May 27, 2011

May 27th, 2011

Dear Sofia,

This weekend we are taking our first big family trip together!

We are flying to Minnesota to visit your grandparents (my mom and dad). Your auntie Becky and your cousins Eli and Connor will be there, too. You've never even met them! And the grandparents haven't seen you in person since you were three months old. Wow, are they in for a surprise...

Our extended vacation is due to this Monday being Memorial day. This is a day we use to honor our fallen (deceased) soldiers, who have given their lives to serve our country. A lot of cynics will say, "Yeah, soldiers don't really 'fight for freedom' like jingoistic people say they do. It's just a paycheck for them."

It may be a paid job, but does that make the details any less extreme? For pete's sake they are sent overseas into foreign lands where it's crazy hot and dry, and sand is perpetually in their boots and eyes. They're covered head to toe in combat gear in the scorching desert. The only people they have to spend free time with are their fellow soldiers who are not always like-minded individuals. Plus they go months, even years, without seeing their families.

Aren't those enough reasons to give them one day - it's only one day we take to honor them, unless you count the fourth of July, too - during which we think about their sacrifice? Even if soldiers are 'dumb' or have been 'tricked' into enlisting by recruiters who think they have no other viable options... why does that make the soldiers themselves dishonorable? Simply put, it doesn't. Whatever the reason they enlisted, each and every one of them puts their desires aside to work for the good of the nation.

Do the troops always know why they are fighting? What the higher imperatives are? Definitely not. But they follow orders, they obey the chain of command, they sacrifice their time and put their lives on hold to serve our country.

We will pray on Monday for the wounded soldiers and those who gave their lives fighting in all our wars, past and present: WWI and WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and many more.


May 25, 2011

May 25th, 2011

Dear Sofia,

There are forces in nature that we do not understand. In all of God's creation the most intriguing - and frightening - element might be wind.

I don't even know how to explain it to you. It can't be seen... until it acts on something else, like a tree (which bends in it). When it hits water, wind stirs it up and creates towers of water called waves. When there's only a little bit of wind, water just makes ripples, tiny waves.

Wind can be warm or cold. It can be wet-feeling or dry. It seems to come out of nowhere a lot of the time. One minute it's perfectly calm, and the next - a blast of wind is pushing you over. Usually this happens right before a thunderstorm. We've been having a lot of those lately.

When wind from one direction in the sky swirls together with wind from another direction, it makes what is called a tornado. Remember the funnel-shaped water thing we saw in the bathtub when the water was draining? That's what a tornado looks like. But tornadoes are in the sky, but near the ground, not way up high like a cloud.

There have been so many powerful tornadoes sweeping across the lower part of the Midwest this past week. The wind inside a tornado is so strong that it pulled houses apart and threw full-size cars around in the air like they were toys. So many people lost their homes; many people lost their lives.

I've thought about living in the near-south, in Oklahoma or Kentucky. Those states, and Missouri, Kansas and Alabama, were among the hardest hit. Tonight in our bedtime prayers we will ask God to be present to those people, who have been struck by a force they could neither predict or prevent. God, on the other hand, is steadfast and predictable in His love for His creation. I hope that is a comfort to the poor families that were hit.


May 23, 2011

May 23rd, 2011

Dear Sofia,

You haven't seen the commercials because you don't watch t.v. but just so you know.. Those "google" spots about a dad writing to his daughter (whose name happens to be Sophie), well, that was my idea first, and it's what sparked this blog.

So if you ever wonder if I was uncreative and just copied that.. I didn't. They copied me!

And also, for your information, I am not usually one of those "that was my idea first" kind of people - because who cares; if it's a good idea for someone then another will probably also think of it, too. I just wanted you to know.. this wasn't some contrived thing. It just.. happened.

And now I've probably ruined the sweetness of it by drilling the point of whose idea it was! Arrgh, moms just can't win can they?

Whatever. I love you and love writing about/to you.


May 18, 2011

May 17th, 2011

Dear Sofia,

We had a lot of fun on mother's day with you at the botanical garden! Here is one picture of you amidst the blooming trees. What a lovely, sunny day and setting. And of course you are the prettiest flower of them all.


May 16, 2011

May 16th, 2011

Dear Sofia,

Your Auntie Lea (the middle sister in my family) is having some surgery this week. I don't talk with her enough. Today I am thinking of and praying for her as she goes through what could be a troublesome time for her.

