Tag Archives: birthday blessing

And then there was the baby

“Last-borns tend to be self-centered, attention-seeking people who will wrestle the spotlight from others if need be.” – from an article on birth-order at a parenting site

stormie at wedding 1087

Not so, our Stormkins. She never fit the profile of the typical baby of the family. She, in fact, nurturing spirit mixed with careful thoughtfulness, is adored by her siblings all, for she has enriched their lives and adds to them as people. She never wrestled spotlights from them nor manipulated to take their place. She is loved deeply for how she has loved them. She is loved fiercely for all the ferociousness with which she has protected and covered and served and loved them.

And on her birthday, they can’t say enough. She is festooned with praises, this particular baby-of-the-family.

stormie and me

Last year on Mother’s Day – I have the black eye. Stormie is flawless.

Can you even imagine what it is like to get to be her parents?

She lives in our town. She lives in a house she is making her own and it is designed with detail, though it may seem quite casual because it is so relaxed and unpretentiously welcoming. But it’s reflective of her utter sophisticated coolness. Everything around her, including the giant German Shepherd, Saber, is structurally Stormie.  Light rebounding from carefully curated usable collections of her heart and soul: her books, her kitchen tools and dishes, her music and her scents – all clues to a most unique and copacetic home owner. No one else could possibly live in that particular early 1900s house. It pulses with the beat of Stormie’s life-giving existence, her panache, her style. Don’t tell her I told you she has one. She would blush.  :)

Stormie – as tagged on FB

stormie on FB

“Tax-Day” forever redeemed. 1986 a best-year ever.

April 15 was never the same after 1986. The IRS never once more could claim this day, for this was the day our family became **7** and it was perfect: Dave and Jeanie (aka dad and mom), Tara**Stephanie**Tredessa**Rocky and finally, fantastically, phenomenally ~ Stormie. Our Stormie Dae (it really was icy and blizzardy on the day she came). And for that matter, of all the things that happened in 1986, jobs and a new house and church stuff and life in general, the *best* thing of the year was having Stormie, a sweet-natured baby who has grown up to become a  trustworthy, responsible, longsuffering, compassionate, missions-minded, loving, doting, worshiping, praying, wry, funny, intuitive, deeply-connected, intensely-loyal, attentive, utterly-amiable and oh-so-likeable girl. I guess she is a woman, but she is my baby girl, too.

“Hold tight to the sounds of the music of living, happy songs from the laughter of children at play…We have this moment today.” I sang this, holding you, when we dedicated you to the Lord (a Gaither song)

Good grief – how did you turn out so well? Must be all those older sisters and that older brother helping hone and shape you.  :)

the seestas on christmas morn in their jammies

So, my sweet baby girl – of course I bless the day you were born. And I bless you.

Let us pray on the occasion of the celebration of your birth and the life you are living:

I pray you live, Stormie, take the deepest breath, inhale the Holy Spirit, the ruach of the LORD, and be energized and live. **Live!** Live deeply and hidden, unseen and true. Live loudly and bright and in the light, in the open, fearlessly. Live to delight the One. And live to make happy the places in you only you and your Maker know anything about. Be quickened and energized with that same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead – let your mortal body reflect the glory of God (remember our homeschool rap from 1 Cor. 6.20, “therefore – glorify God in your body,” haha).

I see His countenance on you, my sweet. I see a twinkle, a sparkle dancing in those eyes.  The stars are casting light on your nights, the sunglow doesn’t match your days. Damn self-sufficiency, baby-love. You could do that in your sleep. You possess fortitude and ability and are able, but you, my daughter, were meant for the wild passions of the things of God. You have tasted eternity on your tongue. Your hair has been blown by the winds of the Holy Spirit. Your heart expands in the Presence, your longing for the Divine opens doors to see Him face to face, to be so close you hear His still, small voice with utter clarity.

You are like David. He did not strive to come out from among the rest. He was doing what he did. He was honoring God and singing songs that blessed the Lord – when no one heard, and no one saw. And God invited him to come out, to come up, to be seen, to do what he was born to do and was already doing in secret places. That is how it is, my sweet. God sees you. He knows you. It’s ok when He calls you forth. You’re no Johnny-come-lately. You are true and real, you are an honest version of who God says you are.

