Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Decade in Review

2000-Finished our first year of marriage and my first year of teaching...a difficult year, full of of those that you look back on 10 years later in thankfulness for getting through and learning along the way.

2001-We were reeling from my aunt's diagnosis of lung cancer. My parents came and spent 8 months in Nebraska to be with her, thus also being closer to us. It was a wonderful year of memory making. We also enjoyed a summer vacation to Niagara Falls and around the Great Lakes states. Shortly after that trip, 9/11 left us reeling once again.

2002-Traveled to Oregon for my 10th High School glad I'm no longer the person I was in high school. It was great to see old friends and reconnect with people I didn't really know before.

2003-After over a year of trying to start our family the "conventional" way, we started looking into the adoption process.

2004-Probably the hardest year of our lives...2 family deaths in the first 2 weeks of the year, then losing my aunt 3 years after diagnosis. To this day, I feel like a piece of me is missing.

2005-After over a year of fundraising, we finally started the paperwork process to find our sweet daughter. On December 7, we saw her picture for the first time; on December 9, we accepted her referral.

2006-Quite possibly the best year of our lives as we spend the first 5 months preparing to be parents, followed by a whirlwind trip to China. Dayna has proven to be a sweet, sweet child who almost makes parenting easy (some days...)

2007-Dealing with the aftermath of being asked to leave a church plant, but finding our purpose and place back at the church we had attended for years. We fell in love with children's ministries, although our roles within it are constantly changing.

2008-Daily surprises as a 2-3 year old learns new things every fact, every minute. Never a dull moment!

2009-Maybe because it's fresh in my mind, but the week in November where we saw $1.00 grow and grow and grow will be close to my heart forever. This year also saw 2 weddings, a baby, and losing my grandmother. Part of me is missing my little girl, but I'm also learning to appreciate the newfound independence that is actually helpful!

I hope your decade has been full of more ups than downs and that you find yourself a richer, stronger person than you were December 31, 1999.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Highlights (and lowlights) of 2009

January: After a difficult end to 2009, the chance to start over.

February: Attending the BSF retreat in St. Louis, coming home (exhausted), and while snuggling with my baby, hearing her ask Jesus to be her Savior.

March: A long weekend trip to the Amana Colonies for a quick spring getaway and chance to see dear friends.

April: Losing my grandmother in the midst of the stress of a bathroom remodel, but also getting to spend some unexpected time with my sisters and mom.

May: Celebrating Dayna's birthday, motherhood, and 3 years with our sweet daughter.

June: The marriage of my oldest niece and birth of my youngest on the same day.

July: Ten years of marriage to my best friend.

August: A new school year with an incredible new principal.

September: The start of another great football season.

October: Having a greater appreciation of my husband and single parents as Dan took on seasonal work at the pumpkin patch, allowing me to take a greater role in keeping the home front humming.

November: Watching Dayna's generosity grow from $1 to over $1,000; giving up one scone to become 4,000+ meals.

December: Christmas in Oregon and the wedding of Dan's brother to sweet Holly.

Random Christmas Shots, Part Deux

Not so happy, but she's still pretty darn cute!

Somehow, a lot of Dayna's pictures center around cookies

They were very tasty!

Ruby's first Christmas

The Wilson boys and their Legos...pretty serious business

Christmas Day on the beach...beautiful!

Couldn't have been a more beautiful day!

Even Ruby enjoyed the hiking

Near Heceta Head lighthouse

Beautiful cousins

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Random Christmas Pictures

Enjoy some truly random snapshots from our Christmas season.
Dayna and her cousin Ruby in their matching Christmas monkey pajamas

The first step to baking is washing your hands. The second step is putting flour on your nose.

Wilson family by the fireplace

After spreading Christmas cheer at the neighbors and being given a cookie with VERY green frosting

Dayna got to watch a lot of Christmas movies at Papa and Nana's house. This one is the Santa Clause.

Making a gingerbread house. Whose brilliant idea was royal icing?

More baking with Nana

Dayna got a surprise early visit from Santa, who came to reassure her that he knew she was in Oregon for Christmas

Dayna's new big girl bike

We finally got a smiling picture with Santa

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Still Working on Grace.

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:14-15

This familiar passage hit me between the eyes last night. It hurt. Bad.

I'm not always the best at being peaceable. I'm irritable, grumpy, and like to get my way. Then, when I get together with people who don't see eye to eye with me, I tend to withdraw (and not always with the best attitude.) So...while I'm busy being disagreeable, I'm also not being holy. How can people see the Lord when I'm behaving like this.

And so, I'm sitting here writing in my blog and praying that I will be more agreeable, even with those who disagree with me (while not compromising my values), and praying against any bitter root that might grow and create trouble, causing the very people I should be loving to miss the grace of God.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Heart of Christmas

When Christ set aside his divinity to become a man...SACRIFICE

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:6-8)

Making this sacrifice to provide a way for man to be reconciled to God, our sinfulness being made righteous and the relationship healed...RESTORATION

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18)

A little miracle happened at my parent's house yesterday. One of my nieces has been stretching her wings of independence and spent the last few years finding her own way. This way has not necessarily reflected the values she learned when she was younger, and in the course of recent family history, there has been a lot of pain involved in many hearts. This past year, my niece moved across the country to continue her education.

It looked like another Christmas without the whole family together (which is bound to happen more and more as the family grows up, gets married, moves away...)

Meanwhile, another niece (younger sister, in fact), has been saving her money from a minimum wage paying job at a fast food restaurant. She worked out some details with her sister, got a little help from my parents, and managed to buy a plane ticket for her sister to come back to Oregon for Christmas (remember the spirit of SACRIFICE?)

Unbeknownst to my sister, her daughters managed to pull off this surprise for a remarkable Christmas reunion. In the first moments at the doorstep, as reality began to register, there was not a dry eye as we witnessed this beautiful moment. A moment of RESTORATION.

I don't know what choices my niece will continue to make as she finds her way, but I hope that she knows that she is loved unconditionally.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

When Did I Get So Busy?

