The Bell Family

Random ponderings on God, life, and the humor all around us


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Liam is 12!!!

Our oldest is another year older. I don’t like it. I like it. All the feels.

Here’s the letter I wrote him this year. Along with his super handsome picture.

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Dear Liam,

I joke all the time about how you aren’t allowed to grow up, threatening to kick you out of the family (or just kick you as Victoria said) when you turned 10 because you were being so disobedient. But truly, there’s a part of me that wants time to slow down. Twelve, only six more years of youth left, meaning about the same amount of time for you to live in my home. And my future planning heart is already breaking thinking about it. Good grief, you’re now half-way done with school! How did this happen?!

But it also makes my heart glad. Change is part of this world, sometimes big change and sometimes small. And you becoming a man will be a beautiful and needed change for this world.

You and I get each other in a special way. Though you and Dad are much alike in your strong leadership abilities, you and I are alike in our self-evaluation, in our rule-following and therefore striving to earn grace, and in our ability to connect with others. As a result, we tend to measure our worth according to the world and have a difficult time seeing that God has given us any giftings at all, believing the lie that we’re never going to conquer the sin we so hate in ourselves.

I always must tread lightly when offering you correction, knowing how similar to me you are and how you tend to fall into despair when it happens. So, my son who is quickly transforming into a man (sniff), allow me, as you did for me in a recent letter, to offer you some truth about who you are and what this way way way way way way way wiser person sees in you. 😉

You are more gifted in encouragement than almost anyone I know. You joke much but then are heavily burdened if you find out your joking hurt. The Spirit in you drives you to crave building others up. You know what it feels like to be torn down, and you can’t stand the thought of anyone else feeling that way. So you love. Mr. Mark is an encourager, clearly filled with the Spirit in his humility to never puff himself up but to take advantage of every opportunity to point out the good God is working. It feels like a rare gift in men, and you will glorify Jesus maybe more with this one than any others, because it’s odd and people will notice and be drawn to it.

You are bent toward truth and righteousness. This can obviously come out in wicked pride and stubbornness (you’ve never heard THAT before), but it also comes out in a boy wise beyond his years, who is more and more frequently spurring even his mother to truth that I have a difficult time seeing through my sinful heart. You don’t just take people’s word for it, but you consider and weigh to see if it’s within the right rules or just. You have the gift of truth and knowledge. Use it well, my boy. Dig in deep to the word. Don’t let video games or playing with friends or getting stuck in your head substitute for truth. Find it in your Daddy’s words he’s given you. His word is truth. It’s time for you to take this practice of immersing yourself in scripture seriously, past what we “require” of you. You will be swayed. Don’t let your pride fool you into thinking you won’t be. The world sounds good and wise, sometimes too good to be true, because it’s just a lie trying on truth’s clothing. You are beyond blessed to have two of the biggest truth-seekers I’ve ever known in your daddy and Mr. Dan. Watch them and learn from them. They are a gift to you.

You are a leader and a teacher. People will tell you this is because you’re the firstborn, but I’d argue that God set you aside as the firstborn to prepare you to be a leader. Your name means strong protector. As much as we must sometimes correct you for taking the role when it’s not your job, you care deeply for those weaker than you, and would give your life without blinking an eye to save another. You’re brave and courageous, and I look up to you.  But it’s more than a concern for physical safety. You pastor the hearts of your little brothers and sisters, gently correcting them when they get theology wrong or are doing something you know isn’t good for them (this one amazes me because you somehow manage to almost always do this without self-righteousness!). This is so true of you that if Mom or Dad aren’t around, you have become the next trusted source. Your siblings will come seeking you for answers because they see and trust your wisdom, and they know you’ll answer them patiently and full of love.

