Tag Archives: sister

Baby dedication

Yesterday was an important day.   We dedicated our baby girl to the Lord.    A baby dedication is like a baptism or christening.   Dedications are a ceremony at church where you dress your finest, invite the whole family, listen to the pastor’s instruction, promise to do your best to raise a Godly and loving child and then listen while the pastor prays a blessing on the baby.   During all this you hold your breath and hope baby (and hyper hormonal mom) don’t cry while everyone is staring. 

Here I am in one of the two dresses that actually fit in my post baby body.   The first one I wore the day before to a wedding.   My six-year-old is wearing her flower girl dress.   My husband is wearing a very cool shirt he got off Ebay.   Baby is wearing the dedication gown that her big sister wore six years ago.   It was made by my aunt from a pattern that matched her daughter’s.   I cried when I opened it.   The bonnet is my favorite.   

I’m  not sure if big sister thought baby was going to fall out, if she was worried the dress was too long so she was hiding it or if she just wanted to hold on.   I know I want to hold onto my baby sister and my daughters most of the time.  Letting go is hard.    Part of a dedication is remembering that we don’t own our children.  They belong to God.  We just get the amazing privilege to care and guide them for a little while.

This photo makes me happy.   Our family stretches all the way across the front of the church.   I love that people came from near and far to attend.   I love that this family includes people who are grafted in by years of friendship.   I love all the cousins, they were perfect.   I love that all our parents were present and that they invest in my girls.   I miss my grandmothers. 

I love that Jesus told his disciples not to send the children away.   I love that my daughters were both dedicated in the church I grew up in and where my spouse and I were married.  I love that my pastor loves babies.  I love that my eldest is impish enough to be grinning into the camara in the middle of this prayer.    

I think she gets the spunk from me and she has my grin.   I love that my tall strong husband is gently guiding the little one off the stage.    He’s a good man.  I’m grateful to share the job of raising these two with him.

 

It was a good day.  I’m grateful.

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In the long run

This story did not happen to me.  It feels like it did though.  It happened to my sister.   She and I share an odd sense of humor, a strong will and a pitiful history where PE is concerned.  So my little sister had a goal.  (One I had too but didn’t actually achieve).  She wanted to finish running the mile in high school PE and not come in last in her class.   Totally reasonable goal.  One day, she gave it her all.  Ran like the wind.   Finished ahead of someone.   Looked up to heaven and closed her eyes to pray and to thank God, promptly tripped and fell flat on her face.   Sigh.

I must point out here that another thing my sister and I share is a willingness to self-deprecate in order to have new blog material.  She did in fact give me permission to throw her under the bus.

You know how in high school they try to talk you into buying an extremely overpriced coat so you can display your proudly earned letter?   I had a letter but frankly wasn’t interested in wearing it.  I’m not sure that Pep Band really qualifies, especially when you play the flute.  The flute is designed for a symphony not a marching band.  You can’t hear it over cheering football fans or a cadence from the drum line.  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved band.  I just didn’t want to hear about it from all the sports people.  I had a couple pins on this letter too…one for Honor Society and one for the Math team.  In college, my debate coach thought it was hilarious to tell people I was on the math team.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that debate fell in the same category as competitive math.

My sister signed up with me to do the Warrior Dash this fall.    Partly I think it was because she felt sorry for me because I came home from Rwanda with TB and she didn’t.  Partly I think it was because it’s fun to surprise people and do something out of character.  Partly I think because I’m the big sister and she’s used to sometimes doing what I tell her to.   At any rate, we’ve been running for about two months now.   We’re running at least once a week together just to stay accountable.  The rest of the time we’re begging others to keep us in line and have acquired a couple of good coaches who push us.  One of them is pregnant.  I find it difficult to believe that I have a really hard time keeping up with the pregnant person.   Sigh.   Our other coach just finished this year’s Portland marathon.  Starting running for the first time last spring and ran the whole thing.  She’s my hero.

We all spent all last week eating.   Decided yesterday we were ready for a “hard run”.   Three Miles.   Faster pace than normal.  Really Really big hill.   All three of us had to walk the last push of the hill.   It’s a big hill.  My friend said it felt like someone had ripped out her lungs.   Clearly we all need a bit more training.    Funny thing was when we finished the hill, the next bit was pretty nice.   My sister had her best run ever.

In 2004 I did the Portland Marathon.   I ran 1/4 of each mile and walked the other 3/4.   At mile 15 or so I was feeling great.   Mile 20 I was starting to get tired.   Mile 21 my IPOD battery gave out.   Mile 22 I was worried.   At mile 25 with only one mile to go I had nothing left.  I saw a little man shuffling ahead of me.   I told myself “I’m going to try to run by this gentleman, maybe if I can encourage him, I’ll be able to finish”.    So I ran in step with senior and said “You can do it, only one mile to go”.  He said “This is my fifth marathon.  I know I can do it.  You can do it too.  Don’t give up”.   Okay then.

