Archive for December, 2006

christmas celebrations

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christmas wishes


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“Are Hanuh-riah coming over today?”

“Can I go see Hanuh-riah?”

“How ’bout Hanuh-riah come over now. ‘Kay, mama.”

Ava loves Hannah and Mariah, my two cousins, also known at our home as “hanuh-riah.” These girls have been our goto babysitters for the past year, and Ava absolutely adores them. They come over at least twice a month to watch Ava and her friends during our small group Bible study. Throughout the week, I am likely to hear that “Hanuh said …” and “Riah does it like ….” We are so thankful that Hannah and Mariah take such good care of Ava!

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shop girl

Ava’s new favorite activity is to go shopping (at home). She fills her little bags with her play food, kitchen accessories, and all her dishes, and then totes them around the house. She even uses small plastic bags to hold fruits and vegetables (just like mom), and tissue paper to wrap “glassware.” Happy Shopping!

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daddy’s sweetie baby

Oh this has to be my favorite picture of 2006. Our good friend Russ, who shot our Christmas pictures this year, snapped this while I was switching sweaters and I just love it!

Almost as amazing as becoming a mama has watching the man I love become a daddy–a sweet, good, strong, hilarious daddy. Right before this picture she was stomping her hot pink boots up and down the halls of Nazereth Chapel as fast as her legs could carry them. The echoing clomps were far to exciting to quiet and her energy was delightfully uncontainable. And yet for this sweet moment she is still.

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"peanut’s with jesus"

Last July Ava and I visited a sweet, little children’s bookshop near our home. Ava instantly bonded with Rosie and Peanut, a cockatoo and parakeet respectively. For no particular reason, we had not returned to the bookshop until last evening. Over the past five months Ava has often inquired about Rosie and Peanut, and asked to go visit them.

As I pushed open the door last night, Ava spied Rosie’s cage and let out a excited squeal. Rosie was enjoying her bird-seed, lettuce-wrap and was less than conversational, so Ava sang her a song. I was busy looking for potential Christmas gifts, so I don’t remember the song. Ava did tell me that Rosie liked it.

With her Rosie reunion satisfied, Ava set off in search of Peanut. Last summer the little parakeet was perched on the shopkeeper’s shoulder as she stood behind the bar of the café. This evening, the owner’s daughter was serving the hot beverages and Peanut was no where in sight.

“Where’s Peanut?” inquired Ava as I ordered some hot cocoa. “She’s not here” was the reply. Unsatisfied with that answer Ava asked again and received the same answer. She then asked me and I referred the question once again to the girl. “Is Peanut at your home or has Peanut died?” The girl’s irritated eyes answered the question as she once again said, “She’s not here.”

“Ava,” I said quietly, “Peanut died.” Ava looked right up at the girl and began nodding her head as she said, “Peanut’s with Jesus.” The girl ignored her so Ava tried again, louder, “Peanut’s with Jesus!” The girl, busy swirling whip cream on our hot cocoa, kept her face towards the counter.

“Mama, Peanut’s in heaven with Jesus.”

“Yes, Ava, Peanut is in heaven with Jesus,” I said quietly and quite conscious of the stares of the other customers. Ava did not pick up on my subtle quieting cues and went on to tell the girl that Jesus liked Peanut and was happy she was in heaven with him.

This is the same child who had only minutes before had explained to all the present-laden, postal customers in ever increasing line that this baby on the gold stamp was baby Jesus and this was his mama Mary. “Christmas’s not a person,” declared Ava from her stroller pulpit. “It’s baby Jesus’ birffday. It’s baby Jesus’ born! Santa’s a person, though, but it’s not his birffday. It’s baby Jesus’ birffday!”

And this is the same child who sings at the very top of her lungs, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it” through the aisles of Cub Foods desperately trying to make eye contact with hurried and preoccupied shoppers.

So here at Aunty Em’s, she was not dismayed by the girl’s lack of interest in her or her thoughts about Peanut. “Jesus loves Peanut,” Ava told the girl once again. “She’s in heaven now, and that’s good.”

Yes, Ava it is good. It is very good. Bless you little child for your lion-hearted faith. May you always remain unashamed of the Gospel.

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handcrafted by ava

This year Ava is making Christmas gifts for her special friends and cousins. Ava deliberates over each individual bead that she adds to the strand and talks to the colors as she goes along. Each bracelet is truly a custom design by Ava.

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peterson christmas party

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Great Grandma, Great Grandpa, aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, cousins, second cousins, and even a Great-Great-Great Aunt gathered together to celebrate Christmas on a warm December night. Jayden played the role of butler, serving shrimp cocktail and cheese, while Ava and Amariya became the elves with presents for everyone, and little Katelyn passed out handfuls of kisses.

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Stir It

Sprinkle It

Sample It

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Tomorrow morning Nate and I will say goodbye to the baby we have yet to meet. On Monday at our ten week prenatal visit the doctor was unable to find a heartbeat through either the monitor or the ultrasound. She later confirmed by ultrasound that the baby had died. Our sweet babe with face unseen and hands unheld has bypassed our home on earth and gone home to her loving Savior in heaven where she is healed and whole.

The sadness comes in waves and yet my head is held high above them in a way that I cannot explain. I feel as though there are three buoys fettered to me so that I cannot even free myself from their mercy. The first preserver is the prayer of believers. It is only in dark valleys that you smell and taste the sweet fragrance of believers’ prayers. They are a comfort and mercy beyond description.The second is a verse that first came to me inscribed on a stone by a friend and now is engraved in my mind that it is my first thought when the sadness starts to well up around me–“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him” (Psalm 62:5). And the final buoy was prayed over me by our pastor’s wife, “may your hope in be in God and not in this baby.”How profoundly true and reassuring these words were and are. God alone is eternal, wise, all-loving, all-comforting. There is no comfort apart from Him.

On Monday evening, Nate told Ava that the baby in mama’s tummy had died. “On the cross with Jesus and now she’s in heaven with Jesus,” was her instantaneous reply. She then explained to her daddy that Jesus was going to heal the baby in heaven and then send her back to mama’s tummy. After a bit of back and forth, she conceded that her sibling was in Heaven forever, while she was still on “earff,” and that when she gets to heaven she can play ring-around-the-rosies with the baby and Jesus. After being told that she could pray for a new baby to come in mama’s tummy, she immediately and very earnestly prayed, “Dear Jesus. Please heal mama’s tummy on the cross. Amen.” It didn’t come out quite right, but we believe that the Spirit interceded on her behalf and presented the message as it was rightfully intended. Ava has continued to be faithful in her prayers for a new baby. Her spontaneous, heartfelt prayers are shared with me throughout the days. I can say with the psalmist that “out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise.”Ava’s sweet faith has been a grace and a comfort to me.

A sweet friend wisely sent me this poem–word pictures have always moved me in ways that visual pictures fall short. Through many tears I can say this is true and this is the Rock upon which I can put my foot.

God moves in a mysterious way
his wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
and rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
of never failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs
and works his sovereign will.

You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
the clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
in blessings on your head.

His purposes will ripen fast,
unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
but sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
and scan his work in vain:
God is his own interpreter,
and he will make it plain.

God Moves in a Mysterious Way by William Cowper

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