Sunday, August 21, 2011

Davis is Three!

On July 24 we celebrated Davis' third birthday! It's hard to believe that my "baby boy" is already three years old! Davis has grown up so much this past year and it has been fun to watch his personality bloom. Typically a reserved little guy, Davis has definitely come out of his shell as of late. Both at home and at church, according to his teachers, he has found his voice and is talking more and more. He still loves to sit on mommy's lap and will hitch a ride down the stairs whenever possible, but more and more he is hanging out with the big boys.

Some of his favorite things to do are playing with cars and trucks, swinging, coloring with markers, eating just about anything dipped in Ranch (and eating in general), watching Toy Story, and giving hugs to his little sister. Carter recently moved into Davis' room to make space for a school room and the transition has gone incredibly smoothly. Now both sets of boys share rooms which has so far been a really fun experience for them.

On Davis' birthday we started the day with a birthday muffin. Davis enjoyed having all of us sing to him before he blew out the candle. Look at that grin!

We celebrated later on with a party at Grammy and Pappy's house. Both sets of grandparents were there along with Uncle Eric and soon-to-be Aunt Mandie. Davis made the most adorable birthday boy with his ear to ear grins.

Giggling as we sang "Happy Birthday".

Grammy and Claire helping to celebrate.

Mommy with the birthday boy.

Davis excitedly opened his gifts. He was talking up a storm and so, so happy!

A tractor from Grammy and Pappy!

His very own Clifford from Gramma and Grandpa!

A puzzle from the O'Connors in South Carolina!

We love you sweet boy. Happy 3rd birthday! Mommy and Daddy are so blessed that God gave you to us. We love you Davis!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Boys' Baptism

One evening in February of this year I was reading a story to Grant and Bryce before bedtime. We had been reading through Missionary Stories with the Millers, a collection of inspiring stories about missionaries written for children. That night the entry was about Jim Elliot, a missionary to the Auca Indians in Ecuador. I mentioned to the boys that this missionary went to the country where Luis (our Compassion child) lives, which caught their attention as they had recently received a letter from Luis. Many of the stories in this book tell of amazing ways that God protected and provided for missionaries. This story was different in that Jim Elliot, a man who desperately wanted to share the gospel with the unreached tribes in Ecuador, was martyed by the very people he desired to share the good news of Jesus with. After reading the story, the boys and I talked about how it was sad that Jim Elliot was killed but that he did not lose his life in vain. He was obedient to what God told him to do and later on other missionaries (his son included!) were able to lead many of those same people to the Lord. Jim Elliot had previously written in his journal, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." Jim Elliot went to be with the Lord in heaven immediately after his death. He was willing to risk it all, so to speak, because he knew with certainty where he would be spending eternity.

We spoke of how we can know for sure where we will go when we die. We are all going to spend eternity somewhere and we have to decide now, while we are still living, whether or not we are going to accept Christ's offer of forgiveness. The boys were really intrigued by the story and were both very interested and asking questions. Bryce spoke up and said that he wanted to be 100% sure of where he would go when he dies. Leading up to this he had shown a sensitivity to spiritual things and it had been clear that he had been thinking things through for himself. So, I was able to share several verses with him from his Bible right there in his room. Some of the verses we read were:

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:24

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

Bryce asked to pray with me and with Grant helping, right there in their room Bryce prayed to thank Jesus for dying on the cross for his sins, ask for forgiveness and to commit to following Christ. After we prayed Grant asked me to to pray with him also. Grant had prayed before (in his Sunday School class with Gramma Waagner) but wanted to pray again to be sure. It was so neat to see God at work in the lives of my oldest boys and to be able to share this special moment with them.

Since then Brian and I have witnessed the Lord working in the hearts of Grant and Bryce. While only God can truly know their hearts, we have seen evidence that the Holy Spirit is influencing their decisions, desires and attitudes. The very next morning after saying that prayer in his room Bryce came downstairs carrying his bank. He told me that he wanted to send money to people in Ecuador like Luis (the child we sponsor through Compassion International). I was touched by his willingness to share so that others could hear the good news of Jesus' love for them. I asked him how much he wanted to send. Bryce then took out all the money in his bank and said he wanted to send them all of it. I was amazed. And convicted. And certain that this was a God thing. I hadn't mentioned anything about sending money to help the missionaries. While the total amount was in reality a small monetary gift, it was so neat that Bryce was willing to send all he had. What an example he was to me that day!

Since then the boys expressed an interest in getting baptized. We explained the meaning of baptism to them, that it is and outward expression of what has happened on the inside--how God has cleansed them of their sin. They've been forgiven because they have actively believed and repented. We looked up several examples of baptism in the Bible together. We believe that baptism is an expression of their faith; the act of baptism itself does not save them but shows others that they have trusted in Jesus Christ for their salvation.

In July both and Grant and Bryce were baptized at our church. We were so happy for their decisions and grateful for the opportunity to share in this special event with them. We pray that their hearts will remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit and that their relationship with God will continue to be not just a priority (although that too!) but a passion for them. We are excited to see all that God has in store for them as they follow Him!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Topsail Island, NC.

In July we were able to spend a week at Topsail Island, North Carolina. It was a real treat to get to vacation with family and even more of a thrill in that this vacation was also a Waagner family reunion. The Waagners rented several houses within walking distance of one another and spent time together soaking up the sun, boogie boarding, kite flying, hanging out at the pool, ghost crab hunting, and sharing meals together. Gramma and Grandpa helped out with the kids enormously, making it a true vacation for Brian and me. All the kids had a blast. Grant and Bryce got into boogie boarding, Carter really got brave in the water and Davis and Claire enjoyed digging in the sand and munching on snacks under the umbrella. It was altogether a wonderful time and a fun and memorable week.

Hangin' out in the shade.

Gramma and Claire

Out to dinner at a local seafood place.

Topsail Island is located near Camp Lejeune and the boys loved seeing the military helicopters fly over the beach.

Peeling shrimp in preparation for our Waagner Luau!

She loved the sand!

Davis on the beach.

Claire and Daddy.

Watch out for those claws, Bryce!

Claire enjoyed being entertained by Grandpa.

Uncle Walter "showing Grant the ropes" on his trick kite.

Carter liked kite flying.

Playing putt-putt. Davis was so proud to play with the big boys.

Mandie and Bryce with their origami creations.

Aunt Susannah with Claire.

Surfer dudes.

Chatting after our feast. We had so much fun spending the week with family!