kassia and a farewell kiss to summer

It's hard to believe nearly a month of summer has evaporated since last I wrote. 

That tall glass of sweet tea we call summer is nearly empty; just a few more swallows and the only thing remaining will be the condensation on the outside of the proverbial glass. 

This summer was like none before it. We name our summers around here. And we've had the summer of the grasshoppers, the summer of the okra, etc. This summer was the summer of the baby.

We got in a few swims, but as the temps rose and my belly stretched, I just didn't have that confidence that I could really rescue one of the boys if the need arose. And though I swam up into the seventh month of pregnancy, the laps decreased from my regular mile swim down to a handful of laps and a few stretches in the shallow end. Then finally, I sipped flavor infused ice water in the shade while the three boys played slip and slide in the backyard. 

The boys biked while Alan ran along the Swamp Rabbit Trail. They're growing up, going farther, giving Alan a pretty good workout. And they worked alongside him--even Mark--as Alan became my backyard hero, conquered the honeysuckle and pokeweed and who-knows-what-else vines in the backyard, then transformed his 99 Dodge caravan into the pick-up it should've been, loaded up more-than-he-cared-to-count trips of mulch from the Schneider tree people's free-to-the-community pile, and let me dream up the rest of what we'll plant come fall (or next spring, or the following fall). And then he took on the paint project--a shed and the cinder block building that's trying desperately to turn into a study space. For me, it was the summer of the baby; for the guys, they may well have dubbed it the summer of sweat.

Then late July we welcomed that sweet fragrance of a newborn--this time a girl. Kassia Jane (beautiful fragrance, beloved). And we do love her ... so much!

Praise the Lord for a safe delivery, albeit three weeks early by planned C-section, thanks to the uterine rupture of my last delivery. But all is well. The boys adore their little sister. I can't say I mind hearing, "Mommy, I washed my hands; can I hold her?" umpteen times a day. And my recovery has gone very smoothly, much helped by the generous labors of my mom and other family and friends who have chipped in with meals ... and even laundry. 

Yep, even laundry. The bearings on our washing machine went out just as we were arriving home with baby. That was just one of the many "series of unfortunate events" that took place over the first three weeks of being home. Very thankful we had decided (for the first time ever) for him to take some paternity leave. But so much for snuggling with baby while I slept and he wrote his dissertation. (A pregnant woman obviously dreamed that crazy utopia up.) Still he was a good sport. We all learned a few handy things. And I love my new Whirlpool washer and dryer.

In the midst of all this, I have seen God's providential faithfulness and great kindness. During this same time period, I have wept with those who have had much more consequential loss than household amenities--friends who have lost family members in a tragic bus crash; I read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, opening up the reality of life in war-torn Afghanistan over the last three decades, the life of many women trapped in the cultural/religious bondage of Islam. And I think, my problems are not really problems, not in the grand scheme of things. And I meditate on how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not just for times of peace and prosperity, how it meets the need in every culture, in every time of tribulation, for every single one of us ... if we will but yield to His truth and love. 

His truth/faithfulness and love/mercy have kissed one another. And it's a good marriage. In every season. 

And then it was the last weekend before school started. That last sip of sweet tea before the ice cubes clank in the bottom of the glass. And I'll write about that later--this last weekend. For now, I need to go enjoy it ... and that baby girl. :) 

Hope you enjoy your last sip of summer too.

Grace and peace, 
with love,


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