December...birthday (Dan), significant anniversaries (Dayna's referral, our engagement), bittersweet anniversaries of loved ones leaving this life (my Grandma and Uncle)...not to mention Christmas.

When did December become so crazy? Maybe it's always been this way. It's a good crazy, though. Snuggling early in the morning by the light of the Christmas tree; making gifts for our daycare provider and speech teacher; decorating sugar cookies; sending Christmas greetings. These things take time, but I can't imagine leaving any of them off our December agenda.

I guess it's not that I'm complaining about the busy-ness so much as I'm wishing I could linger over all these activities and take more time for reminiscing. But December continues rolling along, and so must I...

Take 2

Well, I ended up not having a program without a dress rehearsal. Instead, I ended up with yet another snow day and an 11 day weekend. we go again. Dress rehearsal is in an hour, program is Thursday...we'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Days

I'm trying not to stress, as I have absolutely no control over the weather.

But, truth be told, I'm really concerned about going back to school tomorrow.

Last year, we changed our program format at school and no longer do a traditional holiday program. Instead, we offer different music demonstration opportunities throughout the year that better fit our district's curriculum and standards. Parents don't always understand the work it takes to pull off a program...we spend an entire quarter of the school year learning less than 5 minutes worth of music. There is precious little time to teach musical concepts, much less assess any learning.

So, to still offer a holiday musical experience, we started doing a "Singalong" last year. It's short and sweet, doesn't take a lot of prep work out of classroom time, and parents still get to see their children dressed up and singing Christmas and winter songs.

Thing is, parents hated it last year. I got a lot of flack from parents because they didn't see their children on stage. further pacify our community, I've planned and planned and spent sleepless nights trying to figure out how to get kids in front of the audience without the Singalong becoming a full-blown program that lasts over 2 hours. And...the brilliant this is that I really did come up with a solution!

Problem's a rather elaborate plan that works on paper and we haven't seen if it works in reality. Further problem...snow days yesterday and today.

I'm getting peppered with emails from teachers who want to change program order, etc., and we're going into this "less stress" performance tomorrow without a rehearsal.

So, if you read this before tomorrow...please pray for the following things:

1. A positive attitude on my part, as I really can't control anything else anyway.
2. Accepting, gracious responses from my colleagues and our audience.
3. That the kids don't pick up on any of my stress and that we just have fun.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Catch Phrase

While reading "Horton Hears a Who" to Dayna the other day, Dan kept repeating the well-known line "I meant what I said and I said what I meant, an elephant's faithful 100 percent"

Dayna responded, "Hey, he always says that, kind of like the angel always says, 'Don't be afraid'".

I'm so glad she's paying attention.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Perfect Thanksgiving

The turkey (breast) is in the oven, the dough has been punched and is waiting to be shaped into fancy little rolls, and I finally have a few moments to sit and reflect.

We're having an unconventional Thanksgiving this year. After 10 years of marriage, we're spending the day alone. We didn't travel, we aren't visiting family, we're just enjoying some moments of simplicity and creating some memories that might possibly even become traditions. This may not be the way things will always be, but for today, we are truly thankful for the opportunity to create our "perfect" day.

I haven't made lists of things to cook, when to start what, or what needs to be done. I did my grocery shopping on Tuesday night in a grand total of 8 minutes. I have experienced no stress over the meal (although I did wonder for awhile if the dough would rise in the bread machine.) I'm making things that some might think are a little out of the ordinary, and I'm not making some things that some would consider to be staples of Thanksgiving (really...why make stuffing if I can't stand the stuff!?!)

This morning, everyone slept late. Dayna and I had some quiet Bible study time before Dan woke up. We set the timer for 45 minutes and picked up stuff around the house. Then, we bundled up and went on a little family "Turkey Trot." Dayna "ran" for the first 15 minutes, and we spent the next 20 briskly walking home. We excercised as a family and truly enjoyed the morning.

Dan's favorite NFL team is televised (doesn't happen often anymore with the Lions) and they've actually scored a touchdown. (Probably won't win, but a touchdown is a good start.) Now he's spending halftime putting up the Christmas lights. Dayna is on her bed for "quiet time" making a list of things for which she's thankful. When she gets up, we'll write our blessings on pretty leaves to put in a book. I've put out a jigsaw puzzle, and we're ready to start watching Christmas movies.

Dayna was thrilled this morning with the Macy's parade, and would squeal with glee every few minutes to let us know what the next balloon or float would be. And when she saw Santa....her entire world was filled with wonder and delight.

So, as I get up to shape the rolls, I'm feeling truly blessed and happy for all God has given me. Especially a chance to have an "unconventional" Thanksgiving.

Blessings to you all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Time for a Date

I get to go on a date with my husband today. Yes, it's a Tuesday, and it sounds a little random, but I'm thankful nonetheless. So, here's to small blessings and a fun day with my husband.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Latest Update on Dayna's Dollar

This is the latest blog entry from The Raining Season on the impact Dayna's dollar has made. God is good!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It Just Keeps Growing

Dayna's dollar for The Raining Season continues to grow. If you could send a dollar or two, please consider clicking the link below. This is the email I received this afternoon:

Alaina,I have been out of the office most of the day today, but I received a call from an anonymous donor who read a blog about your daughter, Dayna. She was asking how to donate so I sent her some information. I have created a donation link that you can pass along to your contacts that will help us track how your daughter's $1 is growing. We are calling it "Dayna's Heart for Kids Against Hunger". The proceeds will go to the packaging event and matching gift for this Saturday. I have the link below for you to send onto family and friends. Let me know how much you sent to the TN office so I can try and keep a running tally of how much Dayna has raised! I love to help kids realize that they CAN change the world! Let's stay in touch!