And all the things the enemy has ever done to try to take that away – well, to *h*with the devil. God rebuke the enemy on your behalf, I pray! May God be your Protection, your Guide, your Guard, your Friend, your Father, your All. And when He invites you to the seat of honor, all of us will know why and we’ll be cheering loudly and raucously, Stormie’s fans and family, with hearts fairly bursting in love.

I bless the day you were born and all the days you have left, in Jesus’s Name, in His great love and grace, and with gratefulness for the forgiveness and healing we  have received for all the wounds and wrongs and sins {redemption has come – He has made all things new!}, my darling daughter – in HIS name, I bless you! Amen.

Your momma loves you. Be-member. ;)

Bailey is ONE!

Baby Bailey-Sophia ~

Light as air, soft as the Pillsbury Doughboy, sweet as cotton candy, and pretty as a sunny, April day – oh, yes, that is you, little bundle of love!

The day you came was a miraculous, divine, lovely day, indeed. You came strong and healthy and full of life and I got struck by the invigorating trail of  your refreshing, buoyant arrival. I had stars in my eyes for days – new, beautiful, dark-haired, ravishing beauty. Oh you made life so happy!

bailey newborn

Now, sweet little baby girl – you’re one. You’re one in a million. You’re one of a kind. You’re one of three sweet sisters and one step ahead of us now that you know you can be. You’re one happy little girl and you’re one contented baby. You’re one big blessing to us all and one of the babies we like to brag about. You’re such a special ONE!

bailey 3 months

My blessing on you, Baby-Bailey~

bailey in black and white by stephanie

Photo by Stephanie

Oh, Jesus – you see this girl and you see the delight and joy she has brought to our hearts. Watch over her always. Protect her. Be her nourishment and Healer. Feed her from Your table of goodness. Walk with her.  Talk with her. Share Your secrets with her.

We give her back, out of gratefulness and deep love, to You, Savior of the world! She is Yours and we give her to You to teach and lead and guide and love and lavish good things upon and oh, do please dance over her with rejoicing!

May all the days of Bailey’s life, all the days that were written in Your book, Lord, before she was even one day old – may they bring You a smile, may they bring you honor, may they reflect Your glory ever and always. May she receive from Your abundance, just as we read about in John 1.16, ONE gracious blessing after another ONE gracious blessing after another ONE…and so on.  I know it pleases You to love her even more than we do. So, do – and let it be evidenced her whole life through! AMEN!

bailey and sisters

Bailey-baby, your Nonna is wildly in love with you. I am just crazy about you and I will always be on your side!  {love x 1000, Nonna}

xoxoxo bailey in pigtails bd

Happy 30th Birthday, Ryan!

It’s a red-letter year for you, Ryan!

Dear son-in-heart, holy man, my daughter’s forever-lover and husband, wholly-qualified daddy to my 9th grandbebe (and a bunch more of those, if you please), and an honoring son to me…

What a fruitful, blessed and rewarding year you are living! Good heavens, my boy – let’s take stock:


You became a daddy just before Christmas to a baby girl whose cuddles and laughs and coos and smiles are generously bestowed on all passers-by and her divine jabbering remind us that~

“God, brilliant Lord,

yours is a household name.

Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;

toddlers shout the songs

That drown out enemy talk,

and silence atheist babble.” Psalm 8.1-2 The Message

You have this happening in your household.  We’ve got us a little worshiper in Evangeline Lilly.

the faaland family march 2014

Could you ever believe you’d have such a lovely daughter? Way to go, Ryan! This baby is so sweet, so so so sweet and happy.  She is joyful, safe in her daddy’s household!


Then – you have this wife who loves you so much she prayed for God to give her three ways to party you up for your 30th birthday, one for each decade!  That is love and you are celebrated.

ry and dess

When I see my daughter’s clear, smiling eyes, I know she is well-loved and she is loving well.  Aren’t you the luckiest guy? You got Dessa!

