Chase Fireflies

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A Letter To My Son


What’s up, little guy? I’ve decided to write you a letter for your first birthday. Here’s to hoping I make this a tradition, but we’ll see how that goes.

A year has flown by already. Wow. It really just seems like you just popped out and we sat on the words, “It’s a boy.” If you check out your newborn pics, I am bawling – I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Your dad was just as happy. Selah, too. At one glance, you stole our hearts.

We’ve fallen in love with a guy who has personality, boundless energy, sensitivity, curiosity, and a crazy glimmer in his eye. You are either screaming yourself purple or laughing your head off. You are either catapulting yourself into the bathtub, sprinkling yourself with the toilet wand, or scaling Selah’s wall.

You adore listening to music and bee bopping that head of yours. Oh, and you bee bop two thirds of a way through a meal also, when your belly tells you it’s getting full. You love throwing and catching balls, following your big sister around, getting flung in the air, hanging upside down, reading book after book (The Foot Book is your favorite), and waiting for daddy to get home. You would spend all day banging the door for him if I let you.

Of course, there are apologies to be made. I’ve complained way too much about my sleep deprivation, headaches, and eye twitches with you. (But way to go, little buddy, you figured sleeping out at 11 months!) I’ve also missed out on scrapbooking your first year, writing all those special facts and figures down, and grabbing my camera for every face you make.

But, in your favor was the time we got to spend together. I held you more, I sang to you more. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy that with Selah. It’s just that having my first child really walloped me. I was so not prepared. At least with you, I knew what to expect and I was geared up. We didn’t get any sleep – you and I – but we sure did hang out a ton and I loved it.

Mr. Adden – You have helped me to enjoy the now – more than I ever have. Thanks for pausing my days. I never get anything completed on my to-do lists anymore. The house is always out of whack somewhere. But the more important parts of my life are in whack. And that’s a good thing. In this pause, I have found myself laughing more, living more, and loving more.

You make me smile.
Love always,

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In Pursuit of Peace

Whoever desires to love life and see good days,
Let him keep his tongue from evil
And his lips from speaking deceit;

Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
– 1 Peter 3:10-11

Is there someone you need to make peace with today?
God, a family member, a friend, a neighbor…

Is there something greater than yourself that you need to fight for?
Injustice, broken relationships, suffering, poverty, cures for disease…

Sprint after that Peace.

Pursuing in love,

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A Matter of Influence and Some Thank Yous

“The people who influence us the most are not those who detain us with their continual talk, but those who live their lives like the stars in the sky and “the lilies of the field”— simply and unaffectedly. Those are the lives that mold and shape us.”

– Oswald Chambers

I love this quote. It conjures up so many names of those who have had a significant impact upon my faith life. These are individuals who have walked in and out of a season of my life, but have left an imprint that remains. They didn’t set out to influence me. It wasn’t in their agenda. They didn’t see all my flaws and think that I’d make a good candidate for fixing. They just lived their life sold out to God. I saw beauty and hope and grace and strength pour out of them and I wanted to know – really know – every aspect of this God for myself.

There is no doubt in my mind that their impact came because they lived in Christ. They abided fully in Him and He in them. It wasn’t their busyness, their mad dashing around, their long list of to-dos checked off, their continual God talk, their many church responsibilities or activities that influenced me. It was the Jesus that I saw alive in them in very ordinary, mundane tasks of the everyday. If “apart from Christ we can do nothing,” (John 15:5) then in Him we can do everything.

By no means is this a thorough list of my faith influencers. A complete list would have Paul at the very top, my mom, grandfather, and Paul’s parents listed among many, many others. This is just a quick compilation of people whom I wanted to thank off the top of my head – those who would never know they made any difference whatsoever. These women have helped to change my life for good. And they are continuing to work very quietly, without recognition or praise, to change the world with the influence of God in them.

Stacey – you helped me to know the God who answers prayer.
Yoshi -you taught me how to love passionately my Jesus, my husband, and my children.
Ruth- you were faithful in teaching me about Jesus, when I couldn’t have cared less.
Courtney-you never forget a birthday or an anniversary and you use every chance you can to encourage me and challenge me.
Carolyn- you taught me about the God who heals deep wounds and brings joy to sorrow.

