Word.

So thanks to a dear friend, I have started a little project for W.  She recently learned of someone who keeps a Bible for her child, writing in it, underlining in it, and journaling little notes to her boy and her plan is to give it to him when he graduates from high school.  Beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful and naturally, I had to steal the idea.

I hemmed and hawed over what kind of Bible to get for William, but ultimately decided to get him the current version of the Bible I use in my study.  That way if there were notes at the bottom that I wanted to reference, I could be sure he had the same.  I also thought it might be neat for him to see the Bible that his mama used for her study for most of her adult life.

Well, I ordered the Bible and had his name inscribed on the front.  A friend of mine picked it up and brought it over to my house last night and I was absolutely giddy about it.  Since the idea was first planted in my mind, I have been so eager to get started.  After she left, I removed the Bible from its box and could not have predicted my reaction.

I wept.

Seeing his name on the front of a Bible that has been so incredibly dear to me was enough to do me in.  I sat with it on my lap and was overcome with a tidal wave of emotion.  As I cradled this Bible that had yet to be open, I glanced over to the dog-eared, battered, well-worn and well-loved Bible of my own.  Looking at my faithful friend, I was reminded of all of the times I was so broken and hurting that I couldn’t even open the cover, but was comforted by just clutching it to my chest.  I thought about all that God has taught me through the gift of His Word and how those pages are like life to me.  I thought about how I have been changed, one word at a time and how incredibly grateful I am.  I thought about the struggles…the victories…the battles fought…the lessons learned.  Moments of joy, of fear, of sadness, of anger, and of immense gratitude flooded my mind.  With all of those memories churning in my head and my heart, I was suddenly overcome with a burning desire for my sweet boy…that He would know the depth of God’s consuming love for him and that his faith would blow mine out of the water.

I wept and I prayed and I couldn’t thank God enough for loving my sweet little man more than I ever could.  I praised Him for being so faithful to me and for giving me the unbelievable opportunity to tell my boy all about it.  I prayed with the desperation only a mother could muster that I wouldn’t blow it.  That He would fill in all of my holes, provide everything that I lack, and repair every word that I speak that comes out wrong about who He is and what He has done.  I prayed that my boy would find fulfillment in his Father and that the Bible laying in my lap would be treasured by him throughout his life…not because it was from me, but because it was from Him.

I prayed.  I wept and I prayed and I sat for the longest time thinking about the journey that is ahead for my sweet boy.  When I composed myself enough to not soak the pages with my tears, I cracked the cover and made my first entry.  I turned to Ephesians 1:18 and underlined the verse I have been praying for him every day since he was 6 months old.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

His adventure is just beginning.

As terrifying as it can be to think of all of the hurts likely ahead that I want him to avoid, I also couldn’t be more excited for him.  His adventure is just beginning and he belongs to God.  God will watch over him every moment of his life, guiding and growing him, just as He has for me and I couldn’t be more thankful.  With a profound sense of relief and overwhelming peace, I closed the Bible and put it on my nightstand, thanking God for such an incredible gift.

A Whole Year

Oh my sweet Lovebug…it’s official…you are one!!  We had such a wonderful weekend celebrating all that you are to us.  Your party was incredible–so many friends and family members came over to snuggle you and you were a champ!  You loved being in the middle of all of the action and you were so patient when people scooped you up and covered you in kisses.  When it was time for the cake, you were like a king holding court!  You sat in a high chair beneath our peach tree and performed for the ready audience.  You were so tickled by the cake–you started slowly, but gradually warmed up to the idea and then there was no stopping you!  I honestly believe you would have remained in that chair all day long if we had let you!

On your birthday eve, we took you on your first sail aboard Author! Author!  The Captain provided a perfect adventure on the Intercoastal.  The sun was shining, the air was cool, and you loved every minute of it.  An adventurous spirit is already evident in you.  You love being among people and you don’t shy away from new experiences.  Your ability to function on very little sleep comes in handy on days like these–you just kept going and going and going!  In fact, on this day, you refused to take an afternoon nap!  Even with all of the excitement, you were not tired enough to sleep!  You went to bed at your regular bedtime like it was any old day.  That is definitely your father in you, my love.  Your mama would have been asleep before the car left the driveway.  😉

Your actual birthday was reserved for just the three of us.  This day is SO significant for our family for so many reasons–it was perfect to just have you all to ourselves.  Daddy came to your My Gym class in the morning and you LOVED having him there.  You kept beaming at him from across the room and would motor his way at any opportunity.  Speaking of which, your walking skills are nearing expert level!  You have learned how to fall and you can get around very well on your own.  Only one problem…you still can’t get up off the ground!  Your daddy and I chuckle about this constantly.  Your strong will refuses to learn to crawl and you seem to be perfectly content rolling around on the ground.  You’ll figure it out eventually, I suppose!!  Later on in the afternoon, we took you to the zoo, which you love.  You always laugh at the warthogs, which is so precious!  It was a beautiful day and we just soaked in every delicious drop of our time with you.

