Category Archives: Family

When Momma Hurts

Its one thing to experience pain.

Its an entirely other beast to watch your loved one writhe, unable to ease their pain.

Many of you know my wonderful Mom. A woman of character, strength, compassion and wisdom, she has led me by example through my entire life. Quick to serve, eager to help, and completely retisent to draw attention to her own needs or aches. She showed me what a life of faith looks like. She demonstrated trusting God and His Word when surrounding circumstances defy human hope. She led me to Jesus and has shown His love every day of my life.

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Yesterday my Mom underwent a complex surgery to repair damage she incurred years ago and has silently suffered through, not wanting to draw attention to herself. The surgery was completely successful. The recovery is completely awful. She’s been instructed to not lift anything over 5 lbs for 6 weeks. Post-op, she’s rated her pain a 9 out of 10. This coming from a woman who doesn’t complain about pain ever.

Would you join me in praying for my Mom? It pains me to see her hurting and not be able to fix it. Praise the Lord for strong meds! Join me in encouraging and praying for her in the weeks to come. For those in the Raleigh area, you can sign up HERE to provide meals for her while she recovers. Meals can also be brought to Journey Church for delivery to her home. For those far away who would like to help, shoot me an email (Patience.leino@gmail.com) for details of how to help (gift cards/flowers/etc).

Thank you! Let’s love on my sweet Momma who has spent her life loving others!

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Filed under Family, Prayer Requests

Iron Chef Edition

Whenever my family gathers, there’s bound to be a battle.
A food battle.
An Iron Chef Battle to be exact!

Each summer we meet for a week for reminiscing, new memories, and of course eating deliciousness together. Picking a bushel of Maryland Blue Crabs is a given! Papa tells stories from flying planes in World War II and his adventures with the love of his life, Nana. Though she died eleven years ago, he keeps his wedding band on with pride. Guy time. Girl time. Family puzzles. And LOTS of good food!

IMG_0650.JPGOur Iron Chef tradition began with Battle Bacon: 3 teams, 3 courses each, 10 pounds of bacon (fat and all) consumed. Oh my word. Even our coffee tasted like bacon after that cooking fest! Scratch-made bourbon bacon ice cream with maple bacon sprinkles. Cinnamon pancetta carbonara. Spiced bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. And my personal favorite: Rice Krispy bacon treats with chocolate bacon drizzle.

Delicious.
Indulgent.
Elastic waistbands for days.

This year, we opted for a lighter palette with Battle Lemon! Our amazing friends, the Lawrensons, came as our honored judges. What a blast! As the house filled with citrus-tastic aroma, the kitchen buzzed with preparations.

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Lemon ricotta dip with garlic and chives. Lemon parm popcorn. Marscapone gnocchi with brown butter lemon sauce. Perfectly roasted chicken with lemon sage stuffed skins. Lemon, lemon, lemon.

Dessert round bore the winning dish:
Lemon Buttermilk Pie. This simple dish from Food Network Magazine amazed us all. Creamy texture. Perfectly balanced lemon flavor. Not too sweet. Not too tart. Just right. This pie is sure to become a new family favorite. Trust me – you want to try this pie!

So get your citrus on and whip up some lemon buttermilk goodness today!

You’re welcome, America.

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Filed under Family, Food, Recipes, Tasteful Tuesdays

So God Made A Sister

As God looked upon the world He’d made, upon the family unit He established, He saw a heart cry for a specific life companion.

So God made a sister.

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He saw children’s desire to explore and dreams of adventures far and near.  He knew princesses would twirl, delighting in each other’s beauty as they wore dresses five times their size.  He knew outfits held more fun when worn in tandem with a close friend.  He created them to nurture and be nurtured, to inspire and to be adored.  Before they could even walk, kindness lavished was needed.

So God made a sister.

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He created daughters filled with joy, brimming over and longing to be shared with others.  Laughter needing sharing, victories (even the smallest ones) needing celebrating, and griefs needing carrying by strong, sympathetic hearts.  Secrets bubbled for entrusting as songs echoed in hearts craving harmony.  Joys to share and burdens to bear.

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So God made a sister.