I love each and every one of you and am so thankful that God chose to send you into my life for a moment in time. Continue to live lives for God, simply and unaffectedly.

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Perfect Reeking Elephants?

Today was one of those perfect days – the kind that you look back on and say, “Remember when…” What made it perfect was just being together as a family and taking the time to do stuff that was out of the ordinary.

These family days for us are few and far between. Paul only gets a handful of days off from work and when they come, they are allotted for youth group activities. Now that I’m working on Saturdays, we’ve lost that day as well. By the time I get home from work, the kids are going down for naps. When they wake up, it’s dinner time and another hour of play or two before the bedtime routine hits.

But today, we both had the day off. And we lived it up. It seemed like we were on vacation. The kids actually slept in (till almost 10:30!) We grabbed Dunkin D’s croissant sandwiches, a coffee, and a pink sprinkly donut for Selah, and headed off to the zoo.

I can’t tell you how much I love the zoo. I love the crazy walking, the polar bears, the sea lions, giraffes, elephants, monkeys, penguins, you name it. I love that God is insanely creative. I love that hippos can eat up to 100 lbs of grass a night, that no two zebras have the same pattern of stripes, and that there are 35 different kinds of seals alone. And I love meercats, for no apparent reason. They just make me laugh.

Today I loved the zoo through my kids. I loved watching them see kangaroos, deer, komodo dragons, tigers, owls, and camels for the first time. They were in absolute awe, mouths wide open. And Selah was skipping and jumping and squealing. As adults, we grow so used to the beauty and creativity around us. We forget to take the time to soak it all in. Today Paul and I stopped to absorb just a snippet of God’s wonder and it was breathtaking. It’s really funny to me that large smelly zoo animals could spring tears to my eyes. But they crept climbing back into these eyes of mine. Funny how that is…

We ended our afternoon with a sit-down lunch, a trip to a play area, and vanilla swirl ice cream (and for me, a coffee with extra cream and extra sugar.) I’m really not sure that today could have been any better. Thank you, Paul, for loving us with your time and for treating us with a vacation day like this one. It was perfectly perfect. And I will remember when…

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Adden’s First Baseball Game

May 25, 2008 Pirates 6 – Cubs 5 in Eleven Innings
Our family at the park… kids enjoyed melty chocolate chip cookies, the Pierogie Race, the applause of the crowd, and french fries. Selah loved the architecture of the stadium – by far, her favorite part of the game.
The kids did not enjoy being confined to one seat, the warm weather, or the game itself. Paul and I got to watch 2 consecutive innings, which was more than we expected.
Their favorite part of the game was pouring water on each other. If not for the water, we wouldn’t have been able to see any of the game. Let’s Go Pirates!


Training Update #1

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have committed to running a 5K in August – Run to Break the Cycle. It’s really no big deal, but I am so not a runner. I stop whenever there’s a hint of fatigue, I am dreadfully slow (like some would argue if I’m running at all), and I lack a competitive drive. My goal is to finish the thing. And if I don’t throw up or pass out in front of mass quantities of people, then I will be well pleased.

To say that I’m training for this race would be an overstatement. I head out for a run if I can garner enough energy to get both of the kids out, in good moods, in good weather, in the Beast. Our double stroller is a sweet 2nd hand purchase, but it’s not intended for running in the least. I swear it’s like 50 lbs to push up a hill. Since we live in townhouse world, I can’t tell you how many times a random onlooker asks if I’m okay after I’ve huffed it up a hill. And they mean it. I look bad, real bad.

Ashley, my sweet sister in law, has high hopes for me. She’s like running woman – she’s been running since 7th grade, competitively from jr high through college. We ran together, with kids in tow, a few weeks back. She coached me the entire run – run on the balls of your feet, swing your arms, don’t clench your fists, watch your stride. I adored the coaching since it meant that I didn’t need to talk…. just breathe. She laid down the law with me, which included the words, “You just can’t stop.” Maybe it’s because I begged her at least 5 times in a 2 mile stretch to take a breather – which is, now that I think of it, probably why she hasn’t run with me since!