Click here to donate to Dayna's Heart for Kids Against Hunger

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reaping and Sowing, Part 3

Here are some excerpts from email conversations I've had today with The Raining Season. This is the organization in Sierra Leone fighting for those precious children in a horrible orphanage situation. We've been praying for some time for Dayna to have a heart of generosity...this is what has happened:


We've been following the situation in Sierra Leone through your blogs for over a month now. Our hearts are breaking for these children, and yet we're so excited to see how our Lord is going to rescue these precious little ones.

Our four-year-old daughter, who was herself once an orphan in China, has spent the last 48 hours "planning a trip" to Africa. She has a suitcase packed and is ready to "take food to the children in Africa." We're not quite sure why she picked Africa, as we talk a lot in our home about the children in China, but she is adamant that she is flying to Africa today :)

Her grandparents occasionally send her money to buy scones at church on Sunday mornings. She just gave me one of her scone dollars to share with the boys and girls in Africa. Her father and I would like to add to her dollar. Could you tell me if you have a program that is specifically for food? If not, please put this money to whatever program you feel most needs it. I will be printing this email and sending it with our money today. Thank you for intervening for the cause of the orphan.

Bless you all.
Dan, Alaina & Dayna Wilson
P.S. I'll be taking her to the zoo this morning so we can "visit" Africa :)


Your email made me cry while reading came at the perfect moment...we have spent the last 48 hours in constant negotiations over these kids and I was feeling as though it was time to give up...(just being real)...then I received your reminded me that so many are many are praying...even the littlest ones...and we cannot stop fighting till justice prevails for all of these children. Your daughter is a precious amazing to feel such a tug of the heart at only 4 years hope is that she will one day be in Africa!! Hopefully with The Raining Season!!

I will make sure that her donation makes it to our center and goes towards the food for the kids. I'm sure God will take her donation and multiply it many times over because of her giving!

Thank you so much for your support! It means the world to us...I know together we can "Save the Orphan"..even those in countries as dark as Sierra Leone...

By the way....Would you mind if I posted your email on our blog? I think it would really minister to those part of this rescue...

Have a great time at the zoo!


Dan shared this story with a co-worker who added $10 to the pot. How amazing to see Dayna's dollar multiply in such a huge way. God is good.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reaping and Sowing, Part 2

While trick-or-treating on Halloween, we visited some friends we don't often see. As we started talking, my friend shared that her unmarried son and his girlfriend had a baby just a few weeks prior. My friend has apparently struggled all summer with a myriad of feelings, and I had the opportunity to share with her a little of my family's story.

My sister was a teenage mother. Her daughter has become an incredible Godly woman. My niece's wedding last summer was so special, as it was such a momentous event in the life of a young woman who was not initially "planned."

As the conversation with my friend progressed, she shared that shortly after the pregnancy was discovered, her son and his girlfriend were on the way to an agency that counsels and provides abortions for unplanned pregnancies. In the car, my friend's son "felt wrong" about where they were going and remembered "a place somewhere on O Street" that also offered counseling. My friend had taken her daughter there 8 years ago on a tour. Her son was not part of that outing, but 8 years later, remembered that there was an alternative. He and his girlfriend went to the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Lincoln, where they received Biblical counseling and decided to continue the pregnancy.

My friend was sharing this story with me, because apparently, I was the volunteer who gave that tour 8 years ago. Honestly, I don't remember the day at all. I simply showed up for work and did my job.

I shared this story with my sister yesterday. She responded that sometimes we're so busy trying to harvest that we forget to take the time to plant. I'm so glad God was able to use an "insignificant" act (in my mind, anyway) so long ago to play a part in the healthy arrival of a precious baby boy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reaping and Sowing, Part 1

Monday was a long day at work, with many factors going against my state of mind. 1. First day back after Halloween with sugared-up kids. 2. Full moon. 3. Time change and body clocks that were out of sorts. Throw a late staff meeting on top at the end of the day, and I was drained.

Walking out of the staff meeting, I saw two teenage girls sitting by the office. One excitedly called out "Mrs. Wilson!" I greeted her, but for the life of me couldn't tell you who she was. It's not uncommon for students to come back and say hello. I've had over 2000 students in ten years...names fail me after a few. She then asked if I still taught at another school. It was at this point it dawned on me that she didn't go to the school where I currently teach, and she had several music teachers at the one to which she was referring. We started talking...I hadn't been at that school since I went to China. That was her last year as well. She's now a Sophomore in high school. She's in choir, and is trying out for show choir. (She has an amazing director there, by the way.)

Before we parted paths, she looked up at me and told me, "Mrs. Wilson, you're the reason that I sing."

Somehow, five to seven years ago, I did something right and made an impact. It more than made up for the crummy day I had.

That night at Bible Study, we talked about sowing, reaping and the harvest. Timely.

By the way, once we started talking, it came to me. Her name is Stacy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Beading to China

I know an amazing woman in North Carolina. I've never actually met her, but it doesn't stop us from sharing a sister bond. She's the wife of a deployed soldier, and the homeschooling mother of three. Her youngest, sweet Josiah, hails from Inner Mongolia. This dear boy has been praying in faith daily for several months now for a little girl named "Ewaina" (Elaina)...they have never met, but he's confident that she lives in China and is destined to be his little sister. He saves his pennies, nickels and quarters to help bring her home.

My friend developed a new website and venture to add to her son's nickels and pennies. Please check it out:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Orphan Sunday

November is Adoption Awareness Month. We will be promoting Hope for Children next Sunday at church...this is a ministry bringing awareness to the needs of orphans, foster kids, and adoptive families here in America and around the world. Together with churches across the country, we will be presenting Orphan Sunday, a live concert experience. Please check out the following link and look for Orphan Sunday activities near you.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Good Read

I recently received Randy Alcorn's newest book "If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil." It's a pretty weighty book (500+ pages, small print) with a lot of theology. I'm not even remotely into the book, and my pencil is getting dull from all the passages I've underlined. Just some thoughts from the first chapter:

On America remaining distant from many world evils: The death toll inthe 1994 Rwandan genocide...amounted to more than two World Trade Center disasters every day for one hundred days straight. Americans discovered in one day what much of the world already knew -- violent death comes quickly, hits hard, andcan be unspeakably dreadful.

