Category Archives: Family

Back To Chapel Hill

Tomorrow we’re traveling back to Chapel Hill.  More specifically, UNC Children’s Hospital.

A few months back, we received a call from their Patient Relations department.  They were working on forming a small advisory group of families who had previous experience with their Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for the purpose of improving family care on the unit.  We were both surprised and humbled to have been nominated by the medical staff for this group.

As most of you know, we spent nearly 5 months living on the PICU back in ’07 with our son, Isaac.  We were very involved in his care, often working alongside the medical staff as decisions were made and issues discussed.  He received excellent medical care from UNC as did our whole family on a personal level.

I’m very excited for this opportunity to go back to the Children’s Hospital.  I’ll be sitting in on multidisciplinary rounds for the PICU to give my observations and feedback on how they can better involve parents in their child’s medical care.  The hope and goal is to optimize the experience for future PICU families.  Patient Relations plans to develop a focus group in the months ahead for continued improvement of family care on the unit.  I’m deeply grateful that we were suggested for this process, knowing that our experiences in Chapel Hill with Isaac will be used to improve care for future families of critically ill children.

We appreciate your prayers tomorrow as we return to Chapel Hill.  I’m greatly looking forward to this opportunity, but also realize I may experience unexpected emotions on seeing familiar faces while returning to the place we lived with our son.  Our prayer is God would use our journey for the betterment of others, to be His voice of encouragement and insight to the medical staff, and above all that the love of Jesus would flow out of us to everyone we encounter on the unit.

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Filed under Chapel Hill, Family, Isaac

The Proposal

Five years ago, Jordan asked me to be his wife. I’m still amazed and humbled that he wanted me as his bride. He’s an amazing man and its my joy to walk through life by his side. Here’s the story:

Days before New Years – the day of the historic Tsunami to be exact – I flew home to the States after spending 15 days doing missions work in northern India.  Jordan picked me up at RDU and drove us to Annapolis to spend a belated Christmas with my family.  I had gotten very sick while in India, so the first few days at home were mostly comprised of R&R.  By New Years Eve, I had regained my health.  Jordan had given me a Mikimoto pearl necklace before leaving for India and had promised two more gifts upon my return.  My health returned, he now gave me the remaining gifts.

Jordan had completely restored my very slow, very die-ing laptop – Gift #2.  As I opened my newly functional computer, I saw an invitation.  Gift #3 – New Years Day in Washington D.C.  I was so excited!  New Years Day could not have been more beautiful.  Clear blue skies with cool winter breezes.  We took an early morning Metro ride into the city and spent the entire day in our nation’s capitol.  We took in the sites, walking from monument to monument.  It felt as though we had the whole city to ourselves as we barely saw other people out and about.  That afternoon, we ventured over to Georgetown – my favorite part of D.C. – to walk the streets and peruse the unique shops.  It was a blissful day indeed.  Perfect weather.  Beautiful sites.  Time with my best friend.  Perfect.  Riding the  Metro home that night, I told Jordan that the day could not have been more perfect.  He simply smiled and held me close.  Little did I know the day’s best was yet to come.

As we pulled into Mom’s driveway in Annapolis, Jordan told me my Christmas present was officially over.  Anything from that point on that night was simply just because he loved me.  Mom and Corinne met us at the door as whisked me upstairs.  “Get her ready for our evening, ladies.  We’ll need to be leaving in 20 minutes,” Jordan said.  You see, Jordan had brought me home straight from the airport upon returning from India, so I only had casual clothes with me and most of them still smelled of curry.  20 minutes later, I was stressed in a black sequined outfit, ready for a night on the town.  Walking to the top of the stairs, I saw my Jordan – waiting for me at the bottom,  handsomely sporting a suit & tie.  I had never seen him so dressed up and grew even more curious of what he had in store.

“Since you just got back from several weeks in India, I just wanted to take you out for a classy evening before we head back to Lynchburg.  How does The Melting Pot sound?”  What a delightful surprise!  Of course, Jordan was always doing sweet things for me, so I wasn’t suspicious of anything.  He had a certain table set aside of us with roses waiting.  We spent the next two hours in conversation over delicious fondue, talking about everything from India to our day in D.C. to the future.  I couldn’t help but keep saying, “This has been the perfect day!”

