If you have read my blog posts before, this is going to be completely different. Yes. I will warn you, right off the bat. This is not going to contain gut-wrenching revelations, or passionate conversations with me wrestling through what God is teaching me. If you haven’t read any of my blog posts before? Just enjoy yourself with photos of cute babies and attractive people. It’s good to have you here.
Anyway, compared to recent posts, this will be a little more calm. Fun, even. Smile-provoking, too. Because you can’t see a photo of a little blue-eyed baby as cute as my niece and not smile. Try it.
Did you try it? I’m sorry, you might be able to resist smiling, but I can’t. This is Lilly. She is one years old and I got to gobble burger buns with her at Old Airport beach. We do that sort of thing when we’re on Christmas break in Hawaii.
So yep, this will be a different type of blog post than you’re used to. Over the past year I struggled through the pain of siblings and friends far away, plagued by the pleasant memories past– yet this is not one of those posts. Not at all.
This is where you see that yep, that’s me and my three older brothers. In the same country. For the first time in three and half years. Ladies, I’m sorry, but they’re all taken! (Well, not so sorry– I have the best sisters ever). But anyways, all that pain from being far away for so long?
The surprising thing is that all that distance sorta just melts away, all unexpected-like. You see your brother and his daughter at her first birthday party… and well, you don’t really remember the tears of goodbye a year ago. It just sort of disappears.
Yeah, this is a bit different than my average blog post. Goodbyes come and go, but we have to freeze those moments, enjoy the times in between the hello and goodbye– like this snapshot of us being very Norris-like in between our “proper” family photo. I think we were posing for this one, too. Despite being posers, I can’t help but smile at it, and breathe a sigh of calm satisfaction.

Because it’s not every blogging day that I get to post a current family photo! Or show you how much fun it is to hang out with my brother and sister-in-law– for the first time after we both moved countries three years ago. (I also smile when remembering a particular gecko who we made friends with at that table, and the thrift store adventures on the way home!).

And then, when the family have left back to respective countries, all the friends get together like your own personal high-school reunion. The old stories are told, and retold, and told again– stories that can fill up a year’s worth of blog posts. Ancient World Lit pranks, soccer practice shenanigans, Proms and who-liked-who. Oh gosh, now I think of it, it would be hilarious to bring up the days of sophomore year at Makua Lani!

…but we’ll leave that for another day.

Because in between the hellos and goodbyes, I have enough to smile about for the moment. Over the past month here in Hawaii, I’ve been reminded of where I come from, who I belong to, and how God has been faithful to bring me joy again and again and again. In many blog posts I labour to understand heart-wrenching revelations, or record me wrestling through what God is teaching me. It’s sort of the way I function through life as a writer, and it helps me process heartache and confusion.

Yet even though I write about wrestling, I don’t want you to think that God is so unjust that he doesn’t reward those who follow him.  Or just because I write about heartache, I don’t want you to think that he doesn’t triple the amount of joy for every season of pain you go through. Far from it.

He does reward.
He does triple the amount of joy you have. Exponentially, even.
So, smile with me– just for this moment in blog-world. Oh, and I can’t help finish this very-different-post in the same way I have done all year:
If all these days have been this good? It’s going to get way better.
Yup. The best is yet to come.
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined
what God has prepared for those who love him.” 
1 Corinthians 2:9
(And really this was to show off how brilliant of a photographer my brother Jordan is– and Marisa, who got the one of the siblings! 🙂 All photos taken November-December 2014, the Big Island of Hawaii. Thanks all.)