Tag Archives: family birthday

Happy Birthday, Jovanie~Marie!

What does Jovan mean?

(Hebrew) Yahweh is gracious, Yahweh is merciful.

This is very, very true.

jovan photo shoot

What does Jovan mean to us?

You are such a great daughter-in-law.  I mean, that sounds so legal, when really, when Rocky stood in the piercing rays of the setting sun that September evening and took you as his wife, we really, truly received you as a new daughter.  We are so pleased he made that choice 7+ years ago and as seasons and time pass, our gratefulness increases.

jovan and family

For you are the woman who sees our son and loves him, truly loves him.  You are his home and his rest, his peace and his joy.  You are gracious and you are mercy.  You live up to your name so well.

jovan and bailey

And you are the woman who has given us the three darling granddaughters, oh what joy they bring, each unique, so sweet.  And aren’t they beautiful like their mommy?  Averi Jadyn, firstborn, so wise and all-knowing, Amelie Belle with her engaging orneriness; and this gentle, most-contented baby-of-the-year, Bailey Sophia?

jovans daughters

And so, life is busy for your beautiful family.  And this has been a year of growth (new baby, expanding ministry opportunities), and of heart-breaking loss and surprise (being flooded out of your home and all the equipment and the studio, gone).  But wow- in everything, in EVERYTHING – watching you and Rocky deciding to give thanks and seeing the faithfulness of God just explode towards you in restoration and generosity.  The hard times are like a purifying fire, they’ll reveal what you’re really made of.  And it is delighting us to see, you and Rock are growing, shining, getting stronger and smarter and better and the graciousness and mercy is lighting the sky.  I wouldn’t wish bad things on you, but I am very proud of how you are handling them.

The revelation~I am SO blessed!

Remember that day in church a few years back, Jovan?  They were doing that sermon series on the Book of Ruth and while I had always enjoyed the story, that day a whole new piece of it just exploded into the atmosphere of my heart.  I realized I was the  Naomi and you were the Ruth and that I had indeed been a daughter-in-law who was better to me than seven sons (the seven brothers Rocky never got, haha) would have been…even though I always thought I wanted 8 sons for some strange reason.  Haha. 

The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel!  He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” The Bible, Ruth 4.14-15 niv

jovan and rocky

That sermon and that scripture passage just made me cry with gratitude!  True for Naomi.  True for me, too!

When Rocky was growing up and getting cuter by the minute, I was so surprised at all the girls who tried to catch his eye.  I started thanking God that I only had one son, because I could totally see the potential for disaster if I’d have had to bring more girls into this highly strong-woman’ed family.  But honestly, I wouldn’t mind having lots of daughter-in-laws if they were all just like you.

Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family… Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”  The Bible, Ruth 4.11-12 niv

I wish all mother-and-daughter-in-laws had the chance to love and be loved like you and I have.  Wouldn’t the world be a much happier and lovelier place?  I know our family is blessed because of you, and you have brought so much to the familia…

jovan and jeanie

So, to put words together to celebrate your birth on that Halloween night twenty-something years ago is to thank God for His faithfulness, for His mercies that are new every morning, for the graciousness He showed us in sending you to us.

A blessing for each year:

jovan blessing

Totally wishing you an amazing year ~ Your adoring m-i-l**

Bo-Bear Turned 29 on the 29th

Happy Birthday to Rocky Rhoades, who turned 29 on September the 29th

My son – I am so pleased with you. rocky and jovan

I have told you the story of your birth so many times, haven’t I?  You arrived early and the doctor had told me not to leave town in case that happened, but I left town and I was so stressed out because I don’t like to get caught breaking the rules.  And Tara just reminded me the other night how stressed she was, too, as a 5-year old, because we started on our trip, got halfway there, went home, and then decided to go anyway…and barely walked into the grandparent’s house before it was time for me to zoom right on over to the hospital.  Well,  I mean, I had planned to make it home so the doctor wouldn’t be any-the-wiser, but you were like, NOW! ~which is so still you.   :)