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He knew this fallen world could be cruel, whispering lies stripping value and beauty from rightful beholders.  He knew a woman’s worst critic would often be herself and how desperately she’d need her vision readjusted by another seeing more clearly.  As valleys low loomed and high mountains called for climbing, He desired entrusted history and friendship to never leave her side.

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So God made a sister.

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From sidewalks to school halls, down aisles and through delivery wards, He desired she not be alone.  From Nana’s shoe closet to dress-up trunks, from prom dresses to wedding gowns, He desired her beauty be shared and celebrated.  From little league to Varsity, from summer camps near to excursions abroad, He longed that His daughters experience adventures, make memories, transform from girls to women together.

So God made a sister.

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In 1986, the world changed as a beautiful curly-headed ginger entered the scene.  Her bright green eyes and dimpled smile sparked inspiration as her contagious joy filled every darkened space.  Strangers became new-found friends and the insecure found encouragement.  She shone light as though she’d soaked up the sun.  Dance partner, adventure companion, sleepover snuggle bug, and persistent friend.

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Through life’s darkest valleys, she would inspire strength and resilience among her family, often giving them cause to keep going when it seemed easier to give in to cynicism.  Infectious joy, she would grow to hold wisdom beyond her years and compassion beyond reason.  Love for the broken, kindness for the downtrodden, and enduring hope through it all.

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God knew a family would need reminding over and again of His goodness, His faithfulness, His love through dark seasons to come.  As darkness sought to tear apart, He desired they be knit close together.  Someone to pray, someone to encourage, someone to inspire and trust. Confidant and best friend.

And when He looked upon this beauty, He smiled knowing His creation was indeed very good.

For God made my sister.

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Filed under Family, Friends, God, Patience, Photography

Parenthood

No experience has made me more aware of my sinful human frailty and desperate need for a Redeemer than parenthood.  It frazzles me quicker than I’d like to admit, stretching my patience and compassion.  This is NOT a reflection on my children.  After all, they are only 1 and 3 years old!  Every struggle they face is an opportunity to learn and my responsibility to lead them in the way they should go.  Wasn’t I in their place but a few short decades ago?!  Parenthood ought be cherished as it is a gift not given to all.  It is an unmerited blessing and a privilege.  But oh, how it shows the weaknesses in myself!

When raising small children, ample opportunities abound to grow impatient, to respond out of frustration, to frazzle and fray.  Whether giving an answer for the umpteenth time or teaching a life lesson again, perspective can shift in a nanosecond off of the big picture of their developing lives to how inconvenienced I am by the whole thing.  To respond in anger gives momentary satisfaction and long-lasting regret.  I have given in to my frustrations far more often than I’d like to admit and had to ask my children’s forgiveness more than I ever dreamed necessary.  *sigh*

Yesterday was one such day.  Certainly not a mom-of-the-year worthy day…at all!  Once the kids were finally napping, I lay in bed – exhausted and reeling in regret over my responses to them.  “Come on, Patience!  You’re 30!  You’re the PARENT!  You set the example!  Good grief.  How do you expect them to learn and feel loved if you act like that?!”  The shame fell thick on my heart.

Hours later, the Lord worked through story time with the kids to speak His love and grace over my heart.  We read The Good Shepherd chapter out of The Jesus Storybook Bible and though the words were about David, it felt like the Lord was speaking straight to me.

“David was a shepherd, but when God looked at him, He saw a king.  He had a heart like God’s heart – full of love.  Now, that didn’t mean he was perfect, because he did some terrible things – he even murdered a man.  No, David made a big mess of his life.  But God can take even the biggest mess and make it work in His plan.  ‘I need a new heart, Lord,’ David prayed, ‘because mine is full of sin.  Make me clean inside.’  God heard David’s prayer.  He forgave David…”

In reading those words, the Lord spoke gently.  “Yes, you do terrible things some times.  But I can redeem those things.  You’re not perfect but I AM.  Come to me with your mess.  I love you.”  Later that same day, I was reading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Once again, the Lord spoke from heavens high to my fallen, weary heart as I read Ann’s words:

“The parent must always self-parent first, self-preach before child-teach, because who can bring peace unless they’ve held their own peace?  Christ incarnated in the parent is the only hope of incarnating Christ in the child….Do I really smother my own joy because I believe that anger achieves more than love?  That Satan’s way is more powerful, more practical, more fulfilling in my daily life than Jesus’ way?  Why else get angry?  Isn’t it because I think complaining, exasperation, resentment will pound me into the full life I really want?  Give THANKS to keep your gaze on heaven.”

