Merry Christmas, Friends!
In my simplification efforts, I have crossed off "Addressing Christmas Cards" from my to-dos and have opted for a Blog update for those who love us enough to open it. If you sent us a card, we cherish it and have it displayed in our home, and we think of you every day. So, the Christmas Card...oh I still love it...but my sanity, I love that too. So here we have landed.
I could say 2015 has been the best of times and the worst of times. But I already wrote about that in my last post. You can scroll back if you care to. I'll sum it up in a kinda-quick version for you here:
Reese: This lil munchkin kept us really busy, beginning January 1st, 2015 with her first of SIX hospital visits for pneumonia or respiratory distress. This caused us to find intense PREVENTATIVE (hooray for preventative!) therapies we can do at home. It's time-intensive but so worth it, as we have now gone August 28-December 21 with no hospital visits. Can I get an AMEN!!! And a WOOT!! But as you know, this child is so much more than respiratory issues to us. This little LOVE embodies to us so much of what is precious to God. She is a part of that upside-down kingdom I have always struggled to understand. Remember the Beatitudes? "Jesus was right: it is the poor, the sick, the sad, and the oppressed who are the blessed in our world. He said it was to them that his kingdom was coming, and it was to them that it would be actual, real good news." D.L. Mayfield. Oh, and she also said, "I love you" and "Mama" this year.:)
Olivia: Livi, Liv, Livers, Livi Lou, Livster, whatever you want to call her, is a 6th grader, officially a Junior Higher at our school! AAAHHH! In case you are keeping track, we do have two High Schoolers and one Junior High girl under our roof. Prayers and solidarity, please. Livi has always been that delightful, quirky, artistic, funny kid. The kid I always wished I was. This is the first year I see the Junior High-ness pulling one hand, while I am pulling the other. Nooooo!!! Stay with me, you sweet thing! I will battle til the bitter end. She loves to bake, with or without me, which is why my efforts at any clean eating come screeching to a halt all too often. I totally eat raw...until there are chocolate chip cookies. Anyway, back to Liv. She debuted in her first musical this year and she actually enjoys running on the Cross Country Team. So weird. Her study skills make me feel like I did something right as a mother, but truth is, it's probably just her personality. She's awesome.
Mia: You know what I love most about Mia? Do you see her holding Reese's hand in the picture? Yep, that's always Mia. She adores and protects Reese. It's supernatural, y'all, this love and compassion thing. I love it. But in addition to Reese and all little kids, Mia loves the theater. Yes, I said that in a British accent. She sings all day every day and has never ever complained about a theater or Performing Arts rehearsal. It makes her come alive, and I'm so happy that she found it. She was in Seussical with Livi and is looking forward to her next show in February. Mia is on the High School Basketball Team, mostly because we made her. Yeah, we are terrible parents like that. But they needed her and she needed them, so that's the way we do it. We have a blast watching her. Confidence is not a problem.:)
Faith: Faith is a Junior. Heart starts pounding. We are nearing the end of her "childhood", and it's freaking me out a little bit. I'm sure you know Faith plays golf like a boss. Yeah, her dad is pretty proud of her, so if you haven't seen a post about her on social media, you will. She finished 5th in the State Tournament which got the attention of college coaches, so we have visited a few schools to talk golf already. She has dreamed of playing in college since she was 8 years old, thanks to her Poppy, so it's a real trip seeing her dream unfold before her. She's been my buddy for the past year and a half, as we held her close for one last hurrah of homeschool, but she's headed back to the real deal this semester to wrap it all up in a pretty bow. OK, now I'm crying.
Mario: The big guy is kicking butt at life, as always. Oh my gosh, that totally sounded like something he would tell me to say! We are ONE person, you know. We celebrate 20 years of marriage on December 30th, which seems so crazy. Mostly because we are so old. But it's been a fun, incredible, horrible, unexpected, wonderful, delightful 20. I never could have imagined it. You know what I love most about him? He loves Jesus. He is rarely sidetracked. It's always very clear to him. And I also love how he gets up many times a night to check on Reese. It gives me the warm fuzzies. And I also love how he loves what he does with our ministry, Death2Life Revolution. Did you know that 500 suicidal kids a day come to the website for counseling? It blows me away how much God loves these kids and the ways He has made for them to find us and get love and help. Now I'm crying again.
Kerry: Well, you know I cry a lot. If you know me at all in real life, I have cried in front of you when I was talking about something important to me. It's just me--weird and embarrassing--but there's no stopping it. I'm grateful for another year that has led me to the realization that I know so much less than I thought I did. And I have been held by God when I just could not control life. And I have learned humility and forgiveness--again. And it is all good.
So as we come to a close, allow me to share a few thoughts that have been swirling...
Consider this...the King of all Kings, high above any King who has ever lived, richer, more powerful than any of them...He chose to leave His throne and come to Earth and walk among us, in our mess. But not to walk among the rich and powerful. He chose to come in the lowliest of places. He CHOSE to be born homeless and rejected. He CHOSE to make His entrance in a urine-soaked, poop-stinky stable. Why? There is a reason, you know. Just let it settle in. He CHOSE to become nothing because those are his peeps. THOSE are the people who would really consider his coming "good news." He wanted to get our attention, and I think we should pay him that. It is so upside-down. Consider it.
"It is by far the most amazing miracle of the entire Bible--far more amazing than the resurrection and more amazing even that the creation of the universe. The fact that the infinite, omnipotent, eternal Son of God could become man and join himself to a human nature forever, so that infinite God became one person with finite man, will remain for eternity the most profound miracle and the most profound mystery in all the universe." Wayne Grudem
"What a mistake to think that it is the task of theology to unravel God's mystery, to bring it down to the flat, ordinary human wisdom of experience and reason! It is the task of theology solely to preserve God's wonder as wonder, to understand, to defend, to glorify God's mystery as mystery." Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God...our cherished, mysterious brother and friend. He became a man, rejected and beaten, ultimately put to death for you. That is LOVE. That is MYSTERY. Let us live in that WONDER.
Merry Christmas to you. May His Peace be yours today and always. And Go Cards.
Mario, Kerry, Faith, Mia, Olivia and Reese
P.S. If you know and love my mom, you will want to know that we got some great news?!?! She has been diagnosed with Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH). I know you're confused. This is great news because it explains why she has been having trouble walking, and it is reversible!! We are praising God for this answer and look forward to the procedures in January that will help her get better. Please remember her in prayer.