Friday, August 29, 2008

All Fun No Chores Day!

"Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy." Psalm 126:2

We interrupt this blog to bring you "All Fun No Chores Day".

(We are thankful for the many visitors to our blog from the P31 Devotion "Worthy Words" on 8/27/08. If you have popped over from the devotion, we welcome you warmly! Stay and linger as long as you would like. Please visit my 8/27/08 post below titled "Words of Worth". We are glad you stopped by! Thank you!)

"All Fun No Chores Day" is an annual tradition I started when the kids began going to school. We pick a day just before school starts where Mommy does no chores all day...I JUST PLAY AND HAVE FUN WITH JOSHUA AND GABRIELLE!

This has become one of their favorite days. They make the agenda for the day together! Josh and Brie have been very excited for today. It's so much fun to abandon my "to do" list for a day and just focus on enjoying them completely.

They are still slumbering, so I am going to log off now and get ready for our ALL FUN day together. (As a wife, mom and homemaker, it takes a lot of discipline not to do even one little chore all day! Pray I don't try to sneak one in while they are not looking!)

The first thing they want to do is go play skeeball (our favorite!) and then come home and play the huggy game. We'll see what we do together from there. We'll update this post with pictures tomorrow.

Enjoy your Friday!

Skeeball at Giggleberry Fair. Skeeball is a family favorite.

Fashion gave way to function....only motherhood could do this to a woman! My (temporary) knee brace served as a ticket holder for the kids. Funny thing...this didn't even embarrass me! Oh, what has happened to me!?!?

Josh and Brie putting on a show for me. Bravo!

Time to cash in those tickets for prizes!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Words of Worth

"You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." 2 Cor. 3:2-3

A warm welcome to all of you, especially those visitors coming from my devotion "Worthy Words" published today at Proverbs 31 Ministries. We pray you are refreshed in some small way by stopping by here at "Joy In The Truth"!

It always amazes me that God allows us to be His spokesperson. What an awesome privilege and responsibility. It is also humbling to remember that, if God uses a donkey to speak for Him (Numbers 22:28, 2 Peter 2:16), He can use me, too.

God's ageless, Biblical standard requires us to speak worthy words in order to be His spokesperson. "...if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be My spokesperson." Jeremiah 15:19 (NIV)

While today's devotion is speaking specifically about our spoken or "uttered" words, we can pause to consider all the ways in which we speak: spoken words, written words and unwritten words.

When we are abiding in Him, seeking Him first, and living according to His Word, our lives will be "a letter, written on hearts, known and read by everybody...a letter from Christ...written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God...on tablets of human hearts." 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (NIV).

Often the most worthy words our lives can utter are those words expressed by how we live. These words of great worth are seen and studied by others with their eyes and their hearts, not heard with their ears. They see our living God shining through imperfect, surrendered vessels. We represent the hope and salvation of our Redeemer.

As we allow the Spirit of the living God to speak through our lives with His worthy words, human hearts are touched by His truth and perfect love.

I am thankful to have many "letters from Christ" in my life. These are precious brothers and sisters in the Lord whose lives fragrantly speak of Him.

My husband and best friend, Jim, is the most beautiful letter from Christ to me. His integrity before the Lord, his unconditional love for me, his love for the Truth and his willingness to challenge me and keep me accountable speak volumes of worth into my heart. His example and love quietly keep me desirous of staying on the narrow road that leads to Life. Jim is a "letter from Christ" to me, Joshua and Gabrielle in the most precious of ways.

I have amazing girlfriends who are letters from Christ to me. Each of them gifted differently and representing different parts of the Body of Christ, I am blessed to have a precious sisterhood. These women prayerfully and graciously allow me to grow in areas of immaturity. They are willing to ask the tough questions and speak the truth in love. They are fun, committed, merciful and loyal. They don't take their toys and go home when there our bumps in our relationship. Rather, they lovingly talk it through and we grow together. What a privilege.

