More on Our Little Nugget

Joy abounds as we get to spend more time with Levi. Micah revealed his first nickname: “Nugget.” So, now we have Bubby and Nuggy. 😊 Samuel is learning what it means to be a big brother, and his interactions with Levi have been charming. Mommy and daddy have been working hard to make Samuel feel special despite all the attention his baby brother needs right now. So, there are some snaps of him below, too. He’s in “Sudsy Bubby” mode. Enjoy! 

💙 🩵💙 🩵💙 🩵💙 🩵💙 🩵

Bubby Bonus:

For Bible Scholars Who Need a Good Laugh

To the extent that this clip is “inside baseball,” my apologies. But everyone can appreciate a silly song with a high-level rhyme scheme, right?

I can’t even write a limerick for my wife. The only thing that rhymes with “Sonya” is “lasagna.” So, yeah, this is pretty brilliant.  I may do a slight re-write at some point: “I am the very model of a biblical urologist”! The possibilities are end-less.😊 

Photo Credit:

Levi Has My Genes

Levi is home now, settling into family life. It’s been quite an emotional week watching it all unfold. Since I’m an adoptee with no connection to my biological family, Levi is just the fourth blood relative I’ve been able to meet (after Andrew, Bethany, and Samuel). So, Levi has my genes! According to his paternal grandpa, he also has my mouth. Speculation is growing already that he’s going to be a preacher. 😊 

As is our custom, I read Psalm 139 over him when he got home. Cue the waterworks.

For you created my inmost being; 
you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. 
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 
your eyes saw my unformed body. 
All the days ordained for me were written in your book 
before one of them came to be.

Before any of us had a place in this world, we had a place in God’s heart. And Levi now has a place in our hearts, too. He is precious and perfect, and all of us savoring this wonderful gift the Lord has entrusted to us. 

I promised some pictures, so here goes:

Bethany was amazing throughout the whole process of labor and delivery.
Welcome to the world, Levi. We have loved you for nine months already.
Micah and Bethany are so thrilled with their new bundle of joy. They are wonderful parents.
Yes, here is news worth broadcasting! Also, Levi is the first in our family to have a July birthday. 💙
Sleep in heavenly peace, dear one. Your family back home is eager to meet you.
The precious cargo is strapped in and ready to come home for the first time.
Samuel loves being with his gaga and papa, but he really missed his mama and dada.
Mama and dada really missed Samuel, too. ❤️
Samuel’s first look at his baby brother.
Samuel seemed to sense that this was a special moment.
Oh, the fun these two are going to have together. 🙂
We are smitten. And we’re grateful for a safe delivery and a healthy baby.
We’re working hard to let Samuel know is is still important to us.
If little boys grow up to become bigger boys, is the same true for buses?
Being a big brother is hard work.

Welcome to the World, Dear One

Samuel’s brother Levi Timothy was born today at 5:35 a.m., checking in at 8 lbs., 8 oz., and 20 inches long. He is so precious—ruddier, chunkier, and hairier than his brother, who he was born nineteen months ago. Maybe they should have named him Esau. 😊 

I’m told Bethany did well. She was accompanied by her husband, mother, and mother-in-law, who is a nurse. After about 9 hours of labor, she needed only four pushes when the time came. 

I wasn’t able to blog through the night like last time because I was babysitting Samuel—which is always an utter delight—but I was keeping up with all the action by phone. And, of course, when I heard Levi’s strong and healthy first cry, I melted into a puddle of tears. Again. 

Samuel saw pictures of his baby brother this morning, and he was able to say, “Levi”! I will share some pictures later. For now, here’s a hymn that is meaningful to me this week in light of both the tragedy of premature death (a good family friend) and the beauty of newborn life (Levi Timothy). 

The song is in desperate need of an update, but the message is timeless and true: God is always there. In good times and bad.

The Bubster’s First Time under Water

Samuel got to hang out with some of his cousins at the pool on Independence Day. Below are some snaps from the great time he had on the bright, sunny day—including a slow-motion clip where he goes under water for the first time. What a cutie! 💙

Meanwhile, the crew on our side of the family yesterday went to see The Sound of Freedom, the incredible story of Tim Ballard, a federal agent who rescued a boy from child traffickers. After learning the boy’s sister was still a captive in the Colombian jungle, Ballard quit his job (because of bureaucratic red tape) and embarked on a dangerous mission to save the young girl from a fate worse than death.

It’s not uncommon for me to get choked up at poignant moments of a good flick, but this was different. I tried three times to stand up and walk out of the theater after it was over, and two times I had to sit back down and continue the blubbering. It was an ugly sight. As I seem to remember, the same thing happened after the last Jim Caveizel movie I saw in the theater.

Yes, everyone needs to see this movie. And, yes, we all need to be angry, sad, disgusted, and—above all—mobilized to action. I’m pondering how our family (and church family) might be able to contribute to the solution. Speaking of angry, Disney stood in the way of this movie’s release for five years. Walt would roll over in his grave if he know what a slimeball enterprise his company has become.

