Lily is SIX!!!

Lily, you are six! Wow! That means in four years you will be 10 and in 10 years you will be driving.

I looked back to read about your 5th birthday and apparently I never wrote anything. Sorry! I guess our Disney trip will have to make up for the fact that I didn’t record your 5th year. It was full of Disney princesses and more Disney princesses.

I think I can say you are officially out of the older preschool phase and moving into your true kid years. You have interests and hobbies and friends and like to just play in your room by yourself (or with your brother when you don’t have a choice because he thinks you are the bomb dot com).

I think the best and most important milestone of your life happened on May 2, 2015. You became a Christian! We believe the Lord had been working on your heart for a while leading up to this point. While we were in the car driving home from Uncle Ben’s college graduation you initiated a conversation with us and after a long conversation, and one that only a 5 year old would be able to have with the prompting of the Holy Spirit, you decided to obey and follow Him! We haven’t made a huge deal about this publicly because we want to make sure this is a genuine heart transformation. We are already seeing evidence of a repentant heart and that is giving us confirmation that the Holy Spirit is dwelling in you.

You started kindergarten this year and although you’ve already been in school since K3, school is the real deal now. You have homework, you’re establishing friendships, and you’re learning to read! You’ve always loved books and you especially love them now that you can read the words! You also love to draw and create things.

Favorite Toy/Activity: Barbie Dream House (which is actually the Barbie Glam Getaway House) and playing school

Favorite Movie: Tangled

Favorite Show: Sofia the First

Favorite Chore: Cleaning the bathrooms (you are going to wish you had never said those words)

Favorite Song: Shut Up and Dance, 12 Days of Christmas

Favorite Food: Donuts

Favorite Bible story/verse: Baby Jesus, Luke 2:11 and Psalm 100

Best Friends: Emma and Noah

What you want to be when you grow: a teacher or a dentist

Hobbies: Dance

Make Believe Friends: Chelsea and Dirt

Your Favorite Memory: playdates with Emma

Just as I’ve said for six years now, you are a pure joy to have in our family. You are funny, smart, creative, kind, a great friend, helpful, compassionate, and completely beautiful inside and out. We love you and pray you will continue to heed God’s voice and follow His perfect plan for your life. You will always be our baby girl, even when you’re “87 and wrinkly”. Here’s to another year, Lily!
  

All the words, Thomas Holt

TH, 

Tears already filling up my eyes, just typing those two letters.There aren’t words that contain the grief we all feel in your absence. As a son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend…in any relationship you held on this earth, you are missed in a way that can’t be expressed.

I’ve wanted to write this for nearly a year now. I’ve hesitated and procrastinated because I don’t know what to say. I just know I need to do this. Writing is how I process.

You called me BB when you were little. I thought it was pretty special. Being 8 years older than you, I spent a lot of time babysitting you and your brother. I used to love to make you laugh. That was very easy to do.

You made me laugh a million times more, especially as you got older. I always looked forward to spending time with you. I knew it would involve a good dose of laughter. You always challenged and encouraged me to laugh at situations that could be stressful, unexpected, or just plain stupid. You had genuine laughter at times that I normally would not.

You had the perfect balance of humor and adventure. You looked at life through a fearless lens and it made my careful self very jealous. Outdoors among trees, mud, water, and wildlife was your element. That’s what made you come alive. Nature was all you needed…accompanied by some sort of engine of course. Truck, dirt bike, 4wheeler, gokart, jet ski. All the things I hesitate to get near. (I did DRIVE a 4wheeler through the woods to your graveside on your birthday…I hope you noticed because I did not find it enjoyable. I did it for you.)

When you went to college, I worried. College and the freedom that comes can really create a battle in your heart for who your true love is. The world or Jesus. It’s easy to choose the world. It’s incredibly difficult to stay on the narrow path. It’s normal for me to worry about these things, I did the same when Ben went off to college. I just want the people that are closest to me to love Jesus and I know that there’s so much in life that can dull our passion for Him and cause us to forget His goodness and faithfulness to His people. I didn’t want you to forget.

I knew you had your ups and downs in college. We all do. Yours seemed harder though. I couldn’t really put my finger on it, but something inside of me hurt for you.

