Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

Someone recently introduced me as "the girl you wouldn't want to stand next to in a lightening storm".

While I chuckled at the innocence of my friend's candid comment, it really got me to thinking. I would have to argue that if God's purpose for my life at this particular point in time is to be a lightening rod for His glory, then so be it.

This year has been one of beautiful chaos. If our front porch could talk, oh the stories it would tell! Our prayer warriors and precious friends and family have blessed us beyond comprehension this past year. Our rocking chair has held pints of ice cream, baggies of mustard seeds, gallons of sweet tea, vases of fresh cut flowers, tiny baggies of Nams Cookie bites, comfy pajama pants, and numerous other gifts of encouragement.

God has brought Chris and I to-and-through so many trials. In the midst of the struggles and chaos, He has given us beauty and splendor.

He has taught us how to be genuine. How to be "raw". How to live for today and praise Him for the gift of tomorrow.

As Christmas rolled around this year, I was left trembling at His feet, in awe of His mercy and grace. As He finished moving one mountain for us (farewell kudzu, so long), He brought us to the valley of another.

My mom pulled me aside this past week and shared with me her wisdom on why bad things happen to good people. "We live in a fallen world" she said. "God doesn't cause bad things to happen, He simply places himself in the midst of what this world presents us with".

I will always treasure those words. When we want to cry out "Why, oh God, why?", we must remember that we worship a mighty God who loves us and knows the plans He has for us.

"Sometimes it is hard to accept that God can bring about His purposes through our trials. It is hard to see past our circumstances to a future that, for us, doesn’t exist yet. But God is not constrained by time. He is not reined in by our circumstances. Because of this, we have to trust that our limited perspective simply can not process His higher purpose."

There is something comforting in knowing that our perspective is limited. If we relied on ourselves and our view of the world, we would be left staring at our feet. Shifting uncomfortably, lacking understanding. Tonight I am most thankful to have a God who's purpose is so mighty that it is simply incomprehensible.

We didn't get Cooper's picture made with Santa this year. We didn't even get our Christmas tree up. We didn't have our annual Starbuck's Caramel Apple Spice date, or watch the Christmas Story start to finish. Our Pink Pig tickets hang untouched on the fridge.

Our Christmas picture this year is raw. We aren't wearing coordinating Christmas outfits. Cooper doesn't even have on his "Santa" jammies. Chris and I might not have showered in two days.

Our prayer is to remain real. To remain true to each other. To cling to our faith and to praise God for giving us the opportunity to walk with each other down this road of life.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know that this love that surpasses all knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours. With love and blessings...


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stephen Patrick Davis

The first time I met Stephen was 10 years ago this past August. He was riding a little boy's bicycle in our apartment complex parking lot in Athens, eating pizza, and laughing. The handle bars were turned backwards--I can still see it clear as day. It was late. And he was silly.

The first meaningful conversation I had with him was on Christmas Eve that same year. We were wrapping Christmas presents at Chris' mom and dad's house, talking about poop. Chris' dad overheard our shenanigans and burst into the room to scold Stephen and Chris for talking about such inappropriate things with a "lady" present. I never told James that I was actually the one who brought up the topic of conversation.

Stephen was (and will always be) Chris' little brother. He would have called Chris today to congratulate him on being officially done with Chemo and radiation. He cried the day Chris told him the news. He went to the alter at church every single Sunday and asked for prayers for Chris. He was a gentle giant. A humble man of God.
The love he had for his sweet, sweet wife, Dori, was absolutely incredible. Words can't even describe it. He loved her like crazy; adored her; treasured her. They were two peas in a pod. Crazy in love.
When God blessed them with Ludi Mae this past spring, you would have thought he won the lottery. He just beamed. "Proud Papa" doesn't even begin to describe it. His precious baby girl meant the world to him. Stephen Patrick Davis was one incredible man. A son. A husband. A daddy. A brother. An uncle. A friend.

We will never understand why you were taken from this world so soon.
We know that God's grace and mercy will carry the Davis Family in the days ahead. We are surrounded with love and covered in prayer.

