Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy 80th Birthday, Daddy!

Today, my Dad is 80!!! We had a birthday party for him last night. It is the first birthday of his that I can remember really celebrating. Every other year, he would always tell us he did not want a party. This year, being his 80th, we decided to not believe him.

So, at five last night, we all gathered at the Searles for appetizers. Deb's fresh salsa, my guacamole and chips, Lori's veggie platter, Italian sodas and my margaritas. Ali, Jonny, Steven, Alyssa and Jon could not be with us. We missed them! Claude and Carol Chan joined us! What a treat!

Awhile later, we headed down to our house for a sit down dinner. Deb made her amazing chicken enchiladas, cabbage salad and Mexican rice. Lor made delicious black beans. We sat around our two tables, enjoying being together, celebrating my Dad!

After dinner, we share our hearts, honoring my Dad. One by one, we told Dad/Grandpa what he has meant to us over the years, what we have learned from him, how we love him. Even his little great grandaughter, Emma Rose, had a card for him! My dad LOVES copying articles, sections of books, any info he thinks might be useful to us, and, he highlights, adds notes then passes these copies out to us. So...we all copied, highlighted, underlined, added notes, stapled together our favorite devotionals to give to him, along with our cards. He listened, absorbed, maybe teared up a bit, then added commentary after each person shared. I think he liked it!

We topped off the evening with a tasty apple strudel made by Lori and Cassi. We sang Happy Birthday. We told Dad that he needed to make a wish before blowing out the candles. This being his first birthday party, he needed a little guidance. He said, "I want my whole family to always trust in Jesus." We told him that his wish should not be said out loud. He didn't seem to care. :-)

What a great celebration of my Daddy! Happy 80th birthday, Dad! I love you!

ps-Photos to follow when we get our computer working better.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ali is 23!

Happy 23rd birthday, my dear Ali-Pooh!!!

Since your 16th birthday, how many of your birthdays have been spent at home? Or, how many have NOT been spent at home?
17th in Masterton, New Zealand
18th in France AND Germany on the same day!
19th up in Santa Barbara, at Westmont
22nd in Germany at Bodenseehof!
Now, your 23rd in New York City! Actually, North Carolina!
Am I forgetting some?? Anyway...whether you are home, away from home with us, or away from home without us, we celebrate YOU!!! My dear, precious baby girl...

So, with you, we thought it was great to have one child that we had planned...If you call Dad praying, spur of the moment, one morning, before ***, "Lord, please give us a health, sweet baby," planned. :-) And, just for the record, we have loved GOD'S plan regarding all three of you! I mean REALLY LOVED His plan! Way better than any plan we could have come up with!

Back to you...Again, I am trying to recall the details of the day of your birth...Hmmm...Well, you came earlier than expected. The doctor thought you would arrive in May. But, you have never really done things that are expected of you! And, I love that about you! After the trauma of a natural birth with Gregory, I told Dad, "It's drugs, or Gregory is an only child!" So, epidural kind of in place (it slipped and went into a muscle in my back and didn't go in to my times!...Is this too many details?), you arrived!

We didn't know if we were having a boy or girl. After a very bald baby boy, what a surprise to see this little girl with a head full of black hair! Can't remember what name we had picked out if you were a boy, but we thought we would call you Alex, short for Alexandra, if you were a girl. But, after meeting you out in the world, you just looked like an Ali! So, I sent out birth announcements introducing you, or at least that was my intention. I forgot to put the announcement in many of the envelopes. Aunt Pudge called Grandma to say she knew from receiving the envelope that we probably did have a baby. She just had no idea of any of the details. Yep...

We brought you home, excited for your big brother to meet you! He sat in his little rocking chair, and we set you on his lap. He looked at you for a moment, (just enough time for a photo) then handed you back. The whole idea of a new little Wright took Gregory a little getting use to. Okay, a lot getting use to.

Ali, what a gift you have been in my life! I think of you as a toddler, usually smiling, cute little chubby cheeks. Your days of dropping you off, you crying, me with a happy face until I got to my car, so I, too, could shed a few tears. Your tenderness with Maggie as we raised her that one year. The very difficult times with your health. The relief of home schooling. The fun of cheering for you during your basketball and volleyball games. The unique way you finished high school...Escondido Charter, Mira Costa, Neighborhood in Phoenix, Potter's Clay, traveling around Europe! The wonderful times of moving you in to Page Dorm at Westmont, saying goodbye to you as you headed to Bodenseehof, and then to New York. And, through it all, or because of it all, we have been drawn closer to Jesus, clinging to Him, learning more about Him and His great love for us, seeing Him as our very Life!