I remember your brother giving his commencement speech as SGA President of Briarwood Christian School in May 2014. We all sat in that huge sanctuary, you, Ben, Brent, mom, and me all on the same row. We cut up for most of the time we sat in those wooden pew benches. I remember you had a cast on your wrist. I asked you about it and, gosh, there was just something about the look in your eyes when you answered me that I couldn’t shake. In that moment I knew that something about you wasn’t okay. You were hurting. 

I talked to Ben, knowing that he’s been around you more than I have in the past 10 years. Being eight years older than you, married with kids, and in a different city, I lost touch with you. I hate that. I did then, and I really do now. Sure, I saw you at all the major holidays, beach trips, and all the random days in between, but that was not enough to really know you in your young adult years. I realized after talking to Ben that there was so much I didn’t know. And I didn’t need to know, I just needed you to know how much you were loved. I hoped for an opportunity to speak to you face to face, just to tell you I loved you and that I was fighting for you in prayer.

That same summer at the beach (our last with you), I told God that if he would just give me an opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with you that I would take it in a heartbeat. I’m ever so grateful that He gave me just that. We were eating at Tacky Jack’s in Fort Morgan and while everyone was paying for their dinner, you went out on the pier to see the fishing boats that were coming in. God made it so clear that this was that opportunity I asked Him to give me. I walked out beside you, where you were standing alone watching the ships come in, and I asked how you were. You must have known my question was not the typical “how are you” because your answer wasn’t a quick “I’m good”. Instead, it was a hesitant “I’m okay.” I didn’t have to say a word, you knew exactly what I was getting at because you said in the most humblest and grateful ways, “Thanks for noticing.” The conversation didn’t last even five minutes but I had the chance to tell you what my heart needed to say. I felt your burdens. I was hurting for you. I loved you. I hoped for life to become normal again.

That beach trip was the last time I saw you. Imagine if I had not taken the opportunity to stand beside you on the pier that evening. I’d be so full of regrets now. Thanks be to God for His Spirit that nudges us at just the right time.

I don’t think anyone knows how often God and I talked about you. I have your name written in my prayer journal countless times. To be honest, after that summer I didn’t know if I should pray for salvation or healing, so I just fervently prayed for both. I poured out my heart before God for you. TH, I just wanted Jesus to reach down and rescue you. So I begged Him for that over and over again.

And, boy, did He reach down and rescue you, just not the way I was expecting. On December 3, 2014 he brought you home. I imagine He said to you in a tender and loving tone that you fully understood, “Thomas Holt, it’s time. Let’s go home, son.” You heard his familiar voice and found comfort and relief in letting go. Your burdens lifted, your life made new, your sin gone forevermore. In an instant you were ushered into eternity with your Savior.

I’ll never ever forget the phone call. It was around 8 pm on December 3. Brent had just walked out the door to drive to Birmingham for work. The kids were settled in bed. I was walking downstairs to watch TV before going to bed myself. My phone rang before I got to the bottom of the stairs. It was my mom. She asked me if Brent was home. No. She asked me if I was sitting down. No. Something was strange about her voice. I honestly thought she was calling to say she’d found out something exciting about our upcoming Disney trip. To hear “Thomas Holt has died” was a huge shock. I didn’t sit down. I fell down on my knees and starting crying out, trying to figure out what in the world I had just heard and how to process it. My parents were driving to Mentone to tell Mom and Pop. Your parents were driving to Starkville to tell Cleveland. Ben was home by himself. Mom said I needed to call Brent and tell him to turn around. I told her I’d be ok. I spent the rest of the evening on the phone with Brent, Ben, and Granny Rosie and I was never able to fall asleep.

For a split second I was consumed with great fear and a sick, sick feeling in my gut over your eternal destination. But I can not explain in words the peace that rushed over me as soon as that thought entered my mind. It was a powerful peace that drove out the darkness. I knew that it was Jesus assuring me that you were with Him and that I would see you again. Knowing that God is the father of peace, that true peace can come from no one but him, and having peace about your soul…I knew that God wouldn’t fool me into the reassuring peace I had. That would make him a liar. I knew we could all move forward and process this with peace from God in our hearts, despite how hard this was to swallow.

