Alright, folks! Here’s the latest update from the Wulfstead! Ready…set…go!

Reality

Last week we had the opportunity to spend an evening with Reality’s missional community and ministry team leaders at our yearly Christmas party. On paper the night gave us a chance to connect over dessert, singing some carols and a lively white elephant gift exchange. Going in to it I knew we would have a good time. These are great people who I love dearly, but I got so much more than a couple of hours with great people.

Looking around the room I was struck again by just how tangibly these people have come to encompass so much of what I thankful for as I look back over the year.  Theirs are the stories, having been mingle with my own, which I have celebrated, mourned over and prayed through. Together we’ve ground our teeth at sin, we’ve longed for redemption, we’ve cried at fresh revelation of our Father’s love.

This season is certainly one of reflection, but perhaps more than ever Reality is in a season of expectation. Certainly the elders are in a season of expectation.  We know that God is up to something, that his Spirit is at work and that he is unwrapping his next steps for us, even as we learn to wait for him to make himself clear in the midst of it all.

Neighborhood

Six months and a week ago Kate and I closed on our first house (see here for pictures). Slowly but surely we are learning to inhabit our home and neighborhood. There is still some unpacking to do, some purchases to make and wallpaper that’s making us fidget in anticipation, but the main thing I’m excited for us to press in to is the laying down of roots in our neighborhood.

Slowly we’re building relationships, connecting over mailboxes, parties, serving opportunities and neighborhood meetings.  Great stuff that God has been using to teach me to leave the process, including its timing, in his hands. This month we’re excited to be inviting neighbors over for a neighborhood end-of-the-world Christmas party.

Family

Okay, now on to the cute stuff. Here are a couple thousand words summing up how we’re doing as a family.

Family Portrait

Cam is a crawling, almost walking machine. He’s a smiley, typically hungry guy with a love for vacuums and dishwashers (which we’re constantly keeping him from crawling in to). Cam’s vocab has expanded to include dog and horse sounds as well as a proud faced “Aaa!” which happily suffices for “Up”.

Cam1Cam2

With a long standing history as our “spicy girl” Ellie is daily settling in as a very sweet, loving little girl. She loves her “babies”–anything from dolls to wrenches depending on the context–and rough housing with Jude. The complexity of Ellie’s vocabulary and sentence structure continually blows our minds.

Ellie

Jude continues to be quite the artist, pumping out new drawings daily. He loves to help (can you say, “Christmas lights”?), ride his bike and play with the leftover pieces of my childhood which some call “Legos”.

Jude

Jude and Ellie both love C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series (we’re about to finish The Silver Chair) and their reading comprehension is incredible. Cam also love books, but mostly for the effect gravity has on them as they’re pulled from a bookshelf.

Kids

Lastly (and if you’re still reading all the way down here, be sure to let me know in the comments so I can be sure to give you a gold star!), there’s Kate and I. Just about six years in to marriage, we are closer than ever and exploring growth in areas I don’t know that I would have thought possible.

All in all, it is a beautiful story that we’re thrilled we get to continue living out…

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Baby #3 Latest News

August 24, 2011

There’s been some twists and turns with this little baby number 3 (portents of a second fireball being born in to the family?).  For those who have been following and praying along the journey, and for those who are just joining us, let me recap.

  • June 22 – After our first ultrasound Kate’s daughter told us that our little baby boy (it’s a boy!) had a couple of markers they look for in kids with genetic defects (a nominally thick nuchal fold and a nasal bone that was MIA)
  • August 1st – While our second ultrasound managed to find the baby’s nasal bone, the doctor’s concern shifted onto the mildly large nuchal fold and a cyst on the baby’s brain.  Again, both of these could be normal or they could hint at a genetic variance.
  • August 15th – Kate and I decided to pursue a blood test for kate that would help clarify the likelihood of her carrying a baby with a genetic defect (like Downs Syndrome). Our thinking has been that we would pursue additional (more certain) testing if the likelihood is high enough.
So, now everyone is up to today.  Well, to yesterday anyway.  Yesterday we received word back from Kate’s doctor that the likelihood of her carrying a baby with a genetic deviation was officially 1 in 5000.  Given that that is .02%, we are, at this point, basically writing off the “genetic variation” warnings.
Please continue to pray for us as we prepare for baby number three.  The Lord continues to provide for us and supply all of our needs.  We are still hoping to find and purchase a house before the baby is due to be born in mid-December (seems like we just haven’t learned how to have children without moving in the close vicinity…).  Please be praying that we would rest in God’s provision and care for us as we forge in to the future.
We can’t wait to introduce little number 3 (Whose name still escapes us!) to you all this Christmas!

