Thursday, April 20, 2006

Little Sister

Emily Anne Duffield ~ 7 lbs, 9 oz. ~ 20" long ~ 4/19/06 ~ 11:33 p.m

My baby sister, Annie, had a brand new baby girl last night.

Now I have one nephew and three nieces.

But by faith and experience, I find it difficult to see them as merely my brother's and sister's kids. Let me explain.

God has smiled on our family. He has seen to it that, one by one, we've each come to know Him in His own timing. He has elected us, each one, before the foundations of the world for a life leading toward Him, and His Glory, His Grace. Now, while it would be folly to take this for granted, to believe that since we're saved, they will be too, I still believe that little boy and those little girls will one day call on God as their Father. They would then cease to be nephew or niece, and become brother or sister.

My prayer and belief is that this new little girl will someday look to God and accept him as her forever Father, to be called "sister" among our brethren.

To my little sister Annie, congratulations. You are blessed.

To my new little sister Emily, welcome to Earth. If you need anything, let me know.

Big Sister

As my parents' first child, I entered the world with naught but my parents to show me the ways of the world. I needed somebody just a little older than myself to help me understand the world in baby step chunks. With no elder sibling to fill that role, I looked elsewhere.

My cousin Mandy welcomed me into the world as a big sister should.

By living the experiences of life less than 2 years before me, she had an expertise I yearned for. She taught me how to avoid eating gross foods like cottage cheese. She helped me avoid punishments by applying "cute" when necessary. She showed me how to put on a show that brings the attention where it belongs, on me. She gave me wardrobe advice in Jr. High. She gave me aloof lessons for High School. For dating, she made women seem much less mysterious.

Today, we trade secrets of life, sharing what we've learned to help the other grow.

Today, we still put on shows.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Daughter of God

"I'd love to surprise her,
give her diamonds and pearls
If I could do it
she knows I'd give her the world

Though I've found comfort
in the love we've vowed
I can't help thinkin' that I've
let her down
I'd do anything
to make her proud
Deserves a castle
I've only built her a cloud"
- T. S. Taylor

She works hard to make my job as husband and father easy. And when I'm selfish, when I am insufficient, she praises me for the good I bring into her life.

Sweet mother of my children, you make my life worthwhile.

How can I ever be enough for as wonderful a daughter of God as she?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Happy Birthday Laughter

"The younger brother must help to pay for the pleasures of the elder."
- Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

Growing up, my brother was my glad experiment. My ideas became his assignments. My dreams became his directions.

Once, I got him to perform with me in a lip-synch contest at a Christian bookstore. I was to play the struggling Christian protagonist. My brother was to be the devil. He played the part with aplomb, guaranteeing our victory and a sack full of 80s Contemporary Christian cassettes.

Since then, he has chosen a more dignified route of seeking attention and applause.

I still leap at any opportunity to be on a stage sucking up attention (my daughter follows me in this way). It doesn't matter the purpose or the audience, to me any chance to perform is worthy of my performance.

My brother doesn't go in for that. Oh, he enjoys the stage and the attention and the applause. He truly does, but he choses the stage. He chooses the audience.

These days, when he's in town, I can usually come up with some reason for us to pick up guitars and play and sing for family and friends. He always resists.

But then, when the moment is right, and the audience is least expecting it, when he's sure he won't look a fool, and the applause and laughter is guaranteed, he let's them have it.

And they cry. And they sing along.

And they laugh.

Happy Birthday Laughter