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***Note to anyone who comes by here to listen to the music ...You will now have to scroll down to the player on the right side and press play yourself. This is to accommodate those who only come to read and are distracted by the music;}

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...

From our home to yours...
(actually this is my in-laws home...aka our home for 2 years! and JJ's home for the first year of his life!)

Belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

I wish you all a belated very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. This meditation made me think of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and how "the hopes and fears of ALL the years are met in Thee tonight..."

Here's to a New Year filled with courage to live counter-culturally and believe that He is enough to speak peace, light, hope and love through us into the darkness that surrounds us.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

God's Imagination

So much of our energy, time, and money goes into maintaining distance from one another. Many if not most of the resources of the world are used to defend ourselves against each other, to maintain or increase our power, and to safeguard our own privileged position.

Imagine all that effort being put in the service of peace and reconciliation! Would there be any poverty? Would there be crimes and wars? Just imagine that there was no longer fear among people, no longer any rivalry, hostility, bitterness, or revenge. Just imagine all the people on this planet holding hands and forming one large circle of love. We say, "I can't imagine." But God says, "That's what I imagine, a whole world not only created but also living in my image."

Monday, December 29, 2008

More scenes from Christmas

Maribel holding up a book that says "cutie pie" which is her name for her little Marie...James was excited about this gift, however, I think this one was for me and Marie (my mother-in-law) so excited about her Michael W. Smith new worship CD. But, the highlight of this set is Jared with his special gift of his VERY OLD sneakers...Of course there is a story. His parents were planning to take him Christmas shopping after Christmas and so these OLD shoes represent the new ones coming...very funny for them to do this:)
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Scenes from Christmas

Christmas gifts in the forms of trucks for little boys...JOY! And a family tradition of football passing along to the next generation...what a special family day:)
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James' train table and...

...JJ's fun! These were the scenes on Christmas evening...James got a train table for Christmas and JJ jumped right in and played with him! James did great sharing everything! We also found them having a "jolly 'ole time" Christmas evening when we were having a leftover dinner as these cute little cousins were crawling around and toddling around and James cracked us all up when he started a little Frankenstein walk like JJ to imitate him!
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another Update on JJ, Jared's aunt and Abby's sister...

As my mother always used to say: "(there's) never a dull moment," or "it's always something" or "when it rains it pours". While we continue to uphold the goodness of the Lord ALL THE TIME, it has truly been amazing the amount of difficulties that have touched both of our families since we moved here in August. Losing two grandmothers, surgeries for Jared's Dad, our sister-in-law Maribel,

Jared's aunt, Linda, just being diagnosed with stage 3 lymphoma (please pray for her as she is preparing to begin chemotherapy as soon as possible),
My sister, Linea, who will also be having surgery tomorrow am (Friday, 19th, 7:30am). She has a mass on her ovary that the doctor's very much believe seems benign, but they will do a biopsy when they remove it (along with the ovary). Pray for her recovery--that it will be speedy and that she can enjoy Christmas and also, certainly, that this mass would be confirmed as benign.
We had another eventful day with our precious son, JJ. It wasn't as eventful as last night in the ER, but it was still difficult. He continued to be doing better but somewhat worsened by the time that we saw the pediatrician in the afternoon. He wanted us to come back to evaluate JJ at this point. The doctor said that he continued to be wheezing badly and so we gave him a breathing treatment there. He was so good to cooperate even though he has begun to HATE the doctor! The doctor was concerned about our traveling at this time, and while he didn't tell us NOT to travel, he did say that we MUST be able to give him the breathing treatments while we travel home. He also ordered a chest x-ray to rule out pnuemonia (which it did, thankfully). Bottom line, the doctor helped us realize is that, at this point, JJ has not grown out of his breathing condition and we have to be extremely pro-active and diligent in treating it. As you can imagine, it is quite taxing and emotional on top of trying to prepare for a long trip home (which we have been so excited for, but we do carry some anxiety with all that's been happening with JJ). So, would you please pray:

That JJ would fully heal and NOT worsen in his breathing.
That we would have the strength and even a good time as we travel home (along with protection).
That we wouldn't be stressed out as we pack and prepare and be flexible with our leaving time tomorrow am. (Our goal was 5am, we changed it to 6am and now we are just going to "play it by ear")
WOULD YOU ALSO JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR COMPLETE HEALING OF JJ'S BREATHING DIFFICULTIES? I have been re-convicted of not continually seeking the Lord and believing Him for this.
With continued thankfulness for your partnership with us,

Jared, Abby and JJ

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ER tonight?

