Friday, December 24, 2010

Celebrating Birthdays

I love celebrating birthdays!

I think it's a wonderful thing to remember.

Remembering the day I first became a mom. The day I first laid eyes on a little life that had grown inside of me. Remembering all of the years of memories I've been blessed to make with my daughter since that day, her birthday! It is because of how she has touched my life that I enjoy taking that one special day each year and celebrating...her.

Then there is the day that I held my first son. He was special that first day just because he was mine. And he grows more special each year as we get to know him more and more. And each year in December, I love to show him just how special he is to me.

His little brother blessed our family on a very special day in August. He tipped the scale and we girls were officially outnumbered by boys. He was a gift we had not planned on. One of those gifts that you didn't ask for, but the giver knew you so well that He gave you exactly what you didn't know you needed! He has been filling up my heart ever since, and I love to celebrate his life.

A few years later, a little sister joined the group. She blessed this family at a time when I didn't think we could handle such a blessing. Four years later, I know that we can't! And every year in March I celebrate God's grace when I celebrate the day He gave me a blessing I didn't deserve.

And in May, I have the joy of celebrating two very special women in my life. My youngest daughter, the little girl I accidentally prayed for, came into my life on my Mom's birthday. So on a beautiful day in May I get to celebrate a little girl I get to raise and love and teach, and the woman who made sure I grew up knowing Jesus. Two lives I love to celebrate.

But as much as I cherish these birthdays and enjoy making cakes to celebrate each of these lives that mean so much to me, there is a birthday that is far more special. The birthday of the One who has blessed my life more than anyone else. The One who was born just for me.

Today, I am making cookies, making a birthday cake, wrapping gifts, and remembering.

I wasn't there at His birth.

I only know Him through love letters that His Father wrote to me.

He was promised long before He was born. His birth proved that His Father is faithful, that His promises are true. That He loves me.

He was born so that I could be born again.

He was born so that I could know His Father, the One who created me, and so that I could call Him Father too.

He was born so that He could die.

For me.

And today, I'm excited to celebrate His birth!

Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dear Emily,

A year ago tonight, we spent the evening cooking out with a great group of friends. It was our small group's end of year get together. We had a wonderful time. Eating. Laughing. Chatting. Laughing. Refereeing kids in a bounce house. Laughing.

We were 10 days from your due date and from all apparent signs, you were in no hurry to get here sooner. Anyone who asked me, however, knew that Saturday was the day I was hoping to have you. Your Grandma Gay's birthday. Oh, how I wanted to meet you on her birthday! I had several conversations with God about that. Though, more of our conversations were about you and that crazy cord around your neck (you really shouldn't have done that)!

When I woke up Saturday morning, I enjoyed a lazy morning in bed. Your brothers and sisters either slept in a bit or were quiet enough downstairs that I didn't feel the need to get up. And your Daddy had gone to the church's men's breakfast. At 8am, I remember I was reading in bed, I was close to finishing "Left Behind" when my water leaked. Barely. In fact, I wasn't positive that it was my water. So, I finished the book...sorry, but it's a really good book!...and spent some time thinking that I couldn't be in labor because this was the day I wanted to have you! How could it actually be happening?!

So, Grandma was called and Daddy called to check in on us, and I paced around the house leaking...something. Sorry, Emily, I know that's too much information, but this is what I went through for you! Grandma finally convinced me to call in to my midwife. That oh-so-awkward call..."Hello? Yes, either my water is leaking or I'm wetting my pants. What would you like me to do?"

Now, truthfully, I knew it was my water. I knew that you were on your way. I was just having a "pinch me to see if I'm dreaming" kind of morning. But around 11am Karen confirmed that you were on your way and we made plans to meet her at the hospital around 8pm, unless things progressed more quickly.

