Category Archives: Celebrating

Wordless Wednesday | Christmas Morning

Christmas 2012 dated


Wordless Wednesday | Halloween

The Kind of Man He Is

He is the kind of husband every woman dreams of spending her life with.  She will know kindness, patience and unconditional love.  And she will get butterflies when he looks at her from across the room.  Even after 18 years together.

He is the kind of Daddy every little girl deserves to have in her life.  She will dance silly dances with him and find the freedom to be herself.  She will wholeheartedly believe that her Daddy can fix anything.  She will feel cherished, protected and loved.

He is the kind of Father every boy deserves to have in his life.  He will always have a playmate, a coach and a constant source of encouragement.  He will learn the character of manhood from his Father’s example.  He will feel important, protected and loved.

He is the kind of friend everyone seeks.  They will invite him to their parties because he’s the guy that makes everything more fun.  They will laugh together, remembering good times, with a good drink in hand.

He’s the kind of neighbor everyone hopes for.  They will call on him for help – whether heavy lifting, locksmith, construction or legal skills – because he will never miss an opportunity to help a neighbor.

He is the kind of man that makes this world a better place.  That is the kind of man he is.

Happy Birthday to the man I love.

Dear Jack (A Letter to the Birthday Boy)

Dear Jack,

My son.  My firstborn.  I’m so grateful for you.  And yes, my heart is full of those bittersweet milestone emotions because today you become a nine-year-old boy.  It’s hard to believe my baby boy is nine years old.  Because I remember this day so vividly.  The first day I held you in my arms and fell in love with everything about you.  (Nevermind my double chin.)

The past year has been a big year for you.  You continued doing the things you know and love.  You did them with passion and excellence.

A die-hard baseball player with amazing fielding skills.

A model student with a voracious love for learning.

A competitive soccer player with a team spirit that shines on the field.

An avid reader and Book Club member (Harry Potter books were favorites this year).

A seeker of God and faithful AWANA Club member.

A loyal friend with a social calendar to rival Prince William’s.

A dedicated brother with sisters that look up to you.

The past year has also been a year of challenge and change for you.  You were forced to grow and mature.  I actually anticipated some big kid challenges when I wrote last year’s birthday letter.  This wasn’t the easiest year for you.  You were forced out of your comfort zone more than a few times.  For example…

Moving to the upper-grade play yard at school.  You were nervous about the “older kid bullies and mean kids.”  You were comfortable being the big kid on the lower-grade play yard and you did not welcome this change.  Of course, your Mama Bear wanted to supervise every potential play yard threat.  And stop those “older kid bullies and mean kids” in their tracks.  But really, I knew you could handle this challenge.  And you did.  You not only survived on the upper-grade play yard, you thrived.   I know this because sometimes, this Mama Bear spies on you when I drop you off at school in the morning.  You’re doing just fine, Little Bear.  Don’t ever let your fears hold you back.

Losing on the soccer field.  Over and over again.  You are a true competitor and you are driven to win.  You work hard, you play hard and you play to win.  You were born this way and I often pray for wisdom to help you channel it in the best way possible.  So, this year’s losing soccer season (though I think you may have tied one game), on top of last year’s losing soccer season, rocked you to the core.  But your passion for the sport and your loyalty to your team did not get kicked to the curb.  Your coach was amazing and instilled solid soccer skills.  Like passing to your team members.  And striving for your personal best.  And sure, we dealt with a few fouls, like your angered “This ref is terrible!” and “The other team is playing so cheap!”  But you got past the blame game and finished the season as a better player.  And a better person.  So don’t ever give up, son.

Dealing with a broken friendship.  This was your biggest challenge this past year, and it broke my heart to watch you struggle through it.  I wanted to jump in and fix it.  To demand reconciliation.  To force the friendship.  But I came to my senses and tried to encourage you through it.  It was your challenge to face.  The details of what happened aren’t important.  But the friendship was important to you and you were sad and confused.  For months.  While I can’t pinpoint a redemptive outcome, it was definitely a life lesson.  That tough life lesson of dealing with disappointment and moving through it.  Unfortunately, we are never immune to this lesson.  But I will always be here to encourage you when it’s hard to let go.

