Friday, December 29

More Christmas photos

What a wonderful time we had with Poppi, Nana, Dave and Alice. time just seems to go by far too fast. Carson absolutley loves being at the Smiths house. he has a current fixation with Poppi...he must be within arms reach at all times (i am not kidding!!) is adorable to watch. he learned how to say uncle davie and please (i am SO excited about that one). and unfortunatley, he got sick while we were there...just when the throwing up ended, it started all over again. although we were not able to do as many fun activites as we had planned, it was wonderful snuggling with him (when he would allow time away from poppi) during the day and at all hours of the night! thank you poppi and nana for the MANY ways that you made our time SO special.

Wednesday, December 27

Christmas morning at the Smiths

Here are a few pictures from our time here at the Smiths!

Saturday, December 23

Anyone want some pudding?

Carson loves to have pudding for desert. tonight, he was more intrested in playing with it than eating it. I went into the kitchen for a bit and when i returned this was what i saw (with dada encouraging him on)!!!!

Thursday, December 21

My Angel

This post is WAY overdue. We have communicated our thanks for so many things through this blog to the reading world, but there is one person that I have yet to introduce you all angel sent from above...Mrs Jessica Somerville (and her wonderful hubby Mike). the Somervilles approached Jon and I months ago with the desire to serve us in any way that they could. they offered Jess's help around the house and with carson a few days a week. A 'few days a week' eventually turned into everyday. Jessica did it all...cleaned, cooked, changed diapers, ran errands, laundry, cared for Carson in every way possible...

I have not only been served by Jessica practically over these past few months, but I have been given such a amazing friendship. I hardly knew Jess prior to this, but now consider her one of my closest friends. I miss her joyful spirit filling my house each day, encouraging me when needed, praying for me, making me laugh, teaching me so much (through her example and wisdom), and extending such love to me and my sons. I pray that I will be able to be the wife that she is to Mike, the friend that she has been to me and my family, and the extraordinary woman of God that she is one day!

Jessica, I love you dear friend and am grateful beyond words for you!

Wednesday, December 20

Finnish Baking

Today we had a visit from a very special person, my mom's best friend Tuula. I should restate that, not only my mom's best friend, but a second mom to me! Tuula is one of the kindest, most generous, and most loving persons that i know. She drove up from northern virginia today to do some traditional Finnish baking with Carson and I. Knowing that we are spending Christmas with the Smiths this year, she wanted to provide some traditional Finnish foods to the holiday (star cookies, karelian pies, and a rice dish). Although Carson was more fussy than usual today (which made it difficult to completely devote my attention to baking), it was WONDERFUL to spend a few hours together. Tuula, thank you for loving me and my family like your own children. We love you!

Since we are talking about my Finnish heritage, I thought that i would add a cute little picture of my part Finnish boy!

Here is another picture of holiday fun around the house...Carson checking out the Christmas tree (note how he climbed on top of some presents to get a better view)!

Saturday, December 16

A Tribute To Tuck

We had to put Tucker down a week ago. It has been a hard and very sad week without him. Tucker injured himself about a month ago and after many visits to the vet and finally an emergency visit to the animal hospital, they discovered that he has a herniated disc in his back. it caused a lot of neurological damage (no use of his hind legs, no control of his bowels..) and a lot of pain for the big boy. we brought him home to try and care for him, but we could not elevate the immense pain that he was in.

What a precious gift Tucker has been to us over the past 9 years. over the years he has become another member of the family and will be dearly missed by all. during the day when i miss his companionship the most, i picture him running freely with his brother Chase...both without pain and injury! tucker brought so much joy to all of us, especially carson. i find so much comfort and joy knowing that he will now bring that same joy to Chase (and many more).

Friday, December 8

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas..

It is beginning to look a lot more like Christmas around the Smith household, thanks to two amazing ladies…Heather and Kelly. Out of the kindness of their hearts, they wanted to bless me and my family by helping me decorate for the holidays. They showed up at my front doorstep this past Thursday morning, hands full with tons of goodies to trim the house and tree! As they began to decorate, Carson and baby Selah played contently together on the floor, I stood in amazement at what was going on. These ladies took the time to prayerfully consider how they could bless us, organized this wonderful idea, shopped for all the supplies, coordinated child care (thanks Emo!) and took time out of their very busy lives to serve us! Their examples are extraordinary. What was so evident as I watched them joyfully serve is that they both treasure Jesus Christ more than anything and what I saw and was benefiting from was an overflow of their love for god. Their love for the Lord is so compelling…their faith in Christ is not just something that is private to them and is demonstrated through acts of devotion behind closed doors, but one that sends them out to serve others and bless others with what they have been given. We are the VERY undeserving beneficiaries of the overflow of their love for the Lord and words will never be able to express how thankful we truly are. Heather and Kelly (Dave and Mark)- THANK YOU! We love you guys dearly and are so grateful to God for your friendship.

Wednesday, December 6

Don't Waste Chase's Life # 6

We will waste Chase's life if we retreat into solitude instead of cultivating deep, God centered relationships.

Suffering among many other things is designed to refine and display our faith in Christ as Christians. Trials and suffering will encompass believers, but their faith is strengthened and upheld by God’s righteous right hand. They have hope in the midst of unimaginable hardship. Their understanding and love for God increases. They know more of the depth of the Father’s love for them and this comfort that they receive from God overflows and finds a place of rest in the lives of other suffering people. Sometimes it’s a silent embrace, a letter, or the acknowledgement that one has been praying. Other times it’s comic relief, a home-cooked meal, or a small gift.

Jenni and I have encountered all of these over the past 8 months and our faith has been strengthened and refined - but God has strengthened and refined our faith in massive ways through some really awesome and undeserved friends. We have been cared for by more people than we could think of or imagine, but there are 8 people that have carried our joy and pain unlike anyone else. They have cried with us, laughed with us, encouraged us, corrected us, blessed us with fellas only/ladies only nights out. They have loved Chase in ways that have blown us away. They threw a birthday party for him, made a cake, made bracelets with their kids for little Chase, showered us and him with gifts, held him in the hospital and told him of his Savior and the impact that he has had on their lives. We could fill hundreds of pages with all that they have done to demonstrate their love for us. Meet out best friends below (Eric and Lisa Simmons, Isaac and Kelly Hydoski, Joe and Esther Lee, and Curt and Betsy Allen). We have tried to upload photos of all our friends over the past three weeks for this post but have been unsucessful. We will upload more as we are able, but for now this one picture of Curt, Eric, and Lisa will do

Philippians 2.3-8 says“…in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

These 8 people have been the surest and clearest demonstration of these verses that Jenni and I have ever encountered. They have comforted us, helped us, and uplifted us. They have forgotten themselves and have immersed their lives in all of our pain and joy. They have so binded their lives to us and baby Chase that our life and his life has become theirs. As Scripture says, they have lost their lives and in doing so have found it.

Suffering is meant to lead us not away from, but into the midst of others. We are called to “rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep” (Romans 12.15). We are called to “carry one another’s burdens and in this you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6.2).

Eric, Lisa, Isaac, Kelly, Joe, Emo, Curt, and Betsy you have become more dear to our hearts than we could ever express and we thank God for you because you have taught us, encouraged us, and exhorted us – whether you knew it or not –to seize this moment to build and cultivate deep, God centered relationships. You are some of our heroes and we want to introduce you to all that read this blog with the hope and prayer that your example will have echoing effects in their lives. You have helped us to not waste our son’s life. We will waste Chase’s life if we retreat into solitude instead of cultivating deep, God-centered relationships with others.