I certainly didn’t imagine in May 2014 we’d hear your brother give a commencement speech, and 7 months later we’d all be back at Briarwood as your brother stood in the same place to give your eulogy. Where I was once asking about your injured hand, 7 months later I was grasping that lifeless hand and studying your face for the very last time on this earth.

There was so much to celebrate in the 21 years you were with us on earth. So much adventure. So much laughter. So much joy. So much love. And with all those celebrationworthy memories, comes much sorrow.

When I think of you, these words come to mind:

Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. Jesus, in John 13

You loved others well, TH. No one that knew you can disagree with that. You’re missed in an infinite amount of ways. Ways that surprise us all. We can carry on about our day and suddenly have that hollow gut feeling because something small and unexpected has reminded us of you.

For me, it’s when I hear Christmas music, especially “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” because you won’t be home for Christmas; it’s when I saw Lily ride the pony at Winterfest because she did the same last year and that was my last good memory before the news of your death; it’s when I look at Scott and remember that you were once a little boy in love with cars, trucks, and trains; it’s when I see a Mississippi State sticker on a car; it’s when we cut down a tree in our front yard and it almost hit our house, I swear I heard you laughing; it’s when I see any truck or 4wheeler; it’s when I hear “Talledega” by Eric Church or “Over You” by Miranda Lambert or “I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice or “Drink a Beer” by Luke Bryan; it’s the beach; it’s all the small things that make me face reality again. You really aren’t here anymore. I stare at pictures of you because there’s something about looking at a moment in your life that makes me feel like you’re still here.

I’m so thankful that we don’t grieve as those who have no hope. Our hope is in Jesus and he secured our eternity on the cross. You are living forever in perfect fellowship with your Maker, the way it was always supposed to be. We will meet again and it will be cause for great rejoicing.

I can’t wait, TH.

Until then…we’ll celebrate your life. We’ll cherish and laugh at our memories. We’ll praise God for His goodness. We’ll wait with eagerness to see you again.

And I promise to never forget sound of your laughter or the brightness of your smile. 

You are so loved. 

Ruby’s Second Month


Firsts: Winterfest, sleeping in your own bed, Halloween, hayride, dinner with the Whites

Favorite Toy/Activity: You still love to stare out the window early in the morning to see the sunlight. You don’t love any particular toy. You will bat at the toys on your bouncy seat or play mat. You love to watch the ceiling fan or anything that has contrasting colors. You have a little bit of a disadvantage. I can’t lay you down on the floor surrounded by toys because I’m not sure what your brother may do to you! So, you are usually in the pack n play, bouncy seat, swing, or being held. 
Mommy’s Favorite: your smile
Daddy’s Favorite: Listening to I Am They and rocking you when you are fussy
Lily’s Favorite: Holding you when you are awake because you’re pretty 
Scott’s Favorite: He likes to read to you. He points to the pictures and says “What’s dat Wuby?”
Milestones: You are going 6-8 hours between bottles at night. You still wake up and need your paci, so you aren’t necessarily sleeping through the night yet. You eat 4-5 ounces every 3-4 hours. You are in size 1 diapers and and 0-3 and 3 month clothes. You are holding your head up well. You are learning to nap in your bed and fall asleep on your own for naps and bedtime. 
Weight/Length: around 10 lbs
Like Mommy: Your dark blue eyes
Like Daddy: The way you bend your toes and spread them apart like you can’t relax them 
Like Lily: your long eyelashes
Like Scott: Most people say you look like him 
Best Memory: walking the greenway in perfect fall weather
Biggest Challenge: This isn’t a big deal at all, but you have a runny nose and you have hard time sleeping at night because you can’t breathe and suck on your paci at the same time. 
How We Spend the Day: You wake up every morning between 5-6 for your first bottle and fall asleep depending on how early you eat. If you eat at 6 I try to keep you up for a while. You usually sleep in the car during Lily and Scott’s car lines and eat again usually between 8-10. You play then take some cat naps around the house and eat again in the early afternoon. Then we do car lines again and you sleep. You eat again around 1 or 2. Then you play and sleep throughout the rest of the afternoon and early evening. You eat two more times before going to bed for the night around 10 or 11. 
Nicknames: Scott no longer calls you Tiny Little Baby and Lily no longer calls you Sweet Precious :(. We do still refer to you as Wuby Jeams though :). We also call you Ruby Jean and Miss Ruby. 
Funniest Moment: We laugh at your toots a lot, haha!!! 
How We Celebrated: Lily had a sleepover so your daddy bought donuts for breakfast. 
Love you sweet girl. Looking forward to your first Thanksgiving and Christmas!!! 

