With a thankful heart…

First off, I’d like to thank Debi C. for lending me the book by Amy Carmichael, Rose from Brier; what I’ve read and re-read has been a blessing and a huge encouragement.

A portion of a song that came to Amy C. while amidst great pain and a desire to be with her Fellowship, “Thou hast not that, My child, but Thou has Me, And am not I alone enough for thee? I know it all, know how thy heart was set Upon this joy which is not give yet. And well I know how through the wistful days Thou walkest all the dear familiar ways, As unregarded as a breath of air, But there in love and longing, always there. I know it all; but from thy brier shall blow a rose for others. If it were not so I would have told thee. Come, then, say to Me: My Lord, my Love, I am content with Thee.”

Thank you to Eric and Juana Quinlan for giving me a CD by Twila Paris, entitled, “He is Exalted.” My favorite song—although I love listening to them all—but the one that has stood out the most is, “God is in Control”:

This is no time for fear
This is a time for faith and determination
Don’t lose the vision here
Carried away by motion
Hold on to all that you hide in your heart
There is one thing that has always been true
It holds the world together

God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control

History marches on
There is a bottom line drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh, but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing that has always been true
It will be true forever

He has never let yo down
Why start to worry now?
He is still the Lord of all we see
And He is still the loving Father
Watching over you and me

Another thank you to Beth C. for sending us the sermon by John MacArthur, entitled, “The Role of Suffering” from II Corinthians chapter 12. It was such a powerful message. One of the points he made was that trials serve many purposes, such as the following: To test our faith, to wean us off of worldly things, help us focus on eternal hope, to reveal what we really love, to teach us to value God’s blessing, to enable us to help others who suffer, to produce endurance, to humble us, or to break our confidence. They produce the broken and contrite heart God wants us to have. Another point is that God uses suffering to draw us to Himself. Suffering has a way of increasing and intensifying our prayer life. In II Co. 12:9, “… My grace is sufficient for you …” God doesn’t remove the issue of pain or trouble, but increases the grace He gives. He gives comforting grace in the midst of a trial. Encouraging grace in the midst of pain. A confident grace. In Deut. 33:26 it says He “rides through the heavens to your help.” There will always be sufficient grace to every issue. God doesn’t promise to remove your trouble, pain, etc., but promises to overwhelm it with grace. How wonderful is that? How wonderful, awesome, and powerful our God and Saviour is!!!!!

My God has given me a wonderful husband, who is stronger than he realizes. I thank Him for such a man that is faithful through it all. My kids are indeed a joy and a blessing, most of the time. From the silly things they say to the serious questions they ask. One of my favorite times with them is just sitting and listening to them sing along with the music that plays. What a joy to hear them sing praises to our God. He’s so very good. His provision for us, His loving care, His guidance and His continued mercy. One of my favorite verses is: Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are more valuable than many sparrows.
—Matthew 10:29-31

I praise God for His love that is shown through family and friends, with their continued prayers and words of encouragement and the many helpful things they do. Thank you to each of you. Thank you for showing me God’s love and your love, too.

A Conversation with My Geek Girl

Background: Naomi loves her new Geekwear. For Christmas, I bought for her a Version 2.0 T-shirt and a new Geek in Training T-shirt to replace the one she’d outgrown.

She loves the shirts! She calls the “Geek in Training” one her “Mouse Shirt,” and asked for it every day several times a day when it was in the laundry. While that was being washed, she tried the “Version 2.0” shirt. (I suppose it really should be a Version 2.4 shirt, or maybe 2.3, depending on whether John gets—as the software equivalent of a buy-out—his own version number.) She went around showing people at church, pointing at the logo, and saying, “Version two oh.” Nichelle observed:

At Christmas, Doug bought Naomi two new geek shirts. She loves them. Yesterday, I was putting her laundry away and she spotted her V2.0 shirt and picked it up and hugged it. She was already dressed so I told her she could wear it to bed. She quickly took it and put it under her pillow and remembered to get it when it was bedtime.

At any rate, Naomi’s speech is becoming much more complex (even beyond calling me a weasel or a slacker). I called home one day, and she wanted to talk to me.

NaNi: Version 2.0

Dad: Your Version 2.0 shirt? I’m very glad you like it.

NaNi: Thank you, Daddy!

Dad: You’re welcome.

NaNi: Love you, Daddy. Bye!

She melts my heart!

Christmas Glimpses

It is Christmas morning in the Wilcox home. The children awoke early, of course, but not too early. Nichelle and I slept until 8:30. I could have used another hour, because I was too excited to sleep Christmas Eve, and stayed up until around 2:00 a.m.

We let the kids open their stockings before church, and one other gift (chosen by us) on the way to church (John missed out on that one because he left for church earlier to navigate for my sister Cindy). I was thrilled to see the church auditorium packed. Normally on Christmas Sunday we have a lot of people traveling, so I expected the attendance to be down. (Of course, there are people traveling to our area as well, but generally not as many.)

