Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Little Bit Older

Little Bit has turned one year old.

My what a year this has been. 

She is the smiliest baby and continues to bring joy to our house.

Here she is, practicing her newest sensation...smelling.

We call it "sniffy-sniffy."

You can hear Bright Girl egging her on..."Do the sniffy-sniffy! Do the sniffy-sniffy!"

I love the way she scrunches up her face and bewitches us with her little nose twitching like a cuddly bunny.

This year, we had a dual Halloween/Birthday Bash and everyone dressed up:

Captain Kirk,

Luke Skywalker,

Mulan and Scarlet O'Hara,

Lieutenant Mommy and Birthday Baby

She liked her toys all right, but I think what she really wanted was her own Enterprisejust like her big brother.

Little Man taught her how to push the button on the top and make it light up!

I think we have another Little Trekkie on our hands...

She makes her daddy proud!

Pretty soon she'll be able to pull her middle and index finger apart and say, "Live Long and Prosper."

We shall see...

In any case, my hope for her is that she will grow up to know that she is loved, by her mommy, her daddy, but mostly by her Father in Heaven who gave the greatest gift of all, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate in December. 

In Him, everyday is a celebration for the Life He gave so that we might truly live.

"For He made Him who knew no sin that we might have the righteousness of God in Him."
 (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV) 


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Homeschool Heroes: Beautiful Dreamer

Elli H. loves baking delicious goodies, but after a frightening visit to the hospital when she was 9, this homeschool girl’s life changed overnight. She learned that she had Juvenile Diabetes (JD), and her body could only handle a small amount of sugar. 
“I had never heard of diabetes. As I slowly learned what it was and what I would be dealing with, it was pretty scary and depressing,” confesses Elli, now 13.

Through her faith in Christ and the encouragement of family and friends, Elli didn’t lose hope. By eating well, exercising, and keeping her blood sugar within normal range with an insulin pump, she stays healthy. Once a year, she walks to raise money and awareness for JD.

Baking is still one of Elli's favorite things to do, especially baking for others. Elli also enjoys babysitting and frequently gives her parents a much needed date night.   

Having JD hasn't kept Elli from developing her gifts of singing and acting on stage. She even dreams of becoming a director of live musical theater. More than that, she dreams that one day there will be a cure for JD.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Faith of My Fathers


What am I teaching my kids about America, land of the free and home of the brave?

Bright Girl and I just read through a book about America in the early 1900's, during WWI. The story was about two children orphaned from the influenza outbreak and raised in a Shakers community called Dear America: Like the Willow Tree by Lois Lowry. 

Like the Pilgrims, the Shakers came to America fleeing religious persecution in England. Since then, the Shaker communities have dwindled down to nearly a handful of people, if even. With no new generation to carry on their simple ways of life, they may be the last of the Shakers.  Following the teachings of one of their founders (though it is not a Biblical teaching), Shakers all have to practice celibacy and do not have any children.  

It makes me think of my roots, physical and spiritual. My family tree on my mother's side is full of aunts, uncles, and cousins. My father's side, I didn't meet until I was about sixteen, but that's another story...

Last count, my eldest grandfather, the one on my father's side, has upwards of about eighteen great-grandchildren.  How could this possibly be, you might say?  Well, he just turned 101 years old and is still going strong. 

Grandpa Hedges was born in 1911, the second to youngest of 10 children. His grandfather lived to be 100, and he's had several siblings live beyond 100, as well. It looks as if he has some sort of longevity gene. But, if you ask Grandpa, or Grandpa Ernie as we grandkids call him, he would say it is his faith that has kept him strong. 

Here is Grandpa Ernie holding the "Happy 101" sign. A WWII veteran, Grandpa was chosen to gather with other vets at Washington D.C. courtesy of The Space Coast Honor Flight.

Amidst the trials and tribulations of life, the Lord has helped my grandpa to remain at peace. When many American soldiers had to return to the states from shell shock or the rigors of war, Grandpa Ernie remained as a cook and a medic in the Army during WWII. He was an organ player and played hymns for his fellow soldiers with a portable organ to cheer their spirits.

Grandpa got to know everyone he met, and soon befriended a young Italian boy named Andrea. Andrea offered to have his sister wash Grandpa Ernie's clothes in exchange for sapone or soap. Little did Grandpa know that this sister was a beautiful Italian young woman named Cina. They fell in love and married shortly thereafter.

After the war was over, Grandpa Ernie came back home to the United States, but had to leave someone very special behind in Italyhis bride. The war brides had to wait several months apart from their husbands before being allowed into the U.S. It was a long and heartbreaking wait for Cina. She was pregnant and ended up losing the baby while in Italy.

Grandpa made his living as a baker, and owned Hedges Bakery in Downtown Melbourne. The bakery was quite the competition for nearby Publix. Grandpa's edge was that he made everything with all natural ingredients. Even before trans-fats, refined flour and corn syrup were known to be bad for cardiovascular health, Grandpa Ernie only used healthy oils, unrefined sugar and whole grains in his cookies, cakes, and doughnuts.
My Nonna Cina was Grandpa Ernie's true love. They were married for over 50 years and had four children. When she went to be with the Lord back in 1998, Grandpa never remarried. He couldn't love another the way he loved his bride from Italy.

When Grandpa Ernie turned 92, he published his life story, Flowers for Cina, and dedicated it to my Nonna.

Writing his life story was one way that my grandpa passed on his faith and values to the next generation, but another way was through love. His gentleness, humility, and devotion to the Lord was evident in the way he lived. We grand kids saw it and it made an impression on all of us. 

May we all follow Grandpa Ernie's example and carry the torch of faith, telling the next generation of the love of our great God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"But You, O LORD sit enthroned forever; Your renown endures through all generations." (Psalm 102: 12, NIV)