John and Joy are having a baby girl! Ava Quinn Schreck is set to make her debute in May! We, along with her siblings: Spencer, Abby and Zach, are ecstatic!
(I'm aware that there were far too many exclamation points for that opening, but I truly believe they were merited. Every grand baby deserves exclamation points just for being born!!!)
Joy graciously invited John's mom Linda and I to be at the appointment where the gender of the baby was to be discovered. Joy felt certain this baby would be her third son. Everything with the pregnancy pointed to another boy. So when the technician announced confidently, "It's a GIRL!" we all gasped and squealed with surprise.
Linda is very quick-witted. She leaned over and whispered to me, "I've come up with a name I think they'll approve. How about - SHERINDA! The perfect representation of her two grandmothers, Sheri and Linda."
Joy asked what we were whispering and giggling about so we proceeded to share our brilliant idea, "Since this is baby four, don't you think we should be allowed to name her? And what better name than the blending of her grandmothers' names - SHERINDA!!"
Joy lost no time in squashing our hopes of a namesake, She laughed for a moment then responded firmly, "Uh, NO! John and I already have a name but thank you for the thought."
We kept finding hilarious new twists on why they should choose this name that sounded so much like the proper name for a female superhero. But alas, we were unsuccessful in our bid. We had to be satisfied with writing it on the cake picked up for the celebration dinner. And I recently had it written on a Starbucks coffee so it could be called out in the waiting area. I snapped a picture and sent it to Linda.
But Dear Reader, if you'd like to use the name Sherinda, feel free. We discovered it hasn't been used in the U.S. in over fifty years. We decided to be happy with the name Ava Quinn as Joy said it means "peaceful wisdom." Beautiful, right?
In other news, I'm finding all sorts of newness in my home of eleven years that I never knew existed. Meagan and Nathan moved into their own house in October. They had lived with us for two years while paying off school loans and saving toward the purchase of their first home. It was an awesome experiment that God graced us all to walk.
So Frank and I are finally official "Empty Nesters" after having someone live with us for the past 34 years. We wondered a little about what it would feel like; living alone after all this time. Fortunately, we've invested in our marriage over the years and I'm able to joyfully report to you:
We Still Like Each Other!
Frank's first project was to move all his dress clothes to another closet allowing him to spread them out. Then he took on the garage: organizing, identifying, purging, until he could fit the mower, the trash can and (drum roll please) My Car inside. I'm still periodically opening the door into the garage and finding myself startled to see a car there. (It's a first for us.)
My dad and his wife, Christeen, came to visit for Thanksgiving so I quickly set up the guest room. But I've been a bit slower about setting up the room we'll use for office/toys/extra guests. I have a strong spirit of "throw away" on me right now and I'm going with it. We're being very intentional about what we place in each open spot.
We're taking the time to not just straighten but to go to the very edges of each room. I'm cleaning out corners all over my house. (Even the kitchen junk drawer got a cleaning.) It's time consuming and I'm being ruthless with my sentimental heart. "If you want a clean, tidy look in your home you can't hold on to every scrap of paper!" I tell myself.
But oh the smile it brings to my face when we walk in each evening and there is no clutter. Frank has expressed a small bit of frustration over my Nazi-like preference for cleared counter tops. But he too, senses the peace brought on by having a place for everything and everything in its place. I'm loving it!
I want our home to be comfortable and have the lived in feeling; not a show piece by any means. It will always be the gathering place where something spilled is not the end of the world and if something gets scratched or broken, we chalk it up to life. But knowing the corners are clean causes a deep contented sigh in my heart.
Our church family is in the middle of our annual 21-Days of Prayer and Fasting. It's always a great time of refocusing for the year ahead. Kind of like cleaning out the corners of your heart and mind.
We use our prayer times to sweep out any clutter and to listen as the Holy Spirit tells us about old attitudes we've held on to for too long. What excuses need to be thrown out. We intentionally focus on filling our hearts with God's word and on making intentional plans that will be the most beneficial in the coming year. This discipline provides us with a clean slate by putting priorities in place and bringing peace.
I'm well aware that someday, Ava Quinn will be big enough to look into the depths of Noni's life example. She'll immediately recognize any nastiness or disobedience I've allowed to stay around. Knowing I'm being watched and that the corners of my heart are clean brings a deep, contented and grateful sigh.
Feel free to try a little corner cleaning of your own. Toss out that unforgiveness and bitterness from last year. Intentionally replace them with love, joy and peace. May you, too, experience the deep contented sigh of a tidy heart and mind.