Jingle Bells: A peak inside

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I took a picture of the 3-D sonogram, hoping it won’t be too strange for those of you with weak stomachs… But, I wanted you to see our little baby’s face peaking through all of the amorphous protective layers! (You can click on the picture to see a larger version.)



A sobering realization… it’s this 20-week ultrasound that informs parents of any possible abnormalities so that the parents can terminate the pregnancy if desired.  May we each pray for these little children who have God-crafted faces and beauty.

jingle bells: week 21 prayers

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We had our big ultrasound today and everything about the baby looks very healthy! How timely that this week, Vivienne and I are memorizing Psalm 119: 73a “Your hands have made and fashioned me.” The fact that God is fashioning each part of this little baby is a wonder to me.

I wish I could somehow scan the ultrasound pictures into this computer so you could see how beautiful this little baby is. We have a 3-D photo of the baby’s face: a glimpse of a child with an adorable heart-shaped face, gorgeous full lips, and an adorable little nose. Family members remember how Vivienne looked like Ryan’s Gram even in ultrasound pictures… ‘just wait until you see how this baby looks like my dad (and me, I must admit! But mostly my sister Julie… how’d she get in there?!) I’m just amazed that God is so good to give us these perfect gifts… His hands weave and weave and weave…

Continue to pray for the baby to grow in strength, physically and spiritually. The baby will be able to hear and discern my voice any day now; pray that all of the words that I say are edifying to this little one.

(As for the gender, we decided not to find out; though the baby did provide the perfect pose, convincing me that we’re having a boy! and convincing Ryan that we’re having a girl! SO, we’re stuck in the mystery for 19 more weeks…)

Vivienne’s September Reward

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For earning stickers each day that filled her “September apple,” Vivienne was rewarded with the opportunity to walk her favorite neighborhood dog, Amber, around the block. She earned stickers each day as we recited the months, sang the days of the week, counted each day, and did little arts and crafts. (I was thrilled to come up with a reward that didn’t entail candy or toys… but now I can’t think of anything for October! If you have any brilliant ideas, please pass them along.)


She is ready to go!



Amber and Viv smile happily after our autumn walk around the block.



“The Greatest Bug Show On Earth”

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This morning, we meandered over to the PSU Ag. Arena for The Great Insect Fair. Vivienne had quite the buzzing time petting a millipede, holding a walking stick, having a butterfly-ed cheek, decorating a grasshopper-head on a stick (naturally), dancing to some live music about bugs, and enjoying some “bug” ice cream. If we had been more adventurous, you would see pictures of us sampling the chocolate-covered cockroaches and the mealy worm egg rolls (a bug-enthusiast’s haven). In more than one way, this event perfectly correlated with the Scripture that Vivienne and I memorized this week: “These all wait for you, that you may give them their food in due season.” Psalm 104:27.

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forbearance: part 2 in 3 parts

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Musing 1: My mom had mentioned that “forbearance” reminds her of St. Christopher, the Patron Saint of Safe Travel. His name means “Christ-bearer”; what we Christians do on this planet. Here are three different depictions of St. Christopher’s relationship with the Christ child. I’m reminded of how we, in strong and weak moments, are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.




How could the man in these pictures forget that life is about Jesus? May my intimacy with Christ be as tangible. This could be the heartbeat of forbearance.

Musing 2: As I’ve been meditating about forbearance, I’ve also been reminded of Saul’s impatience with and jealous of David. Saul became a mess of a murderer because he could not forbear David; he could not tolerate their God-ordained differences. How different Saul’s life would have been if he had stepped back and remembered that life was not about himself – not even about “Saul vs. David” – but about Jesus Christ being glorified (and I do believe that OT believers had a unique type of revelation about the person of Jesus Christ).

Musing 3: Which also reminds me of the beloved ending of Tolkien’s The Hobbit

After an adventure-of-a-lifetime being “the hero,” finding a long-lost treasure, and pursuing justice, Bilbo listens as Gandalf reveals that meanwhile, all over the realm, rulers and kingdoms have been shifting and moving. New – and good – Masters have come to rule, people and elves have been freed, ancient prophecies have proved true. Bilbo comes to the dual-realization that although his part was a part of all of this, it was only a small part of all of this; he is astonished.

