Tuesday, February 22, 2011

counting blessings

Bear with me as I share a little glimpse into our weekend.  This post isn't filled with photos (the ones above are from my brother in law) or how-to's, but it is filled with the unpredictability of life and how it can be great even in less than ideal circumstances.

Sunday morning we had Emme dedicated at our church.  It was a wonderful service: a visiting group put on a fantastic puppet show and there was a slide show of the children being dedicated (our Emme is at the end).  Then all the families with children to be dedicated were prayed over. After the dedication my husband preached a wonderful message entitled "using your talents." It was a great morning, so uplifting and encouraging.

Unfortunately we arrived home to find the carbon monoxide alarm going off.  What do you even do in a situation like that? Guests were already arriving for a little party for Emme. The next 30 minutes were a blur. I had no idea what to do (neither did anyone else) so I quickly jumped on the Internet and searched “what to do when the carbon monoxide alarm goes off.”  The site I ended up looking at started off by talking about number of deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning (just what I wanted to read about).  The “what to do” section was way down on the page and said “call the fire department.” 
So I called the fire department and they told me they’d be right here.  In the meantime I had to try and figure out what I was going to do with the party and all our guests.  Jeff and I quickly went over our options (quickly because there weren’t many).  I ended up calling my neighbor asking if I could bring all my party guests over to her house while we figured out what was going on at mine.  She most graciously opened her home to people she’d never met or barely knew.  
It was a chaotic hour of dealing with the fire department, making sure our guests knew where to go, trying to prepare the food and move a party across the street.  Everyone was more than flexible and there were many helping hands.  The firemen pinpointed the furnace as the cause of the leak and promptly shut it off.  They said that we could return to the house but we weren’t allowed to use the furnace until it was repaired or replaced.  We decided it would be best if no one stayed in the house and we ended up holding the party at my neighbors.
It was a very crazy day.  It’s odd entertaining in someone else’s home, especially while you’re running across the street to deal with your own home issues.  Unfortunately, Jeff missed most of the party since he was dealing with the HVAC specialist and fire department.  I didn’t end up getting any pictures of Emme in her cute little outfit or of the cupcakes I made for her.  The day didn’t end up anything like I had planned or envisioned, and left us with a heatless house and the realization that we’d be paying a lot of money for a new furnace.
But when I look back on all the things that happened on Sunday all the bad stuff sort of disappears and a few main things stand out....  
First, we dedicated our sweet baby girl to Christ.  I can only do so much for Emme as her mom, but God can do so much more.  Ultimately, He holds her life in His hands, I’m just a steward of it.  God brought her here for a specific purpose and it's our job to raise her to fulfill that purpose.  Daunting, yes, but that's why we trust God to help us.
God knew that Emme is exactly who our family needed.  She is feisty, smart, and willful.  Her smile lights up our hearts and her laugh can make you cry with happiness.  She adores us.  She loves to cuddle, wave and give you kisses.  She thinks the world revolves around her older brother, and their love for each other melts my heart.  Her little personality is starting to develop and it's fun to watch her cough for attention or laugh at things she finds funny.  She may have temper tantrums and crying jags, but that doesn't diminish who she is- Emme is PERFECT because that's exactly the way God made her. 
Secondly, I can never repay Ellie for opening her home (with only a few minutes notice to tidy up) and welcoming our family and friends in as if they were her own.  I know how crazy it is planning a party, and to have one thrust upon you without warning (and adapting so well) is something I hope I can one day repay to someone else.  I start to cry when I think about it. It's truly one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.
Lastly, all our guests were so accommodating.  They helped move everything across the street, helped prepare all the food, and were so sweet towards Ellie and her family.  While I am partial to our guests, it was our family and closest friends after all, it's a treat when your friends can bless other friends and new relationships can form.  I'm glad each and every one got to spend Emme's special day with us, even if it was a little crazier than normal.

On Monday Ashley, from Under the Sycamore, wrote a post that relates similar thoughts far more eloquently and beautifully than I can.  I encourage you to read it.  It helps put life in perspective.

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