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