black and white and red all over

Remember the silly jokes you (or your annoying little sib) used to tell as a kid? Well, black, white and red just so happens to be my favorite color combination, both to wear on my person and to decorate my living space with. It's just so crisp and classic, never goes out of style, and always makes me look good, even on a bad hair/clothes/body/makeup day. And Lord knows I have plenty of those!

So today, even though I am indeed having a bad hair day (calling for both a hat and a ponytail!), I feel pretty darn cute because I'm in my favorite color combo. Black just makes everything better. Even blurry pictures with stupid poses. Maybe?

current favorite jeans- Gap
black cowl-neck sweater with button detail- tagless
white scarf- wal-mart (!!)
hat- also wally world (I so rarely shop at the Blue Giant, that I was surprised to see these cute accessories when I dashed in for cat food- and for super cheap! The hat is even wool.)

I'm particularly fond of these shoes. They're just the right height to give enough of a lift without being uncomfortable for the shopping I'm going to be doing with Rob after work.

Check out the super-cute holiday earrings I got for my birthday from my Mom via my friend Johanna's Silpada jewelry collection. Could they BE any more festive?? (also... do you all think I can pull off the dark eye/nude lip combo? I feel funny with such pale lips)

All wrapped up in my favorite jacket. It's winter white wool- with ruffles!- from Urban Outfitter last year. I smile whenever I put it on.

Now that I've posted my outfit of the day, let's move on to the outfit I'm currently lusting over.

I'd love to try this year's obsession with plaid, but I'm not much for looking schoolgirlish or Scottish. Buffalo plaid juxtaposed with a feminine cut sounds like fun though! And I'm horrified to admit that I only own one crisp white shirt, which I don't even wear all that often. I think I may attempt to mimic this outfit with any Christmas money I [hopefully] receive. I'm loving the little patent leather booties, too!

Speaking of Christmas, Rob and I still have to get prezzies for our little nieces, Amanda and Ella, and for the gift swap that my family is doing. I have no idea what we're going to get. That means shopping tonight! I don't know why I'm so excited to be out in the Christmas crowd (especially on the beginning of the last weekend before the big day) maybe I'm crazy, but I really am looking forward to it. We have to make the trek to the Mall of America (oh so far at 45 minutes away) because that's the only Urban Outfitter around, and I need to exchange some gloves that are tearing in the thumb. So we will definitely be fighting crowds, but I'm jazzed about it. I love going places with my Babes, and, honestly, I do love being in a crowd. There's some kind of energy in a large group of people that I really like. After our shopping expedition, we're thinking of hitting up Acadia Cafe for this show. Any Minneapolis readers want to meet up? Let me know! Good times, folks!


wedding daydreams

This morning I stumbled across some jaw-droppingly gorgeous pictures of weddings on various blogs that I [now] follow. They have made me want to have 5 more weddings just so I can try out a bunch of different styles. Same groom, thanks. ;) I loved my wedding, even now I wouldn't change anything about it (okay, a few minor details, perhaps) but overall, it was absolutely the wedding of my dreams. So that's not what this is about... it's just an appreciation of beauty and creativity of other people. These pictures make me wish I was artistic and creative... and my job was something along the lines of "magazine writer" or "interior designer" or "fashion photographer" or "event planner" or even "crafty person". Alas, Mom didn't pass down her talent or love for sewing and designing. At least, it hasn't surfaced much yet. Until I discover my inner designer, I look at pictures for my "creativity fix". And these are lovely.

Beachy casual
The bridesmaids are all wearing vintage prom dresses! This just looks like FUN.

I'm still kicking myself for not letting my girls pick out their own dress to wear in my wedding. I so wanted to do this... but somewhere along the way of wedding planning, something happened to throw me off this idea. I can't even tell ya what it was, probably a combination of things. But this eclectic style has always intrigued me. It's so... individual and expressive.

Rustic and elegant
Oh. My. Gosh. This is pretty much perfect. The dress, the birdcage veil, the feather shrug (!!), the lighting, the contrast between the old-world elegance of the attire and the rustic setting... did I mention the birdcage veil? It all just trips my fancy. Oh yes.

