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Dear baby…

Dear baby,

Let me tell you about your daddy. I can’t wait for you to meet him! Besides seeing your perfect little face for the first time, I really can’t wait to see your Daddy’s face when he meets you, his little boy, his firstborn. He loves you so much. He loves me so much! And you are already a blessed child to have him as your father and role model; the man you will look up to and learn from. Many of the same qualities that made me fall in love with your daddy will be the same qualities that will you will grow to admire as well…

Your daddy is a gentleman. He opens the car door for me, helps me with my coat, guides me around the ice, never laughs at my “girly” tears and emotions, and cheerfully serves me when I’m weak, in pain, or just feeling big with you in my belly! I can’t wait to watch as you learn to be gentle with and protective towards women and children, just like your daddy.

Your daddy is a leader. He reads bible to me every day, he prays over me, he makes decisions for our family as the Lord leads, despite pressure from society or others to conform to what is popular.┬áHe doesn’t seek the limelight, but he is visionary and willing to step out and stir others up to action for the kingdom. This is one of the main things that won me over to your daddy… he showed initiative and leadership skills in our courtship, and I can’t wait to see how you learn to humbly lead others, just like your daddy.

Your daddy is a follower of Christ. He is submissive to the Lord and His word, which is the center of our home. He desires to honor God in how we practice hospitality, relate in our marriage, operate as a family, and raise you. His relationship with the Lord is so important, it’s one of the main things he prays about for you. We pray that you would not know a day apart from the Lord’s goodness and mercy… just like your daddy.

Your daddy is funny! I do have to warn you, baby, that your daddy can be goofy. He makes me laugh in ways other people wouldn’t get, and I’m pretty sure he’ll be the one to coax those adorable belly laughs out of you first. He likes to have fun, he plays with legos, he teases me, and he knows how to balance work and play. I can’t wait to see you grow up having fun in our home and in life, just like your daddy.

Your daddy is handsome. And I hope you get a boyish grin, strong hands, and curly brown hair… just like your daddy.

Your daddy is not perfect. He does make mistakes, just like I do. He won’t always feel cheerfully selfless when taking care of us, when he’s tired and had a long day. He will say things that won’t come out the way he meant them to. There may be times when he makes decisions you don’t understand or like. But baby, no one is perfect. No daddy is perfect. But I do know this; the daddy the Lord gave you is perfect for you. When he makes a mistake and apologizes, you will see a humility that can only come from the Lord. When life throws a curveball and he chooses to trust God rather than despair, you will see a faith that only comes from above. When you disobey and he lovingly corrects you, you will experience a taste of the unconditional, unmerited love that comes from our heavenly Father. Just like your daddy does.

I can’t wait for you to meet him!

Photo Credit: Kathryn Grace Photography

Photo Credit: Kathryn Grace Photography

Our 2014 Christmas and New Years Letter

As we usher in the New Year and reflect on all that has happened in 2014, we are so thankful for the Lord’s provision and blessing. Ashton completed his third year as an assistant to the CIO at Samaritan Ministries and kept busy coordinating board meetings, taking a public speaking course, and becoming certified as a project manager. He volunteered to help coordinate our church’s annual Reformation Faire in October and has been giving more time to local ministries… and he keeps fairly busy spoiling his wife, especially when it comes to Valentines Day!

I called six English Country dances and taught 14 weeks of dance/exercise classes… a fun, low-commitment outlet for teaching and dancing after leaving my studio in Omaha. I have enjoyed practicing hospitality and being able to really focus on homemaking, as well as developing new friendships at church and in the community… not to mention taking care of my hubby, which has definitely been the highlight.

We have been both blessed and challenged as a couple in 2014. In March we were in an accident that totaled our car, and grew a lot as we dealt with the frustrations of insurance and having to buy a new vehicle.

We viewed several houses while we were seriously looking but finally decided to stay in our current apartment as long as we can. You can’t beat the commute and daily lunches together! We joined the local Right to Life chapter, as well as our Illinois’ homeschool Legislative Task Force. We were able to travel to Cincinnati twice, Nebraska several times, and Wisconsin.

We’ve had a good balance of “busy” and “fun” as newlyweds, from having fun volunteering to also experiencing firsts together… a canoe trip, walking local trails, enjoying the local farm-to-table restaurants, taking a moonlight cruise down the Illinois river, babysitting together for the first time (practice!), going on road trips, reading, and learning together. We love doing hospitality and discovered that we really can have my seven family members stay with us in our two bedroom apartment for 4 days!

But of all the memories we made, finding out on July 21st that we are expecting a little one was our favorite. Our little truffle is due in April… a boy! And we can’t wait to meet him and expand our family as we move into a new and fun season of discovery. We are taking Bradley classes and reading a lot, but most importantly we are praying and taking in the amazing changes as baby grows. We are very excited to be parents!

On September 21st, we celebrated our first anniversary… we are so thankful for a wonderful first year as husband and wife. We rejoice in this season and pray that He would bless you abundantly this New Year!

In Christ,

Ashton and Jennifer