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I love Lucy!

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Congratulations to my brother Gabe and his wife Summer. Earlier this week they had their third child, and first daughter — a precious little girl named Lucy. Lucy is the first baby girl in the Swenson family since my sister Joanna was born almost 27 years ago.
Lucy, we love you!

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Seasons Change

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When Paul and I were first married, I never had any interest in staying home on a Friday night. In fact, when Friday rolled around, I found being at home after 7 pm. to be downright depressing.

Some Fridays, as we headed out of our neighborhood to grab dinner or meet up with friends, I took note of all the cars in driveways and wondered why everyone wasn’t out and about.

“They’re all just stuck at home on a Friday night,” I’d tell Paul as we drove down the road, feeling genuinely sad for these people, my poor housebound neighbors.

“That’s what most people do,” Paul would tell me. But I knew that couldn’t be right. Certainly most people were not just sitting around at home on a Friday – and if they were, then not by choice. There was so much more fun waiting to be had!

Fast forward to last Friday night, which was like many Friday nights in recent years. On the way home from work, Paul stopped at the local specialty grocers to grab some of our favorite foods – crab dip, mozzarella cheese, stuffed mushrooms. These days we set the boys up with pizza and then eat what we like. Some weeks we gather as a family in the front room and watch a movie or play a game.

A few weeks ago, we decided to play charades. We put the answers on slips of paper, using favorite heroes and sports and other activities (things the boys are familiar with) and acted them out. We played round after round, laughter filling the house as we shouted out the answers. It was some of the most fun we’ve had as a family – and I didn’t even mind that I had to act out things like Frodo Baggins and lightsaber and Chuck Norris. (My few female-friendly categories were met with underwhelming support.)

This past Friday, the boys watched a movie while Paul and I sat in the dining room. As we enjoyed our feast by candlelight, I was reminded of my old attitudes, how I was so unnerved by the notion of being stuck at home on a Friday night. What a different season we are now in – what a change of heart in me!

Here I was, at home. And not only home, but home by choice. In fact, I have started to fiercely guard these Friday evenings together at home. I look forward to an evening with nowhere to go, and nothing to do but be together as a family.

As our boys sat together in the front room and I sat and talked with my husband, I could think of nowhere else on earth I would rather be at that moment than in the presence of my little family.

With Advent season upon us, I am a bit preoccupied with all there is to do to prepare for Christmas. I start to worry that all the “practical” preparations will rob me of the time I need to prepare spiritually. And then I remember – God is here, in the midst of it all. If I ask him, he can change my heart. He can help me slow down enough to recognize his presence and bask in it.

“They rejoice in your presence,” says the book of Isaiah, “as those who rejoice at harvest,as warriors exult when dividing spoil.”

As we work so hard to find the presence of God in the midst of the fervor of the season, may we find redemption and hope in the quiet moments of life. And may God continue to change our hearts and minds so that we are open to finding him, in all the places he may be. 1173″> .


Dreaming of a Greenleaf Christmas

1172 1172_ () 1172 1172 Tonight I was helping the boys print Christmas coloring sheets for the four of them to work on. We came to a site with a list of options, each one numbered and with a brief description.

“Try number 26,” said Ethan. “Elf working.”

I clicked on the number, and up popped an image of a big-eared pixie building a train.

“Darn,” said Ethan. “I was hoping it was Legolas, cutting an orc’s head.” 1172″> ?