Sunday, June 28, 2009

Welcome Baby Josephine Grace

Here is our first little picture of Kevin and Molly's precious little baby girl, born yesterday. They named her after Joey, and if you look closely, you can see his picture there in the crib with her. She's a tiny bundle of beauty, isn't she! And Joey's memory lives on through her name. What a touching gift from Kevin and Molly.

This is just part of a larger story of a friendship that goes back 30 years. Kevin and Joey were lifelong best friends, starting practically from their own births. They shared the neighborhood, their families, vacations, apartments, and thousands of memories together. Their bond ran deep. As children, they were inseparable, and their paths and interests were deeply intertwined. As adults living in different states, they made it a point to vacation together as much as possible. This picture was taken a week before Joey went to Heaven when we were all together in Hawaii.
Here, Joey and Molly in Keanae, Maui, on one of their numerous trips together. When Molly entered Kevin's life, she became part of their gang of friends. Joey and Kevin simply wove their new relationships into the fabric of their existing friendship. When Joey's Rachel came along, the four of them became closest friends. Like Rachel, Molly is a lovely person, and she, too, became a wonderful friend to Joey.
Here, Kevin and Molly on their snowboards, from our vacation together to Whistler in 2006. A memorable Christmas with both our families--all 23 of us! We have absolutely no regrets about the time and money invested into this relationship. Nothing else is as important in life as being with those you love.
I think this picture maybe says it all.

We are so delighted that beautiful little Josephine Grace is here. Oh, how we wish Joey could be present to celebrate this moment with Kevin and Molly. He would wrap them in one of his big hugs, he would instantly adore their little girl as he did his own nieces and nephews, and he would enter the wonder of this new chapter with enthusiasm. We all hoped that they would someday raise children together and weave them all into a rich multi-generational story of enduring friendship. We will now have to wait to do that in Heaven.

We love you, Kevin and Molly. We pray little Josie Grace brings you much comfort. You have been such amazing, loyal friends to Joey. Though Joey is absent, we know that he's present in spirit and truly experiencing, along with us all, this beautiful, poignant moment. We pray God's richest blessings and protection on you both and on your sweet little daughter whom we love already.

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Psalm 127:3-5

Friday, June 26, 2009

Joe's Tattoo for Joey

Joey was a talented musician and music was his true love. He played guitar with passion, but he also loved the versatility of his little Hawaiian ukulele. He and his dad loved to make music together and spent hours playing whenever Joey was home. Joe wanted to memorialize Joey with a ukulele on his right leg. The two birds holding the banner represent Joe and I.
Joey wrote a number of original songs and covered a number of Strokes songs using his ukulele. You can click on the link to find some of his uke music on his MySpace page.

Joseph 1979-2008

We love you beautiful son and miss you with every single breath.

Put me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death...Song of Solomon 8:6

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In Loving Memory of Angie

There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept,

things we don't want to know but have to learn,

and people we can't live without but have to let go.

~Author Unknown

We love you Nick and Sharon and you are in our thoughts and prayers today.

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.
Ps 34.18

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

For My Grieving Friend Sharon

A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend. Author Unknown

In honor of your beautiful Angie, your precious daughter, who is missed so deeply. We know we cannot take away the pain and the longing, the terrible void of her absence. So today we simply surround you with our love and prayers. We pray for heavenly comfort and the ability to bear this unbearable cross till you are reunited with her again.

The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You. (Ps 9.9-10)

Guest Blogger: Greg Laurie, "Tough Times"

Today's post is from Pastor Greg Laurie's devotional website. His blog and daily devotional have been the greatest help to me in the past year as he lost his son Christopher (on the right in the photo) one month after we lost our son Joey. He just had his first Father's Day since his son went to Heaven. He is suffering as we are and yet trusting God. To read Pastor Greg's blog and find his links, click here.

Tough Times by Greg Laurie

We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God — Acts 14:22

Some people believe in what we might describe as a watered-down gospel. This diluted version of the true gospel promises forgiveness, but rarely tells you of the need to repent of your sin.

It's a gospel that promises peace and plenty, but never warns of persecution. It's a gospel that says God wants you to be healthy and wealthy, and never have any problems to speak of. It's a gospel that says you can so wrap yourself in God's favor that there will always be a parking space available for you at the mall.

That is not the gospel of the New Testament. I can assure you that the last thing on Paul's mind was "How can I find a great parking space?" He had other objectives that gripped his heart and soul.

