Don’t Be Afraid

“DON’T BE AFRAID!” cheered the Kindergarten crew.  I had to choke back tears.  The past week I had taught several classes with the littlest kids at BAIS.  Each and every class had boldly repeated the same line from the story of Jesus’s birth.  These young ones had focused in on one of the key messages from Christ’s birth-DON’T BE AFRAID.  The angel had told Mary, then said the same thing to Joseph, AND to the shepherds.  In every instance where fear had an opportunity to sink in its claws, each person was reminded to be strong, push away fear, and trust in God’s promises.  From a young, teenage gal to an older husband-to-be, to smelly shepherds cast far away from the security of a city’s wall-every single one was assured that God was in control.

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I find these words resound like silver bells in my heart this Christmas season.  ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ to leave your families in My care.  ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ to trust in My provision.  ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ to grow roots where I have you planted.  ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ of goodbyes or hellos.  ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ to be who I’ve created you to be.  ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ to obey when the only thing you are sure of is Me.  ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ to let everything go to pursue Me.  ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ to dream and see with My eyes.  ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ to love like I do.  Simply DON’T BE AFRAID.

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My hope this Christmas season is that you will hear these words ring out to your heart in the story of Jesus’s birth.  I hope this Christmas these words give you courage to seek Christ like never before.  To ask the big questions and hear the answers.  To love those who have hurt you.  To allow yourself to feel true joy.  To read the story of Jesus’s birth in  the Holy Bible in the beginning of Matthew and Luke with new eyes.  To put the phones and devices down and just be with one another.  To find delight in the One who dances with delight over you. (Zephaniah 3:17)

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Happy Christmas from all us Davis People to you and yours.  

May His joy and peace be what fills your season.

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On The Recieving End

Virus.  There is not a positive application of this word that I have ever heard.  Last week, it was my turn to have one.  For two days, I fought fever, attempted to stay hydrated, and didn’t leave my room.  In the meantime, my community reminded me how much our family is loved.  Our sabbatical visitor decided she would help watch the gals so Michael wouldn’t be so overwhelmed taking care of everything else.  My classes were covered by incredible teachers so I knew my students weren’t missing out on learning.  An elementary school event was that week-everyone stepped in and made it happen marvelously.  My Bigs helped the Littles make costumes for Storybook Day. Michael Joe even handled picture day!  (well, let’s be honest-jury is still out on that! ha!)

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One detail of His love has yet to be mentioned.  I have a crazy quirk that makes me crave tomato soup and orange juice when I’m sick.  Yes, I am well aware it is disgusting.  But I have wanted that as long as I can remember.  This time was different.  I wanted chicken noodle soup…and not the local version.  I wanted it American style.  Campbell’s version has yet to hit the stores here, so I pushed my longing aside.  On the afternoon of day two, I recieved a text asking if I wanted some chicken noodle soup.  She said He had put it on her heart to make that evening for her family and to ask me if I wanted some.

Y’all.  He loves us SO SPECIFICALLY.

Please never doubt His love for you.  Whether you are crying on your couch, celebrating in your car, or sick on foreign soil, He Loves You. “I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” Romans 8

The rest of the week and weekend remains a bit of a blur as I tried to convince myself I was better and those around me insisted I wasn’t!  I’m still hugging sprite (which I typically loathe), but I’m so thankful to be oodles better than last week.  Enjoy a few pics of the fun I missed out on!

Storybook Day Characters!

 

 

Learning by Lissie Joy

Lissie Joy has entered preschool this year.  Her classmates are Indonesian, Korean, Austrian, American, Indian, and probably somewhere I’m forgetting.  She truly enjoys the new adventures she finds each day in her class.  Her teacher is fantastic! There are no devices, just pure hands-on fun and activities.  Everytime I glance into the classroom, she is actively chatting, doing, playing, puzzling…in short, she is learning.  My favorite is the songs she is learning.  I absolutely adore hearing her and her teeny voice singing all day long!  Here are a few pics (and a video!) of our Lissie Joy…learning.