Ruby’s First Month

Ruby, 

You are the perfect addition to our family. In the cheesy words of Jerry Maguire, “You…complete me” or, rather, you complete us. There was a time that I thought Lily would be our only child. And there was a time where I thought the quiver was full with Scott. Then, there was you. You are the last arrow in the quiver and we are thankful that God placed you in our family so that you may know Him and make Him known. You are a beautiful little girl and adored by every person in this family…especially your brother. We can’t believe you’ve been around breathing and crying, eating and pooping for a whole month. The countdown to the first birthday seems to go by much faster with each baby. I’ll just go ahead and start a Pinterest board titled “Ruby’s First Bday” and pin away. But, don’t get your hopes up. Yo mama ain’t gonna make nothin’ from Pinterest. She doesn’t do that. Make things. She can make a meal and she can make a bed, but she sure isn’t going to make anything else. You’ll have to get your makin’ skills from someone else. Anyway, we love you Miss Ruby and have enjoyed every second of your first month…especially this one: 

Here are some highlights of your first month…
Firsts: Everything is a first! But some major first events are: trip to Birmingham to see family, church, out to eat (Panera Bread), MCG (missional community group), shopping with Mommy
Favorite Toy/Activity: Not much right now. You like to be held. You like to lay on your floor gym, but not for long. In the morning you enjoy laying on the floor staring out the window at the sunlight. 
Mommy’s Favorite: Your peach fuzz after a bath and watching you sleep
Daddy’s Favorite: when you snuggle up against his face 
Lily’s Favorite: When you lay on her bed just before bedtime and she gets to hold you and talk to you
Scott’s Favorite: Every single thing. When he sees you he acts like it’s the first time to meet you. He gets so excited when you “O O HER EYES!” (open her eyes) like it’s the most amazing thing he’s ever seen. He loves to rub his cheeks over your soft hair on your head. He also tells you he loves you and says, “Hey Beautiful!”
Milestones: Staying awake more during the day, trying to hold your head up, 25th percentile in weight and 50th percentile in height and head circumference, you are taking 3 ounces at a time and eating every 3-4 hours
Weight/Length: You were 6lbs 14oz and 18 inches long at birth. At discharge you were 6lbs 3oz. At your newborn check up you were an even 7lbs and 20 inches. We went to the doctor for another heel prick recently and you weighed 7lbs 12oz! 
Like Mommy: long fingers and toes 

Like Daddy: dark hair
Like Lily: beautiful blue eyes
Like Scott: I thought you looked just like him when you were born. In fact, that was the first thing I said when I saw you. But, I think you’ve changed so much since birth I’m not sure about that anymore. 
Best Memory: Being in the OR waiting to see your face and hear you cry for the first time
Biggest Challenge: Teaching Scott how to love you gently, not aggresively, ha! 
How We Spend the Day: Well, every day has been different so far since your sister and brother are in school and have different schedules. Mommy tries the BabyWise method of eat, play, sleep but that’s hard when you are so little and just want to sleep all the time. It’s also hard when your schedule has to revolve around car line. We’ll figure out a routine sooner or later. For now, I’m enjoying any downtime I have with you. 
Nicknames: Tiny Little Baby (Scott’s nickname), Sweet Precious (Lily’s nickname), Wuby Jeams, Ruby Jean, Miss Ruby 
Funniest Moment: When your brother held you for the first time in the hospital. It was oh so sweet until he was done…and he was DONE. He tried to pick you up by your swaddling blanket and hand you off to someone else. 
How We Celebrated: Mommy made a cake and we enjoyed it and celebrated you after school this afternoon. We are so thankful for your life! 
We love you sweet girl! We look forward to another month with you! 