Unrelatedly, this coming weekend we’re headed to Cooperstown, NY for an anniversary trip. Friday will be a Puccini opera, Saturday will be the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Sunday is the art museum. So, we’re checking all the important boxes here—music, sports, and the arts. 😊

Our son took this picture from our front porch as the sun was setting on Independence Day 2023.

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Just had to share this brief clip of our little Bubby saying the name above all names (along with a few other odds and ends below). It took my breath away when he said it, not unlike when he said “Bible” a few weeks ago. His receptor language skills have always been good, and now his oral capacities are taking off. Best of all, we get to see him again tonight. Let the spoiling begin continue!


I should be arrested.
Haha! But the Avalanche Ranch was a blast.
When a great actor conflates his lines.
Haha! The MBTI meets Sesame Street!
Speaking of introverts…

Credits: Our Daily Bread, The Trend Spotter, The Babylon Bee

Three Weeks from Today

Levi Timothy is supposed to arrive three weeks from today. It’s quite possible, though, that he’ll come early. I’m told his head is down, and he is in just the right position to come at any time. We’ll just have to wait to see what happens. We’re all so excited to meet him!

Meanwhile, Samuel continues to charm. He’s speaking full sentences now—a third of which is usually discernible to us. The rest makes sense only to him. He’s a happy little boy, and he loves coming to our house. That’s good because we love having him! 💙

We’ll have to work doubly hard to make sure he still feels special when his brother comes along. I think we might be up to the task. 🙂

He loves the water. I’m thinking that might be genetic.

“I love being outside.”
“Ladies first.”
“Playing with my cousins is a blast!”
“I like the slide, too.”


Samuel has places to go in his new car. In fact, his mommy has a birthday four days from now, and she may have a new car, too. Shhhh!!!

Et cetera

I forgot to share with y’all that I’m the sheriff this week at our church’s Avalanche Ranch Vacation Bible School. I even have my own personalized badge. 🙂 Haha! I learned my very first Bible verse at a VBS many years ago as a child: “God is love” (1 John 4:8b). Not a bad place to start, eh? We’re having a blast with all these munchkins.

Listen to the Rain

Praising God here in eastern Pennsylvania for the desperately needed rain. How could I not think of the ever enchanting sounds of Enya? Water seems to be a major motif in her work. 

“Listen to the Rain”
“Echoes in Rain”
“A Day without Rain”
Diaphanous dynamism!

I should also share a hymn we did yesterday that doesn’t get enough airtime. Our folks were blessed, and maybe you will be, too.

Jesus, I am resting, resting
in the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
of thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon thee,
as thy beauty fills my soul,
for by thy transforming power,
thou hast made me whole.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
in the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
of thy loving heart.

O how great thy lovingkindness,
vaster, broader than the sea!
O how marvelous thy goodness
lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in thee, Beloved,
know what wealth of grace is thine,
know thy certainty of promise
and have made it mine.


Simply trusting thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold thee as thou art,
and thy love, so pure, so changeless,
satisfies my heart;
satisfies its deepest longings,
meets, supplies its ev’ry need,
compasseth me round with blessings:
thine is love indeed.


Ever lift thy face upon me
as I work and wait for thee;
resting ‘neath thy smile, Lord Jesus,
earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
sunshine of my Father’s face,
keep me ever trusting, resting,
fill me with thy grace.


Photo Credit: “Rain’s Rustle in the Park” by Leonid Afremov

A Musician in the Making?

I’ve been really bad at posting lately. My apologies! It’s mostly because the latest chapter for my dissertation was 60 pages long. Oh, and there are nine appendices totaling 139 pages. Maybe I overdid it. 😊 Anyway, here are some recent clips of the Bubster. I think he’s a musician in the making! He brings so much joy to our lives. I’m off to read something light and airy for a few days before I start the next chapter. Any recommendations?

A song about Mama and Dada.
Carrying a tune.
Ringing the bell.
Where do we go on Wednesday’s? Papa’s and Gaga’s!
And who gets him the ice cream?
When the electricity goes out, tubby time can be done with glow sticks in the water!

Only 6 more weeks until we get to meet Levi.

💙 👶 💙 👶 💙 👶 💙 👶 💙 👶 💙

Sticker Shock!

Micah and Bethany recently got Samuel a Cocomelon sticker to put on his wall. He was absolutely thrilled with it. He started yelling, “Bus! Bus!” because he associates Cocomelon (or as he likes to say, “Coco”) with the video the two of us most often watch together: “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round.” After that, we usually watch, “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” followed by “The Bath Song.” Then we try to do something less passive and more cognitive, like reading books or playing in the yard.