You’re frequently concerned you’ll not grow into a man after God’s own heart. Oh, kid, live for today. Do not worry about tomorrow. Because today I see a twelve-year-old boy who already has a heart for Jesus and others. Why would God not continue to be faithful to you when you’re technically a man. You are already more noble and honorable than many men I know, maybe most men. I want to see you ask him more, have a bigger faith, remember my story with the lightning. The same is true for you. You are his son, a prince of his kingdom, and he’s promised he’ll give you what you ask in his name. He gave Solomon wisdom when he asked for it because it was a right request. You desire to have a heart like his, there’s no more righteous desire, so ask him. And don’t look at tomorrow and judge whether he’s answered. Trust him today. Then in 10 years, look back and see how he’s transformed you. You don’t remember the last 10 years of your life, but we do, and it’s built our faith that God does in fact answer our prayer and doesn’t let your foot slip. You’ll see it more clearly in the next ten.

I love you deeply. You’re the one who’s grown us the most as parents, mainly because you are the guinea pig, the one we make the most mistakes with and sin against the most. We’re always having to figure things out with you because you’re the first. And you’re always full of grace to these bumbling people who have the privilege to call you “son,” encouraging us and teaching us along the way. I get to see God’s grace in giving us this cool kid despite our rebellion and failures. We see the gospel in you, and our faith is built. May yours be built alongside ours.

Loving you in awe of God’s goodness,

Mom and Dad

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Bell Family Update–April 2017

This month was less eventful with “special” days, but I’ve been praying to learn each day is special. It was a sweet month, while busy beginning to wrap up normal school year stuff.

This is always a bitter/sweet season for us. The beauty of spring and looking forward to a more open schedule. But it also brings more stress and challenges as a family. Attitudes are high, and we all kind of flake out with our responsibilities. We’re all just over school and our very full daily calendar. I want to keep it real here, because pictures only give a partial picture. Though if you look closely enough, you can see more. For instance, you’ll notice the absence of one of our daughters in many pictures. Particular rebellion is typically high this time of year, which results in several losses of privileges. Not every moment is bad, but every moment isn’t grand either.

There are fewer pics this month because as usual, we forget to document much with a camera! One event with no pictures was our block party. We had a sweet time with many neighbors grilling hot dogs and hanging out in our yard. I seriously love our neighbors to the moon and back!

These girls spent almost an entire day making this huge Lego town, complete with zip line!20170331_210802044_iOS

We decided this year to train as a family for a 5K. The kids, even the little ones, are all doing amazingly!!! They talk when we run. I don’t. Which says a lot.20170331_213550769_iOS

We spent a day at the Children’s Museum with some dear friends from Louisville! The same day, we ran into friends from our college days!!! One of my favorite days. 20170401_143609051_iOS20170401_153715133_iOS20170401_154045120_iOS20170401_185025671_iOS20170423_224313235_iOS

MDKT (Mom Dad Kid Time) that we do with each kid each month. Love this individual time!20170402_202127870_iOS

This girl dances in style!20170403_135329196_iOS

The girls spent our monthly Rule and Drool day at a bookstore and The Flying Cupcake. We’re super serious, ya’ll.20170407_182248803_iOS20170407_182913774_iOS20170407_183324300_iOSThese water bottles would. not. open.20170407_183846095_iOS

These girlies are three of my favorites in the world. Our tweens are blossoming in friendships these day, and this mama couldn’t be more thankful.20170409_193452366_iOSI’m a pretty ginormous fan of this lady, too. Love her so much!!!20170409_193513282_iOS

Showing fabulous artwork.20170411_005132690_iOS

Birthday girl!!!20170412_121717264_iOS20170412_231714723_iOS

Day at Shades State Park!20170415_160536390_iOS20170415_191027308_iOS

New ‘do!20170419_195822241_iOS

Look! Bill made it into a picture! One of our besties took this before we went to celebrate a sweet wedding. Isn’t he dreamy???
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These little cuties officially finished preschool! The exclamation point is there to remind myself I should be happy they’re growing and all my children are now school age and my hands aren’t as full anymore and yada yada yada. But I still want my babies!!!!! So there.20170425_140358741_iOS20170426_130204584_iOS

I pulled my rotator cuff in my left arm (no idea how!), so this is world’s best hubs fixing my hair for me. He rocks!20170426_195524824_iOSFinished product!20170426_200725040_iOS

We enrolled Liam in an acting class. He had a great time with it! We got to watch him on his final night perform his monologue–from Harry Potter, of course. This mama might have gotten a bit teary eyed. From the dust in the room…

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Miriam is Eight!!!

