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Today I had Lunch with a colleague of mine who celebrated her thirtieth birthday last week. We were talking about the significance of this milestone, both legitimate and illusory.

At one point she was lamenting her age, and lamenting the Age in which we lived; she told me that she thought that “things” had only begun to worsen, and that her thirties would surely be harder a decade than any she had ever know before.

Wondering at all of this (both at the implied premise of many of her assertions as well as their following implication), I thought it best to liven the mood a trifle. I referred to the fact that she had known only a meager three decades thus far, and that even if her third should become gloomier than those that preceded it: “Two out of three ain’t bad.”

No sooner had I spoken these words when a peer of ours happened by and overheard our dirge and mirth-making. An older and wiser gentleman than either of us (recently having turned 60), he listened for a moment before offering a thoughtful counterpoint to the above sentiments.

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Exhausted. I sit at my desk and watch the falling snow rest upon the branches of the Cedar outside my office window; slowly filling the eaves and gutters of my neighbors. Rest has finally come. Exhale

The better part of my day and evening has been spent rushing to-and-fro the greater Annapolis area, securing a place to stay for the homeless in our area as well as bringing food to hungry families in our community…  but in the midst of the day’s tiny victories, there’s the dark creeping of cold despair.

A part of me looks around and wonders at the misery. I cannot savor the delicate beauty of the Winter season, as it is a harbinger of misery for so many. The falling snow does not evoke nostalgia or a Winter Wonderland for such as these, but chills their hearts in worry. How can I delight in a season that brings illness to children and death to the aged?

There are times when I want to bellow at them to flee to the South, escape to warmer climes than these. Hitchhike or even walk if you have to, but get away from this region…  like sheep without a shepherd, they wander aimless here.
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So I look out my window at the gently falling snow, we are to average at least three inches a day for the rest of this week, but I cannot contemplate its beauty…  I can only see the hardness of human hearts and the fallen nature of mankind.

As the branches grow whiter and heavier under their frigid burden, I am reminded that the fields are “white for the Harvest” and that He is ever at His redemptive work…  His people also.

“The poor you will always have with you,” He said, and surely it is so. Yet, He also promised us: “I am with you always, even to the end of the Age.”

Surely, it is so.

Let me explain…  no, there is too much, let me sum up.
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Candace and Liam came home last Saturday morning. I had a rather rude awakening that same day at around 4am with Gaelynn vomiting in the bathroom.

She did not have a temperature, so I surmised that she had either eaten something that violently disagreed with her or that she had picked up a mild stomach virus.

I arranged with my Uncle George to sit with the younger children, while I drove to the hospital to bring my wife and newborn son home.

Sophia’s second birthday was Sunday, and we held the usual intimate gathering of immediate family at our house. Gaelynn (by now fully recovered from her mild malady) and Israel doted upon her with gifts and other baubles. Candace served cake with ice cream, and we all sang the birthday song. Her unsuccessful attempts to blow out the candle were especially endearing.

Monday morning, I felt a first twinge of discontent in my own stomach, but soldiered on to work anyway. Martin Luther King Day (or “National Day of Service” for our organization) was spent in a variety of projects and endeavors. By the time late evening arrived, I was in a state of near-delirium. Arriving home, I collapsed into bed… shivering and feverish.

I think a good night’s rest was all I needed to recover from whatever it was I had acquired. Unfortunately, I did not arise soon enough to accompany a party of colleagues and peers into Washington DC for the Inauguration festivities. No matter, I spent the day with my wee lass and my newest wee laddy.

This brings me to now… and with much reflection.

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Dearest Sophia,
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Late in the evening, I pause to consider another year that I have shared with my “wee lass” Sophia.

For today, my sweet girl, is the occasion of your second birthday.
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Better than your first, this year has been an ever-unfolding of your personality…  as with each week and each day, you have become less a baby and more of a little girl.

In appearance, your sky-blue eyes have not lessened in their intensity but increased. Complete strangers will remark to your mother and I on the power of your gaze, and I amazed by how you can make your eyes burn in both joy and displeasure.

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William Samuel Lee was born today…  this, the fifteenth day of the month of Janus, the two-thousand and ninth year of our LORD.

‘Twas not long after Candace’s amniotic water poured forth in a great rushing torrent, that Liam followed hard upon. With a great strain and heave, Candace brought him forth. Shivering and purple, he let loose with a terrifying wail…  and then he fell silent.