On the Eve of the Birth of Our Last Child

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. 
Ecclesiastes 3:1
I’m not sure that crying over a side of cole slaw from Chick fil A is considered normal. But as far as my emotions are in my pregnancy, anything goes and anything is to be expected. CFA cole slaw is the only food I have craved while pregnant with Ruby, so I’ve eaten quite a lot of it. I’ve craved ice cold water, ice, and lemonade…but that cole slaw is the only food I want some days. I love it and I’ll probably take a long break from eating it after Ruby is born! I realized in the drive thru line the other day that my days of craving cole slaw are about to be gone and I let a few tears roll down my cheeks while in the line. 
I have always loved the game of LIFE. I distinctly remember playing LIFE with Brent in 8th grade at my grandparent’s lake house. I chose the college route, then job, marriage, and kids naturally followed. When it was time to add a husband and kids to my tiny little game-sized minivan, Brent never knew it, but he was the one I imagined was in the driver’s seat. I crushed on him for many years before he showed any interest in me. Desperate, obsessed, weird? Nah. Just a girl that loved a boy and kind of knew he was the one for her. 
The game of LIFE is so predictable, but the progression that plays out in that game isn’t really the norm. People are starting their careers long before marriage, choosing not to marry, or waiting several years after marriage to have kids. But that wasn’t me. Those weren’t my dreams. All I wanted was my early adult years to be a real game of LIFE set to the soundtracks of Father of the Bride and My Best Friend’s Wedding. My dreams were simple and consisted of getting my degree, marrying Brent, and being a wife and mom. Those simple dreams have become reality for the most part. I mean, I’m no editor for Southern Living because God revealed to me my sophomore year at Auburn that education was my future. And Auburn…that wasn’t even on the radar until Brent was accepted to Auburn my junior year of high school (and before you think I’m a total weirdo for following him to Auburn, we were already dating and it wasn’t weird at all…except for maybe my dad who had to really ask himself if his love for me was stronger than his disdain for Auburn. Turns out he’s a good, selfless man).  And there’s the whole location of where we live. I didn’t know the city existed until college. So, take away the specifics and my life played out the way I dreamed it would. 
I graduated from college. 
I married Brent.
I got a job. 
I had kids. 
My dreams ended there. I never imagined my life beyond my baby making years. My ideas of what the future would be like got stuck in my late 20s, early 30s with babies and diapers and playdates and homemaking. 
And here we are at the end of the those baby making years. Ruby is our last. With much prayer and advice from my doctor, we’re done bringing babies home from the hospital after Miss Ruby. That statement alone just makes me feel strange. I’m young. I have many more years ahead of me that are capable of producing healthy babies. 
Little things are tearing me up…like cole slaw and a crib sheet of Scott’s that I can’t let go of. The other day I sobbed over the fact that I’ll never have a positive pregnancy test again. Brent, in his gentle and loving way (he’s so good for me) reminded me that though I won’t ever see two pink lines again, I did get the opportunity four different times. 
I got to see the pink lines with Lily at 5am one morning before Brent left for Missouri for a week. I jumped up on our bed, freaking out and screaming shouts of joy, because seeing those two pink lines was just so surreal, especially the first time. 
I got to see the pink lines when we were living at my grandmother’s house, completely scared to smithereens because it was a complete surprise. Two months later, after the worst physical and emotional pain I’ve ever been in, that sweet baby met Jesus face to face. And a little fact that I’ll always love–we’ll bring Ruby home from the hospital on the day this baby was due three years ago.
I got to see the pink lines again while we were living in that little basement apartment. This time, Brent had no clue what was coming. I wanted it to be a complete surprise. I woke up before he did, got the coffee brewing while waiting for those two pink lines, and set the test (in a container with the lid on the test!) in front of the coffee maker. Brent was shocked and overjoyed! 
I got to see the pink lines one last time after church one Sunday in January. I just knew I was pregnant and told Brent to drive to the Dollar General so I could get a cheap test. He made fun of me and said that those tests didn’t work and it probably tested for rabies instead. I bought them anyway. It was positive. Positive for pregnancy, Brent…not rabies. 
Four times. Four times I realized there was life growing inside of me. Four miracles. The excitement and nervousness are there every time, just like the first. Never does your life change so suddenly and overflow with dreams and plans than when you see two pink lines on a stick you just peed on. 
For many practical reasons, it made sense to me for Ruby to be our last. Brent and I weren’t on the same page, and while that irritated me and made me question if my desires were in the right place, I waited patiently for Brent to guide our decision. We both prayed over this decision multiple times and weighed the pros and cons, and for many reasons we know this is the right decision. We are at peace with it. 
But, that does not mean I am not having a really difficult time with the reality of the decision. I usually get nostalgic any time a season comes to an end. Some seasons come to an end because time says so whether I’m on board or not. This season I’ve been in for 6 years doesn’t have to end. Time doesn’t say stop here. Time doesn’t mandate the end of this season, but Brent and I are. And that almost seems like it shouldn’t be allowed. The season I spent so much of my high school and college years dreaming about are about to end. My thoughts about the future weren’t general, they were always with Brent specifically in mind. That’s what a girl does when she dates a guy for six years before he marries her. She dreams of life with him. Those dreams are now reality and it’s about to all be behind me. 

