Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Katie's Recital

Katie had a recital this past Sunday in Champaign, and as usual, played beautifully.
Katie with her teacher, Leah Miller

Constance didn't stay awake to hear Katie play.

Sonata "Pathetique," 2nd movement, Adagio by Beethoven

Adagio by Marcello

This was Katie's first time performing since she started having pain in her bow arm a little more than a year ago. It also was her first performance on her very own new cello that she has worked and saved for over the last two years.

She was a bit nervous and not really pleased with this performance, but I thought she played well, so I'm posting it here, anyway. Sorry, Kate.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wedding Picture Preview

I didn't take a single picture at Michael & Jamie's wedding. Having been out of the hospital for less than 24 hours, it was about all I could do just to be there! I'm so glad I was, though. These are some pictures that Mom took, and I scanned into my computer, so that is why they are a bit grainy and crooked. I couldn't wait to get some posted, though. It was a beautiful wedding!

Michael watching his bride walk down the aisle.

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Huffman!

Pictures of my daughters looking way too beautiful and grown up!

Another beautiful girl at the wedding who got plenty of attention.

The wedding cake was gorgeous.

Groom's cake

Dad opted to dance with Michael during the dollar dance.
Yea, our family's just like that.
It keeps life interesting.

Congratulations, Michael and Jamie!
We love you both and wish you many, many happy years together!

More hospital pictures...

Waiting for me to be taken back to the O.R.
Eleanor kept herself occupied by coloring on the hospital floor. I'm sure it was clean. Right?
Everyone trying to get their first look at Constance.

Grandma Nancy with Constance.

Our beautiful girl.

Easter Pictures

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Another Easter remembrance

I love Easter. I also love Christmas, but there is so much hype and busyness surrounding the holiday that sometimes it is easy for Jesus to get lost. The Easter season is somehow different, at least in our family. It special time for us to really focus on Christ, and the meaning of his sacrifice.

Earlier today, I was reflecting on another special Easter memory I have, and I would like to share it with you all. It was 2001, the year Elijah was born. When he was just three days old he had a small surgical procedure. The procedure went fine, but because of his age, he went to the neonatal ICU to recover instead of the pediatric floor. We weren't allowed to hold him, he hadn't been allowed to eat for twelve hours prior to the surgery or for at least eight hours after, and the attending doctor would not give him pain medication (b/c he was so little and "wouldn't remember the pain" I still bristle at the memory!). Once the anesthesia wore off, he screamed for eight hours nonstop. It was excrutiating to watch him suffering that way.

About two weeks later, it was Easter Sunday, and my husband shared our experience with Elijah as a communion meditation. He talked about seeing his son naked, alone, hungry, thirsty and in pain, and how all he could think was, "Help him! Make it stop!" and how he would have given anything in the world to stop the suffering that Elijah was going through. Then he compared his feelings as a father watching his son suffer to how God must have felt watching His Son on the cross. Jesus was also naked, alone, hungry, thirsty and in pain. The difference is that God could have made it stop, but He didn't. He allowed His Son to suffer, even unto death, for us.

My eyes were spilling over with tears. My husband's words reminded me that God understood all we had been through, and that no matter how much we loved our baby boy, God loved him even more. God did not spare the suffering of His own Son so that my son might have the hope of eternal life, and so that we all might have that hope.

Have a blessed Easter everyone!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Thinking about today being Good Friday, I was reminded of a lesson about grace God taught me several years ago during the Easter season. It was 1998, and Mackenzie was just weeks old. I was still working full time as a criminal prosecutor at the time, but was on maternity leave until the Monday after Easter.

As I sat in our church's Good Friday communion service, my heart felt like lead in my chest. I was broken hearted about returning to work and leaving my precious baby girl in day care, but at that point did not have the faith to obey God's calling to stay home. I had considered extending my leave, but a trial was waiting for me, and it could not be postponed any longer. The defendant was a career criminal, a drain on society's resources, a threat to community safety, and in my opinion, worthless. He had only been out of prison a matter of days before he had been arrested on these new charges. I was sick at the thought of leaving my baby with a stranger to deal with the likes of "Joe Criminal", who would never change no matter how many times he was thrown behind bars.

At that moment, God spoke to me. Not audibly, but clearly. I cannot say that I have had many experiences where I heard God's voice. His prompting, yes, but these were clear words in my mind, and they were from Him. He asked, "Would you give up your child to save 'Joe Criminal'?" I was shocked. "No!", I thought in horror. I clutched Mackenzie to my chest, tears forming in my eyes at the thought. I could never sacrifice my innocent baby for someone like him. It was unthinkable.

Then God spoke again, and He said, "I did."

And of course, I knew God had sacrificed His innocent child for the sins of the world. But I answered in my heart, "Yes, Lord, and I am thankful for Your sacrifice. But how could I give her up? How for someone like 'Joe Criminal', who has wasted his life, who does no good for anyone? How for someone so worthless?"

And in my heart I heard His voice one last time, and He said, ever so gently, "You are as 'Joe Criminal' in my eyes. There is no difference between you two. Your righteousness is like dirty rags to Me."

I was shocked and convicted. How the truth cut my heart! For without Jesus, I am worthless. I am unworthy. I have no more hope of salvation than "Joe Criminal". What separated my eternity from his was nothing of my own merit. It was Jesus and Jesus alone. It was grace.

I gave Mackenzie to my husband beside me in the pew and approached the cross which had been placed at the altar for this service. I knelt at the foot of the cross to take communion and wept as I thanked God for redeeming me despite my unworthiness. And I thanked Him for reminding me about His grace, and how truly amazing it is.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Constance Joy

Sorry to everyone who has been waiting for pictures...it's been a busy week!

Constance Joy Krabel was born at 1:31 EST on Monday, March 30 (on her Uncle Ethan's birthday). She weighed 7 lbs 13 oz, and was 20 1/2 inches long.

Her whole family was at the hospital to welcome her into the world: Katie, Mackenzie, Elijah, Eleanor, Grandpa Rod and Nana, Grandpa Jim and Grandma Nancy, and even Michael and Jamie were able to be there. It was quite a party!

Her siblings fell in love with her at first sight. Eleanor is especially excited to finally be a big sister and not the baby anymore.

Constance was not at all excited about getting dressed to go home from the hospital, but after four days, I was more than ready. I think my family might have been ready to have me home, too.

Waiting for Dan to bring the truck to take us home. Yea!

She was sound asleep almost as soon as the truck started moving.

We feel blessed beyond measure for another healthy, beautiful child added to our family. Thank you to everyone who prayed for us and has shared in our happiness!

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

Psalm 127:3-5