In all this, I felt overwhelmed by God’s goodness.  After all, He is my Heavenly Father.  How often I act the part of child, tantrumed and defiant and selfish.  Yet never once has He responded in anger towards me.  Never once has He failed to show love and grace, even on my most deplorable days.  When I honor Him, His grace remains.  When I go against all He has ever taught me, His grace remains.  When conviction fills my heart and I run to Him, never once has He held His arms crossed, still too mad from my behavior to reconcile.  No.  His arms are ALWAYS open wide for the wayward child to come.  His love is ALWAYS lavishing, even when we least deserve it.  God, the ever-faithful, ever-patient, ever-enduring Father.

Parenthood.  It stretches, it tests, it can refine.  When my little ones act out, may I focus not on their indiscretions towards my inconvenienced heart, but on the One who never grows impatient with me.  May I remember His grace that is ever extended and show the same to my children.  In the moments of meltdowns, may my mind remember the many I’ve been forgiven of by my Heavenly Father and show the same kindness to Eliana and Evan.  May I be grateful for their very lives, that I even have kids to love and train.  Lord, keep me grateful and mindful of Your great love towards me.  On my own, I will surely fail as a parent.  May I rest in Him and simply pass along to my sweet ones that which He has poured out on me.

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Filed under Family, God, Parenting, Patience, Struggles

A New Chapter Begins

How did this day get here so fast?!  In a blink, Eliana Faith has grown from a bright-eyed newborn to a vivacious 3 year old.  This sweet girl is full of life and kind to absolutely everyone she meets.  I never knew it possible for someone to be so caring and outgoing at merely 3 years of age.  What a gift!  And today, this precious blessing begins a new chapter as she has her first day of preschool.  Preschool!  TODAY!!

We took Eliana to Meet The Teachers Day last Friday.  It was a huge success!  She warmed to Miss Amanda and Miss Courtney instantly and had a wonderful time doing crafts with them in her new classroom.  She seemed completely comfortable in her new surroundings.  While she explored her classroom and crafted away with her teachers, I was chronically fighting back tears.  How did this day get here so fast?!

Smart, loving and compassionate.  Curious, energetic and hilarious.  Independent.  Eliana Faith has already exceeded every hope I’ve ever had for a daughter.  I could not be more proud of her.  My social butterfly will absolutely love school.  Though my eyes fill with bittersweet tears at the thought of this new chapter unfolding, they are tears mostly of joy.  After all, she is a precious gift that God has entrusted to me.  She is ultimately His.

Congratulations on your first day of preschool, sweet girl!  Mommy and Daddy are ever so proud of you.

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Filed under Eliana, Family, Thoughts

Still Here…

To say the past few months have been a whirlwind would be a ginormous understatement.  In a blink, time has flown from being massively pregnant and traveling to DC to now being a mother of two amazing kids.  Evan Garrett turns 3 weeks old tomorrow and though he has only been with us a short time, I could not imagine life without him in it.  I am completely smitten with this precious little boy and amazed at the love Eliana shows him daily.  Jordan continues to astound me with the incredible father he is to our kids and how he finds little ways daily to encourage and love me.  Simply put — I am blessed beyond measure and comprehension.

I hope to blog more regularly in the days and weeks ahead as I adjust to our family’s new routine (and hopefully gain more sleep).  There are pictures to be posted, stories to be told, posts to catch up on, and hilarious pregnant moments to share.  But for now, know that the Leinos are having an amazing summer.  Thank you all for your prayers on our behalf as we waiting for Evan’s arrival and the joy you have shared with us since his birth.  More to come soon!