Believing God exists is not the same as trusting the God who exists.

Our failure to teach a biblical theology of suffering leaves Christians unprepared for harsh realities. It also leaves our children vulnerable to history, philosophy, and global studies classes that raise the problems of evil and suffering while denying the Christian worldview. Since the question will be raised, shouldn't Christian parents and churches raise it first and take people to Scripture to see what God says about it?

I can't wait to dig in to the rest of the book!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Opening Pandora's Box

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to offend any of my friends, but rather to share some of my personal convictions that surprise people around me. Please know that in no way do I judge people whose convictions differ than mine.

1. I don't think Republicans have all the answers (Democrats, either, for that matter...where are we putting our trust? In God or man?)

2. I occasionally enjoy the flavor of a fermented adult beverage. Always in my home, never in public.

3. I believe in the value of public education and the need for Christian families to shine a light. Therefore, I have every intention of sending my child(ren) to public school.

4. I don't forward emails that seem to get many conservative evangelicals in a tizzy (i.e. "stop using this quarter because they removed the words 'IN GOD WE TRUST'")

5. I absolutely believe in the sanctity of life, but I will not publicly protest abortion...I would rather reach out to the women in unimaginable circumstances and show them God's love. While the horrors of abortion are very real, I believe that Christians need to start loving the women involved, trusting God to take care of the children.

6. Likewise, I absolutely disagree with homosexuality. However, I refuse to turn my back on my friends because they choose this lifestyle. Rather, I choose again to show them God's love and value them as a people, praying for God to open the doors so I can share His love and truth with them. I choose to value them as God's creation, while disagreeing with the choices they make.

It's conservative friends sometimes see me as a flaming liberal, while my liberal friends think I'm way too conservative.

A dear, godly (liberal) friend told me this last night:

"Sometimes we think we are being persecuted for being fools for Christ, when we’re actually being persecuted for being fools."

I wonder sometimes if conservative evangelicals are being so outspoken, speaking the truth, that sometimes we forget to do it in love. At that point, I believe we just become fools, rather than being fools for Christ.

What Do You Worship?

I have to teach a song to my chorus this year called the "Rhythm of Life." It's from a Cy Coleman musical. The lyrics are somewhat tamed down for an elementary chorus, but there are still several things in it that trouble me. There are lines telling us to "spread the religion of the rhythm of life", "get a whole new congregation" and something about spreading the gospel of music. Because this song was chosen district-wide, and will be performed at a mass concert with many other schools, I'm obligated to teach it to my students.

In the music teaching world, a lot of music teachers have church jobs to supplement their income. I was talking to one of my friends in this position and sharing with her some of the parts of the song that were troubling me. Her response was that "religion, music and God all go together." (This is not the first music teacher who has equated music and God.) I responded out of my own troubled mind, "but how do you reconcile that with the first commandment, that we should have no other gods before God? To me, that becomes idolatry...worshiping the music rather than using music to worship the One who gave it to us."

My friend was somewhat speechless and quickly changed the subject. I guess it continually baffles me that people would choose a place of worship because of the quality of the music instead of the quality of the message. (Several music teacher friends can't believe I would attend a church with contemporary worship and *gasp* drums.)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Being Humbled

It's so easy to look at children and judge their parents. I confess, I've done it for years as a teacher. My child will never be the one to throw a temper tantrum on an airplane. My child will always accept responsibility for her actions. My child will take verbal redirection the first time. My child is the one everyone wants to visit because she's so sweet and pleasant.

So, I'm the proud parent of a typical four-year-old. She throws temper tantrums, she blames others, and she refuses to listen when she's being redirected. She was so sweet and compliant for so long, and when one trick stopped working, the next one just plugged right in for a smooth transition. Anymore, consequences don't work; they only make the tantrums more explosive. Ignoring the fits doesn't work, either. We've waited her out hours at a time. I don't want to always offer rewards, as that seems like bribing her to do the right thing.

I guess all that's left (which is what I should have done in the first place) is to go to my knees and ask for wisdom.

Monday, October 26, 2009


The year is 1992. I go away to college, leaving the protection of my parents' home, ready to face the world. Think for myself. Make my mark.

Somehow I end up in an ultra-liberal activist dorm. It's my first Presidential election...a heated one between Bush Sr. and Clinton. Oregon is also in the middle of its first heated gay rights measure on the ballot. Did I mention I'm pro-life?

I'm one of two residents in this dorm who owns a Bible. This simple fact makes me a target. Girls of "alternative" lifestyles start to target me, harrassing me in the bathrooms and shower; truly nasty things are written about me on the walls of the bathrooms; things are thrown at my window and vague threats are made about me.

The residents of this hall decided to buck the traditional Greek system of fraternities and sororities. To make some sort of point (I'm still not clear what that point may be), they renamed our hall the Metanoia House. The residents told me that "metanoia" was Greek for change, and they were out to change the world.

To this day, the word "metanoia" sends the creepy crawlies up and down my spine remembering those hellacious 15 weeks of my life (I got a new dorm and roommate at Christmas.) That is, until I discovered what the word really means:

Main Entry: meta·noia
Pronunciation: \ˌme-tə-ˈnȯi-ə\
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek, from metanoiein to change one's mind, repent, from meta- + noein to think, from nous mind
Date: 1577
: a transformative change of heart; especially : a spiritual conversion

Really? Repentance? A transformative change of heart?

I truly pity those who have so far missed the mark, and in their eagerness to bring about change, missed the chance to change their hearts.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wedding Guests

I recently studied the story in John recounting Christ's first miracle. At a wedding in Cana, Jesus' mother asks him to do something about the awkward situation of running out of wine. Jesus commands the servants to fill 6 large jars to the top (150-180 gallons!) with water. Lo and behold! The water has become the finest wine!

