Tag Archives: birthday


1000!  One…THOUSAND!

My blog is almost 4 years old.  This is the 1000th post.  But there are over 30 posts in my drafts folder waiting…just…waiting.

I started blogging 1409 days ago (11.29.06) a.k.a. three years, ten months and nine days ago.

Graphomaniacal.  In a word.  And if I could always sum things up in one word, there would not be this blog…with 1000 posts.

Oh, and as it happens, today is the one-year anniversary of the day I turned 50.  Or as some negative-Nellies like to call it: turning 51.  Sigh….

Aka – 18,628 days old.

Tre took the photo of me,  Stormie added me to the Sesame Street gang.  Some one else had posted the original pic and “1000” sentiment and I swiped it from Google-images.  Makes me happy. ;p

The most recent change to the blog is a new HOME MOVIES page.


Such devoted sisters~

“I do not believe that…birth makes people sisters and brothers. It makes them siblings. Gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood are conditions people have to work at. It’s a serious matter. You compromise, you give, you take, you stand firm, and you’re relentless…And it is an investment. Sisterhood means if you happen to be in Burma and I happen to be in San Diego and I’m married to someone who is very jealous and you’re married to somebody who is very possessive, if you call me in the middle of the night, I have to come.”

Maya Angelou

S I S T E R S ~ A song I adore!  Dedicated to Tamara Dawn Moslander Ayento!

BTW – I am definitely the Rosemary Clooney (blue eyes/Bing Crosby) of this scenario, and Tami is Vera Ellen (brown eyes/Danny Kaye). ;p

The Preacher’s Wife

My little sister (both little at barely 5 feet AND younger by 6 years), Tami Ayento, is a preacher’s wife.  They recently took a pastorate in the heart of Chicago, so the neighborhood reminds you of the movie by the same name starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington (The Preacher’s Wife, 1996).  I think it is cruel and unusual punishment that I got her when I was almost 6 and we shared a room for many years and then suddenly, we both marry and move thousands of miles apart.  She knows my faults, my secrets, the worst of me.  And has yet to disown me.  She is and will always be the sister of my family heritage, and the sister of my heart.

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The Moslander crew at Tami and Gerron’s 1987 wedding. I had already provided 5 of the 7 grandchildren and nieces and nephews for this family. Come on, people!


Also – she just had an anniversary on the first. :)

tamis wedding august 1987

A Gift


Ageless Beauty walking gently upon the Narrow Path

She runs, she glides, she rests, she makes the journey her home

Eyes roam in search of hidden truths to hold, to grasp and adorn

In never-ending pursuit of the knowledge that evades the apathetic

A solid foundation rooted in love, she unites her family

Her green touch hails life in the dead garden, now fresh and new

With tasks at hand to nurture, to provide, to advise

She shifts in form to embody the need of the moment

Watch on, watch long, wholehearted devotion you will observe

She has an audience in me, I listen and absorb

May I sit beside you, Seasoned Wisdom, on the narrow path?

What will you share?  What must I know?  What knowledge do I lack?

Speak the words that breathe life in the graveyards of my being

Then, permit the Undeserving to leave you with a wish

Hold no more the woes from seasons Time has now retired

Ageless Beauty, age in grace, grow in love, lie down in peace.


From Tredessa Christine Rhoades, (a very wonderful daughter) in watercolor and ink, on the occasion of my 5oth birthday.  At this point in life, you enjoy being described as ageless and timeless.  *smile…

Happy Birthday, Jovan Marie!

Jovan is turning 23!

Happy Birthday, sweet girl and amazing mommy.  Happy Birthday to the one daughter God gave me who was not a moment of work for me: just a gift!  Happy Birthday to the wife of my son’s youth, the daughter-in-law, who like Naomi’s daughter-in-law, Ruth in the Bible, is better to me than seven more sons could ever have been.  I am blessed among women.  I am blessed that you are mine by the choice my son made.

I am so pleased with you, Jovan, so proud of the young woman you are becoming.  I know God chose you from way back when for Rocky.  And though I did not give you birth, you are my beloved daughter.  I thank God for you and I am so glad He chose you for our family.  I love that you say you wanted to marry Rocky since you were 14.  I love that the long, winding road of life brought that to pass.  I love that the two have you have brought us Averi and soon her sibling.  You are a life-giver in our midst!