We had so much fun that afternoon, anticipating meeting you! We took Grandma Gay out for Culver's for her birthday and both of you got a free birthday scoop! We bought you some pacifiers at the drugstore and a birthday cake at the grocery store. For you and Grandma both, of course! But the thought of that cord I mentioned earlier made it hard to wait too much longer so we checked into the hospital at 4pm.

Then it was boring for awhile. The woman next door was screaming. Oh, but my nurse was super nice, her shift ended before you arrived, but I think my night nurse was her cousin. Finally, at 8pm, I was done having fun. At 8:15pm they said I was 5cm and if things didn't start progressing more they would have to start pitocin. It didn't worry me this time. I knew I would be meeting you sooner than they thought.

And at 8:53pm (with the Newsboys singing "He Reigns" on the radio) you entered this world and they placed you on my chest. You were beautiful! And so, so very sweet. With a head full of dark hair that the nurses would later enjoy!

And I never wanted to put you down. (Okay, seriously, sometimes I had to put you down.) When the nurses took you to the nursery, I got some sleep. And at 11pm they brought you in to me and now that I've said that I'm wondering how it was that I thought I got some sleep? Maybe it was later than 11pm? Maybe I didn't sleep? Anyway, it was the most beautiful night. Daddy was sleeping (read: snoring) and it was just you and me. And snuggling with you that night, I knew that Joy was meant to be your middle name.

I spent the next 2 months sleeping with you snuggled to my chest (sorry, Mom) and there is nothing so cozy as your soft baby hair on my cheek.

You joined an already busy, full of kids family, Emily Joy, and you've settled right into your own place in it. After months of anticipating you, it took just days for it to feel like you had always been there.

Now, you're walking all over the place. Helping me garden. You want desperately to type on the computer and are constantly trying to get the mouse from whoever is working at the desk. Your hair. Well, what can I say? It's you. And you're beautiful! You dance in the morning in your crib when I come to get you...unless Aly grabs you first. You can hold your own with Rachel...and that's not easy! You laugh at your brothers and love our "peek-a-boo" wall. You run for Daddy when he comes home from work and have just started not being particularly happy when I leave you. Though, I think that's not really because you want me but rather, you don't want to miss out on anything. Your favorite toys are Daddy's Diet Mt. Dew cans and our dishwasher tablets (I know, I need to fix that child-proof latch). You would spend all day outside if you could. You love the grass, the dirt, sand, mulch. You love it all. And I'm quite impressed that you can already climb up our slide. Notice I said I was "impressed", not "happy".

When I first held you on May 30, 2009, you were already you. It's been a wonderful year of getting to know you more and more. And of all the things that are different this year from last year, one thing is the same. My prayer for you is that you grow less dependent on me and more dependent on the Lord. That you seek Him, accept Him, and grow in a personal relationship with Jesus.

I love you Emily Joy!

Happy 1st Birthday!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Reflecting on Reflecting

I just got a call from my Mom. I got just a little nervous as I answered, it was almost 10pm and she was calling from a cell phone. But all was well, whew! She was calling to tell me to look at the moon.

So, I did.

It's breathtaking! Low in the dark sky, a beautiful orange glow all around it.

As I sat in the boys room looking at the moon (I had to look from upstairs because it's so low in the sky) it struck me.

This full moon, in all it's glory, is only reflecting the light of the sun. As wonderful as it is, it is but a small taste of the sun that it is reflecting. As days go by, the earth will begin to slowly come between the moon and it's light source, and it will reflect less and less of the glory that will remain unchanged.

Those who know Christ have the privilege, and awesome responsibility, of reflecting the Son in our own lives. The more we allow to come between us and our Savior, the less we will shine. Even at our best, we will only ever give the world a glimpse of His glory and power. How much of Him does the world see when they look at me? And what have I let come in between us?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Remembering Dorothy

A few years ago, I was beginning to understand what a great blessing it is to study God's word with other women. I believe it was in our "A Woman After God's Own Heart" study that I had the privilege of being in a group with Dorothy Fett. She was sweet and she was fun and she had beautiful white hair, and actually reminded me a little bit of my Great Aunt Flo. And she was so in love with Jesus that you couldn't help but want to know Him more.