“Then the prophecies of the old songs have turned out to be true, after a fashion!” said Bilbo.

“Of course!” said Gandalf. “And why should not they prove true? Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!”

“Thank goodness!” said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar.

Q: What Can You Buy For a $20 Co-Pay?

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A: 2 minutes of a doctor’s time to reassure you that your child just has a little bit of dry skin and not a rare disease caused by too many jelly beans and a dusty floor.

Priceless.  (Especially when your daughter sticks her bottom lip out during the entire doctor’s visit — for real — because she thinks she should “look the part.”  I have no clue where she gets her knack for the dramatic.)


The Name Game

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Yikes! We only have 20 weeks to discover the perfect name for this little baby! (“Jingle Bells” will only seem cute for a limited time!) Help me think through these names. Any impressions? (This is a limited list of possibilities… I have to stop searching babynames.com at the moment. So, look at these for the time being and pass along any treasures you might think of!)


Joshua: God is salvation

Silas: Man of the forest

Sebastian: Venerable

Solomon: Peaceful

Karsen: Christian

Matteo: Gift of God


Serena: Serene, Calm

Sarena: Princess, One who Laughs

Lia: Bearer of Good News (At least that’s what I thought it meant when I looked it up a couple of months ago… but now I can only find websites that list its meaning as “weary” or “cow,” which is really too bad since we adore this name. Is it legal to change the meaning of a name?)

Lilia: Lily (We’d call her “Lia”)

Amalia: hard-working, industrious (We’d call her… “Lia”)

Malia: Calm and peaceful (We’d still call her “Lia”)

Serenity: Peaceful Disposition

Skylar: Scholar

Lisette: God is my oath


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Does this word still exist outside of the credit realm?

It must, because it’s the “Word of the Day” in my spirit. I’ve been wrestling with this: that sickening feeling of someone really getting under my skin. I’m talking that total personality clash where it’s hard for me to think straight because I’m so overwhelmed by our differences. Everything this person does and says is exactly opposite of what I would do and say. (Do ya know what I mean?) The result? I end up walking around in a fog of on-edged-defensive-judgmental-hurt-and-ultra-sensitive junk when I’m in that person’s presence. Because I am so wrapped up in not liking who that other person is, I have a very hard time being who I am. And we all know that this stinks. (Important detail: If you are reading this, it’s not you! :))

The crazy thing is that the other person typically never seems to realize that our personalities clash; on the contrary, he or she seems to think we’re bound to be the best of friends. (Unless, of course, that person has already learned forbearance and is graciously loving me despite our differences. Which is very possible.)  But I’m tired of reacting to this same personality clash with defeat and intimidation. I’m tired of feeling like I can’t love that person because it just hurts too much or requires too much from me.

In the past, I’ve gained *impressive* victory over this by distancing myself from *that person* as much as possible. When enough time and distance had passed, I’d be tickled-pink with myself to realize that, if I ran into her, I could hold a pleasant 5-minute conversation with little-to-no irritation and move on with my life. I’m sensing that God wants me to mature a little more deeply than that. If there is always going to be a personality that clashes with mine, and if there will always be people who are different than I am (and there will be), I better listen to what He’s teaching me. Besides, I want to be an inspiration for all the people whom I annoy… perhaps encourage them to have a bit more patience with me (insert: wink)!

That’s where forbearance comes to mind. It’s a beautiful seldom-used word that, in this case, means: “to endure, be patient or self-controlled when subject to annoyance or provocation.” Many internal and public conflicts are caused by amoral differences between people: preferences, traditions, personality differences. When we forbear, we refrain from becoming irritated with these differences, and choose to love instead. May this word never be mistaken for the world’s definition of “tolerance,” but may it always cause Christians to live in unity with one another. Here are the Scriptures that God has been speaking to me…

Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Colossians 3:13 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Romans 3:24b – 25 …Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

Since my Father offered forbearance towards me (and He knows how different we are from each other), I want to offer forbearance towards everyone: including that *one person*… I’m hoping that as these Scriptures come alive in my spirit, they will enable me to walk in the freedom of forbearance.