Recently, I shared 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (above) with my friend, Denise, because it reminded me of her. Denise has a PASSION for the Lord and His Word. Her testimony of His grace and healing is truly miraculous. Denise has kept journals for a few decades. These journals are treasures in her heart between her and the Lord. She prayerfully seeks the Lord about writing works for publication for His glory and purposes. To me, Denise is already a writer and a published author because her life is a published "letter from Christ" being written on tablets of human hearts. The Spirit of the living God is living in her heart and writes beautiful missives through her life.

Me and Denise in March 2008

As we see examples of "worthy words" being lived out in those around us, we are encouraged to speak worthy words and thereby be His spokesperson. May our lives represent Him and His character well.

Perhaps today we can each take time to write a letter with ink to let the "letters of Christ" in our lives know how much we love and appreciate them.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

When I Sit, When I Rise, When I Am Lying Down

"O Lord, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways." Psalm 139:1-3

He met me again today in my quiet time. I am not surprised, but I am charmed by how He met me through His Word this morning.

Last week, I injured my knee. When I got up from a chair, my leg twisted and I heard (and FELT) the pop! Ouch! Waiting for x-ray results, my body is currently being comforted by a knee brace, ice packs and doctor-prescribed medication. Getting up and down stairs and in and out of chairs now is difficult and painful. The knee is in a vulnerable state, so my movements are slow.

In the scheme of life and health concerns, this is small potatoes. The injury does, however, disrupt life a bit and temporarily change the landscape of my days. I've had to make our world a little smaller this past week, postponing some ministry gatherings and play dates.

The house looks a little unkept, but my heart is peaceful knowing this is where God has me momentarily. Jim, Joshua and Gabrielle have been understanding and instinctively helpful. It blesses my heart to see them intuitively and pleasantly step up to the plate.

This morning, as I woke up and attempted to get out of bed to go to my personal sanctuary (dining room table) for quiet time with the Lord, I realized I was stuck. My knee felt locked, and I couldn't move my leg. I gently woke Jim and asked him to help me out of bed. (Go ahead and have a hearty laugh....we do! I feel twice my age right now!) Thank the Lord for Jim, who has strong arms, a willing heart and a great sense of humor!

Enjoying a mug of freshly-brewed coffee once downstairs, I sat down and opened my Bible. Usually beginning my quiet time by reading at least one Psalm a day, I began reading Psalm 139. This is where I "just happened" to be in the Psalms today.

"You know when I sit and when I rise...You discern my going out and my lying down."

Amazing....He showed me that He is "on it"! He knows my rising up, sitting down and lying down are painful for me right now. His eyes are on me, and He is taking care of me. Amazing!

Psalm 139 is one of my favorite Psalms, and I have read it many times. Today, because His Word is alive, it ministered to me in a fresh way. Thank you, Lord!

We'd love to hear how God is meeting you today. He is near...tell of His wonderful deeds.

"We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, for Your Name is near; men tell of Your wonderful deeds." Psalm 75:1

Friday, August 22, 2008

La La La....I Can't Hear You!

"Get your supplies ready." Joshua 1:11

I'm in denial. Including today, we only have 12 days of summer break until the first day of school. While there is excitement and anticipation surrounding a new school year, new teachers, reuniting with friends and experiencing new learning adventures, I am not quite ready for summer break to be over.

Yes, we have our school supplies ready. Backpacks are full with new notebooks and pencils. Lunch boxes are postured to be packed. Summer work packets are (almost) complete.

But I want more pajama days, more days of splashing in the water, more leisurely time with family and friends, more slow-paced days, more SUMMER!

We've enjoyed a blessed summer. This has been one my favorite summers ever. We've served the Lord in small, but hopefully meaningful, ways. We've enjoyed the simple pleasure of a Lemonade Stand. We've had so much fun together. We've enjoyed and nourished the precious relationships in our lives. We've gathered together here with Princesses and Squires. We've enjoyed vacations together. We've been challenged to grow. We've matured. We've spread our wings a bit out of comfort zone and have followed Him. We've trusted. We've been given the gift of beautiful memories.

May these last few days of summer linger long and leisurely. May the afterglow warm our hearts well into the autumn.