A nurse wiped him clean of the various fluids and then the Doctor held him in front of me, his cord to be cut. Doing so, he was then wrapped in swaddling clothes and lain gently upon his mother’s bosom.

There is, of course, much more of this tale to tell…  but I shall leave that to my beloved.

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A second son and heir, as well as my fourth living child, Liam shares his day of birth with Molière, Martin Luther King, and Captain Beefheart…  as well as the untold millions of other children of the earth that were born today.

I bid you a silent and unspoken welcome, my son, and hope that the all-wise bright LORD of Heaven grants me the wisdom and humility to raise you well. That I might train you the way you should go.

The holidays have come and gone, a long slow season of revelry, leaving naught but the drippings of ambitions and endeavors in their wake. Time shuffles along, and the sweetnesses of the year’s ending fade into the resolve of another’s beginning.

We have begun, in earnest, to prepare for our imminent departure…

Everything from making employment/housing inquiries in the East Texas area, to Freecycling our extraneous furnitures or superfluous accoutrements. Candace has been gradually packing away things since we first came to this decision some months hence, and she already has most of the books packed away…  as well as many of our less-important or infrequently-used items.

Our venerable Van “ol’ Bessie” is going to be sold, the profits of which will cover our airplane fare and contribute towards miscellaneous transition costs. We will be acquiring a new vehicle upon our arrival, and I started researching automobiles in the vicinity more than a month ago hence. In fact, I already have my eye on a Chevrolet Uplander that is at a dealership near Shreveport.

I have hired the man that, I hope, will replace me and continue the work that has been started in the Admiral Oaks community. He is quite young, no wife/no kids, and has tremendous potential. Much of my time at work for the next 35 days will be spent preparing him, and I intend to do so to the utmost of my capacity. I have spent so long on this task, there is a strange combination of fear and relief from contemplating my end at the Boys & Girls Club…  though it shall be then that I will eagerly turn my eyes towards the next venture.

Candace has, as yet, not brought forth our youngling son William into the world…  though it is not for lack of desire. My beloved has borne him with strength and grace o’er these many weeks and months, but her fire has begun to burn low. She and I both are as children that wait past Noontide for our Christmas morn. We have done near all we can to prepare for Liam’s arrival, and now there is nothing we can do but to hurry up and wait.

I am looking upon a Chessboard of a match long in progress, having made my best Opening, I am now in that vague and ticklish stanza of exchange and maneuver…

The Endgame is still but a way’s away, and I have only begun to exert my strategy.

Tonight was not the most festive New Year’s Eve that I have ever had.  I was not the life of the party.

We ate chicken and broccoli fettuccine Alfredo and Caesar salad for dinner, with a delicious loaf of organic rosemary olive oil boule that my neighbor brought over to us.

I surprised Matthew with a bottle of Windy Lane Chardonnay, while I bought for myself a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Matthew likes white wines and I like red wines.

Do not fear that I drank the entire bottle, I limited myself to 6oz (per Dr’s orders).  I do not like to over-indulge in the vino anyway, I just enjoy the taste and complexity.

I went to bed before midnight last night…  yes, I know, not very festive.  I was grumpy and calloused to the revelry due to insufficient sleep and waning patience with whining, ill children.  I am fully aware that by admitting this that I have left myself open for scolding, but it is what it is.  I grounded myself to bed for rest.

Liam was cooperative and allowed me to sleep for about an hour before the fireworks in a nearby neighborhood woke me up.  I got up at 12:11am and sat in the den for a while with a not so cooperative,  very exhausted, sick Sophia before Matthew was waking me up again to tell me to go get in our bed. 

I did not see the ball drop in Times Square and I did not share a New Year’s first kiss with my beloved, Gaelynn got a kiss from Daddy though.  She waited patiently and enjoyed watching the Times Square festivities before turning around on the couch to watch the display out of our back windows. Israel lasted only until 10pm.

So here I am up at 6:30am on New Year’s morning, the house is quiet and I have dishes to finish, but I feel rested for the first day this week.  Oh, Wait!  I hear Israel coming down the stairs with gusto, uhm, that would be stomping.

I am sure that within 15 minutes of his arrival by my side Sophia will awaken as well, due to his inability to control the volume of his voice so early in the morning…  time to sign off.

Happy New Year to you all.