Our little life-lover is eight today! This little girl is fun and exciting and scatterbrained and big-hearted and a joy to have as a daughter. She is full of the Spirit of Jesus, overflowing with love for King Jesus and for everyone else in the world. This girl’s heart is so big, she picked food (they get to pick all the meals on their birthday) that weren’t her favorite because she knew that some of her siblings didn’t like what she wanted most! The love of the King dwells deep in her heart and we had a blast celebrating her today. Here’s the birthday letter I wrote for her:

(By the way, Liam saw Miriam in this outfit and described her as “peasant girl cowboy”–how perfect!)

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Little Miriam Elise,

Where do I start with you, girlie? Like every other human in the history of ever, you are a singular creation of God the Father, bearing his image in your very soul. So in that way, you are no different than everyone else who has ever lived. But our Father also finds joy in endless creativity, making each of us unique and special. And so he crafted you, fearfully and wonderfully making you into our Miriam. And you are truly unique—I’m thinking that has something to do with the fact that the first thing you ever saw was the water of a toilet bowl. That probably explains a lot, actually…

We have called you our little life-lover and it’s so true. There’s a vibrancy you contain that is contagious and beautiful and lovely. It reminds me very much of your mother. I don’t say that as something that makes you better than your brothers and sisters. We each were created by God and given our own loads to bear, with their own responsibilities. I don’t think any of us would argue that you’re the most organized and task-driven person in the family—but that’s okay! God has gifted you with joy through his Spirit and a heart of empathy and encouragement. I look forward to seeing how God will grow fruit in you, flourishing in an abundance of love for others.

Of course, your greatest gift also becomes the greatest place of attack from the Enemy. Maybe that feels like the opposite: wouldn’t Satan attack us at our weakest places? Well, he certainly does that, too. But he also enjoys scheming to twist the good that God is doing and turn it for evil. Maybe he will tempt you to feel pride in your joy, which would taint your pure love for others. Maybe he will tempt you to see the evils of men’s hearts, tempting you toward despair and hopelessness. Maybe he’ll try to hurt you like Job with illnesses and tragedy so that your love for life is put to the test. I don’t know what it will be, but I know it will come. Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this present dark world we live in.

I don’t want this to discourage you—though I’m not really sure I could. But I also know that as we grow and develop, the temptations we face grow and develop, too. As an eight-year-old, you start to shed your littleness. You won’t use a booster seat anymore. Pretty soon you’ll be tall enough to reach the ceramic dishes. Next year you’ll start the upper grammar stage in school, which is harder and requires more of you. I want you to enter these new times with eyes wide open. I want you to be wise to what’s going on inside you and around you. I don’t want you to fall into Satan’s traps, my love!

But I’m also just darn excited. Because as hard as it is for us to see our little ones become un-little, we love to see y’all grow into men and women. There’s a deep-seated joy that comes to us as parents to see you flourish and mature. Because while the opportunities for temptation and sin will increase, so will the opportunities for love and worship and service and generosity. I marvel at the thought of seeing your generosity get bigger and bigger! And it will! How do I know? Because the One who started a good work in you will most certainly complete it. And you’ve got the Spirit as a deposit and seal guaranteeing that completion. That’s better than the best promise I could ever give you.

So let me finish with this: keep seeing and savoring Jesus. Search the words of God in the Bible. Ask God for anything and everything. Be brave in the name of Jesus. Keep leaping without looking, because our Daddy will always sustain you. And keep finding your food in the risen King, Jesus. He will NEVER let you down.

