Friday, October 26, 2007

A Girl and her Bunny

A friend from church who has his own photography business took some pictures of the three of us this month. He is an incredibly gifted photographer ( There were so many beautiful pictures, but I wanted to share the ones he captured of Alathea with her precious "bunny". She sure LOVES that little pink rabbit! It's special to me too since my Mom gave it to her.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Smokey Mountain Railroad Trip

This past Thursday and Friday we took a lovely trip up to Bryson City, NC with the staff from CrossWay. We drove up on Thursday afternoon and stayed at the "Mountain Laurel Motel"- it had some character! Then took a 5 hour train ride on Friday through the beautiful Smokey Mts. The fall colors were breathtaking! The train ride itself was wonderful. We all sat in an open air part of the train which made it fun. We had a great "bonding" time as a staff. Alathea was at Steve & Lizzy's for the night and had a wonderful time with them too! Oh- and Joe insisted I take the last picture :). We stopped at the White Water Rafting Center that M28 goes to in the summer and Joe was reminicing about past WWR trips!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Many Faces of my Girl

My camera can take about 3 pictures a second- these pictures were all taken in a row. All those expressions in a matter of seconds! What a girl!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Daddy's Home!

This is Alathea's beautiful drawing for Daddy- she worked hard on it...

...observing her progress

Now the painful waiting for Daddy to actually arrive. Minutes can feel soooo long for a 19 month old!

Daddy's Here!!! Alathea ran to the edge of the driveway as soon as she saw his car!

Lots kisses for Da-da!

This is typical of just about every day at 5:45pm when my handsome man arrives home from work. It's a huge celebration for his two girls. But this afternoon was even bigger. Joe had been out of town on a 3 day fishing trip with some buddies and we missed him so much! Alathea asked for him constantly, especially at night. Sometimes she'd look around the house for him. It helped that she could talk to him on the phone. I'd catch her on the phone "talking to Him" through out the day...when I would ask her what she was doing she'd point to the phone & say "Dad-da"!

Alathea made the most of our weekend without him. We spent the night at the Morrisons house along with Reba & baby Kathryn on Sunday night (they were husbandless too). It was an extra special night since I let Alathea sleep in bed with me for the 1st time. She was SO excited and super snuggly. We didn't get a lot of sleep, but it was really fun. Monday Alathea & I had a special date at the Splash Planet indoor water park. We went to dinner Monday evening, curtosey of my generous Dad, with Reba & Kathryn. And Tuesday we (along with baby Kathryn- I told you those girls think they are sisters!) spent the morning at the Seavers. Nice life, huh? We are certainly blessed. A side note on Alathea & Kathryn- she now calls her "tat-tat". Monday night when Kathryn & Reba went home Alathea burst into tears saying "Tat-tat, tat-tat!". A sinful response, but she sure does love that little girl. This morning I caught Alathea putting a bow in her hair- and Kathryn sat there for a while & let her! Wish I got a picture.

Anyways, that was our weekend in a nutshell. So glad our family is together again!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Is it really fall? Hard to believe when I haven't even pulled out Alathea's fall/winter clothes yet! I was talking to someone today making reference as if it were just August a few days ago! Anyways, I enjoy warm weather, but at the same time am excited about the cool weather making it feel more like fall. We've already enjoyed fun fall things like the Lazy5Ranch and have plans to go to an Apple Orchard. The other fall "activity" I wanted to do with Alathea this year was the Pumkin Patch. We were able to do that today! We spent the morning with "Grammy" at Hodge's Dairy Farm. We were the only people there all day. Alathea loved every part of it- running through the fields of pumpkins, a wagon ride, visiting all the farm animals & even a moon bounce! And she of course loved being with Grammy (or "Mammie" as she calls her). We enjoyed every bit of it and hope to go back. Its free, unless you want to buy a pumkin or something from their store. The funniest part was that almost none of the pumpkins were grown there! They have to ship them in, but then scatter them through out the field so that the kids have no idea they didn't grow there. Alathea doesn't care one bit. She LOVES her pumpkin Grammy bought her, and an adorable little one, a gift from her buddy Avery.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Neighborhood Girlie's

For those of you who ask why we haven't moved out of our little house by now, these pictures are largely why. We are so blessed to have the Swans, Abernathy's & Ross's all within sight from our house. We love it! Alathea loves that there are two other little girls she can play with at anytime. She even can point to where "Miss Lora" lives two doors down and "Baby Ki-ki's" house (Kathryn) across the street, and when we walk by the Ross's house, she goes "woof-woof" because of their dog (although she loves Greg & Hil too :). Rebecca & I are starting the think that our girls really believe that they are sisters! They see each other on an almost daily basis (that's not an exaggeration!). It's precious to see there faces light up when they see each other. These memorie's of being so close in proximity to such great friends will always be cherished. I pray when we do have to move down the road that maybe they all can follow :)

(For those who don't know the girls in the picture: Alathea, Kathryn Swan & Olivia Abernathy)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Precious Gifts

I don't know why, but every time I look at this picture my heart melts. I have always been a sucker for pictures of children lovingly holding a parents hand. But, wow, this is my child holding the hand of my loving husband. It makes me pause and thank God for his amazing, precious gifts to me! I am a blessed woman. I am so grateful that the Lord always, almost daily (sometimes hourly), reminds me afresh of the precious gift my husband & little girl are to me. I think that losing my Mom so early in life is a constant reminder of how short life is. It helps bring perspective when I have days that seem like endless instruction & discipline, or constant cleaning of messes that seem to appear again as soon as they are picked up. It helps me have Joy in the midst of the sometimes challanging routine of daily life. One of these days I will blink and suddenly be looking at an 18 year old instead of an 18 month old. While I know that season will have its own challanges & joys as well, for now I want to remember to pause long enough to cuddle or take an extra minute to sing a song, or to color with side walk chalk and dance to silly music when it comes on. Sweet, precious moments that I don't deserve! While the Lord & his Salvation are by far the greatest gifts, I know next in line are these two (or three with baby girl on the way) people I love so dearly.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My Boy

