Rubber Duckies and Mashed Potatoes

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted any Samuel pics and clips, so prepare to be deluged with cuteness! Our little Bubby passed the 10-month mark earlier this month, and he continues to be a source of great delight to all of us. Sometimes I have to fight back tears of joy while simply holding him because I love him so much. What a gift the Lord has given us!

I have such a great time with SamJam when we’re together, and I’m exceedingly blessed to be able to see him at least three or four times a week. I’m thinking Christmas is going to be a blast this year. I had better start preparing now for “adorableness overload.” 🙂

Enjoy!

Getting ready for his 10-month photo shoot…

Hold the sign a little higher…

There we go

If you’re happy and you know it…

Helping Grandma do her grocery shopping…

Until it’s nap time…

They do feed me, but when I’m teething…

I could just melt when he looks at me like this…

Plotting his escape…

Held by Aunt Joan…

Video clip time: Learning how to jump…

Learning how to sing and dance…

Making fun sounds on Mommy’s thigh…

Rubber duckies, followed by the breaststroke kick…

Saying, “Ma ma ma ma ma ma ma…”

Giggling at “My Turn, Your Turn”…

First time eating mashed potatoes…

Learning to say, “More” using sign language…

Celebrating the Phillies post season run…

Coming over to see Grandpa…

BONUS

I performed a wedding last weekend at Camp Swatara, and the autumn leaves were breathtaking…

Our Cackling Little Bubby

Samuel is such a happy little boy (except, of course, when it’s nap time). Lately he’s been hootin’ and hollerin’ and having a grand ol’ time with his newly discovered capacity for cackling. There’s even a brief clip below of daddy helping him learn how to scat. Maybe he’a a jazz singer in the making. It’s hard to believe he’ll be nine months old in two days. He’s an endless source of joy and laughter, and I love him to pieces! Enjoy a few slices of life through a child’s eyes.

Response to mommy coming home from a wedding shower.
Loving life on daddy’s shoulders.
Watch out, Ella Fitzgerald!

And a few pics…

Helping around the house.
First time in a grocery cart.
Just being adorable! 🙂

The Beach Bubby Is Back!

I missed this little guy so much last week while he was at the Outer Banks. From the pictures we received, it looks like he had a great time on his first trip to the beach. He also tasted ice cream for the first time, and the video below registers his verdict. (I may have given him some myself last night while we were watching him for a few hours. Shhh!!!) Oh, and I’ve made about a dozen “Samuel Sandwiches” since his return. 🙂

Bonus

Thank you, Kirby Keller for the new “squish baseball.” Dr. Keller caught it at a recent Reading Phillies game we attended together and gave it to Samuel. This could be the start of something big!

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 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.

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.

God’s Love in Slow Motion: A Few Odds & Ends before Holy Week Begins

Holy Week can be one of the most significant times in a believer’s worship year. During these days, we clear our calendar to focus exclusively on the events of Jesus’s suffering, death, and resurrection, which are at the heart of our faith. Our attention during this special week is directed toward the person and work of Christ as:

  • the triumphant yet humble King (Palm Sunday);
  • the servant of God and mediator of the new covenant (Maundy Thursday);
  • the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Good Friday); and
  • Christus Victor—the risen Savior of the human race (Easter Sunday).

Holy Week itself grew out of the simple observation that 28 of the 89 chapters in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)—32 percent—are devoted to the period of time between the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and his ascension into heaven. Yet this period is less than 1 percent of Jesus’ entire three and a half years of public ministry. 

In terms of literary style, then, such space allocation suggests that while the birth, life, teachings, and miracles of Jesus were important to the authors, it was the passion of Christ and his resurrection from the dead that were centrally important to their purpose in writing. It’s almost as if each of the four Gospels is a Passion Narrative with an extended introduction!

By way of analogy, modern writers and filmmakers often arrange for the action of their stories to slow down when they reach their most critical moments, using techniques such as freeze frame, slow motion, and extended coverage. The technique of slow motion is used, for example, in the important race scenes in the movie Chariots of Fire, where the director captures and accentuates each runner’s agonized expression before the finish line. The impact is significant. 

The amount of application of such techniques in storytelling is proportional to the importance of any given scene to the larger work. It’s no exaggeration, then, to say that the Passion Narratives present to us the incomparable love of God in slow motion. Believers seek to revel in that love during Holy Week, changing up our routines and realigning our schedules to Gospel-centered considerations.