Ali, what a joy it has been for me to see you grow into a beautiful, creative, intelligent young woman! Do you remember, during those tough years, I would tell you that you were going to love being an adult?! It amazes me to watch you pursue your passions! I know that you will always be learning, and, enjoying the whole process! I love how you love people, again, with passion, intensity, pointing them to Jesus!

So, my precious Ali on your 23rd birthday...I pray that today you are celebrating YOU, thanking God, praising Jesus, and enjoying your time with Anne, Michael, Caroline, Gregory, Grandma and Grandpa. And, yes, I am a little jealous that they get you today! ;-)

And, here in Encinitas, I am celebrating YOU, thanking God for YOU, praising Jesus for YOU, and happy that if you are not with us, who love you dearly, you are with others who love you dearly!

Happy birthday, my Ali!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Journal

For years, I was not a journaler. I just wasn't. I didn't want to journal...I didn't feel the need to journal...No interest in journaling.

These past few years, every now and then, I felt the urge to pick up my old journal and jot a few things down. Before that, I think the last entry was from 1994. Yep, I did let a few days go by without journaling.

Even now, there is no formula. Sometimes I write a few of the verses I just read that really hit me. Sometimes my entry is a prayer to God. Sometimes I rewrite a Psalm, personalizing it to reflect my heart's cry to God. Sometimes I copy a few quotes from one of the books I am reading. Sometimes I will spend a few days looking up verses on a particular subject...the names of Jesus, my identity as a child of God, prayer, the cross, Jesus' blood, being IN Christ, the Holy Spirit, trials. No set pattern.

This morning, as I was reading Andrew Murray's "Abiding in Christ", my journal entry was:
~"Christian, pray for grace to see in every trouble, small or great, the Father pointing You to Jesus, and saying, 'Abide in Him.'" ~Andrew Murray "Abiding in Christ"
"Through suffering the Father leads us to enter more deeply into the love of Christ."

So, why would my prayers for me, Greg, my children always be for safety, prosperity, comfort if this is true? NOT that I would EVER pray for suffering, but, I want my main request of God to be, "Whatever draws us deeper into You, trusting You, clinging to You, recognizing our dependence on You...that's my desire."~

So, Nick, Ali and Greg, journaling, dialoguing with God in your thoughts, or just being still and listening to Him speak to you, my prayer for you is that day by day, moment by moment, in trials and in triumphs, you abide in Jesus!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Leopard Print Bath Robe

Wish I had thought of bringing my camera out to capture the moment forever. But, you're never really prepared for things like this. Kind of take you by surprise...

Kim warned me that she and Pat would not make it to our couples' Bible study, seeing that it was her and Pat's 40th wedding anniversary on that very day. Totally understood. She said they would be checking in to the Inn, having a quiet evening, just the two of them, and she'd be wearing her leopard print fuzzy bathrobe and flip flops. Jokingly, I mentioned that they could pop in just to say hi to us.

So, as your dad and I were greeting the two couples we were expecting, up our walkway comes Kim and Pat! I felt the tears coming. Kim, in her fuzzy leopard print robe, and Pat, popping in to be with us on their anniversary! I LOVE our couples' group! We love to be together. We don't miss, unless it is something unavoidable. After two and a half years together, we share a lot. Our struggles, our joys, our pains, our praises. We study Jesus together.

And Kimmy...She makes me laugh. She is open, honest, vulnerable, real...I first met her at an SFC chapel. Your Aunt Debbi and I were standing in the back. Awhile after it started, in walks this tall, spandex clad, coffee (not Starbucks) toting woman. She raised her hands during the singing, lost in worshipping Jesus. Knew right then that I would love her!

I hope that you three, when you are older and possibly (who knows?) married, find other couples that you just click with, love to be with, open up with, and aren't afraid to drop in on wearing a leopard print bathrobe. Yep, even you, Greg and Nick! :-)