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!”
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.