Good News in the Midst of Sadness

In the midst of the tragedy and sadness of the recent shooting at the Navy Yard here in DC, I am reminded that this life is so short. Scripture tells us that our lifespan is a mere breath, here for a moment and then gone (Psalm 39:11). Proverbs 27:1 reminds us of the folly of boasting about tomorrow, as we do not know what a day may bring forth. In light of that, our days should be marked by a sense of urgency. There are eternities at stake, eternities that should give us courage and motivation to pursue Christ passionately, to share the gospel freely and with boldness, to speak into a dark and broken world and bring the light so desperately needed. Let us remember those who were killed, pray for their families, and live with the gospel always on our lips.

As I was reading about this tragedy this evening, I stumbled across a few encouraging stories of hope, and lives being changed around the US. One of them is the story of a pastor’s wife in Tennessee who started ministering to strippers in Nashville, building relationships and sharing the gospel with them, helping them shed their past and create a new life in Christ. Her love for these women is clearly evident, and an example to me of loving and serving those who live a completely different lifestyle than mine.

The second story is from New York City, where a group called the New York City Young Men’s Initiative has founded the “Fatherhood Academy” to help men learn responsible fatherhood. These men attend a program three nights a week for several months to earn their GED, prepare for college, learn life skills, get job experience, and receive advice and encouragement to step up as dad’s to their children. Started in 2012, they have already had 82 graduates from the program!

And just for fun, watch a time lapse video of the raising of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy over the past two days. Quite a contrast between the side that was out of the water and the side of the boat that has been sitting in the muck and mire for months on end, and what an amazing feat of engineering it took to get it upright!

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Overheard

On my way back from Austin to Richmond last week, I overheard a hilarious conversation between a father and his 2.5 year old little girl. Here are my favorite two parts:

Girl: “Daddy, what are you doing?”

Dad: “Turning my phone off for the flight”

G: “But we aren’t flight yet”

D: “I know, but I am turning it off anyway. You need to choose to leave the window open or closed and stop playing with the shade”

G: “Why?”

D: “Because I said so”

G: “Ok. I want closed”

D: “Are you sure? You can’t see anything”

G: “No, I want closed”

D: “I would like to see out, let’s leave it open”

G: “Why?”

D: “Because I want to see when we are moving”

G: “Are we moving?”

D: “Not yet, but soon”

…A few minutes later as we were taxiing….

G: “Daddy, daddy, why are we running away from the airport??!”

 

Haha. She was so cute. She talked the entire hour of our flight from Atlanta to Richmond. Her dad was so patient with her, and also very glad when we landed. 🙂

AWLE: An Update

The speed at which babies grow and change just fascinates me. You get one routine down, and then they are ready for the next big thing. Little E and Mr A are starting to get to a more fun stage now – crawling!! One month ago, Mr A could barely sit up on his own, and Little E wouldn’t stay on her tummy for more than a nano-second (I’m not even joking – she would start to flip over to her back as you were laying her down). But now, as November dawns and they are finishing up month number 7 of their first year in this crazy world, Mr A is scooting forward and beginning to get up on his knees and rock back and forth. And Little E rolls to her tummy on her own and is beginning to grasp the idea of moving somewhere.

It makes me laugh, sometimes, at how very different these two babies are. 5 days apart in age, and yet different in most everything. With Little E, I can put her down on the floor and know that she will be right where I left her when I walk back in the room. Mr A, however, could be rolled to the other side of the blanket half-way under the couch. Same with sleeping. Little E barely moves – even her hands stay right next to her head. Mr A? I lay him down in the crib, and when he wakes up he is flipped to the other end, turned over with his face pressed into the side hollering at me. Mr A has a walker, and he loves to zoom around the kitchen while I am getting their bottles ready, or cleaning, or just playing with them. Little E’s feet barely reach the floor, and she can only go backwards.

They are similar in some ways, though. Both of them love to sing, and eat, and talk, and be outside. They are both content babies who enjoy playing and are good at entertaining themselves. The love being in their stroller, and riding in the car. Within the past week they have started to become more interactive with each other, talking, playing, laughing and crying together quite often. They are starting to become aware of the world around them, and are beginning to respond when talked to or told something.

Even though it will be more tiring, in some ways, when they become fully mobile, I am looking forward to it at the same time. This is such a fun age and time in their lives, when everything is new and little things are big adventures, and I am enjoying being a part of it as we spend our days together!

Surviving Sandy

On Saturday there was absolutely zero hint that a massive storm was heading our direction, but by Sunday evening it was perfectly clear we were in for a treat. Virginia didn’t get hit as hard as some of our friend states to the north, but with tree limbs down and still no power after losing it at 6:25pm yesterday, I am thankful they went ahead and shut the government and schools down in this area yesterday and today. As I am recovering from a bugger of a cold, it has been nice to have a few extra days to lay low.

Losing power in the house always makes me feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder. Candles everywhere, cooking on the stove and eating by candlelight, taking a candle upstairs with you to bed, blowing it out right before you go to sleep, needing three blankets because there is no heat in the house, it all just feels so rustic and pioneer-ish. Yet even with a lit candle in my hand, I still keep trying to turn on the light switch. Ah, the banes of modern technology that we never seem able to part with (as I watch my computer battery slowly fading away…).

Oh well, it is the perfect day to sit in front of a roaring fire with a book and a warm cup of tea or hot chocolate, snuggled into a blanket. Thankful to be inside and safe, and praying for those who had a much harsher experience with Sandy.

 

AWLE: It’s Official…

…Little E is one of the cutest babies in the world, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Everywhere we go people just ooo and aaahh and tell me how cute and adorable and happy and smiley and chunky she is. And it’s true. All of it.

Yesterday we went to Barnes and Noble for children’s story time and she loved it. She did so great sitting in my lap and listening to the story, and she also loved all the other kids. I’m pretty sure Little E is an extrovert. She LOVES people, and does NOT love being by herself. She is happy and content to just sit in her stroller and stare at everyone around her, although she also loves to talk to them sometimes, making them smile with her gibberish and drool as she chews on Sophie, her squeaky giraffe. Mr. A and his mommy also joined us for story time yesterday, which was a fun surprise! Little E and Mr A get along quite well, which is good since they will be spending all day together every day in the near future.

Her favorite game at the moment is to lay on her back and pull anything around her over her face. Blankets, teddy bears, dolls, burp cloths, her clothes…whatever is near her is bound to end up covering her face. The funniest part about it is that she gets mad when you pull it off. She loves to just leave it on her face, and she kicks and giggles and thinks it is the best thing ever.

Since she loves adventures and going out so much, I am on the hunt for more fun things for us to do, especially as the weather cools down. Lunch at Whole Foods is on the list, as well as some other fun children’s activities at the nearby Towne Center. Hooray for adventures!