Toasting Samuel on Father’s Day 2022

I’ve written before about my adorably delicious Samuel Sandwich gig—a fun little game I play with SamJam every time he comes to my house. You might remember that two pillows serve as the top and bottom slices of “bread.” Together they encase the “Samuel meat” and the tickling “condiments” he receives (endures?) from me before I gobble him up.

Well, for Father’s Day this year, I received two pillows that look like bread to give our game a touch of authenticity—one from Micah and Bethany, and one from Sonya. They were the funniest gifts I think I’d ever received, and I couldn’t stop laughing after I opened them. Of course, I had to try them out right away:

Micah and Bethany also got me a whipped cream spoon (long story, maybe for another post), and two beautiful cards that got me seriously choked up. Sonya got me a few polo shirts and a Japanese maple tree, something I’ve always wanted to get but never did. Her card was excessively kind, too.

Andrew took me to see the new Top Gun movie, which was fantastic. He also sprang for snacks at the theater, so he might need to take out a loan to pay for them! 🙂 It was great for just the two of us to hang out for a while. He’s a wonderful young man.

All this was after a great morning at church and family lunch at our favorite local Italian restaurant. Best Father’s Day ever. I am supremely blessed.

‘I Dedicate You to the Lord’

“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him.” (1 Samuel 1:27)

There’s more to the passage:

“So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:28)

That’s the deep desire of Samuel’s parents, Micah and Bethany, so we dedicated Samuel to the Lord today in church.

Thanks, Pastor Tanner, for your assistance!


The Dedication of Samuel James White
Sunday, June 12, 2022

Twenty-seven hundred years ago, the prophet Jeremiah wrote these words, “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart’” (Jeremiah 1:5). God had a plan and a purpose for Jeremiah—even before he was born. The same is true of you and me today. God has a plan and a purpose for us.

King David wrote, “Lord…you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13, 16). From God’s perspective, no one is here by accident. Before any of us had a place in this world, we had a place in God’s heart. 

We are precious in his sight, and we are valuable to him because we’re made in his image. Young children remind us of that great truth, and that truth is on display here today as we dedicate a child back to the Lord who gave him to us.

The home is God’s chosen instrument for loving and caring for young children, and the primary means by which they learn the sacred truths of Holy Scripture. In other words, discipleship begins at home with believing parents. And so, we dedicate not only our newborn children to the Lord, we dedicate their parents as well, because their responsibilities are great.

In Deuteronomy 6, God said to believing parents through Moses: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). So, learning God’s ways does not begin in Sunday school. It begins in the home. The church can supplement and support the home, but it can never replace the home.

This morning we’re dedicating one child to the Lord—Samuel James White, of whom Jesus would say, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14).

Samuel’s parents will now affirm their intentions by responding to several questions. Micah and Bethany:

Inasmuch as God has given you the gift of Samuel James, will you now consecrate him to God and His service, and will you publicly acknowledge that in so doing, you are submitting yourselves to God’s will for his life, whatever that may involve?

“We will.”

Will you be responsible for bringing Samuel to corporate worship, and teaching him reverence for the Lord and appreciation for his people?

“We will.”

Will you instruct Samuel in the Word of God and encourage him to obey the sacred Scriptures?

“We will.”

Will you endeavor to lead Samuel to know and receive Jesus Christ by faith as his personal Savior and Lord?

“We will.”

Will you teach Samuel, as soon as he is able to understand, the nature and purpose of this dedication?

“We will.”

And finally, will you dedicate yourselves as parents to live godly lives so that Samuel will see Christ in you?

“We will.”

And do you, the family of God here at this church, promise to encourage these parents in godly living and in the rearing of their child in the fear and admonition of the Lord?

“We will.”

Samuel James White, I dedicate you to the Lord in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. May you come to know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior at a young age, and may you grow to love him, serve him, follow him, and enjoy him all the days of your life. Amen.

And now, church, would you help me teach Samuel the most important thing he (or anyone else) could ever learn? [Singing:]

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong 
They are weak, but he is strong

Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me

The Bible tells me so

Amen.

After the service, the whole family gathered to celebrate at Ozgood’s Neighborhood Grill in Robesonia, PA. 