Above left: The portion of the Wilcox family spending Christmas in Nashua with us. Back row: My sister Joyce Thorne, my daughter Naomi, my niece Jennifer, my wife Nichelle, my nephew Andrew. Front row: My son David, my son Isaac, me, my sister Cindy (Jenn and Andrew’s mother), and my son John.

Above right: David, Isaac (mostly obscured), Andrew, Naomi, and Jenn opening Christmas stockings. Naomi is eating a chocolate chip muffin.

When I was growing up, I never slept past 6:00 on Christmas morning, even though I never could fall asleep before midnight. Thankfully, my own children are a bit more reasonable, although they have resorted to sending notes in attached to Isaac (2 years old at the time), and playing the trumpet outside our door. (Actually, that was my nephew Andrew.)

Did you know the cardboard box has been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame?

Naomi singing, dancing and spinning around to Tish Hinojosa’s Spanish Christmas song, “Milagro”:

Milagro, milagro, es la Esperanza
Milagro nuestro es la Navidad

(A miracle, a miracle is the hope …
The Nativity is a miracle meant for us)

Above left: A new sombrero ranchero and the Lego AT-AT. Nichelle is good to me!

Above right: Naomi with her new Navajo Barbie. (Yes, I let her take it out of the box. Calm, calm. Deep breaths. Slowly now. That’s better.)

Above: Naomi “helps” construct my new Lego AT-AT.

My niece Jennifer driving the Xbox controller like a steering wheel (and moving her whole body as if driving) while playing Burnout 3: Takedown with David and Isaac.

David wearing the mask from his Darth Vader Voice Changer helmet, singing, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands …” while NaNi wore the cowl backwards, dancing to some inner music of her own.

Isaac’s shocked expression and dramatic dropping of the box when he opened his Carnivorous Creations terrarium.

Above left: Aren’t you a little short for a Sith lord?

Above center: Isaac dramatically reacts to opening a Carnivorous plants terrarium. (You should have seen his expression when he opened the RoboRaptor.)

Above right: NaNi models my new sombrero


Around Christmas, I always think about my favorite Christmas hymn: “God is Born” (“Bóg się rodzi”). I’ve only got one recording of it, on an old cassette entitled “An English Christmas.” It is the National Christmas Hymn in Poland, where it originated. Here’s what I’ve been able to transcribe from the English version I have:

“God is Born”

God is born and night is shaken
He the Heaven’s King lies naked.
The living Word knows brightness darkened,
He the Limitless takes limit.
Born disdained yet worship given,
Mortal, yet the Lord eternal.
Now indeed the Word made flesh
Has come on earth to dwell among us.

What hast thou, O Heaven better,
God abandoned thy perfection?
Here to share the trial and sorrow
Of His poor, beloved people.
Suffered much and suffered dearly,
For we all were guilty sinners,
Now indeed the Word made flesh
Has come on earth to dwell among us.

Born into a common stable,
He is cradled in a manager.
How then tell me what surrounds you
Hay and peace and simple shepherds.
You were ones who had the honor
Him to greet, and kings came bowing.
Now indeed the Word made flesh
Has come on earth to dwell among us.

I love the old hymns that are filled with such great doctrine. (So much of our modern popular and sacred music is vacuous—or at best superficial—by comparison.) Here the subject is the Incarnation: God the Son lowering Himself to become one of us. Wow!

Early Memories of Our Children

Isaac:

I found this note in our cellar, originally from May 13, 1993:

Today Isaac was talking about Andrew (my newphew/his cousin) and asking, “Is he three?” while holding out three fingers. I said, “No, he’s thirteen.” Isaac immediately asked, “Where’s the thirteen finger?”

Isaac has a host of interesting things we could write about. He surprised us at 18 months by identifying and naming the letters “O” and “A” on his alphabet blocks. Before he was 2, he could name every letter of the alphabet, and recite them in rapid fashion if one pointed to a word. (He was at least 4 before he mastered the alphabet song.)

We tried to raise Isaac to be “weapons-free.” (We were naive parents.) At age 2, he ate his toast into the shape of a gun, and said, “Look, a toast gun. Bang!” After that we realized that there were just things, like playing army, that are normal for a boy’s development. David now has a huge arsenal of toy guns and swords. Naomi enjoys playing with them as well.

July 2, 2005 (in reference to sometime in 1995): This was what life was like with a newborn.

  • This morning I knocked a book off my nighttable—Nichelle thought I dropped Isaac.
  • A couple of days ago I brought some work home to do on my computer—I fell asleep at the computer, and didn’t wake up until midnight. Then I had to work until 2:00 a.m.!
  • One night I fell asleep when I was feeding Isaac.
  • Nichelle always wakes up, and can’t remember that she put Isaac to bed. She panics momentarily because she can’t find him.

David:

When David was somewhere around 4, he believe the opposite of incorrect was outcorrect.

John:

We adopted John when he was 10 years old. One of the things we really miss is that early childhood history. His sister has given us a few old photos, but there’s nothing to substitute for a decade of missing information. (Even his medical records were woefully incomplete.)

