A Letter to Penelope

Jessica, John and Penny at her baptism, July 2016

Dear Penelope,

I can’t believe you are already a year old! Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday I was at the hospital, holding you for the first time. I was filled with such love and emotion that day. You were absolutely beautiful then and you have grown even more beautiful with each passing day.

Watching your personality develop has been a joy. You smile and laugh at other babies, even when they are not as enthusiastic. 🙂 When we walk into a room, you scan and take it all in. New people are given the once over (as it should be) but you never cry (yet!) over meeting someone you don’t know.

I see other parts of who I think you will be. Forward, assertive, a leader. I took you into a restaurant once and while we were waiting for our guest, I sat you on the table. You opened your arms and began to babble. It was as if you were addressing the crowd. The same thing happens when we go to church. You love to look around and take it all in. I feel like you are absorbing, maybe memorizing it all so that you will always know that church is your home.

Your parents love you deeply and have made many changes to place you first in their lives. They have the entire living room buffered for your safety. Your bedroom overflows with books, stuffed animals and clothes. The toys you have are great for learning. You love to explore, punch musical buttons, and play with your favorite toys all day long.

Seeing the advantages and love you have gives me much to pray for. For all the other babies in the world, I wish that they would be as loved and cared for as you are. When I am not with you, I am never concerned for your safety for I know that your parents are on it. They keep an eye out for you always.

Watching you grow so fast in the first year has been a remarkable experience for all of us. I look forward to the next year and all the joy you will continue to bring to us!!

Love, Nana

My son John, with Penelope Katherine
Mom and Baby
I’m one month old!
My daughter Michelene and granddaughter Penny, on a beautiful summer day.
Helping to serve the cake.
Probably my favorite picture
With Godmother Kristina. Penny still looks at Father E this way.
The only selfie you’ll ever see me do is with Penny.
Fashionable already!
Playing is hard work.
A special birthday with Nana.

“I don’t remember who said this, but there really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child.”
― Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year

Join me on my graceful journey.
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Birthday Blessings

Birthday Roses from Jim
Birthday Roses from Jim

The best thing to hold onto in life is each other. Audrey Hepburn

My birthday was yesterday and boy, did I feel special. I want to tell you about so sit back with a cup of coffee and let’s chat.

First, the day was absolutely gorgeous. No rain for a change though from the sight of the clouds in the morning, I thought that may happen. The sky was a bright blue with very fluffy clouds.

Almost like Marshmallow Puffs
Almost like Marshmallow Puffs

Jim already bought me roses a couple of days before and they were blooming like there was no tomorrow. We had coffee together in the morning and then I was off to a very special church service.

Andrew was being ordained to the priesthood. I knew about this for a while and I wasn’t missing it. I assisted Andrew and his lovely wife Lena on their wedding day and I wanted to be there for this service. It was beautiful.

Andrew- AXIOS!
Andrew (in the center)- AXIOS!
It was a big holiday too. The Presentation of the Theotokos.
It was a big holiday too. The Presentation of the Theotokos.

Afterwards there was a beautiful luncheon. I bumped into my cousin Angie there so we sat together. I headed for home and took a much needed nap! Around 5pm, Jim and I headed out for a wedding reception!

Anthony and Maria
Anthony and Maria

This is the first time ever that I went to a wedding on my birthday. I loved Anthony’s boutonniere- it was a mini-transformer! Maria was so beautiful. Their card box was a Dr. Who phone booth. 🙂

The cookie table was a mile long and who’s going to miss that? What a spectacular end to my birthday!

Wedding Cookies
Wedding Cookies

I want to wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving week with many blessings to you and your family. Thank you for being my friend and supporting my writing. It means more to me than you know.

xo Joanne

 

 

Join me on my graceful journey.
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It’s My Son’s Birthday

My favorite picture of John and Me, taken about a year ago
My favorite picture of John and me

Today my son John is 29 years old. It’s hard for me to believe but yes, it’s really true.

When he was born, I wanted to give him a strong name. I absolutely love “John” and I think it fits him perfectly. I know I spoiled him (like I did Michelene); honestly, I don’t think his feet touched the ground for his first two years of life. He rarely cried or fussed. He did make a lot of noise when his friend Ryan would come over to play. 🙂

John must truly have God’s grace because he has had a few close calls. What is it about boys that test our strength? In middle school, he broke his collarbone playing basketball. In his first couple years of college, he survived a motorcycle accident (I said no more motorcycles after that) and an appendicitis attack (when Jim happened to be out of town- oy!).

John at an event for Andy Warhol
John at an event for Andy Warhol

What I love most about John is his warm and often times, very funny personality. He had the picture (above) as his cover photo on Facebook for a while. I’d laugh out loud everytime I saw it. His laugh is awesome and it comes from his whole heart.

John lived as a resident watchman in a large religious institution (in exchange for running the front desk a few nights a week) for seven+ years until he just recently left. Members of the congregation would send me emails and little notes about what a great guy he was. When I’d drop by to visit him, I would get stopped in the hall. People love to tell me about him and what a good kid he is.

John didn’t like the large university he went to years ago but he excelled at a smaller technical school. The IT degree he received is perfect for him. He loves working on software problems and diagnosing issues. He is like his dad in that sense, very patient, which is something I am not (but grateful that he is). And, it’s really wonderful to have your own IT guy at your disposal.

I love when he gets together with his friends and takes pictures. This one was from a wedding he was a part of in Punta Cana with his good friend Pat.

John (3rd from Left) in Punta Cana
John (3rd from Left) in Punta Cana

John, I am so blessed to have you as my son. You are truly a gift from above and I am proud of you! Happy Birthday!

John and his girl Jess
John and his girl Jess

 

 

Join me on my graceful journey.
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