Jonathan David and Kari Alisa married on July 15, 2000. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes… waiting. And more waiting. God knew what shape our family would take and when it would be formed, and then he took us through 7 1/2 years or preparation.

Our family was born Wednesday night at 19:31 (7:31 PM) at Good Sam. I will never forget the wave of emotion that swallowed me whole when I first saw our little girl. At 5 pounds, 10 ounces, she felt like a feather in my arms and an ocean in my heart. What a wondrous way to start a family. Welcome, Sarah Grace!

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I remember a shopping trip more offensive and grating than a rock concert (or what I imagine a rock concert to be like) as I pushed my cart down the frozen food section, poultry, dairy, cereal, all the while listening to a screaming child throwing a temper tantrum, and a screaming mother shouting, “SERENITY! SERENITY, you STOP! I hate you, SERENITY…” etc, etc. I had personally never heard of any one using the trait serenity as a name before, and I think I can also say I’ve never heard a quality so maligned as a name before. It was an irony I will never forget. Did that irate mother even consider what the name meant when she picked it for her devil-child, or did she hope that some of it’s good vibrations would rub off on them both after some usage?

Thanks to Shakespeare, millions have wondered through the years about whether a rose would smell as sweet if it was named, say, a skunk-cabbage. (Thank you, Anne) Somehow it seems as though choosing a name for its meaning has fallen off in importance as more exotic, unique offerings take the center stage. Points for originality, points for the obscure, points for never before used spellings. First place if you make up your child’s name altogether! To hear my very traditional husband rage about these knit-wit name choosers, you would soon become convinced that this creative naming is a form of child abuse. I’m resigned to the fact that I will never have a daughter named Andromeda or Delphine or a son named Eamon. 

I’m amazed at how many people don’t even consult the meaning of a name before choosing it for there baby. I have a highly interesting baby name book that doesn’t even list the meanings in its descriptions. My name means “pure in heart”, and I can’t remember a time when that meaning didn’t affect my view of my self and my actions. Its just not to be taken lightly. So in kicking around names for this baby girl that we are expecting, it was important to find a name that was traditional, easily spelled, and had a meaning to live up to. When my charming brother-in-law called with his name suggestion, I immediately perked up. He said, “This name has got it ALL!” After touting its praise for a few minutes, he then gifted our baby girl with the name Generosity Winter Watson. Perfect. NOT. Funny fellow, that name will probably be tossed at her by him for the rest of her life.

Our daughter’s name was actually very simple to choose. It took us all of a 2 minute discussion to decide. She will be our princess, a daughter of the King of Heaven, full of Grace, given to us by a gracious Father, a GIFT undeserved and very precious. She will be our Sarah Grace.

Over a week ago we learned that we would be parents. Oh, such euphoria! Who knew that you could wear holes in euphoria? As excited as we are, we are also more and more aware of all that could happen between now and the birth day of “our” baby. Every second of excitement and every thrill is matched with a pang of apprehension. My friend Corin, whose baby is also due on May 16th, empathized with my wide-band emotional range, saying that with every pregnancy (this being her sixth) the final month has been full of trepidation. It was good to be encouraged that everyone, even strong and godly Corin, mother of six angels, knows fear even while trusting the Lord.

I know that the Lord’s plan will not be thwarted, he will not fail, he will not do us harm; I also know that as much as I believe that he has brought us to this point, I do not know what point he will bring us to tomorrow. Its the continuing roller-coaster ride of life… of life planning to adopt. I long for this baby, and I long for the end of this particular wait, but more than that, I long for the Lord to uphold me and to carry me and to bless me. It is the spritual nature warring with the old man.

Please pray for us as we walk this road. Pray for the baby, the birth-mom, the birth-dad, for Jon and for me. Pray for the details to work out, the legal issues to come together, and for a safe and healthy delivery. Pray for salvation for the birth-families. Pray for God’s will to be done and for His name to be glorified.

Pray for me to continue to rest.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,

In the Joy of what Thou art,

I am finding out the greatness

Of Thy loving heart.

Coming soon…two lovely words. I’m still tired, life is still swirling around me, but everything looks pink right now, and this heavenly daze makes my kaleidoscope-life seem perfect in its chaos. Wow, you’re thinking, she’s finally flipped. Could be. I certainly feel a little dizzy and crazy! But lets just get to the point, shall we?

She chose us! Why?! Out of all the couples who are more educated, better looking, richer, etc. she picked us to be the receiver of her most precious possession. We certainly didn’t earn her aproval, we simply allowed her to see who we are and then, without ever having met us she decided that we would give the best home to her baby. Its so hard to absorb! Her choice was one of completely unmerited favor ~ it is grace. What a beautiful picture of grace!