I am thankful for her love of the Lord. Thankful that she loved Him so much that she desired to share Him with others. If she had learned anything that brought her closer to Him, she wanted to pass it on to other women.

A year or two after that first Bible study with Dorothy, I felt the need to tell her how blessed I had been by her words. She had told me (well, she was probably talking to the whole group, but it was really for me...haha) that "these Bible studies are not our quiet time, they need to be in addition to our daily time in God's word."

I was hungry and God used Dorothy to draw me closer to Him. To call me to a deeper relationship with my Savior. To drink deep instead of skimming the surface. And I love Him more. And I loved her.

When I was pregnant with Emily, very early, Dorothy said she thought I was having a girl. I told her she was probably right because I thought it was a boy and I'm always wrong! And when we brought Emily to church that first Sunday after she was born, Dorothy handed me a gift bag. I had to open it right then and there, as I knew it was going to be something quite beautiful. And it was! She had made Emily a quilt. I could go on and on about it, but I'm crying now and that's making it hard to type.

The quilt has been special to me since the moment Dorothy gave it to Emily. Our first three kids all have baby blankets knit by Gary's Mom. When Rachel came along, Grandma Karen was not up to the task but her very best friend knit Rachel's baby blanket. And Emily. Well, Grandma Karen always wanted an "Emily," but never met her. So for Emily to still have such a special blanket made for her by such a special woman was a wonderful gift.

This March, that special quilt became something else. It became my reminder to pray. Dorothy was diagnosed with cancer and shortly after, sent home with her husband and hospice care. Every time I saw that quilt in Emily's room, I prayed for Dorothy.

And on May 12, 2010, God called Dorothy Home! Now every time I see that quilt, I feel Homesick. I know that she is with the Lord. I know that she believed in Jesus and confessed that she was a sinner, and asked Him to forgive her sins. And I know that He did. I know that Jesus' blood had washed her clean and that because of that she is Home with her Father! And I know that she would want people to know that they can have that relationship as well.

(And here's a picture of Emily and her quilt...we captured her first smile on it when she was exactly 1 month old!)

"Sugar Plum
sewn & quilted by
Dorothy Fett
to welcome
Emily Joy
into the Heckman family
born May 30, 2009"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Mini Wheats", Formerly Known as "Frosted"

I've been sitting down doing my morning ritual on facebook. Farming a little. Chatting with Mom. Leaving a labor tip on my cousin's wall. Being anxious for her little girl to arrive (it's getting harder and harder to come up with a labor tip of the day)! All the while playing with Emily.

As I headed in to the kitchen to get breakfast for the girls, I could hear the crinkling of the cereal bag. There on the table were 9 pieces of Frosted Mini-Wheats. Rachel had been helping herself. Taking 1 piece out of the bag, nibbling off the frosted side and leaving the other half lying on the table.

If only life were that easy. If only we could just nibble off the good stuff and toss the rest aside.

Of course, that only sounds like a good idea! Where would we be if we could opt out of anything in life we didn't care for?

Avoiding anything unpleasant or painful would be nice. But missing out on what God has planned would not be worth it in the end. The beauty He brings from ashes. The message that He shares through our messes. A closer walk with Him. A deeper trust. An intimate relationship with Him. A greater understanding of who He is. The list goes on and on.

I am so thankful that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him..." (Romans 8:28)

(Also, I am thankful that Rachel was leaving her nibbled cereal on the table and not putting them back in the bag.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

I Have Nothing to Say

Sort of.

Not really.

I have plenty to say. I just can't seem to put any of it on a page.

I thought I'd just sit down and start to write anything and maybe I'd end up writing something.

Obviously, it is not working out like I'd hoped.

I got nothin'.

