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

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.

In a Jeep! Beep! Beep! Beep!

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.

Be blessed, and have a great week! 

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…

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.

Cookies, Stockings, and All the Holly Jolly

1. It’s cookie making time chez nous. On the menu this year are decorated sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms, and chocolate chip cookies. We may even try a batch of pizzelles on our new iron. We’re a bit behind in decorating and baking this year because of the recent new addition to our family, so we’re trying to keep it simple. Fortunately, we’re catching up fast, and we’re almost back on schedule. Alas, red and green sugar sprinkled on round sugar cookies may have to suffice this time around in lieu of the shapes and the icing.

2. Speaking of the new addition, I had to add a stocking to the mantle over the fireplace this year. The occasion was just another opportunity to shed a few more tears of joy in the process. (Yes, we INTJs can extrovert our F; we just tend to do it privately. But it’s no less deep than folks with other MBTI combinations.) Samuel could probably fit into his stocking at this point! Talk about a great gift!

3. With the dissertation, the end-of-semester grading, caring for a relative with Alzheimer’s, and helping a new mother adjust to the new normal, it can feel a bit overwhelming at times. But I’m choosing to keep the jolly in the holly at all times. What’s the alternative? Besides, the gift of new life has provided great joy this year and a certain re-orientation to priorities, so some deadlines will just have to wait—especially those I impose on myself. I’ll get stuff done when I get it done. 

4. Sadly, I won’t be able to write and post a bunch of Christmas devotionals this year like I did last year, so I’ll probably just write a single new one and post it next week, perhaps Wednesday. I may also re-post the one that got all the hits last year (“Have Yourself a Snarky Little Christmas”). We’ll see. If the cookies turn out o.k., I may post a few pictures of those as well. Other than that, I’ll just look at all the wonderful posts you supply this year! 

5. The Christmas Eve sermon this year is called, “The Mirror in the Manger” from Luke 2:35. What a night it’s going to be. My family always joins me at the front for the closing hymns in the candlelit darkness, and this year we’ll have a new singer. (We should probably teach SamJam that line about Jesus—“no crying he makes”!) The beauty of the Christmas Eve service is rivaled only by the majesty of the Easter morning service. Both convey the earth-shattering love of God to a world that has lost its way.

6. Speaking of love, it really does make the world go round, doesn’t it? It can manifest differently in different seasons of life, and it and can certainly deepen over time, but it never goes away (1 Cor 13:8a; 13). Thank God for that. 💙

Be well, everyone. And have yourself a merry little Christmas.

A New and Glorious Morn

Samuel James White 
Born: Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 7:40 a.m.
Reading Hospital, Reading, PA
7 lbs. 10.8 oz.
20.5 inches
Blonde hair and eyelashes

The pediatrician says, “He’s perfect,” but we already knew that. 🙂

Can’t wait to meet you “SamJam.” You’re just the third blood relative I have on the planet (that I know of).

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!

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!

– Bill and Gloria Gaither

Labor Day(s)

I have permission to share that Bethany is at the hospital right now (as of Tuesday, November 30 at 9:45 a.m.). It looks like Samuel James (“SamJam”) is on the way. Prayers for mother and child (and daddy, too) are much appreciated.

You can send up a quick prayer for me, too, as I’m melting into a puddle of tears right now.

Thanks!


Early Afternoon Update:


Mid-Afternoon Update

Contractions every two minutes. Now discussing pain management. (3:53 p.m.)

Hospital COVID protocols have forced me to wait at home, so I’m just praying, texting, and “brutzing.” I’m told Bethany is still calm and has had no tears yet. Thank you, Lord.

She’s still able to smile and laugh periodically, but it’s about to get real. (4:42 p.m.)


Late Afternoon Update

Samuel’s head is in a good position. No cord issues. (4:42 p.m.) 🙌

Oh my word. Bethany just FaceTimed me to make sure I was o.k. How selfless is that? (She knows no father wants to see his little girl in pain.) She looks terrific and is in great spirits. (5:23 p.m.)