In thinking about your birthday, I got to remembering that about 23 years ago I was asked to join this sweet group of people (the band, Parousia) as a vocalist.  They played at Catholic masses, community events and on college campuses around Nebraska.  The the first song I did with them was by Wayne Watson and it got a lot of play.  Rocky was just a little guy at the time.  He was climbing walls and sliding down banisters and making life exciting.  And I was asked to sing this song frequently and I think the reason it was very well received was because when I’d sing it, I would purpose singing it over my own children and it was a prayer of my heart.  So, in a way, before I ever knew you existed, I was singing this song over you, too:

Somewhere in the world today
A little girl is going out to play
She’s all dressed up in mama’s clothes
At least the way that I suppose it goes
Somewhere in the world tonight
Before she reaches to turn out the light
She’ll be praying from a tender heart
A simple prayer that’s a work of art

And I don’t even know her name
But I’m praying for her just the same
That the Lord will write His name upon her heart
Cause somewhere in the course of this life
A little boy will need a godly wife
So hold on to Jesus, baby, wherever you are

And often I’d change the words the last time through:

Cause somewhere in the course of his life
My little boy will need a godly wife
So hold on to Jesus, baby, wherever you are

And Jovanie?  I know for sure that God heard that prayer and began even then to prepare you for our family, to get you ready to be one of us.  You were born to be a Rhoades, sweet girl, my daughter and my friend.  And I love you so much.

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Jovan loves her sweets…and so does her daughter and her nieces and nephews (the five little monkeys)!

Twenty-three wishes for Jovan on her 23rd Birthday:

  1. Look at the sun shining today!  It is for your birthday. It is so you can have a happy, happy day!
  2. I wish for you to have a great pregnancy all the way until baby-number-two is born.  I hope these months will be full of fun and laughter and anticipation and your memories warm and happy of these days.  You are so cute pregnant, girl!
  3. Enjoy crazy-romantic-love with your man.  These are baby-days and busy-days, but keep the fires burning.  May Rocky love you like a real man should and may you receive it with unabashed joy!
  4. I wish for lots and lots of happy mommy-daughter times with Averi…Gilmore Girls reruns and Cinderella watching!
  5. Jovanie, I pray for you to know Jesus in a closer way than you ever have.
  6. Let this year be a year of discovery: finding out who God really created you to be and what He has really called you to.
  7. I am wishing for a gazillion kids, but no multiple births, as you wish.  But you guys make beautiful babies!
  8. May God enlrage your heart with an even greater capacity to love and be loved.
  9. I am praying for deep relationships for you.  I am praying the connections and relationships you have, both friendships and family, will develop and grow and be life-giving and true.  And I pray God sends you many new friends and puts people in your path both to bless and be blessed by.
  10. I wish sweet times of scrapbooking for you.  Those will be hard to come by right now, but I am going to wish for suprise pockets of time for it, anyway.  I know you love it.
  11. My wish for you is to find your own beat and to be unapologetic about marching to it.
  12. Jovan, I hope you will understand that you were called to us and will never be afraid to change us and impact us.  That is why you’re here!
  13. I am believeing God for financial blessing.  They always say you can’t get rich in ministry, but the Lord is your Provider and you guys are rich, but I pray for sufficient funds for planning for the future and raising your family.
  14. I want you to get the house you want, too!
  15. May your creativity continue to blossom and sprinkle color and light and life on everything you touch as you create home and memories for your little family.
  16. I wish for those traveling adventures that you and Rocky love so much to happen a lot over the next year.
  17. I also wish for special days, holidays, holy days and romantic nights to be festive and memorable.
  18. I pray you’ll find the ministry you were born to do and that the ministry things you and Rocky were created to do together will be fulfilling and sweet.
  19. Girl, let me hang with your babies so you can go out without a diaper bag sometimes!  Shop.  Or whatever you want.  I love Averi!  Can’t wait for the new little bundle!
  20. Happy Birthday, Jovanie.  May there be great and growing  joy-of-the-Lord in your heart.  It will be your strength!
  21. I am wishing for long nights of sleep, and happy days of rejuvenating living for you.
  22. I am praying for the enemy to have to flee as the perfect love of the Lord drives out all fear and trepidation in your life.  You are strong, Jovanie, in the Lord.   Don’t be afraid.
  23. And? May heaven hear and answer your prayers as you call out to the God who loves you greatly.  You have His ear, my sweet.  He is attentive to your heart’s cries.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Jovan.  You know I love you, right?…Mom (Jeanie)

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Chicken and dumplings at Jovan’s family party, her request.  Stef and Gemma, 2 pinkies in the pink and white decor; the pumpkin spice cake with 23 candles.