 

 

WhoSoEver Dinners

This year we have started a new tradition at the Davis home.  We are hosting WhoSoEver Dinners!  The process is simple:  Set a date and time.  Decide on meal offering. Make cute invite. Send out invite.  Then we wait for the eight spots to fill up!  The funnest part is not knowing who is going to respond!  We love having people over at least weekly (if not more!)  This new approach opens the door to any of the teachers and their families in the school to come!  This idea did not originate with me.  A fabulous lady with an incredible capacity to love used to do these for BAIS families.  We thought it would be absolutely fantastic to continue the tradition!  This last time, another family joined in the fun by offering dessert at their home.  So we all dined upon an Italian feast of spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, and salad as Sinatra crooned in the background.  Not long after, the happy crew sauntered to the next street over for homemade Apple Crisp.  You could almost imagine leaves changing color with the deliciousness of the dessert!  How blessed we are with our community!

 

Kaybrietta’s Tea Party

My Kaybrietta Lorelai is suddenly six whole years old.  I adore seeing the world through my gal’s eyes.  Her giggles, shakes of her head when someone is silly, the jokes that make no sense, and her passionate love for dancing-each makes her all the more dear to my heart.  For her sixth birthday, we had a Tea-Totally-Terrific Tea Party…with Prince and Princess attire required.  A boxed-cake from America, Tim-Tams, and heart-shaped PB&J rounded out tea-time treats.  We also had sweet tea, fruit tea, and the oh-so-appropriate hot tea with milk and sugar!  Since she loves dancing, we joyfully danced and pranced all over the backyard! We had such a delightful time that I’m still grinning though it ended hours ago.  How marvelous it is to specifically love on my Kaybri-girl!

 

A Day in Avonlea

When life gets a bit topsy-turvy, it is natural to want to be somewhere familiar and safe.  Living oceans away from familiar, I had to be a bit more creative to find a haven.  I told Michael Joe a couple of weeks ago that I needed to go to Avonlea on on my birthday.  And that is exactly what happened.  A smattering of kindred spirits joined me throughout the day to enjoy the adventures of Anne Shirley in a place as familiar as my home.  I cannot recall watching the entire series in a day in many years.  However, each nook and cranny, shaded tree lane, and antic was a friend.  I love seeing Anne mess up and learn-she reminds me of myself in so many ways.  Perhaps that is why my most favorite-est of quotes comes from this series.

“Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes.” Lucy Maud Montgomery

I’ve had this up in classrooms and my own home.  Such a darling way to remind me His mercies are new every morning.

It was such a gift to gasp when Anne breaks her slate over that boy’s head, to mourn when Matthew is lost, and to laugh along with Marilla. I get my girlhood crush all over again watching Gilbert love Anne through it all.  Yes, Avonlea is definitely another home to me.

“I don’t need sunbursts or marble halls.  I just need you.” Anne to her Gilbert-finally.

Thank you to each of you across this spinning globe who made my special day rich with laughter, memories, well-wishes, and love. How blessed I am to be loved so well.

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A #MomFail Success Story

Stack up all the mean things to call yourself and you’ll have a pretty accurate description  of the words taunting me earlier this week.  Just over a week into school, I had already earned the #MomFail trophy.

-Lissie Joy and Kaybrietta had the same hairdo from the day before (read that as no bath, hair not washed or brushed, crazy half-braided hair kids)

-Kaybrietta’s shorts were on backwards…again

-RyAnne was tardy

-Lissie Joy had apparently had an accident before she got to school…which I didn’t notice.

-Lissie Joy had no extra clothes for the day (I won’t go into details-her teacher is an amazing woman)

-Lissie Joy’s daily report packet had been living on my desk for two days…unsigned

-We forgot to pack lunch for Michael and I

…honestly, the list could go on…but I’ll stop there.  I was in full surrender around lunch.

But in surrender, I found grace.

An amazing friend and teacher gave me her lunch.  Lissie Joy’s teacher took care of my three-year-old when I was unable.  A fantabulous momma showed up with lunch for ALL the TEACHERS so Michael had food, too!  My teacher-mate checked on me and helped me salvage the day so my students were none the wiser.  I was given hugs and encouragement-and I received them.  I was reminded no one is perfect and no one expected me to be!

That had to sink in a bit.  Maybe you need a moment to catch that, too.

No one is perfect and no one who loves you expects you to be.

