It has been a very soggy day. It's as if all of the rain we've been missing lately all came at once. With gusto. And lightening. Boy, has the light show been impressive.


My mother has come down with some sort of bug and needed to be resting today so I got to take my dad to a doctor's appointment. The days can get so busy tending my kids and all the stuff that comes with life in general that time to visit with my parents apart from the daily phone call doesn't come easily. While I am not happy my mother is sick it was nice to have to put everything else aside and go spend time with my dad.


I was left alone in the examination room for a few minutes while they took him back for an x-ray. While I was holding his things I breathed in the familiar scent that is my father. I can't describe it really. It's a mix of him, his aftershave, the laundry detergent my mother uses, and just their house, their smell. It's the smell of comfort.


My parents are getting older. They're having to adjust to a new season of life and it's one that I imagine is kind of uncomfortable. Limitations and the reality of not being able to keep doing all the things they've always done they way they've done them is not a whole lot of fun. Not wanting to be a burden on me and my sisters also weighs on them.

But as I buried my nose in my Dad's vest and smelled deeply the smell that is him, I realized what a privilege it is to care for our parents as they grow older. And, more importantly, I wish for them to see it as an honor. My Dad has earned every ache and pain he feels now because for years his body has faithfully done what he asked of it whether it was jumping 255 times out of an airplane with the 82nd airborne division during his time in Vietnam, or slinging a hammer or any of the other physical labor he did most of our lives to provide for our family. My Mother is moving slower but all of my life I have seen her go from one act of service to another, always helping wherever there was a need.

My parents are still pretty young. There is still much that God has for them to do. But they also will be learning the art of receiving gracefully that which they have always been the ones to do. And while there are some small things that are changing it's not like it's anything too drastic. But there is change happening and probably more in the years ahead.

So to my precious parents I say, you may not like this new season of life...you may find the limitations a great big pain in your backside...you may be frustrated by needing help when before you didn't. But trust me when I tell you that we, and I know I speak for all of us girls, are beyond thankful that God has given you to us and it is our great joy to love you and do things for you.

It's how you raised us. So, please don't begrudge our obedience to what you taught us as we seek to show you the honor due you as our parents. Honestly, we don't mind.



Despite the dreary weather it was a lovely day of worship and feasting with friends. After a busy busy week we sat down as a family for dinner and now on to a movie. Napoleon Dynamite. Only three of us have seen it and the others are eagerly looking forward to it. My beloved seems to be of the opinion that it will become a Hadding family classic. I am somewhat skeptical but we'll see.

A holiday family favorite is the Grinch with Jim Carrey. Sam and Sarah were looking at some kind of memes after dinner that came from the beloved movie. As you can see whatever they were it was amusing to them both.



This kid.

Oh, my goodness does he make me smile. He is so full of exuberance and life. He didn't ask to be on the running team. He asked if he could retire after his first race. He tells his coach that he is going to be too busy next year to run.

But he puts in his miles faithfully each week without complaint and without being told he needs to do it. And he is quick to encourage his teammates to keep going and not give up. (Which is really funny because in the beginning right in the middle of practice he would just decide he was done and stop and walk.)

On race day he is all there. Ready to run, ready to enjoy the pre/post race party.

This morning he bounced into my room, where I was still sleeping thank you very much, and in a very Tigger-esque kind of way free styling his favorite geico commercial, "Guess what day it is, Mom? Guess what day it is?"

Race Day!

He was so proud of his time. His coach had given him a 23 minute goal for the USO Airport run. He came across the finish line at 21:59.

He could have come in faster and slower though as far as I am concerned. I love this boy so much just because of who he is and how he lives his life...so fully and wholeheartedly.


 He looks more than just a little like his proud father standing behind him doesn't he?


For the last eight years or so I have participated in a fun photo challenge each December. I didn't label the image in yesterday's post as part of the project but it was the official start of the photo-a-day for the next 25 days.

Today, I did some work at my kid's school and then finished up by taking some fun pictures of the senior class. That means that I easily shot over a thousand pictures today. (My eyeballs are tired y'all!)

No reason in particular that I choose this one other than I liked the composition. I literally held the camera over their heads and pressed the shutter. It's of our K5 class excitedly playing a math game dreamed up and developed by their teacher. It has dice to roll and nickles, dimes, and pennies for counting. You should have heard the giggles and seen the little eyes alight with pleasure. They were enjoying their math lesson!

DPP_2016_Day_Two


One would think after spending so much time thinking and talking about deep things one would have something profound and meaningful to say. But sometimes those things make us quiet and just tired after a while. So we rest from the talking and the thinking and we end up hearing.

The memorial service yesterday was as painfully beautiful as one would expect something of that sort to be. So much sorrow but at the same time so many reminders of God's faithfulness.