NOTE TO SELF:  Me.  Jovan.  Creating our legacy books with scissors-in-hand, tape and glue and piles and piles of photographs.

About the party from Facebook:

Tara Powers Status Update:  Truth or Dare for Jio’s bday tonight [using Rocky’s I-Pod Touch]. Outcome=Rocky tasting soap, Dessa talking for 3 minutes straight, Steph trying to tell each person one good and one bad thing about themselves {editor’s note: she kinda chickened out – it was her great chance in life to really get us all and she couldn’t do it!}, Tristan speaking with an Italian accent, Jovan describing her first kiss with Rocky, Stormie wearing items from everyone, Mom acting out Lion King, Me NOT sitting on Rocky’s lap, and Dave telling everyone who he would marry in the room..ME=)

Stephanie Rhoades Kelley: You forgot the best part – when Tristan HAD to kiss me – thank you Lord that I was sitting on his right and not someone else!  *smile…

Happy 25th Birthday, Rocky Rhoades!


Rocky was bemoaning turning 25 (or a quarter-of-a-centuryold) a few days ago and the fact that he would never experience having a “surprise party” because Jovan cannot keep anything from him.  In her defense, I have to tell you, Rocky is the worst!  He can make you think he knows things he doesn’t and then your facial expression gives things away.  He has done this to Jovan and I plenty of times.  He is a booger.  I made a quick mental note of the conversation and emailed his sisters.  In about 4 or 5 days flat, we threw together a little surprise for him (and about 80 other people) at a local school/park where we could play baseball with him, something he wants way more of in his life.

Could the secret be kept?  Well, we put on the invitation that no one should even let Jovan know.  Why risk it?  So it was a surprise for both of them.  We worried about church on Sunday.  Some one might give it away  But, yaaaay.  No one did.


We did it!  We actually surprised Rocky!  He showed up at our house 2 blocks away and there was a sign which said, “Happy Birthday, Rocky.  Meet us up at the ball field.”  The shelter is right at the intersection, so we could all see them coming and were waving and cheering them in.

Friends and family.  Food and cake.  Baseball.  And the wind.

Old friends, new friends, brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews, parents and in-laws and church family and neighbors joined us to celebrate Rocky.  There was even a dog or two.  His dad read a blessing over him and we found out who the really competitive baseball players are. 

There were 2 big cakes: a 12″ white with cherries on top and a pumpkin spice cake, which was really nothing more than a socially acceptable vehicle for eating the ultra-thick, unbelievably-amazing cream cheese icing (made with real butter and heavy whipping cream – the BEST I have ever made).  It was to die for, I must say.

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When Rocky was born in 1984

Can you imagine what a thrill it was, late on a Saturday night, to finally get a son?  I had three adorable little girls in flouncy dresses, barrettes and lacy ankle socks.  Then the doctor said, “You have a boy!”    I actually laughed and cried simultaneously.  I was sure I was having another girl, which would have been delightful, but wow!  A boy?  What a thrill!  I couldn’t sleep all night.  I just wanted to look at him and smell his sweet head.  He still smells good. 

Rocky, as a son, has been the sweetest and the orneriest boy in the world.  He has been the most polite and the most exasperating young man.  He has gone at everything with full vigor.  He has picked up the annoying traits of one of his parents (I won’t name which of us) who thinks that everything you do should be done bigger, better, faster, louder, and to perfection.  He pushes us, drives us, encourages us and chides us.  He never settles.  He never lowers his standards.  And he likes being right.

But he is so loveable and tender, too.  He is an adoring husband and such an attentive daddy.  He cares about all of us deeply and is protective and opinionated, always wanting the best for us.  He has never been harder on anyone else than he is on himself.  He is my boy, and he is beloved.  Happy birthday, Rock-man.  I love you so much.

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25 wishes for my son on his 25th birthday.

