Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thoughts on Two Extra-Special Birthdays...

I had every intention of posting yesterday on the actual day when I was thinking of and celebrating two very special birthdays, but the hours just slipped on by. When it came time for me to wind down and relax on the couch, the times when I most prefer blogging or reading, my husband was using the laptop to prepare a sermon for his preaching class. Yeah, I think sermon preparation is a little more important than what I had in mind for myself last night...
~
The birthday I'll acknowledge first is that of my irresistible, big-hearted girl, Nali. My collie-border collie turned 5 years old yesterday, and we could hardly believe it as we watched her check out her birthday presents after I got home from work. Yes, we give our dogs presents for birthdays and Christmas! See the picture above? That was taken over two years ago when Nali's little sis came into the world and graced (?) us with her presence. Any plush toy you see atop Nali is now resting in peace. So we, of course, have to get her a special toy every once in awhile. Last night I got her a small plush soccer ball on my way home from work, and she loved it! We played for a little while before I tucked the ball away behind the couch (where her plush purple hippo dwells).
Nali's real presents this year, though, are a diet, increased exercise, and an echocardiogram. You would think she was a person! In all seriousness, though, at a followup appointment with the vet last week, he confirmed that the heart murmur he detected six months ago has gotten worse. While things are not critical yet, he still had to order an echocardiogram for her in order to figure out the cause. He strictly encouraged the diet and exercise, not only because any added weight can create added pressure on the heart, but also because she simply needs it. Since last week, we've enjoyed evening walks together. We either go by ourselves, or my husband takes her when he gets home from school in the afternoons. I must say, the walks have been a nice opportunity to simply exhale, unwind from a busy day, and, here recently, reflect on the past five years. Was there a time before Nali? Trying to imagine my life without her corresponds with trying to imagine my life prior to meeting my husband. The Lord so often blesses our lives with simple joys, and Nali's been that for both of us since the first day we laid eyes on her.

The other birthday I want to acknowledge is that of my niece, Isabelle, who turned 9 years old yesterday. The above picture was taken almost two years ago, and it's the most recent one I have. Not only am I prevented from being able to see her living hundreds of miles away, but the rest of my family also has not seen her in two years. We weren't able to send birthday cards or make phone calls either since we don't know where Belle, her younger half-sister, and her mom are living. I still remember this last time I visited her so vividly. I was home for the Thanksgiving holidays as usual, and my dad and brother took me over to visit her at her mom's house. We stayed for several hours, mainly since we couldn't bear to leave. Each time my dad has seen her, and by extension me seeing her, there is always the lingering question of how soon we will see her again. It breaks my heart how disunity can rip people apart from one another, and especially when it involves my niece. Belle is one of the most stunningly beautiful children I have ever laid eyes upon, there is no doubt that she is bright and loves to read, and yet we can't see her. We don't know when we'll see her again. The continual prayers for my brother always include her, primarily because his choices are what prevent us from being involved in her life. We pray fervently that one day she will know that there is a family who loves her, despite what other voices may be telling her right now. She is innocent and not to blame for what has led to this gulf in our relationship to her, but she is the one being made to suffer because of the actions and decisions of her parents. She is the one being fed suggestions and ideas that are not true, so we pray for truth. We pray that her heart will be convicted in ways that she may not be able to comprehend as a child, and that her eyes will be enlightened to the truth at some point. We can't see her, we don't know when we'll see her again, so we pray. We pray because we believe in a God who is sovereign over all the ways of man. Happy birthday, sweet Belle~



3 comments:

Anti-gag said...
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You Little O Wife said...

I can't believe Belle is 9. I still remember the day you told me you were going to be an aunt.

You Little O Wife said...

And Happy Birthday Nali!!!