A Letter to My Mama

Happy Christmas to All

Dear friends and family,

How do I sum up a year? We entered 2016 with hope and joy. In early December of 2015, we moved into our new home and were starting to settle in as we started the new year.

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But life got busy. We had to adjust to changes in schedule and although they were slight (we only moved about a mile from the parsonage where we had previously resided), we found that this had a profound effect on our family. Lindsay was involved in orchestra and chorus and her middle school musical. Ethan was in orchestra and band in addition to Tae Kwon Do. The combination of all of these activities and an increase in evening meetings for Dave resulted in a frazzled family. We didn’t like it.

And then we decided to add a puppy, which has been amazing and awful and all the things you would expect from a puppy.

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Introducing Sadie Pemberley Lothlorien Daye!

Our lives had become busy and crazy and we knew that something had to change. As we prayed, it became clear to us that God was leading us to start homeschooling our kids. I can look back at it now and see how God was preparing my heart for that decision, because instead of feeling inadequate or overwhelmed, I felt assured and confident that if God was calling us to homeschool, he would also provide all that we needed to do it.

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Soon after we made this decision, we welcomed our new associate pastor and his dear family to join us in ministry. We are amazed at God’s goodness in allowing us to work closely with this dear family who have become like family to us. Our kids adore one another and Al and Rachael have blessed Dave and I in more ways than we could express.

As wonderful as this has been, it made for a very busy summer for Dave. We did not take any vacations and we didn’t have any of our extended family visit, so we were thankful for friends who came to see us and for our church family who loves us well.

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Lindsay started 8th grade, Ethan 6th, Gibson 2nd and Ainsley preschool at the newly founded “Daye Academy” at the end of August. After extensive research, we decided to take an eclectic approach to homeschooling for our first year. It has been a successful endeavor thus far and the kids are thriving. They love the opportunity to study subjects that they are interested in and are working hard. It has not been without its struggles, but we are thrilled with the opportunity to spend time together as a family, to know where our kids are excelling and where they need extra help, and to make memories together.

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While things were going well at Daye Academy, my dear mom’s health started to fail. We had planned to have her visit us for Thanksgiving, but instead we traveled out to Kansas to help her move into a nursing home. It was completely unexpected and heartbreaking, but we were also keenly aware of the privilege we have been given to be loved by this woman of God and grateful for the opportunity to be with her.

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As her health has continued to decline and then hearing good news followed by a decline and then good news again, my emotions have been raw and I find myself on edge at the same time trusting God’s perfect plan, his sovereignty and his grace. Jesus being called Immanuel, God with us, continues to be a sweet concept for my aching heart. I have faced many hurts and sorrows this year, but God is faithful and He is good. So as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, I am reminded to cling to my Shepherd King!

And so from our house to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a very happy new year! May  you know a hope that anchors your soul in the midst of sorrows and difficulties and may you know peace that passes all understanding. In all things, may love and joy abound in your heart.

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With deep affection,

The Daye Family

A Letter to My Mama

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Dearest Mama,

I blogged my way through losing Daddy and every single post your encouragement was there, your gratefulness for my words, your love for me shining through.

So how am I supposed to do this, Mama? How do I struggle through the losing of you without you being there to tell me you are praying for me? That you love me?

I can’t see the screen through my tears, yet I must write. My words have been jumbled up inside of me for too long. I have tried to be sensitive to the hurts of others, never wanting my words to upset others. My words have slowed down. Homeschooling the kids has consumed much of my time. Taking time to write has felt impossible.

But then I remember how you have appreciated my words, how they have encouraged you, how you have told me to keep writing and once again, I am drawn to this place. Because I can’t tell you. I can’t call you up and tell you that my heart is breaking and I feel adrift on another sea of anguish. I can’t tell you how I cried in the bathroom with the fan on, because my kid’s hearts are breaking too and I didn’t want them to hear me. I can’t tell you about the book that Lindsay is writing that you will never read (you would love it!). About how Ethan asked me if he could read out loud to Gibson the other day (knowing that you would understand why this is a big deal). How Gibson had to write “I will not lie. Lying is a sin.” twenty five times for a punishment the other day (and the reason why we would laugh about that!). About how Ainsley has been wearing a scarf you made for Lindsay almost every day (and how we can’t turn around in her room without seeing something you made!).

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I want to tell you about the mudroom bench that your son-in-law has been making. I want to talk with you about the fact that I am finally going to make it to Mexico next year (I’m sobbing again!). I want to tell you that I haven’t had time to type up any more of Daddy’s sermons and how I hate that I won’t finish this project in time to honor you.