And I have told you that you surprised me beyond anything I could have imagined.  I could not believe I got the boy, THE boy I secretly hoped for even though in reality I was totally FINE with having a girl.  I already had 3 girls, one more made such sense for balance and symmetry.  Omygoodness – the words, “You have a boy” sent me into delirious happiness.

rocky baby

You looked directly at me, your eyes blinked in slow-motion and it knocked the breath from my body.   I was dizzy in love, unable to even think about sleep that night, all night, as an oxytocin and dopamine cocktail surged through my veins as if it were coming directly through the IV drip.  I had a boy…my very own baby boy!

And you may not realize it, but every time I ever see you, even now, I am thinking the same thing: THAT is MY boy!

rocky at easter

I am so proud of you, Rock, not only for the man you are, but for the man you are becoming more and more everyday.  This whole flood thing has been a devastation in some ways and an aggravation, for certain, in the life of your family, your ministry.  There was loss that probably feels overwhelming and unbearable (as $40-50,000 plus time and effort and re-building will be).  I know you look forward to getting your wife and baby girls back home, safe and sound.  And then you’ll look and see the possibly long-haul ahead for replacing all the instruments and computers and sound equipment and the studio you’d spent time assembling ~ lots of time and money and hard work ahead.

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For …this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God.. .  2 Corinthians 6.10-12

But it will come back to you.  The things you have sown will take root and grow.  And I have watched you and Jovan these past few years grow in grace and grow in giving and giving selflessly and giving big and making the conscious decision to live a life of giving and whenever it has been in your power to do so, you have given away anything and everything you could.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows…whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6.7-8

And God isn’t unaware.  He’ll see to it that the seeds of kindness and giving that you have already sown will grow and flourish and you’ll reap all that you have sown.  Even when you didn’t know you’d need it – you were planting, you were dropping the seeds of compassion and kindness and generosity into the ground – and what you couldn’t see was that God wasn’t surprised by this thing that happened to your house, your home and belongings and He was smiling, I just know it, because He knew you were already doing what needed done – before it needed done.  God knew you were planting for a harvest of big-time reaping, financially!

rocky and family

“The Lord then said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.'”  Genesis 7.1

For Noah, for all mankind, the flood was a line in the sand.  It was a before and after.  It was : things used to be like that, then there was the flood, and now they are  like this.  The flood was an ending AND a beginning.  Things were lost in the flood, but the promises of God are found there, too.  Not just for an ark builder for thousands of years ago, but for a worshiper/songwriter right now, in Frederick, CO – man who leads his family and wants to write songs that literally bring healing.

Of course certain things had to die and float away for a dream, a calling, a vision like that.  But it is all just so you’ll never forget that the LORD is the promise-keeper and you didn’t do it by yourself, because you couldn’t have.  How many times have you told me, since you were 18 or 19, “God won’t share His glory.”  You have pointed out highly celebrated, gifted musicians and singers and recognized the call of God on their lives,  but watched as they held it for themselves.  That is not the standard you are living by and this flood is just a yes and amen to deep-down determinations you have already made to give God all, everything that is His and His alone – you have already said it.  The flood is a checkpoint – do you mean it, Rock-man?  And I know you do and I know the healing songs are going to pour out from here, like flood waters for the glory of the LORD.

But [the time is coming when] the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord just as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2.14

rocky and jovanie

Do you know what I think?

I believe, and I actually know this to be true because I have known you every second of these 29 years+ and you have made me cry and worry and laugh like nobody’s business and also so very proud because you are forthright and honest and talented and thoughtful and honoring and you love your mommy.  So this is what I think:

No one is more beautiful or handsome than my boy, my Rocky ~ from the inside out.


“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

This is the post-flood promise of God!  On the occasion of your 29th birthday.  It is coming back to you, all of it and more!  I love you!