Thinking about it last night I was struck that this week of Advent is hope. There is your profundity and meaning. 

Do you know why we grieve with hope? Do you know why we look at the news of plane crashes and wild fires and everything crazy going on in our world and still find hope?

Because over two thousand years ago a baby was born. A star glowed in the sky and angels sang. 


Our hope isn't that the savior will come, we have hope because He has come.

Death isn't the end. Sad stories will get a happy ending. Every injustice will be made right and the earth is being renewed.

Take heart, Christian. Despite how things seems, how you might be tempted to think, how you might even feel, all is well.

Hope has come.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith ~ more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire ~ may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 
~I Peter 1:3-7


Death, no matter when it occurs, is a difficult thing for us. It is especially hard when the one no longer with us is young. Last week our community suffered a shocking loss that even now, almost a week later, we struggle to wrap our brains around. Sam told Sarah yesterday that he didn't know what to do with these emotions he was feeling. When she asked him what he meant he explained that he felt loss and he never had before and he wasn't sure what to do with it.


While it may not be the first time some of us have felt loss we are all struggling with it. The questions have flown fast and furious since the news broke last week. What happened? When did it happen? How did it happen? We want answers. We need to make sense of it and somehow if we ask the right questions and get all of the answers we can make sense out of the unthinkable, the unbelievable, the unbearable.



When I was praying for the family last week I asked God to be merciful. And as soon as the words left my mouth I stopped. In my mind being merciful meant that this father and mother would still have their son. That a boy would still have his big brother. That a girl would still have her boyfriend and people would still have their friend. It was a very harsh reminder that His ways are not our ways.





It was a stark remembrance of the sin that taints our world and the one who seeks to destroy. It was a reminder that death is always ugly and painful but is also a defeated foe. Somehow, out of this hideous sorrow God is working out His good and perfect will. On this side, for those of us left to grieve and search for understanding, we feel the heaviness of a precious life gone. But Grant David, he stands before his King, holy and without regret that his life seemingly ended too soon. He knows, in a way that we cannot yet know, that from his first breath to his last, his first step to his final one, that he did what God required of him. 

And God's mercy? It is here, fully present, as we come together to weep with those who weep. His mercy shades our grief with the hope and truth that this separation is only temporary and that one day we will all stand before our King, knowing fully, finally,  just as we are fully known.

Later today many of us will gather for a memorial in honor of our young friend. Tears will fall and more than a little laughter will be heard as stories are told and memories are revisited. We will realize our questions don't matter and we'll realize the answers we have sought aren't really the answer. Mercy will be found as we come together, one family, but truly one body, in His name sharing in a burden far too heavy for one or two or even three to hold.

"Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all." 2 Thessalonians 3:16


Have you ever smelled something and the scent instantly transported you to a long ago memory? Noxzema does that for me. I smell it and immediately my mind is flooded with childhood recollections of sandy beaches and sunburns. Isn't it remarkable how God engineered us so that scents and tastes can bring to mind such vivid memories?

One bite of this cake is a reminiscent mouthful of Christmas past. Seriously, it is the flavor of Christmas with its tangy orange zest, fresh cranberries and spicy overtones. The cranberries give it a zing like the crisp winter air. Rather poetic I know but really, it is the flavor of the holidays I think. Try it and let me know what you think.

cranberries_oranges_pound_cake_ homemade

What you'll need:

For the cake ~
3 cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup orange juice
2 TBS orange zest*
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese**
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups fresh cranberries

orange_zest_cranberries


What you'll do:

Whisk the first three ingredients together and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together until smooth.
Add eggs one at a time.
Mix in the vanilla, orange juice & zest, spices, and mascarpone cheese until well combined.
Add in half of the flour mixture. 
Stir in the buttermilk.
Mix in the remaining flour mixture just until the flour disappears.
Gently fold in cranberries.***
Pour into a well greased bundt pan. (I am a huge fan of Bakers Joy.)

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 to 20 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
Let cake rest for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Coat the cake with the orange glaze and allow to completely cool.
Pour the orange cream cheese frosting over the cake.

Orange glaze:
Mix 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar with 1/3 cup orange juice until smooth.

Orange cream cheese frosting:
Mix together 4 oz softened cream cheese with 1 TBS orange zest, 1/4 cup of orange juice, and 2 cups confectioners sugar until smooth.



This is one of those cakes that really taste even better the day after you make it and the flavors have all gotten cozy with each other so don't be afraid to make it up ahead of time!

*    Orange zest...smells so good!
**  If you can't find mascarpone cheese you can use 1/2 cup sour cream.
***My family enjoyed the cake but found the cranberries a little too tart for their liking. I figure the         next time I make this I may reduce the amount down or leave them out all together.


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