Bonus: Several parishioners told me they were placing bets on where in the dedication service I would get choked up. They were disappointed when I made it all the way through to the end without incident. What they didn’t see is that Samuel fell asleep in my arms a short time later during the praise and worship time. That’s when the floodgates opened. I suppose it was the only time in church history when a dedication was immediately followed by a baptism of the same person. 🙂 Since I couldn’t sing at that point, I just made the song lyrics my quiet prayer for SamJam:

Spirit of the living God
Spirit of the living God
We’re leaning in to all You are
Everything else can wait

Spirit of the living God
Spirit of the living God
Come now and breathe upon our hearts
Come now and have Your way

’Cause when You speak, and when You move
When You do what only You can do
It changes us
It changes what we see and what we seek

Thank You, Lord…and Thank You to All Who Prayed

Now that the joyful blubbering has subsided, I can see well enough to type out a brief update for those who prayed for our precious little Samuel. Readers of TNL may remember that we were concerned about the health of his kidneys and the “painful pees” he would have from time to time. When those traumatic episodes took place, we could do nothing but cry along with him, begging God to give him some relief.

About a month and a half ago, those awful events just stopped, so we were hopeful. Bethany called about an hour ago to relay the good news she received from the nephrologist: The one kidney is clear, the other kidney is stable, and there are no stones or dangerous debris.

Hallelujah!

Praise the Lord!

Thank you, Jesus!

There are, or course, innumerable things in this world that we often feel the need to lament, so it’s totally uplifting when there’s something wonderful to celebrate. As such, I’m going to “Raise a Hallelujah” right now and rejoice in Jesus Christ, my “Living Hope.” Feel free to join in. The fallen world being what it is, we’ll all get back to lament soon enough.

My sincere thanks to all who prayed.

You, too, are precious.

Thank you, dear Lord, our Great Physician, for watching over little Samuel and healing his kidneys. Protect him as he grows. And grant your healing grace to the children of all parents and grandparents whose dear ones need a miracle touch from your nail-scarred hands. Amen.

A Mini-Milestone for the Munchkin

Our beloved Samuel has been part of the family now for six months (plus nine months in utero). He was born on December 1, 2021, so today is the 6-month anniversary of his birth. I’m incredibly blessed to have him in my life. His smile melts my heart, and his laugh—which is getting longer and louder—adds joy to everyone in the room. 

This round of anniversary pictures includes a Phillies theme, not that they’re worthy of his endorsement. 🙂 In fact, adding SamJam to their lineup could only improve things, as the team is tanking again this year despite some good off-season acquisitions. C’est la vie. We’re lifelong fans, not fair-weather friends. 

Anyway, Samuel is “halfway to first,” as they say, so enjoy these snaps of our little slugger.

Bonus:

I posted this shot a few days ago, but I’m including it today because it’s quintessential Samuel—smiling, pleasant, curious, and enthusiastic. Don’t you just want to kiss him and squeeze him?!

Roses and Rhododendrons

On Memorial Day 2022, the front yard roses are in full bloom while the lovely rhododendrons are coming to the end of their run. The white peonies are looking good, and the viola northern lights (if that’s what they are—maybe I should get that flora ID app) are coming along nicely.

Hopefully, the yellow marigolds will fare better than the petunias did last year. Alas, I couldn’t get my hands on red and yellow zinnias this year, so I went with red and white geraniums. I’m pulling for them! Finally, it’s time to put together the hanging baskets. There are a total of ten around the house, so I need to get cracking!

When Do We Say Enough?

