Monday, September 27, 2010

turning two

I never knew that celebrating a two-year-old's birthday could be such fun! Seeing a birthday through the eyes of a small child makes each candle on the cake and piece of tissue paper in the wrapping an exciting new experience. It was important for me, the shopper in the family, to remember this. Annike's birthday was not about the toys she added to her collection, but instead about the celebration of life itself. That often involves the simplest of pleasures...

...like the egg the chickens laid for her!

...like riding on Papa's shoulders at the County fair with an apple in one hand, and a balloon "mousey" in the other.

...like petting the baby animals with both sets of grandparents in tow.

...like a visit from Oma and Opa, and serving them pretend tea.

...like blowing out the candles, or trying to anyway.

...like riding with one of her best little friends on her new tricycle (which was our big gift to her). Sharing the gift makes it so much more fun!

...like stripping down to the bare essentials at the end of the night.


The next day, we had a small "bug" party at the park, complete with ladybug cupcakes and butterfly wings, and of course, Annike's best little buddies.






Sunday, September 19, 2010

birthday wishes

Life began at 4:08am on a Friday morning, exactly 2 years ago. You came fast, precious Annike, in just over 2 and a half hours. A peanut sized bundle at 5 pounds, 12 ounces. Blue and not breathing, we waited to hear you cry and were reminded that life is the most humbling of all miracles. What seemed eternal, may only have been minutes before you took your first breath. "It's a Girl!"...SURPRISE! Papa surely had seen a boy on the ultrasound he was not supposed to be looking at. He would never trade you in for you wrapped your tiny fist around his heart that very moment.

I loved you before you entered the world. I fell in love with you that first hour of life you spent wakefully, calmly looking into my eyes. You are well worth every physical pain and heartache it took to get you here.





Your 1st Birthday celebration took place at our Soquel home with families from our Bible study who prayed hard for your existence in this world. These friends were soon to become some of your best.

















It is strange how having too much fun can cause a party to end in tears:


As we celebrate your 2nd birthday today, I have to actively think about what traditions we establish for your birthday. It is easy to make a birthday about the presents, and the anticipation of eating ice cream. But those things say nothing about the gift of your life in the lives of other. We want to celebrate, instead, your unique talents, curiosity for the small wonders around you, and most of all, the relationships we have with those we love.


Oh yeah, and for your birthday today, we wanted to let you wear whatever you wanted (which turned out to be your tu-tu over your kitty pajamas!)

Happy Birthday Annike-Bear!

Monday, September 13, 2010

intercession

Intercession - prayer on behalf of another. It naturally arises from the instinct of the human heart—not merely prompted by affection and interest, but recognizing that God’s relation to man is not merely individual, but social. (blueletterbible.org)

(Praying Hands)


Anything we do on behalf of another, motivated by purely unselfish means, connects us to the heart of God. He designed us for a life on earth that is not merely individual in purpose, but social as well. Our ability to see others, love them, and act with kindness towards them, must be forefront in His design for us. After all, the greatest command is to "Love the Lord your God... and to Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matt 22:36-39)

Intercession is a word I only understand in the core of my being. Putting words to something grasped at the spirit level is a challenge. But the act of true intercession for another puts us at the closest to God's own heart for people as we will ever be. It is the act of praying on behalf of another whole-heartedly in the interests of God Himself, not merely prompted by our own selfish interests. When we are moved by the Spirit of God to intercede we are in our humblest, most unselfish, state. We are relying solely on the mercy of God for another human being. Crying out to Him as if we cared as much about this other person as we do about ourselves. We are in touch with God's heart, and we are powerful in prayer.

Being moved for a loved one who is broken to the point of despair, I find myself on my knees on the behalf of someone else. Crying out, as if it were my own heart that was broken because this person has no strength left to cry out. Perhaps this is one more way that God takes care of His broken children - by giving others strength for them. How comforting to know that God may one day take care of me in this way. That God has taken care of me like this in the past. Out of a power not my own, I am given God's heart, the clarity to ask for Majesty, Justice, Truth, and HOPE.

To pray for another with God's own heart is to glimpse a picture of God's initial intentions for us so long ago when He created the world in perfection. A glimpse of what our world will be like one day.


We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:26

Saturday, September 4, 2010

meet the bockers

Meet the feathery additions to the farm: the "Bock-Bocks" (as Annike calls them.)


Their names are still being decided. For now, we will call them Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. We are open to suggestions, however. Our vegetarian friends need to know we only intend to eat their eggs.


It is hard to know who is more excited: Christian, or Annike? Chickens are all either one of them wants to talk about for the moment. I say, as long as someone else takes care of them, I will be excited too!

Glee, when you are chasing a chicken, looks like this:


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