I love you, Mom. I know I haven’t always been good at loving you, but I am so grateful for your forgiveness. Thank you for your love for me and your willingness to grow in your understanding of me. Thank you for saying “I’m sorry”. I didn’t know how much I needed that until you said it.

Losing Daddy has given me the desire to live intentionally, not taking anything for granted and so I am grateful for these past 3 years of being able to share life with you so freely. This will always fill me with thankfulness.

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Thank you for making our house a home. Thank you for demonstrating through your selflessness how to care about others. Thank you for showing me how to be a pastor’s wife and for unknowingly preparing me my entire life to support my husband in ministry. Thank you for working diligently to help provide for our family. Thank you for making countless ring bologna sandwiches for my lunches, for faithfully attending every football game to watch your girls march in the band, for taking me to violin lessons and advocating on my behalf to find a new teacher, for giving us $1 and a kiss when we went to Knoebels, for sewing many dresses (my favorite will always be the long white dresses over the red blouses!), for teaching Good News Club, leading VBS and heading up Mission Minded Kids. Most importantly, thank you for being the one to pray with me to accept Jesus into my heart.

So when you say “Bye, I love you, I’ll see you in heaven”, it tears my heart in two, but it also gives me great joy, because you have given me the two greatest gifts in life- you chose to give birth to me even when the doctor told you to consider abortion AND you led me to Jesus and faithfully taught me to love him more and more. Through all of that, you have never stopped praying for me. I know you love me, you have proven this, and I will see you in heaven, because you faithfully shared Christ with me!

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I love you, Mama. Always have, always will.

Love,

Becky

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. ~Joshua 1:9

 

 

Chasing After Sunsets

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Driving through sun soaked countryside,

meandering, journeying, questing,

we think it will never end.

Hill after rolling hill,

cows and sheep, horses and dogs,

we are enthralled by each new sight.

Little churches dot the hills,

their steeples raised in praise to God,

our hearts and voices lift in response.

Creeks tripping over rocks,

bridges and barges and asphalt and arches,

rural merging into urban seamlessly.

And then, unexpectedly,

the clouds start turning pink and orange,

the sun making its steady descent to the horizon.

It lights the earth on fire,

thrilling, exhilarating, enchanting,

the silhouette of trees against the blazing sky.

Our hearts start to sink with the sun.

Because we know.

The departure of the sun means the advent of darkness,

and so we begin pursuing, speeding, chasing the sunset.

We can’t bear to see it end,

we can’t let go.

Yet it continues to slip out of our grasp,

our chasing unsuccessful.

And then, our hearts revive.

“What is this we see?”, our thoughts thunder,

as the super moon emerges through the trees.

In our chasing, we almost missed the beauty, the enormity, the immensity,

of the other hanging light,

the promise of life eternal.

When darkness threatens to overwhelm,

the light shines brightly still.

In our hearts, in our memories, in our legacies.

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Stock

Every time I have written in this space of late, I have had to apologize for my long absence. I would like to get over that by writing more frequently. Does it matter to the world if I write? Probably not. But it matters to me.

It matters, because I have four pairs of eyes that watch me every single day. They watch to see if I mean what I say. Writing is important to me and so I need to write. I am raising children who I pray will pursue their passions despite the naysayers and the critics in their life. I pray they would be the unique individuals God is making them to be. Doesn’t it then follow that I would pursue my own passions and seek to be who God has made me to be?

Today, I had coffee with a dear friend and as we talked, I was reminded of why I write. And then I asked my friend to hold me accountable. Turns out, she is really good at that. And so, I am writing this post, because she has challenged me to do so. It’s a “taking stock” kind of post- one where categories have been given and the expectation is to write whatever comes to mind. Random. This is good. This is my life right now!

Thank you, Cass, for always inspiring me, always challenging me and always loving me.

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Making : Right now I am working on an advent calendar for my kids. Last year, our Christmas season was incredibly busy as we moved into our new home on December 12th. I am so excited about the opportunity to do our advent calendar tradition again this year. Each day in December, leading up to Christmas, my kids will open up an envelope that contains a Christmas activity, event or service project that we will do that day. It is a lot of preparation, but the rewards are exponential.

