Tag Archives: birthday

Happy Birthday, Tristan Kelley!

Happy Birthday to our first-ever son-in-law, {world-renowned drumming sensation}, the father of three of THE most amazing grandbebes in the world and handsome husband to our Stephanie!

tristan kelley dancing with his little girlHappy Birthday, Tristan. I love this photo (above). It’s one of my favorites ever of you (from Ryan and Tredessa’s wedding) because of what it says about who you are and how Guinivere is looking at you.

She is looking at her protector, her daddy, the first love of her life. She is looking at her place of safety and her guide in this journey, a man who will make sure she is cared for and fed, tucked in safely and has the freedom to live and love and make mistakes and learn.

It was a moment in time, a celebratory dance at a wedding, yes. But it was also a little girl who knows, really knows deep down, that she is seeing a man who is steady in his character, reliable in his love towards her and sacrificial in his living – making sure his family is covered.

She sees the one leading their dance and she sees a humble man whose strength is not loud and cocky, but whose giftings and abilities are exploding like fireworks, expanding, getting noticed and opening doors.  But in spite of his talents and notoriety, he will always be right there, close – twirling his little girl, loving his wife into deep beauty, fathering his children with dignity and respect.

That’s what I see when I look at that picture. I see what she sees.



And I also know, without looking at it, that you were a gift to our family and we still receive you as such. I know that you were the perfect man for Stephanie. I know that you are simply better than most of the men on the planet and your strength is rooted in love:: unshakeable, devoted, focused, whole and holy, and on-purpose love.

Thank-you for loving Stephanie like you do. Your love lights her up. Thank-you for having three children that simply thrill us and for trusting our time with them, our impact on their lives. Thank-you for accepting who we are and what we bring and honoring us there and for letting us be your “in-laws.” Because we know getting Stephanie was the goal, but **surprise** …she came with a bunch of us. Haha! And you have been a honoring son-in-love and we are so grateful. We are SO thankful you live close and loan us the grandbebes. Oh, how they have expanded out hearts! You GET POINTS for this! :)

Thanks to Cherie and Larry Kelley for the honor of getting to enjoy life and family with their son!

Larry & Cherie came for a visit this summer. It was so good to see them. Here they are with our mutual grands:

tristan's parents summer 2014

Thanks to Stephanie for marrying so well! We knew we raised her right! :)

tristan and family

Thanks to the many fans who love Tristan’s drumming for seeing a little of what we see!

You’ve proven to have good taste!

See the MY PLAYING part of his website {{HERE}} for lots more samples. Or check out http://instagram.com/tristankelley

tristan kelley instagram

And thanks be to God for creating Tristan Kelley in the first place.

Much elation*jubilation*happy-dancing*applause here! Let the festivities continue!

And so I’d like to write a blessing, a decree for you, over you. And here is how I pray heaven’s blessing on you:

That you’ll always have enough:: enough resources to live well and bless others, enough time to accomplish all the things that interest you, and enough courage to raise those three children in troubled times. And may those children be the strongest, healthiest and most thoughtful people ever, leaders who change the landscape and bring peace and joy.

I pray your clients and students will receive everything possible thing from you freely, and that you are enriched by them, too. I bless you with the knowledge you need to impart and for you to be re-filled and fulfilled with all the goodness you have poured out (in business, in teaching) coming back to you!

I pray your family increases in love and that you walk in peace and rest on every side, but that when hard times come, you’ll be fierce and unflappable and know that you are strong enough, courageous enough and worthy of the respect so many of us carry for you (but none more than your Creator).

I bless the day you were born and the celebration of it. And I bless all your days to come. May they be amazing in every possible way!

We are so thankful for you. We love you so much. Happy Birthday (a day late). We are celebrating and rejoicing and grateful we know you and get to say you’re one of ours!  {mom}


Happy Birthday to our first-ever GRAND-girl, Guinivere!

Guini turned 8 yesterday, eight!

guini's 8th bday

Wasn’t it just yesterday we were up in the mountains, a staff retreat for a church I worked at, and didn’t we just get the call, “Stephanie is on her way to the hospital to have the baby,” and wasn’t it, of course in {the middle of the night}??!  And didn’t we JUST throw our things together and hit the road, passing over the Continental Divide and zooming down the mountain to be there for her birth?  And wasn’t it the most beautiful early morning thing ever?  No, it wasn’t yesterday, it was 8 very fun-filled, fast-flying years ago.

taken by stephanie kelley maydae

As grandbebes go, Guin-Guin was number three, only her big brother, Gavin and her cousin, Hunter-Magoo ahead of her.  Right away, she established that she wasn’t anything like the boys.  She was, indeed, a girl, an adorable little love-muffin.  Quiet, gentle-spirited, thoughtful and determined, Guini’s feet are firmly planted, no push-over, she, but a focused, peaceful and calm disposition emmanates like sun-rays from Guinivere Eden!

guini freckles

“A girl without freckles is like a night without stars.”