Unfortunately, I don't mean the TV show...

We were in the ER with JJ for 5 hours tonight...I am so thankful that we will all sleep in our own beds as I thought we would need to stay there. JJ's blood oxygen level was good, but he was wheezing badly and very tight, coughing, etc. He was much better after the treatments they gave and he was also given another oral steroid boost before we left...He is sleeping soundly now and I think I need to get to bed as I am exhausted!

Pray for steady's so hard when little ones are sick!

Prayers for JJ

Hey all,

I wanted to let you know about our sweet JJ. He started breathing consistently poorly (some of you know that he was diagnosed with reactive airways along with his reflux when he was 2 months old). We made it through the night (it was a rough one) and got him to the doctor this morning. It's so great because they have walk-in hours 7:30-9am M-F. He was wheezing badly, but HATES the doctor right now, so we weren't able to give him a breathing treatment there because of the hysterical crying. He is on oral steroids, double his regular steroid inhaler, nebulizer every 4 hours. Hopefully his breathing is better by the evening, otherwise the doctor said he might need to go to the hospital overnight for observation...

Please pray that his breathing improves by this evening. We've delayed our trip home to PA by a day (leaving early Friday, instead of Thursday) and that he gets a good report at the doctor's tomorrow am. Pray that we could leave early Friday and be home on Saturday. Thanks:)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Look Who'sWalking!

Happy Birthday to my sister Nea!!!!

JJ honored you today by walking, really walking, for the first time! He's been doing lots of steps, but today he started to take off, this morning across the living room and he just kept was the cutest thing!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A very poor video...but a video nonetheless...

I apologize for the video quality(this is the 12 days of Christmas that I posted about below)...what can I say? Our camera isn't good at videos, and then the digital screen broke because JJ spilled something on it (Mommy's fault...wasn't watching) and so you have to squint and look through the tiny viewer (how did we do it all those years! some still do!) and then I had to pass it off to my teammate because JJ started crying (you can hear that in the background when the video starts)...even with all of that it is still quite also runs after it is done w/ calls for an "encore" and on our German teammate, Annette. (you can stop after the song is over)

Student Venture Christmas party and 12 days of Christmas

"LaLa", Gloria, from our team...(she's great with high school students:) It is seriously so hard for me to NOT want a little girl when I see these adorable clothes!
Her big sister, Grace, and Kristie who is training me as a mom in Student Venture.
Here are Jared and Scott getting ready for their "12 days of Christmas" skit. I hope it gets uploaded to Youtube, if it does, I will post the funny, but JJ was crying all during it because he saw Jared and couldn't get to him because he was doing the skit...
Here are our landlords, Tom and Joy (who run Global Venture--which organizes the projects like Speakout) , who had just returned from Africa. The National Directors, Daryl and Gwen Smith, were supposed to be with them, but they weren't able to go and so Tom and Joy returned with these African outfits for them.

Elmo's World

JJ was so cute playing in the corner of our kitchen with all of those "classic toys", wooden spoons, paper towel rolls, old id cards, and a chair:)
The outfit was given to us when JJ was an infant by my dear friends, Lary and Mary, who I taught with in Massachusetts. It looked so big when we got it, it seemed like he would NEVER fit into it and here he is! when I turned around to look at JJ he was sitting in this plastic tub where I keep all of his kitchen was sooo cute!
this was actually him getting up to standing after sitting in the tub...

Wanna come join me, Mum Mum?

Jared thought maybe this should be our Christmas picture, what do you think??

Jared and Abby at the table...

JJ (named Jared) and our neighbor's girl, Abby, it's a cute little miniature Jared and Abby that makes us smile...
JJ even looks different to me in this one...his profile looks older...I am seriously going to cry!

Coolish Florida and a sleeper for JJ

I'm sure those of you who haven't seen JJ in a while (pretty much everyone who reads this blog) will say that he REALLY looks like a little boy in these pictures, I would have to agree. Even me who sees him every day was thinking that when I uploaded this pictures...
BIG BOY standing...walking update...he's been taking steps for a couple of months (more all the time) but it's just taking time for him to have the confidence to "go off" walking.