Town Hall
While a JOP wedding isn't my style, I can't get over how absolutely gorgeous this wedding is. Of course, it's in San Fransisco's town hall, so that's saying something. This is THE way to do a town hall wedding. Simply stunning. (I'm sorry, I can't find the original blog I found the pictures on... hence the size) Take particular note of the detail of her dress. Perfect.

Again, notice the birdcage veil. I'm in love. I've decided that if I had the chance to rewind and do-over, I'd alter my headpiece to be this classic style. I think. Although, I did love, no, ADORED my veil; it was my mother's and she hand-made it for her wedding in 1976. I've wanted to wear it since I was tiny. But I think the actual headpiece would have worked perfectly with the birdcage. Ces't la vie. As it was, my wedding was beautiful and special and fun. And I still wouldn't change a thing. It was "me". :)

Three of my favorite images from my wedding: (because I can!)

(Edit: Okay. I've tried everything to make my images appear as a smaller version of themselves. Nothing works. Frustrated.)


two and a quarter

This may be a silly date to recognize, but today Rob and I have been married for 2 years and three months.

In the last 24 hours I have been realizing through various examples what a fragile thing a truly good relationship is, and I do not take one moment of the last twenty-seven months for granted. Each day we share on good terms is a gift that I want to be aware of more and more. I've seen and heard of so many marriages that have fallen apart either outwardly (legal divorce) or inwardly (legally married, but divorced in every other way), and I know that my marriage is not immune to the attacks of the enemy. Only by pure grace do we both want to love each other and be conduits* to each other of the grace that we have been the recipients of.

Today, I am asking for another two and a quarter years with Rob, even though I don't deserve it based on anything I have done, and neither does he. But I proceed forward knowing that our relationship- past, present, and future, is a blood-bought mercy, based on the righteousness that we have in Christ. And on that basis, I ask for MORE. More sweet times, more tough times, more to learn by, more to grow through, more opportunities to be patient, kind, loving, and tenderhearted... more laughter, and even more tears. I'll take it all, with no reservations.

Cuz I can't get enough of you, Baby!

* a general term for a means of conveying something [grace] from one location [God] to another [Rob]


vintage loveliness

I want to dress like this vintage beauty:

There are some people who can pull that off so well, but I think you almost have to style yourself like that all the time in order to really do it well and not look like you're dressing up in a costume. But still... so lovely. ::sigh::

Maybe I'll try something vintage-inspired for my company christmas party on Saturday.


so dang fun

I know I've already blogged like three times already today, but I don't think there's a limit... is there? Bsides my readership is pretty small, so it's not like I'm bothering a lot of people. ;)

Anyway, I just wanted to pop on and say that my husby makes my life SO fun. Not extravagant fun; just the simple, easy, favorite-jeans-that-always-make-my-butt-look-good kind of fun. :)

Tonight our plans got a little messed up by circumstances beyond our control, and we found ourselves at home instead of out. Rob suggested a low-key dinner since I hadn't planned on making anything, so he popped a coupla corndogs in the oven while I opened a can of *gasp* cream o' mushroom soup. (hahaha, we never eat like this!) When the corndogs came out of the oven and the soup was hot, we had a wordless conversation (you know, the kind where girl makes a questioning noise and boy answers with an affirmative grunt), shared two quick kisses that honestly made my heart race, and now he's playing an old-school video game and I'm surfing the web. He just told me that we're gonna go grab late-night happy hour at the Green Mill down the road. :D

I love my life. I love my man.


Rob showed me the best way to... peel? hull? break into? a pomegranate tonight. Fill a medium-sized bowl with cold water, cut the fruit into quarters, then hold each piece under water to break the seeds loose. Easy-peasy! No red splatters or stains, no little particles of white flesh sticking all over (it floats, the seeds sink! Genius.) and the cleanup is really simple too.

I didn't take any pictures of the process, but here's the end result- a bowl of luscious seeds, practically begging to be popped into my mouth:

definitely in the top three

Love this shirt.

(And the song.)

I hope you had the time of your life...