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Filed under Blogging, Eliana, Evan, Family, Jordan, Patience, Pregnancy, Random, Thoughts

Road Trip

It’s finally here!  A weekend I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time.  For the next three days, my mom, sister and I are having a culinary weekend together!  My amazing hottie of a husband is watching Eliana for the whole weekend so that I can spend the next three days off of mom duty with my girls.  Mornings in Georgetown and historic Washington, D.C., an afternoon in my hometown – Annapolis, MD, exploring the eastern market in our nation’s capital, a full evening at a Julia Child cooking class in Pentagon City.  The fun has just begun!  I truly am blessed to spend these next three days with my mom and sister, laughing throughout each day and enjoying delectable food together.  What a blast!

Happy weekend, everyone!  Be sure to check back next week for the delicious details of our foodie weekend.  I’ll enjoy some Georgetown Cupcakes on your behalf. 🙂

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Filed under Annapolis, Cooking, D.C., Family, Food, Patience

Under The Weather

I’m not sure what it is about this week: perhaps the change of seasons, this ever-growing baby boy, or some bug that’s going around.  Whatever the cause, I have certainly been under the weather this week.  Nausea, leg cramps, heart burn, migraines.  Not my best week for sure.  But despite the lingering yuck and sleepless nights, I’m reminded there is much to be thankful for in the midst of feeling ill:

God has provided so much for our family.  A safe home, a warm bed, food, clothing, medicine to help with aches and discomforts, healthy children, a new baby on the way, white cells.  While I don’t feel my best at all, I’m in far better shape than countless many in our country and around the world.  This too shall pass.  Being physically slowed down for the week, I’ve been able to focus far more during my reading times in the Bible and elsewhere.  Some times the most undesired circumstances can bring about rich, hidden blessings.  Who knew the Book of Numbers had so much to say!

My husband is truly amazing.  He has cared for Eliana and I incredibly well all during one of the busiest work weeks of the year so far.  He sweetly tells me I’m beautiful on my yuckiest days, rubs my ever-cramping feet, and has made many runs to Target for more ginger ale…at all hours of the day.  My daughter is precious.  She seems to understand why Mommy has needed to be on the couch so much, often running over just to give me a hug or lay there with me.  So sweet.  I’m blessed with an wonderful family, both immediate and in-laws.  They are all caring and considerate, praying on my behalf and sending encouraging messages throughout the day.  I’m surrounded by incredible friends.  They are always a delight to be around and can bring a smile to even the most nauseous face.  Friends in every season.  What a blessing!

This may not be the most fabulous week of my life, but it certainly has not been the worst.  My life is not perfect.  However, in the midst of the good, the bad and the mundane, God promises to with me (Deut. 31.8).  He truly is all I need (Phil. 4.19).  Whether we’re at the top of our game or under the weather, enjoying the views from a beautiful mountaintop or trudging through the fog of a dark valley, there is always an opportunity to be thankful.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”  Philippians 4.4


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Filed under Eliana, Family, Friends, God, Jordan, Patience, Pregnancy, Random, Thoughts

Friday Facts

  • I’m 27 weeks pregnant today.  Little Man Leino has become quite a busy-body.  He is definitely strong, kicking and moving his arms with far more force than my other two kiddos at this stage.  At times it feels like he’s doing somersaults or boxing.  I can’t wait to meet this feisty little guy in June!
  • The warmer weather has allowed Eliana to spend much more time outside and she has loved it!  She wants to be outdoors every chance she gets.  Often her first word in the morning is “outside?”  Such a happy little girl.  Whether she’s flying kites with Daddy, helping Maima in her garden or coloring on the porch in a hula skirt, Eliana has a blast anytime she’s in the sun.