“Tredessa is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. …” ~From Proverbs 31 (may or may not have been paraphrased by Dessa’s mom)



Plus you got ordained last Sunday, you and Dessa ~ recognized as church leadership!  God has seen and watched and smiled and He’s been making a place for you in His courts, a place to serve alongside Steve and Missy Crowder and serve the Family of God at Highway Community in Boulder.

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.'” Zechariah 3.7

This is a good thing and you are up for it because of how you love people, how you support the lead pastor and his family and because of what God created you to do and to be.

1984 and 2014, both very good years

So grateful for the day of your birth and for all the days that led you to us, Ry.  And so thankful to see all God is doing in you and through you as you turn 30 years old, with so much life ahead!

I want to pray a blessing on you, but I want to tell you, first, my favorite Ryan memory from this past year.

I bet you think you know what it is.  But I bet you don’t know.

happy birthday, ryan

It was just an ordinary weekday, almost a year ago.  For some reason you were off work and came here during the day and you came and sat and talked to me about the hard things and decisions, and you, ever-so-gently, challenged me on some things – just the way God does.  The way He does it when He corrects, but you actually leave feeling better because you know He straightens you out because of His great love towards you, His zeal for your heart.  And you were asking me thoughtful, thought-provoking questions and you were so careful with my heart, so careful not to bring pain, and you listened to me (gave me the gift of time) – it just blew me away.

When you left, I was more aware than ever that you truly love us as your family, and you actually take the time to pray for us and think about us and check in on us. God has given me another son in you, Ryan.  I am so grateful.

That other thing…

See?  I bet you thought I was going to talk about how amazing you were in the birthing room, didn’t you?  And how can I talk about this past year without saying: yes!  You were an incredible labor coach and support and excited daddy at Eva’s birth.

My mom always talks about the way you danced with Tredessa at your wedding, how she saw your delight just surround your bride and she tells me, “I’ll never forget how he danced with her with such love.”


And while that wedding dance was joyous and romantic and beautiful and love-filled, it pales compared to the dance in the birthing room, as the time drew near and the labor intensified, to see you reach for Tredessa and say, “Let’s have a contraction,” as if you’d just asked her to dance.  And she’d lean in to you and the two of you would sway to music that had welcomed the Presence of God right into that room and Eva’s arrival was just a little closer each time.  It was a beautiful way to welcome your darling baby girl!


Very first daddy-daughter cuddle

Ok, I love both those things.  And everything about you.   Aren’t we the lucky ones to have you?

Blessed is Ryan, who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments! Ryan’s descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in Ryan’s house; and his righteousness endures for ever. Light rises in the darkness for the Ryan and his household; for the Lord is gracious, merciful, and righteous. It is well with Ryan for dealing generously and lending, who has conducted his affairs with justice. For the righteous men like Ryan Faaland will never be moved; they will be remembered for ever. Ryan is not afraid of evil tidings; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady, he will not be afraid. Ryan has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever; and his life is exalted in honor. (Ps. 112:1-9, ever-so-slightly paraphrased by the m-i-l from the RSV)**

Now – In Jesus’ Name, I ask Him to bless you with the blessings He gave us in the Word, birthday-boy and mighty man of valor.  I ask the God who is delighted by you to be as full of joy over you as you were as a groom taking your young bride…and continue to be!  Trust God all your days, Ry, and walk in the integrity of godly royalty.  Just put aside what man thinks, don’t let people’s poor opinions ever weigh you down,  just obey the voice of God.

Ryan-it’s clearly evident you possess the character of a gatekeeper in the house of the Lord, so keep His gates and be a man of rest.  Be increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man!  Be strong and brave and valiant and God will see your works and hear your prayers and answer you in the day of trouble.

This is the blessing promised to a man who respects the LORD:

“You will enjoy what you work for and you will be blessed with good things. Your wife will give you many children, like a vine that produces much fruit. Your children will bring you much good, like olive branches that produce many olives.” Psalm 128

So enjoy – find great joy in the things you have worked for and joy in your family.  Again I’ll tell you, channeling my inner Paul the Apostle: Joy! Rejoice!  Be joyful!

You have my love and great respect.  Happy Birthday celebration!  With love from the {m-I-l}! 

