Coyote Hills Regional Park in Spring: Vibrant with Poppies, Rocks, Planes, and Turkeys

Coyote Hills Regional Park PoppiesIf you’ve ever wondered why the golden poppy is California’s state flower, Golden poppies. Coyote Hills Regional Parktry visiting the Golden State in spring! Coyote Hills Regional Park Amid the poppiesWhile on a tour to see our numerous West Coast rels
(which included the families of 2 sons and 3 siblings), Coyote Hills Regional ParkAaron took us with his crew for a hike near
San Francisco in the East Bay’s Coyote Hills Regional Park, Spring Wildflowers in Coyote Hills Regional Parka vast stretch (978 acres) of marshlands and rolling green hills that are carpeted Poppies in March at Coyote Hills Regional Parkwith flowers—most gloriously poppies—in early spring. Boardwalk through marsh in Coyote Hills Regional ParkIt’s been so rainy this year that part of the boardwalk through the marsh Alemeda Creek Ponding Areawas submerged by overflow from Alameda Creek, Wetlands in Coyote Hills Regional Parkso we had to retrace our steps along the Muskrat Trail. Gorgeous wildflowers in Coyote Hills Regional ParkHowever, the hills were phenomenal! Coyote Hills Regional Park poppies bloomingThe bedrock of Coyote Hills is part of the Franciscan Formation, Greenstone and chert outcroppings at Coyote Hills Regional Parkand half of that is composed of sheared greenstone,
which varies in color from shades of green to even reds and yellows. Franciscan Formation. Coyote Hills Regional ParkWhere the rocks have not been weathered, there are some stunning outcroppings with vibrantly colored veins of recrystalized red and yellow chert (jasper). Wildflowers and vibrant rock formations. Coyote Hills Regional ParkAt the top of one hill, the rocks had some strikingly blue coloring so beautiful Greenstone in Coyote Hills Regional Park that I feared people might think I was just “turning up the color” on my photos! Hiking in Coyote Hills Regional ParkFrom the tops of the Red Hill Trail, you can also catch vistas of San Francisco, Evaporation Ponds in Coyote Hills Regional Parkand the southwestern side of Coyote Hills is bordered by tidal mud flats that have been landscaped to create evaporation ponds for salt water from the Pacific. Radio-operated airplane pilots at Coyote Hills Regional ParkThis area is also popular with radio-controlled airplane operators, Coyote Hills Regional Park Oops. Shouldn't pick the flowers!and on the balmy day of our visit (Oops! It’s pretty, but don’t pick the flowers!), Radio-control airplane operatorone friendly pilot shared some of his expertise and delight in flying with us. Climbing the Trail in Coyote Hills Regional ParkThe only downside of this perfectly good day for UP Testy Tom Turkey in Coyote Hills Regional Parkwas a close encounter with an IFO…an identifiable flying object
which turned out to be a testy tom turkey. 16 Turkeys in our fieldWe have a flock of about 2 dozen turkeys in our Michigan woodsy backyard,
but they shun humans and won’t pose for close up photo ops, Turkeys 2 Coyote Hills Regional Parkso I was delighted that these turkeys seemed more than happy to accommodate… Turkeys by the Red Hill Trail in Coyote Hills Regional Parkuntil I realized the hens were simply feeling secure Tom Turkey at Coyote Hills Regional Park 2because their gorgeous but irascible tom guarded his harem Tom Turkey defending harem in Coyote Hills Regional Parkby  aggressively accosting interlopers, Coyote Hills Regional Park 2including my small partners Poppies in Coyote Hills Regional Parkwho—if a bit taller—were not nearly so wide! Green hills carpeted with wildflowers in Coyote Hills Regional ParkAnd so, I would advise prospective hikers to expect a fabulous day at the park, Testy Tom Turkey in Coyote Hills Regional Parkbut beware the jabberturk, my son! Tired boy after big day of hiking“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep:
for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety”
(Psalm 4:8).Little Boy Shoes after big day of hiking