Our meeting was wonderful, fearful, awkward and perfect. We met at Olive Garden (because its her favorite restaurant) and tried to talk ove the buzz and hustle going on all around us. She is a beautiful girl inside and out, quiet and very brave. She has made the hard choice, the blessed choice. She wants to be a nurse, loves math and science, animals and music. She has blond hair, big blue eyes and stand all of 5 feet tall – maybe. She’s a strange mix of maturity and youth. I would be delighted if our baby grows up to share this birth-mommies lovely qualities.

As we prepare for the very exciting day that is approaching in a few short weeks, our hearts are so filled with praise for our blessed Savior and Lord who makes all things beautiful in his time. He loves to give good gifts to his children, and this baby is a gift from his hand and heart in answer to our prayers. Ultimately, I praise him for choosing us for salvation though we could do nothing to earn his favor. All glory we ascribe to him and we will praise him in the storms and in the times of indescribable delight!

Pray for us, pray for this amazing girl, pray for our baby –

Oh, did I mention its a girl? 

Our own little princess of grace.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you

the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;

Trust him and he will act.

He will bring forth your righteousness as the light

and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.”

Psalm 37:4-7a

 

 

Don’t despair, good and faithful friends. I’m alive, well, and my creativity is still intact. After a month of self-decribed “squaters” (my inlaws), a short week with a certain bub’ly and delightful, caffine stimulated birthday girl, and weekends on end with my adorable, excitable, affection-starved neices and nephews, Ifeel as though my eyes are bleary enough without looking at the computer screen. I have a cat who is less of a man as of Thursday, who is moping around reminiscing about how it used to be, and another cat who takes it upon herself to employ me as her therepist, telling me about the ins and outs of the feline population of Pioneer Street. Frankly, friends, I’m tired. Tired enough to bow not-so-gracefully out of a four on four Volleyball game last night (I’m to tired to endure scolding~ if I’m properly braced, yes, I could have played V.B. if I’d wanted to). Tired enough no to care that my floor is so filthy that just walking across it will gain you an inch in hieght in dust accumulating on your feet. Tired enough to sleep through a coffee date at Starbucks…well, maybe not that tired. But very, very tired. I won’t bore you with more needless details. So. Next week I will release the next installment of my mellow-drama/comedy series that is my life. As for now, I will meander my way down my stairs, ignoring the dust bunnies hopping around under my dining room table, smile wearily at my nieces who are currently sprawling coloring books, crayons and colored pencils across the coffee table, and scuffle in to take my morning shower. At 12:36. In the afternoon. More coming soon. Stay tuned…

So here’s the Dr. review of my hand post X-ray: I have not broken anything, but I have torn the ligament that runs between my thumb and pointer finger, and the lower joint of my thumb is severely sprained. So. My charming Dr. has consigned me to life in a brace, saying that should I rebel and go without, I may tear the afor-mentioned ligament in two. oh dear. AND, he says, reveling in his power, “THEN it can only be restored by surgery.” Anything that I can do within the confines of the brace is fair-game, he says with a smile. But seeing as my hand is almost entirely immobilized, I am doing practically nothing right-handed, she says with a grimace. So piano lessons must be put on hold for the next two weeks. The commentary of my pedagog included the words “stupid”, “double life,” “consequences of your choices,” etc. You may well guess that I don’t pay her the big moola for her tact. So, I will be a “good girl,” faithfully wear my brace, sit in the corner often to ponder my choices, and in two weeks return for a follow up appointment, where I will either be declared healed or marred forever, God forbid.

thumbnailcajcssqy.jpgHad you been walking down my block last evening, you would have wondered who resurrected Beethoven and why he was so upset. I’m sure that our neighbors were ready to report the crazy red-head at 1560 to the police for disturbing the peace of our fair city. Oh, the hours I’ve spent at my 102 year old piano pouring out my frustration. Last night I added a significant number more. Poor Jon.

My extended musical tirade came after a week of pent up emotion, a fortnight of mounting intolerance for anyone who didn’t have the sense to put my needs first, and a month of incomparable impatience with even one more day of waiting. I finally spilled out the build-up on Jon’s mascara-stained shoulder and proceeded to brutalize every Beethoven piece I’ve ever learned, as I mentioned before. Poor Jon.