**NOTE: This is the traditional Sabbath even blessing a wife speaks over her husband.   Just in case, Dessa.  :)


My Averi-Girl is Six & Sweeter than Ever!

Happy Birthday, Averi-J!

averi and cake

Oh, my goodness, sweet-pea – I have loved you like crazy for 6 whole years now!  You have gotten sweeter and more lovely each year.

olaf and the girls

You are such a wonderful big sister to Amelie Belle and Bailey Sophia!  Aren’t they so blessed to have you?  And you are a fun cousin to the K-kids and the Powers boys and to baby Eva – how lucky are they?  And I love that you are such a wonderful daughter for your mommy and daddy and look for ways to honor them.  Goodness, you are a delight!


But wow, oh wow, oh wow!  You are my grandbebe, my sweet six-year-old grand-girl.  You were the 5th of all the ones I will ever have and I just think you are turning into one of the most amazing little women ever born.


I love you my darling, beauty queen.  I love your heart and your spirit and face and those eyes.  You have my heart forever.

avs party game

Now I bless you ~

May you continue to grow in the grace and admonition of the Lord.  May the source of your life always be Jesus, for He is your righteousness, your sanctification,  and your redeemer.  May you always walk in the freedom that comes from knowing Him and be full of the joy He has promised for you.  And remember – His presence is where you will always find the fullness of that joy!  Stay blameless and innocent no matter what the rest of your generation does, Averi Jadyn, because you were born to shine as a light in this world.  So sparkle and shine, sweet girl, for Jesus all the days of your blessed, beautiful, whole and holy life!  I bless you in Jesus’ Name!  And I seal it with a kiss.  :)

Kiss*-Kiss*, Birthday Girl!  {Love, Nonna!}


NOTE:  Averi had a Disney’s FROZEN party, in case you couldn’t tell.  Her mommy posted a bunch more pictures and ideas on her blog, if you’d like to take a look.  {CLICK HERE}

Happy FIRST Birthday, MalaKai!

What on earth?  Has a year flown by?

Oh, MalaKai, or Kai-Kai, as we often call you – you just surprised our socks right off the day you came (early and anxious to be a Powers boy) and since then, you have tumbled sweetly, softly, with certainty straight into our hearts!  You have been the recipient of 10,000 Nonna-hugs-and-kisses and looked me straight in the eyes when I’ve told you the profound truths of life – and you have believed every word.

kai over the topkai kai bday

You were born to be a Powers boy.  You were born to be raised by your extraordinary mommy and  remarkable daddy and have Hunter as your big (and totally wonderful) brother.  AND you were born to be my grandbebe, my very own little grand-boy.  How amazing is that?  And you know what?  I was born to be your Nonna – and I take that very seriously.  And with all the joyousness and delight it brings, too!

Small Size (4)

Yep, he is 1…”Gimme that camera, Aunt Stephie!”

Baby-Kai – you were born and we have been doing the happy dance ever since!

malakai 3 days old jan 12 13

Malakai, 3 days old

Everytime I think of you, I thank God for you – for real!  And I pray that the LORD will bless you and keep you and that He will make His face shine right on you and that He’ll be gracious to you (giving you the Holy-Spirit-empowerment to be who He created you to be and to do what He created you to do) and I pray that He will lift up the favor of His countenance on you/over you and give you very full and sweet peace for all your days!  That’s what I pray for you, I do!

Nonna LOVES you, Kai-Kai!

Baby KaiKai at 4 months




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**

Hunter is 9 on the 9th!

hunter nativity 2007

Hi-ya, Hunter-Magoo!  Happy Birthday today to a boy who has been surprising me and making me smile since that Saturday morning you were born 9 years ago.  You absolutely messed up my work day – because back then, I never took one off, and when I emerged from a meeting and was told: Uh, you have a grandson, I thought I was being punked or something!