Pray for Ellie

July 27, 2011

Our poor Ellie baby needs your prayers.  Right now Kate is at the doctor’s office with the kids have Ellie checked out.  This is the third day she’s had a fever, which topped out at 103.5 this morning.  Sleepless nights, crying babies make for tough days.  😦

Thanks for your prayers and support!

UPDATE: Ellie has strep throat. 😦  Kate is picking up meds for her now.  Poor baby!

Kate and I watched UP last night with Jude (great movie and great story telling) and it got me thinking: What are the special things you do with your kids to spend time with them and show them they are loved?

This last weekend Ellie deliberately disobeyed me: she turned one.  She’s (…gulp…) growing up…not allowed.  As always, Kate was amazing and put together an awesome Alice in Wonderland themed party (I’ll leave it to Kate to lay out all the party planning goodness on her blog), complete with a mama-made Alice dress for our cutie.  She’s growing so fast!  (Not only has she been toddling like crazy, but she’s also jumped from three to six teeth in the last week and half!)

I wanted to share a couple pictures of the birthday girl (and maybe some videos later?).  Isn’t she beautiful?!

Beyond Safety Pt. II

October 21, 2010

So, here we are, returning to the question of safety: How do we live beyond the dogged pursuit of safety?

For myself, the initial temptation would be to trade one slave driver for another, more Pharisaically holy looking master.  Regardless of the master, the long road will always end in another blog post decrying the latest idol of my heart.

[Aside – For those of us having trouble moving past safety, James says we ought to ask for God’s wisdom that we might joyfully value the trials and dangers around us – okay, time-in again.]

Only when the idol of safety is replaced by Jesus will I have found a good master who leads to full living beyond safety.  Jesus, the true king, does not stay holed up in his castle.  He is not contented with hiding in the face of brokenness.  He always confronts pain–dangerous as it is–to either heal and redeem it, or to bring justice.  And he will lead our families to the same costly, dangerous, uncomfortable, messy engagement when he is king and we are his people.

Beyond Safety Pt. I

October 20, 2010

I don’t let my  kids play with knives or toddle around open fires.  Weird right?  Hardly the stuff of parenting books, but I’ve been wondering about safety recently.

There was a movie released a couple of years ago where these robots that were designed to protect humans began turning on them, forcing them to stay indoors.  As was explained in perfect computer logic, humanity had become its own most potent threat; they had to be contained, protected.

On the one hand, what dad wants to see their kids hurt?  I can’t imagine I am alone in the visceral drive I feel to keep my family safe.  We want our kids to attend safe schools, play with safe friends, watch safe movies/TV, etc.  So, we don’t play with neighbor kids, don’t open our homes and we don’t mess with the kids bedtime routines.  But what’s this all really doing?

It may not look like it on the surface, but ultimately the drive to shield our families from brokenness leads us away from freedom to fear and hiding–two longstanding symptoms of brokenness.  Learning through pain and the redemption of pain are sacrificed on the altar of safety and we find ourselves in a constant battle to insulate our families from broken reality.  In running from pain and clinging to safety we make a number of important statements about God.  1) Following God is a “safe” undertaking (therefore un-safety is outside his will for us). 2) God is either uncaring or unable to do anything about all the pain and brokenness we see around us (therefore it is safe for us to run from it)

The irony in all of this is that we are surprised to find that our safe lives leave us with only to an emaciated (but manageable) Jesus who helps make our safe world even more safe.

So, how should a family opt out of the endless pursuit of safety that drives so many of us?  How do we live beyond safety?

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