I need Ashley to tell me like it is, I suppose, even if I don’t want to hear it. I need someone to keep me accountable. On my own, I will so just give up and give in. I am too weak, too fickle, too easily swayed. I need someone to set goals for me and to help me reach them. My long term goal is to finish the race. But along the way, I need mile markers. I can’t just show up in August hoping to complete this thing. If I reach my goal, it’ll be because I’ve worked my tail off all along the way and because I’ve enlisted the support of others. I guess that’s why I’m even journalling my training here. Somehow, writing these words makes it more real – even if it’s just some little blog. I can’t back out now because Angie is joining me, Amy is encouraging me, and Ashley is coaching me.

So – all that to say – I ran today during Selah’s nap time. Paul stayed home with her and I took Adden in a single jogger and…. busted a move! Okay, well not so much. But I ran farther than I ever have (post children!) and it totalled 2 miles without stopping. Whoohoooo! Keep in mind, it took me a hefty 25 minutes, but I did it. And I was deliriously happy and hyper when done – completely bouncing off the walls. You would’ve thought that I had run a marathon in good time. Too bad it was just a measly two miles. But for this non-runner it was the first time that I realized that maybe, just maybe, I could do this thing.

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The Impossible

“Inevitably it’s only when I am in communion with God that I believe we can be a part of bringing God’s healing to kids in Africa. It’s when I’m worshipping Him that I believe my life is more than time outs and laundry. That it’s purpose is for miracles of love and restoration.”

– Courtney Orrange

Please take the time to read an amazing woman’s post about her impossible dream. And this woman is my friend! Man – I couldn’t love her, her heart, and her vision more. You inspire me, Court! Thank you for pursuing Jesus and the dream that He’s put upon your heart with everything you’ve got.


Fenway Faithful

My Dad, my sweet Dad, saved this ticket from my first baseball game. I was 18 months old and already a fan. Check out the fine print – like the price! And yes, they called me Muff. It made me tear up to see that he saved it. I love baseball because I love my Dad. Scratch that. I love the Red Sox because I love my Dad.

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The Beginning of Beautiful

Yesterday was disastrous with the kids. By 8:50 am I had heard enough crying for the entire day. Adden wasn’t feeling well and Selah was just off, for whatever reason. I was on the verge of tears myself. The kids were busily eating their oatmeal and I was fixing a cup of much needed coffee in the kitchen. And then compassion showed up in a little girl’s prayer, reminding me that all was not for naught. It went something like this:

“Mommy, we need to pray.”
“You’re right, Selah, we didn’t pray yet. Let’s thank God for our food.”
“No, Mommy. Thank God me have clothes. Callie no have many clothes. Pray for Callie to have clothes.”
“Wow, Selah. What a great thing to pray for. You’re going to make Mommy cry. I’ll pray for Callie to have clothes like you do.”
“No, Mommy. Me pray for Callie to have clothes.”

“God, me have lots clothes. Pray Callie have lots clothes too.”

You see – lately, Selah has been very adamant about wearing particular shirts, pants, dresses, barrettes, and shoes – which is all fine and good. I love giving her 2-3 choices, so that she can demonstrate independence, but certainly not to the point of screaming and crying when she doesn’t get her way.

We’ve been talking over and over and over again about how some children don’t have clothes to choose from – they just have one outfit and maybe no shoes or socks or pretty pink barrettes. So we need to thank God for what He has given us. And we need to pray for other children. And share.

Usually, my little speech is met with an angry stare. But it usually works to get the clothes on, at least, even if begrudgingly. And we carry on with our day.

I’m still not sure what prompted her compassion yesterday, but somehow an other’s needs got absorbed and love in action popped out over oatmeal with raisins. Funny thing is, she prayed the same thing for dinner in front of Daddy. So even though we’ve cut way back on spending, Paul told me to run out today and buy something pretty for Callie. I am so thankful that he decided to further the lesson by giving in this regard. Selah picked out a pretty pink polka dotted sundress, jean shorts, and a pink shirt with flowers. And all the way to the register, she told everyone in the store, “Pretty clothes for Callie, not me’s.”

It was, for us, the beginning of beautiful.