Evening Update

Pain meds slowed her down for a while, but she’s back to steady contractions and excellent vitals. I guess the little guy will come when he’s good and ready! (8:36 p.m.)

Breaking her water now. (10:09 p.m.)

And it just got real. Praying, dear one. (10:27 p.m.)

Epidural. (11:25 p.m.)



In the meantime…

HT: Sara Gummo
HT: Sara Gummo

Early Morning Update

The epidural is now done, and the small crew at the hospital is getting a nap. This adventure is a lot like my son’s birth. It’ll be a while before we get to pushing. (12:05 a.m.)

Translating a Latin text (Pseudo-Cyrpian) as I await the news. LOL. (12:53 a.m.)

9.5 cm. (1:27 a.m.)

Crowning. (4:05 a.m.)

Still pushing. She would like to be done. But she’s having all sorts of conversation between pushes. (6:14 a.m.)

This guy really wanted to be a December baby.


Welcome, dear child!

Just got the call of a lifetime!

Samuel arrived at around 7:41 a.m. (official time TBD).

I could hear him crying in the background. Loveliest thing I’ve ever heard.

I’m told he has hair, and Daddy cut the cord.

Physically and emotionally drained right now, but waves of joy are rolling in.

Signing off now for some badly needed sleep.

More details later.

💙

And the Winner Is: Diaper Pong!

Now that was a baby shower! What a great turnout. And we all had a wonderful time. (Alas, I had to slip out to teach a class for a couple hours, but I got my share of celebrating in.) Everyone was so kind and thoughtful. Bethany’s network of support really came through to bless her with practical items needed by a first-time mom. It was the power of love and community in action, and I was touched. It was also great to see so many old friends and out-of-town family members.

My favorite game was Diaper Pong. Bounce a ping pong ball into an open diaper hanging on a board and win a prize. I tried to persuade my daughter that first prize should be a bowl of chocolate pudding with a glass of lemonade, but she vetoed the idea. (Yes, 7th grade humor is my specialty.) The Make-a-Onesie station was also a hit. My favorite design was the one that said, “I’m always getting picked up by the ladies.” Ha! I’ll remind him of that when he’s 16 or 17. It was a self-catered event, and everyone pulled together to pull it off. We couldn’t have asked for a better team or a lovelier day. 

So, now it’s getting real. Samuel is on his way, and we’re doing our best to get ready for him. What Peter said of Jesus could be said of SamJam, too: “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you…are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8). Amen.

Along with the joy is a prayer request. Bethany’s placenta needs to move about 1.8 cm in the next seven weeks to be able to deliver naturally. Otherwise, it will be a C-section. She’s not opposed to that since her platelets are low, which would prevent her from getting an epidural. That does not sound appealing to her at all! So, the general prayer is for the safety of both mother and child, and the wisdom to make good decisions when the time comes. Thanks for remembering her to the Lord.

Oddly enough, my son and I got into a fun conversation today about the Styx song “Come Sail Away.” Stranger things have happened, I suppose, but that was kind of random. We talked about surface meanings and hidden meanings, and the universal quest to journey toward love. Since “sailing away” fits with the nautical theme of the shower, I’ll include it below.

Have a great rest of the weekend! 

Thanks for coming!
Coffee, tea, water, and blue punch coming up.
Homemade desserts by Mimi (Samuel’s paternal grandmother).
Setting sail with homemade cupcakes.
A place for guest pictures.
Instructions for the Onesie station.
Mom and dad’s gift opening station.
The “Guess Which Family Member” contest. (My “Gotcha Day” picture is in there. Can you tell which one?)
Just waiting for the meatballs and the chicken salad.
I think we’re ready to go.
Guests begin to gather.
A fellow adoptee…and a little cutie!
Everyone was supposed to bring a used book. We gave Bethany her very first Bible (which we’ve kept over the years) to give to her son. The Word of God will be here long after we’re gone.
Our gift to Samuel.
Mom and dad reacting to a cool pair of mini cowboy boots.