Once dinner was over, Jordan suggested we head to downtown Annapolis to walk around.  Downtown is one of my favorite places on the planet, especially during the Christmas season.  All the historic buildings are decorated in their Christmas finest with beautiful lights illuminating the docks.  A huge Christmas tree filled the roundabout circle by the water and white lights lit the sails of the boats in the bay.   How I love Annapolis!  We parked down by the docks to walk around a bit.  Now if you’ve known Jordan for any amount of time, you’ll know that the man rarely gets cold and even when he does, a light jacket suits him just fine.  Polar opposite of myself!  Well that night was rather cold, so he had brought a wool coat along just in case.  As we got out of the truck, I was already quite cold and asked him if I could wear his coat on top of mine.  Much to my surprise, he said no!  (to this day, this is still the only time he’s ever declined this chivalrous act)  “No.  No, I’m going to wear it.  Let’s go in to Starbucks to get you some hot tea.”

Once I had some delicious hot tea in hand, we walked down to the docks.  What a beautiful night it was.  A full moon shone brightly in the clear night sky, reflecting on the calm Severn River below.  Sailboats and yachts bobbed up and down in the water while the lights of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge could be seen in the distance.  Not a soul was in sight.  Just me and my Jordan on that cold New Years night.  Arriving at the water’s edge, Jordan pulled a letter from his coat pocket.  He proceeded to read me his heartfelt words, professing his love and all that he adored in me.  His letter spoke of our relationship and our journey to that point.  He spoke of all he saw in me now and in the future.  He wrote of the wife and mother he knew I would be one day.  As he read the two pages, I was overwhelmed.  This amazing man loved me.  Me!  Even to this day, I’m still amazed by it.  As I held my hot tea, his words washed over me and all I could feel was grateful and blessed.  But still not suspicious at all.  Quite clueless actually.  Jordan had written me many beautiful letters before so I simply thought, “How lovely! A New Years letter!”  He finished the letter and held me close.  “I love you, Patience.”  “I love you too, Jordan.”  And with that, I took another warming sip of my tea.  Clueless.

As soon as I had lowered my cup, my heart stopped.  There before me was the man I loved, down on one knee with a box in his hand.  With a nervous smile and love in his eyes, Jordan Leino asked me to be his wife!  He had pulled the ring from his coat pocket when I sipped my tea. (No wonder he wouldn’t let me wear it!)  I quickly said yes and he rose to wrap his strong arms around me.  Burying my head in his chest, I was in utter shock!  He had completely taken me by surprise.  A few moments later, Jordan held up the little box.  “Um…I’ve got a ring too if you’d like to see it.”  I had been so overwhelmed by his proposal that I’d completely forgotten about the ring.  And what a ring!  He slipped the platinum and diamonds on to my finger and my shock grew all the more.  It was gorgeous!  We stayed on the docks for a while, Jordan beaming from ear to ear and me still in a state of amazement.   The man of my dreams – a man who far exceeded any hope I’d ever had – he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.  All of his plans and detailed work had culminated in the perfect proposal.  When we both were too cold to stay outside any longer, we left downtown and headed back to my mom’s house to announce our engagement.  What a night it was.  It had truly been the perfect day.

So there you have it.  Nine months after the proposal, Jordan and I wed on a beautiful fall day in Maryland.  We have been married for over 4 years now.  They have been the greatest, most adventure-filled years of my life.  I’m looking forward to spending the rest of my days as Jordan’s wife.  The best is yet to come.

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Reflections of 2009

Here it is again: December 31st.  As 2009 quickly comes to a close, my mind fills with reflections on the past year.  What a year it has been!  Never did I imagine 365 days could hold so much.  Were I to sum up 2009, it would be one simple word: change.  Everything has changed.

One year ago, Jordan and I were filled with the sense that ’09 would be a defining year and a year of change.  We never dreamed that in a year’s time, every area of our lives would be different.  In 2009, we:

  • finished flipping our first home
  • sold our house
  • moved into a beautiful rental home
  • thought we’d be building a house by years’ end (God had other plans)
  • I transitioned from nannying to being a full-time homemaker
  • Eliana Faith was born (perfectly healthy!)
  • Jordan resigned from C3
  • Leino Studios was launched in our home
  • moved into an apartment
  • transitioned from C3 to attend Journey Church
  • leased our first office space for Leino Studios

2009 stretched us in ways we didn’t know were possible.  To look back on all that has changed, it overwhelms me at times.  We knew change was coming.  We didn’t know that God intended to flip our world upside down by changing everything.  It has been challenging, exciting, mind-boggling, frightening, surprising, and crazy.  In the midst of the whirlwind, He gave us a precious little girl who reminds us of His love every day.  Eliana Faith’s name memorializes His answer to our prayer for a healthy child.  Little did we know, her name would also become a reminder of all the prayers He answered through this year and for us to continue trusting Him in the unknown of tomorrow.

