Don't Ask...

...since I know everyone WILL ask...(how could you not, really??)...this was from my friend Monica's birthday. :) Since we have so lovingly nicknamed her "Mon", we decided that a Jamaican-themed birthday celebration was in order. SO, this was the authentic island garb that Adam chose for the evening...somehow it ended up on my son. Although somewhat disturbing, you have to admit - pretty hilarious.

Carter James Makes His Arrival

This is my beautiful nephew, Carter James Mowrer! He was born on July 28 at 10:06 pm, weighing in at 9lb 10oz!! He was 22 inches long and has brown hair. He is amazing! Chelsey was such a trooper...she broke her foot about 6 weeks ago and hasn't been able to walk, so that was something she had to deal with along with the pain of childbirth! She was in labor for 22 hours...and these pictures were taken about a half an hour after Carter was born. She looks SO good! She seems to be recovering well, and the new familly should be going home today. I love you, Carter!!


"unmerited divine assistance"

That's the definition of something I think anyone who has a relationship with God has struggled with at one time or another. It's something that we talk about frequently but that we rarely (if ever) can wrap our minds around. GRACE.

The Bible is clear about the topic. The Word of God makes no apolgies for proclaiming that it is the ONLY way we can receive salvation.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
We have all read this verse before. We have all heard a lot about grace...but seriously?? It's that easy? I know I struggle with not trying to insert more of myself into this equation. We all think there is someting we should have to do to earn this love and salvation...and God certainly desires nothing less than our everything...but his love is not at all dependent on our "earning it". We can't make ourselves "good enough" to stand in his presence.
My high school girls' small group read Ephesians for our meeting last week and I was preparing to lead them in this I was reflecting on how I could explain this kind of unconditional love when I, myself, cannot understand it most of the time.
If I had a penny for each lesson I have learned from Roman I would be a rich woman. My son is only 13 months old, but God has revealed so much to me through him in his short lifetime. I always tell people that giving birth is the most painful, crazy, amazing and thrilling experience you could imagine. There is nothing like it. The love that you have for your child at birth is so immediate and SO intense. I loved him when I was pregnant...I didn't think I could love him any more...and then I saw him for the first time.
Having a child and getting to know that individual person is like falling in love with your husband all over again...except kind of in reverse order. When I met Joe, I was very excited to get to know him because he seemed like a great guy. We developed a friendship, we dated, we fell in love, we got engaged, we got married, and our love continues to mature. Having a child though is falling in love and then getting to know this new little person.
There is no reason that we should see a new born baby and be totally taken with them. They are usually screaming and haven't been cleaned off yet...that's a whole other topic. :) But, honestly, the fact that I would have died for him in that moment is still overwhelming to me. When I see my child, I understand a fraction of grace. I will be the last person to ever claim to fully grasp the concept. BUT, I understand that there is nothing that Roman could do or not do that would change my love for him. He is so precious to me. I am not always happy with the way he acts. I am not always feeling up to the task of dealing with a teething baby in the middle of the night. My love for him is not always perfect. God's love is.
So, the love that I have for Roman (with my imperfect love) cannot even be compared to the way that God loves us. But, of course, he reveals these little pieces of his love for us in the smallest of packages...a baby boy to love.


Blog Neglect...Sorry!!

Yet again, I realize that I have neglected my blog for too long! My life feels as if it has been a whirlwind the last couple of weeks! (Also we didn't have internet for a while.) :) Anyway, I love summer because it seems like there are all kinds of changes happening...marriages, babies, friends and family moving (not as fun) vacations, concerts, new plans for the upcoming year, and whatever other random events get thrown in the mix!

It has been such a fun, although sometimes challenging, ride...and I would like to share some of it with you.

  • The biggest change we have been dealing with is that Joe's parents and younger sister are moving to South Carolina in August! This is such an awesome opportunity - his dad got offered a job as head of the food science department at Clemson University! Congrats, Dad! He is really excited for the change and we are SO happy for them! We know he will do fantastic work there! Of course, we are a little sad too. It has been nice living so close to them in Boone for the last 9 months or so. Roman's best friend is his grandpa...so we are thankful that the little guy isn't quite old enough to understand that they will be moving. But, we anticpate that it will be a little bit hard for him as he yells "BA-PA!!" everytime we pass their house. :)

  • Our nephew Carter is going to be born soon!!! We can't wait to see him!!!!

  • Our Godson, Joseph, was baptized a couple of weeks ago...I just haven't shown you any pictures yet! He did a super fabulous job and we expect that he will love Jesus quite a bit because he was very attentive and receptive during the ceremony. We thought he would cry because he hates his bath but his eyes just got wide and he looked very contempletive! What a good little boy! We love him SO much!
Sealed with the Holy Spirit! - in Ephesians, St. Paul refers to baptism as the "first installment*" of our salvation - *the footnote in my Bible says "a down payment on our salvation". I like that.
What a beautiful little family!
The newest member of the church, Joseph Benedict Stone. (Pictured here with Father Aquinas)This, of course, reminded Joe and Phil of the scene in Lion King where they lift Simba in the air and sing "The Circle of Life". This is their reinactment...complete with Phil's version of the song. :)Joe and me with Suzee, Phil, and little Joe.All the friends. Baby Joe is popular.
  • Roman had his first spaghetti, which was quite the experience (and a big deal in Italian families). Fun pictures:
Testing it out...

Diving in...literally.

No trouble downing that meal.


Fun video of post-spaghetti dinner:

Anyway, I feel like there is so much more to say, but I guess I will save the rest for another time. God is good and he continues to teach me more everyday through my family, friends, and high school girls' small group. More to come soon! Love and blessing to all of you!


Independence Day

These pictures were taken at the end of July last summer when my brother came home from Iraq. Sometimes I forget that last year on Fourth of July he had already spent a year and half in a war-torn country and was not celebrating, but fighting for his life and the lives of others. It is such a blessing to have him home, to live in a free country, and to be celbrating today with family and friends. God Bless America!