  • Leino Studios had a fabulous first week in its new location.  We are so thankful for the new space God provided for Jordan’s business.  Though we are still putting some final decorating touches on the space, Jordan has already enjoyed the benefits of having much more space for all his musical and business needs.  A step forward in every way, we’re excited to see all that is in store for the Studio in this next season.
  • Our little girl loves to sing!  Any time music is playing, she’s singing and dancing along.  Maima has been teaching Eliana the words and motions for “Itsy, Bitsy Spider”.  It amazes me to watch her pick up phrases and hand motions so quickly.  I found her trying to get one of her baby dolls to do the motions this past week.  Precious!
  • Journey just finished a series on Love.  Boy, has it impacted me!  Over four weeks, our church took an in-depth look into what Scripture says about Love: God’s love, our love for Him, our love for others and our love for ourselves.  I’ve found myself reading through my notes over and again, wanting to listen to the sermons more than once as they have really challenged me to grow and convicted me in areas I certainly need it.  I highly encourage everyone to take the time to listen to the messages.  Since Jesus said that the world will know His disciples by our love, its an area we all could grow in.
  • Well the sunshine and an energetic little lady are calling me outside.  Be sure to check back here on Monday as I’ll be sharing the most amazing carrot cupcake recipe I have ever tasted!  Seriously….BEST EVER!  Happy weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Eliana, Evan, Family, Fun, Jordan, Journey Church, Leino Studios, Patience, Photography, Random, Weather

Blast from the Past

I have the best siblings in the universe.  Growing up with Ian and Corinne was always a laughter-filled adventure.  How truly thankful I am for them both!

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Filed under Family, Fun, Patience, Photography, Random

Day At The Beach

Our family traveled to Brandon, FL, this past weekend to visit Jordan’s family.  Between the good company and beautiful weather, it was a great trip.  We spent Saturday at Vero Beach visiting his grandmother, Virginia, along with his sister, Kim, who drove in from Gainesville to see us.  Good food, great conversations, and an intense game of Bananagrams.  We had a wonderful time together.  I’m so grateful that Eliana has the chance to know two great-grandparents – both who are still vibrant and living life to its fullest.

The weather in Vero Beach was stunning.  60’s and sunny.  Quite a relief from the frigid winter we’ve had in Raleigh.  Despite the chilly winds, we took Eliana to the boardwalk to run to heart’s content and see the ocean.  She had a blast! 

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Filed under Eliana, Family, Photography, Weather

Chef In The Making

One of my favorite memories as a child was cooking in the kitchen with my Mom.  Whether cookies or crepes, pasta or peanut butter sandwiches, Mom always allowed me to work beside her.  Yes, those recipes always ended up far messier than if she had done it herself and I’m sure took three times as long.  But she took advantage of every possible teaching moment.  I have her to thank for my love of cooking and adventurous palate today.

 

To my delight, Eliana loves to hang in the kitchen anytime I’m cooking.  So following the wonderful example from my Mom, she has become my little kitchen helper.  It’s hilarious to see her in my apron.  Her favorite things to do are practice whisking in a bowl and help pour ingredients into the mixing bowl.  She’s adorable!  During breakfast, she gets all giddy to watch us scramble eggs…and of course, eat them.  We made sugar cookies on Christmas Day.  Eliana did a great job pounding the mess out of her dough and cutting out shapes.  I’m so curious to see what type of palate she’ll develop as she grows up.  She certainly is the cutest chef in the making.

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Filed under Cooking, Eliana, Family, Fun, Patience

Winter Wonderland

Christmas Night brought a beautiful gift to the Raleigh area…well, most of the east coast for that matter.  SNOW!  We woke to a winter wonderland the next morning as fluffy white covered everything in sight.  By day’s end, over 8 inches had fallen in the Triangle.  Eliana had a blast playing in the snow!  She was fascinated by the little white specks that kept falling on her nose from the sky.  She couldn’t help but laugh.  What a joy to watch our sweet girl fully experience this winter blessing for the first time.

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Christmas Chaos

All month long, I’ve been pondering what this Christmas would be like.  We’d begin our own family traditions this year with Eliana, opening presents together Christmas morning while eating a delicious Christmas breakfast.  Family would come over for a scrumptious lunch and to relax together.  All gifts would be purchased and wrapped by the week before “The Big Day” to allow plenty of time for cooking, cleaning, sending cards and making gifts for neighbors and friends.  Everything thought through and prepared, it would be the first of many Leino family Christmases.

This week has not gone as planned.

Sunday began with NO Christmas gifts purchased yet.  (well, I take that back.  Jordan had bought a gift for me, but as far as my gift-getting responsibilities – nada)  Church was AMAZING!  Our pastor, Jimmy Carroll, preached a strong sermon focused solely on celebrating and exalting Jesus.  Seriously, its worth your time to watch it.