NOTE:  Rocky and Jovan got flooded out during the Colorado rains in September.  I have written a little about it here and here.  You can learn more about helping them re-build {HERE}!

Happy 32nd Birthday to Dave~


“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;

I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call on me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble,

I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life I will satisfy him

and show him my salvation.” Psalms 91.14-16

You are smack-dab in the middle of the same age-years Jesus was /living/walking/defeating the kingdom of darkness (on His way to a cross) one miracle at a time. He was changing water to wine, chatting it up with children and healing the sick. And that is where you are, too, changing the spiritual landscape, fathering your boys and establishing the Kingdom.

I have called you a spiritual iconoclast, by which I meant

A person who is actively breaking down the religious traditions that suck the life from people and instead, is revealing a whole new landscape of the life and love of the Father towards His people. A Kingdom man. A creative visionary. A history-maker.

I think earlier spiritual iconoclasts were guys like Elijah and Elisha. Especially, though, maybe: Jeremiah. Before the building up, there is the matter of tearing down (see Jeremiah 1, The Message subtitles it: Demolish and Then Start Over).

I see this clearly about you, but am not always able to express it openly or well. So on the occasion of your birthday [note: oops-now a few days past], your very own proverbial mother-in-law (frightening title, to be sure), shall attempt to communicate the true and deep to one son-in-love. Please receive them from my heart

On your birthday, I wanted to say {I want you to always know}…

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him…”

So, it turns out I have known you for like, 33% of your life. And you have known me for almost 19% of mine. For a girl who was raised moving from city to city and church to church and leaving behind everyone I knew and starting over sooooooooooooo many times that even a 2-year friendship felt like a lifetime, that puts you and I in the 98.987-percentile of my longest-ever-running relationships. Kind of kidding. I just made up that last statistic, but it’s pretty true. You probably couldn’t have known that you would hold a place that high in my life, my stats/personal data, or my heart for so long. I didn’t know it. But here it is.

You are sort of stuck with me.

And I know so many times it would be so much easier not to be. But I can say at least for me, God knew what He was doing and He still has a plan and His glory will be seen, right?

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name…”

I think I mention this in every single birthday post I ever write to you (and this is #7, I believe), but I just love to hear you play and sing and worship the Lord.  Last month as we were re-painting the living room and had moved most everything out, save a few items in the middle covered with drop cloths, sound, once again had the ability to reverberate off the walls and ceilings and it took me back to when we first knew you, first moved into this house – before it had been “properly” appointed with lots of furniture and accessories.  You would come every weekend, guitar in hand and sing in that room and worship would resound and hit the walls and ascend to the ceiling and go on to heaven and come back and change the atmosphere.  Your worship in this house set a desired precedent for my heart and this place and when the acoustics are just so, I remember it.  And I miss that as life has gotten louder and busier and fuller.  I love being in a meeting with hundreds as you lead in worship, hearing your most amazing voice.  I enjoy watching the Rez Live-Stream when you and Tara are leading.  But you with your guitar and just a few of us right here: overwhelming goodness.  Way better!  You’re one of my all-time fav singers.  And always will be.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will be with him in trouble…”

When you chose my amazing firstborn daughter to be your wife, and then the two of you blessed us with these cherished boys – oh, be still my heart.  You are such a wonderful husband to Tara and an incredible daddy to Hunter and Malakai.  I also love you for the sacrifices you have made to perpetuate the legacy of adoption in our family.  Because dad, who was adopted knew he was born to adopt Tara.  And when the two of you opened your heart to do the same with Baby-Kai, well, all of us are beginning to understand in a way we maybe hadn’t before, this whole spirit of adoption, of truly becoming sons of God, crying out to Him, ‘Abba, Father.”  The spiritual treasure of this in-the-natural adoption is changing our family. Thank-you for paying the cost and being obedient to welcoming this son into your family, into ours.  Our family DNA-chain is being forged unbreakable – what blessing it is going to be for so many through the generations…

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will deliver him and honor him…”

When you share your heart and the secrets of the Lord and reveal vision, it is life-giving.  Many times I have stood in the back of a room and as you spoke with such crystal clarity something I had already heard many times before, I would still be left breathless with the strength, the perspicuity of the message.  I always wondered, looking around, do the rest of you understand the power of what is happening here?  That is a gift of God in your life.  You have been given a strong gift of revealing, communicating.  Your words, falling like rain, will have the ability to change people and situations and lives and nations.

