Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fears and other birthday gifts

Fluffy white clusters of flakes dance around outside the window of my living room.  A giant helium filled shark is flying around my head inside my living room, thanks to Isaac's borrowing of his big brother's Christmas gift.  I hear the Jaws orchestral riff--duh da....duh da...duh da, duh da, duh da...."Look out, Mommy!  He's going to EAT YOU!"  Ah...another birthday has come.

Rewind twenty four's my 10th birthday.  Because being born a few days after Christmas has it's negatives (let's face it, sharing a birthday the same week as Jesus kind of puts my birthday at the end of the totem pole...) I have learned to enjoy the little things--they mean so much more to me.  1988 was one of the memorable birthdays--I had a sleepover with some of my friends, and each part of that 24 hours is still alive in my mind like a Technicolor remake.  Everything from the talent show we did, to my dad pretending to be "the blob" and scaring us all to death.

Fast forward to's my 30th birthday.  My husband and friends threw me a surprise party that will forever be a highlight of my life.  It's not easy to surprise me, but they did--and severely.  I almost had a heart attack when I walked through the swinging kitchen door of my friends' house to hear "SURPRISE!" Sitting around with those who were, and are, so dear to my heart was priceless.

Of course...if you can rewind again to December 28th, 2006, you'll find me sitting up in my hospital bed.  I can still remember that beach front scene framed on the wall directly across from me.  I stared at it, trying to imagine sand between my toes curling, breathing during my labor with one of the most fantastic, painful, surprising, and amazing gifts I have yet to experience.   A new life.  One that would challenge every fiber of my existence, and thrill me deeper than any birthday surprise ever could.  On the morning of December 29th, 2006, I was holding my baby boy snug in my arms.  Looking back at that moment, I realize I had sort of been prepared for that exciting fearful moment--what lies ahead?  And being filled with hope and peace at the prospect of the journey.  God knew I'd need it. 

Every birthday comes with fears and often times, unmet expectations.  I have learned through each December to soak in each moment--even if you AREN'T the headliner.  The beauty of life isn't found in avoiding the hard parts, it's created in experiencing and conquering--adding another small medal (or, huge trophy) to your heart's collection.   That's what each yearly milestone is about, and that's what I love about December 29th. 

As the snow still falls, and Isaac sits on my lap, wiggling and singing in his loudest voice, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUUUU!" I'm so thankful for the memories, thankful for the fears, because I have shelves overflowing with reminders of victories.  

Best. Gifts. Ever.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Wonder: A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.

Last week, as we spent the evening at my parents' house for dinner, my mom and I were talking.  As we discussed upcoming holiday plans, times, at whose house we'd be for what, we paused from talking.  Isaac had been at the china cabinet in the kitchen as we frantically made plans.  He had carefully repositioned the shepherds that were on display in the nativity.  They weren't facing out anymore.  He had turned them so they were facing the baby Jesus, backs to the room.  He then simply skipped away as if nothing had changed.  

"Look at this," my mom noticed.  We both stood by that nativity scene and let the implications soak in.  Isaac had seen what we often look past. A nativity is for display, yes, but it is our attitude of focus that defines where we direct our worship during Christmas.  We can decorate and wrap and stage all season long, but if our faces and hearts aren't turned to the truth of Christ's birth and allow that to shape our hearts, it's just a show.  

I love the wonder that comes from the perspective of my son.  In a moment, he can allow us to see what he sees.  Often, that perspective brings me back around to eye-opening reminders like this nativity scene.  It can be so easy to look past this gift.  I can care too much about others' opinions--care too much about how others see me. Isaac sees the unexpected and isn't afraid to share it, even if it goes again status quo.  He is a reminder of God's impact in my perspective every moment...a reminder to turn my heart to Jesus and to worship his beauty that outshines the lights of a million stars.

He truly has a gift for wonder.  And what a treasured gift he is to me.