn’t frighten me so much. Happy is worth fighting for. And, I know that I am armed with the right things. Lamentaions 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.


I realize of course that their are varying levels of depression. Sometimes talking and praying yourself through it isn't enough. Sometimes doing the right thing doesn't produce the right emotions. Your brain may be incapable of producing a certain chemical or maybe it produces way too much of another chemical. I don't want to make light of what can be a serious and dibilitating struggle for some. I don't want anyone to think that I am saying that if you had enough faith, will, and prayed enough than you would get better. It's far more complicated than that. But, for me and for now, this is my story. This is how I am learning to cope with my own personal brand of emotions.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sweet Thing

Our sweet little Magatha was beside herself when her caterpillar emerged from it's cocoon this morning. It chilled out on  her finger for several minutes before it flew away with it's fellow butterfly friends.

Grabbing some good moments.

I took Monday and Tuesday off from work since we had my best friend and her siblings staying with us. I drove the siblings home (they live two hours away) on Tuesday and prayed through clenched teeth nearly the whole way there and back again. This has been a rainy summer, and it was pouring so hard that I couldn't even see well enough to pull over. As I was waiting at the light to the entrance of the highway I took a big gulp of soda. The light turned green mid-gulp and I panicked since merging into chaotic South Florida traffic makes me spaz and so without thinking I spat my mouthful of diet coke onto poor Jenny. She stared in disbelief and yelled, "What the heck?" to which I responded, "The light turned green! I didn't have time to swallow!" It was no use trying to explain that one away. I was pretty brutally made fun of the whole drive.

I worked Wednesday, and then got Thursday and Friday off. The Fourth of July was Thursday. I can't remember how she phrases it exactly, but Glennon at Momastery often says something like, "Don't worry about having the perfect day, just make sure to grab a few good moments." And, that's what I tried to do. The day didn't really go as planned and was pretty full of disappointment, but there were some special moments in there.

The Rosenthals swung by and we played party games.
Natalie and I ran out to grab soda (it's summer, and I am obsessed and addicted to diet coke.) where we discussed women's rights on the drive. I tried to explain my position, "I wouldn't really call myself a 'feminist', I would really just say that I'm 'right'." Yes, I am really that arrogant.
Natalie tried to pray before our meal, and we all got the giggles. I can't remember what was said, but it made it incredibly difficult to remain straight-faced.
And, then Natalie read us the Declaration of Independence while we ate. She like to do solemn, inspirational, traditional things like this. I stared at her awkwardly while she read all misty eyed and shaky voiced.
Maggie rescued a butterfly from a spiders web.
We spent the morning soaking up some rays at the beach.
We met up with the Rosenthals to watch fireworks later that night. We had fun, took lots of pictures, and I learned that I am not al that photogenic.

 Apparently, my left eye is much smaller than my right, and apparently it gets even smaller when I laugh.
Apparently I laugh like a jolly, one eyed cartoon character.

 Apparently I didn't look as cool as I felt when I pretended to summon my magical powers to throw a spectacular firework display. But, in all fairness they don't look all that hot either.

 Ehhh.....At least I didn't do this.
 :) I like this one.
I'm wind blown, crazy-eyed, but incredibly happy.

Speaking of crazy eyed. What the heck? I look deranged, ready to snap. Maybe that's because I was. This was at least our 59th attempt at a decent family snapshot. 

 At least both of my eyes are opened here.
Yay! We got a good one!

I went to bed last night writing this post in my head. I was planning on complaining. Yesterday was rainy. I didn't get anything accomplished even though I ran around like a crazy lady all day. I went to church all frazzled, uncaffeinated, and unprepared mentally. I stressed because it was a bunch of people and I was so not in the mood to see people. I felt awkward and second-guessed everything I did and everything I said. I came home feeling discouraged and swore off of human interaction forever. But, then I woke up and the sun is shining and there's no rain on the forecast. I feel better. So, I'll focus on the good moments and forgive and forget the awkward ones.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


It was Sunday morning, and I was helping in the church nursery. I was nine, and he was under a year old. He missed his Mama like crazy. The nursery workers gave him to me to try to calm him down. He had such a really big head for such a young baby and boiling hot tears poured down his cheeks as he sobbed for Christel. I rocked him and bounced him and sung to him, but to no avail. The nursery workers asked if I wanted them to take a turn with him, but I declined. I finally sat down with crossed legs on the floor and rested his head on my legs. His screaming became sleepy and lazy as I rubbed his forehead. Eventually he calmed down enough, and I was able to feed him his bottle where he finally fell into a deep sleep in my arms. One of the ladies asked me as I held him how many children I wanted someday. Without hesitating I said, "Twelve." (my  answer has gone down to five to eight since then----I am not superwoman or Michelle Duggar.)
This happened twelve years ago, and last Saturday that baby boy spent his thirteenth birthday in my home. I wanted to write about what makes him so perfectly "Matt". These three things stood out to me the most as he stayed with us this weekend.
 Matt is kind. I was getting ready to take him and his sister back to their home two hours north of me today. I told them that we could either play "Rock, Paper, Scissors" to figure out who would sit in the front seat or one of them could do the kind thing and put their desires aside for their sibling. As we walked out to the car, he went directly to the back seat. Matt is kind.
Matt has the best giggle. He laughs at everything. It's preciously hilarious. His eyes squint and cocks his head to the side. It's the same contagious laugh he has always had.
Matt is helpful. He took initiative this weekend. He was here for four days, and learned how to do specific things around the house. During the four days he took responsibility for those chores and did them without being asked...setting the table, pouring the water, helping with the dishes. He is a pretty neat thirteen year old.
 I love that I get to watch him grow up. He is such a person.