Love,
Dad and Mom


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Bell Family Update–March 2017

I have to say that March 2017 feels like a blur. It might have something to do with the fact of the girls having their dance recital and a VERY full calendar. Regardless, it was still a fun month with lots of joy and laughter. Here are some highlights!

 

I just think she’s the cutest!

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I mean, just look at her!

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One of the fun and unique things we got to do this month was attend the NFL Combine Experience here in Indy. It was free and a ton of fun for the kiddos.

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Sprints (squad 1)

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Sprints (squad 2)–check out that burst of speed from the dude on the left. 😉

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Catching footballs

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They were so sweet when the little ones gave it a shot.

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An obstacle course

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She’s a blur of speed and agility

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Mid-air catch!

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That’s a Heisman-worthy pose right there!

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Virtual reality

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This was a really cool remote-controlled tackling dummy. The guy operating it kept messing with the kids and scooting it away right as they’d approach. It was awesome.

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They had this field laid out to the side. When the tackling dummy operator saw, ya know, our incredibly large number of kids, he took the dummy over there and did us the great favor of wearing our kids out chasing the dummy around the field.20170303_180935770_iOS

Long jump–they have some, um, interesting form!

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The fam posing around our favorite team logo!

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So, Court always says I’m never in the pictures. Which is true. But here’s my “Before” picture of my current weight loss regimen. I include it because it’s practically the only picture of me this month!

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I can’t remember what they were watching, but clearly they were in suspense!

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Courtney has started learning some nail art techniques. She glammed Vi-Vi up with some Hello Kitty.

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Esther designed her two-dancer artwork

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Because our dance instructor was about to have her baby, our girls’ dance recital was earlier than usual. We were in a new but very small venue. Here are some photos of the little lovelies.

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The boys, while waiting for the recital to start, engaged in this epic staring contest. Their game faces are really something…

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One of our goals in 2017 is to walk the entire Monon Trail (not all in the same day). We picked a particularly cold Saturday to get started. We got about two miles before we ditched back to the house (the smiles in the picture are deceptively happy compared to the frigid weather!). But more to come!

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On the first day of Spring, we had our annual Spring Celebration. Since we’ve decided not to mix our Jesus holidays with the other fun activities of the season, we do baskets and bunnies and eggs on the first day of Spring instead of Easter.

Bunnies for breakfast

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Following the Bell tradition, the kids had to hunt in the house to find their individual baskets

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It was very cold and wet, so we also had the egg hunt indoors

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I thought this was a totally great snapshot of our homeschooling day. You can see three of the kids working at the table while Courtney answers a question for Ariana. Also, as usual, we probably don’t know where the other four kids are (just kidding… kind of…)

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Josiah took the magnetic letters and numbers to make this number line. He was quite pleased (look at that cute smile!)

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Courtney teaching one of her students. Look at that dropped jaw! And that lovely face!

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I took my annual personal retreat this past weekend. I spent quite a bit of time hiking around Turkey Run State Park. I had several times of complete solitude and silence–it was very refreshing. Here are some scenic photos I took. I’m not in any of them. Because I don’t selfie. Because, well, then I’d be in a picture…

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While I was on my retreat, Courtney and the kids had a blast of a time. The last night, they all camped out together in the same room.

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Good grief, she’s a hottie!!!!

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Go Team Bell!!!!

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Bell Family Update–February 2017

The shortest month of the year wasn’t going to let itself be forgotten! Packed full of busy, stress, tears, and also much sweet fun. We had two birthdays and two trips. Memories!

