12 sleeps and snow

12 SLEEPS!    JUST 12 MORE SLEEPS!!

My sister and nieces are coming! The ones I haven’t seen in over 2 years!! The niece that Leesie longs to play with so much she named her imaginary friend then blue bat friend after her. And the other niece that I haven’t seen since she was two months old. THEY WILL BE HERE AFTER JUST 12 MORE SLEEPS!

Not that I’m excited or anything. Ok, I’m ecstatic!!!

And as if that weren’t exciting enough, we – my big sis and I – are taking a road trip with our 4 kids to see our lil’ sis in Nevada! I haven’t seen her in far too long either. Aaaaaaaaaannd, we will be meeting our brand new adorable baby nephew, Mason! Who hasn’t actually been born yet, but I already know he’s adorable. And my older sis and nieces will meet Mason’s big brother, Riley for the first time, too – even though he’s 1 already 1 1/2. And I will get to squish-kiss his adorable cheeks.

AND ALL THE 6 COUSINS WILL GET TO PLAY TOGETHER for the first time! Well, Mason will probably just want to sleep since he’ll be just a week or two old. Every party has a pooper…

Aaaaand, my mom will be there, too, because she is flying down to be there when Mason makes his appearance.

So to sum up:

Mom + her 3 girls + all six (by then) grandchildren on this earth (3 boys, 3 girls) + 1 husband (Kylie’s) = LOADS AND LOADS OF FUN AND MEMORY MAKING that hasn’t happened since… since everbecause the last time we were all together at the same time was 2 years and 5 months ago, and 3 of these babies – all the boy grandbabies – didn’t even exist yet!

Sadly, we will really miss dad, and 2 of the husbands (mine and Korie’s).

Hmmmm…. The 3 men that have been around the longest in this family are not going to be there at the reunion of the 3 sisters and mother + 6 grandbabies. I wonder if they have some wisdom from experience they forgot to share with Ryan…

Kidding, of course. They are all working. I know they – dad especially – would love to be there. Hoping and praying for a reunion next year that includes all of us.

I’ve done a few re-posts of Facebook notes I wrote over the last year to keep them all in one place. I only have a couple left. The one below was for my niece, Ellia, on her 4th birthday this past January. Since I get to see her in just 12 sleeps and she is on my mind constantly right now, I’m posting it today.

I LOVE YOU, Ellia!! I can’t wait to see you and your mommy and sis in just 12 sleeps!!!! (And YOU Kylie, Ryan, Riley, and Mason – just shortly after that!) This is one happy girl over here!!!

A Prayer for Snow – January 26, 2012

Last week, when many of us were waking up to inches of snow, my older sister and her family were “enduring” temperatures in the upper 80s. They live in Surabaya, Indonesia, where they serve as missionaries and pastor a church. Korie and John have two adorable girls (my adorable nieces), Ellia and Alyssa, who have spent most of their short lives (they’re just 4 and almost 2), over there.

 So while we were all posting pictures of sledding, snowmen and igloos, Ellia was praying for God to send snow to Surabaya. “Mommy, I’m afraid that I’m never going to see snow again!” she said. Even when she was told God would probably not answer her prayer for snow in their hot city, she said, “It’s ok, I’ll just keep praying.” (Now there is a girl with some faith.) Korie posted Ellia’s comment on Facebook and told all their Washington friends and family to enjoy the snow. I read the post and felt sad for my little niece who likely wouldn’t understand why God wouldn’t answer such a simple request for snow. (Oh, ME of little faith.)

So here’s what happened…

I was typing up a response to Korie, when I looked up and read the response above mine. A friend of hers posted something about fake snow that looks and feels like the real thing. I remembered seeing the same stuff when I went to Victorian Christmas. I was with some church friends at the time, and one of them had mentioned purchasing some in Whatcom County for her grandkids before Thanksgiving.

I called her up. She said she bought it at Grandiflora in Lynden, but that was before Thanksgiving. She doubted they’d still be carrying it now. I called there. No answer. It was the middle of a snowstorm and all the county schools were closed as well as some businesses. I figured Grandiflora was closed, too.

So I called Michaels. They were out and wouldn’t have it until Christmas. I called JoAnns. Out. I was actually ok with that, though, because I was without a car and there was a snowstorm, so really how would I get it anyway?

 I searched the internet and found a couple brands that were kind of pricey, and I didn’t want to add shipping costs on top of the shipping costs I’d have sending it to Indonesia. I figured I’d wait and when I came across it, I’d pick it up and send it to her. It just may not be until next Christmas.

Then I remembered Grandiflora had a voicemail box. I called them back to leave a message. Only this time someone answered.

I described the product I was looking for. She knew what it was but thought it was an odd request considering the weather. After all, I could just step outside and get as much as I’d like for free. She was kind, but said that although they had some packs left, they had already packed it up with some other stuff for next season. It would probably be very difficult to find, and the owners weren’t in. She didn’t even know where to begin to look.