Another smile like jared used to do when he was little...
Baby Einsteins getting a little intense

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jared's Grandma

Please pray for Jared's family. His grandma (Dad's mom) died late Tuesday night. After prayer and talking with his Dad, we both had a peace that Jared would not be traveling to the services (Saturday morning). Please pray for Jared's family, especially his Dad, as he will be sharing on behalf of the family. We rejoice that she lived a long life (92 years), a deeply faithful and godly one. We find great peace that she is with the Lord. However, it is difficult as she was much beloved and was the only remaining grandparent for Jared. Please pray for his family and for Jared.

Who knew that...

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...Cheerios and a stroller...

...could bring...
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Joy...deep joy...

JJ walked the most that he ever has on the beach pushing this red stroller. He went all around and was going so fast. I wish we would have had a video camera.
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Sometimes a picture...

IS worth a thousand words.
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Moon at New Smyrna Beach

This was the backdrop for all of the amazing photos of JJ as he was strolling around the beach as Little Blue Riding Hood:)
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Friday, December 5, 2008

Cutest little outfit

So it was a little cooler this morning, but not too bad. Jared couldn't find any lightweight pants for JJ so he put these long shorts on him, a long-sleeved shirt and then socks and robeez (knock-offs at Target--aren't they cute though??)

JJ's been doing this fake smile for's really cute, especially since Jared always used to smile a similar way when he was little!
This is the real smile!

There it is again...crooked and all!
He loves to stand on our (soft) bed and then PLUNK on his butt...

Our Christmas Decorations

Here is a snippet of our "little bit of Christmas" since we are travelling home for a good bit of the Christmas season and not being sure how JJ would do with a full tree, we opted for a couple "decorated areas"...
Here's our fireplace with the stockings, do you like it?
Here's our little tree that JJ really likes, but can't reach unless I hold him. He likes to touch the is very sweet.
There is also our Advent Calendar where we are putting a sheet with Old Testament, New Testament and Gospel readings and trying to do the Gospel one as a family (with a little piece of candy to occupy JJ while we read:)
I'm excited to be in colder weather (can you believe it) with all of the "full" decorations at the houses where we'll stay when we're home...but I am glad that I got motivated enough in the warmer weather to put these decorations up!

How a "baba" saved the day...

So, we had a really great day yesterday, in spite of the fact that I wasn't feeling well, and I have good 'ole Publix ("where shopping is a pleasure") to thank! JJ always loves to look at the "baba's" (baloons) hanging up in the store and I, of course, don't get them for him because they cost money, BUT NOT AT PUBLIX! He gets one of the Publix baloons that they keep at the registers for FREE! It's great! They even weigh it down with a pack of crayons! I don't think it's in my best interest to go to the supermarket every day, but if I did, I would have one VERY HAPPY boy on my hands!

"WHOO, WHOO" (i.e. "I LOVE this baloon! It's so fun!)

Wycliffe's Last Languages Launch

Here is a link to a post by our friends, the Farrs, that I posted about our kids playing together a couple of posts ago. This post is about Wycliffe's recent launch to translate the last is very exciting and really reminds us that "the end is near" faithful, dear friends.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Nearby swings...

Believe it or not, it isn't easy to find parks close to us down here with good swings! I was shocked as I realized this! Thankfully, we can swing at Anita's (who I wrote about 2 posts back) and we just found these swings on the way out of our sub-division. They are actually by the pool (nice pool, apparently, in our sub-division) that we couldn't get into because we don't live on that side of the sub-division, but we can get on the swings and play in the play set that is there! Some times I will stop on my way home from errands to have a little play time with JJ.
He is so cute on the swings with this dreamy smile:)

Sweet picture...don't you think?

Sunday duds

I loved JJ in this SUPER cute preppy Sunday outfit! He got blessed with lots of clothes from Staci. Thanks! (Oh Sara, this is the Kangaroo you sent him for his birthday! He loves it...we keep it in the car as his "car lovie":-) Here he is in the Nursery!
Here is his buddy, Ella. JJ is surrounded by women in the Nursery and they LOVE HIM! Some times he gets a little overwhelmed, but it's fun!