Wordless tribute at a school in Macedonia, OH.
  1. Thurston High School.
  2. Columbine High School.
  3. Heritage High School.
  4. Deming Middle School.
  5. Fort Gibson Middle School.
  6. Buell Elementary School.
  7. Lake Worth Middle School.
  8. University of Arkansas.
  9. Junipero Serra High School.
  10. Santana High School.
  11. Bishop Neumann High School.
  12. Pacific Lutheran University.
  13. Granite Hills High School.
  14. Lew Wallace High School.
  15. Martin Luther King, Jr. High School.
  16. Appalachian School of Law.
  17. Washington High School.
  18. Conception Abbey.
  19. Benjamin Tasker Middle School.
  20. University of Arizona.
  21. Lincoln High School.
  22. John McDonogh High School.
  23. Red Lion Area Junior High School.
  24. Case Western Reserve University.
  25. Rocori High School.
  26. Ballou High School.
  27. Randallstown High School.
  28. Bowen High School.
  29. Red Lake Senior High School.
  30. Harlan Community Academy High School.
  31. Campbell County High School.
  32. Milwee Middle School.
  33. Roseburg High School.
  34. Pine Middle School.
  35. Essex Elementary School.
  36. Duquesne University.
  37. Platte Canyon High School.
  38. Weston High School.
  39. West Nickel Mines School.
  40. Joplin Memorial Middle School.
  41. Henry Foss High School.
  42. Compton Centennial High School.
  43. Virginia Tech.
  44. Success Tech Academy.
  45. Miami Carol City Senior High School.
  46. Hamilton High School.
  47. Louisiana Technical College.
  48. Mitchell High School.
  49. E.O. Green Junior High School.
  50. Northern Illinois University.
  51. Lakota Middle School.
  52. Knoxville Central High School.
  53. Willoughby South High School.
  54. Henry Ford High School.
  55. University of Central Arkansas.
  56. Dillard High School.
  57. Dunbar High School.
  58. Hampton University.
  59. Harvard College.
  60. Larose-Cut Off Middle School.
  61. International Studies Academy.
  62. Skyline College.
  63. Discovery Middle School.
  64. University of Alabama.
  65. DeKalb School.
  66. Deer Creek Middle School.
  67. Ohio State University.
  68. Mumford High School.
  69. University of Texas.
  70. Kelly Elementary School.
  71. Marinette High School.
  72. Aurora Central High School.
  73. Millard South High School.
  74. Martinsville West Middle School.
  75. Worthing High School.
  76. Millard South High School.
  77. Highlands Intermediate School.
  78. Cape Fear High School.
  79. Chardon High School.
  80. Episcopal School of Jacksonville.
  81. Oikos University.
  82. Hamilton High School.
  83. Perry Hall School.
  84. Normal Community High School.
  85. University of South Alabama.
  86. Banner Academy South.
  87. University of Southern California.
  88. Sandy Hook Elementary School.
  89. Apostolic Revival Center Christian School.
  90. Taft Union High School.
  91. Osborn High School.
  92. Stevens Institute of Business and Arts.
  93. Hazard Community and Technical College.
  94. Chicago State University.
  95. Lone Star College-North.
  96. Cesar Chavez High School.
  97. Price Middle School.
  98. University of Central Florida.
  99. New River Community College.
  100. Grambling State University.
  101. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  102. Ossie Ware Mitchell Middle School.
  103. Ronald E. McNair Discovery Academy.
  104. North Panola High School.
  105. Carver High School.
  106. Agape Christian Academy.
  107. Sparks Middle School.
  108. North Carolina A&T State University.
  109. Stephenson High School.
  110. Brashear High School.
  111. West Orange High School.
  112. Arapahoe High School.
  113. Edison High School.
  114. Liberty Technology Magnet High School.
  115. Hillhouse High School.
  116. Berrendo Middle School.
  117. Purdue University.
  118. South Carolina State University.
  119. Los Angeles Valley College.
  120. Charles F. Brush High School.
  121. University of Southern California.
  122. Georgia Regents University.
  123. Academy of Knowledge Preschool.
  124. Benjamin Banneker High School.
  125. D. H. Conley High School.
  126. East English Village Preparatory Academy.
  127. Paine College.
  128. Georgia Gwinnett College.
  129. John F. Kennedy High School.
  130. Seattle Pacific University.
  131. Reynolds High School.
  132. Indiana State University.
  133. Albemarle High School.
  134. Fern Creek Traditional High School.
  135. Langston Hughes High School.
  136. Marysville Pilchuck High School.
  137. Florida State University.
  138. Miami Carol City High School.
  139. Rogers State University.
  140. Rosemary Anderson High School.
  141. Wisconsin Lutheran High School.
  142. Frederick High School.
  143. Tenaya Middle School.
  144. Bethune-Cookman University.
  145. Pershing Elementary School.
  146. Wayne Community College.
  147. J.B. Martin Middle School.
  148. Southwestern Classical Academy.
  149. Savannah State University.
  150. Harrisburg High School.
  151. Umpqua Community College.
  152. Northern Arizona University.
  153. Texas Southern University.
  154. Tennessee State University.
  155. Winston-Salem State University.
  156. Mojave High School.
  157. Lawrence Central High School.
  158. Franklin High School.
  159. Muskegon Heights High School.
  160. Independence High School.
  161. Madison High School.
  162. Antigo High School.
  163. University of California-Los Angeles.
  164. Jeremiah Burke High School.
  165. Alpine High School.
  166. Townville Elementary School.
  167. Vigor High School.
  168. Linden McKinley STEM Academy.
  169. June Jordan High School for Equity.
  170. Union Middle School.
  171. Mueller Park Junior High School.
  172. West Liberty-Salem High School.
  173. University of Washington.
  174. King City High School.
  175. North Park Elementary School.
  176. North Lake College.
  177. Freeman High School.
  178. Mattoon High School.
  179. Rancho Tehama Elementary School.
  180. Aztec High School.
  181. Wake Forest University.
  182. Italy High School.
  183. NET Charter High School.
  184. Marshall County High School.
  185. Sal Castro Middle School.
  186. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
  187. Great Mills High School
  188. Central Michigan University
  189. Huffman High School
  190. Frederick Douglass High School
  191. Forest High School
  192. Highland High School
  193. Dixon High School
  194. Santa Fe High School
  195. Noblesville West Middle School
  196. University of North Carolina Charlotte
  197. STEM School Highlands Ranch
  198. Edgewood High School
  199. Palm Beach Central High School
  200. Providence Career & Technical Academy
  201. Fairley High School (school bus)
  202. Canyon Springs High School
  203. Dennis Intermediate School
  204. Florida International University
  205. Central Elementary School
  206. Cascade Middle School
  207. Davidson High School
  208. Prairie View A & M University
  209. Altascocita High School
  210. Central Academy of Excellence
  211. Cleveland High School
  212. Robert E. Lee High School
  213. Cheyenne South High School
  214. Grambling State University
  215. Blountsville Elementary School
  216. Holmes County, Mississippi (school bus)
  217. Prescott High School
  218. College of the Mainland
  219. Wynbrooke Elementary School
  220. UNC Charlotte
  221. Riverview Florida (school bus)
  222. Second Chance High School
  223. Carman-Ainsworth High School
  224. Williwaw Elementary School
  225. Monroe Clark Middle School
  226. Central Catholic High School
  227. Jeanette High School
  228. Eastern Hills High School
  229. DeAnza High School
  230. Ridgway High School
  231. Reginald F. Lewis High School
  232. Saugus High School
  233. Pleasantville High School
  234. Waukesha South High School
  235. Oshkosh High School
  236. Catholic Academy of New Haven
  237. Bellaire High School
  238. North Crowley High School
  239. McAuliffe Elementary School
  240. South Oak Cliff High School
  241. Texas A&M University-Commerce
  242. Sonora High School
  243. Western Illinois University
  244. Oxford High School
  245. Robb Elementary School

