Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Meet Findlay Mahony Boyd Byers!

In anticipation of her grandson’s birth, my friend Betty Jo said, “Babies change everything—and make it better.” So true!

Findlay Mahony Boyd Byers was born at 3:25 a.m. on Wednesday, April 14, at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Edgewood, Kentucky. He weighed 7 lbs 6 oz and is healthy and alert. We are so blessed.

I keep thinking of Psalm 126:3, “The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.” Seeing his parents’ adoring gaze took me back to when Steve and I were that way about Josh and then Kelsey. That flooding of love that fills a new parent is indescribable.

The name? Stephen and Kelsey chose to honor their love of Cincinnati (Findlay Market a favorite), Kelsey’s birthfather (Kevin Mahony, who died 5 years ago), and us (Boyd). That’s a big handle for such a little baby, so at times it’s shortened to Finn. I’m guessing that’s what he’ll be called by his peers.

So even though I have writing assignments, housework, and paperwork to catch up on, I want to feature baby Finn in a blog post. He is so precious. We were also blessed to have our other grandchildren, Kinley Abigail and Knox Andrew, here from Lafayette, Indiana, for the weekend, so of course one picture must include them. Their names: presidential (Wm McKinley and James Knox Polk) plus Bible (strong woman and servant disciple.) So what’s in a name? In our family, quite a bit!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Best Wedding Present Ever

The combination of stress and excitement that accompany a big wedding cannot be matched by any normal life activity. Even those who try to have a small, intimate wedding become overwhelmed by the details of their vision of a simple event. So I especially enjoyed helping my niece Sarah with her well-planned wedding.

Sarah married Bobby Castro Saturday at the Patrick Ranch in Durham, California, the rural community where she grew up. The expected glorious California spring weather turned cold, windy, and eventually wet. So three hours before the wedding we moved everything into a barn, and with the help of family and friends transformed it into a beautiful setting.

Thirteen of us, Sarah’s relatives, traveled from Tennessee, Indiana, and Kentucky to participate in the festivities. She’s always lived across the country from us so we haven’t known her as well as her sister Beth who attended college in Tennessee. We were positively impressed with her organized wedding plans, her graciousness to all who came, and her concern that everyone be well taken care of. Her new in-laws adore her and we could see why. Bobby is a good match for her—a fun-loving person himself, but willing to let her enjoy the limelight at any time.

All this is prologue to explaining the best wedding gift I gave them—and one I give to every newly-married couple I care about. Right now, she probably values her Cuisinart food processor more, but the other gift does not require a credit card, or gift-wrapping, or finding a place to store or display it.

The best wedding gift Steve and I are giving them is an intangible one: we pray for them daily for the first year of their marriage. We pray for their continued love for each other, for them to be unselfish and thoughtful in their marriage, and for them to show appreciation to each other for the small daily actions that make life smoother for each of them. We pray that they will put God first and serve him together.

We tell them about this gift, and on their first anniversary we send a card reminding them that we followed through on our promise. We hope this will encourage them in both their marriage and their spiritual lives. I encourage all you pray-ers to give this gift to couples you love. It obviously will help them, but you also will have a greater awareness of them and their life together. This is not a patented idea—I freely offer it to you to use as needed!

Monday, April 05, 2010

"In Christ Alone"

Though stating the obvious, I must say that God is pretty awesome. Yesterday I heard a great example of how he cares and works in our lives in even the smallest things.

My friend Ruth is dying of cancer. The doctor gave her “weeks, not months,” a few weeks ago. She is a strong woman of faith and flatly says that she’s lived long enough to know there are many things worse than death. Losing her is hard for us to imagine, for she is vibrant, funny, talented, and involved in everything possible—and all to the glory of God.

Last week I was listening to Keith and Kristyn Getty’s marvelous CD, In Christ Alone. I hadn’t listened to it in months, and I was struck by how many of the songs seemed written especially for Ruth. So I copied onto a CD for her “Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer,” “In Christ Alone,” and “The Power of the Cross.” I took the time to type up the words to the first one, which seemed especially suited to her attitude.

Saturday, she and her daughter-in-law Sandy listened to the songs, and Sandy reminded her that “In Christ Alone” was a song she connected closely with Ruth and had wanted Ruth to hear. Ruth listened, then said that she would understand the words better if she could see them in print.

On Sunday, “In Christ Alone” was one of our special Easter songs and everyone got a copy of the words and music, written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. Ruth was able to be there for Easter worship, constantly rejoicing. She received the words to the song and got to share communion with her many family members present. Wasn’t it wonderful of God to work that out so well?

“In Christ Alone” is not a new, trendy song. It’s been around since 2002. But this week everything came together for this song to encourage and uplift Ruth and her family. Thank you, God! You are incredible. And I’ll just warn you, though I’m sure you’re prepared: Ruth is going to shake things up when she gets there!

Words to “Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer,” music by Keith Getty, words by Margaret Becker:

Jesus, draw me ever nearer
As I labor through the storm;
You have called me to this passage,
And I’ll follow, though I’m worn.

May this journey bring a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart’s testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.

Jesus guide me through the tempest;
Keep my spirit staid and sure;
When the midnight meets the morning
Let me love You even more.

Let the treasures of the trial,
Form within me as I go—
And at the end of this long passage,
Let me leave them at Your throne.