Though this year has been one of challenge and change, you have stayed true to yourself.  Your amazing self.  I’ve always had a strong sense of who you are, Jack.  A clear picture of the amazing person God made you to be.  I’ve known this since you were just an infant.  And I think it’s clear to you, too.

You are loving.  You are sensitive.  You are compassionate.  You are strong.  You are a helper.  You are a friend.  You are creative.  You are smart.  You are a hard worker.  You are a justice-seeker.  You are driven.  You are a leader.

So today, on your ninth birthday, we celebrate you and all of your amazing attributes.  We are so proud of you and thankful for the gift you are to our family and to this world.

Be true to yourself, son.  Be who God made you to be.  Take on life’s challenges with confidence and humility at the same time.  Be kind to yourself.  Oh, and have some fun along the way!

Happy Birthday, Jack William!  May all your hopes and dreams come true.

I love you, as big as the ocean and all the way up to Heaven!

Mommy  (Yes, every once in a while you still call me Mommy, so                            I’m claiming it.)

Dear Sophia (A Letter to the Birthday Girl)

Dear Sophia,

Tomorrow you will become a seven-year-old. But tonight, you are still our six-year-old girl. Tonight, while you sleep peacefully on the top bunk bed in your beach-themed bedroom.  Tonight, with your summer-kissed skin glowing in the light of the nearby fish tank, and your silky hair falling across your cheek, I am treasuring my beautiful six-year-old girl.

I’m remembering the day we brought you home from the hospital. You were just two days old with a full head of dark hair peeking out from under the white knit hat I bought for you in Italy only six weeks earlier.  We walked through the front door of our home, Daddy carrying you in your infant car seat while you slept and Jack smothering you with kisses. Nana took this picture of us.

I was happy to be home and settle into life as a family of four. I exhaled, feeling excited for you to wake up so I could introduce you to your nursery with freshly painted “Ballet Slipper Pink” walls and a dreamy white upholstered glider.

Then, as I looked outside the kitchen and into the backyard, I saw a heavenly-hued blue bird looking in at us. He just sat there, peacefully perched, peering in at our newborn baby girl. It wasn’t normal. Birds don’t normally do that. And I’d never seen this striking blue bird in our backyard before. That blue bird just stood still, looking in at our baby girl. In awe of our gift from God. It was one of those time-stands-still moments, standing still even long enough for me to grab the camera and take this picture.

Now I’m not one for being overly dramatic. But as dramatic and hokey as it sounds, I felt a connection with that blue bird. Like it understood how wonderfully made was our newborn baby girl. Like it understood the greatest miracles of God. Like it was sent to deliver a message.

And this is what I heard…

Your daughter, Sophia Noel, is wonderfully made by the Creator who loves her deeply. She is a gift from God. She is a thing of beauty. She is a free spirit. She has been promised a life of freedom – as free as a bird flying through the open sky. There are no limits, no boundaries to who she is and who she will become. She was born to fly. Don’t clip her wings. Love her and let her soar.

Sophia, you love this story of the blue bird. You get it. You treasure it.

A few months ago I took you on a “Mommy Date,” starting with croissants (your favorite food) and coffee (hot chocolate for you) at Champagne Bakery. We sat outside with our breakfast and chatted like girls do.  Then suddenly the blue bird appeared. It swooped down and landed on a nearby table, standing still. You lit up. Your heart fluttered. The moment stood still while your eyes filled with tears.  I like to think that blue bird delivered a message to you, reminding you that you are wonderfully made and deeply loved.

So tomorrow, as you turn seven-years-old, I will think about that heavenly-hued bird. I will be grateful for you, as a gift from God. I will appreciate your beauty. I will tell you that you are wonderfully made and deeply loved. I will pray for a spirit of freedom to fill your heart and your soul. And I will watch you soar!

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl.  May all your birthday wishes come true!

I love you, as big as the ocean and all the way up to heaven!


Father’s Day Thoughts

Some day my kids will understand just how incredible their Dad is. Until then, they’ll have many more moments like this, shaping their childhood and their character.

And their Mom will treasure it all in her heart.

Wordless Wednesday | Mother’s Day at the Beach