Something notable about this story: Jesus was at this wedding because He was an invited guest. You see, Jesus only goes where He's invited. Wise is the couple who invites Him to their wedding. Better yet, their marriage.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Reality Check

Things are humming's good, church is good, Bible Study it good, the family's good. Then it of those days (or in my case, weekends). My hormones are flying, as is my temper. I just want to be left alone...don't talk to me, don't look at me, and don't get in my personal space. Then I get a head cold...not the biggest deal in the world, but not good given the timing of my already precarious mood swings.

I guess I needed to be reminded that I can't do it all. In fact, I can't do any of it. And when I start depending on myself, that's when things fall apart.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Cor. 12:9

Monday, October 5, 2009

Love Without Boundaries

If you're not familiar with this great organization, I urge you to check them out. Love Without Boundaries helps Chinese orphans in tangible ways by providing medical care, formula, education, foster care, and countless other blessings. My own sweet daughter's orphanage has been blessed with gifts of formula when they were experiencing a shortage. Please take a moment to visit their website and see what you can do to help the "least of these."

31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Matthew 25:31-40

Thanks for checking them out!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Being the Moon

I'm studying the book of John this year in my Bible Study, and this week we touched a little bit on John the Baptist (not the human author of the book.) This gave me food for thought a couple of years ago, but it's in the forefront of my mind again. In studying John the Baptist, I can't help but think of the people who have come in and out of my life to prepare me to meet the One who created me. But in the last two years, I've taken it a step further. I now ask myself whose life God has placed me in to prepare them to meet Jesus.

There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. John 1:6-9
So, maybe you've heard this one before, but it was new to me. We, like John the Baptist, need to be the moon.
You see, the moon gives off no light of its own. Rather, the moon is a reflection of the sun.

Shouldn't I also be a reflection of the Son?

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Different Road

Twelve years ago, a wonderful thing happened. Ironically, it should have been devastating, but I felt an incredible sense of relief shortly after it happened. This is a part of my life that few people know, not that I'm hiding anything, it's just not something I talk about. Still...when an anniversary of an event happens, I can't help but reflect a little and thank God for letting it happen.

What's this big event? My fiance broke up with me. Initially, I was worried that I'd never find the right person, that I'd be single forever, that my life wouldn't turn out the way I pictured it. But I was never all that sad about this man leaving my life.

It's amazing the things I found out about him after we broke up...things he had skillfully hidden from me. I slowly realized that I had been manipulated, controlled, used, as well as abused mentally and emotionally.

As the initial shock wore off that day and the uncertainty about the future started to sink in, I called a friend for one of those heart-to-heart talks. I cried, I sighed in relief, I worried, and I asked my friend to pray. Knowing that sleep would probably not come to me that night, my friend opened the Bible and read these words to me over the phone:

Psalm 121
A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
My friend gave me permission to sleep, knowing that God would keep the night watch for me.
You know, I ended up marrying my friend...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Using My Grumpy Voice

Ever had one of those mornings? Of course you have...At least 4 times during our drive to Omaha this morning, my precious daughter reminded me that I was using my "grumpy voice." Bless her heart...she stopped and prayed for me every time. Nonetheless, it was a rough start to my day. I feel lately like I'm barely keeping my head above water, and I can't seem to get ahead. I'm feeling overwhelmed at work, at home, at church...My house looks like it's exploded...this morning, I couldn't even find a place to sit and do my Bible Study, so I sat on the floor in front of the couch.

Where do you turn in the Bible when you're trying to keep your head above water?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Urgent Prayer Needed

I read about this on a friend's blog this afternoon. Honestly, our society would be outraged if these acts were being committed against animals. Yet, we're strangely silent when it happens to children. Please, please, please take a moment to read about the plight of these orphans in Sierra Leone, then get on your knees and ask the Father to intercede on behalf of these children.

You can read more about this situation firsthand here.

As my friend posted:

Psalms 12:5
"The Lord replies, "I have seen the violence done
to the helpless, and I have heard
the groans of the poor.
Now I will rise up to rescue them,
as they have longed for me to do."

And the Football Just Gets Better

This is in honor of Nebraska's 300th consecutive sellout in Memorial Stadium...the third largest city in Nebraska on game day.

A Beautiful Friday Night

Picture it with me...small town living on a Friday night in September. The rain is falling intermittently. You can smell the burn piles in town on this crisp early autumn evening. Everywhere you look, you see a sea of blue and white. You find a seat, brush the water off the bleachers and snuggle up with your family of three in a space meant for two.

It's Homecoming night in Ashland. The band is playing the national anthem, slightly out of tune. It's a small town band, and the damp weather is wreaking havoc on their intonation. The band itself is made up of people in marching uniforms, dance team costumes and cheerleading skirts. You see, in a small town, these kids are involved in many, many activities.

Now you hear a whoosh of air as a hot dog is launched from a hydraulic cannon into the stands. Dinner consists of hot dogs, nachos and a candy bar (surreptitiously hidden from a four-year-old who doesn't need it as much as her parents do.)

This same four-year-old sees her eight-year-old friend and very politely asks permission to sit with her friend's family (yes...we're letting her wander from us at an early age...the letting go was a little hard.) From our vantage point, we catch glimpses of these precious girls sharing a bag of gummy worms (so she does get a sugar kick, after all).

Shortly after halftime, the young-ish family of three walks nine blocks home. Along the way, we are instructed to play "Dora" (let me tell you...Daddy makes a pretty cool "Swiper.")

Honestly, could a Friday night be any more perfect than this?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

All I Need

I had a bit of a scare on Monday at school. I was called to the principal's office (not usually fun for a teacher.) Apparently a parent had called earlier in the day reporting that her son told her I picked him up by the ear in class the previous Friday. In that brief moment, I pictured being escorted out of the building with questions asked later (something that very likely could have happened with previous administrators I've known.) I must say, my principal handled it beautifully, and in the next 30 minutes, she, the parent, the student and I got to the bottom of it all. Long story short, the child changed his story, the mother believed me, and all is well.