My thoughts are everywhere and I feel like the dogs in the movie "Up" yelling "SQUIRREL!" in middle of a conversation.

I love that movie.


Still nothing.

So, what topics are racing around in my mind and heart?

Let's see.

There's a dear friend from church who is home from the hospital. With hospice care. I hate that. If it's her time I just wish God would come grab her right now, so she could skip the pain and just get to the part where she meets Jesus!

She gets to meet Jesus soon!!! Well, that is not going to help me write...that just leaves me speechless.


Gary and I are discussing homeschooling next year. I don't like making decisions. I want to have the decision made so I can just be at peace with whatever it is. I'm so worried about making a mistake. Taking them out when I shouldn't or leaving them in public school when I shouldn't. Sigh.


Emily is walking. In just over a month she'll be ONE! It just doesn't seem possible. At all. I go back and forth between not wanting her to be growing so fast and being excited to celebrate her first year on May 30. As soon as Rachel's birthday party was over (March 28) I started planning Emily's cake :o). I still haven't decided. I have too many ideas! The first and second birthday cakes are my favorite because I get to decide what they will be! Once they hit 3 then they tell me what they want on their cake...which is equally as fun but the artist in me likes the opportunity to do my own thing! Rachel, this year, wanted a princess castle. That was a blast!


I am typing this on Gary's laptop. I love it but I can't type well on this thing. Makes me nuts.

Or just more nuts.

VBS is coming up in June and I'm so excited to be doing crafts again. We always have so much fun. AWANA is ending in two weeks...oh! I had the opportunity to pray with a little boy to accept Jesus!!! How cool is that? I love this kid!

Speaking of kids, I also get to start teaching sunday school again. I took a year off when Emily was born. I've been enjoying being a part of the adult class but I've missed the preschoolers.

I've rambled on and now Emily is up from her morning nap. But I also know what I want to write about that has been on my heart lately.

"I feel you. I hear you. Great God unseen, I see you."

More on that later.

I hope.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Look Inside My Mind

Can a thought process cause whiplash?

I'm pretty sure the answer is "yes!"

Last night Gary and I had a, let's call it a discussion. I'll bite my tongue (and keyboard) and stop myself from pouring all the details onto this page for others to read. But you can be sure that if I did, it would be clear that I was right and he is wrong. Which is, of course, one of the many reasons I am not going to do that.

The topic and details of our disagreement are between us. Our marriage has survived so much worse. We will eventually compromise, or agree to disagree, or just move on until it comes up again or becomes irrelevant. Somehow, it will be resolved.

Our argument lasted only a few minutes. But my mind kept it alive for so much longer.

It replayed in my head and the longer it played the more I convinced myself that I was indeed right, thus making him, wrong. I'm sure you can relate. I can't possibly be the only one who does this! But God wasn't going to let me get away with it.

I would catch myself heading full speed down this selfish path. It led to "why me?"'s and "I can't believe he"'s.


And I turned my thoughts to God as I talked to Him instead of my flesh. This led to "forgive me"'s and "God, how should I"'s.

But my flesh just wouldn't be quiet and my thoughts would slowly accelerate toward a path the Spirit did NOT want me to take. Full speed ahead! Then...


This went on all night. Well, except while I was sleeping. Which wasn't all that much. (Emily's teething so we're having 2am parties lately!)

I feel like I'm a passenger in a driver's ed car. You know, with the extra brake pedal? I'm glad I have access to the brakes but why have I given my flesh the accelerator and steering wheel? She cannot be trusted with these!

The path my flesh will take will always lead to destruction. Which is kind of funny when you consider that my flesh is always selfish and yet constantly does things that are not good for me!

So today I am recovering from my whiplash and spending time with God. I'm praying for my attitude. I'm praying for Gary's. I'm praying for our marriage and family and for unity on our current issue. I'm praying that in all of this, our goal remains to glorify God and not gratify our selves.

And that's a look inside my mind!

Aren't you glad you peeked?