Thursday, May 28, 2009

Callie's Baptism

This past Sunday, Callie was baptized. She's been talking about wanting to be baptized for quite some time now, and her understanding about its significance was evident. She loves our God and desires to know and follow Him, and she was ready to make her statement of faith in front of her friends and family.

We were excited that so many of our family members were able to be there for the ceremony; it made the time even sweeter. Also there for the occasion were many members of our Small Group and other people from our church who have impacted Callie personally.

We met out at the Reservoir, uncertain about whether or not the rain would stop for us. Our good friends Josh and Katie were the first to arrive, and they (literally) ran to secure a picnic table for us! As more and more of us gathered, the clouds began to be blown away, and a beautiful blue sky was revealed. It was perfect.

My sister Julie and her husband Jay led us in a few worship songs that Callie personally requested. I knew it would happen--as soon as they began the first song, "Blessed Be Your Name," I could not hold back my tears. Music pierces my soul, and I get overwhelmed with love for my Savior, who is now also my daughter's Savior. These are my favorite tears.

Eventually I was able to join in the singing, and I loved watching Callie sing praises to her King! The second song we sang was "God of Wonders," which is a recurring favorite at our house, and then we sang "Thy Word." It was all so beautiful, especially being able to sing while overlooking the water.

Kevin then talked about our conversations with Callie about her salvation and baptism. One of my favorite images is the one in which he describes baptism as being like a wedding. When a couple gets married, they know long before the wedding that they love each other and are committed to one another, but the ceremony makes a statement to all who are there to witness it. In the same way, Callie has known of her love and commitment to Christ, but she wanted to make a public statement of her love and faith through baptism.

Earlier that day, Callie had sat down at her electric typewriter and pecked out these words on the keys, and she gladly read them aloud at her baptism. (Unfortunately, a boat was going by as she read it, so not everyone could hear.)

"I LOVE MY GOD, I know he is good. I want to follow him, and seek him only; for he is the king, the great I-am and I want to know who he is. But one thing is for sure-your love is everlasting. I know that you created everything-clouds to seas. You are the one I want to follow after, you are. Not mom, not dad, you. This is my decision, and I will always store in my heart that I have now showed everyone my choose. Follow or not? Follow. THAT'S MY DECISION."

If there has ever been a sincere and certain statement of faith--that's it! And it was totally unprompted. Simply what was in her eight-year-old heart. And it is beautiful.

After reading her statement, Callie followed her daddy into the water, and she was baptized in the muddy Reservoir as the rest of us watched from the shore. Such a glorious day!

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Wonderful Mother's Day!

Mother's Day began for me around 9:30 a.m. (This is already good!) with four-year-old Katie wishing me a "Happy Valentine's Day!" It was full of sweetness, and I didn't care that her days were confused. She gave me a big hug and kiss and then left the room. A couple of minutes later, all three of my children entered my bedroom singing "Happy Mother's Day to yoooooooouuu!" They carried in a tray with my breakfast on it (a very yummy bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit, made by all four of them), some pretty little purple and yellow flowers held in a glass Coca-Cola bottle, and hand-made cards. They smiled as big as they could and sang with great enthusiasm as I worked to open my eyes and make myself sit up in bed. Did I mention that Callie had her camera? Yes, those pictures will be lovely, for sure.

After eating my breakfast, I joined everyone in the kitchen, where Callie handed me a Mother's Day fun page that she created for me on her typewriter. First I was to complete a word find, and then I had to write an acrostic for "LOVE." Next we moved into the living room, where there were more festivities. I was given some beautiful potted pink flowers, which Katie picked out herself and was very proud of. Callie gave me a box of brownie mix. Perfect! Caleb gave me a hand-held fan that he made for me at school, and he was so excited about it--had been for a couple of weeks! And they had all worked together to create a coupon book for me with all sorts of wonderful things to redeem. However, there was a note at the beginning of the book letting me know that each coupon may only be used once. And as I redeemed them, Callie--my little rule-follower--was right there to check them off for me. I went ahead and redeemed one for a dance from Callie and a massage from Caleb. Both were quite nice.

After several minutes, I noticed that our dead palm in the corner of the living room had been replaced by a very large, very beautiful, and very living new palm! And then I noticed that Kevin had stained and put together two of our kitchen chairs (that we've had for FOUR years!), so that we no longer have to use random chairs around the table. YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another wonderful gift from my husband is that he is going to let me hire a lady to come out and do some of the deep cleaning that I just really don't like to do and, therefore, don't do. I'm pretty pumped about this!