Still, in those moments, I pictured a career I have worked for since I was 5 years old...a passion more than a career, really...slip out of my grasp. In those moments, I lost all control (as though I ever had any) of the future events of my life. And yet, in those moments, this teacher who is prone to anxiety and panic attacks felt a complete peace.

Because I know that whatever may be taken from me, I will always have my Lord. And He is enough.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Friday Night Frenzy

Last year, the Wilsons started a tradition called "Friday Night Frenzy." In essence, it's a way to spend time together as a family while spending as little money as possible. Ideas have included camping in the backyard or in the living room, having "Backwards" night and reading books from the end to the beginning (Dr. Seuss is particularly funny) and playing Candyland while starting at the Candy Castle.

Last Friday, we introduced Dayna to her first Black & White movie and watched "Heidi" for free online through Netflix. Typically four, Dayna was on and off the couch many times and had a difficult time paying attention. But, when Heidi and her grandfather went to church (a pivotal moment in the movie), Dayna jumped off the couch again and exclaimed, "Mommy! They love Jesus, too!"

Later that night, while tucking Dayna into bed, she prayed and thanked Jesus for making Klara better so that she could walk again. "And thank You that Klara loves You, too, 'cause that's the most important thing!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

While You Were Out

Dayna had a few messages for Daddy while he was gone.

And a special "welcome home" gift, too.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Missing Him...

Dan just left for a 3-day business trip. It seems weird that I miss him already. I truly do miss him, but I wonder how much of this is a little bit selfish that he's not around the next few days to help hold down the fort. Then I think about how incredibly selfish that really is when I think of my friends whose spouses are deployed for undetermined amounts of time, and they spend months holding down the fort with limited contact.'s to my military friends. I love you, and thanks for serving, whether you wear the uniform or not.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Still Brings Tears to My Eyes

After eight years, I wonder if it will ever get easier.
I hope it never does.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Stone and Flesh

My summer reading took me in some interesting directions. I'm still plugging through the One Year Chronological Bible, which found me in Ezekiel a few weeks ago. For more in-depth study (since BSF is out for the summer), I found myself digging into the book of Revelation. Some of the personal applications and challenges I jotted this summer include:
  • How can I wait in expectancy for Christ's return?
  • I need to be more faithful about writing and journaling the things God is teaching me.
  • When our passion for Jesus wanes, our passion for His people wanes.
  • How can I be an encouragement to a suffering Christian?
  • What wrong belief or teaching am I following, and how can I replace it with truth?
  • What wordly influence is turning my eyes from Jesus?
  • He who overcomes will have his name forever in the book of life and be acknowledged before the Father and angels.
  • Where do I need to persevere?
  • Jesus still has complete authority over the church. He has not changed. The church is a living organism today. Likewise, He still has complete authority over my life as part of the church.
  • Today I will meditate on Christ's magnificence and turn my heart toward His holiness and worth-ship.
  • Pray with expectation, worship Christ as the only One worthy, turn my focus from myself.
  • Thank God & pray for those who serve our country in war to bring right and justice to others.
  • God's judgment is sure - I need to continually pray for the softened hearts of _____________.
  • Today I will thank God that He chose to soften my heart and call me His child.
  • I'm trying to imagine the incense with all of our prayers rising before God. His judgment silences the heavens and earth. The "mini" judgments now don't silence people...they add fuel to the fire.
  • God means business! Will this get the attention of those left behind?
  • I praise God that nothing can touch His redeemed without His permission. He is in control - even in chaos and destruction.
  • The more you refuse to repent, the bigger the judgment becomes, and the harder your heart.
  • Revelation may taste sweet because God is victorious, but His judment should give us all indigestion.
  • Thank you, God, that nothing can harm your children unles it is allowed by You.
  • Jesus is established on His throne to rule forever.
  • Satan will fight hard for us, but we are overcomers in Christ!
  • How easily our world is led astray - even now - by powers of evil. God, give me discernment and a heart that only worships You.
  • Lord, help me to not be deceived by imposters.
  • God gives another chance to hear the gospel of grace. Why is it so hard for me to give _____________ another chance to experience grace?
  • Hell is eternal and conscious. Why do I find it so hard to care? God - give me Your eyes and heart for those perishing around me.
  • True praise to God is timeless - from Moses to Revelation.
  • God, soften my heart toward those who have hardened their hearts toward you.
  • Our pride is so great that we rail against God and are blind to our own sin.
  • Our world is filled with blatant, horrible sin. Why does that surprise me?
  • I do not understand all I read, but this I know: GOD WILL WIN THE VICTORY!!!
  • God has announced His judgment - it is sure. But, He also warns His children so they can escape judgment.
  • God brings down the proud. What we value above Him will be rendered useless.
  • Thank You, God, that You tell us how the story ends.
  • Eternal torment waits for those who defy God. I pray for the urgency to share with others about salvation.
  • All will be judged for actions and fall short. Only Christ's blood gets you in the Book of Life.
  • No matter the odds, God will always win! "Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just." (From 4th verse of the Star Spangled Banner)
  • How I long for a day with no more goodbyes.
  • God made all this for us, so we can dwell with Him forever.
  • Finally, the curse of sin and death is broken! Praise be to the Lamb!

I have a couple of days left to finish chapter 22, but as I reflect back on some of these notes, I see the grave sin of apathy and grudge-bearing. I'm being brutally honest with myself here. There are some people I just flat-out struggle with in my life. No matter how I pray for them, I just find myself hard-hearted toward them...even to the point of not caring about their eternal destiny. "They've made their choice" is the attitude of my heart.

This brings me back to Ezekiel:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (36:26)

Please join me in prayer that God would soften my heart first.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Wilson Politics

While having a tea party with her dad, Dan asked her what she thought of the current political situation. She said," Politics are not good right now. They are old and don't work." When he asked her how she thought they could be better, she said, "Fix it!"