  1. Hey, Bo-Bear?  You’re not the kid brother anymore.  You’re a man.  You have put away childish things.  I wish for you to trust yourself and value your own thoughts and opinions and gifts the way the rest of us do.
  2. I wish so much happiness and romance and love for you and Jovan.  You’re in this tricky part of young marriage.  So much love and time go to the babies right now.  But love the wife of your youth.  Tend to her.  Listen and watch and pursue her like you did to get her to marry you.  The rewards will come back to you.
  3. I am loving watching Averi be such a little daddy’s girl.  The tenderness she has brought out in you is a sight to behold.  And I love the way she has picked up your very unique traits, especially the silly faces and crazy noises.  I pray you will hold these daddy-daughter moments as life’s most precious treasure, because that is what they are!
  4. Keep singing, Rock-man.  Sing to the Lord.  I sense His smile on your song.  It isn’t a job.  It is a call.  It is an honor to have been appointed to the Holy Place. 
  5. I wish for you the time to do all that crazy guitar-perfecting you want to do so badly.  Get going, kiddo.  10 years from now, you could be the best in the world!
  6. I hope you’ll win many X-Box games over the next year. I also hope there will be worthy and challenging opponents.
  7. I am praying for God to place the right people in your path, the ones who can give you something God wants you to have, and ideas you can build on.  I am praying for God-planned connections, and deep friendships with people who love you, but who will also aggravate you into growing.
  8. I wish for you a band of strong brothers-in-theLord: men who have your heart and your passion to fight the battles with you, like-hearted warriors you can trust.
  9. Strengthened family relationships.  You’re a hero to all your sisters and even though some of them are older than you?  They really love to have your protection and guidance and love in their lives.  They want you to butt in (and you like to, too).  So, get in there and get messy with your sisters.  And your baby sister still needs you so much!
  10. I wish for you a strong friendship and bond with your dad, who loves you so much-just like he read to you at the party.  Do you know how many young men will never get a father’s blessing spoken over them like that?
  11. I want you to keep making me laugh.  That sounds more like a wish for me than you, but you like to make me laugh.  You know you do.
  12. I wish for you to quit tickling me and scaring me.  Really.  Stop that, you ornery little booger.
  13. Happy birthday, Rocky ~ may this be a year of many, many wonderful surprises!
  14. Joy!  Just a great big, heaping pile of joy on you.  For you.  In you!  May the great joy of the Lord be your strength and your might.
  15. Songs!  Write more songs!  I can’t wait to hear the songs pour out!
  16. I am asking God to send you mentors who will recognize the deep treasure in you.
  17. Financial blessing and steps towards the dreams you and Jovan share.  May wealth and riches be in your house. (Ps. 112.3)
  18. I pray that you will enjoy the blessings of a man who fears the Lord and keep His commandments. (Ps. 112.1)
  19. I pray your children, Averi and the baby due in March and all the ones after that, will be blessed and mighty in the land (Ps. 112.2).
  20. Because you are a gracious and compassionate and righteous man conducting your affairs with justice, I know the Lord will see to it that even in dark times, a light will dawn for you and good will never be far behind (Ps. 112.4-5).
  21. I wish for your heart to be steadfast and secure.  You trust in the Lord, Rock-Man and you’ll have no fear of bad news.  You’ll always know you’ll win over the enemy. (Ps. 112.7-8)
  22. Keep the generosity going, son.  You have a giving heart.  God will honor you for that and raise your authority level. (Ps. 112.9)
  23. I thank the Lord that you decided at the age of 12 or 13 that you wanted to be a Psalm 112 man.  It is happening.  As you have become that kind of man, God is blessing you in that way.  So cool! 
  24. Sabbath rest.  Oh, how I wish that for you – the really good, God-blessed, restorative, one-day-a-week, joy-filled rest.  Make every effort to get it.  It’ll keep you!  Hebrews 4
  25. I wish for you to know how many people love you, respect you and admire you.  There are many.  But my wish is that you’ll see it, know it, and most importantly: RECEIVE it!


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I love my son!…Jeanie-the-mama

NOTE TO SELF:  Me and Rocky and the guitar.  More of it!

Alright, already, it’s fall!


I will miss the summer.  I will miss the long days and short nights and profuse blooms and iced tea while I swing on the patio.  I will miss swimsuits and beach towels all. over. the. yard!  And the sound of kids playing with dirt and rocks and dangerous yard tools when there are plenty of good toys to be had.

But just in case I was going to hang on too tightly, just in case I was going to pretend that summer was not over in spite of the calendar saying it is so this 22nd day of September (the Autumnal Equinox), the weather has forced me to face reality and it is freaking cold!  What on earth?!

So, that’s it.  Summer is over.  The fall has descended upon me like a heavy, wet, soaked 1960’s green canvas camping tent.  So, I shall drink myself into beautiful oblivion with the beverage I once heard called “liquid pie.”  Yes, that smooth, creamy, cinnamony Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks.  This shall be my reward for a summer which has left me.



Happy birthday to Elise-the-Niece!

Tristan’s “Big Night” (because he is turning 29)

Happy Birthday, Tristan Kelley!


pictured: The sign made by Steph and Stormie with a nod to The Office, naturally.