A Rare Easter Birthday for Jonathan

Blowing out the birthday candlesEaster lands on March 27 ( which is my son Jonathan’s birthday)
only once or twice in any century, Daddy's Birthdayand this was one of those amazingly rare years. Opening birthday presentsIn fact, Jonathan would have to live to be 177 to experience another Easter birthday, since the next one on the calendar won’t occur until 2157! Happy Family Birthday PartyHappily, Alan and I were there to share this very rare double holiday
with Jonathan and his family. 36th Birthday CakeTo make it even more special, it was Jonathan’s 36th birthday,
which begins the second half of his “threescore and ten”
mentioned in the scripture as a person’s life span:

Talking together“We spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away…
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
(Psalm 90:9-10,12)

A present for DaddyIt was an absolutely wonderful day all the way around, Rushing to get ready for churcheven though everybody had to scurry like crazy to get ready for church “on time.” March 27. Easter 2016Actually, we arrived at 9:00 am for an hour-long pre-service prayer meeting, although apparently it had been canceled Apple Cake(being Easter Sunday and everyone needing extra family time).
At least we weren’t late!   🙂     Drawing presents for DaddyAt any rate, it was one of those unforgettably happy days. Lighting the birthday candlesI admire our kids so much! Preparing the birthday partyThey both work like troopers to take care of their kids Opening birthday presents 1and make life both fruitful and fun. Father and DaughterThey are really a team, too, working tirelessly at whatever needs to be done. Baking an apple cakeLinda made a special apple cake that is very labor intensive, Opening birthday presents 2and Jonathan engineered both breakfast and our delicious pot roast dinner.Happy Birthday Party The whole day made me appreciate more than ever the truth of 3 John 1:4:
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

(Easter is on March 27th only 8 times during 5 centuries:
1701, 1796, 1864, 1910, 1932, 2005, 2016, 2157)


Why Does the Easter Bunny Hide Eggs for Us??

Opening Easter EggsHave you ever wondered where the Easter Bunny comes from,
or why he brings Easter eggs? Early SpringBunnies are symbolic of fertility and growth, because they multiply so rapidly. Family with Easter bunny and dogThe Easter bunny was a tradition brought to this country by German Lutherans back in the 1700’s and has become a beloved part of most Christian celebrations. Finding an Easter EggThe tradition of celebrating with Easter eggs is even older,
and can be traced back to Christians in Mesopotamia,Searching for Easter Eggswho gave Easter eggs to celebrate new life in Christ. Opening Easter EggsThe egg reminds us that Jesus died for us, and the broken, empty egg symbolizes the empty tomb and the miracle of his resurrection from the dead.Happy FamilyAlan and I celebrated Easter with Jon and Gerlinde’s family last weekend. Family BreakfastWe had a wonderful breakfast together and then got ready for church.Children singing Easter SongsThe children sang “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” during the morning service. Child Listening to Easter StoryHowever, the lyrics are quite complicated for little ones, Mother telling daughter Easter storyso Linda practiced with the girls ahead of time, helping them understand
the message of this eloquent hymn of our faith.Little girl with hatAfterwards everyone took time for fellowship with coffee, donuts, and play. Hiding Easter EggsThen, it was time for lunch & a nap, (and for the Easter bunny[ies] to hide eggs)!Hail and Violets on Easter! It was pouring rain, and then it started to hail!   😦Two girls in raincoatsHowever, Linda wisely reminded us of a German saying:
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” Easter egg hunt for little girlThe children had a marvelous time searching for eggs. Eating Chocolate Easter BunnyIn fact, we all had a marvelous time!Small Girl with Easter basketI’m not sure who feels the deepest pleasure!
Is it the children as they hunt for treasure, Taking pictures of children hunting for Easter eggs or the parents, who delight in watching their children’s joy? Showing Grandpa an Easter prizeOr, perhaps it’s the grandparents, who feel so deeply the goodness of passing down through the generations such blessed Christian traditions. Finding Easter Eggs on a treeThank you, Father, for giving us families and so many precious times to share! Easter egg in gardenThank you most of all for Christ, who died and rose again for us on Easter Day, giving us the hope of being raised from the dead to new life as well!  Child with Easter BasketJesus said: “I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).Children singing in church on Easter Morning“Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

“Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

“Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

“Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!”
(—Charles Wesley, 1739)


Rise Up, My Love (179): Sapphire-Polished into a Heavenly Blue

“He is risen!” “He is risen indeed!” Happy Easter to you!
May we rise up with him and celebrate the resurrection of Christ.
He is everlasting life, and to know him is life eternal!

Sapphire from Sri Lanka. Smithsonian        Song of Solomon 5:14 “His belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.” 55 carat Sapphire from Sri Lanka. SmithsonianAlthough sapphires are technically all transparent gems of the mineral corundum and come in all colors of the rainbow (except reds, which are called rubies), the best known and traditionally accepted color of sapphires is blue—with the intense, deep blues and the cornflower blue of sapphires from Kashmir, India, being traditionally considered the premier colors. In our culture, diamonds are the most highly prized gem stone, but in the Bible, sapphires are spoken of more often than any of the other precious gems, including diamonds, rubies (second most), and emeralds.  Sparkling Water on our lake                              Sapphire—the sparkle that dances across water New Zealand Fjord Naitonal Parkand the deep blue depths of the ocean…the transparent splendor of heaven’s eyes as we look up to God. Blue, blue, blue. Blue was the most oft used color by the Lord for his people. Indeed, blue has been nicknamed “the heavenly color.” In all the tapestries for the temple, blue, purple, and scarlet were to be used, but blue was always mentioned first (Exodus 26:1, etc.). Additionally, the robe of the high priest’s ephod was to be all blue (Exodus 28:31); the ephod and breastplate were to be connected by loops of blue (Exodus 28:28), as were the tabernacle curtains (Exodus 36:11); blue lace was used to adorn the high priest’s mitre (Ex. 28:37), and a fringe of blue was to border the hem of all the robes of the children of Israel throughout all generations, “that ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God” (Numbers 15: 38-40).  Jesus teachingBlue was definitely the “color” of God…the color to make us think of God. The children of Israel were to cover the ark of the covenant with a blue cloth when they traveled (Numbers 4:6). The table of shewbread was also to be spread with a blue cloth (Numbers 4:7). In fact, the altar (Numbers 4:11) and all the instruments for ministering in the tabernacle were to be covered with blue cloths for travel (Numbers 4:12). Even foreign powers recognized the preeminence of blue: The king of Persia dressed Mordecai in “royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold” (Esther 8:15), and in Ezekiel 23:6 we read of the Assyrian captains and rulers being “clothed with blue.”

The Son of God on his throne with his angels Matthew 25:31
The Son of God on his throne with his angels Matthew 25:31

Blue, heavenly blue, sapphire blue. In visions of God we read: “And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness” (Exodus 24:10). God exalted in heaven rests upon a foundation of transparent sapphire. In Ezekiel 1:26 we read, “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.” God’s throne itself has the appearance of being one gigantic, dazzling sapphire!  “His belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.” What is the significance of being “overlaid with sapphires?” 423 Carat Sapphire from Sri Lanka. Smithsonian. Washington D.C.Sapphires are made by intense heat and pressure. They come from the depths of the earth’s fire… “the place of sapphires” (Job 28:5-6)…from the belly of the earth’s molten fires to the belly of our Savior’s molten love. Because sapphires are second only to diamonds in hardness, sapphire dust was used to polish gems. In Lamentations 4:7, Jeremiah laments the destruction of the children of Israel who were so beautiful—“their polishing was of sapphire.” Fired in the depths of His passion, and sapphire polished…this is the love of Christ for us.  Sunset in the RockiesIt is the picture of Christ’s sacrificial death as a man being beautified by the clarity of heaven itself. It is the spiritual portrayal of all Christ’s feelings of love for us ornamented by the exquisite beauty of heaven. We see the “belly” of Jesus, —the most tender and most vulnerable part—laid bare before us. We remember Jesus—as Son of man in his sacrificial death, and as the Son of God overlaid with his heavenly grandeur—reaching out to us in transcendent grace. Even as the foundation of God’s throne is sapphire, so the foundation of our relationship with Christ is his “ivory” death sealed with the “sapphire” splendor of God’s complete, transparent approval. May we remember him—and long to know him again—ever continuing to seek the One we’ve found!