We took a long weekend vacay to Cincinnati this year. We got to stay in the cutest little cottage with nooks and crannies everywhere! The kids enjoyed being there as much as the things we did around town.
Eating at O’Charley’s20170203_160603299_iosVisiting the Creation Museum20170203_222649000_iosPetting Zoo at the Museum20170204_183829542_iosWe’ve done this girl a great disservice by not living on a farm. She was made to take care of animals!20170204_184359072_iosAnd I decided I want a cow. Like in a big way. Not to eat. Those eyes!!!20170204_184533831_iosIntense game of Frogger20170205_165335362_iosFancy seafood restaurant20170205_173213536_iosThe aquarium. I love Esther’s face!!20170205_190632316_iosPlaygrounds in downtown Cincy.20170206_163006288_iosMaybe we shouldn’t have all gone down at the same time… Miriam is the wise one.20170206_163327667_iosBreakfast for lunch, with Popeye in the back.20170206_175224465_ios

Each month, we have a “Sacrifice the Normal Day” or SND for short. This month we spent the day in Terra Haute, IN. The Children’s Museum, Clabbergirl Museum, and hiking. Loved it there! 20170210_173940744_ios20170210_174047856_ios20170210_174113020_iosThis is now one of my favorite pictures of all times!!!20170210_182033871_iosBill may have ridden one of these for a long time…20170210_190006748_iosIt’s a good SND when the kid who NEVER sleeps in a vehicle is the only one to sleep on the way home.20170210_214207540_ios

Because of weird warm weather in February, we took more walks than usual this time of year.20170211_173758684_ios

How does Leia end up in so many of our blog posts? And how is she so stinking adorable???20170212_190300858_ios

School project making pomander balls.20170214_144912431_ios

Bill’s a seminary student again, so I get to hang with these weirdos by myself Tuesday nights. We all decided to sleep together. Really. We’re totally asleep. No, really.20170215_004945872_ios

Hanging at one of our favorite rocks at the beginning of one of our favorite trails.20170215_180136685_ios

Dates with four of my young loves. 20170216_135202306_ios

I always talk about how Bill manages to never be in pictures. He texted this one to our church, so I knew he was proud of it and would want it on the blog.20170219_183427000_ios

Lots of park play with our awesome neighbors. Does your tongue feel like mine?20170219_223247627_ios

Finding this in your purse=real parenting.20170220_155149057_ios

Bill and I have long-standing slug bug battle. It gets real. I upped the ante when I took a picture of one when we weren’t together and texted it to him saying “Slug Bug White!” I win.20170221_180705069_ios

This kid and his trees. Yes, one of our friends may have told us this tree will eventually need to be cut down, but shhhh.20170221_205422295_ios

This girl and I had our “coming of age” weekend with me! We headed to Bloomington and had a sweet time together for four days.
Playing at Wonderlab20170224_191553738_iosBill taking the kids grocery shopping while Essie and I were gone. Don’t worry, Aiden didn’t suffocate.20170224_195452744_iosBuilding20170224_201414503_iosIce cream!!!20170224_205917010_iosUs on coffee and sugar way too late in the day.20170224_212929339_iosMy little beauty. Please stop, Time.20170225_123555641_iosGetting her ears pierced like a boss.20170225_155507006_iosAnd done!20170225_155620265_iosMatching hats!20170225_195808522_iosOne of the women who cleaned our room tucked in baby doll! So sweet!!! 20170225_202808728_iosCan’t tell from the picture, but we went skating together! It was my first time in at least 19 years. I could have stayed all day!20170226_193056163_iosPlaying house while Mom and Essie are gone.20170226_193908760_iosManis and pedis20170226_204344132_ios

This was a big month for this girl, since she also had her ninth birthday! She said she thought this February was her favorite month ever.20170216_144911078_ios20170217_232844010_iosChuck E Cheese’s to celebrate the birthday. Victoria just stood still waiting for Chuck E to come out for more than 10 minutes. She’s a fan!20170217_184403303_ios

Heaven’s bed head one morning! It was so fantastic we think we’re going to try to start a trend.20170204_190641055_ios


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Esther is Nine!!!

Our beautiful Essie turns nine today! She is my clone in looks and much more. This girl is always challenging me to really know my stuff, and she’s an open book if just asked. She loves Jesus something fierce, and her heart is always on him, whether she’s writing a song about him, having deep discussions about him, or drawing beautiful pictures to portray different aspects of his love. Below is the letter I wrote her for her birthday:

My dear Essie,

I’ll never forget your birth. It was the first time I had a baby without taking medicine to dull the excruciating pain. I remember thinking about the Fall and my own sin during the process. To help with the pain, I thought about how much I deserved far more pain than this, that it would never get much worse for me because I was saved by grace. There’s no death for me. It was truly a Spirit-filled moment, and it gave me relief and even joy. I’ve not been able to sustain that hope during a birth since, instead being too consumed with the pain.