You are at that age – you know?  The one everyone claims to be when they don’t wanna be the age they really are?  So pretty much, for the next year, everyone will think you are lying about your age.  But you’re not.  Like McCaulay Culkin, you are actually 29.  Which puts into perspective for me the little boy you were so many years ago when we watched Home Alone with our kids, and Stephanie, in particular.


When you chose Stephanie, when you decided (which in retrospect seems uncharacteristically devilish of you) to pursue Stephanie in spite of a road-bump whose name I shall not bother to mention here, you got us all, the whole loud, crazy, undone and un-in-law-tested bunch of us, lock, stock and barrel.


And we are grateful to your parents for the wonderful son they raised.  We thank God that you were nurtured and encouraged in a godly home, prepared and equipped to be the man you have become – a great husband to Steph and a true daddy to the bambinos.  Tell your mom and dad thank-you for me, will you?  Because they did really raise a courageous son, one who, in spite of the size and girth of the sum of us, is not only equal to the task, able to withstand our faults and failures and shortcomings as much as enjoy any good, but strengthens us as a family, bringing rich character and treasure to us.  Who could have known when you became one of us that one such humble young man’s presence in a family could change our course so drastically?  Tris, you brought  an increase of the favor of God upon us and I can’t remember life before you became our “son.”  We are blessed.

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pictured: he must have said something funny at the family party; a shot from the recent Kelley photo shoot taken by Tredessa; the apparent Rocky/Tristan “butt” shot…for their wives only, I am sure.


Food ~ The Glorious Timpano

As usual, we had your annually-requested-birthday fruit pizza (see recipe) instead of a cake (but I really am game to create free-standing drum set someday), which nearly drove several family members into a sugar coma.  And, much to Stormie’s delight, your celebration became an opportunity for her highly-sought-after Timpano ~ as made famous by the cinematically beautiful movie, Big Night, starring Tony Shalub and Stanley Tucci.  The movie is wonderful.  The food they prepare is inspiring.  Stormie’s version is delish!

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What a silly family we are, sometimes, huh?  But what great times celebrating each other and just being with people who’ll love you to the end!


Twenty-nine wishes for Tris on his 29th birthday.

  1. May the storehouse of good in you always be full to running over!  “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him…”  Matthew 12.35
  2. I wish for you to know the deep things of God and to increase in wisdom as He leads you.
  3. I hope you and Stephanie will always remain madly in love, and that your life’s pursuits will  keep you running into each other in happy, romantic collisions.
  4. I pray that the love you bestow upon your children will come back to you a hundred-fold.
  5. Long life!  And may it go well with you because you keep the 5th commandment to honor your parents.  Keep doing that.  You can’t go wrong. 
  6. God?  Bless Tristan.  Really bless him! 
  7. I wish you 50% off days at Mile-High Comics every Labor Day!
  8. I wish for your full talent as a musician to be recognized beyond your wildest dreams and that you be compensated duly.
  9. May you get all the best drumsticks and Zildjian cymbals you ever need.
  10. I wish for you to have good students: the kind who don’t waste your time and who will really learn from the treasure-trove of musical knowledge you possess.
  11. I pray that as you have dared2work at dare2share, you’ll  get credit in heaven for the harvest!
  12. Tris, I hope you will always be strengthened by knowing that you are so well loved by our whole family.
  13. The time you need with the people you love.  Thank-you for working so hard to provide for your family, for doing whatever it takes, but enjoy time that belongs to you, too.
  14. And that secret dream?  May the resources and location come to pass quickly by the divine hand of the Lord.  He is on the look out for you, I know it!
  15. Rest.  I wish rest for you.
  16. Peace.  I wish peace for you, too.
  17. And joy.  I wish an abundance of the joy of the Lord to be your strength.
  18. X-box 360 expertise.  As if you even need this wish – may you do reeeeeally well in X-box tourneys and beat everybody (except occasionally let Rocky have a victory since he is your “little brother”)!
  19. I hope you’ll…laugh (you thought I was gonna say “dance”, didn’t you?).
  20. I wish for your sense of humor to get even keener, if that is possible, so you can keep us laughing!
  21. Surprises.  I hope this year will be full of really good surprises for you.
  22. I wish increased relationship and bonding between you and all the siblings (the sister you were born to and her husband, and all the ones you have because of Stephanie).  Their lives are so enriched in the knowing of you.
  23. Cool t-shirts, the perfect jeans, great hair cuts and shoes that make your feet go “ahhh.”  You have your own style and I wish for it all come to you easily this year!
  24. Songs.  New songs.  Lots of them.
  25. Beats and rhythms only heard previously in the halls of heaven.  Bring ’em on, Tris!
  26. I wish lots of English toffee for you and other sweet sundries, which I guess can be made possible if I will only get busy.  Sometime between now and Christmas, maybe…
  27. I wish more kids for you, but apparently you are not going to receive that little present, but can’t you just see it?  Six or seven more little redheads running around??!  Wouldn’t the world be a more delightful and magical place???
  28. I am hoping for lots more conversations with you because I learn so much and am so moved by your insight and wisdom on so many different topics.  You are truly one of the smartest people I have ever known in my life.
  29. And finally?  I pray for God to bless you back, in the same kind and with the same measure with which you have loved us, shown respect to us, honored us and become a part of us.  And if He answers that prayer, and I know He will, you will be blessed – on your 29th birthday and always.  And I am believing for that! 