We have a mini-van. There’s a 16 inch bike in our garage parked next to a Barbie jeep and a red wagon. I’m doing homework with my five year old after school. I’m taking my kids to dance class and birthday parties. We’re balancing home and work. We’re doing bedtime stories, kissing boo boos, brushing tangly hair, chasing half-naked kids around the house to get them dressed for school. We’re trying to have serious conversations while our kids are getting on each other’s nerves or begging for a snack. We watch the Disney Channel everyday after school. We’re doing lots of laundry. We’re picking up all the dolls and cars. We’re eating homecooked meals one night and frozen pizza the other because it’s a busy night. These are the things I dreamed of. Just the simple day to day family stuff. None of this ends after Ruby. It will go on until they grow up and leave the house. But now I see the home stretch. Ruby will be the last diaper to change, the last homework to do, the last boo boo to kiss, the last baby in the cradle, the last child to take to dance class. 

There’s so much ahead with the three gifts God has given us. I can see the complete picture now. It’s no longer dreams of a family with some unknown number of kids. It’s now reality with my family of three kids: Lily, Scott, and Ruby. That makes me feel a sense of closure with one season and an open door to another and it’s all bittersweet. So much that we leave behind, so much that is ahead of us. And I’m just plain ol’ sad and excited at the same time. 
Here’s what I’ve come to realize. I can’t keep on having babies for the sake of emotion. I can’t make the decision to not end this season purely on the desire to preserve these emotions and experiences I love so much. Because no matter how many babies I have, I will feel this way about leaving this season after the 3rd or the 13th. I will always miss this season. I will always look back on the baby season and wish I could go back. But, you know what? I wish I could go back to high school, college, dating years with Brent, my wedding day, etc. All of the happy times are worth thinking about and longing for. They’re all worth our reminiscing, because God is good and gives us memories to cherish the time we leave behind. He also gives us a hopeful future full of His promises so that we can look ahead with expectancy with what He will do in our lives and in the lives of those entrusted to us.
So, dear Ruby–your momma is torn up about you being her last. She’s going to be a mess of tears when you meet her. She’ll hold you and kiss you more than she did your sister and brother because she’ll try with all her might to keep you from growing up as fast as them. She won’t be able to though. And she knows that. But she knows that the day that you come home from school with your first homework assignment is just a few blinks away. She loves your Daddy and she’s sad to close this season with him, but she’s also extremely hopeful and excited for the future ahead with him and you and your sister and brother. VK party of 5 is going to be a good ride. We are ready to meet you! 

