In all the running to and fro and wrapping up the last gifts and stopping to play with new toys and trying to figure out how to transform transformers and stooping to hold a 28 pounder or the 37 pounder and trying to remember to kiss my main man even in the absence of mistletoe and watching the laundry and dishes pile up and vacuuming up more pine needles from the dying yet beautiful Christmas tree and just wanting to soak in the moments and not forget the wonder and beauty of this season....I keep asking myself, "How do I really get back to the Heart of why we celebrate Christmas anyway? How do we still enjoy giving gifts and receiving from those who want to give without it becoming about the stuff? How can I instill in the hearts of my children a love for giving and a heart of gratitude?" I mean, right now, any time Noah David sees a baby lying in anything, he points, smiles and says "JeeJee". He's getting it. And Daniel Isaac continues to report that he just doesn't want or need anything for Christmas. We talk about Jesus constantly...not just at Christmas time, but it's just normal. But me, how can I regain focus? I love to give....I love making gifts...I love wrapping gifts...I love it all. More than anything and more than all of that, though, I really love The Gift. And Dad brought my heart back to where it needed to be tonight...as he read after the last gift was unwrapped [a pitiful summary compared to what Dad really read to us that he'd prepared, but this is the main part and what stuck with me]...

Christ made a lot of claims to be....
...the living bread (John 6:51)
...the light of the world (John 8:12)
...the gate (John 10:9)
...the good shepherd (John 10:11)
...the resurrection and the life (John 11:25)
...the way the truth and the life (John 14:6)
...the true vine (John 15:1).

And He is. He is all of those things to me, and oh how my heart will burst even more if my boys, my little lights in training, could grasp those. If we can all grasp that all of this joy and fun and gift-giving and laughter and light is all because of Him....

Merry CHRISTmas.

I'd gotten off track and distracted by my to-do list that was post-poned a day and an evening with some terrible side effects of food poisoning (yeah, bad timing, eh?), but my heart has been lifted and my eyes readjusted and the blur removed. LET US SHINE!


My arrow is four.

My baby is four.  It seems like just the other day that I was holding him, swaddled tightly in the hospital feeling my entire heart and life change forever.  It's so fresh that I remember wondering in his first few weeks if I would ever stop crying tears of joy over him...if I would ever grow tired of watching his peaceful steady deep breaths as he slept...if I would ever not want to hold him...if I would ever go a second without feeling my love for him deepen and grow.  I haven't.

The Lord used (and is still using) Daniel Isaac to melt my heart into a squishy, moldable ball.  It's through Daniel Isaac that I've begun to experience a whole new, deeper level of love and compassion and grace.  Psalm 127:2-4 makes so much sense to me, "Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth."  A heritage, and some versions read "reward".  Well, isn't that the truth?  And a reward that I know I don't deserve but that I am so deeply thankful for.  I picture Daniel Isaac as an arrow, too, and I tell him so which he loves since he's into the whole fighting-the-bad-guys all the time superhero warrior stuff.  While it already pains me to think of "shooting him from my bow" one day (sending him out into this big world), I know he's going to be the biggest, brightest arrow...carrying light and love and joy and truth all over the place.  He already does, and I cannot fathom how much that will continue to grow with him.  

Big ole belly carrying some precious cargo...I had no idea how my world, heart and life was about to change.  That little life within me...oh my, what a gift.  And I do feel a little sorry for myself seeing this picture and my puffy face and awful haircut, but oh well.  I'm now trying to take the advice my hilariously wonderful sister keeps telling me, "Sarah just because you are a mom doesn't mean you have to dress like one."  Pahahah.  Ok, now I'm rambling and this is just a caption.  

The hard, grey walls that had slowly crept up in my heart over the years...ones I didn't even know were there came crashing down at 12:05 a.m. on December 6, 2006 when my baby was placed in my arms. 

Sweet baby, you have no idea how much you're changing your mama and how much I adore and love you.
He's always been beautiful.  

