52 / 52 – Walking
Jan
11

52 / 52 – Walking

Walking.  Since moving here to Ireland, we’ve learned to walk much more than we ever did before!  In Cork City, many people don’t have cars.  Owning one is pretty expensive here.  The streets are narrow and crowded, and there’s not much in the city center that isn’t within a half hour or forty-five minutes on foot.  So people walk.

A couple weeks ago, the boys and I spent the day in the city.  We started at the church, which is basically at one corner of the city, and set out on foot.  I had a purse and each boy carried an empty backpack, ready to be filled with any treasures we might pick up along the way.  We went from store to store, mostly window shopping and just enjoying the day.

We probably walked a total of six hours – which is a lot for us!  It was a little chilly, and for part of the time it actually rained a bit, but nothing that really bothered us enough to stay inside.  We talked about things we saw, told stories, picked up a couple small things, and just walked.

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Walking together seems so simple; it’s normal, everyday life.  But as I’ve been thinking about it, it’s in that simplicity that life happens.  Walking with someone means motion, moving in a direction, going forward with them.  It means keeping step, not falling behind or racing ahead; you’re walking.  It means conversation and fellowship – relationship.  And as you see the same things, participate in the everyday, from exciting to mundane, you find yourself knit together with them.   Your days are intertwined.

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As we close the cover on 2016 and look with anticipation at the blank pages that await us, I hope to walk well.  To keep in step and live fully and faithfully in all the Lord calls me to each day.   I pray we’ll build relationships and grow as we make the most of everyday opportunities.  And I hope that as we make our way, we’d also make the stories we’ll share at this time next year and beyond.  I’m so thankful, knowing that when Jesus came it was to be Emmanuel, “God with us.”  He walked among us, living life here and calling us to the Father.  And He is Emmanuel still, and calls us to love and call the world to Himself.  Here’s to all He has in store for 2017!

And these boys – couldn’t ask for better walking partners!

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51 / 52 – Traditions
Dec
24

51 / 52 – Traditions

Branden and I have this tradition for the boys.  It started the first Christmas we had them both.  Silas had just turned two, and Ethan was only 9 months old.  We were young (and tired!) and didn’t really have money to get the boys presents, so we made them something.  Branden built them these small hand puppets and I crocheted them little toys – a robot for Silas (who he named Zombie!) and an octopus with dangly legs for Ethan.

The next year we still didn’t really have a lot of money for presents.  Branden shaped and painted wooden blocks and I crocheted two more toys.  The next year we had a little money, but we made them something anyways, just because we wanted to!  Each year since, we’ve given them a handmade gift for Christmas.  Now there are toys that they see in the store or see commercials for, but they usually ask what we’ll be making them :)

This is Branden finishing up this year’s handmade gifts at 1am this morning!  They’re now nestled among the other packages beneath the tree, waiting to be unwrapped.  We always try to do a lot of fun activities to celebrate the season, but making the boys a present has become one of our favorite ways to celebrate Christmas.  I’d love to continue this tradition forever!  I’m not sure what we’ll be making them when they’re 30 with families of their own, but I guess we’ll take it a year at a time!

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Here’s what I’m thinking about traditions:

  • They require consistency – you have to be present and intentional!
  • They usually require you to give of yourself for others – time, energy, money, attention
  • They become tied with an occasion – holiday, birthday, even a place
  • They become part of what makes something what it is – “For my birthday, we always…”
  • They connect people – Most traditions are people doing things together.  They require people and those people are what make traditions special!

I hope this season finds you celebrating, in your own special ways.  And if you’re away from your people, I hope you find that there’s still much to celebrate (and maybe new ways!)  I am thankful for this truth:

“This is how God showed his love among us.  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”  – 1 John 4:9

Happy Christmas from the Emerald Isle!

50 / 52 – The Double Gap
Dec
19

50 / 52 – The Double Gap

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The Double Gap.  An occasion worth documenting!  A reminder to me that time itself will both bring and take many things in this life.  And yet, time itself is what I should treasure.

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I feel like Ethan has grown at least a couple inches since we arrived in Ireland!  He lost the first front tooth just a couple days after we moved. He’d been wiggling them for months.  The second one came out a few weeks ago.  Now the long awaited double gap means an exaggerated lisp (he’s always had an adorable, slight one!), more fun drinking from a straw, and the ability to wish for his two front teeth for Christmas!

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To look at him, he’s all boy – running and playing, pretending, constantly beat boxing :)  The last little bit of baby is slowly fading away.  Seven and a half.  You think I’d be over it :)

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He holds his own with his brother, with most other children.  He likes his own things, surprises me with his vocabulary almost daily, and actually knows how to tell real jokes (not just ones that are funny because he’s cute!)

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But he’s still scared of the dark, still takes my hand when we walk, and picks me flowers everywhere we go :)

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I’m thankful for life and days together with these boys, and hope that we’ll make the most of each one, filling them to the brim with intentional interaction, eye contact, joy, discipleship.  And when the baby days have finally all gone, I hope the sweetness of days well spent will make their loss less bitter and the future fuller.

Sometimes they already look like young men.

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