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Cooking : This week, my kids have helped with the meal planning and preparation. Lindsay made lasagna rollups, Ethan made meatloaf and Gibson picked a taco bake recipe that I actually ended up making, because he was busy raking leaves and playing with his little sister. I love involving my kids in cooking! It wasn’t until I put the shopping list together that I realized they all chose something with ground beef in it! As a result, we will also be making a fish dinner this week.
Drinking : I can’t stop buying apple cider every time I go to Wegmans. And pumpkin spice lattes. I am fully embracing all things Fall- at least for a few more weeks!

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Reading: I finished reading “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty in two days. It is my current book club book and not a book I would recommend to everyone (some mature issues and swearing), but I love books that tackle hard issues in a fun way. Moriarty nails this genre. I am currently reading “Life Creative” by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart. It is about inspiring moms to live out the creativity God has worked into their lives. I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m feeling inspired already. I am also reading “Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World” as a resource for the Sunday school class I am teaching on Biblical Femininity. It is written by Carolyn McCulley and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand what the Bible really says about women and their role in society.

Wanting: My daughter asked my husband what he wanted for Christmas this year and he said, “Peace on Earth”. More than ever before, this is truly what I want. I am so saddened by the division in our world, in our country and in the Church. I know it is naive to think we could all get along, but reconciliation seems so unattainable. There is so much hate, so much discord, so much condemnation. And so, I continue to pray for truth in love, unity of spirit, and genuine compassion.
Looking: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about fixing my eyes on Jesus. I am tempted to look in so many other directions and then I wonder why I am anxious, bitter, frustrated and angry. I need to look in the right direction and keep my eyes focused there.
Enjoying: It might be completely unpopular to say this, but I am enjoying having my kids with me all the time. There. I said it. I love seeing them when they are at their best. It’s a joy to watch the excitement in their eyes as they learn something new. And rather than feeling overwhelmed without a moment to myself, I actually feel the opposite. My oldest is able to babysit her siblings freeing me to go grocery shopping alone. Or meet a friend for coffee. And my older ones read to, play with and take care of the younger ones. It’s awesome. When they are at their worst, I know why. I know if they are tired or struggled with a concept. I don’t have to worry about them being misunderstood or getting into a fight with friends. I’m there to mediate these things and I know the hearts of my kids better than anyone (except their Daddy- he knows them pretty well too!). I am able to confront sinful behavior and witness the joy of reconciliation (clearly, I could write a whole post on this subject alone!).

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Waiting: I’m waiting to hear good news after weeks of not so great news. Waiting is HARD!
Liking: I’m liking the feel of Sadie’s fur as she snuggles up next to me. This puppy has been a lot of hard work. But she is also a great joy. Even when I don’t like what she does, I still like her an awful lot.
Wondering: What will our country be like after next Tuesday? I have always had a strong dislike for politics, because it brings out the very worst in people. I struggle to understand how wonderful people (generally) can be so venomous and speak with such hatred towards others. Do we really love our country? If we do, then wouldn’t we be seeking unity rather than a system that further divides and alienates anyone who disagrees? The strength of America has become its weakness.
Loving: I am loving the vibrant colors of Fall. I watched a leaf fall today, gently carried by the wind and I was left wonder struck.

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Listening: My little ones are in bed, their siblings are at youth group. I am listening to the whir of the refrigerator and the occasional sounds of my husband’s saw as he works on a bench/locker system he is making for our mudroom. I miss seeing him as often as I would like (he has been working every spare moment to complete this project!), but I am so grateful for his ability and his passion. We are the lucky ones who get to enjoy his hard work in his shop!
Giggling: I find myself laughing every single day over something Ainsley will say. The other day, Lindsay said that she felt really good about being able to memorize the definitions for her science test. Ainsley said,  “You’re one smart cookie!” She saw “the gum tree” at a college we visited and said, “Free candy!”  And often when she says bye to her Daddy, she says, “Bye, Buddy! Hope you find your Dad!” She’s funny, she’s witty and her vocabulary is ridiculous for a three year old. Yep. She makes me giggle.
Celebrating: I have a friend who turns 40 tomorrow. And one thing I have learned for sure in the past year and a half is that 40 is worth celebrating!
Embracing: I forgot to mention that I am in a Bible Study that is working through Priscilla Shirer’s book “The Armor of God.” It has been so good. Lately, my life has felt like a series of attacks and rather than fighting back, I am learning to recognize the enemy at work to distract me or to level me. But while I am recognizing these things, I still find myself falling into the same patterns of wanting to please everyone or feeling like I have to change in order to be loved and appreciated. And so, I am choosing to embrace the truth of scripture. This week, the kids memorized 2 Timothy 1:7 and I will leave you with this…

The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.