Today’s Lament | 05.25.2022

Some days it just seems inappropriate to laugh.

In aftermath of gunman killing 19 Texas elementary students officials, lawmakers look for answers

https://justthenews.com/nation/crime/many-14-dead-texas-elementary-school-shooting-report

If chance be the Father of all flesh,
Disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
And when you hear

State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites Go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!
It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.

– Steve Turner

A Little Bit of This and That

Below are a few “snippets” (i.e., thoughts, quotes, and stats) in no particular order, and arranged around no particular theme. Of course, there are also a few recent snaps of SamJam, along with a video clip of him sitting up for the first time unassisted. What a milestone—from spitting up to sitting up in five short months. Have I mentioned lately how much I love this little guy? 💙

Enjoy!


“When you realize how much you’re worth, you’ll stop giving people discounts.”
– Karen Salmansohn

“I love to go to Washington—if only to be near my money.” 
– Bob Hope

“Orwell’s 1984 was a warning, not a ‘how to’ manual.”
– David Shafer

There are probably some good and compelling reasons for this trend of parents taking their children out of government-run schools:

  • 1970s – 13,000 homeschoolers 
  • 1980s – 200,000 homeschoolers 
  • 1990s – 850,000 homeschoolers 
  • 2000s – 1,500,000 homeschoolers 
  • 2010s – 1,700,000 homeschoolers 
  • 2020s – 5,000,000 homeschoolers

A recent Babylon Bee headline: “Parents baffled that 1 hour of youth group a week not effectively combating teen’s 30 hours on TikTok.”