I did in fact finish all 26.2 miles.   When I crossed the finish line, my mother burst into tears.   She said she had a picture of me running a race in life and crossing the finish line into heaven.

I really don’t like to exercise.  Not crazy about running.   I do however like that my pants fit.   I also like the extra energy when I’m faithful to run.   I really don’t like much of what constitutes balance and discipline in life.    Balancing my checking account, taking out the garbage, having those oh so hard conversations to iron out misunderstandings, saying sorry, getting out of bed even when the snooze button is calling me, devotions with my daughter, praying for friends, tackling the big hills.

Its easier to do anything with your sister at your side.  And I know that it’s all worth it in the long run.

 

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I’m Trading

My sister and I had a trading game we played when we were growing up.  It started with Halloween candy but it also worked with stickers, hair clips, jelly bracelets, or on really bored days random bits of fluff and junk.   We’d bring our bags and dump them out on either side of the coffee table.  We’d each line our offerings up and then take turns picking from each other’s side until at the end we had a brand new batch of whatever.   It was a little like chess because you had to keep a strategy to protect your best candy.  I don’t remember the rules but I know they were complex.  I was six years older.  I usually got better stuff.  My sister though is a wily one and she caught on very quickly.  Neither of us liked coconut then so the Almond Joys and Mounds always presented a problem.  At some point I figured out that my dad would take these nasty candies out of the Halloween pile if I offered them up and then my sister and I didn’t have to worry about ending up with those.

The last few days I’ve been reading a great book.   Second Guessing God by Brian Jones. If you have questions about faith that you can’t seem to answer try this book.  If you have been hurt deeply I think it might help.  If you, like me, just need a good attitude adjustment I am almost positive it’ll work.

Yesterday I was driving out to meet my family for a night at the lake.   On my way, I prayed an honest and painful prayer.  It went something like this….

“ARGHHHH. I am in a crabby mood! I’ve been tired and sad for a bit here and frankly I’m sick of myself.  I do not want to reflect to people around me anything that resembles despair.  I want to reflect hope but right at this second I don’t have that.  I know when I went to Rwanda I said it was because I wanted to be Gloriously Ruined but this broken thing is not at all what I meant.   (read Kay Warren’s book Dangerous Surrender and you’ll know what I’m talking about….God knew when I said it) I really just need to know You see me.  Help. Help.”

Guess what.  God likes honest prayers.   I pulled over to the side of the road and took this picture.

For me last night this was not just a sunset   Psalm 19:1 says “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

I had a little mini revival in my Mazda 3.  It’s a zippy little car.   Corners nicely on the windy roads.  Has a cool Ipod hookup and speakers that last night were blaring out church songs.   I’ve heard them all a million times but last night I was singing along.  I sang loudest last night to I’m Trading My Sorrows.

I am pressed but not crushed

persecuted, but not abandoned

struck down, but not destroyed

I am blessed beyond the curse,

for His promise will endure

and His joy is going to be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night

His joy comes with the morning.

I’m trading my sorrows

I’m trading my shame

I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord

I am definitely taking that trade.  I feel much better.  Let me know if you need a copy of Second Guessing God or frankly if you need a Bible.  I’d love to get you one, maybe we can trade.  What books do you have?

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Okay so she’s right

I remember the first time that my little sister told me no.   I had to be about fourteen so being told no was an unsettling event all by itself.  Having my eight year old sister tell me no was shocking.  She’d never told me no before.  I was the big sister.  She stood in the hallway after being asked to go get some random object of mine with her hands on her hips and quite firmly said no.   I went and told my mom.   Further shock to my world view happened when my mother told me that the little sister didn’t have to do exactly what I told her to every time.

I was an only child for almost seven years.    I was thrilled when that stopped.  I even convinced mom to bring the baby in for show and tell in my Kindergarten class.   When she was about two, our parents left us for the evening with a babysitter.    I remember being the translator then and wondering how in the world this teenager couldn’t tell what my brilliant sibling was saying.  I also remember telling the babysitter that it would be her last time watching us if she continued letting my sister cry instead of rocking her to sleep.   I was a bossy eight year old.  Not much has changed.  I still rush to defend or rescue and I still give entirely too much unsolicited advice.

Before our trip to Rwanda, my little sister was in charge of helping get our team ready to travel.  She handed out a form all about culture shock and dealing with the return to America.   I thought this meant that when I got home I’d be all upset at our culture and mad about excess and I duly prepared to keep my mouth generally shut on those topics.   Turns out the culuture shock is deeper than that.   Turns out I’m having a hard time in general.   Its hard to remember to pay your bills here when all I can think about are the balances on account ledgers in Rwanda that mean one child will go to school and one will not.    Turns out my sister was right.

When sisters stand shoulder to shoulder, who stands a chance against us?  ~Pam Brown

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