Please, please pray for Dori and Ludi Mae. Dori is an absolute rock. Her faith is awe-inspiring. She is a precious child of God. Ludi Mae is a gift from above, sent by God to give her strength. We love you both to the moon and back and are lifting you up in constant prayer.
Please pray for his mama and daddy. His brothers and sisters. The Davis' and the Banks. His nephews and niece. Just tonight Austin called and asked to talk to his Uncle Stevie. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. He asked where he was and what he was doing.

Stephen, we all miss you so very much. We keep looking for you to walk through the door. To come down the stairs and ask what the fuss is all about. We know you are getting settled in heaven and we can only imagine what an awesome place heaven must be...

If he could give us all a little advice on this thing we call "life", he might say: Cling to those you hold dear in this world. Love each other a little more each and every single day. Adore the things that matter and disregard the things that don't.
Be still and know that I am God. -Psalm 46:10

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Crinkle Lion

A few weeks ago I witnessed one of the most beautiful things in all the world.

As I saw it unfold, I squeezed my eyes shut and willed myself to remember it forever and ever.

I was drying my hair in our bathroom and heard the sound of giggling coming from our room. I peeked out the door and saw 2 bald heads bobbing up and down, giggling away. I heard a crinkle-crinkle and a lot of foolish jibber-jabber noises. More crinkle-crinkle. More giggle-giggle. More jibber-jabber.

Chris was playing with Cooper and his most favorite toy in all the world--"Crinkle Lion". Crinkle Lion was jumping on Super Coop's tummy and creating all sorts of silliness. Chris was happy. Cooper was happy. And all was right with the world. I could have stopped time right then and there.

Crinkle Lion goes EVERYWHERE with us. He is a jack of all trades. He entertains Coop as he cruises around town in his big boy car seat. He makes appearances at every restaurant. Highchairs across Atlanta have been introduced to Mr. Crinkle Lion. He goes for strolls in the park and marathon shopping trips at the mall. He has saved the day on more than one occasion.

You can imagine my excitement when I was invited to the Kids II/Bright Starts Product Launch Party last week. A room filled with oober-cute and oober-fun toys? What!? Pink cupcakes sprinkled with darling confetti sprinkles? Innovative ideas and cutting edge technology? Precious patterns and plush baby accouterments?! And Tony Gonzalez to boot?!
I rejoiced in a morning spent sans scrubs and headed off to the Kids II Corporate Center to check things out.

Let me just say: It. was. fabulous.

I had oh-so-much fun browsing all of Kids II new product lines and learning about the philosophy and values that stand behind items like "Mr. Crinkle Lion".

My most favorite product was the SELF propelled baby bouncer seat. Seriously. It bounces itself. No acrobatics or yoga moves necessary (please don't tell me you haven't caught yourself standing on one leg in the kitchen with one leg stretched across the family room tap.tap.tapping the baby bouncer just to get dinner cooked...or my personal favorite, go-go-gadgetting a leg or two out of the shower to keep the little one a-bouncing so you can rinse the shampoo out of your mommy hair). It takes talent folks.

Well no more. The geniuses over at Kids II have solved mommy-woes near and far.

A personal favorite; the sensory-based nature of most Kids II products. Being a pediatric speech-language pathologist comes with all sorts of perks. Namely, I get to play all day long. Although finding sensory-based toys is not always the easiest feat, it's crucial to our success as therapists. Bright Starts has a fabulous line of sensory toys and guess what?! They are AFFORDABLE! Better believe I will be spreading the word about these little beauties!

And the best part? The part that yanked at my heartstrings and still has me thinking? Their philanthropic nature. They are involved in mucho wonderful charities and community oriented events. From their recognition of Pink Power Moms each year (inspirational mamas who have/are battling breast cancer) to the generosity that unfolds as they provide the homeless children of Atlanta with toys at was so refreshing and inspiring to meet a selfless corporation with outstanding morales and values.
And did you know that they have partnered up with my company, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta!? Who knew! Two of my favorite organizations partnered up to do good!? LOVE IT.

Thank you, thank you, thank you dear friends over at Kids II and Leader Enterprises! What a honor to attend such a wonderful event. I would write more, but a) I wrote WAY too much already b) the clothes dryer has honked at me approximately 15 times since I embarked upon writing this post and c) I'm sprinting out to Target to pick up one last Christmas gift for Coopie:

Hold on to your jingle bells, cause Super Coop's going to be beside himself when he meets Crinkle Lion's best buddie, ElliePhant. Could life get any sweeter??