Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Letter


As we look forward to the celebration of our Savior’s birth, we want to share with you a few of our favorite things!  (Forgive us, we recently watched The Sound of Music.  It will help if you sing these verses to the tune of “My Favorite Things”.)

Tackling, reading to, bathing our children
Serving my wife when I can in the kitchen
Helping with surgeries, stitches and slings
These are a few of my favorite things.

Eric just completed the third of ten clinical rotations required in pursuit of his degree in Physician Assistant Studies.  He is enjoying the “hands on” aspect of his training and is on track to graduate next December!  His favorite time of day, though, is coming home to our family.  (Not coincidentally, that is my favorite time of day, too!)

Drawing and painting and everything crafty
Playing outside except when it is drafty
Being at home with my mom and siblings
These are a few of my favorite things.

Sandra is our true homebody.  She is doing well in her school work, but really excelling at art.  We are thankful for a friend from church who is teaching art to a small group of homeschoolers; we love watching her talent develop!  She continues growing in her faith, getting lots of practical experience with love, forgiveness, humility, sharing and serving – both inside and outside our home.

Running and jumping and yelling and hitting
Playing with guns and with swords and some spitting
Living each day with whatever it brings
These are a few of my favorite things.

Two words epitomize our son: all boy!  He turns just about anything he can get his hands on into a gun or sword.  He has one speed (fast) and one volume (loud), so we spend quite a bit of time outdoors, letting him run off some of that energy and talk in his “normal voice” without piercing anyone’s ear drums.  He has a very tender heart and loves encouraging others through his loving words and huge hugs.

Loving and chasing my sister and brother
Learning new words one right after another
Dogs that are friendly and airplanes with wings
These are a few of my favorite things.

Lucy’s personality has really begun to blossom this year!  Out of the three, she wins the award for being “most attached to Mommy” (literally).  At around 18 months, she finally started branching out away from my appendages and showing some independence.  She loves singing and dancing (like her brother), coloring (like her sister) and doing whatever she can to keep up with everyone else all the time.

Black cups of coffee and dates with my hubby
Homeschooling Sandra, women’s bible study
When Lucy dances and when Reuben sings
These are a few of my favorite things.

Dates with my hubby don’t come as often as they used to; but when they do, we cherish them more, I think.  September brought the celebration of ten years of marital bliss.  We love each other and love living this adventure of life together, now more than ever!  One of the most significant changes this year was our decision to give homeschooling a shot.  If you ask Sandra, she’ll tell you she loves it.  The fact that I’m actually enjoying it, too, has taken me a bit by surprise.  If you’d like to know more about this aspect of our lives, feel free to browse my blog at

When the kids fight
Or cars need cleaned
When we’re sad or mad
We simply remember our favorite things
And then we don’t feel so bad!

We are so thankful for all these blessings in life…and remembering them does help us not “feel so bad” sometimes.  But the only thing that brings lasting joy, peace and love is Christ in our hearts and lives.  Every day, we seek to elevate Him to the highest place, replacing other good, though lesser, things with Him as our “favorite thing.”  May you do the same this Christmas season!

Love in Christ,
The Zufalls

Monday, December 5, 2011

Are You My Mother?

Disclaimer:  This might feel like a rambling stream of consciousness, so I won't be offended if you don't make it through.  :)

I feel like the Lord has been doing a lot in my own "kardia" lately.  Things I have been mulling over for a week or so...though this isn't the first time.  I'm just revisiting.  I do this from time to time.

Here's the thing.  Never do I tire of being a mother.  I love it!  I feel so blessed to be the mother of my three wonderfully imperfect children.  Never does my heart stray from this deep love...and never very far from an overwhelming gratitude.  Since sometime in my late teens or early twenties, the longing of my heart was to be a wife and mom. 

It's the mothering that sometimes wears me out.  Maybe "wears me down" would be more accurate.  "Mommy burnout" is what a friend aptly called it once.  The endless dishes and mountains of laundry.  The incessant spills.  The bonks and bruises of clumsy kids.  The tattling and bullying and pestering of siblings.  The can't-keep-it-clean-for-more-than-a-minute reality.  The monotony of instructions, corrections and conversations repeated over and over and over.  (Will they ever get it??)

I have a pretty laid back personality, but once my feathers are ruffled, self-control can sometimes just fly away from me.  Have you ever read that Dr. Seuss book "Are You My Mother?"  Lately, I've found myself being impatient with the kids and raising my voice.  More than normal.  (Not that it should ever be normal.)  More than I should.  (Not that I ever should.)  I keep thinking that they should look at me and ask, "Are you my mother?"  But they know.  They know I'm sinful.  They know I struggle with the very things they struggle with.  The very things I'm trying to steer them away from in their own hearts, thoughts, words and actions.  They know I'm not perfect.  I'm not fooling them, that's for sure.

The redeeming thing in all of this is that I have had lots of opportunities to practice humility lately.  I've had lots of opportunities to apologize and to ask for forgiveness - from my kids, from my Father.  I've been asking my self, "Will I ever get it??" 

And I will.  One day, when the world is made new, I will no longer struggle through these things.  Until then, I can be confident of this:  That He who began a good work in me will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.  (Phil. 1:6)  I can pray.  I can ask the Holy Spirit to fill me.  Again.  I can surrender to Him rather than just trying harder in my own strength.  Again.  So simple...yet so difficult.  And I can look forward to the day when these words from Revelation 22:20 are fulfilled: "'Yes, I am coming soon.'  Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!"