Friday, December 15, 2006


Today is my brother, Nick's, 5th birthday. Happy Birthday to the cutest 5-year-old there is! We love you!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Christmas Tradition

Every year growing up, my (Cristen's) family would have a special night to decorate our Christmas tree. We would carefully hang each of our ornaments, reminiscing about their origins and the meaning behind each one. After the tree was decorated perfectly, we'd turn out all the lights in the house, dish out ice cream for everyone, and sit beneath the decorated, lit-up tree. With Christmas music playing in the background, we'd enjoy family time together, sometimes chatting about random things, sometimes just sitting quietly looking at the tree. It was always a special memory. So, for the past two years of our marriage, we have continued that tradition in our house. I took this picture of Johnny this year as we settled in with our ice cream beneath our beautiful tree. I really do think it's the most beautiful Christmas tree I've ever seen!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Crazy Pregnancy Emotions

Johnny and I were relaxing and watching X-Men 3 the other night, and for some reason, our little daughter decided it was gymnastics class or something. I don't know if I was really getting into the movie and my adrenaline was pumping and that got her going, or if she was just hyper following dinner or the bowl of ice cream I had, but she was going crazy! About half-way through the movie, throughout which she was rolling, kicking, bumping, and everything else, Johnny had to take a potty break. He paused the movie and headed upstairs. In the meantime, I watched my belly to see its changing shape as she continued her intra-uterine feats. And then the crazy pregnancy hormones took over. All of a sudden, she moved in a certain way that just hit me: there's a real baby inside of me! The next thing I knew, I'm sitting there just crying as I marveled at God's amazing creation of the little person inside of me. As I heard Johnny start back down the stairs, I tried to quickly wipe away my tears, for fear of alarming him as he left a perfectly contented wife to come back to a blubbering mess of a woman. But, I was too late, and it was obvious as he looked at me that I had been crying just 4 seconds earlier. So of course I started crying again, and laughing at the same time as I told him why. "It's a baby!" is about all I could say, laughing through my tears. It's the strangest thing to feel like you have little to no control over when or why you cry, but the moment was worth it!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Shower of Blessing!

I was so blessed this past Saturday with our first baby shower! I have to admit it was a little hard for me (I am not good with being the "center" of any event), but it truly was a blessing to have so many people we love all together. I am overwhelmed by the generosity and love that was shown, and am reminded of God's grace that He lavishes on us, even when we don't deserve it (because we never deserve it!). Thanks to everyone who came (and we missed those of you who were unable to come). A special thanks to my mom, Meneika, Becky, Brooke, Barb, and everyone who helped to make this such a special day! We are truly thankful for each of you and are blessed by your love!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Am I Biased??

So, here are the latest ultrasound pictures of our sweet little baby (at 29 weeks). I don't know if I might be a little biased, but I think she looks awfully cute already!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A Beautiful Fall

After talking to my dear friend Krisha several weeks ago and hearing her musing over missing the fall season down in Orlando, I made it my mission to savor every moment of fall that I could. I also made it a point to try to capture as much of the season as possible in still images to be sent to her, so she could still experience, although second-hand, another gorgeous Virginia fall. Therefore, over the past several weeks, I have been more keenly aware than ever of the beautiful world around me, taking in all the changing colors, scenes of autumn, displays of mums and pumkins, and piles of leaves. It's amazing how much you notice when you stop to take the time and have it on your mind. I am thankful for my heightened senses this year during this season, and hope that I can continue to be more appreciative of all around me, as I stop to take the time to be thankful for what I have, realizing that not everybody gets to enjoy the things in life that we all do. Thanks, God, for your amazing creativity, beauty, and love.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

An unexpected treat

This past Friday, I had an appointment to get my hair cut. The cool thing about our hair dresser is this. She has been friends of Johnny's family for many years, and has cut his family's hair since he was about 10 years old. When we moved back here to Roanoke and joined staff with Acts 2, she approached us about support. Even though she was not able to support us financially, she said that God has given her a gift in the ability to cut hair, and she would like to use that gift to bless us with free hair cuts. How amazing is that, that God would provide in such a unique way?!? She has even spent an hour highlighting my hair last spring, all for free, counting it a joy to pamper me and encouraging me in my walk and in the ministry.

So, as I was getting ready to leave the shop last Friday, she was talking with another employee there, a masseuse who is a month away from graduating from masseuse school (is that what you call it?). She was talking with the other hair dressers there, trying to schedule times for them to get a massage. I think she has to complete so many hours of practice before graduation. So, our hair dresser, Sherry, started asking me what I was going to do after I left her. I told her about a few errands I had to do, and when she asked me about my time constraints, told her I wasn't really on a schedule (for once in my life!). Well, the next thing I know, I am getting a free 3o minute massage! It was just really neat how God provided in an unexpected way, in something I didn't even ask for or think about. It's random, I know, but I wanted to share with you about how God blesses us sometimes, even when we're not expecting it. He knew I needed special attention that day, and I am thankful for His lovingcare for His children.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Starting at a young age...

A few weeks ago I (Cristen) got to take my youngest brother, Nick, to a UVA game with Johnny's family. (Johnny was out of town.) Nick really enjoyed the evening, even though after only 3 minutes in the first quarter he was asking if it was over. He got all decked out as a new UVA fan (thanks to Aunt KK) with a new orange shirt to match the rest of us and a hat. He even topped the afternoon off with a hotdog. I managed to convince him that that was all he needed, even though he wanted that, plus some popcorn, Dippin' Dots, soda, and a soft pretzel. I guess it all looked appealing.

At the end of the game, when asked if he wanted to play football down on that field some day when he was older, he nodded his head yes. So, we're starting his dreams at a young age. No, we aren't pressuring him or trying to get him to do something he isn't in to. The fact is, since he could practically walk/run, he has been practicing his tackles, running full-force at anyone in the way on the floor, pushing them until they fall over backwards. He simply won't quit until you are down.

In addition to some fun at the game, we were also able to get in a serious conversation, in which he said, "In December, I'll be 5, and then I'll be an uncle, but I'll still be a kid, right?" See, all his uncles are at least 4o, so I wonder if he has this fear that when the baby is born, he will suddenly surpass childhood and age 3+ decades. Yes, we have a "unique" family layout, but it's fun, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Hello and Welcome!

Hi friends and family! So, after much consideration, we decided to give this blogspot thing a try. We figured it'd be a good way to keep many people updated on our lives. We hope that you enjoy reading about what's going on with us, sharing in our thoughts and contemplations, and of course getting updates on the baby soon! Please let us know if you are interested in reading this, and I promise we'll do our best to keep somewhat current (especially with baby news!). Of course, this is never to be a substitute for other forms of contact, such as e-mails, letters, phone calls, and visits! So let's hold each other accountable to keep those up as well.

We also thought you'd all enjoy a more recent picture of us. This was taken this summer when we got to go to Orlando to visit our special friends Krisha and Brian. We spent part of one day walking around Universal's City Walk (the part you get into for free with various shops and eating places). As soon as we get to a scanner, we'll post some more recent pictures of our baby girl too. But for now, here she is as well. Enjoy, and we hope to hear from you soon!