Through every change, God opened my eyes to see how much I placed my security in worldly circumstances and provisions.  As each “sure thing” was removed from my life, I felt Him calling me to His heart.  God alone wants to be my Security, my Provider, my Refuge, and my Peace.  Deuteronomy 31.8 has become my mantra: “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  His Word is living and active, applicable in all situations.

The course of this year has brought out such strength in Jordan – I’m so grateful for his love and leadership in my life.  He is a man of wisdom, integrity, courage, discernment and grace.  Joy fills me every time I see him with our daughter, knowing she will grow with a godly man to look up to and a father who will love her like Jesus.

2009 was a year of change.  As 2010 begins in a mere few hours, my mind races with wonder of all that awaits us in tomorrow.  In the midst of its uncertainty, I rest in knowing God remains ever-faithful and sovereign.   He has led us thus far and will continue to lay the path before us in the days ahead. 

Thanks to our families for loving us every step of the way, for walking beside us through every change of this past year with optimism and steadfast prayer.  We are so fortunate to have each one of you in our lives.  Thanks to all our friends, near and far. We love doing life with you in all of life’s seasons. Thank you, C3, for the past 4 years of ministry and memories.  We’re praying 2010 draws you close to God’s heart and that His hands work through you to show Jesus to this community.  Thanks to Matt and Martha Fry for your investment into our lives during our time on staff, for supporting us in all the changes this year and for encouraging us to follow God’s leading, even when it meant a different direction.  Thanks to Jimmy and Beverly Carroll, and those at Journey Church for pouring into us over the past few months as we’ve made transitions in our family.

Above all, thanks to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He who has redeemed us has been faithful in every season of our lives.  His love continues to mend and compel us.  His Word molds and guides us.  He will never change.  He never fails.  He is our Rock and our Source.

Goodbye, 2009.  Hello, 2010!  What adventures do you hold in store for us…

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Filed under Family, Journey Church, Thoughts

A November Wedding

We traveled up to Lynchburg, VA, last month for my sister’s wedding.  On November 6th, Corinne married Brad McGowan.

Their lovestory is absolutely beautiful – one of prayer, patience, and joy.  We are thrilled to now have Brad in our family.  Its clear they are God’s best for each other.

It was certainly a wedding to remember.  The evening began with worship and prayer.  The reception went late into the night with music and dancing.  Every moment between was saturated in joy and celebration for the newlyweds.  Here are a few pics from the night (courtesy of Sam Stroud Photography)

Congratulations, McGowans!!  We love you both!

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It’s A New Season

The beginning of the Fall season has also brought a new beginning in our lives.

Since May of 2005, I have served on staff at C3 Church in the areas of worship (adults & students) and communications (marketing, graphic design, web, etc). Without a doubt, God brought us to the Raleigh area and to C3. We are thankful for the opportunity to be involved at C3 in this way over the past four years.

In January, God began stirring my heart, revealing that a change would soon happen. He would guide our steps as we continued to draw closer to Him. Over the next few months, God gave us some new dreams and vision for the future of our family and my career. As we have taken steps of faith this year, God has provided for us in miraculous ways.

Since selling our house earlier this year, the focus has been strong on what our next steps would be, knowing that a change was coming. I sat down with Pastor Matt and Martha to let them know that I felt strongly that God was leading me into something that was 100% musically related. After much prayer and wrestling with this change, Patience and I decided to open my own studio for teaching music. So I resigned from my position on staff at C3 Church and am moving into a volunteer role at the church, still directing the bands and leading worship.

LEINO STUDIOS launched on September 1, 2009 and I have already begun teaching and building a student roster. God has provided in awesome ways and we are trusting Him to continue to bring more students: kids, teenagers, and adults! It is also a dream that Leino Studios would one day be more than a music teaching business, but that it would also be a recording studio as well. Teaching music and creating music have been and will always be a passion of mine, and my prayer is that God would use it to impact the world for the cause of Jesus Christ!

Sunday, September 20, was my last official day on staff, and Monday, September 21 was our first step into the next season with Leino Studios. Please join us in prayer as we step out into this new venture.

If anyone is interested in taking piano lessons, please visit www.leinostudios.com for more information.

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Four Years Gone By…

On September 10, 2005, I embarked on the most incredible journey of my life.  My dreams came true on that beautiful Saturday evening in Maryland.  Four years ago today, I became Jordan Leino’s wife.

First Dance Profile

Everything was perfect.  With joy in our hearts and a song of worship on our lips, friends and family gathered to witness two lives becoming one.

Married

The ceremony – sweet.  The reception – a blast!   We danced the night away at the Savage Mill.

