Merry Christmas from the Duryees

I was so on the ball this year I had my Christmas cards before December even started. Now, to get them mailed before Christmas. Susanna already looks like an old woman compared to this photo, but that’s babyhood I guess.

Today is her 5 month birthday!

2011-11-28 001 010_edited

In honor of the last day of November, I am ringing in the Christmas season with a link to the photo card we ordered. Shutterfly is still my go-to photo shop, so I am happy to post this link. Right now I am working on a book of 2010 photos and hoping to get it under $100. Gotta eliminate some photos. It’s a new goal of mine to order the previous year’s photobook before the current year is over.

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Cousins

I have a heart post brewing right now that I hope to put down sometime this week. It is about generosity and broken hearts and orphans and God’s call and spiritual darkness and suffering and I just can’t gather all my thoughts under one umbrella.

In the meantime, I am hoping these two will always be friends, though they may be far apart in the future.

Susanna and her cousin Ryan

Amplified Marriage Vows – edited

I need to make a correction to this post. I made a huge error in judgment, in part because I really wanted to have a neat post in honor of the anniversary of our engagement and also because I still feel that mamahood is zapping me of my creativity. Still, there’s no excuse. This blog post by Dawn inspired me to think about the unspoken promises in my own marriage vows. After reading it, I thought of some of the better (vacations, dinners at Harvest Vine, the birth of our daughter) and the worse (being 15% funded with one income, navigating new parenthood) in our own marriage, and filled them in.

Dawn (gently and graciously) called me out on copying her work. She said, “In blogging, it’s easy to compare our writing with others and read something we love and wish we had written it ourselves.” That’s what happened. Hope you all can forgive my lapse in judgment. It has been a constant prayer of mine that God would refill my creativity cup, which has felt empty since I got pregnant (something about growing a human in my womb took all my creative juices). In truth, I base too much of my self-worth on my creativity, which is a gift from God, when I need to preach the Gospel to myself and get my worth from Jesus Christ.

I am thankful for grace today.

Thankfulness in 2011

♥ learning to abound in thanksgiving
♥ 21 weeks with our sweet daughter
♥ a marriage rooted in faith in Christ
♥ financial partners
♥ this book and blog, which is changing my life:

one

♥ Pinterest, for creating a beautiful place on the internet
♥ friends who care
♥ blog readers
♥ provision and a time of stretching
♥ prefield struggles and blessings
♥ a (secret) Facebook group for prefield missionaries
♥ a baby who is a good sleeper
♥ our sweet kitty cat
♥ a warm home
♥ family near and far
♥ the coming Christmas season
♥ an amazing sending church
♥ high school students who ask tough questions
♥ our weekly babysitter who allows us to continue to do youth ministry
♥ my Moms n Tots group
♥ God’s Word

What are you thankful for this year?

The Ancient Hawaiians

Today at Caffé Ladro, Susanna and I sat next to Tom. Our conversation led Tom to tell me a story about when the first Hawaiians came to the islands. At first, only men came with tools, plants, chickens and other things necessary for settling. When they went to fetch the women, they didn’t bring any children or pregnant women because it was too dangerous. Now, ancient Hawaiian lore speaks of a “period of great sadness” among the first Hawaiians while they waited for children to join their society.

In America especially (possibly exclusively), children are not very highly valued. They are looked at as inconveniences, interruptions. As Chris and I navigate parenthood and resist the temptation to go along with the world’s view, sometimes we have to fight for joy. But Tom’s story made me think.

Can you imagine a society without children? It would be incredibly depressing.

Tom, a single man with no children, commended me for bringing Susanna into the world and for bringing her out to the coffee shop. When I responded to his story that I had never thought about the important role children play in society, he said, “perhaps that attitude has something to do with why we are not living our lives the way maybe we should be.”

Wow.

How I wish I had picked up on this opportunity to share the Gospel. On the way home I thought of so many questions I could have asked Tom that would have led to a spiritual conversation. Who knows? Maybe Tom was looking for a way to share the Gospel with me (though based on my usually-correct perceptions, I doubt it).

I am going to pray for Tom. Maybe Susanna and I will make Caffé Ladro a regular place to wait for nap time, and God will give me another opportunity to chat with Tom.