The precious things

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With the front pages of major newspapers and news websites filled with photos and headlines which hint, whisper, and even promise certain doom, I have been thinking a lot about life, and what is most precious to me.

I think of Martin Luther, who when asked what he would do if the world would end tomorrow, answered, “I would plant a tree today.” I’ve always held a secret suspicion that this quote actually did more to prove Luther’s sheer madness than it did to demonstrate his great faith. But on the other hand, what would you do? I’ve asked myself that a lot over the past few days, more out of sheer interest in what the best answer is, than out of any great concern that this is a choice I will ever have to face.

I have decided that I would not plant a tree. I don’t see the reasoning behind that, if you were certain that the next day your efforts would be consumed in fire. But what would I do? What would you do?

As I said, I have also been thinking much of what things matter to me, and find that (of course) the two questions are very related. Though I don’t have any great comprehension of economy or of the repercussions of it’s failure, I do think that I could be certain of a few things.

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The sky will still be blue. The October air will be heavy with it’s rich scent of autumn. My children will still learn to swing by pushing their legs forward, and pulling them back. Sand will always delight them, as it slips through their tiny fingers. Our goals in life will not even change, as we will still desire more than life itself, to see them walk with their Creator. These things are Liberty. These are, in fact, life.

Yesterday I read a headline announcing that an investment banker had taken his own life, and I am saddened, not so much by his choice to end his life, but because he chose to never even begin it. We’ve been through a depression before, as a nation. It’s not a reason to panic! My own great-grandmother was raised living in caves in Kentucky, and seemed to have a childhood filled to the brim with Life. Is our quality of life so closely tied to our pocketbook?

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So, what would I do, if I knew the world were ending tomorrow? I suppose I would make coffee, gather my children and loved ones, sit in our cozy living room and play scrabble. Or maybe talk about the eternal experiences that we will soon be enjoying together.

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What would you do?

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Kinsley’s Birthday :: the kite

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The birthday photos are still not done! I got sidetracked with some other shiny object (I think it was The Boy) and forgot to continue the series.

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The night before her birthday, while we were putting her to bed, Kinsley announced that what she needed more than anything, was a kite. We’re still not sure exactly what inspired this sudden, and very urgent need, but we think it had something to do with the book Curious George Flies a Kite. Though the book has been read thousands of times, it must have suddenly resonated with Kinsley. Or, who knows? It may have been an entirely random thought, knowing her.

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After receiving her gifts (a “baby” violin, and a hand me down dollhouse), I asked Kinsley what she enjoyed the most about her birthday gifts. She blinked at me and then said “The kite I will be getting later”.

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A little while later, Uncle Eric and Aunt Paula called to see if there was anything that we needed from Walmart, and we mentioned the sudden and intense kite need. They were also thinking about what gift Kinsley would most enjoy, so they were thrilled to fill the desire.

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With the remains of the hurricane blowing across MO, we weren’t able to fly the kite till the following day, but Kinsley sure enjoyed it when the time came!

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Really though, it was a little too much for her to handle. But there were plenty of cousins, uncles and papas standing by who were ready and willing to become surrogate kite fliers.

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The sky was still heavy and stormy from the rains, and I thought it made for a very interesting setting.

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It’s a…

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BOY!!!

We’re still in shock. Honestly, I didn’t think that my side of the family could produce boys. My sister has six girls, and after two daughters, I figured we could only make girls – what a surprise!

Since I feel bad that I have flashed photos of the baby’s male parts all around the internet, I figured we should include something a bit more dignified.

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That’s his head. It’s sort of alien-ish at the moment, but we expect that it should turn out okay by the time he arrives. Kinsley has been concerned that our baby might not have any skin, after seeing the ultrasound. He has a foot, too. Actually, he has two feet, which is always good.

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Kinsley’s birthday :: Hurricane Ike

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We stayed over night on Lonesome Hill, and for a good part of the night, I laid awake enjoying the howling winds. When I was a kid, I lived on a hill very similar to Lonesome Hill, and the winds used to howl over the surrounding hills. I loved that sound – it was so peaceful and comforting. Later on, we moved to a valley, and I somehow forgot about the howling winds.

So, when I woke up during the night and heard that familiar, cozy sound, I laid awake and listened for a long time. The howling was so loud, that I didn’t even notice the constant droning of the rain on the metal roof.

In the morning, I was shocked to be awakened by a phone call from my mom, telling me that my hometown was flooding again, and that my grandparents (for one) were out of power, the bridge near their house was threatening to break, and that our house was in danger of flooding.

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I was ready to pack and leave right away, but we soon learned that the creeks on either side of Eric and Paula were flooded, and that we wouldn’t be able to leave until they subsided.

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By the time we had confirmed this fact, and decided to make the best of the situation by going out to take photos of their creek, the waters had already gone down substantially.

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Kinsley’s birthday :: The Song

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There’s this thing you have to know about a Jacobson birthday. The “happy birthday” song is insane. It involves the compilation of several songs, some of which are sung more than once, with a break in the middle of it all for a speech to be made by the birthday victim. Though I haven’t actually timed The Song (the length is somewhat dependent on the speech given half-way through), the first time I heard The Song performed, I think it lasted somewhere around 23 minutes. We Jacobsons shop for extra long candles, and then freeze them, to give us time to sing The Song before the cake catches fire.

Kinsley had requested The Song at breakfast, and again at lunch. Dan told her that we would wait till we were at a Jacobson party before singing it, for the sake of everyone else involved. When he told her that, Kinsley responded “But Papa, I am a Jacobson!”

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So, when the time finally came for The Song, Kinsley was overwhelmed. Tears actually sprang to her eyes.

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She managed a tiny little giggle, in place of her speech, followed a squeaky, whispered “Thank you!”.

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It was all she could have hoped for.

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Just when she thought it couldn’t get any better, she opened the gift from Uncle Eric, Aunt Paula, the kids, and Mama Maria (Paula’s mom).

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It was a kite!

(PS – some details regarding The Song were slightly exaggerated)

Kinsley’s birthday :: cake decorating on Lonesome Hill

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After the park, and naps, we moved on to Eric and Paula’s, where we dined on a scrumptious meal of coconut encrusted tilapia, rack of pork, sourdough bread, wild rice with nuts, grains and mushrooms, and glazed carrots. The meal was a perk from my new part-time job.

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Then, we moved onto decorating the cake to the three year-old’s specifications. She requested a chocolate cake, with chocolate icing, chocolate “leaf thingies” and candles to lick.

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Kinsley oversaw the entire project.

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She then pronounced it good.