We love you, Tristan.  I hope you will always know how much.  Happy Birthday to you!…mom (and so honored to get to share that role just a tiny bit even though you already have a wonderful mama)

NOTE TO SELF:  Break out the toffee recipe because Tristan is worth it, even if it isn’t Christmas.

Happy Birthday, Tredessa

Tredessa turned 26!

We were in Wilmore, Kentucky for the Ichthus Festival on Saturday, on Dessa’s birthday,  gathering information and learning from people who have managed to keep a festival going for 40 years now.  I got to watch watch Tredessa in action interviewing people much older and I was so impressed at her ease and ability to draw the most important information from them.  She is soft-spoken and gentle, easy to talk to (and talk, they did), but she has the ability to harness millions of bits of data, opinion, strategy (both good and bad, both successful and disastrous) and infuse it into a leadership team of nearly 100 people who will make Heaven Fest all God has ordained it to be.

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I stood back and watched.  I listened.  I thought, “Wow!  She is good.” 

Then I remembered.  She’s my girl.  She’s my beautiful baby.  She’s my little Dessy-Pooh-Pie.  She is 26.  And I know her to be a caring person, a life-giving, true friend/sister/daughter to her family and influential auntie to the grand-bebes, a true comrade-of-the-heart to those who take the time to know her, and a young woman wholly devoted to the Lord.


Tre was a gift to us.

Tredessa was born on a beautiful day in Kokomo, Indiana.  The timing of her arrival was planned only by God and how good He was to give us this amazing daughter.  She was born exactly 1 year and 3 weeks after her sister, Stephanie, making her the 3rd girl in a row.  I remember getting into the car to go to the hospital and the smell of lilacs (it seems it would have been late for that, but I recall it, nonetheless).  I remember a hot sun and a cool breeze, the shrubs all fluttering lightly and knowing I’d soon have another baby.  Somehow the day seemed blessed.  Somehow it seemed the birds were singing in celebration and God had particularly delighted in creating a wondrous day.

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I took her home in a yellow outfit and sunbonnet and few days later, symbolizing the dazzling brightness and joy of her arrival.  And the summer of Tredessa (1983) was a blessed one.  It was daddy and mommy and our three adorable little girls, Tara, Stephanie and Tredessa and life was just so, so, so good: lots of hair and barrettes and blow-up swimming pools and bbqing and church life and friends and Martha Miniature dresses and hot and humid Indiana.  She was sweet and easy.  I recall sweet and easy days of love. 

26 wishes for Tredessa on the occasion of her 26th birthday

Tredessa, I love you and bless and wish so many good things for you.  Can I tell you a few?

