The awe-inspiring circle of life


A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.
— Carl Sandburg

By Judith Sutherland
Farm and Dairy columnist

When I was a newlywed 30 years ago, one of my best days went like this: my sister went in to the hospital to have a baby. I spent the day caring for her two oldest, both girls, and awaiting word of the birth.

Finally, late in the evening, I had the wonderful job of telling Sara and Jody “It’s a boy!” Their little brother was named Luke, and we couldn’t wait to meet this new addition to our big family.


Along life’s way, Luke has been a wonderful mixture of sweet and silly, a great storyteller, the master jokester, the little brother who turned in to the big cousin who kept my own two children entertained.

A younger brother, Bryan, completed the family when Luke was 2, and my children grew up spending lots of time with these cousins.

Luke was still just a young high school kid when his sister Jody drove him to camp one summer after he had missed the bus. It wasn’t just a drive to the next county, but from north central Ohio to West Virginia.


Luke was blessed with sisters who looked out for him, and this particular favor ended up blessing us all: Luke met the girl he would marry at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp.

Lisa, an adorably sweet, petite dynamo, married Luke one August day after many years of dating, and I have often said the two of them set great examples for my children.

Years went by, and great accomplishments came their way. Both landed good jobs, bought a lovely house with a big yard, rescued a lab mix dog from a shelter, hosted family picnics and parties. The longing for a baby was prayed for by all of us who love this couple.


Luke and Lisa came to visit me one morning around Christmastime.

“Sorry our card is kind of late, but we made this one just for you,” Lisa said.

I opened it and read, “Under Construction: We are expanding by 2 feet!” and a picture of their shoes (and their dog’s paws) had been joined by an empty pair of baby shoes. I jumped for joy, hugging them and praising this blessing.

They agreed upon not finding out the sex of the baby. Boy or girl, it would be a joyous miracle. I predicted a baby girl would be born on their wedding anniversary. Luke sent me a message on their anniversary. “Thanks for your anniversary wishes. We are in the hospital; this baby is coming!”


We drove to the hospital to give them each a hug and let them know we would be waiting and praying. It wasn’t until the next morning that Luke had the happy job of announcing “It’s a girl!” and tears of joy spilled over for all of us.

As I hold tiny baby Brynn, a 5-pound beauty, my heart is filled with the enormity of this blessing. The circle of life continues to be awe-inspiring.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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