That's a brilliant girl!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Finding the Positive

It's 4:05 on Friday afternoon. The start of what should be a great weekend. I'm the new president of the Plains States Kodaly Organization, and we're ready for our first workshop Saturday morning with me at the helm. I get in my car, flip out my phone, and see that I have two missed calls. That's odd...nobody ever calls me. I check the messages to hear that our clinician and her husband are at the baggage claim in Lincoln and wondering if someone will be picking them up. I'm currently in Omaha. On a Friday afternoon...

The last I had communicated with our clinician, she mentioned that she might rent a car. I never checked back with her, and she's stranded at the airport 60 miles away. The next message had come in about 2 hours later, when she and her husband took the shuttle to the airport. But...still no car. I call her and tell her I'm on my way to meet her at the hotel and we (my family) will pick them up and take them somewhere for dinner.

I swing into daycare to get Dayna, to be reminded at first sight that it was pajama day, and my daughter has no presentable clothes on her body. So...while frantically navigating rush hour traffic, I spend an hour on the phone making contingency plans. Dan agrees to stop at Wal-Mart and buy an outfit for Dayna, then meet me at the hotel.

All's well at this point...we have a lovely steak dinner (because that's where you take people when they come to Nebraska) that I wasn't budgeting for (financially or caloric intake), and I spent the evening shuttling them for some last-minute errands. Not a problem...just not part of my original plan. I get home late, with no time to finish my own last-minute details. They'll just have to go undone.

Saturday's a lovely workshop. Things go swimmingly. Great turnout, and we actually turned a profit! After the workshop, we take our guests out to lunch. She sees Sonic and gets excited, as there are no Sonics where she lives. We dine in. Toward the end of the meal, an increasingly grumpy and tired Dayna takes the garbage to throw it away. Her hand gets pinched in the hinged part of the garbage container. I jump up to go to her rescue, only to slip on the tile floor and go down with all my weight on my wrist.

The day continues, I go home, my wrist is throbbing, I'm tired and cranky myself, but trying to keep that stiff upper lip. I flip through some papers, including the contract for our clinician and discover that we underpaid her by quite a bit. There goes our profit. So...I'm feeling like a miserable leader: leaving the clinician stranded AND underpaid. I'm ready for them to impeach me.

I finally fall asleep with many painkillers in my system to offset the throbbing wrist, only to wake up restless at 4 am. At 5, I gave up. At 6, Dayna got up to join me, complaining that she wasn't feeling well.

At 9:00, Dayna and I walked into the Quick Care clinic at a grocery store 20 miles away. Still trying to maintain a healthy outlook, I received two decisively positive pieces of news:

1. Dayna's rapid strep test
2. Mine

What a weekend!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Great Start

I'm into my third week of school now (second with students). I can't begin to describe how great this year is going so far. I have a new principal who is very supportive and has infused our building with a lot of positive energy. My students are showing immediate success with new concepts and quick recall of things they learned last year, before taking several months away for vacation. While my body is physically spent from returning, my spirits are high, and I'm very excited to see what the rest of the year holds.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Blog

I started a new blog that I intend to use for my digital scrapbooking pages. Please feel free to take a peek.

These pages are for my family's personal use. You may admire, ooh and aahh, and even slobber on your screen in envy. But I do ask that you refrain from printing the pages. Thanks!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rough Weekend

Dayna's had a tough weekend. On Friday night, Buddy, the sweet boxer at daycare, had to be put down. We broke the news to her on Saturday night. As much as we had tried to prepare her that "Buddy is very sick, and God might be calling him to heaven soon", she's really struggled with this whole concept. She actually took the news pretty well, but you can tell she's been ruminating on all of this throughout the weekend.

Then, she ended up with another one of her classic bug bites that reacts in ways that no normal bite should react. The back of her left leg has a spot of big and little blisters. Pretty gross looking. At Sunday School, two doctors and two nurses looked at it, then deemed it not wise for Dayna to go into class in case it was a rash. My gut said to give her some Benadryl and it would get better, but the doctors both suggested we take Dayna to get it seen that day. Dayna was heartbroken to not get to see her friends at Sunday School. Then, our dilemma was that Dan & I were serving in children's ministries second hour. I had to teach (Dayna's class) and Dan was the production/sound guy. Dayna got to stay with her daddy, and as soon as that was over, they ran to Urgent Care. An hour later, when my class was over, a friend dropped me off. When all was said and done, we spent 2 1/2 hours at Urgent Care. That's a long time with a hungry, sleepy mommy (I mean four-year-old.) And that doctor couldn't really tell us what was going on, either. So...we gave up a good portion of the day to be told to rub some cream on it and give her Benadryl.

Why didn't I think of that? Oh wait...I did.

Hope you get better soon, Sweetheart!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Loving the Church

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25

I've been thinking about this verse lately. You takes an awful lot of love for Christ to keep loving his church. Think about it: we're petty, we mask gossip as "prayer requests", we indulge in pride, and if we're honest, self-righteousness. We're imperfect people representing the Living God. And yet He still loves us. Perfectly.

This is a pretty tall order for a husband. Especially mine. Because, you see, I'm petty. And lazy. And impatient. And harsh. And moody. Pretty darn unlovable a lot of the time.

But my husband isn't an ordinary man. He somehow manages to keep loving me. With a gentle word. A helpful spirit. Sometimes with a lot of space. He just keeps loving and loving me. Maybe not perfectly, but a lot better than I seem to be able to do.

I don't know what I did to deserve God's favor and get Dan as my husband. Thank You, Lord, for blessing me beyond all I ask or imagine. And thank You for showing our men Your perfect love for Your imperfect church.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Birds...not Yet Bees

Yesterday, Dayna and I were having some snuggle time on the couch. We don't read this book often (or at least often enough), but she wanted me to read "Shaoey and Dot." Most of you who follow my blog are very familiar with this book, but for the uninitiated, it's a story by Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Marybeth. It tells the story of an abandoned baby in China who is found by a little ladybug. The ladybug becomes a fast friend and follows the baby to the orphanage, eventually her "Gotcha Day" and finally home on a great big airplane. It's told in rhyme and has some very tender moments. (Probably why I don't read it often, as I cry everytime.)