So I pray that all the God-given dreams of your heart will come to pass and that the Lord will send you mighty warriors to run with you, those who are strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  And I pray that hopeless people will hear the vision and be energized to pick it up and take it to new levels you never dreamed possible (beyond all you could ask or imagine) and finally understand why they were born.  And I pray He sends you the weakest ones, too, for they are indispensable to the Body of Christ.  So may you be surrounded by those who will bring you all the help you need {to be all He has called you to be, and to do all He has called you to do} from the sanctuary.  There is great help available from the sanctuary.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “With long life I will satisfy him…”

I deeply respect the strong call and anointing of God on your life. That God is opening doors to big rooms and your gift is bringing you before great men, that you have been set forth to shake nations and declare the Kingdom of God over regions is not in question.  But I maintain that you are never stronger in your anointing than the times you are releasing the light of the joy of the Lord over people.  For seriousness and heaviness need not be cultivated, as a rule.  Jesus didn’t say, “I have come that your worry, care, concern and apprehension would be appropriately full,” but rather that our JOY would be full.  And you have made me laugh so many times.  Your humor and ability to see the silly side of life have been a perfect foil to my desolation, as the enemy himself wishes to keep us from our very strength (the joy of the Lord) by causing us consternation, super-responsible trepidation, woe and worry.  So let the TV preachers work on bringing everybody down about the terrible times in which we live (as if the Word didn’t promise greater grace in these troubling times, and greater is He that is in us, for crying out loud) and you keep dispensing garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness and releasing the light and life of the love of the Father and be full of joy through the Holy Spirit (like Jesus was) and dispense it, too.  You are hilarious.  That is an anointing.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will…show him my salvation.”

I love you most, maybe, because you love the LORD. That fact alone brings me peace no matter what happens – for His promises towards you will be true, and somehow we’ll all figure everything out and get lined back up.

We have been to heaven and back a few times in 10 years. Being your m-i-l, believe it or not, has been one of the greatest gifts of my life.  Seasons come and go. The way we interact or the actual time we’ll spend together has and will probably continue to change between us, but I will always thank God for you. I will always believe the best of you. I will never write you off or write you out of my story.  I will always be proud to say you are my son-in-love and the father of my grandsons and the beautiful man of my daughter’s dreams.

And with the exception of a few horrendous meetings and the bloody attack of the enemy against our unity last year, I would do it all again, with gratefulness for your love and openness for what I had to bring  {and I was honored to give anything/everything I could} – in spite of me being your “m-i-l.”  *faint smile

Have another wonderful, blessed year of favor. So many more to come, I just know it.  Don’t be afraid – because you love Him (you are covered)…  {me}

But p.s…I am voting against a duck-dynasty beard, puleeeeeeezzzzzze…

Happy Birthday, Tredessa, born on a perfect June day

Which came first?  The perfect day?  Or the perfect baby being born to make a regular, old day so perfect?

Q: What do exotic eyes and head-full of thick, dark hair, a yellow-embroidered sun-suit with a yellow bonnet, ginger-molasses cookies from the grocery store bakery, my first “private room” at the hospital, water breaking at a church softball game while dad was in the outfield, being 11 days past my due date, a Scrabble game (which I still contend I was winning) and Howard Community Hospital in Kokomo, IN all have in common?

