Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy Birthday, KYLE part 1

WOW!  Thirty years of living and loving to celebrate, Kyle.  Each year I think about your crazy birth day... making it to the hospital just in time, barely escaping giving birth to you in the my life drastically changed from that moment on...:-)   We've barely squeezed in a birthday cake for you these past couple years, so this year I thought I'd go public with some photos and memories just like I did with Sam.  
Isaac might be interested in knowing that his dad also played the role of Mary in our family re-enactment of the Christmas story.
What fun you and Sam had chasing each other in and out of the drainage ditch that day!
Surveying your conquered kingdom at the playground....
We simply had to have a picture of your fire truck minus the ladders in one of its imaginative make-overs.  Don't know what the stickers were for that day, but I do know they changed it into a different kind of vehicle because you would rearrange them with with much thought and conversation on a regular basis.  I wish I had pictures of all the bikes and shoes you painted over the years.
You and Sam in early conversation.  Your relationship started off on rough footing,  according to David, when you popped Sam in the face when he was a few days old.  But before long you were playing together all the time, you leading and Sam following, you setting the imaginative scenario,  Sam following your lead to make your vision come to life.  Which worked fine until it was no longer simply you and Sam!Since David and I  cannot remember what you were saying to Sam in this photo, we invite your family and friends to offer creative captions.

I had to divide these photos between two posts, so keep reading below.

Happy Birthday, KYLE!

So many of the photos I've sifted through over the last couple days on this memory journey have been pictures of you and Sam, together.  For several years the tub walls were covered with Charlie Brown and Snoopy stick on characters, which you used to create an ever changing story....kind of like Isaac's "sunflower valley".
 Ah, yes....nothing like helping Dad work on the truck.
Brothers....and great friends...what an awesome gift.
You discovered quite early the joy you could bring to Dad's eyes and the fun you would have when you picked up the bat and ball.
 I could post soccer, basketball and cross country pictures, but baseball has always had your heart.   What fun it has been to watch you enjoy baseball and the Rays' success this season with your father and your son.
Sporting the broken wrist/arm? you got tagging out a runner at second.  Also sporting the uniform with the logo you designed.   All those hours spent designing baseball uniforms :-)...
Asbury College baseball with Sam....a bittersweet culmination of your college career.
Last college game together.
Teammates and good friends.
I expect that Michelle now has some pics of you falling asleep after work with your little guys. David has struggled so much to fully express in words to you the intensity of his love for you and his immense joy in the boy you were and admiration and respect for the man you have become.  So part of my joy in you and Michelle having sons is that you will feel his fierce devotion for you and Sam coursing through your own veins.
When Thompson was new in our lives...posing with Dylan and Mickey.  You've sported quite a few hairstyles over the years...
What a wonderful addition learning to play guitar has been in your life.  It has been our joy to see your pleasure as you've led worship singing with your wmf friends, performed impromptu duets with Michelle at home and sung "silly songs" with Isaac.  Kyle playing guitar is always a healing, life giving picture to me. 
I said good-bye to you at the airport this day in January 2002, then went home and cried my eyes and heart out to God, pleading with Him to bring your future wife to you, because the pain and frustration of Calcutta was too great for you to bear alone.
Then in July, I opened your e-mail that read, "There's a cool girl here now ...."
And beautiful Michelle came into your life and ours, challenging and enriching all of us with her passions, skills and drive.
Your wedding day was a deep fountain of long-awaited joy .
How much living you and Michelle have packed into your five plus years together!
Michelle and Isaac's first Florida Thanksgiving.
Watching you learning to live love as father, husband, son and man during this incredibly busy, challenging, joyous, painful and exhausting season of your life has been amazing and bittersweet.  More than once in recent days we have found ourselves discovering anew your intelligence and wisdom, your compassion and your willingness to demonstrate love on a daily basis, sacrificing yourself to provide, care for, build up and love your wife and your children.

We know you're not getting enough sleep these days, but we also know that it helps to stand and gaze at the sleeping child who contributes so much to your exhaustion, feeling all that fierce love rise to the surface, break out into thanksgiving for the privilege of loving and caring for such a precious boy and dream about the wonderful man he will become.
Happy 30th birthday!  We love you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, SAM!

Every October 17th I think about the day Sam entered the world and how much joy he has brought to us in the years since then.  Today, like most of Sam's birthdays as an adult, we are separated by many miles, and I pull out actual or mental snapshots to reminisce and celebrate.  
How to tell you, Sam, how proud we have been of you all these years - the boy you were and the man you have become without inducing the gag reflex in readers?  Except for the xeriscaping, I honestly feel you demonstrate the above because you have purposed to honor God by trying to model his character.  The lines above definitely describe you, yet there is so much more....  
How thrilled we are for the start of your life with Amber.  All those years of disciplined waiting and, what a treasure for reward!
Your commitment to seek, appreciate, and build strong men and friends has been a delight to watch for many years.
You've invested your time in family  (cousis Alisa and Tyler here)  camraderie and encouragaement.
There were days I wasn't sure you'd make it to adulthood with your body whole and your love for your older brother intact.  But you did it!  
I am so thankful for your adult relationship with Kyle - and all the love, respect, serious conversation and raucous laughter and teasing it contains.
I thought that your many friends should know that the Sam who loves to make comic faces started a long time ago.  Here, when asked to model your new Easter outfit for the camera...
and of course, when you are doing George nauseum.....
This one is from the "Harry Carey season" of your life...I'm guessing Cobe had had enough!
The budding triathlete, warming up for the swim....
and the bike - look at the intensity on that face!
Swim time with no time goals :-)
I wonder just how many people consider you their friend, even after many years?  You have collected friends over the years, like a caretaker of prized plants, nurturing, appreciating the variety and beauty and fragrance.  You are rich, indeed.
One of the things that David and I have talked often about over the years is your tender, compassionate heart.  It seems your experiences of exclusion and ridicule have given you an eye to spot the one who feels excluded or put down and the heart to include and defend them.

We like the way your engage life with GUSTO - trying new experiences and adventures, no matter how much fear.  Oh, how I wish I had a picture of you hanging from that tree above the ravine at Croom, pushing quiet "help!"s out your throat...
That love of life is wonderful to behold :-)

So enjoy your birthday weekend with your beautiful bride and your good friends....


and know that we love you and are happy to be your family and friend.