I could have wallowed in the depths of despair and bemoaned the rest of the day.  But there was JOY to be had.  Visitors from another land had arrived!  Time with friends.  A darling teeny little boy.  Laughter.  Stories from the day tripping over each other around a dinner table filled with lukewarm spaghetti and even colder bread.  And more grace.

So much more grace.

I realized later that horrific day had become beautiful.  Grace had covered each bump and bruise with a chance for His glory to shine.  I was able to see His hands hold me and His feet carry me.  Those around me acted like Christ and loved me all the more.  A couple days later, I’m thankful for these tangible reminders His grace IS sufficient and that a Mom-Fail Day is no failure at all when I fall into His grace.

 

Those Day Ones

The funny thing about ‘Day Ones’ is they are rarely the actual first day.  They are built upon the shoulders of other days-both good and bad.  They serve as markers and beacons-a restart of sorts.  Today was a Day One for the entire Davis crew.  First day of Kindergarten, Pre-K 3, and Middle School.  First day to be the biggest sister on the first floor of the school (4th grader!).  First day to welcome back kids he had missed over the summer for Michael.  For me, it was Day One of a new adventure that has already had oodles of dips, mountain views, bumps, and curves.  I’ve been so encouraged and inspired during training at the school we all attend.  I have witnessed hearts passionate to show His love and grace with excellence and integrity.  I’ve been reminded clearly that God is the source of all ‘Day Ones’.  He created each of us to be here in this place to obediently bring Him all glory and praise.  From the literal Day One, God knew we would be celebrating this very day.  God continually astounds me.  May He amaze you today, too!

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First Day 2019

 

 

THAT Guy

I met Michael Joe the very first official day at Union University.  I was immediately taken with his dark hair, brown eyes, and quick smile.  During university days, I would crush on him and he would remind me we were just friends.  Sigh.  Then I would have him meet guys I was interested in dating to give me his take on their worthiness.

For some reason, no one I dated liked Michael Joe.

In retrospect, I can clearly see it was because he was THAT GUY.  He was the one I compared each prospective date up against.  Michael Joe was the one who saw me through breakups, adventures, family life, and plain silliness.  He was the one who opened up Davisville as a second home a jillion years before I became a Davis.  He met me on Monday nights for two years at a Bible study an hour away from his home.  Michael Joe was the one who encouraged me to follow His leading when the opportunity to move to China came on the horizon.  He’s the one who was on the other end of the phone line after the tsunami in 2004.  He listed to me shout and weep as I declared the unfairness of so many losses and asked why from the depths of my soul.  He was the one I always had to be sure to see when I came Stateside.  He was the one I had tough conversations with and the one I wanted to share joys with first.   He was THAT GUY.

After crossing the Pacific and proposing in Shanghai, Michael Joe would soon become MY GUY.   During the past thirteen years of marriage, I have seen him love unconditionally in situations which would try the saint-est of saints.  He loves when every fiber of his being wants to prove he was right.  He digs into the Word of God and seeks to apply it wherever he is-work, home, or out and about.  Yesterday, I was blessed to hear him preach.  He shared about this past year and our Indo-versary.  I’ve seen my Michael Joe happier these past few years than ever before.  He has grown more like Christ and sought to obey Him-even when it has been WAY OUT of his comfort zone.  I can’t believe I get to do life with this incredible man.

I know the years are passing much quicker than I ever imagined, but I couldn’t be more thankful for THAT GUY in the Wrangler jeans and Razorback shirt.  He’s the one my heart adores and I simply cannot imagine life without him by my side.

Happy 13th (plus 11 years) Anniversary to my Michael Joe.  Yippy Skippy!

More Than Words

A long awaited package showed up today.  It was sent by someone in the midst of dark and gloom as she faced the fear of losing her mom.  Instead of wallowing and soaking in the ‘what ifs’, she and her family sent us JOY.  Immense amounts of joy!  I was in tears as I watched the gals excitedly dig into the massive box that had crossed the ocean just for us.  Inside they found card games, candies, bubbles, and a parachute.  I found tears and love.  To know we are loved so specifically and sacrificially is overwhelming.  May we never forget all of you who keep us going in our darkest times.  And to Laura Beth, Jeremy, Brice, & Jenna-Benna…terima kasih ooodles.  We love you guys so much.

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