I am so proud of my Joe. This Sunday he & John Morrison were ordained. The ordination has everything to do with God- His Grace & Call upon their lives. But as his wife & best friend I can't help but think about the amazing man Joe is as well. I had an amazing priveledge of sharing on Sunday about Joe. Its really long, but as a way to honor him, I thought I would post it again so you all could read it. He (along with the other guys) studied so dilligently- and for hours & hours in order to pass the ordination exam. I included some pictures of this Sunday, the reception after church & lunch afterwards.

Pictures of the service on Sunday

(Here is Joe Sunday afternoon looking at an incredible scrapbook his Mom made him. It tells the story of God's calling on his life...from prophetic words his parents recieved at his birth up until now).

And our sweet girl at the reception- playing with the decorations


It is a dream come true to honor publically the man whom I love & respect most in the entire world. Since this is about Joe, I have written it to Joe, and will mostly look at my sweet boy as I read it.

Joe, I still vividly remember the very 1st time I met you- September 5, 2000 at Jimmy Cone in MD. Just through one evening of observing you and our brief conversation that night you left a deep impression on me...this is a man who passionately loves the Lord, genuinely loves people, and lives life to the fullest. Now that I stand here seven years later, having the most amazing privilege of being your wife, I can say all of those first impressions of you are truer than I ever realized.

There is so much I could honor you for, but the time I have been given is short. So I chose to honor you for the three things l love most about you- your passion for God, your love for me and the amazing father you are to Alathea.

The very first thing that attracted me to you the first day that we met is what I most love about you now...your deep, passionate, contagious love for the Lord & his Word. I have never observed a man so closely that loves & honors the Lord as you do. You delight more than anything to meet with the Lord. Your favorite part of the day is studying His Word & your extended prayer times. I love seeing the Joy you posses after spending time in the Word & how you can hardly contain yourself from sharing every new thing you learned that day. Often times you have told me that you'd love to spend the entirity of every day reading and studying scripture. You never get tired of it! I love seeing how the Lord has used those quiet moments you faithfully spend alone with him to birth new ideas for preaching at M28, Rekindle or Sundays. I also admire the way you take Gods Word so seriously and have built your life upon it. The truth of Gods Word is so important to you, that you named our daughter Alathea, which means truth in greek. I so appreciate that you are a man of humilty & convictions- which is the foundation that makes you an incredible husband and father.

Secondly, I want to honor you for the amazing husband you are to me. I am the most blessed woman to be your wife. I am the one who gets to see the “public Joe” genuinely live out what he preaches in his home day in and day out. Words that would describe you as a husband would be tender, faithful, loving, humble, and caring. You take so seriously honoring the Lord in your role as my husband. You excell at leading me biblically, teaching me so much about the Lord & scripture and faithfully caring for my soul. You consitently help me when I am struggling and gently bring truth & correction when needed. You have never allowed work or ministry to take priority over our home, a reflection upon your trust in the Lord and your love for me. I am so, so grateful for that. One of the most meaningful expressions of your care for me has been this past year and a half of walking with me through my Mom's sickness & death. You have been so compassionate and empathetic, yet you never shy away from reminding me of the thruth found in the Lord that has helped me so much during this time. You love me so well- looking for ways to bless & romance me, taking me on special dates every week, reading to me in bed at night, planning memorable trips for just the two of us. Life is always fun with you, you live life to the fullest and always make me laugh. But what blesses me most of all is how in little ways every day you make me feel like there is no one in the world you would rather be with. You are my best friend, Joe, and as cheesy as it sounds, I can honestly say I grow in my love & respect for you every single day.

Lastly, I cannot thank you enough for the father you are to our Alathea. You have far exceeded every expectation I ever had. You have been a loving, committed, faithful father since the moment she was born when I caught you crying your eyes out as you looked at her for the first time, or the first week we brought her home how you joyfully stayed up the entire night holding her as she would only sleep in your arms. Her 1st word was “Da-da” and it is still her first word every morning as she wakes up ready for her “special morning snuggle time” with Daddy, as you serve me by spending time with her so I can run. Your love for her is so clear each morning as she follows you out to your car, climbs up in your lap and with a huge smile gets to “drive” daddy's car around and around the cul-de-sac. And also every night how you carve out special time for just her- either a wagon ride or rough housing in the living room- both topped off with her snuggling in your lap hearing a God-focused bedtime story and praying with you before bed. You have built so many wonderful habits as a father already in just 18 short months! Thank you for the way you are already taking every opportunity to point her little heart to the Lord- though your own personal example, through the stories you read to her and prayers you pray with her, through your faithful, loving discipline and simple daily instructions you give her. One such example would be this week tenderly holding her in your lap and sharing with her how she should be joyful even though she doesn't get to have any candy, since the Lord loves her and has given her more than she deserves. Although her comprehension is limited, I so admire your loving leadership in always pointing her to the Lord. She is a blessed little girl to have you as her Dad!

As I said before, there is so much more I could share about you, my love. But I want to end by thanking you for something so simple, but so meaningful to me. Thank you for the way you faithfully pray every day for Alathea, our baby girl due in February and myself. There is no greater way you could express your love to us. I love you so much!