A good friend of mine used to say that crowns are anything that bring glory to the wearer. I always thought this was a good reminder of how tempting it is to take  the things God has blessed us with -- our crowns -- then "wear" them in a way that brings glory to ourselves. Whether it's a job, money, fame, renown, status, talent ... a crown could be anything. It's hard to keep those things in perspective and not use them to bring glory to ourselves. On a slightly different note, Saturday was just about as close to perfect as you can get. We spent the morning riding bikes and playing in the park, then we went to a music festival in the afternoon. We capped the day off with baths, a story, prayers, a song and goodnight kisses. As the boys got their last minutes of playing in before bed, we talked about how big they've gotten and how much fun the day was. This was the kind of day I used to envision when we were awaiting their arrival into the world. We were both amazed at how much they are learning and how curious they are. We love taking them out and showing them off, as they charm just about everyone they see. It's also pretty natural to want to protect them and shield them from some of life's harsher experiences. Bullies, mean words, disappointment, , failure ... they are sure to encounter these and other hard realities. But we also know that this is part of the human experience, and no amount of effort on our part will make them immune from pain and hurting.

This brings me back to my friend. He said that crowns are anything that bring glory to the wearer. We can keep the crown and bring glory to ourselves. Or we can turn around and give the crown back to Jesus. He may keep it, or He may bless it and give it back to us for His glory and purpose. That's what we choose to do with Samuel and Nathaniel everyday. We acknowledge that God used miraculous circumstances to bring them into the world, and He has a divine plan for their lives. We know they are His and God has given us the privilege of raising them and witnessing each and every special moment. The same God who carried us through difficult times and heartache will be their strength no matter what awaits them in the future. In the meantime, we cherish every giggle and new word, endure all the food throwing and willful tantrums, and share their looks of amazement at new things, the snuggles, hugs and kisses. It's the best way I can imagine of honoring God for the abundance with which he has blessed us.