Category Archives: Eliana

Learning To Let Go

Bright-eyed at 5:45a.  With a jump and a smile she leapt from bed.
The day had finally arrived.  Today everything changes. Today our home will never be the same.

Today Eliana Faith became a Kindergartener!!

I’ve never seen her more excited.
I’ve never felt such bittersweet ache at her gain.
My baby girl now an Elementary Student.

Last night she slept like a rock.
I slept like a restless child, tossing, turning, watching the clock tick slow.
Like the relentless tide so questions assailed my insomniac mind.

Did I do enough?  Where did I fail in preparing her?  How did the long days of toddlerhood pass in a flash?  Is she ready?  Did I do enough?!

IMG_0502-0.JPG
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night.
The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.
(‭Psalms‬ ‭121‬:‭1-8‬ NASB)

Though she came from my womb, she was knit by heavenly Hands. All her days were ordained before one came to be. In God she lives and moves and has her being. His plans for Eliana brim over with hope and love. His thoughts towards her outnumber the stars. His mercies pour out afresh on her every morning.

On Eliana. And her momma.

Grace.  Grace.  God’s grace.
Grace that will cover and cleanse within.
Grace.  Grace.  God’s grace.
Grace that is greater than all my sin.

Where I lack, His grace covers.  Where I fall, His arms reach low to lift me up.  Where I have failed my daughter, His love remains strong on her behalf.  He has not called me to be a perfect mother.

Just a faithful one.

IMG_0503.JPG
Today begins a new chapter of learning to trust God further, to lean on Him harder, to release what is ultimately His into His steadfast arms.

Eliana, you continue to teach me faith, to adjust my eyes to see God’s continued answered prayers.  Walk tall today, sweetheart.  You are ready for this.  Not because of me but because Almighty God walks with you wherever you go.  Listen for His voice.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Enjoy today, my darling girl.  You are ready!

IMG_0504.JPG

Leave a comment

Filed under Eliana, Motherhood, Parenting, Struggles, Thoughts

Five Years Of Answered Prayers

Eliana – Hebrew origin, translation “my God has answered my prayers”

20140731-122545-44745927.jpg
Five years ago today our world changed forever as Eliana Faith was born! Bright-eyed from the start, she has filled our world with light, joy, laughter and adventure! As our eyes met for the first time, I knew my life would never be the same.

20140731-122647-44807018.jpg
She opens her beautiful blue eyes wide every morning anticipating what adventures the day may hold.

20140731-140839-50919486.jpg
Eliana fills our home with love overflowing. She is kind, generous, nurturing, imaginative, compassionate, hilarious, energetic, brilliant, and all-around amazing! She loves people, gives generously, feels deeply and shines brightly.

20140731-141312-51192074.jpg
Joyous. Full of life. Nurturer. Friend to all. Protector. Tea party hostess. Adventurer. Builder. Performer. Story-teller. Runner. Sister. Daughter.
Answer to Prayer.

20140731-140917-50957422.jpg
Sweet girl, the past five years have blessed me more than I can express. My joy, my honor, my blessing is being your Mom. I love you, Eliana Faith!

Leave a comment

Filed under Eliana, Photography

Anchored

This may surprise you. It certainly surprised me. You’d think after nearly 5 years, the truth would have sunken in by now. But my eyes opened wide this week to new knowledge of myself, a perspective I’ve long yet unknowingly carried deep. Watching my children run strong and bubble over with laughter, it struck me as never before.

Eliana and Evan are growing up.
They’re alive!
And I’m.
Completely.
Shocked.

In an instant fear and wonderment collided as my children’s growth hit me afresh. As if scales had fallen from my eyes, I saw my children as the little man and young lady they’ve become and the babies they will never be again. Sounds odd, I know. But in awe I watched them converse like little adults, laugh at each other’s jokes and console their sibling’s occasional boo-boos. They’re growing up.

They’re still here.

Loss lingers long past its welcome, tucking itself down deep to rear its worrisome head when you’d least expect. Startling defenses, it stalls progress and silences hopes at their onset. Like the rolling tide, you may jump over the first big wave but if you don’t continue forward, the aftertide will quickly follow. You’ll still get wet. You’ll still feel its pull.

Loss leaves you changed. No matter if its death or disease or disappointment, loss is loss is loss. By His grace and faithfulness, God has bound broken heartstrings, cradled my woes and shone hope into darkened places of my soul. But I realized stark this week that the tides had continued to roll deep within long past its initial breakers. I never fully believed these days would come and had braced my inner depths for the assumed “worst” to follow.

Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I fear it
Prone to leave the God I love
Take my heart, Lord
Take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

As the tide of truth rolled in, realization reduced me to confession. Confession of walls built within from loss that in turn had inflicted loss – they had held me captive from fully enjoying each gift of today, from fully committing to daily now of my children, from dreaming of days to come.

Loss has marked me. Its tide will ebb and flow until my breath fails and pulse stills. BUT. Truth understood renders choice. Every fearful impulse, every braced breath, carries on its back the choice to succumb OR to offer it full to the only One with grace enough to make it through. Loss acknowledged can breed gratitude and faith-filled trust in the One who bore our griefs, who carried our sorrows to Calvary. Its a journey. A most humbling journey. But one worth traveling. As we offer our fears into trustworthy Hands with honest confession and resolve to see through grateful eyes, hope sinks down deep. Amidst the turbulent tides of this worrisome world, we can cling to our Anchor, firm and secure. Sure as the rising dawn, the hope found alone in Jesus will always hold fast and true.