Not that she's worried. Auntie Lea is many things, but worried doesn't seem to be one of them. She's a mom to Maia and Joe (and I keep hoping for more), wife to Nathan and daughter to our parents. She's a friend to so many it's borderline unbelievable.

And to me, she's my sister. My special sister who told me a lot about growing into a woman before I asked, because I was too shy to ask anyway and she knew it. My sister who let me be her bridesmaid but asked first if I would mind when they got married, the date being so close to my high school graduation. My sister that I called to tell I had gotten into trouble at school, who sensed something was very wrong and never judged me (although she had every right to).

This week we will be praying especially for your Auntie Lea and her family. We will probably call her on the computer, too, so she can see you sitting up by yourself. I think she would like that. I would do anything for her, but the best thing we can do is pray.


May 5, 2011

May 5th, 2011

Dear Sofia,

Today is your cousin Eli's birthday! Would you believe he is now a teenager? I guess since you've never met him, you wouldn't have any reason not to believe it, huh? =)

Eli was the first grandchild in the family, the first boy, my first nephew (now I have four), your eldest cousin. I remember when he was born and how happy I was to be an aunt! As a baby he was a bundle of energy - and he got into everything. We would find him splashing in the dog's water bowl, behind the couch and on in every room of the house exploring.

And he was so much fun. I was a senior in high school when he was about your age now and your auntie Lea was getting married that June (just like your auntie Chelsea is getting married this June). Eli was the ring bearer and flower boy since we only had one little person in the family back then! He walked to the front of the aisle perfectly, then dumped the whole basket of petals in one spot. It was hilarious!

He was always very smart and a quick learner. And had a boisterous, joyful personality. Truth be told he is the same way now; he has a lot of friends and is crazy intelligent. In fact, I think he is just like your auntie Becky (his mom) in so many ways. They even make the same squinty little smirk and shake their heads when someone says something corny - which seems to happen a lot in this family.

Eli is a nice kid. He has participated in several national missionary trips and enjoyed helping boys his age who are less fortunate. He has been a good older brother to his three siblings and I hope they continue to look up to him as they grow up.

Happy birthday to my first nephew Eli! I hope he has a great day.


May 2, 2011

May 2nd, 2011

Dear Sofia,

I want to do what’s right for you. But you’d be amazed at how conflicted my thoughts about what that means are.

I don’t want to work, not really. But I do. I bring you to daycare (which is provided by a great woman and is only five minutes away from my office) and then I spend nine hours at the office. The people I work with are, for the most part, tolerable. Yet all but one aren't believers and some are downright hostile to God and everything I put trust in. (That’s the reason I took Good Friday off this year; after hearing what some had to say about our Lord last year, I knew I couldn’t take it again.) So, it’s a less than pleasant – and it’s in no way spiritually profitable – experience working with them. But I like my boss, who I think is a Christian, so I stay.

I’d rather be home, doing virtually anything else that would afford me to have time with you… and would also help pay the bills. Your dad and I are in a role-reversal of sorts, where I am the primary moneymaker. He even stays home with you one day a week (which is wonderful). I admit, I’m pretty jealous of that.

But.. my job is a blessing. It must be; it has allowed me to get maternity care and birth care, has exposed me to some really nice people (mostly in the other half of our building) and has given me opportunities to become competent in my field. I don’t want to “look a gift horse in the mouth.” I AM thankful for this job.
Why is working so heavy on my mind? For one, because it always is. I daily regret not getting to spend time with you, wonder if I’m missing out on any milestones, feel sad and guilty about coming to work. Feel guilty, too, about not “trusting God” to provide for us financially (although I will argue that I did trust God to find this job for me).

And secondly, because I’ve been offered a promotion. That means I will be making more money (about $5000 more/year) and have greater responsibilities (which is good for my mind and confidence). It also means I will have a more flexible schedule, which will allow me to take more time off to spend with you. If it doesn’t work out, or if I need to resign in the next couple years, I think my boss would completely understand. We have had candid conversations before, and it’s fully encouraged.
So a promotion is a good thing… right? For now, while your dad is looking for a new job, I should be making as much as I can and saving as much as possible. Without his income, I don’t see what other choice I have.

And yet.. I still feel incredibly guilty.

I love you so much. I hope I am doing the right thing.



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