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
– Jimi Hendrix

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.”
– George S. Patton 

“My pain may be the reason for somebody’s laugh. But my laugh must never be the reason for somebody’s pain.”
– Charlie Chaplin

“The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.”
– Jean-Paul Sartre

“My heart is both my greatest weakness and my superpower.”
– J. Iron Word

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
– Maya Angelou

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.”
– Ernest Hemingway

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” 
– Paulo Coelho

“God has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. You are as much alone with him as if you were the only being he had ever created.”
– C. S. Lewis

What a busy little boy!
I’m not sure that’s how it works. 🙂
Father and son sharing a smile.
Mrs. Mosby used to despise SamJam. “Why did you bring this little crying machine home with you? All he does is steal attention away from me.” Nowadays, they’re learning how to peacefully coexist.

It sounds like mommy may think time is flying by too quickly. I’m sure I don’t want to be around when SamJam goes off to kindergarten for the first time. 🙂

In addition to which…

This year we’re trying red and white geraniums and yellow marigolds in the front flower beds. The petunias were a bust last year. The red, white, and yellow zinnias were great, but the nursery didn’t have any left. Ugh! Maybe next year.

The garden has also been launched. So far we’ve planted squash, zucchini, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes. Food prices being what they are these days, this can only help.

Celebrating Five Months of Samuel with a ‘Samuel Sandwich’

Our little SamJam turned five months old yesterday. I celebrated by eating a whole bunch of “Samuel Sandwiches.” Each one was adorably delicious!

Samuel Sandwich Recipe

Slam one pillow onto the middle of the bed. This is the bottom piece of bread.

Air butter the bread with your hand.

Scoop up the Samuel meat and place him gently on the buttered bread.

Air spurt some ketchup onto the Samuel meat, making sure it tickles.

Air spurt some mustard onto the Samuel meat, making sure it tickles.

Air place some slices of lettuce onto the Samuel meat, making sure it tickles.

Air place some slices of cheese onto the Samuel meat, making sure it tickles.

Air drop some slices of tomato onto the Samuel meat, making sure it tickles.

Air drop some slices of pickle onto the Samuel meat, making sure it tickles.

Air sprinkle some salt onto the Samuel meat, making sure it tickles.

Air sprinkle some pepper onto the Samuel meat, making sure it tickles.

Air crunch some potato chips onto the Samuel meat, making sure it tickles.

Slam another pillow onto the Samuel meat, making sure it tickles.

Air cut the sandwich in half with your right forearm, directly across the belly region of the Samuel meat, making sure it tickles.

Hug the Samuel sandwich and air chew it by rolling around on the bed, saying, “Nom! Nom! Nom! Nom! Nom! Nom! Nom! Nom!”

Remove the top pillow. Remove the Samuel meat.

Say with great enthusiasm, “Again?”

Repeat the process when a smile emerges.

Here are five snaps from the 5-month mark:

Micah and Bethany are such good parents. Their sweet baby is largely happy and contented most of the time. Periods of fussiness do come each day, but they’re not too severe.

One thing SamJam loves is the “Hey Bear Sensory” series, though mom and dad are careful to limit his screen time. He really gets into this particular episode, kicking and cackling through most of it:

Beauty from the Dirt

After my sour little “chuckle” from earlier today, I thought I should say something happy—if for no other reason than to let everyone know I’m not despairing (or going apoplectic) over the absurdities of our day. Better to be a happy warrior than a curmudgeon. Besides, believers are people of hope and resurrection.

Nothing conveys that great truth better than spring flowers. Up from the dark dirt come the bright beauties of the plant kingdom. Red and yellow tulips in combination are among my favorites, though I have many others, too.

I adore my cherry tree, but it didn’t keep its color very long this year because of the late frost. Maybe next year it will do better. The large addition we put on the back of our house a couple years ago necessitated the sacrifice of a glorious hydrangea bush, which needs to be remedied soon. And then there’s that Japanese maple I’ve been wanting to get…

Anyway, here are a few snaps from the front part of our house. May they brighten your day a bit like they did mine.

A Whole Lot of Adorableness

I got to spend part of the day with Samuel—his first Easter. It was a bit of a challenge to get through the second verse of our closing hymn this morning. How could I not think of this beloved child, and the good God who gave him to us?

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

Refrain
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

Below are a couple video clips and a picture of SamJam in his Maundy Thursday outfit. He’s getting so chatty! Yes, it’s a whole lot of adorableness for one post. But, hey, today is a holiday. Thanks for indulging me. 🙂

Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed.

Deeper Magic from before the Dawn of Time

“Though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”

– C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Image Credits: narnia.fandom.com; geeksundergrace.com.