"I will go before you..." Isaiah 45:2

He is good and goes before us into each new season of life.

Here are a few more pictures of glorious summer time!

Wade and Joshua....good buddies!
Gabrielle and her dear friend, Amanda (Wade's sister)

Gabrielle and Joshua with Isaiah and Isabella when they visited us at the shore

My dear friend, Cathi (Isaiah and Isabella's mommy) and Me

Joshua and Gabrielle with Nan Nan Hansen

Buried in the beaches of Ocean City, NJ

The Stokes Family joined us for a day on the beach! Presenting the Stokes Ladies!

Joshua and his beach buddy, Jesse Stokes.

Pop Pop and Nana Sloan building sand castles with our cherubs

My summer beach book: "Behind Those Eyes" by Lisa Whittle (Jim caught this very flattering picture of me.....ugh!) Click here: Behind The Eyes - Lisa Whittle

Breakfast served up by Mommy at the beach! Eggs over easy!

Aunt Anne and Ice better combination!
Camp fire with Daddy at Camp of The Woods

God's beautiful sunset over Lake Pleasant at Camp of The Woods. This pretty much sums it up!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Beautiful Blessings of Blogging

"I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please." Isaiah 46:10

Some amazing and serendipitous blessings have come since we began our family blog in June. Our prayer and desire to honor Him here are being answered in amazing ways. We are so humbled and so thankful. Here are just a few of the blessings of blogging.

One friend, who I didn't even know was reading the blog, told me recently she has had the best summer because she has been in God's Word every day because of links she found here. Now, if that just doesn't blow our socks off! Happy dances, happy dances!

Also, we have met some new friends through blogging. Our hearts were knit together in a special and God-ordained way in cyber space. This family happens to attend a sister church, Calvary Chapel of Chester Springs. They are an amazing family on a very unique journey with God.

This past Sunday, this new friend, Jill, invited us and my friend, Heather (who inspired me to start blogging) and her family to their home. Jill has captured this day so beautifully on her blog (she is an amazing digi-scrapbooker!), and we invite you to visit Jill's blog post of August 19th. Thank you, Jill, for a fabulous family day. Thank you, Heather, for inspiring me in many ways.
Here is a picture of all the children from our three families as we gathered on Sunday.

God's blessings of fellowship and friends are sweet to the soul!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Shining His Face on Grumpy Ol' Me

"Lift up your eyes...then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy..." Isaiah 60:4-5

A week ago at this time on Sunday morning, I was sitting outside on the master bedroom deck of the shore house we rented in Ocean City, New Jersey, facing east as the sun was rising above the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoying my needed quiet time with the Lord, I asked Him to reveal His presence to me in a special way. I just needed His "personal touch", even just briefly, on my heart.

You see, the night before, our first night of vacation, was a bit crazy. After getting settled in the house, we piled in the car for a short, but promised, night on the boardwalk amusements with the kids. Jim's car wouldn't start. To top it off, as we sat in a dead car, we realized we were locked out of the house...the one set of keys we had to the house was inside.

Though frustrated, our thankful hearts knew very well to count our blessings. We were at the shore on vacation with our family. We were thankful. With help via the cell phone from our friends who own the house we rented, we gained access to the house and the keys. (Needless to say, we were very careful with the keys the rest of the week.) Ford Roadside Assistance was our angel from the Lord, and Jim's car was towed the next day and repaired at a local Ford dealer quickly.

So, last Sunday morning, as I opened my Bible, I prayed, "Lord, I know You are here. I know You are with me. Would you please just reveal Yourself to me in a special way at this moment?" As I sat quietly and weary before the Lord, I lifted my head up toward the sky. Suddenly, in a distinguishable way, the sun boldly warmed my face. It was remarkable. The sun was shining strikingly on my face. Brighter than it every has. It was a glorious moment. My heart swelled in amazement, peace and joy.

As I opened the scriptures, He faithfully gave me my portion of His truth. "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you." Isaiah 60:1 I was silenced in awe that this is where He led me in His Word that morning.