Scott’s 2nd Birthday

Favorite Color: Blue, everything is blue

Favorite Food: Squeezies and chips (chocolate chips to be exact, not a bag of chips)
Favorite Character: Miles from Tomorrowland, Pete from Chuggington, and Mickey Mouse
Favorite Drink: Lemonade, although Mommy rarely gives it to you. Milk is usually your drink of choice 
when you are offered milk or juice
Favorite Song: The Wheels on the Bus and you love for us to sing “Jesus Loves Me” before bed
Favorite Bible story: You don’t have one yet
Favorite Activity: “I wan dada/mamma/Wee dace you” translates to “I want Daddy/Mommy/Lily to chase me”. You LOVE for us to chase you all over the house. It’s the very first thing you ask daddy to do when he walks in the door from work.
Obsession: All things cars. You always have one in your hand. You bathe with them, eat with them, ride in the car with them, sleep with them. You are specific about which cars you want to sleep with so part of our routine every night is finding the two cars you prefer to snuggle with. Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night and realize the cars are not in your hand and you cry for them, so we (usually Daddy) go back in your room to hand it to you and you fall right back asleep. You are very particular about how you hold your cars. When we are out in public, you point out the vans, buses, trucks, big trucks, cars, and you can spot Jeeps really well. 
Nicknames: Scotty and Buddy 
Like Mommy: Your curly hair 
Like Daddy: Your happy, go with the flow attitude
Like Lily: Mr. Independent wants to do things “by self” just like Lily did at this age
Mommy’s Favorite: You are a loyal and loving person. I love that you love your sister, “Wee.” You ask about her in the mornings when you wake up before her, you always want Wee “side you” (beside you) when you are on the couch or eating, I love when you see her and say “Hey Wee”, you always want to play with her whether that’s with cars or the doll house. You just want to be with Wee at all times. 
Daddy’s Favorite: your ability to play in an imaginative world is beginning and it’s so interesting to watch and hear you play pretend, especially with your sister
Funniest Thing About You: Your face when you are closing your eyes for a game of “Hide n Seek”. You wrinkle up your nose and eyes with a huge grin on your face, but you are clearly watching where everyone hides. 
What You Will be When you Grow Up: Something that involves you being social. You love people.

What We Did Celebrate: You are really interested in trains right now, so we took you to Chattnooga to ride the train. Then we ate dinner and cupcakes at Mom and Pop’s house in Mentone. The next day, famly came over for dinner and to watch fireworks for the 4th. Your favorite gift was the remote control Miles from Tomorrowland toy. 

Boogers, Dutch-Ovens, and Confessing Sin

It’s sure been a while since I wrote about how the Lord teaches me through Lily. He still does, constantly, but tonight I actually have the time to write about it!!! 

Brent and I both have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, laptops. They’re old and need to be smashed with a hammer. We got an iPad for Christmas to replace them and I made sure that we also got a wireless keyboard to go with it, but it’s still just not the same as typing on a good ol’ computer and the keyboard doesn’t hold a charge very long. All that to say, my love for writing on this here blog has become nothing but a nuisance. But this little story about boogers is a good one so I’ll sacrifice all the annoying things that are hindering me from writing and bring it to you. 
Friday night we were all up late and got in the bed at the same time. Scott fell right to sleep as usual. Lily popped into our room just as Brent turned off the lights in our room. Something was bothering her and she had to get it off her chest. 
Backup for a minute. 
A few months ago we purchased a futon for Brent’s office (got a great deal on it from a place that gets overstock from Target! So, think inexpensive futon from Target, but even cheaper!) While we were shopping around, both of the kids were all over the place. Scott would not dare be harnessed into his stroller, so I chased the kids around the store while Brent looked for the right futon. At the same time, Brent and I shouted across the store (mostly because of the kids and not so much the distance between us) so we could share our opinions of the ones Brent had narrowed his decision to. 
Brent: Should I go with the leather? It’s modern but a little girly. Or what about the grey with white piping around the edges? It’s still modern, but masculine. 
Me: YEAH. JUST PICK ONE. 
They were the same price. I didn’t care one way or another. I just wanted to leave before we were buying several other items that the kids were bound to destroy. 
He chose the grey futon with white piping. We got into the car and Lily had a little confession to make. She had apparently picked her nose a few times and wiped the boogers on several pieces of furniture. We didn’t make a big deal out of it, just asked her to please get a tissue next time…and to please please please not wipe boogers on furniture, especially when it’s not ours. It tore her up. She was worried sick about those dried boogers stuck all over the store, sure that the owners would be able to identify them as Lily’s Boogers, call us on the phone, and get her in trouble. She felt horrible and dwelled on it far too long, so we kindly told her to get over it. It’s no big deal. Just don’t do it again.  
Brent and I forgot about the dried-boogers-in-the-furniture-store incident. 
So on Friday night after we were all in bed, Lily snuck into our room and asked us if it is considered lying if she did something wrong and didn’t tell us. We explained that it’s not necessarily lying, but that she needs to be comfortable with always telling us the truth, even when it’s a bad truth. She had a guilty look on her face and we knew she had something to tell us. No matter how many different ways we encouraged her to tell us whatever it was she had to tell us, she was covered up in fear and tears and couldn’t find the words.
We finally got some information out of her: she knew that what she did was wrong and that it happened at small group. But that wasn’t enough, we wanted to know the whole truth. We were patient with her and gave her plenty of time to open up (and by “we were patient” I mean that Brent was patient and I was given orders to stay quiet!). 
 