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  1. I wish for all of your days to have the sense of blessing on them in your life that the day of your birth and all the days I have known you since have had.
  2. I wish for God to show you the next step…just the one, so you’ll know without a doubt you are dwelling directly in the place He has prepared.
  3. I am wishing thousands of hugs and kisses for you from the children you’ll have someday (with the most amazing man you’ll marry someday), the fruit of all the seeds of love you have planted in your nieces and nephews.
  4. As a matter of fact, I pray your siblings will be as great at loving and watching over your kids as you have been with theirs.  You have an unusual and very intentional connection to all those little boogers.
  5. I pray that one day you will hear the reports and know the impact you made on the Venezuelan orphans in spite of the government overtake.  Those kids will grow up.  They will look for their (spiritual) Mama Tredessa.
  6. I pray that you will cause thousands of people to know God’s love and understand His work in their lives they way you do.  The way you go after God makes people hungry to know Him that way.
  7. I wish for your joy to be full, full, full.
  8. I am praying peace for you in these days of transition.
  9. All your dreams can come true, it can happen for you, if you’re young at heart…and it doesn’t hurt that you are, in fact, actually young!
  10. I hope you wear lots of dresses this year because you are so cute in them.
  11. Like Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility, you are practical, circumspect and discreet.  You are tremendously sensible and use your head in every situation, but there is that deeply emotional side.  There is that part of you that sometimes scares you and very few people know it exists.  I pray a whole bunch of people will take the initiative to find that side and drag your vulnerability out of you.  *smile…be brave…
  12. I wish you “rest for your soul.”  Because that is what Jesus wants for you, too.  (Remember telling me that??)
  13. I am wishing with all my might you will hear the secrets of the Lord as you fear Him and give Him your reverent awe.
  14. Do you know you garner trust from people young and old?  May it always be so.
  15. I hope you’ll always know how you bless me.  A few years ago, after you’d had a consultation with some one who thought they were dealing with a novice, as she searched for ways to express what a “surprise” you’d been, how efficient and advanced for your years you were, she said to me, “Well, Tredessa is an extraordinary young woman.  She told me she is gifted just like you.”  And, wow, I was taken aback and swelled with pride.  I was honored that you’d tell some one something like that.  Honey?  You’re waaaaaay more amazing!
  16. I pray for the Lord to be your strong tower.  You have a strength, an inner resolve, but babycake, you will never be so strong you don’t have to lean on Jesus!  I know you know that, but this is a reminder.
  17. I am praying for clear guidance and direction from the One who said He’d lead you and guide you.  He will.
  18. I hope you’ll let the doors that must close, close.  And look back with gratefulness and humility.
  19. Be brave as you walk through new doors.
  20. Fall in love, if you have time.
  21. Flirt a lot first.  Come on-you can do it.
  22. I wish for you to accept the fact that you are a spiritual brickhouse!  Seriously!  Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power and don’t worry about it!  Never apologize for that!
  23. I wish a great summer for you.
  24. I am praying Heaven Fest will bless you back!
  25. I wish thousands more songs for you.  Sing your soul out, Tre Tre.  Play your funky music! (Have mercy on me, sometimes, though).
  26. And baby?  Live with abandon!  Really, really live with abandon!  It’s your time!  It is!

Happy Birthday a smidgen late, my beloved daughter…mom

pictured: TOP ROW~Tre with the man she “found” on her birthday at Ichthus…on the Techno stage; SECOND ROW~The “Dessa’s ladies” collage from her b-day celebration; THIRD ROW~Tre with Tara and Hunter and me at Ichthus this past week; FOURTH ROW~Tredessa with her sometimes archnemesis/sometimes best buddy, Luke; Tre with niece Averi-the-little-lady.

Happy Birthday, Gemma May!

Gem Gem is two.  She is veeeeery good at it!

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I have a glimpse of who Gemma is becoming everytime I see a Fancy Nancy book or outfit: naturally curly red hair, sparkly and feathery and delightful!  She ornery and sweet, sneaky and a little lamb.  She holds her own, takes dominion over Sandy-the-dog and tells us, when she wants to be held, “I scared.”  She is the baby of her family in all the glory that place brings.

My favorite of our current conversations:

Me: I love you, Gemma

Gemma: I love you Nonna

Me: I love you more

Gemma: I love you more

Which she will keep up as long as I do.  Very affirming!  She is two and I cannot remember life before Gemma!

Happy Birthday, Gem-Gem-jor-eeee!  Nonna loves you!

pictured: Gemma in April at Stormie’s Twilight party – eating the apple prop; Gemma with her Aunt Tara last week at Mazatlan.  Gemma on Mother’s Day, seated on her/my new black breakfast bar stool.

Happy Birthday, Stormie Dae!

I see in my mind’s eye a big healthy baby – 9 pounds, 10 ounces.  Two weeks past her due date, she arrives: peacefully, happily.  She settles in as the newest and final addition to the home of love being built by my lover and me.  She is the object of affection and delight to her four older siblings.  She is a reward and gift to her mommy and daddy. 

Chunky at birth, she elongates into a tall-for-her-age, skinny pre-schooler who uses her voice, sweet and syrupy, to melt us and get everything she wants. 

She is 5 with a tiny heart-shaped face and big, expressive eyes.  There is a big yellow bow in her tightly permed hair and she twirls in a polka-dot skirt.  She doesn’t just like school, she looooooooves school!