Looking back, I see how appropriate those thoughts were for your birth especially. It foreshadowed the way your mind works almost to a tee. You are my deep-thinking girlie, always pondering life and Jesus and how you fit into the whole thing. You’re never one to simply take someone’s word for it. You must really know for yourself, and you’re always on a quest to have the answers. Each time I get one-on-one time with you, I’m amazed how widely you open the door to your heart, letting me see in and allowing me to listen in awe at the maturity that comes out.

I also see the pain in you far more clearly than I’d like. You fear much because your mind is extremely aware of everything around you. The good. And the bad. We tell you there’s nothing to fear, but you know that’s not true. You’ve thought about the Fall to a point most adults never do, and you see the ramifications of it all. You know Satan is at work, and you worry about how he’ll next attack. Seeing or hearing about hard and disturbing things never leaves you.

You also struggle to find your place in this world. Your thoughts make you crave friendship that is beyond your years, and it’s hard to find people who understand. Even though you have four of the best friends ever in your sisters, you’re a middle child, always unsure if you’re a big kid or a little one. Sometimes I’m sure it feels as though you’re simply invisible.

But, my darling, we see you. We see the pain, we see the fear, we see the worry. But so much better than that, Jesus sees you. He is a friend closer than a brother (and you have amazing earthly brothers, so wow!!), and he understands your thoughts. His Spirit is the one who put them there. He designed you to ponder him, to wrestle with him much like Jacob did, and he will bless you fully in the end.

But, if the Lord wills, there’s still much to go before the final blessing comes. And until that day, he wants those thoughts to always be turned to his goodness, his strength, his provision, his power. You recently shared with us that you’re scared you won’t ever become the girl we make you out to be. Oh, my sweet girl, you already are her. You are a beloved daughter of the King. Beautiful and perfect in every way. That is your identity! You don’t have to live up to her because you are her. Just like Mr. Dan talking about Rapunzel—the fact that she was trapped in a tower didn’t change her identity as a princess. She just didn’t believe it was true. But the day she did realize it? Joy!!

You are good because Jesus made you good by taking your sin. You are stronger than you think because Christ is strong for you in your weakness. Your Daddy is creator of the Universe, and if he cares for the ravens, he’s going to care for you, knowing every one of your beautiful hairs. And yes, Satan has been given some powers on earth, but only under God’s authority and only for a short time. Satan has been crushed by your family, not the ones who gave you the name Bell, but by your big brother Jesus. And there is literally nothing to fear with Satan for those of us in Jesus. Our lame enemy is simply throwing a toddler temper tantrum because he’s been defeated.

The moments you relax and simply laugh sincerely are some of my favorite times. They’re the times you’re forgetting to fear and you’re confident in who you are, not trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s what we crave for you this next year. We want you to laugh easily because you know how powerful and good your Daddy is, and we want that knowledge to strip all the fear away. We want you to be comfortable being Esther, because that’s who God created you to be. And if that’s who he designed you to be, any human who thinks you should be something else can honestly just shove it. Their opinion is truly pointless and goes against God, and we’re all hopeless wanderers trying to figure out where we fit.

Your namesake, Queen Esther, was also scared. She hid her identity as a Jew. But the moment of victory came when she performed the bravest act of her life, sealing the deal when she revealed who she really was. It was then that her enemy was defeated.

Continue the deep thoughts, because oh how lovely they are. But think and drink deeply on God for your strength. He’s worth the hard thoughts and the joy.

We love you, Bug,

Mom and Dad


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Bell Family Update–January 2017

Our January was crazy busy and really, totally awesome. We had so many fun experiences together!