Comment with one memory of a time that you and I spent together. It doesn't matter if you know me well or not, just post anything you can remember. Although... some of you might have some interesting memories that I'd rather leave forgotten! Just kidding. I think. ;)

I'll respond with my own memories of us, too!

Bonus points if you know the song from which this post's title came from. :)


my dadster

That's a mashup of "dad" and "pastor", because my dad is my pastor. :)

As long as I can remember, Dad's been a pastor; he was ordained in 1980 after apprenticing under Albie Pearson for six or so years. We have pictures of him preaching at his first little church in Reno with my brother David on his shoulders... so this pastoring gig has been a way of life for us Storeys. I used to hate the pressures of being a "P.K.", but now I'm grateful and appreciative for the sacrifices that were necessary, and the grace that the Lord always gave us as Dad dedicated himself to full-time service.

I can remember many, many times that anyone would have given up trying to shepherd and gotten a "real job" with grateful recipients of his labors and a steady salary, but my Dad has held fast to what the Lord has called him to with unwavering faith and steady determination. I don't think I personally know anyone with stronger faith than my Dad. Without fail he always, always trusts the Lord, no matter what opposition he encounters, or no matter what the situation look like in the moment. I know there were many months that rent was paid at the last minute, or dinner came from Grandma, but Dad never gave up. Even now, when he hasn't taken a salary raise in 15 years and making ends meet isn't easy, and there are still people who gossip and slander, he presses on in the calling that the Lord gave him. He is faithful.

While there are many traits that go into making up a good pastor, my Dad excels in the number-one most important: being immersed in the Word. I can remember getting up at 3:30 am when I worked at Starbucks during college, I'd come out to the kitchen to make coffee and there Dad would be, on the couch, Bible in hand, reading and praying. I don't know why it surprised me every time I saw him there, but it did. Who voluntarily gives up their sleep at 3:30 in the middle of the night?? Apparently my Dad does. And he has been keeping that pattern for years, so my Mom says. Now I know why the enemy has been held at bay in so many areas of my life, in our family, and in our church. Dad knows how to call on the One with unending strength when his own strength fails.

Dad's also a man of prayer. My guess is that he spends roughly 15 hours a week in actual active prayer. Whenever I ask Dad for advice on a seemingly impossible situation, his answer always ends with "go to the Word. And, honey, you just have to pray more." It used to frustrate me. I wanted an answer, darnit! None of this live-by-faith stuff, Dad... just tell me what to do! Oh how glad and grateful I am that Dad pastored me to go straight to the Source and seek His face for my answers.

The amount of Scripture Dad knows never ceases to amaze me. He's read his One-Year Bible through (and finished early!) for the past 15 years, and he always carries some form of the Word with him at all times, whether its his little pocket Psalms & New Testament, or a full-size Bible in whatever translation he's currently reading and mulling over. The man is steeped in the Word, I tell ya. Whenever I'm having trouble recalling where a certain verse is, or who said "be tenderhearted and forgiving", he knows pretty much right away that it was "Paul in Ephesians 4... maybe around verse 32 or so". Even when I'm looking something up using Bible software, he almost always finds it first, either in his own mind or in a hard copy Bible. He just knows his stuff. He never quits learning.

But more importantly than knowing where verses are, or what Greek word is used, he lives it out. He truly is a servant-leader who lays down his life for his church and his family. His sermons are always full of truth, he truly delights in praying and worshiping for hours, and he longs to see the glory of the Lord fill the earth... and I know he won't stop preaching the Gospel until he's called home. Then he'll revel in the glory he spoke of for so long.

And there will be many, many, MANY there enjoying that glory with him, because of his obedience to the call to preach the Word.


wave o' babies

Loads of my friends are having babies. I'm serious... loads (or should I say "tons"? haha). I've been keeping a running list of almost-mamas on my iPhone out of necessity, updating as the teeny-tinys make their grand appearances. It's been such fun to get the news, pray for each of my dear girl friends as they go through their pregnancies, and then send off little packages carrying itty-bitty gifts to the brand-new people!