Nichelle’s Notes from May

Naomi will be 7 mos. old on 5/13…the time goes so fast. She is now mobile. At 5 mos. she started to creep, but realized rolling where she wanted to go was much faster until a week and a half ago. One day last month she was on my bed w/ me playing with some toys and a doll that was mine when I was either 4 or 5. Things were great until David came in with his sword and shield and she left the doll and played with the shield. LOL. So now on occasion she'll have a sword in hand, or mouth (check out the picture—it’s quite cute).

Isaac and David play w/ her and she grabs their hair. Now mind you, they do scream or say “ouch,” but they keep giving their hair back to her to pull, it's pretty funny. John too, does the hair thing, but doesn't scream, which is good.

Nearly 6 mos. of residency here in Nashua, amazing. We love it here! As Doug is home so much earlier now, a huge blessing. We do miss our friends in Ma., we'll be down again, really, but many times over we see why God brought us here—Particularly for the 24-hour Wal*Mart in Amherst (just outside of Nashua) or the one in Hudson (a few minutes away) that’s open to midnight everyday ;-)!! :: drool, drool :: Alright, maybe not just for those, but it's a perk. I will have to admit shopping after midnight can get a bit wacky, as my sister-in-law, Joyce, came to see. We said, we'd never do that again.

Two weeks ago now, I joined the choir and work in the nursery once a month. Doug has been going out on visitation weekly now and John too has gone a couple of times. As for other ministries we're still praying for God's leading on that. It's wonderful seeing the kids excited about Sunday school and junior church and also their classes on Wednesday night. One of David's friends in his class is named David and was born two days before him. They'll be in K5 together in September.

Isaac turned 9 a couple of weeks ago,and we had a party for him at the house. He had a great time w/ his new friends and even Nda came up for the event. Nda has been up here a few times and we've so enjoyed his visits and the visits of our other friends and family as well. Hope we'll see more of you, too.

A couple of months ago, I started watching a little girl named Mikayla (4 days/wk). She's a sweetie. She and David get along very well. Mikayla will be starting K4 in September.

For the month of July our church offers a day camp for grades 1 to 10. I'm really looking forward to that. The program sounds awesome!

Today (5/6), I was asked to watch a little boy of about 15 mos. old named Ethan. I'll only be doing this two days a week-which is great. I start tomorrow.

Wow, it's already the 31 of May … Yesterday my cap on the radiator went once I arrived at church for choir practice. The car is now in the shop. We were planning to visit Cindy, but obviously that had to change. It's alright for it gives us an extra day to get things cleaned out downstairs.

Naomi had a full bath in the tub today…which she loved. She's been creeping for several weeks now,and two days ago started pulling her legs under her to get ready to crawl. Naomi also was able to pull herself up on the stairs in the family room.

John wanted to visit his friends in Mass. and Doug took him and the kids to Lowell and road the train w/ him part way (to North Station) and then sent him on the way. John made it to Brockton, with only a minor problem due to someone giving him the wrong information about what track the Middleboro/Lakeville train was on. Well, he made it back to Lowell Sunday afternoon so we could leave for Cindy's after church. With that trip being cancelled due to the car problem, John hopped back on the train to head to his friend Ryan's party. Can't believe his 16th birthday is a few weeks away…need to get planning. Actually, he needs to get planning!

“Ordinary Greatness”—Remembering My Father

This morning my mother called to tell us that my father, Paul John Wilcox, Jr., passed on to be with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, around midnight last night.

Dad was 80 years old, and suffered from both emphysema and congestive heart failure. Although his health had been slowly declining for the past few years, with some ups and downs, a couple of weeks ago he took a sudden and significant turn for the worse.

My father was a good man—not the kind of man to garner fame or wealth—but a good man along the way everyone thinks of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Thanks to their local hospice organization, Dad was able to spend his last days at home, with Mom nearby, and with many friends able to visit. In his last lucid moments (maybe a week ago), he remarked that he was glad to be at home, rather than in a hospital.

Dad has shown remarkable grace through all this, and it was always encouraging to talk with him. His decline in health was probably harder on Mom than on him.

Dad knew his destination was Heaven—not because he was a good man, because no one is good enough to meet God’s standard (this is repeated throughout the Old and New Testaments)—but through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer. (If you’re interested in learning more about why we believe this, this Web site has a very well-documented, Scriptural presentation of the Gospel which is fundamental to our beliefs.)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
—John 3:16

In the end, Dad was at peace, and completely ready to go to his eternal home.

Even though we will join him someday, we miss him greatly, and today has been a very sad parting. Other than knowing Dad is in Heaven, I take consolation that Dad was able to die at home, lived a full and mostly healthy life, knew how much he was loved, that all of us (I have four sisters and two brothers) were able to see him within the past year, and that my last (and recent) words spoken to him were, “I love you, Dad.”

I realize I haven’t elaborated on my topic much at all; I will share more of my memories and details of Dad’s life later. Right now I’m very tired.

Please feel free to post your own comments.

Isaac – Early Childhood Anecdote

I found this note in our cellar, dated May 13, 1993:

Today Isaac was talking about Andrew (my newphew/his cousin) and asking, “Is he three?” while holding out three fingers. I said, “No, he’s thirteen.” Isaac immediately asked, “Where’s the thirteen finger?”