Oh, friends. I just have so much, so much, so much to be thankful for! Summer 2016 is skipping marvelously along, accented by thunderstorms and mellowed by humidity. And there is just so much joy.
Joy. Obedience. Grace and more grace.
“…the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son… Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.”
We have received grace. And this grace brings about the obedience of faith. For the sake of His name – all for the glory of God! – among the nations. And also? Me, and you; us who have been called to belong to the priest on the throne, Jesus Christ.
Gah, it’s just too wonderful.
Alrighty, so moving on… because it’s been over two weeks and so much has happened. So much grace in kindness. So much afflicting, but no crushing. Lots of perplexing, but not a pinch of despair. A bit of being struck down, but never destroyed. Life is at work, and the surpassing power belongs to God, therefore we have not lost heart.
(YES I KNOW I’m stuck in 2 Corinthians today, bear with me)
This is going to be a picture-heavy post, I’ve tried hard to narrow the pictures down, but it’s been a full two weeks.
I got some baby-time with my wee first-cousin-once-removed while his mama and papa (my cousin) went on a much needed date. I absolutely adore giving couples a chance to reconnect, and getting to care for little ones at the same time is basically the best. He was missing his mommy at first, but that was remedied by walks in the drizzling rain, graham crackers and pretend cups of tea. When his parents came back we all enjoyed more tea, and, as you can see… this family LOVES their tea.
Thursday, around noon, Lily went into the OR for a cardiac catheterization and a liver biopsy. She was born with huge holes and misplaced tubes in her heart (medically speaking: TAPVR, AVSD/CECD, pulmonary stenosis, and some other things that allowed her to miraculously oxygenate her little body for over four years before her first open-heart surgery) and her most recent open-heart surgery was what is called “The Fontan” procedure. It’s amazing. She’s vibrant and strong and a rockstar and a little goose… but there’s still a lot going on that’s not ideal and so, rather suddenly it seemed to our detailed-planning-yet-spontaneous-living family, her surgeon decided he wanted a better look at the flows and pressures in her special heart.
And so poor Lily spent the night in the hospital, had some “small surgery” and was intubated and given general anesthesia which makes you feel so groggy and gross afterwards. Also, having doctors stick things through your veins and arteries is never fun. But she’s a champ, so brave, and I’m so proud.
I drove up to DC to see her as soon as I got off work on Thursday and we hung out at the hospital all evening. Lily and I are hospital buddies, you remember.
She started out feeling really lousy, but by the time Daddy and I left she was feeling not-quite-as-lousy. She was released the next morning and literally perked up by the hour. And then it was time for me to drive the girlies to Richmond for a long weekend of sister time.
The adventure of driving down was a Grace Story in itself and that was fun and exciting (because it’s simply thrilling to watch God work things out brilliantly). It took nearly 5 hours. I drove, Naomi was my DJ/conversation buddy, Lily slept (glory!) and Elisabeth curled up in the back and read books.
When my mom asked me about being in charge of the girls for the weekend, I was thrilled. It would give me a chance to reconnect with them, and make lots of memories. She was going to be taking my dad to the airport and they both had a few boring appointments before then, so it worked out perfectly for everyone’s schedules.
We got home in time for dinner on Friday, so it wasn’t until Saturday when the fun really began.
Lucky Charms for breakfast? “mommy never buys this for us!?!” Ah yes, but your wanna-be-super-fun big sister does. Just make sure to drink a big glass of milk, k? What followed was a conversation between all of the ladies on how awful it would be to eat sugary cereal every day, so I don’t think that I did too much harm.
Air mattresses lined the floor and we rented a projector so that we could finally watch the Olympics. Our apartment didn’t have wifi for the first three weeks of August, which was actually quite delightful, and made the blessing of finally having it even more special.
Elisabeth and Olivia worked on some peach pies to use up the big box of very ripe peaches that I had. They are both so creative and made the pies mostly on their own!
Lily did art projects in the “on your mark” position. Watching some of the running events reminded us all of Eric Liddle, and so of course we watched “Chariots of Fire” later that afternoon after a necessary trip to the craft store to buy yarn for new projects.
The projecter was put to really good use that day, when we used it to skype into a dear friend’s wedding after dinner. How cool is technology? Crazy!
And the next morning, because technology is really such a blessing, we joined family skype. This time Jeremy was in Norfolk, Ben was on a bus driving through Taiwan, the girls were with me and Daddy was waiting for his flight at the airport. Tomorrow who knows which countries and cities will represent!?
After a full day of people and more people and then just a few more people, I declared a “quiet hour” and we lit a candle, turned on music and the four of us sisters curled up with books, journals, knitting or construction paper. Sweet, sweet time.
Monday was the best. The G girls came over for breakfast, and after pancakes with sprinkles, we all made yarn dolls.
The doll-making was followed by doll clothes making, and then dollhouse making. There was practically a village by lunchtime! After lunch we blew up balloons and had beach volleyball tournaments, and then keep-the-balloon-in-the-air competitions, in the spirit of the Olympics, of course.
I had so much fun with all six of my girlies that morning, and was a little bit sad to say goodbye to them when their mothers picked them up later that day. God has blessed me with people to love, and to be loved by. He is so good.
So that was Monday and it was marvelous. Yesterday Mommy, Chris and I drove down for Jeremy’s White Coat Ceremony at Eastern Virginia Medical School. It was so special to be there, to see all of the excited, first year medical students walk up on stage to receive their coats, and then read the Hippocratic Oath. Jeremy is going to be an excellent physician, and but he’s going to be a faithful medical student first, and it’s such a treat to watch him follow the Lord joyfully and obediently.
I have a gazillion more thoughts, but I’ll leave you with this for now.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (I Corinthians 15:10)