Then I read Ephesians 5:14: "But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: 'Wake up...and Christ will shine on you.'" Shine upon me indeed. In His grace, mercy and faithfulness, He showed me His presence and satisfied me with His Word.

"Only one thing is needed...and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:42 As I woke up and got this tired body and grumpy heart out of bed, thirsting for my daily time with Him, He met me so personally. And those times will never be taken away. They remain forever. And for you, too, as you spend time at His feet, praying, listening, reading and just quieting your heart. He is faithful to meet us and give us our overflowing portion.

" who seek God, may your hearts live! The Lord hears the needy and does not despise His captive people. Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and all that move in them..." Psalm 69:32-34

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Gracious Greetings to Micca's Visitors!

We are just arriving home from a wonderful week at the beach -- Ocean City, New Jersey. Jim and I are in "re-entry" mode while the kids reunite and play with their neighborhood friends. We'll be posting soon about our vacation. :)

A warm and gracious greeting to all of you visiting from Micca Campbell's blog post of August 13th. I know many of you have come and gone already, and we apologize we were away vacationing during your visit here. We welcome you with sincerity and with humility that you would take a few minutes to stop by! If you're not the shy type, please feel free to leave a comment as we would love to stop by and visit you, too.
Micca, thank you for your sweet and sincere comments on your blog and for sending your lovely bloggy friends over to see us! You are a sweetie!

(OK, last time I had no excuse in being late with greeting visitors from Rachel Olsen's blog post! This time, for Micca's visitors, we were on vacation...and we sent our computers on a cyber vacation, too!)

We pray you are blessed and refreshed as a you take a few moments to look around.

Laundry, mail, unpacking, e-mails and thirsty plants await! Thanks again for visiting. We don't take that lightly.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Glad Gabrielle

"But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who love Your salvation always say, "The Lord be exalted!" Psalm 40:16Part of Gabrielle's entering-first-grade summer work packet, which is due the first day of school, is to draw a picture of herself and then use a word to describe herself that begins with "G" since her name begins with G. The first word I thought of for Gabrielle is "gregarious". Gabrielle is indeed friendly and sociable, and she enjoys the company of family and friends.

But we always want her school work to reflect her work and her heart. So, I zipped my lips and just looked forward to her response when I asked her what word she would use to describe herself that begins with the letter G. She thought for a few seconds and jumped up and said "Glad! I am glad!"

I was touched by the truth of that statement. Gabrielle is indeed a glad little girl. Every time she prays, she opens her prayer sincerely by saying, "Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Thank you that you died on the cross to wash away our sins." She is truly thankful and glad for her salvation and for the good news of the gospel. She thanks God for it every single day.
When I looked up "glad" on, I was excited to see that her definition of herself corresponded with the literal definition.
glad (adjective):
1. feeling joy or pleasure; delighted; pleased: glad about the good news; glad that you are here

"Glad about the Good News!" Gabrielle is glad about the Good News of her salvation. Gabrielle is glad Jesus loves her. Gabrielle is glad she has her family. Gabrielle is glad her daddy and mommy love her with their whole hearts. Gabrielle is glad for a wonderful big brother. Gabrielle is glad when she can play with her friends. Gabrielle is glad when God Himself puts on her heart ways she can serve Him by serving others. Gabrielle is glad!

And we are GLAD we have GABRIELLE!

Glad for all of her sweet friends.

Glad for our Pappano Play Dates! Glad for Sprinkler and Splashing Fun!

Glad for Gabrielle at Giggleberry Fair (6th birthday party)!
We love you, our Glad Gabrielle! We pray your heart is always GLAD because of Him and that your heart is always postured in thankfulness, humility and love.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Eagles NFL Training Camp

"Everyone who competes in the games
goes into strict training.
They do it to get a crown that will not last;
but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."
1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)

As is becoming an annual summer tradition, Jim took Joshua to a day at the Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp yesterday. Joshua's cousin came again this year. Joshua's friend, Tristan, from school joined them as well. From the boys sleep-over here the night before to the drive home from training camp, they had a great time together. (Gabrielle, Nan Nan and I enjoyed special girl time together! Gabrielle picked out blue nail polish for her mommy-given manicure.)