Oh, how I love her!

She is my Guini-muggins, my sweet-pea, my Guin-Guin, my darling girl, my first sugar-and-spice grandbebe, my sweet-sweet girly-q!  And ~ my flower girl, for ever and always…{below, a video Guini and I made when she turned 5}:


May the God of all hope and comfort, the God who excitedly fashioned you from the His brightest, loveliest and most creative thoughts and made you so gentle and sensitive in spirit {such a depository of His love and grace}, may that God make His very own will for you known and may it be done and settled here on earth just as He decreed it from heaven. And may you be an agent of His love and grace from your middle-child vantage point and I pray He will deliver you from all evil and that the {fire of your faith} in Jesus Christ {{our Savior!}} will set nations ablaze for His glory, yes!  To the praise of His glory!

So be it!

I love you, Guinivere, my darling girl.


Freckles are kisses from the angels.  They love to kiss-kiss Guini’s face.  Me, too!

Happy Birthday, Stephanie-born-in-May

What do Broccoli Cheese Soup at the Big Wheel, birthing classes at Howard Community with the Loftises on Thursday nights, Princess Diana, a really ornery Tilt-a-Whirl operator at Indiana Beach Amusement Park (now fancily called a resort), the song “He Means More to Me Today Because of Yesterday” by the Sounds of Happyness, and a beautiful morning in May with the lilacs in full bloom have in common?

My Stephanie.  Second child, only preemie, the teeny-tiniest babe who caused faith to rise in my heart as I prayed to God for her in the dark night, me in the hospital in Kokomo – her fighting to breathe at James Whitcomb Riley Hospital in Indianapolis.  Thirty-one years ago.

If an old friend lets you down

And a true love can’t be found

Till the blue skies come around

I’ll be right by your side

You weren’t due until June, very late June, very-very late June.  But you came in May and it was beautiful and it was a surprise and it was meant to be.  And every May since, we are reminded of the blessing and miracle and joy and completion and maturity and faith you brought with you, and what it caused in us.

No don’t forget me now that we’re apart

Just open up that great big loving heart

And you’ll always be

You’ll always be

You’ll always be a part… of me…

The name.

As middle names go, May wasn’t even on “the list,” and was perhaps a little old-fashioned for the times.  But we named you Stephanie because of one our favorite actresses at the time (Stephanie Powers) and because one of my all-time greatest Bible heroes is Stephen (see Acts chapter 6).  And May was for the month, the merry merry month of May.  Because it was a magical, lovely time in our lives – all was right and beautiful and exciting and we anticipated your birth with great energy and expectancy. And yet, you were actually so unexpected on that Friday, 5 1/2 weeks before your “due date.”

Take your time to embrace romance

Teach your children how to sing and dance

Love may hurt but it’s worth the chance

I’ll be right by your side…

And haven’t you been so many unexpected things things since?  Haven’t you just always done and became and created and produced and added to and on and surprised and delighted and shined and sang and wrote and been successful and just grown up to be an unexpected bundle on wondrousness?  Haven’t you?  Yes, you have.

Try to be the best you can

Show compassion to every man

And always take the higher ground

I’ll be right by your side

Journey far and travel safe

Make this world a better place

And keep that smile upon your face

I’ll be right by your side…

I wasn’t perfect this I would admit

I was always trying to make the pieces fit

Just know you’ll always be

You’ll always be

You’ll always be a part of me…

You’re a trailblazer and  a trendsetter. The family looks at you to confirm cool because if it isn’t, you’ll be the first to know.  Your children are awed by you, your husband reveres you.  Your siblings recognize your gifts and your parents are pleased with how you turned out and in seeing God’s favor and blessing on your life.

And so I bring you the gift of these words and my prayers and wishes for you.  The theme is this: I believe in you.  And I hope you will open that gift with fearlessness and abandon, knowing you’ll always be a part of me, the best part of me.

 a birthday blessing for my daughter

Happy Birthday, Stephanie, amazing, blazing, sizzling daughter, strong woman and spirited girl.  Your life was ordained and has so much value.  I thank God for breathing into your lungs the breath of life, quickening your tiny mortal body 31 short years ago with the very power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead.  That healing will take you all the way to the end with great fire and presence.  Go get ’em, Steph! {love from your mom}

Don’t ask me how the time has gone

I’ve loved you since the minute you were born

So many times we have laughed and cried

I see you now it fills my heart with pride

You’ll always be

You’ll always be

You’ll always be a part… of me…*

*Pure Love, Rod Stewart


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!