These are the bits and pieces of your arrival, your story, your birth, your place in the family history.  Tredessa Christine Rhoades Faaland: You made us mommy and daddy and 3 adorable girlies, the Rhoades Family, 1983.

Monday’s child is fair of face…

I have been re-living your beginnings so much this spring because of Bailey Sophia.  So many thing about her remind me of you, her hair, her kissable cheeks, her content and laid-back disposition.  June of 1983 was one of the most notable months of my life, the summer that followed memorable and lovely: your father was ordained, there were long afternoons in the backyard with your two sisters splashing in a pool, great music on the radio, and my little baby girl in a yellow carrier, right by my side in the green grass on sun-shiney days.

Dessa at 2 weeks 

Dessa at 6 weeks 

And now here we are, 30 years down the road – celebrating your extraordinary life, unable to fathom what we’d ever have done without the most-middle-child of them all.  You are a center-point, a bridge, an equidistant intermediary.  You are observant and intuitive; careful, but powerful.  You’re a challenging, but honoring daughter and your trust in God is an inspiration.


Dessa at 5

I am so pleased to see the life you are leading.  I am so happy God sent you love in a very good-looking, strong, humble package.  I am so thrilled that you have gotten to go to the nations in Jesus’ Name and serve selflessly in high-places for the glory of God.

More than anything this year, I am so excited with you and for you that you are with child, that you carry a dream within – as you have so longed to have children.  I am rejoicing with you and counting down the days.  Your child will be loved and adored and watched over with great zeal – because you have sown that into the lives of so many other children while you were waiting.  It will all come back to you.

For your 30th birthday, I pray and wish and bless you with this (my version of a birthday card):

So HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY, Dessy-Poo.  Your momma loves you, girl.  You bless my heart and set me straight.  LOVE YOU BUNCHES!!! xxoo

Gavin hit the Double-Digits // Happy Birthday, my Little Man!

Gavin just turned ten!

Gavin is the first grandchild I ever got and what a gift!  He changed my whole life forever – ten whole years ago this week.  I had no idea I’d be one of “those” grandmothers, thrilled with these darlings, my children’s-children, my very own, once-removed flesh and blood.

I looked down at Gavin in my arms, the first day of his life.  I had no idea who he was or how this would go.

But wow-o-wow.  I love my Little Man.  Red hair, freckles, bright eyes, always looking for something new, something wonderful.  He works hard (seriously loves hard work!), he protects his little sisters, he is sweet to animals, kind in general and a respectful, honoring grandson.  I am so blessed to be his Nonna!

So, my sweet, Gavin – allow me to tell you TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT YOU on the occasion of the continued celebration of your birth~

1.  I love that you started gardening alongside me when you were just a toddler.

2.  I love that even this year, you asked for tomato plants for your birthday (they are on your list every year) and that just yesterday at the Garden Center, you told me that even though you wanted to try growing all sorts of different things in your gardens each year of your life, you would always and forever have tomato plants, no matter what.  Are you my boy, or what?!?

And you have to know you melted my heart when you told me, after we had wandered through one garden place and then another, “I really like visiting garden centers and seeing all the plants  they have.  I like doing this every year.”  It is our annual date and joy of my June-heart!  I love you for loving it because I love it, too.

3.  You are so focused and goal-oriented.  I love that you saved up and  worked to earn money to buy your own iPod and that you will now sell it and work some more to upgrade with your eye on an iPad.  Your parents are teaching you well. You have business savvy, Little Man!

4.  You are such a good brother to your sisters.  I know they can get on your nerves at times, little girls that they are, but last week your mom shot of pic of you, school out, sitting with Gemma, teaching her to read and write.  What a wonderful big brother you are.

5.  And you’re a great example as the oldest of the cousins, too.  You love the babies, watch over the tiny ones and generally are considered the coolest guy to follow!

6.  Sandy-the-dog loves you so much.  Because no matter how busy you are, you always take time to pet her and give her the attention she needs.  I love you for loving the old family dog!