It's amazing how two people (together with God, of course) can create a whole new person who didn't exist at all before. I don't think I'll ever grow tired of hearing one of my friends say "we're expecting!!", it will always bring a huge smile to my heart and happy tears to my eyes. And I've heard that news no less than eleven times this year. That's right, ELEVEN of my personal, close girl friends are either pregnant or have had a baby this year (that's not counting casual acquaintances or Crossings pals). Kind of incredible... and very wonderful. :)

For the record, here's my list:

  • Bethany Barry (childhood friend)-- Faith Loraine, born 7.27.08 (at 32 weeks, she's a miracle baby)

  • Jessica Gulbranson (MN friend in our small group)-- Simon James, born 8.6.2008

  • Erica Jones (childhood friend)-- Caden Tyler, born 8.18.2008

  • Megan Hulson (sister-in-law)-- Owen Peter, born 9.15.2008 For some strange reason I don't have one snap with *both* Megan and baby Owen, so I'm settling for one of Chris (Rob's bro)and Megan right before O was born, and one of Wade (C&M's first son) with Owen. But that's allowed cuz they're family!

  • Jennifer Schmidt (sister-in-law)-- due with Baby 2 in January

  • April Williamson (friend from Nashville)-- due with Baby 2 in January

  • Erika Jackson (friend from Nashville)-- due with Baby Boy 1 in January

  • Cassidy Harper (friend from Portland)-- due with Baby Girl 1 in January

  • Katie Allen (MN friend from church)--due with Baby 2 in January

  • Alisa Craig (MN friend from church)-- due with Baby 1 in April (ack- I don't have a single picture of Alisa!)

  • Johanna Puelston (MN friend in our small group)-- found out this Sunday that she's due with Baby 1 in mid-July!

  • Wowzers. Here's to (apparently!) happy marriages, and kiddos who grow up to be Jesus-lovers! Congrats, my dear friends... and God be with you. :)

    (PS- ten points to anyone who knows the TGS reference in the title!)


    happy monday!

    I have had a very busy and full weekend with the TBI seminar (I only went to Friday night, I just was sooo tired to go on Saturday morning) and Grace's wedding, the after-party, and then going to chat with our mechanic about our elderly car's health.

    Like I said, I only went to Friday evening, but I'm very glad I did. The topic was God's sovereignty over suffering. At first I was just listening, but about half-way through everything he was saying was gripping me mentally. Bottom line: God is not only in control of all things, good and bad, but He will get glory from them, and He is working for my GOOD. It's such a comfort to remember that He is indeed in complete control, even if what I'm most afraid of comes to pass. I can bank on that. It's like stepping onto a rock just under the surface of the water... scary because you don't really know if it's going to be a good foothold, but once you test your weight on it, you find that it's firm and solid. The more I trust Him, the more He is seen as trustworthy to people around me. And He is! Man, how often I forget that He's planning my steps and orchestrating things for my good. I don't think the opposite, I just forget. And then go about my daily business as if I am in ultimate control, when in reality, my next breath is a gift from Him. Whew.

    In light of that concept I've been much much much more aware of the things in my life that please and delight me, and more aware that they are gifts, to be enjoyed as an act of worship toward the Giver. My struggle right now is that I don't want to hold on to these gifts too tightly, as if they are the ultimate source of my joy. I want to enjoy them, obviously, but not idolize them. I mainly struggle with this in regards to my relationships (Rob, parents, brothers), and not so much with "stuff" that I have. I don't want to make any person my idol, to the point that if they were taken from me my world would crash and my life would cease to have meaning. At the same time, I want to enjoy each relationship to the fullest, showing my gratitude and the worth of the Giver. Like when you get a Christmas present, your enjoyment and use of it not only shows how much you like the gift, but that the person who gave it means a lot to you. More than the gift, but not to the exclusion of the gift. Eh, I feel like I'm talking in circles a little bit. It was a good seminar that really got me thinking again. :-)

    Rob came home from the second half of the seminar around 1pm and made us lunch- grilled cheese and tomato soup! What a lover! We got all fancied up and left for the wedding around 3. I wasn't really anticipating seeing a whole lot of people I know; Grace and I didn't really run in the same circles in the Institute, but I was pleasantly surprised! During the ceremony we sat with two of the Jensen siblings (Erin and Chris) with whom I had gone on a ski/snowboard trip in Colorado in 2005, and at the reception we were seated with them again, and also my friend Rynelle Emhof from Dallas. There were others at our table and we all blended together very well and really had a fun time. The reception was in a historic courthouse and was simply lovely... white twinkle-lights everywhere and happy music and laughter. Grace was a gorgeous bride (as anyone who knows her would imagine) and she seemed to be marrying a great guy. Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have, but you can still see how beautiful and happy they were!

