A Celebration of Gabriel Bucer

A year ago today, I became an aunt to Gabriel. Doug and Paula kept his name a secret from all of us, so I called him Araphaxad for six months prior to his birth. I also call him the “Bonus Baby.” God, in all His wisdom, knew we needed Gabe in our lives. For me, Gabe is an unexpected pleasure of the most lovely kind.

Gabe is the ninth member of the Magnificent Nine. He’s a man of few words: ball, dog, ma ma, uh oh, and hot. He has two little bottom teeth and a few poking through his top gums. If you want to hold Gabe, you must first pry him out of the arms of one of his siblings. Now and then, on his squirrely days, they are likely to toss him to me and then run away to be free of him.

Moving to Idaho meant I would get to spend time with the Idaho Joneses. I sure never expected to be here for a new Jones kid. Though I know Gabe is not my personal gift from God, it often feels like it. Feeling his sweet, warm breath on my cheek as he’s sleeping is a precious memory I’ll have forever. I don’t even mind changing his diapers. I find few family members are interested in him when he’s stinky.

Gabe is a very fortunate little boy. He is surrounded by love and wonderful examples of godliness. I look forward to watching him grow and change in to a future man. I will kiss his cheeks as often as possible and remind him that I changed his diaper with joy. And I will thank my Father for the gift of Gabriel. Happy Birthday Gabe! May this year of your life bring you a new way to communicate, new adventures that don’t include stairs or knives, and strong legs to carry you to my house so I can kiss your belly. Your Aunt Lucy

Biscuits & Gravy, Laughter & Fellowship

On the second Tuesday of each month (or whenever we remember) the women of our parish get together for breakfast at Ireland’s. It’s a non-Irish kinda whole-in-the-wall place where you can find freshly baked glazed donuts the size of crib mattresses. The decor is simple and dusty–layers of assorted ball caps adorn the walls. The waitress knows our names, who drinks decaf or regular, and that a steady stream of laughter will emanate from our corner of the room. Our little group stands out from the regular clientele: we’re pleasant looking, consistently happy, we smell good, and we’re under the age of real old. I can’t quite wrap my taste buds around a heaping plate of bisquits and gravy, but I sure enjoy the laughter and fellowship.

Psalms and Hymns and Glorious Things

A couple of years ago I heard the hymn Comfort, Comfort Ye My People (J. Olearius-1671, Tr. C. Winkworth-1863, Freu Dich Seur-Genevan Psalter-1551) for the first time. The words were a soothing balm to my heart. Each Sunday I search the bulletin to see if the hymn is listed. While working on the Cantus I came across the hymn and noticed it was listed under the “advent” section.

Not knowing if one should “request” a hymn, I took a leap and mentioned my love of the hymn to Dr. Schuler and asked him if we could sing it soon. He said I should look for it some time around late November. So I waited six months. In early December, I went on vacation to San Diego. I came back and reminded Dr. Schuler of the hymn. He said, “Oh, we sang that last Sunday.”

So that meant I had to wait another year. Then one Sunday I noticed we were singing an advent hymn. I leaned over to Paula and pointed to the word “advent” in the Cantus. She raised her eyebrows in a “what about it” look. I turned the page and pointed to the title of the next hymn. There it was, oh so close, just one page turn away. Comfort, Comfort Ye My People. She understood.

The fact that I now love Psalms and Hymns is strange. I have a Calvary Chapel, Vineyard, Black Gospel background. There’s no clapping in our service at Christ Church–unless it follows an engagement announcement. No toe tapping. No swaying to the music. No drums, bass guitar, or team of singers leading us in worship. And yet worship is far more meaningful to me than ever before.

I could have parked myself in front of the piano and played the song, but it’s so much more glorious when done in harmony, in worship with fellow saints. And now, so many months later, there were plenty of people aware of my love for the hymn. Sunday morning I heard the words I’d longed to hear: “Please turn to page 226 Comfort, Comfort Ye My People. The Joneses all turned their heads and smiled at me. Eric (age 6) sitting next to me said, “That’s your song.” They understood my joy and shared in it. We sang…

Comfort, comfort ye My People,

Speak ye peace, thus saith Our God;

Comfort those who sit in darkness,

Bowed beneath their sorrow’s load;

Speak ye to Jerusalem

Of the peace that waits for them;

Tell her that her sins I cover,

And her warfare now is over.

Yea, her sins our God will pardon,

Blotting out each dark misdeed;

All that well deserved His anger

He will no more see nor heed.

She has suffered many a day,

Now her griefs have passed away;

God will change her pining sadness

Into everspringing gladness.

For the herald’s voice is crying

In the desert far and near,

Bidding all men to repentance,

Since the kingdom now is here.

O that warning cry obey!

Now prepare for God a way!

Let the valleys rise to meet Him,

And the hills bow down to greet Him.

Make ye straight what long was crooked,

Make the rougher places plain;

Let your hearts be true and humble,

As befits His holy reign,

For the glory of the Lord

Now o’er earth is shed abroad,

And all flesh shall see the token

That His Word is never broken.

Giving Thanks

It is amazing to me how the simple pleasures add up in a day. I try not to miss the little things. When you stop to give thanks for the little things you notice how many there are. After a day full of simple pleasures I often drive home with joy pouring from my eyes. I know I don’t deserve this much joy, and yet He just keeps giving me more and more each day. My Father is the King and I get lots and lots of presents every day. Perfect gifts. And it’s not even my birthday. I am so thankful!

A Celebration of Amanda and Chelsea

Fourteen years ago today, I became an aunt to Amanda and Chelsea. Twins. My Gracielia’s. I got home from school and found the post-it-note my mom had left on the front door notifying me Paula had gone in to labor. I jumped in the car, stuck the post-it-note on my dashboard, and committed numerous traffic violations on the way to the hospital. The border patrol checkpoint mistake I made only delayed me for a little while.

Two new babies at the same time. Double the joy. Double the chubby cheeks to kiss. Aunt squared. From an early age I could tell them apart, except when they had their backs to me or their hair was wet. Only once have I mixed them up. They are the 4th (Amanda) and 5th (Chelsea) of the Magnificent Nine.

When I look at the beauties they’ve become, I can still see them in their fuzzy sleepers crawling around in a heap on the floor, cheeks rosy red, little pink lips, tiny brown curls. I can see them in the little black-velvet dresses, white tights and little black shoes, dancing around the room.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the Gracielia’s every year of their lives. In the past it was three weeks a year on vacation and now it’s every day. The simple pleasures we share are so valuable. A drive home, a trip to the store, a walk around the block. Each day I love them more and more.

Amanda and Chelsea are more alike than different. They are intelligent, beautiful, talented, compassionate, hungry for knowledge, obedient to God and parents, and loyal. They’ve developed individual skills and abilities and flourish in their chosen hobbies.

My sweet Gracielia’s, your love surprises me. I look forward to your laughter and hugs each day. Happy Birthday my gracious princesses! May this year of your life be filled with trips to England and Italy, the perfect shade of pencil, horseback riding, the perfect light, clothes shopping, rolls of film, another published story, lots of things to write about, abundant joy, and trips to my house. Your Tante Lucia

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