After the gift-giving, Callie wanted us to play some party games. She had prepared "Pin the Tail on the Donkey," but we didn't really play it. She also laid a broom across two of my newly-assembled chairs to play "Limbo." I pretty much just watched, because I don't think I would have even made it through the first round. Uncle Rico ended up winning. He's our dog.

When we were all dressed and ready to go, we set out for a picnic at Friendship Park. Kevin and Callie made sandwiches for all of us. The kids had fun on the playground, and we had fun pushing them in the swings. Then came our next treat--a little snowcone machine that Kevin and Caleb had purchased! We had three flavors to choose from, and Kevin really earned bonus points for remembering to bring along the sweetened condensed milk to pour on top of our snowcones. A wonderful treat!

From the park we went to the movie theatre and watched Earth. This was actually my request for the day, because I knew that we would all enjoy it. It is so beautifully done and so appropriate for Mother's Day, since all of the animal moms in the film are responsible for feeding, protecting, and teaching their young about just about everything. I could write a lot about my thoughts while watching this, but I'll save that for a later post. Each of us had our favorite moments in the film, but I think we all loved watching the baby birds take their first leap from the tree the most. So funny and so remarkable! The entire movie--observing the animals and their majestic surroundings--was a very worshipful experience for me. And Caleb thought it was cool that Darth Vader was the narrator.

Following the movie, we came back home, and Kevin grilled a delicious dinner of chicken, zucchini, squash, and potatoes, which we all enjoyed. He then asked the children to each say something that they love about me, and then we prayed together. As a last sweet treat for the day, Kevin and the kids surprised me with homemade vanilla ice cream from our new ice cream maker!

It was a really, really wonderful day. I am so spoiled by my family, who shower me with love and affection every day. These feelings are simply intensified on these designated holidays, and it means so much to me. Mother's Day is very special to me, because being the mother of Callie, Caleb, and Katie Partridge is so much of who I am. And I wouldn't want to be anyone else.

Teacher Appreciation??

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week at my children's school. So Callie and Caleb decided to make homemade cards for their teachers and their teachers' assistants. Callie's teacher actually just taught her class how to make pop-up cards, and Callie passed along this technique to Caleb as he made his own cards. They both enjoyed using the first letter of their teacher's last name as the three pop-ups in each of their cards, so Mrs. Russell would open hers up to find "RRR" jumping out at her. This was a great concept until it came time for Caleb to make a card for Mrs. Kennedy . . . who is black.

After Kevin and I spent a few minutes chuckling at our son's innocent mistake, Kevin took the time to explain to Caleb a little bit about the Ku Klux Klan. Horrified at the very idea of someone being mean to someone else because of the color of her skin, Caleb promptly changed one of the K's to a heart. Hopefully, Mrs. Kennedy likes her card. And if she doesn't, well, maybe she'll enjoy the PUPPY that Caleb is planning to bring her! (I really couldn't do that to the poor woman . . . )

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thoughts of a Benchwarmer

I have come across some of my writing from days gone by and thought it would be fun(ny?) to post some of it on my blog from time to time.

This poem was written as a journal entry in my 10th grade English class on September 30, 1990. It might explain why I'm not a poet. And why I quit basketball after 8th grade.

"Thoughts of a Benchwarmer"

Here I am once again
Sitting on the bench.
If he'd only put me out there,
I know it'd be a cinch!

Well, the game has started now,
And all the fans are yelling
For the players on the court;
You can see their heads just swelling!

C'mon, Coach, please put me out there
For just a little while.
I'll change that look upon your face
From rage into a smile!

Maybe he's waiting to put me in;
He's saving the best for last!
If he had put me in at the start,
The game would be over too fast!

Who am I kidding, besides myself?
I know I won't get to play.
Instead of sitting here warming the bench,
I could be watching "Happy Days"!

What's that I hear from the end of the bench?
Is Coach really talking to me?!
At last I'm getting to have a chance,
While the seconds are down to three.

Just give me the ball, and I'll win the game.
How hard can shooting be?!
I've got this thing all planned out,
And all the glory will come to me!

Now everyone is shouting again.
They seem to be shouting at me!
"Ball?! What ball?!", I ask the team;
It couldn't be coming to me!

But, alas, the ball is coming to me;
It's almost out of bounds!
And as I chase it out the door,
I hear the buzzer sound.

And as I return to the ball to Coach,
I look up at him in dread.
"I know, I know; I lost the game,
And I'll warm the bench till I'm dead!"