The kids got the most fun building fort from one of their aunts and uncles. This puppy stayed in our living room for weeks, and they built with it every day!20170103_001006093_ios

For Epiphany, the kids get their big Christmas present from us and grandparents. This year–BIKES!! So much fun!!! Liam and Ariana build their own bikes through an amazing program we have here called Earn-a-Bike, so they got a skateboard and scooter instead of a bike.20170106_133754697_ios20170106_133810109_ios20170106_133933237_ios

And Epiphany is always celebrated with a king’s cake. This girl is the one who had Baby Jesus hidden in her piece.20170107_010018296_ios

Each month, we do a Rule and Drool day (Mom with girls and Dad with boys), but this month we switched it up with Dule and Rool day instead. I took my boys to play laser tag and arcade games, and Bill took the girlies to a Home Depot workshop. Fun was had by all (and Aiden and I stomped Liam and Josiah in laser tag. Just sayin’)20170107_153759891_ios20170107_162313011_ios

This little guy went straight to fake prayer one day when I started getting on to him. Hilarious!!20170108_172130758_ios

School is still going strong.20170109_145014638_ios

I have amazing helpers in the kitchen.20170111_163022088_ios

One of our neighbors, Baby Eve, has her own personal fan club with the Bell kids. Liam and Ariana have especially come into their own recently with some beginning babysitting gigs, and I love watching them just love on little ones. Be still my heart!20170112_011304167_ios20170112_012959805_ios

Our kids all get Mom-Dad-Kid-Time (MDKT) at least once a month. These two together are one of my favorite things.20170113_010907243_ios20170113_010925667_ios

Our monthly block party was at our house this year. We did hot cocoa around the fire pit, and it was FREEZING!!! And also such a sweet time! We had far more people than we expected and got to connect with some neighbors we didn’t know yet.20170113_233951142_ios

Bill and I made a platter at a pottery place together for a date night. This is the project before it was glazed and baked. It’s even more gorgeous now!20170115_005821022_ios

Always wanting to be in Daddy’s shoes, in more ways than one.20170115_235656674_ios

We got the Pie Face Game! Oh, my goodness, so much laughter!!!20170116_201628230_ios20170116_201717538_ios20170116_202049033_ios20170116_202502749_ios

I got to hang with this cute neighbor one morning, and I learned a whole new way to eat cereal.20170118_140733521_ios

We are ridiculously blessed that both sets of our parents really love each other, so we did a grandparents weekend this year. What a sweet time!!! We had game nights, went to the Rhythm Discovery Center and the Indiana State Museum, cooked for each other, and played Wii. I think the sleeping picture on the steps reflects how we all felt by the end. Totally worth it!!20170121_003441437_ios20170121_153929539_ios20170121_154637779_ios20170121_155330384_ios20170121_160104007_ios20170121_160957230_ios20170121_223105521_ios20170121_223130737_ios20170122_152733643_ios20170122_201641149_ios20170122_204037413_ios20170122_204119230_ios20170122_211656284_ios20170122_222951618_ios20170122_224931898_ios20170122_224954989_ios20170122_225855886_ios20170122_230722688_ios

On a sweet library and pretzel date with my baby girl.20170127_213849434_ios

Our church. I can’t say how much I love these people. But it’s way past the moon and back.20170129_191904130_ios20170129_192200223_ios

Aiden got glasses!!! Yeah, he looks adorable. Yeah, I said it.20170131_184910306_ios

I started teaching a Bible study, and I LOVE these ladies and this time we get together each week!20170131_232957705_ios

Lots of Children’s Museum time, including an impromptu visit with some friends there whom we’ve known for almost thirteen years now. We forgot to get a picture with them, but the mother and some of her beautiful kiddos are in one of the pictures below. Wish we could see them more often!20170106_155723101_ios20170106_174310527_ios20170114_170749237_ios20170114_171234033_ios20170114_173625662_ios

Heaven turned nine!!! Grateful for this girl.20170115_232028408_iosfullsizerender