 What love I felt for him, and what love as a verb I had to give him.  It wasn't just something I felt...oh I felt it deeply and still do, but I knew right then and there that I would do anything for this life.  I would give him all I could.  I was changed forever, and I was so glad.  The more I held and rocked him and bounced him and sang to him and kissed him and bathed him and fed him and cared for him, the more light filled my life and heart.  I have learned oodles from my arrow, and I fully anticipate to keep learning from him!  For now, though, I will savor the moments I have while my arrow is still in his quiver.  I'll carry him and guide him and hold him and tickle him and play with him and teach him and pray with and for him and give him as many hugs and kisses as he'll allow...I'll wipe away those hot tears and I'll keep wishing I could bottle up his giggles.  

My arrow is four, and I can not only celebrate his spectacular life, but I can monument the change that has taken place deep within me to help me live life even better and more fully.  

Four years old.  Four years of life-changing incredible lessons and journeys together,
superheros together to fight for Good!

My happy little light with a BIG OLE SHINE!

Thank you, my Daniel Isaac.  Mama adores you and loves you to the moon and back and forth and back again a trillion million bazillion times!  


Superhero party for my SUPERhero!

Daniel Isaac's 4th birthday party could have been nothing other than a SUPERHERO one, and Saturday's celebration was the type that caused me to pause and make mental memories the entire time in effort to absorb all of the joy, energy, and love. So many of Daniel Isaac's friends and family came to celebrate him...his life, and I want to remember everything about it. I never want to forget his radiant face when he saw his brand new big boy bike from Nana and Pops...I never want to forget his enthusiastic greetings to all of his friends...I never want to forget his excitement and energy and really thinking that he felt so loved and celebrated. My Daniel Isaac. What a gift God has given this world, and I get to be his mama. There aren't words...but here are a few pictures...

Spiderman giving his pal Batman a helpful push.

Hercules (Pops) fighting with Batman and Spidey pre-party.

So...the marshmallow guns from Aunt Heather were a HUGE hit, but Noah David was especially excited about the edible mallow ammunition. Yes, he frantically ran through the lawn stuffing his resembling cheeks full of them. And yes, we let him eat marshmallows off of the ground. He was thrilled.

Batman shooting a mallow gun!

And what would a superhero party be without a Spiderman pinata?

Hiii-YA! Batman kicks Spiderman! Whap! Pow!

Superhero tattoos. (Special thanks to Alli Anne our aspiring tattoo artist.)

Again, thanks to Aunt Heather, for homemaking superhero sugar cookies coated in white chocolate and sprinkles and to Race for making the awesome super stickers! Party favors!! Whoohoo!

Sweet Baby Jake's first birthday party! We love our little Superman Jake!

Lots of friends gather 'round for tattoos and for reloading the marshmallow gun!

Ironman Pierce takes action with his mallow shooter!

Get 'em, Birthday boy Batman!

After a series of clues from Venom who was threatening to bash and steal DI's birthday cake, all friends and family sang loud enough to keep him from succeeding in his scheme!

The cake DI and I made together...loving that he's old enough to help!!

Friends enjoying cake...mmm.
Athena (aka Nana) holding Lizzie the youngest little super at the party at just one month old!

Yes! PINATA time! Go Batman!

Spidey needed a turn, too!

Super hard high fives for Spiderman!

Sweet cousin Adin and Noah David enjoyed many laps up and down the sidewalk in the wagon (thanks to Papa!)

Ironmen Holt and Pierce attack Spiderman!

Superhero Caleb running like the wind!

Adin and Elijah lovin' the wagon!

Mmmm...a tootsie roll!

Noah David in Spidey + Eli in Spidey + Ravito in Spidey = About the cutest thing ever.

'Bout to destroy the pinata post-party.

I love him.

Bliss. My boys are my heart, and they are super...really really super.

Post party grass snuggles.

Impossible to resist kissin' those marshmallow cheeks. Impossible.

Notice Spiderman's head is all that's left to the pinata...go Batman!

Daniel Isaac was full of delight, gratitude, joy, love and energy at his party, and boy was he delighted in. Special heartfelt thanks to all who came to shower our boy with so much love. A mama's heart sure does overflow when others love on her babies, and my heart was a spillin' over in bucket loads. Happy happy birthday to my favorite Daniel Isaac in the world. You are my superhero.