Speaking of the yard, the flower beds are now mulched, and the Mother’s Day flowers are now planted. This year we’re trying geraniums (red and white) in the back row, and marigolds (burnt yellow) in the front row. For the ten hanging baskets, we’re going to give impatiens (multi-colored) a try. We’re also trying impatiens (purple and lavender) for my mother-in-law’s flower patch. We also planted tomatoes and peppers in the garden. Lots more to come, but it’s a good start to the new season. Such a joyful time to be alive. 💙 💙 💙

The new Cocomelon sticker.
Helping Daddy Micah with the yard.
Helping Daddy Micah wash his car.
Did Daddy Micah help Samuel wash his car?
The new vanity license plate.
When you can’t even wait to get out of your pajamas.
Flower beds mulched.
Geraniums and marigolds planted.
The blooming roses.
Decorative rock wall restored (though I need to work on it more).
My Japanese maple is giving it a good go.
Back to another Samuel clip: “Bubby bubbles!”

The Best Bubby Ever!

I was out of state last week teaching a doctoral residency (along with conducting another remote learning course, a prayer meeting, a variety of staff meetings, and even some dissertating). I couldn’t wait to get back and see our little Bubby. (Yes, and everyone else, too.) In fact, I got choked up on the flight home at the thought of reconnecting with this little munchkin and getting to make a “Samuel Sandwich” again. 

What a joy to return to this adorable, pleasant, and wonderful little boy. His receptor language has always been good, and now he’s starting to talk up a storm. He said “Bible” the other day, which was another reason to get choked up. He was also the ring bearer at a wedding last week. He’s only 17 months old, but he made it down the aisle (with a little help)! 

He’s the best Bubby ever, and every day I get a little more smitten. Below are some random snaps and video clips, in no particular order. 



Happy about eating out.
Exploring the great outdoors.
Pondering the mysteries of the universe.
Too cool for school.
Time for a piano lesson.
Working in our flower bed.
Taking a happy break.
Challenge accepted.
Dressed for the wedding.
Out on the dance floor.
Down the slide with “Gaga.”
Sing us a song, you’re the piano man.

Out of gas, but resting up for tomorrow.

In addition to which…

Here are a few bonus pictures that didn’t upload the first time.

Trying to eat a grilled cheese sandwich in one bite.
Lots of room to roam.
The label on the swing gets it right.

I May Have Just Melted

We took Samuel to the Twilight Acres Creamery & Bakery in Womelsdorf yesterday. It’s a charming little shop that makes for a great Friday Fun Day. The ice cream and baked goods are outstanding. We had a lovely time together, and the little guy still apparently remembers our date. (See video below.) Earlier on Friday Bethany and I went to Hobby Lobby and then had lunch at the Longhorn Steakhouse. Bubby charmed the whole restaurant. I may have gotten him a Cocomelon doll at the store because he kept saying “Co-co,” which charmed me

Friday Fun: New England Khakis

It’s been an extra joyful week this week, so I just had to post one of these. (Our little Bubby stayed overnight last night, so I’m over the moon. Also, after completing all the translations and primary source analyses, I started writing chapter 1 of my dissertation!) Actually, I can’t remember the last time I did a Friday Fun post, so let’s see if I still remember how to do this. Samuel is smitten with his new Cocomelon school bus, and I’m smitten with this laugh-out-loud meme. Enjoy both! And have a great weekend.

Variety Is the Spice of Worship, Scripture Is the Meat

We sang a lovely new (for us) song yesterday in church. It’s called “By Faith” by Keith and Kristyn Getty, which came out in 2009. (How did I miss that one?) We didn’t try to replicate the Irish pipes in the intro, but we did the rest as written. It’s structured like a hymn, but it feels more like a contemporary praise and worship song—my favorite combo, though I appreciate many kinds of music styles.

Currently we sing at least two organ-led hymns every Sunday with piano, flute, and trumpet accompaniment. We also sing at least two worship songs led by a piano, keyboard, flute, cahon, and two vocalists. We’re looking to add a guitar in the near future, and maybe some more vocalists. So, it’s an “ancient-future” approach to worship that we’re practicing these days.

Even when we add a second service, which will likely be band-led instead of organ-led, we’ll still retain the richness of our hymn heritage, albeit with some updated sounds. Regardless of music style, however, robust worship is an act of rebellion against the powers of darkness. That’s why we look for the meatiest stuff out there. What do you think of “By Faith”?

Yesterday we also sang Kari Jobe’s “Forever,” which always sends my spirit soaring. And, since we had a guest speaker from Gideon’s International, we also sang “Ancient Words” by Lynn DeShazo, a simple yet profound piece about the power of God’s eternal Word.

Whatever worship styles we use in the future, our church will always give significant time in the morning worship service to lectionary readings. As Paul said, “Devote yourself to the public reading of scripture” (1 Timothy 4:13). Too many churches read a short passage of Scripture before the sermon, and that’s it. But that’s not enough for our spiritual nutrition, IMHO.

Our two hymns yesterday: “God Hath Spoken by His Prophets” and “Take Time to be Holy.” It was a marvelous time of worship, and the congregation got a much needed break from me. 🙂