It was "Military Visitor Day" at Eagles training camp yesterday, so the chances of the guys getting to meet players and receive autographs was slim to none since they were non-military visitors to camp. However, they enjoyed a fun morning watching practice, seeing the players and coaches, watching the news media do their thing, and going to the souvenir shop. (The NFL souvenir shop...a place where boys and men actually enjoy shopping!)

Just as they were ready to leave camp to get some lunch and head home, Tristan said to Jim, "Mr. Sloan, can we please go to the sidelines and see if we can get some autographs?" Jim was feeling badly thinking that the boys would not get to meet the players personally as they were only greeting military personnel on the field. However, seeing the hope in Tristan's eyes and the excited look on Joshua and his cousin faces of "possibilities", Jim said, "Sure." So, instead of getting on the road to head home, they headed for the sidelines.

They stood for quite a while hoping to get some players' attention. It didn't look good. Then, they saw Mike Patterson and started shouting his name out. Mike looked up, saw the boys and ran over to the sideline straight to them! Jim said Mike "made a bee-line to us". He graciously and attentively signed their footballs and helmets. Mike Patterson even took a few seconds for a quick picture.

The boys were excited, and Jim was thankful he listened to the "please" of a young boy's heart.
Then God gave Jim and Joshua a very unexpected blessing. An Air Force serviceman who was on the field with the players came right over to Joshua and said, "Are you a big Eagles fan?" Joshua looked at him a bit puzzled and said, "Yes!" The gentlemen then handed Joshua an Eagles yearbook with several autographs on it and said, "Here, this is for you. I want you to have this." They couldn't believe it! Their hearts were overwhelmed by this serendipitous blessing for a young Eagles fan from an Air Force serviceman.

Jim shook the serviceman's hand, thanked him several times and thanked him for serving our country. We are not sure why that kind gentleman picked Joshua out of all the children there, but we know God's fingerprints are all over that encounter. And that man's kindness and generosity made a huge impression on Joshua's heart.

After the serviceman returned to the field, Joshua then turned to Tristan and said, "Here, Tristan, I want you to have my autographed football. I want you to keep it forever." Later at our home, when Tristan called his mommy to tell her about their day, he said, "Joshua gave me his autographed football." Joshua, who was standing near Tristan while he was on the phone, said, "Remember, Tristan, it is for you to keep forever."

The crowns of kindness in His name last forever. His grace, mercy and love that bring us serendipitous blessings are truly overwhelming. The bonding of friends and cousins, and the joy in a daddy's heart are priceless treasures.
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Blue Skies and Cottonball Clouds

The heat wave has broken, and the weather has been gorgeous! This has been a wonderful, nicely-balanced summer so far! I can't believe it is August already. I think we need two Augusts each summer. The first one strictly for fun, and the second one for back-to-school preparation and completion of the "Summer Work Packets" for school. I am praying August goes very slowly so we can savor every moment of the last few weeks of summer break.

Before we know it, Joshua, Gabrielle and I will be enjoying our traditional annual "All Fun No Chore Day" together. I started this tradition a few years ago. "All Fun No Chore Day" is a day right before school starts when mommy does absolutely NO CHORES all day and just has FUN ALL DAY with Josh & Brie. They make the agenda for the whole day...and they already started it several week ago!

We have enjoyed fun and meaningful times with family and friends, and we are looking forward to more. Here are just few pictures.

Our friends, The Griffiths, invited us over for lunch and swimming one afternoon. Kelly's truly warm hospitality was a blessing to all the moms and children. And her children were gracious hosts as well. A fun and lovely time was enjoyed by everyone.

Here are the children jumping in the pool!

Justin and Joshua

All the Pretty Princesses

Go For It!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Summer-time memories! Enjoying His blue skies and cottonball clouds!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Shine for His Glory!

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Joshua with 28 new basketballs for Rock Ministries!