Bless Your Baby: How to Use this Resource

Bless Your Baby is a resource developed over the years with the hopes of encouraging parents and caregivers to actively seek to bless their children, helping them grow strong physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I have written a prayer, a thought, and a suggestion for interactive play appropriate for each day during an infant’s first year. These ideas were based on my own studies and from keeping diaries during the first year of life for each of my seven children. After my own kids started to grow up and have children of their own, I printed off copies of Bless Your Baby for them, but this past year I updated the thoughts and added pictures, mostly of my grandson Samuel, but including hundreds of pictures from many young friends and family members.

If you’re a new parent—or a caregiver who loves working with infants—I hope you are inspired by perusing Bless Your Baby. If you want ideas for a particular week or month, you can find them by clicking on the following links:

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P.S.—If you enjoy this book and end up taking some cute photographs of yourself and your baby trying out some of the suggested activities, please let me know! If you’d like to have your pictures included in this book, send me copies, and I’ll try to add them in where appropriate.

May God bless you as you bless your baby!

Risen: Are You Celebrating this Good Friday?

Risen. Seeking                              On this “Good Friday,” are you celebrating? Risen. Christ on cross“Good Friday” sounds happy, but for most of the Christian world, it’s a very sober day of commemorating the vicarious death of Christ for us. Jesus came to earth, died in our place to pay the penalty for our sins, and offers redemption and eternal life to “whosoever will!” Risen. The serach for Christ's BodyThis amazing gift of mercy and hope is available to anyone who will believe in Christ and turn to him for salvation. So, what’s the catch? If I offered you million dollars, wouldn’t you take it? If I knew how you could get a free pass into heaven and an eternal life of joy, wouldn’t you want to go? I think most people would. Risen. Speaking to Jewish leadersThen, why doesn’t everyone become a Christian? I think it’s because they don’t believe the “good news” is really true. risenIf you’re one of those people who wishes you could believe, please consider watching the newly released movie, Risen. Risen. Market SceneRisen is set in 33 AD during the first 40 days following the crucifixion of Christ, when Jerusalem was abuzz with rumors that Christ had arisen from the dead. Risen. SearchingA Roman tribune and his military aide are commissioned to find the missing body of Christ and thereby quell the rising tide of belief that Christ truly is the long-promised Messiah who predicted his own death and resurrection. Risen. Tibune on horsebackIf they can find Christ’s body, they can prove that he did not rise again, discrediting his claim of being “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25) and “the way, the truth, and the life” that alone leads us to God (John 14:6). Risen. Looking for Christ's BodyHowever, as the Roman soldiers become frustrated when no amount of wits or force can produce the body…and as they encounter those who knew Christ… they begin asking not only where he is, but who he is.  Risen. War and strifeHave you ever wondered what happened to the body of Christ? Does it seem logical that all the apostles would rather die than expose a hoax, if Christ’s death had really just been a trick? What changed them from cowering fearfully behind closed doors to preaching and teaching publicly despite terrible persecution? Risen. The ascension of ChristCould it have been anything other than a rock solid faith that Jesus really had risen from the dead? And, why is the resurrection so foundational for Christians? Risen. Examining grave clothesBecause, if Christ really is risen, then he truly is who he claimed to be—the Son of God—and he can in fact save us and resurrect us after we die. That’s why Christians can celebrate on “Good Friday.” Are you celebrating?!
Risen. Tribune and Aide“And ye shall seek me, and find me,
when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13)



