Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Out of the strong came forth sweetness

Like many of you, I have been preparing for a day filled with family, friends and food tomorrow.  My sister Sarah and I always volunteer to make pies.  My favorite is a pecan pie using Lyle's Golden Syrup instead of corn syrup.  If you're not familiar with Lyle's, its a sugar syrup that was first introduced to me by a 5 year old in Kabul who requested it for her pancakes.  Her response to my, "What's Lyle's?" was an incredulous look and question, "Where are you from?"  Obviously, I had just crawled out from under a rock in her opinion.  Her mom explained that it was very popular in Africa (where this 5 year old had grown up) and available anywhere with a population of Brits like Marmite, PG Tips, Cadburry, HP Sauce, and the rest of the long list of food items UKers must have on hand.  Not wanting to disappoint, I've kept Lyle's in the pantry ever since.

But what I love about Lyle's more than the taste is the packaging.  It comes in a tin that looks like this:

Here's a closer look:

Yep, that's a lion carcass with bees flying out of it with the words, "Out of the strong came forth sweetness."  This image is taken from the story of Samson in Judges 14 in which he comes across a lion he had killed that had become a home to some bees.  The story isn't particularly meaningful in the grand scheme of things, but for some reason Abram Lyle decided to attach it to his product.  And for some reason those words resonate with me: Out of the strong came forth sweetness.

I love Thanksgiving.  I love reading the daily thanksgivings of friends on Facebook.  Side note: A lot of you are thankful for Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  I love planning and cooking.  I even love doing the whole round the table, what I'm thankful for moment.  And I love that Thanksgiving requires me to step back and look for the sweetness in the hard, the disappointing, the sad, and the strong.

Historically, Thanksgiving is a tough time of year for me.  My first miscarriage was days before Thanksgiving.  My mom died shortly after Thanksgiving.  My uncle died quite unexpectedly and tragically the day before Thanksgiving.  And we moved from Kabul days before Thanksgiving.  Even typing out these things stirs up strong emotions in my heart.  But just like the pecan pie I'll bake in the morning, these strong emotions are steeped in sweetness.  While we mourn the loss of loved ones, we celebrate lives lived well and are thankful.  While I don't understand our pregnancy loss journey, I think of how that time prepared me for my precious, little Aurelia.  And while I yearn for Kabul (especially today since Joey is currently sleeping on a toshak in the Hess home with our old comforter), I think of carrying a child who needed more modern healthcare and think Gig Harbor's not so bad.  When I step back and look at the bigger picture of life, I am overwhelming grateful.  Life is filled with sweetness.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV)

And what post is complete without some unrelated pictures of cute kids?

PS. You can pick up some Lyle's at World Market.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Oh, October.  I am glad to see that month go.  We were plagued by sickness in the Hawkins Home.  I recently told Joey that I don't know what I would do if I got sick while he was gone.  Well, I found out multiple times last month.  First, it was an early morning call to my parents asking them to come get the girls and take me to the ER.  I've never had a kidney infection before, it was awful. And I'm so thankful for friends and family that helped with the girls and meals while I recovered.

Two weeks later I texted my dad that Aurelia had thrown up, followed by a text that I had joined her and Marguerite needed to get out of there stat.  Little side note: I had gone to a wedding the night before and danced the night away with many of my closest and dearest friends, party of the century.  The reports of people dropping like flies Sunday and Monday are rising quickly.  Maybe it was the Taco Wagon?  Whatever it was, it was violent.  I'll spare you any other details.  The good news is that I met my weightless goal.

Throw in a couple random fevers for the girls, roseola for Marguerite, an uptick in reflux wake-ups for Aurelia, and many sleepless nights for this Mama, blah.  As I said, I am glad October is over.  For some reason I feel that ushering in a new month will help us start afresh and leave all the sickies behind.  Please, please, pretty please.

The month wasn't a complete wash.  We had some good times.  Hit some new milestones.  Took some cute photos.  Here are a few for your enjoyment:

This is how Aurelia poses for photos now.  
Sick day for Aurelia.  We spent a good part of the day on the couch.
This kid is just too cute. 
Marguerite's turn to be sick.
But she bounced back and started standing independently.  Standby for news of her first steps in the next week or two.

Sisters dressed in plaid for St. Andrews Sunday.
All the dressed up members of our family.  

And now we're prepping for a busy time of appointments, holidays, and {most importantly} Joey coming home!