But I wasn’t.  I was deliriously excited and shaky rushing to buy flowers for your mommy and trying to get to the hospital.  And oh-so-tiny you were.  And so mysterious, too – born to two gorgeous blond-haired, blue-eyed people, there you were with that shock of black hair – THREE weeks early!  See?  **Surprise!**

Hunter at three months

WARNING: Lots and lots of pictures that make your Nonna go “Aaaaaawwwwwwwwww


I know I get all gooey on you and it makes you a little crazy.    But it is because I just adore you with my whole, entire heart, ya know?  You’ve been The Little Prince and my “widdle guy.”  I have tickled your little M & M toes and watched them graduate to being ‘Tootsie Rolls’ haha.  You’ve gone from this short, tiny kid with the big-thinking brain to become my almost-double-digits man-child, a boy who thinks like he’s grown, a boy cut out for important things.


So, on the occasion of your 9th birthday, Hunter-Magoo, I just wanted to tell you that I love you.  I respect your insight into he things of God and I love how much you love and care for your baby brother.  I praise God for giving you a brother because you soooooo wanted a brother and that makes me happy that He saw that and blessed you.  I admire what a good son you have grown up to be, how honoring you are of your parents and it makes me so happy to see what a great fun-making, playmate you are with your younger cousins.  They always have so much fun following you with all your great ideas!  Your are handsome on the outside because of all the goodness and love on the inside.

hunter summer 2007

Now that you’re old enough, I can tell you all the secrets of our family universe and answer any questions you have.  I can give you grown-up advice and still cuddle you in the mornings when you stay over.  I love your gentleness, I admire your attention to making sure I get plenty of love and affection when you’re around and having you in the room always always always makes me happy.  I am so proud of you, HP.  You’re a good boy and becoming an amazing young man.

I guess I should share a picture of you as my big-guy.

hunter 1970s costume

Spirit Week at Hunter’s school.  He got to be “70s.”  Makes me smile!  :)

Happy Birthday, my man-child.  Your Nonna loves you to infinity and beyond!

Oh, and in other fun news, Hunter is not only 9 on the 9th, but his baby brother, Kai, is 9 months today, too.  On the 9th!  How cool is that?

hunter and malakai october 9 2013

 UPDATE 10-10-13:  Today his mommy blogged this, it is amazing!  http://www.powersadoptionstory.blogspot.com/2013/10/hunter-adopted-brother.html

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}!

10 Things I Love about Stefane

I thank God for Stefane, who has been a daughter, a friend, a prayer warrior, and a general blessing to my family and me since the day we met.  Here is how that went:

2008.  I saw Stefane and her husband, Wrex, in Wal-Mart wearing bright turquoise-colored t-shirts from Northern Hills Church.  There was a campaign going on asking the question “Are you in” emblazoned on their shirts.  I was in one line, they were in the next waiting to pay.  I didn’t know them and they really looked to cool to bother with me, I mean – Stef has this classic Hollywood Glamour-Girl thing she can’t hide going on.  So, as I finished paying and slipped past their line, I smiled at Wrex and said, “Yes, I’m in!”

stef and wrex

I had no way of knowing at the time that Wrex’s pink cheeks are just part of his charming, good-looking self (Wrex will tell you he is the better-looking version of Payton Manning, hahaha).  I thought I had embarrassed him, like maybe his wife had forced the shirt on him and he was deep-down mortified that some one had actually answered the question.  I was wrong.  I hadn’t gotten more than 5 steps when Stef called out to me,

“Are you Tredessa Rhoades’ mom?”

Thus, the beginning of my love for the Phipps fam, which at the time, was just the two newlyweds.  For Stef proceeded to tell me she’d heard Tredessa, who was a full-time missionary with Confluence at the time, speak and that she, Stef, wanted to be just like Dessa when she grew up.

stef and dessa

Well, I mean – if you are going to talk sweet about one of my kids, then it is a cinch, I am going to love you!

My love for her has grown ever since.

Today is Stef’s birthday.  I wanted to share 10 things I love about her, countdown-style.  You’d love her, too, without a doubt!

10.  The hair, of course!  I had spent years trying to have that super-straight flat hair that everyone else had, but OH how I missed the 80s and big hair.  Stef is from Texas and when she started working with us at the Heaven Fest office, her teased and spray glam-hair made me so happy.  I have never still managed to have great hair like she ALWAYS does, but goodness me, after she visits, my hair is better for 2.687 weeks just by the inspiration of being in a room with her!  Big hair is wonderful and nobody does it better!