Reflections on Nearing Home, by Billy Graham

Billy Graham. WikiAlan and I both came to faith through the ministry of Billy Graham. I got saved the first time I heard the gospel, but what drew me to listen was seeing the total transformation in my older sister, who had heard Billy Graham speak in Washington D.C. back in 1962. In 1968, Alan surrendered his life to Christ after listening to Billy Graham preaching on a televised evangelistic crusade. 03.23.16 Nearing HomeSo, we both have a lot of history with this now aged teacher, and it seemed quite natural to listen to his book on “life, faith, and finishing Well” on our way home from spring break. Although Nearing Home is uniquely geared to those approaching their retirement years, Graham’s reflections and advice are really appropriate for adults of any age who have “eternity’s values in view.”  Billy Graham, who’s now 97, was a mere 93 when he wrote Nearing Home. Billy said the biggest surprise of his life was growing old! He thought a lot about life and death, but not about how to live with grace and purpose even after he was so frail he could no longer carry on his ministry. However, through this book, he is definitely carrying on his ministry, and as always, Billy Graham is still leading by example! Nearing Home is full of stories and practical insights gleaned from people he’s known or heard from over the years (and I’ll bet that numbers in the hundreds of thousands). His book resonates with hope and comfort, but it’s also an inspiring call to continue serving. Love and serve—God and mankind, and never stop thinking in terms of how to extend love, compassion, and service even to those who are caring for us. If you’re wondering when to retire and what to do afterward, please take time to ponder your way through this classic work on how to grow old with grace, written by the man who’s been our world’s most influential Christian leader for the past 65+ years. May God bless you richly!Sign about AgeP.S.—My dad, who lived a robust life until almost 90, kept this cheerful sign on his bedroom door: “If things get better with age, then I’m approaching magnificent!” 🙂 Oh, to have a twinkle in my soul until I die!

“The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him” (Psalm 92:12-15, ESV, emphasis mine).

Do You Know How to Handle Crucial Conversations?

Crucial Conversations Audio BookWhile Alan and I are on road trips, one of our favorite pastimes is listening to audio books. Have you noticed that when your kids are little, you read to them, and as they get older, you recommend good books for them to read…but when they grow up, they start recommending books for you?! Crucial Conversations is one of two books that our first-born recently recommended to us. (Thanks for the Feedback is the other, but so far I can’t find any hard-copy audio C.D.’s for under $4,633.14 on Amazon…) At any rate, Crucial Conversations goes into great detail on how to frame discussions when the stakes are high and emotions start flaring. It even has some great advice for people trying to approach stoic non-confronters who don’t want to talk about anything that’s seriously controversial. It was so helpful and hopeful for me that I’m going to listen to it again, because I came from a home where my father demanded: “Truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” in its raw, unvarnished state. In diametric contrast, Alan’s mother’s mantra was, “If you can’t think of anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” This resulted in Alan getting lots of splinters in his heart from trying to handle my rough-hewn articulations…and my total exasperation over trying to get a grip on his impossibly slippery interlocutions. If you have loved ones or colleagues who are nigh unto impossible to understand or seem unwilling to get involved in candid communications, think about it! We bought Crucial Conversations for about $15 on Amazon, which was worth more than every penny…and cost a whole lot less than $4,633.14!  🙂

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6, ESV).