My children grow before my eyes. I breathe deep in gratitude, trusting their tomorrows to the One who has renewed my hope today.

image

Thank You, Jesus, for all You’ve redeemed. Thank You for loving every wounded place, for pursuing every fear-built wall with love strong enough to breech boulders. Thank You for grace to see beauty in ashen spaces, for joy in mourning’s place, for patience while we learn to trust You. Thank You for redeeming what You allow. Thank You for all my children. You have taught me much through them with lessons more in store. I am grateful.

1 Comment

Filed under Eliana, Evan, Faith, God, Isaac, Motherhood, Struggles, Thoughts

How They’ve Grown

Summer.

The auburned boy has turned three, the boy whose name means “brave messenger”, whose eyes reduce my soul to puddles of joy and delight.  He climbs everything, breaks many things, fears NO thing, and makes his mother a bit more gray with each passing dare-deviled day.  He greats me with a “huug and a kiss” morning and night and many moments between, this snuggler of my heart.  He softens the rough places I didn’t know I had and overwhelms me with the tangible goodness of God.  A boy.  A ginger boy.  A boy who rests his head safely on my shoulder with secure breaths and contented sighs.  He delights in his sister, melts his mother and follows closely after his father’s every step.  Oh this boy of mine.  How I love him so.

Longer days, shorter nights.  July quickly approaches.

Her dark hair cascades down like sheening waves of chestnut and ebony.  Just shy of five, this beautiful Answer To Prayer shines hope and joy through her bright blue eyes, eyes like sapphires surrounding a glowing orb of glacier blue. Simplicity delights this boundless dreamer who sees a friend in every stranger, greets each new day as an adventure and has never known a dull moment in her existence. She bestows gifts from the mundane to the imagined extravagant, all boasting of her affection and placed value in people. How she loves to give gifts to others! Her nurturing heart tenderly cares for every wound in the Leino household – those seen on our flesh and those hidden in my aging soul. She has lavished love and joy into places long tucked away in me. This blue-eyed beauty sees beautiful in the plain, the broken, the misshapen and forgotten. She sees through innocent eyes with a courageous love that knocks fear off its feet. Protector of her brother, admirer of her father and kindred spirit to the child her mother once was. This sweet girl of mine. How I love her so.

Summer’s heat will quickly give way to autumn. Autumn to winter. Winter to another year to another decade to a life fully lived. May I drink it all in and savor every drop.

These precious children of mine. Oh how they’ve grown.

20140624-221037.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Eliana, Evan, Motherhood

Off To A Great Start

Eliana LOVED her first day of preschool!  She was giddy about it from the moment she woke on Tuesday.  Thankfully I was able to maintain my composure at drop-off, only tearing up while praying with her before going in.  With a quick hug, she headed right into her classroom and began working on a craft with some classmates.  “Bye, Mom!”  And that was it.  My baby girl was officially a student.  (Where has the time gone…)

While the little lady was at preschool, Evan and I enjoyed a fabulous date together.  We enjoyed waffles from Jubala Village Coffee then went exploring at the park.  The heat finally forced us indoors until it was time to pick up big sis.  I loved having one-on-one time with my little man.  Evan is the sweetest, snuggliest, most charming 15-month old I’ve ever met.  Precious boy.

At the end of the school day, Eliana greeted us with a smiling face and stories to tell.  Our new season of preschool is off to a great start.  One great day down, many more to go.

2 Comments

Filed under Eliana, Evan

A New Chapter Begins

How did this day get here so fast?!  In a blink, Eliana Faith has grown from a bright-eyed newborn to a vivacious 3 year old.  This sweet girl is full of life and kind to absolutely everyone she meets.  I never knew it possible for someone to be so caring and outgoing at merely 3 years of age.  What a gift!  And today, this precious blessing begins a new chapter as she has her first day of preschool.  Preschool!  TODAY!!

We took Eliana to Meet The Teachers Day last Friday.  It was a huge success!  She warmed to Miss Amanda and Miss Courtney instantly and had a wonderful time doing crafts with them in her new classroom.  She seemed completely comfortable in her new surroundings.  While she explored her classroom and crafted away with her teachers, I was chronically fighting back tears.  How did this day get here so fast?!

Smart, loving and compassionate.  Curious, energetic and hilarious.  Independent.  Eliana Faith has already exceeded every hope I’ve ever had for a daughter.  I could not be more proud of her.  My social butterfly will absolutely love school.  Though my eyes fill with bittersweet tears at the thought of this new chapter unfolding, they are tears mostly of joy.  After all, she is a precious gift that God has entrusted to me.  She is ultimately His.

Congratulations on your first day of preschool, sweet girl!  Mommy and Daddy are ever so proud of you.

2 Comments

Filed under Eliana, Family, Thoughts

Two Years of Answered Prayers

Eliana Faith is now 2 years old!  Words cannot adequately describe the joy and blessing she is to us.  When we chose her name, meaning “God has answered us”, little did we know how amazing this sweet answer to prayer would be. She has truly been God’s beautiful answer to so many prayers.

She has grown into a delightful, energetic, outgoing little girl.  Her zeal for life is infectious and she sees a friend in every new person she meets.  She is completely fascinated with all things ocean (especially Nemo) and cannot get enough of bubbles or balloons.  Eliana loves to help in the kitchen whenever she can, whether its whisking eggs or helping to measure ingredients.  It always makes me smile to hear her count away or sing, “Yes! (with a lisp) Jesus loves me!”  Ever since Evan came home, she has been an amazing big sister.  She loves covering him with hugs and kisses, saying “its okay!” anytime he cries.  It has overwhelmed me at times to watch her care for her baby brother so sweetly.

Happy Birthday, Eliana Faith!  Thank you for all the beautifully moments over these past two years.  I am so excited to see all God has in store for you this next year.  What a blessing and honor to be your mom!

4 Comments

Filed under Eliana