    After the wedding, we initiated an after-party in Burnsville (southern suburb of Minneapolis) that turned out to be bigger and more fun than I originally thought. At first we were just going to get together with the Jensens, and we went home to change first. I was struck with a terrific headache, so after changing and getting a soothing neck/shoulder rub from Rob, I wasn't thrilled to be leaving again. Especially since it was about 9pm. Ha, we're such old married folk... we're usually heading for bed around 10 these days! But we figured that we don't have friends in the area that are up for some late-night merriment, so we'd better take advantage of it while we could! After popping two Tylenol and wearing come comfy clothes, I was in the mood for fun again. Nobody knew of a good place to go in Burnsville, so I picked a place on the map that "sounded good" and told everyone where to meet us. At first glance, it looked like a trailer-trash pub, but once inside, it proved to be quite the cozy little lodge-styled restaurant. Absolutely perfect. We had a grand time chatting and laughing until who-knows-when. :)

    Sunday was a glorious sleep-in day, followed by a delicious French toast breakfast (with a red rose from Rob, who had popped over to Cup for bacon!) and a Driscoll sermon. After clean-up we went to check on the little white car, which was at our mechanic's place...

    I guess 1996 was a long time ago, and nearly 300k miles is quite a few. Turns out that a major part of the underneath of the drive shaft (ha, I don't really know if that's the right term) has to be replaced, along with the front rotors on each wheel. Poor little car, we didn't know it was so sick! It's still drivable as-is, so we're going to take it back to him next week when it is more convenient for us to be with out an extra car, and for him to work on it. Here's hoping we don't break the [rather fragile] bank!

    The Remainder:
    Upon returning home, we realized that there was still time for the Sacred Sunday Nap®, so we happily availed ourselves... and woke up at 7pm!! Heh. So popcorn, apples, cookies, and hot chocolate were "dinner", as is usual on Sundays...ah I love traditions!

    Speeeeaaaaaking of "tradition", we watched half of Fiddler On The Roof while munching on said dinner. :) I'd mentioned to Rob a few times in the last year or so that I'd like to watch it with him sometime, but we didn't own it. He wasn't super-keen on seeing it, but he's happy to do things with me that make me happy. On Friday I came home from work and saw a brand-new DVD sitting on the table... none other than Fiddler. I exclaimed my delight, and Rob was charmingly chagrined at himself for leaving it out; he was planning on saving it as a "surprise". Heh, I'd say I was pretty surprised right then! Golly, what a guy I have!

    So yeah, last night we watched it, up to the intermission, at which point we figured we'd better try to go back to sleep if we were going to be any good in the morning. I love days like that... sometimes it's just so fun to make slightly unwise choices that are a heckofa lot of FUN with the one person who means the most to ya! It reminded me a little of when we sat up all night more than once to finish an entire season of 24 in like... 3 days?? Good times!

    And that brings me to Monday. Today. Right now. Gosh, I wasn't intending on this being a play-by-play of my weekend, but there ya have it; "a weekend in the life of R&R".

    The end. ;-)


    she bangs

    No, not the Ricky Martin song (or the butchering of it by American Idol contestant William Hung). I'm talking about my hair. Yep, I went ahead and did zee bangs last night. So far, I think I like it, and I think it will grow on me (no pun intended. really) as I get used to this style. I've already been told by more than one person that I look like Agent 99 from the old Get Smart TV series. Heh, okay... there are worse things to be compared to, I suppose. :)

    As promised, here are pictures:

    I got quite a bit of length taken off, too


    Sorry about the bad quality of the photos. Do you know how hard it is to get good hair pictures in a dim bathroom holding a slippery iPhone with one hand? Well, it's hard. Very.

