As many of you know making wedding plans and the actual events were a part of our busy summer.  My wife had been saying for almost a year that she would like to have a professional photographer take pictures of our three kids before the weddings.  Before each of their senior years in high school we had this done.  Our family make-up was on the verge of changing.  One last portrait would capture our kids as young adults. That all sounded great.

Well, as many of you know life gets rather busy as you plan for a wedding, in our case, two weddings. There are things to purchase, deposits to be made, and things begin to add up.  The calendar becomes consumed with showers, meetings, dress shopping, reservations to be made, deadlines to meet, and after a while the great idea is no longer on the list.  It is not even in the memory bank, at least not in our memory bank.

Little did my wife and I know, one of our kids had remembered.  He talked with his siblings about an idea. The idea became a plan, and the plan became a reality.  Get together with a professional photographer and have the pictures taken.  Mom and dad had no idea that they were doing this.  This happened three months ago.

Three weeks ago our three kids surprised us with pictures.  This was something that they did for us that we will never forget.  The pictures are fabulous!  I am not biased (hear the sarcasm), but they are beautiful kids – inside and out!

Surprises, most of the time I like them.  This is certainly one of those times.  Thanks K, A, & M.

You know, God often surprises us.  I have often prayed that He surprise me.  Every day that God blesses me with is filled with the constants – His presence & His provisions.  There are also those surprises, those things that I never expected.  I like the constants and I certainly like the surprises.

Father, thank You for those things that I know will always be there and thank you for the surprises!  As each new day rolls out help me to be ready for whatever it is that You have for me.  I can’t wait!


A Summer Like No Other

It has been a while since my last blog.  There has been a lot that has happened over the past two months.

The summer of 2011 will go down in my memory bank as one that I will never forget.  It will stand out as the summer of all summers.  Even though the temperatures would still indicate it is still summer, the break is over.  School has started, vacations are over, the college students are back (check out the lines in the stores and traffic on the streets), summer break is history.

As I reflect back on this summer here is a quick summary of what the Stiles family experienced.

*Two weddings (Katie and Matt both were married, within five weeks of each other, both occasions were beautiful)  *In between the two weddings my mom shattered her NEW knee and had to have a NEW knee inserted  *Two weeks of vacation (not really vacation getting the weddings all finalized was the focus)  *Three weeks of summer camp  *Packing boxes & moving kids (and this is still going on)  *Our two car garage becoming a large storage unit for 7 young adults  *Our dining room resembled a wedding supply store and a warehouse for bridal shower gifts  *The garage wasn’t large enough for everything so two rooms in the basement became storage units  *Two TIRED parents who loved sharing all of this with their kids and are extremely grateful to have all of them nearby

My wife and I feel blessed to have experienced this summer with our kids, seeing our family grow (welcome Clay and Emily), a little less in the bank account, but that’s okay.  I think about my family of five becoming a family of seven there is much that runs through my mind, too much to write.  Let me simply say, I am proud of my family and grateful to God for sharing these people with me.

What a summer!  One that I know we will never forget and are grateful to have experienced.  We now have the nine months to catch our breath!:)  Who knows what the summer of 2012 will bring.  Oh yeah, we will celebrate 30 years of marriage!  I can’t wait.

Celebrating Being A Dad & Twenty Nine Years

Today is Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. I am blessed to be the father of three wonderful kids. They have brought great joy to my life. No longer are they little kids or teenagers. They are fantastic young adults. I continue to be a proud dad to Katie, Andy, and Matt. Thanks guys – I love you.
Today is not only Father’s Day, it’s also my 29th anniversary. Twenty nine years of sharing life with the most wonderful woman in the world. There is so much about Becky that I love and appreciate. Her laughter, encouragement, stories ( that I really do listen to), the ability to
nurture, her love, each of these things and so much more. It
is a joy and a blessing to be married to Becky. Twenty nine
years thanks Becky. I look forward to many more years!

23 on 23

My youngest turns 23 on this day the 23rd of March. We are celebrating Matt’s birthday today. My memory of things that happened sometime ago is not the best. There are a few things that I don’t have any problem remembering like the evening that I became a Christ follower, my wedding date (good thing to remember!), and the birth of all three kids.
I can remember these experiences without any problems. The first two weeks of Matt’s life was a time that I will never forget. He had a few health issues during those first two weeks. Whether it was his health at the beginning, stitches in his head as a young child, or a broken arm playing high school football nothing slowed him down. One thing about Matt, he’s been a tough kid from the start and that is still true even to this day.
Matt will not give up. He has a little bulldog in him. Some might say, he is stubborn or strong-willed, but I will call him tenacious. Matt from the beginning has been a tenacious individual. He won’t allow something or someone to stand in the way of what he believes he can do. As his dad I’m proud of him for his tenacity. I admire this quality that I’ve seen over and over in a young man who turns 23 on the 23rd.
Happy birthday Matt! Keep that tenacious spirit.

Continue the Celebration!

For one week during the month of February we have three birthdays within our household – Andy 7th, Becky 14th, and Katie 15th. Today is Katie’s day. Our oldest and only daughter celebrates her birthday today! I remember her birth as though it were yesterday. Becky was in labor for over nineteen hours and finally came the arrival of our daughter. My description of Katie as a baby was “pleasingly plump.” She was a big baby! Today she is a petite and beautiful young lady. There is much that runs through my mind as I think of my daughter – a strong, independent individual who takes on whatever comes before her with determination. Although she may be petite in size, her voice and abilities are large. There is not much that can stop Katie.
As I reflect on Katie’s life God has blessed her with the ability to lead. She has been a leader in many of the relationships that she has been a part of, on the cheer squads that she was on in high school & college, and within the work environment. I am a proud dad of all that Katie has accomplished and continue to be proud of my daughter.
I am amazed at what God has packaged in this little bundle of energy that is my daughter.
KT, may you use your gifts and abilities in ways that will honor your Father in heaven. Twenty seven years ago I gave thanks for my little girl. Today, like all those days that followed your birth, I continue to give thanks for my little girl. I look forward to what God has in store for your life. Happy birthday toot!

Celebrating Love!

Today is what many would consider as a day to focus on love. The day when “I love you” is expressed in a variety of ways. It is the dead of winter, yet flowers are being given out more than any other time of the year. Candy is being exchanged and eaten not by the children, grown men and women are enjoying the sweets. Cards with mushy thoughts and handwritten notes are exchanged among husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends. It is Valentines Day. Words are expressed and actions are extended on this day like no other day during the year. Valentines Day has that kind of impact on people.
To my Valentine – Becky – it is also her birthday. We celebrate her birth on this day and continue to celebrate our love for each other today and every day. She has been a part of my life for almost thirty years. An enormous blessing from God came my way in August of 1981. I can’t imagine life without her. We have shared so much and I look forward to sharing a great deal more. Happy Birthday and Happy Valentines Day Becky!