Rise Up, My Love (178): The Significance of Ivory

Belly of Baby Jesus in National Art Gallery, Washington D.C.Song of Solomon 5:14 “His belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.” Belly is the same word translated in 5:4 as “bowels” where it says, “My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.” The belly was considered the seat of emotion, and as such it is easy to recognize the rich possibilities for spiritual application, because Jesus has eternally been a person of unfathomable sensibility and is moved to the depths of compassion for us… his beloved ones!  Mastadon  in Smithsonian. Washington D.C.But first, let’s consider the nature of ivory, which has been used from prehistoric times for artistic carvings because of its smooth, white texture. Most of the ivory comes from elephant trunks, which sometimes measure more than eleven feet in length, although other sources include the teeth of sperm whales, and the tusks of walruses and extinct mastodons (found in large quantities in Alaska and the Yukon). The most beautiful ivories are creamy white in color and almost grain-less in appearance. In the Scriptures, ivory was used for carving vessels (Revelation 18:12), benches (Ezekiel 27:6), beds (Amos 6:4), thrones (I Kings 10:18; 2 Chronicles 9:17), and even houses (I Kings 22:39). It was brought from afar and given as a gift fit for kings (Ezekiel 27:15)!  Walrus in Smithsonian. Washington D.C.“His belly is as bright ivory.” Unlike gold and beryl, ivory is not a lifeless mineral gem. It isn’t mined from the ground or found like a treasure discovered by chance. Ivory is always the product of pain…the result of a sacrificial death. Even so, Jesus Christ, our bridegroom, is also our high priest, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:7-10).  Belly of Christ elly of Baby Jesus in National Art Gallery, Washington D.C.“His belly is as bright ivory…” In the physical sense, this is a picture of Solomon’s muscular stomach…smooth to the touch and creamy white in texture…like an exotic treasure brought from afar… into the intimacy of his wife’s experience for her delight. In the spiritual sense, this is a picture of Jesus’ “bowels of compassion and mercy”…soothing to our heart’s touch and pure white in moral essence…an invaluable and infinitely mysterious treasure brought from heaven itself…into the intimacy of our experience (as his bride and the objects of his love) for our delight.

“His belly…” the seat of Jesus’ emotions…like an exquisitely carved work of art, was hand-crafted by the master sculptor out of the pure white ivory of his sacrificial death. Christ was perfected by his suffering; the master craftsman of the universe took a knife and sculpted out—through painful incisions with his blade and blows with his chisel—the perfect “bowels of compassion”…the perfect “belly” of our heavenly lover…magnificent in appearance and precious in substance!

(Photos from the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.  I don’t know of anywhere in the world where there’s a work made from ivory overlaid by sapphires, do you? Perhaps that’s because the things of earth right now cannot compare to heaven’s glory!)

Bless Your Baby: Celebrating the End of Baby’s First Year…And Photo Credits

Mother and Baby365. Celebrating Baby’s Specialness

“In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge.”
Psalm 62:7

PRAYER: Oh, Lord, thank you for being my salvation, my glory, my strength, and my refuge. Truly you are all I need and want…and more than I can even imagine! I love you!

THOUGHT: As you end this year, I want to share something I learned from Jim Turner’s wonderful seminar on Creating Intimacy in Marriage. It’s the AWE principle: keep a spirit of awe in your home. In all you do, may you shower your spouse and children with Affection, Warmth, and Encouragement. Isn’t this just what our precious Lord does for us? He is our haven of salvation, our glory, strength, and refuge. Try to be like him. Try it…you’ll like it. Try it, and your family will love it!

How they've grown!ACTIVITY: Almost one year old! Are you planning a special outing or birthday party for Baby? How about a special event called “Queen (or King) for a Day”? This can be done either by yourself, with your husband too, or with a good friend. Over the course of a relaxed day, try videotaping a minute of each of Baby’s normal activities (or snapping pictures). Ideally, you could include such things sleeping, waking from sleep, being rocked back to sleep, nursing, eating, playing alone or various games with a parent, bathing, walking, swinging, exercising, reading, or whatever routines are part of Baby’s normal day. Be sure to include shots of all family members, favorite toys, views of your home, yard, and car (if you own one), what it looks like out in your neighborhood, your church or other places where you go each week, etc. If you own your own video camera, and Daddy is game, you could take a free day and work on it as a couple. That would be ideal, because then both Mom and Dad could be featured with Baby in your keepsake.

Judah eating cake366. Happy Birthday to Baby!

“Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.” Isaiah 44:24

PRAYER: Dear Father, after an entire year of cherishing my new baby, I have such a deeper appreciation for what it means to be able to call you “Father.” Having a child of my own to love and care for makes me understand your perfection…your love, your patience, your protection, your unending desire for my growth and goodness. Thank you for being my father! Thank you for loving me and my family. May each member of our family experience Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith, so that we, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height… and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that we might be filled with all the fullness of God! (Ephesians 3:17-19)

THOUGHT: I see that as the book ends, I’m wanting to stuff in all the last minutes bits of wisdom I can think of! When I edited this last piece, my husband and I were attending the Internal Medicine Review and Update at Harvard, and in one of the lectures, the point was made that “Happy moms make for happy children.” This is so simple, but so profound, and I can’t emphasis enough the importance of the mother’s happiness in providing for a stable home environment and being a blessing to your Baby! Marriage is tremendously hard work, and relationships are extremely challenging, but always remember that God created us as social beings and the “messes are worth making!” Never give up working on your marriage and home.

ACTIVITY: Wondering what to get Baby for a birthday present? What about a bird feeder? There are few things any more exciting to babies than little creatures that move and make interesting noises, and birds are among the most graceful and melodious of creatures, so of course they are thrilling to watch! Also, birds outside are relatively carefree…almost “pets without problems.” Consider buying a book with pictures of birds or setting up a bird feeder outside your favorite picture window. Learn about birds yourself, and share Baby’s excitement over these delicate marvels of God’s creativity!

Birthday balloon and Baby367. Now He is One

“O magnify the Lord with me, let us exalt his name together!” Psalm. 34:3

PRAYER: Oh, Father, what can we say? Thank you for this amazing, crazy, impossibly hard and impossibly wonderful year! Life will never be the same. Thank you for all we’ve learned, for all the times you’ve rescued us, for everything…both the pains and the joys. Thank you for your faithfulness. Truly, you are the beginning and the ending. Thank you that with every ending, there is a new beginning. Baby will never be an infant again, but now he will enter the Wonderful World of One and a new chapter in our family’s life. Thank you for giving us this incredible privilege. Truly, you are good. We worship you because you are the great “Amen.” Amen, and amen!

THOUGHT: Have you had a wonderful year? One of the best and hardest in your life? May you be blessed as you go on in your adventure of “training up your child in the way he should go,” and may you find that as a result, when your baby grows up he will not depart from God’s way of truth and goodness! May he be a blessed child and a blessing to all those around him! Amen.

ACTIVITY: Have you given Baby a punch ball yet? A punch ball attached by a sturdy rubber band to Baby’s arm (not too tightly…recheck every little bit) can make a great toy that can’t escape during outdoor play. A helium balloon serves much of the same purpose, but a punch ball is sturdier and can withstand hitting the ground or being rolled upon. But…say…I’m getting ahead of myself. Are you ready for the next book, or are you ready for a break?                                                                        Love to you from me!

Baby Feet“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14

Suggested Reading and Resource List:

Baby Minds: Brain-Building Games Your Baby Will Love, by Linda Acredolo, Ph.D., and Susan Goodwyn, Ph.D.

Baby Play:100 Fun-Filled Activities to Maximize Your Baby’s Potential, by Dr. Wendy S. Masi and Dr. Roni Cohen Leiderman

How to Have a Smarter Baby, by Dr. Susan Ludington-Hoe

Teach Your Baby, by Dr. Genevieve Painter

What’s Going on in There?, by Lise Eliot, Ph.D.

What to Expect the First Year, by Arlene Eisenbery, Heidi E. Murkoff, and Sandee E. Hathaway


Babies starring in these daily devotional are from the hearts of:
Daniel and Brianna
Seth and Bethany
Daniel and Melissa
Paul and Andrea
Gene and Andrea
Aaron and Carleen
Michael and Grace
Jonathan and Gerlinde
Jessica and Samuel
Jonathan and Juli
Lara and Andrew
Chris and Phil
Lydia and Zack
Marissa Rose and

Thank you, thank you, to each of you for your help and contributions, especially Daniel and Brianna, who never grew impatient and were always ready to help!