9.  Her fashion-style.  GLAMOROUS!  Another thing I noticed about her right off is that she was NOT leaving the house ever in sweats or grubby clothes.  Every single outing finds her dressed from head to toe and looking beautiful.  Ouch, puts me to shame.  I got too casual in my old age.  AND on every single outing WITH Wrex, she dressed to kill!  Date night! Shamed, again.  The girl rocks a miniskirt and boots and she is really an inspiration to be beautiful every single day!

8.  Events.  She is like us crazy Rhoades women.  We do events.  We just do.  It is NEVER agony over oh-my-goodness-whatever-shall-we-do.  It is more like, “Hey!  We need to get a grip on the creativity here, people.  Let’s start cutting ideas.”  Stef is like that, too.  A perfect union!

7.  The food.  One of my major complaints about younger generations is they don’t get the potluck concept.  Potlucking doesn’t mean you only have to fix a little of one dish and get to come and eat many dishes.  It means, you fix a meal for you and your family plus enough to share.  then we all throw it on a table and FEAST!  It is becoming a lost art.  but not to Stefane.  If I say, “Could you bring the _____,” indicating just one “______,” she will arrive with a counter-full of ever imaginable type of dish in large quantities.  Wow!  Does my heart good!  There is hope for the future!

6.  The Almost-annual Grandbebe Nativity.  I got in my head one year that an annual Nativity photo shoot with my grandbebes would be just the thing.  The first year, we threw 6-month-old  Gemma on the floor as baby Jesus and hung a tablecloth behind the 4 that there were then and called it good.  But then, Stefane got Wrex in on it and they arranged sheep and goats and donkeys and oh-my-word!  My Nativity photo shoots are the BEST with her help!

5.  She let our whole extended family come to the farm for our reunion and spent lots of time making it wonderful for a big bonfire, yard games, lassoing, BBQing, horse-riding and horseshoes.  It was amazing.  And she loved my mom.   And my mom loves her back!  That is the Good-Housekeeping Seal of Approval!  Stef is IN!

stormie at the holyoke farm

4.  She loves every single member of my original family and has found ways to bless each of them, with gifts, with her famous banana bread, by serving with us, serving us individually, she is just a major Texas-sized-LOVE-show-er!  But especially for her friendship to Tredessa.  I love how much fun they have doing nerdy things in an orderly fashion with spreadsheets and databases at their disposal.

stef sawyer

3.  I got to be in the room for the birth of both of her children.  How honoring is that?  Sawyer and Wryder are just beautiful babies and how could they be otherwise?  They are such happy little sweetie-pies, so loved, so adorable, so well-cared for and delightful.  I am excited to see what God has in store for their little lives with these amazing parents!

stef wryder

2.  The Wrexster.  Well, I mean, I could go on all day about Wrex.  There is nobody like him in the universe and I mean that in the best possible way.  He is an amazing guy.  When we first knew them, we kept running in to them at Chilis on Saturday evenings and they were always at the bar.  Always.  So we thought: Ok, nice people, but big drinkers.  But it turned out they were just there watching football games and Wrex was drinking them out of business with his free refills on Strawberry-Lemonade.  Hahahaha!  He is something else.  And for him to be everything he is that makes us all love him so much, he has to have the love of an amazing woman.  And he soooooo does.  She loves him.  So he can be who he is meant to be.  It’s lovely.

1.  Her all-new blog:  A few days ago, Stef unveiled her latest venture.  In addition to being a gorgeous wife and devoted mommy, besides her attention to mentoring and encouraging other young mommies and her commitment to the Body of Christ and being a great neighbor in her community, Stef will start sharing her adventures regularly on her new blog, so appropriately titled www.theblessyourheartblog.com, because it will – bless your heart.  The link is on my homepage.  Click it anytime to go there and read up.  She is warm, self-deprecating, humorous, godly, and insightful.

stef new blog

Love you, Stef.  I hope you can see the favor of God on your life through my silly little observations, because it is there.  You inspire me so much.  Very proud of you.  Congratulations on the new blog and HAPPY-HAPPY-HAPPY Birthday, my sweet.

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!