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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.

That cute Kelley family


Stephanie and Tristan have been married since December 27, 2001.  I told them, having been a retail store manager at the time of their wedding (they got engaged and planned  a wedding during THE most brutal 4 retail months in an effort, I was quite certain at the time, designed to kill me), that I would eventually forgive them for their timing.  And I can truly say I have.


Tristan told us he could remember church people (at The Assembly of God in Fort Wayne, IN) saying things like, “There go those red-headed Kelley kids,” about him and his sister when they were little.  Maybe they knew, or maybe they were unaware, but that little Kelley kid grew up to be an awesome man.  I am so honored to call him son, so glad he married my daughter and is a daddy to my grand-bebes. 

And the kid can play the drums.  Geesh.  And just about every known instrument in the world. 

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Now I have my own little red-headed Kelley kids to chase after.  Ahhhh.  The grandbebes.

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Gavin is 6.  He is in the first grade now and if he has his way will never. miss. one. day. of. school.  Not ever.


Guinivere is 4 and knows a secret at all times.  Listen closely and you may get to hear it.

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Gemma is 2 and so delightfully good at it!

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Stephanie and Tristan are a colorful couple.  He is simply the most amazingly intelligent person in the fam.  We all call Tris about everything.  Everything!  And he knows everything about, well, everything.  He works at Dare2Share by day and teaches music lessons (need some?) and does consulting and building websites in his “spare” time.


Stephanie is hanging at home with the kids these days, planning future trips and vacations to New York and London, their favorite cities.  She is exquisite and unique.  She is passionate, but so level and cool.  She is a suburban mommy with big-city taste.  She is so good at mothering these three, I wish I’d have had her as an example back in the day.  And she loves Tristan.

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Tredessa and Stormie did this photo shoot for Steph this summer (a delayed birthday present).

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I think they are a beautiful and dazzling family and I am certain there is no prejudice in that!

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all photos taken in Denver

Happy Birthday, Tristan!

Read Tristan’s birthday post from last year here.   I bawled when I wrote it and he may have sniffled a bit when he read it.   We’ll keep it cool this year.

Today Tristan, my first son-in-law ever, turns 28!

Happy Birthday, Tristan, superb son-in-law and waaaaay above average husband to my daughter, Stephanie.   Happy Birthday to you as we celebrate your life represented by faithfulness and trustworthiness in all you do.   Happy Day to a Hoosier who chose rightly to live in Colorado, for it set up a chain of events that made you one of us, a blessing we regularly praise God for!   Blessed and glorious Day of Remembrance for us all as we stop to honor you and the life you lead!

Tristan is a rare find.   Unassuming and humble, you might not notice genius in the room or divine the depth of talent and creativity, nor the well of of knowledge and intelligence if you were passing through a  space with him in it.   You  could be near and yet   miss the wry twinkle of a quiet, but wicked sense of humor, or fail to see the deep thoughtfulness about the powerful issues of the day in politics, religion, worldview.

No.    One might pass Tristan and see a kind person, a quiet man gently playing with his 3 children or engaged in a conversation with family or friends.   A person might say, “Doesn’t he play the drums?”   And not even realize that he is truly one of the best around, sought after by the best musicians, not only at drums, but at all instruments.   You might just see the best of him: an incredible and loving husband and devoted father, and still not get to see the rest of him.

But we, his family, are blessed.   We are blessed to see the giant of a man he is.   Tris is the big-brother of the fam, now.   He is some one we all trust and our go-to guy about anything and everything that ails us.   He knows our secrets, our faults and our failures, and yet, can be trusted with that information.   You cannot buy that kind of character or love.   He is a gift.   We are blessed.


So, today, Tristan, I bless you and I thank God for you.   These are the gifts I want you to open today and throughout this next year:

Grace to you, Tristan, and peace.   Be blessed with provision through your giftings and abilities, both the technological and the artistic-musician sides.   I pray that resources make themselves available and that your resourcefulness will become an even greater and valued comodity!

May you be preserved in blamelessness your whole life long.   May your beautiful wife bring you joy and your children, great delight.   May God hear all your prayers and your secret heart’s desires and answer   you in times of trouble.  

I pray that, while should it ever fall my lot –  I would defend you to the death, may the Lord be your defender and protector and  may He keep you safe on every side.  

I pray that you, planted firmly by living waters, will begin to see the fruitfulness of your faithfulness before God and that this next year will bring blessing on every side, provision, new opportunities and new open spaces.   I pray that we’ll see the explosion of the color of you all around,  for this new time and place and new year for you and you family.  

I am so pleased with you as my daughter’s husband and as the father of my 3 beautiful grandchildren.   They are the proof of the man you are.   I am so pleased to call you son, and thankful to your parents for sharing.   I am so blessed you were born to be a part of us.   I love you wholeheartedly, Tristan!

Happy Birthday, cherished one…Your very own (and hopefully not dreaded)  m-i-l   :)

NOTE TO SELF:   Make Tris a drum cake next year.

pictured: Tristan in the Hershey store in Times Square on a recent family vacation; Guini helping Tris open his presents yesterday; Tris and my other amazing son-in-law!

Top 10 Reasons I’m Blogging

I am blogging now!  My amazing son-in-law, Tristan Kelley, got me set up, so with a nod to David Letterman for the use of his format, I’ll tell you why.  Here goes:

Top Ten Reasons I’m Blogging Now

10. This is a way to record what is happening in my life in all different areas.  I stunk at keeping diaries when I was young (always lost the key), and my journaling has been sporadic, but if I think some one will discover I’ve been neglectful, I am motivated to do it!

9. Bad memory.  This shall be a record of my journey for everything I may forget as the days and weeks go by.  And the kids can tell you, that could be a lot!

8. Because I said so…and I’m the mom! :)  This is a chance to speak into the lives of my children (I hope to inspire and encourage them) and other friends and family and tell them things I want to make sure they know.  And they can even talk back (through the use of “comments”).  It’s your chance, kiddos!

7. I LOVE the site Tris set up for me!  My girls found this stock image of the red-head and Tristan made the fall leaves swirl.  It makes me laugh every time I see it.  So, for that reason, I will be here blogging! [update: this was in reference to original header gif]

6. It’ll help me process what I am thinking and learning and, as I write,  help me figure out who God intended me to be.  “I think, therefore, I blog.”

i think therefore i blog jeanierhoadesdotcom

5. Because I just know everyone will adore all my grandkid-stories and pictures!

4. You’re so far away: hopefully, I’ll get comments from friends old and new, near and far. And those letters that never seemed to have been mailed will morph into shorter, but more steady contact! HOPE-hope-hope!

3. I have soooooo much to say!  Ask any of my childhood school teachers! But I hate talking on the phone. So. Blog.

2. Really cool, intelligent people seem to have blogs.  I am hoping to become one of those.

And the number one reason I am now blogging:  1.  My mother will like it!

Blessings! Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: Ask Tristan where spellcheck is on this thing???