7.  I so love how you apply yourself to learning.  You are a skateboarder and gamer and a gardener and a musician and you make time to practice and perfect those things and find out more about everything. You’re such a savvy, intuitive smartie-pants, which I mean in the sweetest way!

8.  Which speaks to another thing I love about you: you have been full of wonder since you were a baby.  When you were even just a few months old, I noticed you were interested in everything around you.  And I love that you carry that trait on.  You are never bored, never expecting anyone to entertain you or cure monotony.  You look around and find fascination in everything life has to offer, in each circumstance and all situations.  What a wonderful attribute.  It will will make living amazing for you!

9.  You’re still so considerate about giving your Nonna big hugs and kisses when we meet up and when we part.  They are worth millions of dollars to me – more, really.  I’m so lucky, so blessed to be your Nonna.

10.  And I love what an honoring son you are to your parents.  Do you know why I love that?  Because the Bible promises this:

“’Honor your father and mother’ is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, ‘so you will live well and have a long life.’” Ephesians 6, The Message

And because I LOVE YOU sooooooo much and want {life} to go really well for you {really well}, and I want you to have a particularly spectacular life doing legendary, world-changing things for many, many {joyous and healthy} years ~ well, then, for this reason, I love that you honor your parents, who, by the way, are raising an extraordinary son.  Keep it up, kiddo!

You, my dear boy {the original grandbebe}, made me a “Nonna,” the greatest honor of my life.

I love you, Gav.  You know I do, right?  Please never forget. xxxooo {Nonni}

Happy Birthday, Tara Powers!

Well, this day is as gorgeous as the one on which you were born.  I awoke at exactly 5:55 a.m. {33 years ago} to a deep contraction, one that I knew was “real.”  I hopped out of bed with giddy excitement on the inside and started writing times on a piece of paper.  Having heard many baby-labor horror stories, I hoped you’d be in my arms before the day was out, but began bracing myself for the 24-hour first-time-mommy labor and delivery.  I’d seen the television shows.  At any second I would become almost incapacitated and start screaming for hours.

But no.  I actually went with my mom and dad to the church where they worked for the day.  I tracked the contractions, gentle, strong, but building.  My mom and I went shopping.  Then home for dinner.  Then packing a hospital bag.  Then YOWZERS: need to go now.  But a one-car family and my dad says, “Can you wait until I am ready to go to church for Wednesday night service,” and I do so we can drop him at his convenience.  And You are born 30 minutes after I arrive at the hospital.  Not one single scream.

It is kind of funny to think about that now.  NOW, I would tell my dad: Heck no.  I need to go have this baby.  You’ll have to get another ride!  Hahhaha.

I am revisiting past blogs I have written about you because you are one of my favorite writing topics.


I did the photos with words to try to say everything I saw and adored and there just isn’t really enough space, though I got braver as 2011 went on and I can actually see space where I could have kept adding.  :)   Tara is the firstborn.  I have known her a long time!

I said, “You have the wisdom of some years now.  You are not just a pretty girl.  You are a ravishing woman…”

2010  Click to read.

The year of your surgery, I recalled the night of your birth.

“But later, in that room,  just us two, I knew that you were mine, a gift straight from God.  ‘I don’t know you yet, but I know I love you,’ I whispered, wondering who you’d be and if you could ever love me back.”

2009 ~ The year you turned 30

I wrote 30 wishes for you including lots of good hair days, health and vigor and for the songs of the Lord to be increased through you.  Write, girl, write!, I admonished!  :)


I quoted Lord Byron’s poem, “She walks like beauty in the night,” because that poem has always made me think of my sweet daughter.

I was praying for you then to understand your pivotal role in God’s great story on this earth.  I urged you to speak up and speak out and sing as His anointed!  SO thankful to God for a  blog recording my love for my children and His great faithfulness in their lives!  I LOVE it!  He answers.  He hears and He answers!