Birthday dinner featured some of your favorites–your crock pot chicken meal, sweet potatoes, and of course…more birthday cake!!  You quickly remembered your affection for cake and were much less tentative this time around.  You swiftly picked up the entire second tier and crammed it into your mouth!  We let you have as much as you wanted, but when a piece fell to the ground and Daddy took it away, you growled at him!!  It was absolutely hysterical.

Oh how we loved celebrating you.  There has not been a single day in this entire year that I have not praised God for the incredible gift of you in our lives.  To say that we are thankful is quite honestly the greatest understatement in the world.  We are different people than we were a year ago…better people.  You have changed our lives and our hearts in such a profound way and I am forever grateful.  Every day I get to spend with you is an absolute gift and I treasure every memory made with you in my heart.  Thank you for blessing us so abundantly–we are beyond excited to see what the next year has in store!!!  I love you to pieces and bits, my one year old boy!!!

Always,

Mama

Valentines Day

Oh my sweet boy, your mama is a hopeless romantic.  Lucky for me, I married your daddy…who not only understands and appreciates that, but also shares the same trait.  We celebrate Valentines Day every year not out of obligation, but because it is an opportunity to pause, change our routines, and be extremely intentional about expressing the love we have for one another.

I love your daddy so. very. much.

I’m telling you this now not to make you roll your eyes, but so that you will know that true love is real.  There is a growing idea in our culture that true love is something fictional…something that only exists in movies and fairy tales.  There is a population of people who want you to believe that marriage is an outdated idea and that relationships that appear to have true love are somehow secretly flawed or fake.  They are trying to tell you that true love doesn’t exist.  Well, my sweet boy, it does.  It’s real and raw and God has blessed us with it.  Thanks to Him, your daddy and I have a marriage that makes me open my eyes every morning with a smile and close them at night awash in gratitude.  Your dad makes me feel beautiful, challenges me to be the best version of myself, keeps me guessing, and loves me so well.  He encourages me when I feel overwhelmed, he shows me he loves me in the most creative ways, and he makes me laugh constantly (no surprise there!).  He is strong, he is passionate, he is smart.  He has a hunger for adventure that surprises me, a mind that amazes me, and a heart that inspires me.

I am head over heels in love with your daddy and have been for over 10 years.  He’s not perfect.  I’m not perfect.  We are living creatures who mess up, hurt each other, and say the wrong things sometimes, but we forgive…we repair…we love.  Each and every day, I thank God for bringing your daddy into my life and every day I choose to love him with every ounce of my being.

I pray for you every night and frequently those prayers turn to the person who will one day capture your heart.  Such a funny thought for my sweet 11 month old!  As far away as it seems, I pray that you would never settle for less than the incredible life God has intended for you and this includes your love life.  It may take longer to find and it might look a little different than you expect, but it will far exceed anything you could have crafted for yourself.  I pray for your spouse and pray that you will have a relationship founded on faith.  I pray that you will feel loved, supported, respected, encouraged, and empowered by your marriage.  In praying for your future spouse, I also pray that you will be an honorable husband.  That you will take your vows seriously.  That you will love without reservation or hesitation.  That you will forgive, demonstrate grace, and choose daily to show your love in many different forms.

With the help of your daddy, you presented me with chocolates and a card asking me to be your first Valentine.  I almost melted into a puddle right on the floor.  With tears in my eyes, I snuggled you up and accepted your request, praying that when the time comes for you to ask someone new to be your Valentine, you would never settle for less than the true, beautiful, authentic love I have found with your daddy.

I love you, lovebug.

Mama

Close to heaven…

Today I held on to you for just a bit longer before bedtime.

We were going through our normal routines and I was soaking up the remaining drops of you for the day.  I was saying my prayers for you, as usual, but suddenly the moment shifted.  I’m not sure what snapped me out of my normal train of thought, but suddenly I realized I was in holy territory.  Snuggled up in that glider in the corner, I was completely overcome by the awareness of what an absolute treasure you are to me.  My senses went on high alert and I tried to absorb every detail I could in that time.  I listened to your sweet, shallow breaths and watched your chest rise and fall.  I smiled at your legs stretched out with your feet crossed at the ankles.  I felt your precious hand rubbing mine and your hair tickling my arm.  Exhausted from a day filled with adventures, you melted into my lap and for but a brief moment, we were one.  I could just barely make out your profile in the light being cast from the hall and it literally took my breath away.  I thanked God over and over for this day, for this gift of you, and for the divine privilege of being your mama.

You are living grace to me.

For with all of my shortcomings, all of my flaws, my mistakes, my missteps…

With all of the ways I fall short, say the wrong things, and fail to love as selflessly as I so wish I could…

With the knowledge of every bit of this, God still gave me you.

Grace.

Divine grace and something I don’t ever want to take for granted.

I didn’t deserve you, but here you are…the weight of you in my arms reminding me of how incredibly blessed I am to be a child of His and a mama of yours.