    In other news, it snowed for the first time today! We didn't know this until Rob walked out the door this morning at 7:00, without a jacket. haha It's okay though, because it's not really all that cold. It was much prettier than you can tell in this picture, somehow the quick iPhone snap doesn't exactly capture flurries all that well. Huh. Whodathunk? ;)

    And now, with about half an hour left in my work-week, I'm off! Rob and I are going to an open-to-anyone TBI weekend seminar tonight and tomorrow morning, then going to a wedding Saturday evening. All in the snow, as more is supposedly expected tonight and tomorrow. What fun! Happy weekend, all!


    The previous post of gratuitous public flattery for my husband was a response to Abraham Piper's 50-word post challenge on his blog, 22words. But I wasn't wracking my brain to come up with *something* for the challenge... it just flowed off my fingers. He's just that good. Yes, indeed.

    Hair pictures forthcoming, for those who have asked. (Those who have not asked, you can look at them too. Cuz I'm nice like that.)

    Rob: in 50 words

    Handsome. Passionate. Spontaneous. Sweet. Zany. Deep. Hilarious. Talented. Singer. Entertaining. Witty. Thoughtful. Tender. Fun. Godly. Happy. Compassionate. Understanding. Kind. Listener. Hardworking. Learner. Thinker. Seeker. Witness. Selfless. Inspiring. Strong. Faithful. Caring. Helpful. Accommodating. Confident. Influencer. Wise. Adventurous. Servant. Leader. Intentional. Genuine. Devoted. Risky. Self-sacrificing. Stylish. Crazy. Loving. Hot! Mine!


    to bang or not to bang?

    I have a haircut appointment at the Aveda Institute in downtown Minneapolis at 5:15 today. I love the Aveda Inst. because you can get great haircuts by people who have been trained very well and are "higher-end" than your local SuperCuts (or whatever the equivilant is up North here, I don't know) for not a single penny more. And the whole place just feels trendy and fun. :) They do take a loooooong time though, which doesn't bother me, but I think Rob wishes he could get in and out in 20 minutes, like at SuperCuts. I just remind him that "there are sacrifices you have to make for fashion!".

    Anyway, I don't know what I should do with my mop-top. I've had basically the SAME hair since forever. I do love my length though... so I'm not quite ready to do a big chop. I love my color, so I'm not changing that. (how can I betray the brunette sisterhood?? And anyway, I always get the "oh my gosh is that your natural color??" at every. single. salon I go to) But I'm feeling the change-of-season itch to do SOMETHING different. The only thing I can think of is to do bangs again. I've had them before, but it's been a while. I like the look a LOT; it makes me feel instantly edgier and trendier in whatever outfit I'm wearing, and it's so gosh darn easy to manage. No strands falling in my eye (that I always end up pinning with a bobby in a very 3rd-grade look), very few bad hair days, and it looks good when the rest of my hair is up, down, wavy, or straight.

    The only catch is that it's not Rob's favorite look on me. I'm not exactly sure what he doesn't like about the straight-across bangs, but his favorite on me is the side-swept bang that I always do. Although he said he doesn't mind, and he'll like whatever I end up doing. What a guy! :)

    All that said, I'm looking for some ideas to give me the change and ease I'm craving... and I'm open to suggestions. Any ideas?

    Here's a quick snap of me at my desk this very minute:

    And here's a few shots of me with the bangage, so you all can see what it looks like in various renditions:

    Also, I think this style on Anne Hathaway is totally hot.

    Edit: Hrmm, why did those last three pictures post so BIG, and get cut off on the right side??


    oh yeah...

    duh, how could I forget? I heard a rumor that Starbucks is giving away free tall brewed coffees if you are wearing your "I voted" sticker, so I decided to go in and find out. Yup, 'tis true; you can get a free brew for rockin' the red sticker. I ran across two lists of other places that are taking part in the free offers to those who vote: WalletPop and Slickdeals

    So in the spirit of popular opinion, go take advantage of these great freebies-- especially since Starbucks, et al, are big, rich corporations so they definitely don't deserve to be paid another cent outta my poor pocket for the coffee/donuts/beer/chocolate fondue/college education I get from them. I deserve to get it for free because I want it, and there are plenty of other people who pay for it anyway. (gosh, I wish that worked every day)

    (and yes, I did paint my fingernails black. Because it's basic)

    and also...