This morning, feeling the peace that comes with release, I woke up, pretended that I didn’t have an exercise class at 9:15, brewed a cappuccino, and sat down with my Bible, Journal, and John Piper. As he often does, John used the Bible to call me to task. Here’s what he had to say.

” If we believe in the God of Romans 8:28, we will always remember that by the time we know a problem exists, God has already been working on it and his solution is on the way. Ponder the eagerness of God to work for us.”

My pondering led me to these verses.

“From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 64:4)

“I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will no turn away from doing good to them; and I will put the fear of me in their hears, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good…with all my heart and all my soul. (Jeremiah 32:40)

“Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant!” (Psalm 35:27)

“My God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)

“The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show his might in behalf of those whose heart is blameless toward him.” (2 Chron. 16:9)

Back to John:

“That is what God is doing all the time for those who trust him. Of course, the point here is not that God spares his people trouble. Life will not always turn out the way we think is best. But that does not mean that God is not at work. He is always at work. And he is turning all our losses and all our pains into something good for us as we trust him. This is his promise.  Therefore, fret not. Cast all your anxieties on him. The time will come when you will see the wise and loving point of it all. By faith live in that moment now, even before you know.”

What a beautiful reminder to me to reanalyze where I put my fear and trust. Fearing the present and future is a futile and God-less way to live. A friend recently reminded me, “With God all time is soon.” I think that is loosely quoting C.S. Lewis, dear man. My impatience is nothing more than banging Beethoven out on a ancient, overused upright. It will get me nowhere any quicker. The Lord is without constraint and is working on my behalf – through his grace my heart will continue to fear him and trust his loving hand.

Far, far above thy thought

His counsel shall appear,

When fully He the work hath wrought

That caused thy needless fear.

Leave to his sovereign will

to choose and to command:

With wonder filled, thou then shalt own

How wise, how strong His hand.

Paul Gerhardt, 1653

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Six inches.

There’s nothing more to say.

My prayer friends showed up this morning singing Christmas carols – scarves and coats and mittens, for goodness sake! I’ve grown in wisdom and disillusionment: Painting your toe-nails and a bottle tan on your legs will not insure the arrival of Spring. Wearing capri’s, drinking iced americanos, flashing flip-flops in March (the END of March even) is a recipe for crashing hopes. No, that’s not entirely true. I hold out hope that on July 5th, we will have a sunny, warm day as a postlude to our annual July 4th picnic in the rain. Ah, Washington – land of perpetual green. If you can’t plan to picnic in the rain, better not plan a picnic. But what beautiful moss we have, what gorgeous foliage. Oh. Pardon me, is my cynicism showing?

A friend of mine recently told me that Spring is her favorite season because of all the drastic weather changes and drama. I nodded my agreement (of course, I always say every season is my favorite when it is still in future tense). I’d like to ask her now if she feels the same. Now that all the daffodils are covered in a nice icy blanket of snow, and the world has turned to multiple shades of white and gray. My parent’s gardener-friend has predicted an early spring and a hot summer – to which I wag my head and feel the corner of my lip turn down. That’s like washing your car on a sunny, cloudless day.

I can think of a remedy to this funk I find myself in… There is a certain orange arm-chair and book I’d like to loose myself in. Its just a few blocks away, walking distance if I wanted to  find my snow boots – which I don’t! I’ve been harboring two free drink coupons in my purse for months, waiting for just the right moment to whip them out. I’ve been tempted to use them but have refrained. Its important to not be to hasty, to spend them with care. In a particularly magnanimous moment, I offered one to Jon after he had a rotten day at work, but when he didn’t receive it with an appropriate euphoric lift in spirits I took it back. What is with that? Anyway, as the flakes continue to swirl around and add to this disastrous spring day’s drear, I conclude that this is my only option.coffee-cups-00002.jpg

Anyone want to/need to join me?

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I’ve been dwelling on the beauty and prevalence of contrast over the last few days. Any artist, musician, nature lover, or spring-enthusiast will relate to my excitement over it. I think the kick-off to this somewhat abstract musing took place as I drove down Eli Hill into Sumner the other day and realized that the brown, murky fields had been transformed.  The acres of yellow fields lining Hwy 410 are my favorite alert of spring every year – millions of daffodils swinging their proud little heads around in the crisp breeze. It always amazes me how fast the exchange takes place- dark, muddy, swampy, depressing. Then one day all things become new. The daffodil join the courageous crocus, the tulip show-offs, and the flowering plum and cherry trees that paint broad swaths of color across town in singing, “Spring is HERE!” Much to my April-birthday-friend’s joy, I even noticed yesterday that my lilac is preparing for a particularly showy season.