Lily was terrified of letting us know the whole truth. She just knew she would have consequences for her actions if she told us. I thought she’s done a terrible thing. What in the world could it be? And after lots of explaining to her of how much we loved her and how we wouldn’t be mad and how she wouldn’t have any consequences for telling us the whole truth and how we want to know all about what goes on in her life, she finally told us…
Sometime in the recent past, she wiped a booger on the edge of the coffee table during small group one night (my apologies to Chris and Amanda!) She was even able to tell us what movie they were watching and where in the room the babysitters were when she did it. This had been eating her up for quite some time! 
Honestly, I was so relieved to hear it was just about boogers! You could tell she felt the same relief to finally have her secret confessed to us. She was smiling and calm again. 
I didn’t say one word about how she shouldn’t have done that or how it was wrong or gross. Obviously she already knew those things. But I did tell her my own story of when I was in kindergarten waiting in car line after school. I was picking my nose and it was a big one and snot just kept coming out of my nose. I wasn’t a booger-eater, I didn’t have any tissue, I was too shy to ask to go get one, and I couldn’t wipe it anywhere because there was just too much of it, so I unzipped the small front pocket of my backpack and put it all in there. Never to be seen again. Completely forgotten about. And all three of us giggled about that for a while. She thought that was just GREAT! 
Once we were all done laughing and Lily had realized that her booger-wiping guilt was unnecessary now that she had confessed and she was forgiven, she said her bedtime prayers and they went something like this: 
Dear God, thank you for our blessings and our food to eat. Thank you for Mommy, Daddy, Scott, Laney, Logan, and Dusti Jo…
and this is where she usually says Amen. That prayer is her every prayer. But she went on: 
…Thank you for making me brave to tell Mommy and Daddy. Thank you for letting me see I’m not the only sinner. Amen.  
That last sentence owns me. Thank you for letting me see I’m not the only sinner. Don’t we all need to hear that? 
We all pick our boogers and wipe them on furniture. No one, except Jesus, is exempt from booger picking. But you know what helps us in our guilt and struggle with booger picking? Confession.    
Though we can feel isolated in our sin, there is comfort in knowing we’re all in this together. We may struggle with different sins from each other, but the common denominator is this: we all struggle with sin. When the sin isn’t confessed, we are blind to this. The enemy wants us to think we are all alone and there is no one who can relate or help. 

But here’s two things God says about this: 
For we do not have a hight priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16

Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16 

The fear that Lily had before confessing was from the enemy. He knows James 5:16. He knows that confession brings healing and he did not want healing for her so he filled her mind with fear. But Jesus has overcome and made her brave to tell us. She confessed. Her guilt was gone and she was able to hear my story of doing the same thing. That’s why confessing sin is healing. Because you realize two things: you aren’t in this fight alone and you can approach Jesus with confidence because he’s been tempted with the same stuff…yet remained sinless. 

My favorite part of this night, other than her prayer, was being able to tell Lily that God is hearing and answering my prayer for her. I pray over her every night that He would draw her to Himself so that she would recognize her sin and receive forgiveness. He’s doing just that. The fact that she was so torn up about her booger stuff is evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in her life. He convicts us when we are wrong. It was wonderful to take something terrible in the mind of a young child and show her that it’s actually an encouraging thing!

After all this precious God stuff, she Dutch-ovened us (see below for definition). No better way to end the evening confessing sin and farting. Amen.

Dutch Oven: the act of trapping a person under bed covers after releasing gas. I can’t be sure who taught her this. 

Cleary we need to work on manners.