Rock Ministries of Philadelphia brings the Gospel of Jesus Christ to at-risk young men in Philadelphia's inner city. Our friends, Buddy Osborn and Paul Orr, lead this fruitful ministry. We encourage you to click on the link and visit their website.

In 2007, we were inspired by a Christian family whose mom attended the same Precepts Bible Study as I did. For their birthdays, rather than asking for gifts for themselves, they received new books for a Christian school in New Orleans that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

We prayerfully and enthusiastically took their lead. They spurred us on! Instead of receiving gifts for ourselves, we invited our family and friends to give to the outreach. After all four of our 2007 birthdays, 200 new books were donated by our family and friends for this Christian school. Joshua and Gabrielle insisted on loading all 40+ pounds of books into the car as we prepared to head to the shipping store to send the books off to New Orleans. They were so excited to give these new library books to the children in New Orleans.

For our 2008 birthdays, we prayerfully chose to have birthday outreaches for Rock Ministries of Philadelphia. This ministry shares the love, hope and salvation of Jesus to young men in Philadelphia.

Gabrielle's 6th birthday party theme in May was "flip flops", and she received $400 in gift cards for new footwear for these young men of Rock Ministries. Joshua's 8th birthday party theme was "basketball" and he received sporting goods gift cards and 28 new basketballs. THANK YOU FAMILY AND FRIENDS!

Joshua and Gabrielle's hearts were filled with excitement and joy! "...remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " Acts 20:35
Our prayer is that each young man who receives the footwear gifts cards and/or the basketballs will know God's perfect love, salvation and provision.

May He be glorified and honored! "Whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Proverbs 14:31 We always remember that we are all needful in different ways and in one similar way...we all need the Lord Jesus.

Buddy Osborn (pictured above with Brie & Josh) asked us recently if Rock Ministries could put Joshua and Gabrielle's picture and their birthday outreach story in their upcoming newsletter. Our initial thought (admittedly without praying first) was "no" because we want God to receive the glory and honor. We did not want to draw attention to ourselves. However, the Lord quieted our hearts and gently whispered to us "say yes"...if we shine our lights with a pure heart...He is thereby glorified! "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

So, we share this to give glory to God. And whenever you share a testimony and a "God story", then life, belief and deepening faith always follow. And we share to show how we were inspired by another family as they were shining their lights, doing good works, and bringing glory to Him!
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Hebrews 10:24

May we all shine our lights and spur one another on toward love and good deeds in His name!

Feel free to leave a comment and share your you may spur us on! :)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ice Cream Cake Please!

Joshua turned 8 yesterday -- July 31st!
We celebrated the gift of
his life from God to us!

"Sons are a heritage from the Lord,
children a reward from Him." Psalm 127:3

We'll let pictures paint a thousand words here! Wonderful memories from beginning to end! Rising in the morning, a surprise "California Chariot" gift from Daddy & Mommy waiting for him on the front porch, a new Webkin from Gabrielle, phone calls from family and friends, a day at Sesame Place Water Park with big cousin Stephanie, visits from Nan Nan Hansen and Aunt Anne, pizza and ice cream cake for dinner (Joshua's neighborhood friend, Matt, joined us here), opening gifts from Nan Nan and Aunt Anne and play time! The day ended with a few of Daddy's friends arriving for Bible Study and first helping Daddy install Joshua's new Tether Ball game from Aunt Anne in the back yard.

As is Joshua & Gabrielle's birthday tradition, for every birthday, Nan Nan visits and when she leaves in the evening, the kids kiss her good-bye through the front door glass. We have pictures of this special tradition for each of their birthdays. What a treasure!

After prayer and worship, Joshua contently and quickly fell asleep for the first time as an 8-year old. I stared at him and kissed his head a million times. His contented heart knows he is loved perfectly by God and deeply by us.

Children truly are a gift from the Lord!
We love you, Joshua!!
Updated 8/2/08: Here are a few pix from Joshua's celebration with some friends today!

MORE TO COME! :) (time to sleep and enjoy the celebration afterglow!)
Thank you, Corinna, for taking great pictures for us...and for being patient with our camera! :)