Spring starkly contrasts winter, and all the bright, almost gaudy colors of Spring’s blossoms contrast each other. The glory of spring is in it’s contrast to winter, the glory of a red tulip is in it’s contrast to a yellow daffodil. The more I contemplate contrast, the more I encounter it everywhere I look.

 At a music program I attended Wednesday, I was captivated by the music of Ginastera and Guastavino and other Latin composers. The pianists so aptly portrayed the colors and emotions contained in black notes on a white page. Ferocious, sad, bombastic, youthful, exuberant, sleepy, desirous, innocent, sultry, imaginative. The final product of a musical score and all its moods can be broken down to one very simple formula: dissonance and resolution. It is the contrast between dissonant and consonant sounds that make music even remotely interesting. Without the ugly sounds, the clashing chords, the tri-tones, augmented fourths, dissonance, there would be no pleasing music. It is the dissonance that shows the resolution to be glorious and beautiful.

Today is Good Friday – the day we remember the horror and glory of the death of our Lord. A black day. A brilliant day! The contrast of history. We remember the day that “he who knew no sin became sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21) The perfect Lamb, the worthy Lord, the Word of Truth, the King of Glory. He gave himself to be “wounded for our transgression, bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) It was the punishment of our sin he took upon himself, and by his cruel and horrific death he bought us peace and life. Can you see the contrast? The Great Exchange? It is the immense contrast that reveals and magnifies his mountainous glory and majesty. The contrast doesn’t make him beautiful, it reveals him to be beautiful and worthy of praise. 

Through this meditation I have found that God loves, delights in, in fact is glorified through contrast. He has instituted contrasts and exchange throughout his whole creation, and he implemented both in the fulfillment of his most glorious plan of all time. So look for it, delight in it, and magnify the Lord who made our filthy rags of righteous white as snow through the red blood that he rejoiced to spill. Praise God!

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This is my life: uuuUUUUP AND DDOOOoooown, uuuUUUUP AND DOOOooown. (My spell-check really didn’t like that little voice inflection via keyboard.) I’m not complaining, God is good to us all the time. Its my own personal roller-coaster ride that keeps me, as Anne says, “mounting on the wings of anticipation.” And to continue on her line of thought, “it almost makes it worth the thud.”

Last week we were informed of a potential adoption, baby due in April, and told that the birth-family was really struggling to choose between two couples, us being one of them. Having experienced the trauma of one failed adoption, Jon and I cautioned each other about getting too emotionally involved in something so iffy. I thought we had done a pretty good job of staying unintwined until we were told that the other couple had come out the winners. (I know, its not a competition. No one wins or loses when God is working for your good. It was almost entirely just a figure of speech.)

Truthfully, the Lord had given me so much peace over the whole situation, I almost didn’t even have to cry about it. He has the perfect baby for us in the perfect time. What was (and is still) hard for me is going back to being a good Waiter. Waiting is an art form, and like all art forms, its pattern and flow is easily disrupted. My groove has been thrown off. I’m sure everyone can relate to that in one sense or another. “Beware the Grooooove!”

 So a few days ago, while I was nursing stomach flu and heartache, I took a peek on Craig’s list and just happened to see what appeared to be an impossible deal… THE Graco stroller that I had been eyeing last summer, barely used, in the same pattern as my car-seat, for $60! So yesterday I tooled down to Maple Valley, cash in hand, tried out all its bells and whistles, clicked my car-seat on it to make sure it fit (like a charm!) and drove away crying and laughing with a perfect stroller tucked neatly in my trunk. I felt like my Father had just handed me a gift. “Here, Daughter, have some hope, I have good things in store.”

Last night, I took Jon though the stroller’s list of wonders, and he agreed that it was a very cool deal. I think he was a little surprised at all the cup holders, flips, switches, compartments, positions, and one-handed collapse because his comment was, “No wonder they cost so much!” Rochester was equally thrilled, and thought it was very sweet of us to buy him a mobile bed that suited his coloring so well. Silly boy.

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The Days Are Just Packed

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Creativity Beyond Compare

"If we base our actions on whether we are better or worse than others, there will be nothing left to do. We wouldn't dance because Fred Astaire was already here, we wouldn't write because Shakespeare is in every library, and of course, we wouldn't touch a piano or compose music because beings such as Mozart and Chopin walked the earth...Creating is the supremely personal act of exploring and expressing the mystery of who we may be at this moment. If we crowd the floor with comparisons, how can there be any room to dance, or even breath?" - Forrest Kinney