Sunday also brought the beginning of a nasty stomach bug that slowly overtook our entire family.  Poor Eliana got the bug first, followed by myself and finally taking out Jordan.  It even took out my mom and brother who live nearby.  From Sunday through Wednesday night, the Leino family was down for the count. Jordan was a CHAMP and did a bulk of the shopping before the bug sent him to bed (and as you know from earlier, this hardly EVER happens).  By Thursday morning, we were all well enough to venture out to finish the shopping, raid the grocery store and recover the apartment from its former invalid-ridden state.  Well, we hoped to do so anyway.  As of 8 o’clock tonight, the presents have all been bought and wrapped.  That’s it.  No grocery shopping done.  No prep-cooking completed.  The apartment is….better but not great.  Christmas cards will have to wait for 2011.  And I haven’t even begun to prep for our trip to the mountains on Monday.  Last week’s Corolla debacle has reduced us back to one vehicle so I’m home with my precious little girl while Jordan practices w/the Journey worship team for tomorrow’s Christmas Eve services.  In short, this week has felt more like chaos than Christmas.  Tonight has found me frazzled, overwhelmed by lack of checks on my to-do list.

Getting tired of my pity-party yet?  God certainly was.  As the evening has wound down, I’ve sensed Him wanting to bring comfort and ease into the midst of my self-imposed madness.  My heart began to still as I felt His reminder, “This season is not about your to-do list, your boeuf bourguignon, your perfectly clean apartment, your ducks standing all in a row.  Rest in knowing it’s not about all you have to do.  It’s about all I’ve already done!  Perhaps I allowed sickness to hit your family for a few days to make you slow down and simplify.  Whatever doesn’t get “done” won’t matter in the end.  What matters is Jesus came for YOU.  He died for YOU.  He rose from the grave, victorious over sin and death for YOU.  Relish in that.  Rest in that.  Remove your chaos from what Christmas is really all about: love, sacrifice, humility, My pursuit of humanity’s heart, and above all – Jesus.”

So here I sit, peace now replacing my previous frenetic state.  Lord, thank You for your continued patience with me and Your gentle calls back to Your heart.  Yes, I’ll do what I can to finish preparations for this weekend, but the task won’t drive me as it was before.  Its humbling to be this age and still finding myself in need of such a reminder.  But oh, how grateful I am He never tires in giving it.

May you be surrounded by the peace that I so desperately needed…and God so graciously gave.  May you rest in the true heart of Christmas rather than be caught up in the tempting chaos we so easily create around it.  Above all, may your heart and mind be filled in knowing Jesus came out of His limitless love for YOU.  Not you as in humanity in general, though that is true.  He laid aside His divine deity to come in human form for you specifically.  For YOU, you.

Merry Almost Christmas, everyone!  Time to get back to cleaning…

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Filed under Eliana, Faith, Family, Jordan, Journey Church, Patience, Thoughts

Sisters & Empanadas

My sister, Corinne, is one of the most amazing and truly beautiful women I have ever known…in every way.  Compassionate, wise, loyal, truth-speaking, gourmet-food-loving, hilarious, full of integrity, witty, fashionable, humble, following after God’s heart, sings like an angel, gorgeous.  This only scratches the surface of all Corinne McGowan is.

She arrived on Sunday for a few days of girl time before the full-fledged family Thanksgiving activities begin.  Can I just say I LOVE spending time with my sister?!  We spent the whole day together Monday – talking, laughing, playing with Eliana, enjoying delicious food and cooking.  It was perfect!  For weeks, she had been telling me of these veggie empanadas her friend, Julie Berger, had made.  So adorned in aprons and with cooking gear in hand, we set to make our own batch of these tasty fried treats.  In the end, the kitchen was destroyed, our aprons covered in flour and our cheeks sore from laughing for hours.

But MY, were these empanadas delicious!  Savory vegetable filling wrapped in the lightest, crispy crust.  It certainly won’t be the last time we slave away in the kitchen to make these.  Served with spicy quacamole and sour cream, they were simply sublime.