Does this mean that God wants you to be sick, poor, and miserable? That He doesn't want you to be happy? No, I believe that happiness will come as you really follow the Lord. But it is a byproduct, a fringe benefit of belonging to God in Christ.

The essence of the Christian life is knowing God and walking with Him.

It's about sticking with Him when the sky is blue and also when it's filled with clouds or choked with smoke. It's about walking with the Lord through thick and thin, and pressing on through every heartache and trial that happens to come our way.

Storm Warnings

Jesus made it clear that storms will enter every life. But it is through these storms and hardships and tribulations that we will enter God's kingdom.

As Dr. Luke phrased it: "And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, 'We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God'" (Acts 14:21-22).

We don't always like to read a verse like that. It's probably not a passage we want to put on a plaque and hang by our front door.

We would rather the passage read, "Through many days of perpetual happiness, we enter the kingdom of God." But that isn't Scripture, and that isn't life. Trials and tribulations will come.

Job said it well: "How frail is man, how few his days, how full of trouble!" (Job 14:1 TLB)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Aquatic Acrobaticality!

The Headless Man

The Rocket Launcher

The Belly Bump

1-2-3 Jump

Stack 'em High!!

How'd you spend your Father's Day?

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Acrobatic Adventures!

Flying in Space ( a little star twinkles below)

Surfing the Loch Ness Monster

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro...

Walking on the Moon!

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Happy Father's Day to Our Patriarch

Our Family Now --and a father who loves them all.
Beautiful Daughter #1
I love the matching glasses.

Beautiful Daughter #2
She loves to laugh with her dad.

All us girls and Rachel, our beautiful daughter-in-love.

The baby boy, our #3, who added so much to our lives.

In a backpack on his dad's back.
Three generations of Joe's, two of whom are in Heaven.
A special father-son bond. Your dad misses you, Joey.
We love you Papa and wish you a special day. Thanks for loving all your kids and grandkids.
You've blessed us all with that love.
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A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.
~ Author Unknown

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Dad's Day to Two of the Best

We are incredibly proud of these two men. They are the best kind of men. Strong, smart, kind, tough, and committed to their families. They are pretty much rocks of stability.

They've been steadfast in the most difficult year of our lives. Heck, they both put up with Joe and I and that's not easy.

One of the best things they have each done is to "hang in there". We've all had the kind of year where you wish you could just jump off the boat and swim away and never come back. No matter how difficult it gets, and it's been bad, these two don't jump ship. They persevere.

And by the way, they've both been shot at repeatedly-- I'm talking bullets here-- in defense of their country, without getting anything but a small paycheck in return.

They were good brothers to Joey and all of them shared a flourishing friendship. They liked the same music. They talked business. They had mutual respect. Plus, they all like to surf and ski, so they made plans for a future of both.

Each with their beautiful families. They love their wives and they truly love and enjoy their kids. They play with them, guide them, and cook for them. They provide for them and they go to work every day with never a word of complaint. Their kids really have no idea how blessed they are to have these dads! They think all dads are like this. We are grateful our grandchildren have two such outstanding role models.

One of my all-time favorite daddy/son moments.

Happy Father's Day to Sean and Drew. We love, respect, admire and appreciate you both more than words or pictures can tell.

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Psalm 103:13

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.

Going to the Gym (er-uh, the Jungle Gym)

bicep pulls

reverse crunchies

quad flex (shimmying up, over and down the swing set)

Mr. Universe balances it all way up there at the tip-top of the world, while Nana tries to coax him down.
(don't look Mom, it'll horrify you)
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Grandchildren are the crown of the aged
Proverbs 17:6

J & C Destruction Company, Inc.

Jaime's fed up with her deteriorating shower and mad enough to do something about it! Crystal is the DIY Queen. Together they are the J & C Destruction/Construction Co.! Check out those biceps! Check out those smiles! These two are ready for remodeling glory.

Phase 1: Destruction of previous shower.

Ewwww, look at that messy moldy build-up that was causing all the tile to come loose! Who built this house anyway? Call the Contractor's License Board cuz someone seriously violated the building code!

Phase 2: Shake head. Curse lame contractor who originally built this house.

Whose brilliant idea was it to only put a sheet of plastic over the insulation? Do we dare even stand next to all this grodiness?

Phase 3: Lament serious remodeling injuries.
Where are the biceps? Where are the smiles?
What happened to J & C Destruction Company, Inc?
Story to be continued...
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