She was born on an exquisite day just like today…

Happy Birthday, Tredessa!


Dessy, Dessa, Tre-Tre, Dessy-Pooh-Pie – all names for the exotic, dark haired beauty who arrived just days before a most lovely summer in 1983.  You were christened and accessorized in a  wardrobe of sunshine-yellow and an earlier, milder form of Jeanie-green to set you apart, I suppose, from the lots-of-pink we already had in the family.  You were baby-girl-number-three (thus, Tre) and I knew from the first moment I had alone with you, something very different, quite extraordinary and alluring lay there in my arms.  The eyes, even at birth, showed an intensity of spirit; yet there seemed to reside in you, even as a tiny bundle, a quiescent repose, a knowing restfulness.

Everything about you has proven these inklings to be so.  You excel in so much, baby-girl.  The time God spent knitting you together in my womb, was a favor I cannot hope to comprehend.  So lucky you are mine.


You were born to…

We were kids.  You arrived before our second anniversary.  Dad was playing church softball and I was involved in women’s ministeries and of course youth group with dad.  There were family walks and bicycles-around-the-block.  1106 S Armstrong in Kokomo, so much love and ice cream in the charcoal-colored house.  So much togetherness.  Garage sales with Miss Faye and dressing you so cute with intense colors because your hair and complexion were sufficient for them.  Playing in the pool in the backyard.  Hot summer days and sweet nights with our little family.  You arrived to happiness and love and gratefulnes that you came.

Words for your birthday

This is your “birthday card” from your mama who loves you and really couldn’t fit all the words I want to say in a whole album of photos of you.  Love you, sweet-pea.  I hope this birthday is the best you have ever had…yet.

Tredessa Rhoades on her birthday


PS to Ryan ~ Do you realize how blessed you are to see what you see?  To know her as you do?  You must be very special to God, indeed.  You have found treasure!

My little Gavin is a big 8 today!

Where does the time go?  Happy Birthday Gavin Lee Kelley!! EIGHT!?!




YOU made me a Nonna!  You were the first of all the grandbebes.  And you are oh-so-wonderful in every way.




You have brought me joy and happiness every single day of your life!!  How many people can really say that?




I think you are wonderful.  I love you with my whole heart.  You make me smile, over and over again.




You deserve LOTS of good things your whole life through and I pray that very thing for you – blessing!  xxxooo

Happy Birthday, Stephanie May {our little preemie}!

Our second baby girl: ultra-tiny and way early.

I love you – yes, I do!  A  bushel and peck and a hug around the neck.  For almost your entire life, from such a young, young age, you’ve been a songstress, a singer, a psalmist.  You were the choreographing, twirling, flowing-fabric, scarf-dancing music track of the family ~ just skipping down the happy hallways of life.  Everything got a little more colorful and a little more ebullient when you came along.


Yes, I cropped Stormie (the other half of the trend-setting www.MayDae.com.  It Is not her birthday!  *smile

You were born to 

Heavy-with-flowers lilac bushes, your sister learning to wear “slip-slops” when she came to see you for the first time at the hospital,  purple irises lining established streets in Kokomo, a little charcoal gray house and a month with which you’re joined by name.   You were more than 5 weeks early and may have arrived because of a crazy carnival ride and took your first post-hospital nap atop an old pulpit in the corner of the fellowship hall while I taught a VBS class.  You were like a china doll, I was afraid to make noise.  We sewed and created and worked hard to prepare your space, we wanted everything to be just right –  and in that tiny pink and lace bassinet, you looked like a miniature. 

The rainbowgirl

God heals.  He is the Healer.  That is the blazing-across-the-skymessage of your life, Steph.  And the adversary gets no points in the battle for our baby girl.  With God’s blessing-kiss on the love between your dad and me, with your big sister praying to have a little sister all her own – you were sent.  But you know the enemy, he always tries to stop a miracle at its birth.  You live in the ranks of Moses, Jesus, even, with spiritual war- decrees against their very lives: Stop the miracle before it can begin to change the course of everything…

But God, who is faithful, healed you wholly and fully.  Breath.  That is what He gave you.  Unlike others who never had to struggle for air, you, like Adam, had to have a supernatural miracle of the very Ruach, the breath of God {the actual very Spirit of the Living God} breathed in to you.