As such, I won’t be posting chuckles and other items along those lines during the coming week. Anything appearing here will be topics and themes associated with Holy Week. Therefore, below are a few odds and ends before I sign off for a bit.

First, Samuel’s nephrology appointment is this coming Tuesday. Hopefully, we’ll get to see if his kidneys are improving and learn if any advanced treatments will be necessary. Thanks for praying!

Samuel at 4.5 months.
A piano player in the making?

Second, we found out earlier today the gender of Samuel’s new cousin. There’s a little girl on the way! My nephew’s wife is scheduled to have her baby in August, and we’re all over the moon.

SamJam and Aunt Rachel, who will give him a cousin in August.
Bethany and Samuel; Rachel and ?; and Amy and Jamie.

Third, I had a blast at the Phillies’ game yesterday. I went with a theology prof who loves the game of baseball as much as I do (even as we lament the politicizing of professional sports in this country). Neither of us had ever been to Opening Day before, so that was a real treat for both of us, especially since the weather was perfect and the Phillies won. Below are some snaps of the opening ceremonies.

Opening Day 2022 at Citizens Bank Park.
My baseball and theology buddy, Ken.
Batting practice comes to an end.
A paratrooper descends into the ballpark.
Thankfully, a safe landing.
Even the Phillie Phanatic parachuted into the park!
The staff and players are introduced for the new MLB season.
The massive flag for the national anthem.

Finally, the Dutch Apple’s production of Singing in the Rain was very well done and well worth seeing. We went today with a family friend who likewise loves the arts. 

The Dutch Apple dinner theater in Lancaster.

Blessings to all—whether you observe Holy Week or not!

The Doctor Says He’ll be Giggling Soon

My apologies for being so delinquent in posting pictures and videos of Samuel lately. Alas, the pile has been exceedingly high this year. 

It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but I had to push the pause button on dissertation number two for a couple months to take care of another writing project requiring my attention. Thankfully, it’s almost finished, and I should be getting back to the Second Temple veil soon enough—a subject I find endlessly fascinating.

Anyway, the doctor tells us SamJam will be giggling soon. I don’t doubt it. He makes the most delightful sounds on a regular basis. My favorite is the gurgling riff followed by a high-pitched, “Ahhh goooo.” I think he’s trying to tell us something. 🙂

I am supremely blessed to be able to see him for several hours at a time, five or more times a week. And I’m loving every minute of it! Having him in my life these past (nearly) three months has virtually tripled my joy! Thank you, Lord, for this precious, precious child, and his wonderful parents.

He’s even more fascinating than the Second Temple veil.

A few pics and vids for your enjoyment…

I’m Running Out of Adjectives

So, I’ll just put this here. Be still my heart!

(SamJam is off-center only for a few seconds. He’s nearly seven weeks old here.)

Edit: At a particularly difficult time during labor, Bethany looked at Micah and said, “What if he’s uggo?” The question itself is hilarious, but Micah’s reply still has us in stitches: “Then we’ll keep him in the basement. Just keep breathing, honey.” Well, I think we can agree the baby is not uggo! 🙂

Cuteness Overload (Again!)

Micah and Bethany are such good parents. They’re diligent about Samuel’s feeding time, tummy time, play time, reading time, and so much more. It’s fun to watch them grow into their new role as parents. They’re killing it, even though it’s a big adjustment and a lot of hard work! I’m so proud of them!

In this clip, I think SamJam is trying to talk to me. 🙂

* EDIT *

Some bonus shots for SamJam’s 1-month anniversary:

Not Sure How Santa Got This Down the Chimney

I’m not sure how Santa got this thing down the chimney, but I’m glad he did. I’ve never had a power recliner before, but this is a high-end Bassett that’s super sturdy and comfy. 

This wonderful piece of furniture was for yours truly. “Hers truly” got a silver Bach Stradivarius trumpet. This top-tier instrument is stunning and is supposed to be played only with gloves or a hand cloth.

Both are kingdom tools. One is for reading and writing. The other is for praising and worshiping. 

As nice as these things are, the best Christmas present this year (besides Jesus) was the new addition to the family. Samuel didn’t make a peep during the entire Christmas Eve service—even with our brass team belting it out during the opening carols. And, yes, he slept through the sermon! 🙂

Today I got to babysit him for a couple hours while Bethany went to a doctor’s appointment. What a blessing that he lives less than 15 minutes away. I’m utterly smitten with this little munchkin and have to share a few snaps from the past few days.