family

Jacob Jonathan Hardin

Jacob Jonathan "Jake" Hardin was born on Wednesday, September 2 at 9:12 p.m. He weighed 7 lbs, 2 oz and measured 19.5 inches long. He surprised us by being five days early, weighing 7 lbs, 2 oz (instead of 8 or 9 lbs!) and sporting a head full of honey blonde-brown hair. He is already the light and the love of our lives. 

During his first "weigh in" at only a few minutes old.

During his first "weigh in" at only a few minutes old.

All dressed up and ready to leave the hospital in his outfit from his Grandma JuJu. He is not a fan of clothing or diaper changes!

All dressed up and ready to leave the hospital in his outfit from his Grandma JuJu. He is not a fan of clothing or diaper changes!

A Dozen Years....

A dozen years have passed since...

I lost my grandma and the future namesake of Gerald & Joan.

I moved to Oxford, Mississippi and into a condo next door to Jonathan Hardin.

Life fell apart and then truly began for me.

I'm not sure how it's possible to lose and gain so much at the very same time, but that happened in August 2003. I never imagined what life would look like a dozen years later, but if I could have picked a story line, this one most definitely would have exceeded my wildest dreams.

For many years, I dreaded this day because it was the most difficult one of my life. After twelve years, I choose to remember it as the start of my new life, one that included my next door neighbor and soon-to-become best friend, husband and father of my child.

As my grandma was ever the optimist, I think she'd want me to remember it that way. 

Not the best photo (sorry, Lauren), but this is the last airport photo I have of my grandma, my sister and me. It was taken by my mom in August 2001 at the arrival gate of LAX, one week before I started my senior year in high school. Little did we know it would be the last time she'd ever be able to meet us at the gate (a family tradition since my mom left home in 1974) or the airport. Almost two years to the day, I flew to LA for the first time since 9/11 to say goodbye to her. 

Not the best photo (sorry, Lauren), but this is the last airport photo I have of my grandma, my sister and me. It was taken by my mom in August 2001 at the arrival gate of LAX, one week before I started my senior year in high school. Little did we know it would be the last time she'd ever be able to meet us at the gate (a family tradition since my mom left home in 1974) or the airport. Almost two years to the day, I flew to LA for the first time since 9/11 to say goodbye to her. 

Hudson

Our nephew, Hudson Glenn Durham, came into the world on Wednesday, July 1 at 10:26 p.m. weighing 8 lbs 3 oz and measuring 20.25 inches long. 

His cousin might have been a little jealous during our first cuddle. He kicked a little to remind us that he was present the entire time. 

meandhudson

By day three, my mom and sister had already captured Hudson smiling. Doesn't he look like he heard a really funny joke? 

hudson smiling

He's absolutely perfect in every way. Our family is so, so blessed.

Inspired: Psalm 71

psalm 71

One year ago today, I had surgery to remove precancerous cells from my cervix, and three days later, our dog, Porter, had his second surgery of 2014 to remove a possible mast cell tumor from his side.

It was a tough week for us. At times, 2014 was a tough year for us, but it also gave me and Jonathan the first real opportunity to work through very adult issues on our own. Throughout the ordeal, we found the most comfort in church. After years of visiting different churches infrequently and then the same church frequently, we made a commitment and found ourselves more centered than we'd ever been. Church has been the link that has connected us to God and our community. For people who had previously struggled to find their place in the world, this has been a huge blessing.

I wrote these Bible verses in my prayer journal one year ago this week, so it seemed fitting to share them here today. Today and every day, I count my blessings.