And so, though I now see the miraculous in every day and can look back at the faithfulness of the One who created me and all the times He was saving me from myself and certain disaster, you were the very first miracle I ever really knew I needed.  And in the quiet, dark night following your birth, when your life hung precariously in a balance I didn’t even comprehend, when they’d taken you to James Whitcomb Riley Hospital in Indianapolis and you were not in my arms – I cried out for your life, and the Faithful One heard me and graciously granted my petition.

And though so much could have gone wrong, there could have been so many problems, later, He, by the driving force of His very breath in you, instilled so much color, so much texture and pattern and creativity and gifting and vivaciousness and animation.  His very Spirit filled your lungs and your heart and soul and personality and every rainbow has symbolized you since.

You are Rainbow Bear.  Always have been.  And it was confirmed by the laying on of hands more than once.  There is so much there.  May you always know in all things that you were created to declare in the heavenlies that God keeps His promise.

Happy Birthday, Stephanie.  I put some words together so you will know how & why I celebrate your birth and your life!

Happy Birthday, sweetie-pie.  With love from your momma

Tara Jean! It is your birthday, baby girl!

My Firstborn.


Oh happy day.  You make me happy when skies are gray.  And all sorts of fun songs about love and joy.  To you.  For your birthday today.  Am I supposed to mention that you are 32?  Because I won’t if I shouldn’t.  You should not hate it.  Think of me – your mother!!  If you are 32, then I am….

You were born to…

A novice, a clueless girl.  A May day.  The lilacs in full, fragrant glory.  The sunshine.  Green grass.  No money.  Uncertain times.  A God who loved you and was already smiling at your life.


Fixed in the Galaxy

When you were a teenager, everything was stars.  They were your “motif,” and all around you were oodles of doodles of stars and star design on your clothes and belongings and in presents you got.  And you were nicknamed “Shooting Stara” and it was cute.  But it was part of youth.  It was part of a past and you have become a claassic woman of dignity, beauty, strength and grace now.  Save, perhaps for when you are competing with great zeal on the kickball field or during a volleyball game.  Becoming wise and deeply steadfast, though, has not changed or diminished your easy laugh and happy nature.  No, it has only deepened it and made your personality even richer with joy-bringing treasure.

For your birthday, I think of the hallmarks of who you are and what you have always been known for.  For me, of course, a gift.  Thus the Barbra Streisand song, “The best Gift,” that Bill Tull and Mary Tiller sang for your dedication. 

“Liquid joy,” Lisa Bierer called you,for you are a glass-is-half-full, big-smile, cheerleading, enCOURAGing, exhorting kind of person.  Everybody in the room feels more loved and more happy when you have arrived.

At the Heaven Fest dinner Saturday night in Loveland

But then, there was the whole “star” phase.  And as I thought about you and all you are and everything you are becoming and how, youthful and lighthearted as you remain,  you embody even now the personality you did at 3 or 4 years of age.  And as a teen.  So, I could not forget the star part.

But what is different now, sweet daughter?  Now, you need to know, you are not a shootingstar, just a brilliant flash of passing dazzle and fancy against a dark sky.  You are a star hung steadfastly in the firmament declaring God’s glory.  I still see the star in you (S)TARa.  I see it.  But now, it is as Daniel 12.3 says:

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

You have the wisdom of some years now.  You are not just a pretty girl.  You are a ravishing woman.  And you are leading many to righteousness, like a cool drink of water on a hot, dusty day, by your life, by your example, by everything God created you to be and to do.  That has given you a fixed place in the universe to shine.  You shine, baby girl.  You shine.

Happy Birthday, Tara.  Here are my words, a few of them, to say I love you and I thank God for you.

Photo by Ellie Pickett, www.lilacphotography.com Taken last fall.  It is the no-make-up session

Actually, ALL photos by www.lilacphotography.com  :)  Ellie is great!

Grand-Bebe #6, The Tribute Videos

I made this one for my little Amelie Belle:

Then we had her family party and I couldn’t resist sharing this:


The cakes.

The cake for the guests was a 2-tier (3 layers each),  A 12″ triple-chocolate, chocolate-chip cake with Oreo-chocolate-chip mousse filling.  The top tier, a 9″ confetti cake with fluffy-whipped butter-crème filling.  Covered in a few pounds of fondant.

The number “1” cake was just for the birthday girl.  Buttercream on confetti.

Great, great joy:  The grandbebes are hearing some wonderful oldies via these videos I am making for them.  They are learning the words and singing along.  I LOVE it!  That is joy!

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!