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. 💙 💙 💙
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.
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.
Snip, snip here! Snip, snip there! Watch the barber cut your hair. It’s the perfect place to stop. Sneak a peek in the barber shop!
– From a children’s book I read to Samuel.
Our little Bubby had his first haircut today. He did well—no fear, no tears. Of course, it helped that he sat on daddy’s lap the whole time. 😊 He also went to a new park today, and he enjoyed it. All the swings were new to him, as was the merry-go-round. He had to think long and hard about whether or not he liked spinning around in a circle like that.
I can hardly believe it, but Samuel turned 16 months old today. Yesterday he helped me celebrate my birthday. Actually, I got him two presents. Nothing wrong with that, right? They’re riding toys, and he had a blast breaking them in. (As noted previously, I’m the softie. Haha! I enjoyed going back and looking at that post again.)
💙 💙 💙
Samuel got me a matching picture frame for his brother’s sonogram, and I adore it. One birthday anticipating another. I can hardly wait to meet Levi.
Micah and Bethany are such good parents. Below are two clips that make my heart smile. The first is Mommy reading a “dino-snore” book to Samuel. He’s learned to yawn and snore at just the right time during the story. It cracks me up every time I watch it. The second clip makes me a little nervous, but it’s still adorable. Daddy gets a bit physical in mimicking the “Swish! Swish! Swish!” line of “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” song. Please don’t drop our little Bubby, Micah! 🙂 💙
On Mother’s Day 2021, Sonya was opening her gifts from her children. At one point she held up a gray T-shirt and started to cry. I was sitting on the other side of the room and couldn’t see what it said. I thought to myself, “I’m sure it’s a very nice T-shirt, but we don’t usually cry over T-shirts now, do we? So, what’s up with that?”
What’s up with that was the writing it featured on the front: “Best grandma ever.”
“Is this true?” she asked with a gasp.
It was. And after she turned the shirt around to where I could see it, I started to cry, too. Micah and Bethany were expecting their first child. As readers of This New Life well know, Samuel James White was born on December 1, 2021. I’ve been utterly smitten ever since.
Bethany always felt kind of bad that her mom got the news a split second before I did, so on Christmas Day 2022, I opened a similar gift. This one had a little red Christmas stocking in it with a piece of paper inside. “What in the world is this?” I thought. I was mystified—until I saw that the little paper was actually the sonogram of child number two.
I may have cried again once the news sank in, causing the others to wonder what was going on. It was my turn to be smug this time as Sonya was sitting across the room in confusion. Eventually everyone came to realize that Samuel was getting a sibling.
Last night was Micah’s birthday. We celebrated at Dogood’s Tavern here in Myerstown, and then we came back to our place to give him his gifts. To our surprise, he then gave us a gift. We had a hunch it might be some sort of gender reveal, much like they did for Samuel.
Sure enough, when we opened the box, a little white onesie greeted us with the joyful announcement:
Hello, my name is Levi Timothy.
Samuel has a brother, and that brother’s name will carry my own. Are you surprised that there may have been more tears? I’m still stunned. And I’m smitten with Levi already. This week he’s the size of a lemon.
We expect to meet Levi sometime around July 18, 2023. Until then, my prayer for him will be Luke 5:28: “And Levi got up, left everything, and followed [Jesus].” Come to think of it, that may be my lifelong prayer for him.
Until Levi makes an appearance, Samuel has the stage all to himself. So, here you go…
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.
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. 🙂
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!
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.
“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?
Will you be responsible for bringing Samuel to corporate worship, and teaching him reverence for the Lord and appreciation for his people?
Will you instruct Samuel in the Word of God and encourage him to obey the sacred Scriptures?
Will you endeavor to lead Samuel to know and receive Jesus Christ by faith as his personal Savior and Lord?
Will you teach Samuel, as soon as he is able to understand, the nature and purpose of this dedication?
And finally, will you dedicate yourselves as parents to live godly lives so that Samuel will see Christ in you?
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?
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
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
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? 💙
“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
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.
Metaphorically, the headline could refer to me on quite a few occasions. Literally, it could refer to Samuel on some recent occasions. (I missed him so much while I was away this past week!) Enjoy a few brief clips and pics of this precious little boy that I just can’t get enough of.
Samuel’s daddy drives a Jeep SUV, so it’s only natural that he should have his own Jeep, too. In fact, somewhere in his wardrobe is probably a onesie that says, “Crawl. Walk. Jeep.” Like father, like son.
That’s why we were thrilled to find a baby book called, Jesus Is with Me, the words of which can be sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells.” One of the lines in it says, “In a jeep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Jesus is with me!” That one reference made it a must-purchase. It reinforces the simple truth that Jesus loves and cares for children, and he is always with us.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:14-15)
Below are a few recent snaps of this little cuddle bug I adore so much. I may be brave and post a video someday of this silly “cheek thing” I do that he gets a kick out of. He’s on the verge of giggling every time I do it, especially when I combine it with bare belly zerbits. (His bare belly, not mine.)
Thanks for your continued prayers for his one kidney. About once every two weeks he has a really painful pee because of the calcium debris. It’s heart-wrenching when that happens, and we all just cry along with him. His appointment with the nephrologist is scheduled for mid-April, and we’re hoping to get some answers at that time.
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.