The Bridge at Savage Mill

It was a day I’ll never forget.  The day I married my best friend.

First Dance

Happy Anniversary, Jordan.  You are my hero, my husband, and my companion.  Thank you for sharing your life with me.  I love you.

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Our First Week At Home

We are absolutely in love!  Its hard to believe Eliana is already eleven days old.  She’s growing up so fast!  I just want to photograph and record every single moment.  Each one is such a gift.  Jordan & I continue to be overwhelmed by our beautiful Answer To Prayer.  She amazes us more and more each day.

Eliana has been the perfect baby so far.  She’s animated and smiley when awake, sleeps hard between feedings, and goes down for bed in her crib without a fuss.  She’s already beginning to hold her head up for several seconds at a time, moving it controlled from side to side.  Jordan definitely brings the smiles out of her.  I’ve been telling her since I was pregnant that she’d be a daddy’s girl and she certainly is…warms my heart!

Huge thanks, by the way, to everyone who has sent encouraging emails, cards, and delicious meals for us.  Its been such a blessing to adjust to life at home with Eliana without the stress of planning a meal each night.  You all have made this transition into stay-at-home mom much easier for me.  Thank you!

Here are some of our favorite pics from the past week.  While we know we’re biased, we think you’ll agree that she’s just gorgeous! 🙂

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Home With Eliana

What an amazing five days we’ve had with our little girl!  Eliana is truly a gift from God.  She has been an absolute joy.  Sleeping peacefully and completely alert when awake.  We fall more & more madly in love with her every day.  Enjoy some photo highlights of her first few days with our little girl…

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In The Home Stretch

My, how time has flown!  As of tomorrow, I’ll be 39 weeks pregnant.  Its seems like only yesterday we discovered that we’d be parents again.  Preparations have been made, a new nursery set up, her name selected, clothes washed, bags packed.  All that is left to do is to wait.  Just grow and wait.

Bump at 38 Weeks

Comparatively, this has been a much easier pregnancy.  I’ve not been nearly as sick and while the cankles have once again returned, they are not nearly as severe as last time.  Eliana is certainly proving to be much feistier than her brother.  Isaac would gently move around from time to time.  But not this girl.  She’s a powerhouse, constantly moving and kicking.  Many times, we’ve watched her feet clearly move from one side to the other.  Other times, it feels like she’s doing a full-body stretch.  Sometimes she’ll move so strongly that it throws me out of step and stops me in my tracks.  I can’t wait to meet this energetic little girl of ours!

Today’s doctor’s visit went well.  I’m currently 1.5 cm dilated, 60% effaced & positionally, she’s head-down at -2.  Same as last week.  I’ve not had any real contractions as of yet.  Hopefully some spicy food and serious walking will move things along.  Funny how the past eight months have flown by while these past few weeks have felt like a crawl.  I’d much rather be awake at night holding Eliana than just feeling her kick me in the ribs.  But I really can’t complain.  I’m so grateful for the gift of carrying this sweet girl to term, grateful that she has a whole heart and all signs indicate that she’s healthy, grateful for the constant care and encouragement of my dear husband.  I’m deeply grateful.  And with every uncomfortable kick and pinch of the back, it serves as a reminder that she’s still on her way and I’ll be a mom once again soon.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything…other than holding her in my arms, of course 🙂

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Filed under Eliana, Family, Pregnancy

Update on Dad

Dad just got out of surgery.  The surgeon said everything went really well, so he’s now being taken to his room for recovery.  Thanks so much for your prayers, please continue to pray for him through the next month of recovery.

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Prayer for My Dad

I know it’s been a while since we’ve posted a blog, but I have a special prayer request.  Today at 11:00am, my dad (Gary Leino) is going in for a major surgery on his spine.

In doctor talk, an MRI of his spine a couple weeks ago found that he has a central canal stenosis causing a cervical myelopathy. To fix this, the doctor told him he needed a C4-C5 posterior cervical laminectomy & fusion.

It’s about a 3-4 hour surgery and they’ll put him to sleep for it.  They say the recovery (if all goes well) will be about a month. He’s pretty nervous about it so please pray for my dad, for the surgery and recovery, and for emotional comfort and strength.  Also pray for my family, as well as the surgeons, doctors, and nurses.  Thanks so much!

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Gratitude

Thank you all for your prayers, encouraging words, and even flowers yesterday.  We were overwhelmed to see and hear the impact our little boy had on your lives.  In the moments when missing him comes on strong, it always helps to be reminded of the difference his 24 weeks here made.  Thank you for remembering our son, for not forgetting him as time moves forward.  We are truly blessed.

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Filed under Family, Isaac