Since I am not creative and it is probably not a surprise to many people anymore, I am just going to say that...Ari is going to be a big brother!
I am relieved to have finally said it so that people know it's not a secret, but at the same time I have been dreading this post for a while. (Which is why I have procrastinated for so long!) That probably sounds absolutely ridiculous but for the past year I have been dreading the question that so many people found necessary to ask us "Are you pregnant?" With them naturally assuming it was our decision to not have another child yet. It's a hard thing to swallow when you know things don't go as you planned. Fortunately we have the hope that God's plan is much bigger than ours and just have to trust in it. But that's not easy either. It's just something we have learned to do month after month, negative test after negative test, after a miscarriage, and an entire year of trying.
To be completely honest, it's easy to think God's plan is so great when it is going my way, or at least how I thought it should go. It is shameful how much I struggled this past year...not trusting God. I got to the point of questioning whether it was even worth praying about because I figured God was just going to do whatever He wanted anyway. I was so stubborn and hard-hearted. I was jealous and heart broken.
I am reminded in Isaiah 55:8-9 that God does have a plan and it is much more than we can imagine. '"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways", declares the Lord. As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.'
On the other hand, I feel so guilty even writing this because I know there are lots of women out there who have struggled with infertility for many years, or who have lost a child. And I just think that my situation could be so much worse than it is. I should be happy with the one healthy child I have.
Jeremiah 29:11 says '"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'
I have no idea what God is trying to accomplish in my life, but I can't let one year of it go to waste because it didn't turn out the way I wanted. He is the only one who knows what our future holds, whether it's a large family that I always dreamed of, or not. So I will continue to hold on to His promise in Proverbs 3:5-6.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight."
It would be a complete understatement if I said that Ari was infatuated with the moon. The kid LOVES the moon. It really just came out of nowhere, and now it is a daily discussion about where the moon is. Whenever we are driving in the car, it's "moon? moon? moon?". Whenever it's time for bed, it's "moon? moon? moon?" It was the most depressing week when the moon was gone and I had to explain to Ari everyday that the moon was not out. He would then quickly reply with "clouds in the sky?" That seems to be the most logical reason for not being able to see the moon...at least for a two year old.
For a while I just couldn't figure out what the big deal was about the moon. But after hearing Chris August's song "Starry Night" over and over, I would start to think of Ari and his love for the moon. The chorus says,
I'm giving my life to the only one who makes the Moon reflect the sun.
Every Starry Night, that was His design.
I'm giving my life to the only son, who was and is and yet to come
Let the praises ring, 'cause he is everything
'Cause he is everything
I then realized how there is so much more to God's creation. We should be in awe of it. We should take care of it. We should appreciate it. This is God's design.
It just so happens that we are talking about Creation with middle schoolers on our Wednesday night program at church. I was surprised to find me learning something from it. Yeah I understood the actual creation of everything, but not necessarily the part where God made man in his own image. What exactly does that mean? I never really thought about it before. After exploring lots of verses, we talked about five attributes that we share: love, will, emotions, and two others that I can't seem to think of off the top of my head. But the point is that I am still learning things that I thought I already knew.
Our Wednesday night program for the middle schoolers is new. It is challenging on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. Mostly spiritual because I am required to do daily quiet times and memorize a verse every week, just as we require the students to do. I find that when someone is keeping me accountable I actually do the work when I am supposed to (especially when that person is 10 years younger than me!). I can see the wheels turning in the kids head as we approach new topics every week. It is amazing the thoughts and questions they share each week. They are so much farther in their spiritual walk than I ever was at their age. My prayer for them is that they actually put into action what they are learning from these studies, and not wait until they out of college, or married, or when they've made a huge mistake and reaping the consequences. We are all going to make mistakes, we're sinners. I just know that I could have avoided many in my life if I would have applied God's Word to my life much sooner. Now I want to take the opportunity to share that with these young people and hopefully make some kind of a difference.
Every year we make sure to visit Nashville and Brown County, preferably in the fall. My grandparents just happen to live near there so we stopped and visited on our way.
Our favorite place in Nashville is the Daily Grind, a quaint little coffee shop that also serves breakfast and lunch. Ari had a blast eating the whipped topping off our mochacino. Mmmm...
He also had a blast hanging out with this little girl. They were in awe and wouldn't stop staring at each other. Then it was time to meander into some shops, specifically the fudge shop that just happened to finish making fresh peanut butter fudge as we walked in. I can still smell it now...
We had to make a pit stop and it just happened to be full of rocks, one of Ari's favorite things. I'm sure he is giving some speech about it while AJ snapped the picture.
We happened to pick the busiest day of the year for the State Park. We parked here for a good half an hour while we all napped. The last few years we had missed the leaves so it was nice to see all the colors.
After our rejuvenating nap we headed to the playground for a while. Daddy loves to take him down the slide. Over. And over. And over again.
Then off to some trails. Ari did surprisingly well (to me). I was too worried that he was going to trip on all the rocks and sticks and roots that stick out of the ground.
That was not the case. He nearly stopped at every one in such amazement that they were stuck in the ground. This rock was just too "hard" for him to pick up. I had to break it to him though that it wouldn't have fit in his pocket anyway. Did I mention that he loves rocks and collects them every chance he gets? He's such a little boy. I love it.
I updated! Yay! Ok so you aren't as thrilled as I am...but I have pictures!
AJ's sister came in town this past weekend to celebrate her upcoming birthday and Ari's. She will be 30 on the 23rd and Ari will be 2 on the 29th. It has been fun having a celebration with her the past two years. We look forward to many, many more!
This was our attempt to show he was going to be two. Do you like our math?