So get your finest cooking attire on, head to your local grocery and get busy making your own batch of these scrumptious bundles of goodness!  You won’t be disappointed.

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Filed under Family, Food, Recipes

Father’s Touch

There is nothing like a father’s touch.  Jordan has this almost magical ability to bring peace and comfort to our children with just the touch of his hand. It never ceases to amaze me.

Our family was out late last night and sweet Eliana was well past her fatigue limit.  Poor girl…she was so tired.  She cried the whole ride home.  I tried countless times to console her, using every method I could think of, but to no avail.  She just continued to cry.  When I had finally resigned myself to the fact that she would simply bawl until we got her home to bed, Jordan did what he does best.  He reached back, rubbed her foot to comfort her and immediately the crying stopped!  Immediately!  The tears stopped flowing and all that could be heard from the backseat was contented sighs and eased breathing.

He had the same effect on Isaac.  Every now and then, Isaac would work himself up into a frenzy, sweating and fussing to the point of near exhaustion.  I would try everything to ease his discomfort and bring him back to peace again.  He was nearly deaf so this often was quite challenging.  More than once, Jordan walked into the room while our boy was having one of his fits with that magical father’s touch.  He would simply place his hand on Isaac’s back and bam!  The cries stopped, the striving ceased, and he would fall fast asleep.  Instantly!  He couldn’t hear that his dad was in the room.  He just knew by his touch.  And for Isaac, that was always enough to fill him with peace.

I can’t explain it.  I’m amazed every time it happens.  But I am so thankful for this man, who brings comfort and peace to his family with simply the touch of his hand.  What a gift.

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Day at the Farm

This past weekend, our family ventured up to Hill Ridge Farms for a day of harvest fun.  Eliana had a blast exploring all the sites at the farm  She was fascinated by bunnies and miniature ponies.  She ran laps around the wooden fort and walking through the hay tunnel.  Much to our amusement, Eliana’s  favorite part was standing next to the huge pumpkin “measure me” board.  She saw some older kids standing next to the board to get measured, so every time we walked by, she made a bee-line to stand up next to it.  It was adorable!  The day wrapped with a hayride to the pumpkin patch, where Eliana picked out the perfect pumpkin.  The day was a huge success!  Hill Ridge Farms had definitely become a new fall tradition.

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Whirlwind of a Summer

What a summer it has been!  So much has happened since June.  Family trips to Annapolis, MD, Washington D.C., Lynchburg, VA, Tampa, FL, and Myrtle Beach, SC.  Ran a half-marathon in Virginia Beach.  A Leino family wedding in Traverse City, Michigan.  Moved to a new apartment closer to Raleigh.  A Roddy family reunion in the Outer Banks.  Patience began Green Belt Six Sigma training with UNC Hospitals’ PICU team.  Leino Studios continues to grow.  Wow!

Now that life has settled back down to a normal-ish pace, we’ll be back to regular blogging.  Many stories & pictures to come in the days ahead.  For now, we’ll leave you with this pic of our sweet Eliana who is now just shy of 15 months.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh and by the way….we’re pregnant.  🙂

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Filed under Blogging, Family, Pregnancy

Family Pictures at Duke Gardens

Our good friend, Nathan Lawrenson, shot a family photo session for us as few weeks back at Duke Gardens.  He is an incredible photographer with a powerful story!  The Lawrensons are some of our dearest friends and we are blessed to have them in our lives.  God certainly brought us all together at pivotal times in our own family journeys.  We are so grateful for the many ways God has and continues to work through them.

If you’re even thinking of having family pictures done, you MUST check him out!  You will not be disappointed.  Here are some of our favorite pics:

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Filed under Family, Friends, Fun, Photography

Three Years

Its been quite a week: Valentine’s weekend in Charlotte, speaking to 1700ish college students at UNC Dance Marathon, traveling to Macon, GA where Jordan played drums for Josh Via, heading back to Chapel Hill today to conference with Improving Pediatric Critical Care.  Much to catch up on.  Much to blog about.

But for now, we’re just remembering a little redheaded boy who would have been three today.  Happy Birthday, Isaac.

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Filed under Family, Isaac