At the end of the story, I started talking with Dayna a little bit about her story before she met us. We talked about her being a baby in a basket, only she wasn't found by a ladybug, she was found by a nice woman named Dong Ling who became her favorite nanny. She asked me who left her in the basket. My response was her other mommy and daddy, who loved her very much, and were probably very sad that they couldn't take care of her. "Who's my other mommy again?" Dayna asked. I told her the woman in China whose tummy Dayna grew inside. (This is a conversation we have had many, many times. She does know how the story goes, but somehow wanted to put a new twist on it this time.) Our tender moment was gone when Dayna looked at me and said in her silly voice, "Did I hatch out like a baby bird?"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Another Sleepless Night

Just in time for back to work...I'm not sleeping again. Last night I finally drifted off at about 1:15 (went to bed at 10:00). At exactly 1:20, Dayna woke up screaming with a massive nosebleed. Precious sleep eventually found me around 3:00.

How do you pass the time? Last night I figured out the books of the Bible in alphabetical order:
  1. Acts
  2. Amos
  3. Colossians
  4. Daniel
  5. Deuteronomy
  6. Ecclesiastes
  7. Ephesians
  8. Esther
  9. Exodus
  10. Ezekiel
  11. Ezra
  12. First Chronicles
  13. First Corinthians
  14. First John
  15. First Kings
  16. First Peter
  17. First Samuel
  18. First Thessalonians
  19. First Timothy
  20. Galatians
  21. Genesis
  22. Habakkuk
  23. Haggai
  24. Hebrews
  25. Hosea
  26. Isaiah
  27. James
  28. Jeremiah
  29. Job
  30. Joel
  31. John
  32. Jonah
  33. Joshua
  34. Jude
  35. Judges
  36. Lamentations
  37. Leviticus
  38. Luke
  39. Malachi
  40. Mark
  41. Matthew
  42. Micah
  43. Nahum
  44. Nehemiah
  45. Numbers
  46. Obadiah
  47. Philemon
  48. Philippians
  49. Proverbs
  50. Psalms
  51. Revelation
  52. Romans
  53. Ruth
  54. Second Chronicles
  55. Second Corinthians
  56. Second John
  57. Second Kings
  58. Second Peter
  59. Second Samuel
  60. Second Thessalonians
  61. Second Timothy
  62. Song of Solomon
  63. Third John
  64. Titus
  65. Zechariah
  66. Zephaniah

Pathetic, aren't I?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Where Do You Draw the Line?

I'm a mom. I'm also a teacher. Those two roles shouldn't conflict, but here's my dilemma, in all it's raw honesty:

I have found in ten years in the public schools that some of the easiest parents to work with also happen to be teachers. I have also found that the worst parents to work with happen to be teachers. I have always vowed to not be *that* parent. I hate to admit it, but no matter how lovable the child may be, if the parents are difficult, I tend to not give any extra help to their children. If for no other reason than to avoid conflict. (And while I'm being honest, if I'm having trouble to the point where I need a parent's input, the child is probably not that lovable to begin with.)

Well...we've had some difficulty with someone providing services to Dayna through the school district. We feel that Dayna has not been helped, and recently discovered that some harm may have actually been done. For two years, we've been afraid to say anything because we don't want to be *those* parents. We didn't want to turn someone against our child because we were too pushy. She's not even school-age yet, and we don't want her relationship with school personnel to be negatively set before she starts Kindergarten.

And yet...we're her only parents. We need to be her advocates and speak up for her. We will likely cause more harm by not speaking up. It's a tricky, touchy situation and a fine line to draw. Definitely one we must cover in prayer.

Today was Dayna's annual IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting. We're going to see some changes in her care this year. Please pray that these are positive changes, and that, if necessary, Dan & I will have the wisdom, courage and humility to address the concerns we have for Dayna.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Something New

I'm trying to be a good mom and get our vacation pictures in the scrapbook. Knowing that I will *never* sit down and finish anything with paper and scissors, I'm looking into digital scrapbooking. I've done about 20 pages so far. Enjoy my layouts for the 4th of July.

Poem text:
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze
A young Marine saluted it,
and then He stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought, how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many Pilots' planes shot down?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, Freedom is not free.
I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant "Amen"
When a flag had draped a coffin
of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
at the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, Freedom isn't free!!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Daddy Time

Dayna & her daddy have been working on "projects" in the garage this week. I love how seriously Dayna takes the process of marking and measuring. What precious time for them to spend together.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

10 Reasons I Love My Daughter

1. That face...seriously, how could you not love it?

2. The bridge of her nose between her eyes...the most kissable place in the world!

3. She is so stinkin' funny. We must be laughing dozens of times everyday at something she says. She's not even trying to be funny, and her "mad" little face when we laugh only enhances the effect.

4. She's incredibly clever. Her imagination is amazing, and her vocabulary is filled with very large words for a four-year-old.

5. She's so compassionate. When she was only 16 months old, she witnessed a nurse give me a flu shot. I thought she was going to take out the nurse. She doesn't want ANYONE hurting the people she loves.

6. She's very helpful. Our newest game is "10 Things". It's very easy to play. She has to pick up ten things. She asks if she can pick up 12 instead. She helps fold and put away laundry. She helps fill the washer and flip the wet clothes to the dryer. She hands me clothespins when we hang stuff outside. She helps put dishes away. It's not just a preschooler trying to's truly helpful!

7. Who doesn't love their baby when they're fast asleep after a long day? She's so peaceful and makes the cutest little snuffling snoring noises.

8. She is a great musician. She sings in tune and has some pretty musically intuitive improvisations. She tells me several times a week that she wants to be a music teacher someday!

9. She's a good traveler. This is important in a family that loves to take road trips. She can entertain herself in the back seat.

10. She loves Jesus. With all her heart.