And I told you, “I am so pleased with you, baby girl, I bless the day you were born.”  I still do!

2007, the first time I blogged about your birth

I had started bloggin in November of 2006 and got to start telling the stories in ’07.  I revealed the blessing-name “Liquid Joy,” bestowed upon you by dearest family friends.  I spoke of the sensitivity and healing you had brought to my life by your birth and I even spoke of times I feared for your heart and life and how God so faithfully-faithfully-faithfully restored you and there was great rejoicing!

Through the years on this blog so far, the recurring theme about you is: you were a gift to me.  And you are joy.  And God created you for amazing things.  And on your birthday, I celebrate all of it!

O I love you.  Happy Birthday, Tara Jean.  You are a shining star in my night sky!

Happy Birthday to “our Jovanie”

Rocky found a wife.

One boy.  One chance to get the right woman.  So many {{sooooo many}} volunteers for the position.  Haha.  But he looked around and saw Jovan, his “friend.”  And he is a smart kid.  He knew a good woman when he saw her.  And he chose well.  And we are so proud of him for loving her and marrying her.  And we are so grateful she loves him back with such zeal and dedicated fervor.  Together, they are creating one of the most beautiful families you will ever see.  Rocky + Jovan = Averi (3) and Amelie Belle (1 1/2) for now…but sweet d-i-l promises me there will be more.

A great addition to the fam

Jovan comes from 2 gorgeous parents (both with amazing hair and over-the-top good looks).  Italians from New York.  And 2 gorgeous sisters.  She comes from fervent Jesus followers and prayer warriors.  She comes from good people.  And she is proof to us that God loves us.  He blessed us so.


Jovan sometimes models for www.maydae.com

Happy-happy-happy Birthday, Jovanie. On an All Hallow’d Eve’ so long ago, a day usually draped in black and night, a light was born.  Twenty-five years ago today, to be exact, a reflector of the love of Jesus Christ was born and the world can never again be as dark as it once was.  Shine on, sweet girl, godly woman, and gift-of-a-daughter you are.

Here is my birthday card for YOU.

I love you, girl!  I hope you will sense how much in the words on this “card.”  You have to look closely, but it is full of hope and love just for you!  (click to see larger)

Happy Birthday, Hunter-Roo!

Hunter turned {SIX}!

Hunter and some of his cousins a couple of months ago

Suddenly the “little guy” in turning in to a big kid.  He is smart as a whip and will talk your ear right off.  He is organized and meticulous and precise.  He saus what he means and means what he says!  And he cracks me up on purpose and quite by accident.  His favorite snack at my house?  A cup full of parmesan cheese and a spoon while he watches a movie. 

Hunter-the Movie

Here is a little project Hunter and I did a couple of days ago.  He was in a dancing mood, but not so much a talkng mood, but still…he is Hunter!

Dear Hunter-Magoo,  You KNOW I love you and miss you when you’re gone on your ministry travels, but I love that you are learning to love the world for Jesus!  Happy Birthday, Star Wars Boy!  Hugs and a million-ga-ZILLION kisses from your Nonna!

Happy Birthday, Dave


Happy birthday to you, my sweet husband.

Thanks for choosing me to share your life.

Thanks to the young girl who gave birth to you and to the family who stepped in to raise you and make sure you were in the right place at the right time so we could meet and create this life.  It may have been a day of mixed emotions for some, the day you were born; there might have been pain, feelings of loss, who knows? But overall, I know heaven was rejoicing just like I am today!

So today, we celebrate you, all of us: me (the wife who loves you so), our 5 grown children, the extra 3 wonderfuls that have come by marriage, these three (almost 4) incredible grandkids.  We have no reservation in raucously celebrating your life!

I love you, babe.  Happy Birthday!  Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: visit www.daverhoades.com see what he’s thinking these days

(Dave pictured above, greeting guests at Rocky and Jovan’s wedding this past September)