So I began to tell her the story of my little niece’s childlike faith and her prayer for snow… only I didn’t get very far. I barely got the those words out when the woman on the other end nearly shouted, “Oh! It’s here! It’s here! God just directed my eyes RIGHT to it!” She seemed very surprised, because it was supposed to have been packed up, but there was an entire box of snow that had not gotten put away.

Perfect.

She set aside 6 packs for me and put the rest away. Now I just had to get through the real snow to pick it up … Thankfully, unlike Michael’s and JoAnn’s, Grandiflora is only a couple miles away and Matt would be home with a car before they closed.

Now here is what I love about this. Ellia was going to get snow. It was set aside for us to get. But even better, she was going to get it while we still had snow. Because my mom – who has never traveled out of the US/Canada – was going to visit Korie, John, Ellia and Alyssa. And she was leaving in three days.

Just the fact that she was going at all was a miracle. It wasn’t likely going to ever happen, but a wonderful friend blessed mom with a trip and didn’t give her a choice. Mom was going. Another wonderful friend blessed mom by going with her. They – and the snow – would be arriving the day before Ellia’s birthday.

We had just enough time to wait out the real snow, get the fake snow, and drive it (safely) down to Mt. Vernon to meet my mom and stick it in her suitcase as she was leaving.

Mom and Darlene boarded a plane and about 36 hours later, they were in Indonesia. It was evening there, and by the time they got to Korie’s house, everyone was exhausted. I don’t imagine there would have even been time for playing in the snow even if they wanted to. It would have to wait until the next day, Ellia’s birthday.

So guess what? Ellia got snow. It arrived on her birthday. With about 16 Indonesian friends who I’m guessing have never ever seen it before and may not ever again. My sister says it was a hit. They all played and played and played in it. They went outside and threw it in the air and at each other. A little boy who has cried the whole time every time he’s been at Korie’s before laughed and played for the first time. Ellia got snow. With friends. In Surabaya. On her birthday. Just a week after she first prayed for it.

You may be rolling your eyes. “Why would God answer that prayer?” And I’ll admit. I thought it too. “Poor Ellia. God won’t be answering her prayer for snow.”

But then again, why wouldn’t He? He is GOD, after all. Clearly HE is capable. But snow? In Surabaya? Just because a little girl prayed for it? That’s really just a child’s silly wish, right?

Here’s the thing. God answered Ellia’s prayer. Not in the way she expected, but it was answered nonetheless. Some may read this and chalk it up to a series of coincidences. But I know God loves us. He knows us. It says in Isaiah 43:1, “I have called you by name, you are mine.”   We are HIS. I am HIS. Ellia, YOU are GOD’s.

He not only loves us and knows us, but He delights in us. Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”  We are HIS children. What father doesn’t take joy in the laughter of his children? What father doesn’t rejoice and celebrate the life of his child?

I will be the first to say that every request we bring to him isn’t granted. I’ve had some big requests go unfulfilled. It doesn’t always make sense. But I do know that His thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). I guess when it comes down to it, I’m thankful for that. My ways are awfully selfish. And I don’t see the picture He sees. And I know God isn’t our magic genie to be used to grant wishes.

So why the snow? I know some people will read this and think, “God doesn’t do stuff like that. He isn’t worried about silly requests like that.” I’ve even heard friends say, “God doesn’t have time for those little prayers. He’s too busy dealing with wars and big stuff.” I say to you, don’t minimize the power of God. He is all-powerful. He is all knowing. He is supreme. And I am so thankful that he is not so distracted by the “big” events of the world that he has no time for me. Because not even the biggest events in my life can compare to the massive needs in the world.  If God was “too busy dealing,” he would never have time for me. Or probably you.

But he is not too busy. He is not distracted. He is not a distant God that only cares about “big things.” WE are HIS. HE cares about US. EACH of us. He is WITH us.

And he rejoices over us with singing.

Ellia had a little prayer with some massive faith. And she is God’s. HE cares about HER.

Sweet Ellia, GOD delights in YOU. HE was rejoicing over YOU with singing on your birthday. HE was celebrating YOU.

Happy 4th birthday, my beautiful niece.

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4 thoughts on “12 sleeps and snow

  1. Holly, I really needed to read this today! Thank you for bringing the smiles to my heart! Love you…Dad

    PS – Ryan will survive!

  2. You are there by now I am thinking and I am so excited for you!!! You will have soooo much fun with all you girls together with all the littles!!! Memories…that comes with out saying. I can’t wait to read of ALL the adventures that are imagined along the way and the funny stories that they don’t even think are funny. And just think Lessie this time you won’t have to bring your imaginary friend with you…she will be there to have fun with and make LOTS of memories with. 🙂 Love and HUGE HUGS to you all…another auntie.

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