She runs, during the elementary days, to keep up with her brother.  If he is playing baseball, so is she.  If he is madly roller-blading – she will keep up.  Though we fear her tiny frame may snap from the pace, she is ever just an “nth” of a step behind Rocky.

As a teen, she follows Jesus with all her heart.  She prays her sister, with tears, back from the brink.  She becomes a stained glass artist and stars in the school play.  She learns to drive while worshipping her head off in the car with her mama.  She is a blessing. 

Age and maturity reveal one of the kindest people I have ever known.  She serves and cares and quietly sets things aright.  She is 23 now.  The baby is 23.  And I love her.

I don’t know where the years have gone, Stormkins, but I cherish every moment you have been mine.  I love you so deeply,  my sweet baby girl.  All 23 candles on represent a wish I have for you this year.

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Twenty-three Wishes for Stormie on Her 23rd Birthday

  1. I wish for you to “prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”  3 Jn 1.2 nkjv
  2. I wish an unending smile for your face – so your dimples will deepen and delight will spread over your whole head.
  3. I wish the warm and cheerful feeling of yellow flowers to surround you no matter where you are, regardless of any circumstance.
  4. I want your heart to be in peace.
  5. I want you to always and forever know what it means to be free in Christ, totally, completely free!  And I rebuke the enemy.  I rebuke Satan from even trying to enslave you in any way.
  6. May God’s will be done in your life, all the days of your life, as you bring Him glory – on earth as it is in heaven.
  7. I hope dad and I have given you what you need to be everything God intends.  If we have forgotten anything – you know where to find us.  It’s not too late!
  8. Never forget how many people adore the stuffing out of you!  You are loved-like-crazy by me and dad and Tara and Dave and Hunter and Stephanie and Tristan and Gavin and Guini and Gemma and Rocky and Jovan and Averi and Tredessa and Elise and all the cousins and all the aunts and uncles and don’t forget Grandma and Grandpa Moslander…
  9. Be-member, mama, we like to ‘shnuggle.'”  I will never forget those words nor your voice when you were 4 telling me that.  I wish for you to remember it always, too, because I am still happy to ‘shnuggle’ with you!
  10. For the man.  The one.  The right time.  I wish him for you, Stormie.  I am praying for him, too.
  11. I wish for you a bunch of cute little Stormies.  Oh-even if you only get one like you, she will make you so happy.  I guarantee it.
  12. I wish for you to reap all the seeds of godliness and generosity that you have sown.  I wish for the bread you have cast upon on the waters to now be found!  May it come back to you.
  13. I pray for the heavens to open and loud, clear-cut direction and guidance for your life to be announced with trumpets and singing.  I pray you will never wander aimlessly.
  14. I am believing for continued favor on your life.
  15. I remind God about showing you mercy and gracing you mightily (empowering you to be everything He created you to be; empowering you to do all He has called you to do!).
  16. My wish is that you will be full (all the way to capacity and running over) of the Holy Spirit.
  17. I wish for you to always walk in truth.
  18. I will always believe in you.  There has not been even moment I have not loved you fully, madly.
  19. I wish you could see what I see when I look into your eyes.  There is eternity behind them – there is joy and love and life and lightheartedness – so much life.  You’re barely out the starting gate…
  20. I wish for you to have no heartbreaks or sorrow.  But if you must, I wish for the LORD to be your comfort (your keeper and the Lover of your soul) so you’ll look back and say, “I would not trade the pain for how I know Him today.  It has been worth it.”
  21. My prayer is that you’ll have joy and rejoicing in these early twenties: “in the days of your full-grown youth.” (Ecc. 11.9 Amp).  I hope you will relish your youthful vigor and live fully from the heart, seeing and pursuing whatever brings you happiness and pleases the Lord.
  22. “Oh how sweet the light of day, and how wonderful to live in the sunshine!  Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted.  Take delight in each light-filled hour…Live footloose and fancy free.  You won’t be young forever.”  (Ecc. 11 The message)
  23. May the LORD bless you and keep you, my Stormkins.  May He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.  May the smile of the LORD be on your life and may you bring Him joy and be His forever.

Happy Birthday, my baby.  Twenty-three years ago today was such a blessed day in my life.  I didn’t even know how much at the time, but, wow!  God was so good to have given you to me!  I love you, babykins!…mom

NOTE TO SELF:  Take Stormie to Anthropologie for her birthday.  Buy her something sweet.

pictured: I was trying to find a good pic of Stormie’s eyes because I love them.  This was as close as I could get; Stormie on 4/15/86 with her daddy just a little while after her birth.