So tonight, I lingered.  I closed my eyes and held on to you for just a little bit longer.  I breathed you in and with that, drew as close to heaven as humanly possible and said thank you for the millionth time for God’s incredible gift of you to me.

Meeting Santa

Before Gilbert left for Christmas tree season, we took William to meet Santa.  It was nothing short of amazing!!  William was cool as a cucumber the entire time and was quite interested in the man with the fluffy white beard.  Right before it was his turn, there was a young girl absolutely LOSING IT on Santa’s lap.  William kept looking at her and then at us as if to say, “What’s her deal?”  When it was his time, he snuggled right on up with Santa and gave us some of the BEST photos ever.

IMG_4168

IMG_4171

IMG_4169

Tampa Trip

We hit the road this weekend to celebrate William’s BFF’s first birthday!!  Harrison celebrated in style, rockin’ a bow tie and making short work of his delicious cake.  This was a long-awaited visit, because it marked the first time that William and Harrison could officially “hang.”  They met when William first arrived on the scene, but I’m fairly certain William slept through the entire encounter.  Truthfully, they met even before William was born.  I visited Summer when Harrison was just weeks old and I was five months pregnant.  Harrison snuggled my belly and we knew they were destined to be friends for life!!

It was so much fun to watch them together.  Harrison’s got 5 months on William, so he was motoring around while William was stuck in one place.  He would bounce in fits to get me to move him closer to the action.  What an absolute blast it will be to watch these boys grow up together!!!

Happy Birthday, H-man!  We’re so glad God gave us you!!

IMG_1812

Harrison snuggles unborn Mr. William

IMG_3988

BFFs all around!

Punkins!

So we took the long-awaited family trip to the pumpkin patch!!  William was decked out in his fall gear and we were beyond excited.  There is an adorable patch down the street from our house and we were so looking forward to sharing it with him.  Unfortunately, it was about a million degrees, even though we arrived after 5 so the experience was much less “fall like” than I had hoped.  William was not a fan of the heat, but was a definite trooper through my seemingly endless desire for photos…86 to be exact.  :0)  He seemed to be absolutely fascinated by all of the pumpkins–loved looking at them up close.  We ended up purchasing 15 pumpkins in all, including a precious little pumpkin for our little pumpkin!

This gave such a taste of the excitement that is to come with holidays.  What fun it will be to share all of the different traditions and festivities with him!!!

IMG_7414

Letters to William

Babee Boy,

I hope one day you will know with every cell of your being, how much I delight in you.  Sure, I’m your mom and moms are “supposed” to love their babies, but saying that I love you doesn’t capture every dimension of the way I feel for you.  Because you see, I don’t just love you, I genuinely ENJOY you. I have spent every day with you (today marks 225) since you were born and I literally can’t get enough.  There is no where else I would rather be than hanging out with you on any given day of the week and I thank God constantly that He has blessed me with the privilege of being your mama.

Each and every day, you make me laugh and smile from deep within my heart.  Yesterday, we were playing in the backyard and Liza started to run around you.  Your eyes sparkled as you watched her tear around.  While you can’t yet walk, you were stomping your feet and pulling my arms as if you wanted to chase her.  Without warning, you let loose a series of giggles that brought me to my knees!!  You do joy so well, bud…I’m learning a lot about that from you.

You amaze me with your intelligence (already!) and I love watching you learn new things. You have loved books since you were just a couple of months old.  You will sit in my lap and let me read story after story to you and I absolutely treasure that time.  You recently started turning the pages as we read and I get so tickled by it.  When you are officially “over it” your page turning speed increases exponentially, further proving your exceptional problem solving ability.  ;0)

You melt my heart with your hugs and snuggles.  You stretch your arms up for me and when I scoop you up, you have this way of burying your head in my neck that makes me tear up almost every time.  When I lean in for a kiss, you put your sweet hands on my cheeks and pull my face to yours.  Honestly, I could cry just thinking about it.

When I hear your chirps in the morning, I don’t get to your door before a smile has overtaken my entire face in anticipation of seeing you.  I get positively giddy when I hear your little laugh of relief, knowing that you are being rescued from your crib once again.  I soak up every minute I have with you during the day and I’m going to be honest…when I lay you in your crib at night, there is a little pang of sadness in my heart knowing that our day is over.

Reading this, you might think that I love and delight in you for all of the things you do to make me smile.  You would be right, but only partially.  For you see, today was a tough day for you.  The tooth that is coming in is giving you fits and had you feeling tired and cranky.  There weren’t many laughs today and the smiles were labored.  Our playtime was dotted with fussy spells and you just weren’t yourself.  Even still, I found myself flooded with gratitude that I got to spend the day with you.  I didn’t wish the clock would hurry up or that bedtime would come sooner.  Even in the midst of a cloudy day, I still wanted to be no where else but doing life with you.  That, my boy, is delight.  It isn’t dependent on your mood or what you have to offer me.  I delight in you because of who you are, not what you do.

Someday, I hope you’ll understand but until such time, just know that without fail, every day I thank God for giving me you and blessing me with the privilege of being your mama.
The smile that melts my heart.