    ...today is my baby brother's 22nd birthday!

    I remember the day that Jeffry was born very well-one set of grandparents were volunteering at the polls, and I was staying with the other grandparents while my parents were at the hospital. Earlier in mom's pregnancy with Jeff there had been some complications (I think I remember that he wasn't growing as much as he should have been at one point) so we all had prayed a lot for him. We didn't know it was a "him" though, so I was earnestly praying for the little sister I thought I wanted so badly. Well, at some point in the afternoon my grandma interrupted my roller-skating to tell me that I had another new little brother. I remember feeling disappointed. Ha ha, poor Jeff. Little did I know how much I would treasure being the big sis of three brothers! With no one to steal my clothes and makeup. ;) Our parents named the newest brother, Jeffry Ellis Isaac Storey. Evidently mom's labor had been particularly easy, and because of the relief of knowing he was okay in there, she spent much of the labor laughing (WTH??), hence Isaac, which means "laughter" in Hebrew. I guess Dad liked Elijah, but it was vetoed by my mom, who offered the modern form, "Ellis" as consolation. So three names it was. I got over my disappointment of not having a sister as soon as I saw the cute little guy, and consoled myself by dressing him in my old baby/child clothes a couple of times. As I did with my other brothers... more than once, and beyond the point of them being "babies", for which I got into great trouble by my dad who was adamantly raising "manly men". He succeeded, by the way. :) I wouldn't trade my brothers for the world. And that's an understatement.

    [my wedding day, September, 2006]

    Jeff has never really embodied the classic "baby of the family" persona (charmer, class clown, etc), he's always been secure in himself, independent, socially laid back, with an intense, take-charge personality that needs to get things right and direct people into doing things right (earning him the nickname "Boss of the Earth", among others). He's has always been the daredevil of the family; the rest of us would build snowboard (or skateboard, or bike, or trampoline) jumps and send Jeff down them first to see what needed to be perfected. Haha, what a little trooper he was! I have a bazillion pictures; one even shows Jeff as a small speck in the top of a tree, poised to jump off onto our trampoline, but of course they're all at my parents' house in Nevada, and I'm here in Minneapolis. This is the earliest picture I have right now, it was taken in Septemberish of 2000 when Jeff got his puppy, Champ.

    [14. I think?]

    Being the baby, Jeff always ended up on the receiving end of a lot of jokes. Like the time he got 98 mosquito bites (yes, we counted) and I told him it was a good thing he didn't get 100 because his face would droop down. He believed me with all of his little 6-year-old heart, especially since about a week later we just so happened to see a lady who had apparently suffered a stroke that caused her face to droop, who I pointed out as confirmation to my warning. I don't know when he realized I was pulling his leg. hahahaha He has loads of nicknames, including "Buka" (borrowed from a small child in church) which morphed into "Pika-Buka" because somehow the other boys found out that a certain disorder which causes people to eat one odd thing (like dirt) to the exclusion of anything else is called a pika. As a kid, Jeff was a picky eater, hence that name. (he eats everything now!) We also called him "Freckle-Eye" because he has a little freckle in the corner of his left eye. Once while at a mall with his pals, we got separated and decided to have Jeff paged... over the loudspeaker he heard "will Freckle-Eye Storey please come to the information booth, your party is waiting" while the rest of us dissolved in laughter. His most common nickname is "Geo-fry", shortened to "Geo". We got this from seeing the alternate spelling, "Geoffery". To this day we call him Geo. He was and is such a good sport! Once, he let me dress him & style his hair and take a bunch of pictures of him when I was taking a photography class in college, obligingly posing as I told him to.
    [about 16]

    In the last few years I've seen a transformation take place in Jeffry. He's gone from tagalong cute kid brother to a smart, responsible, good-looking young man, able to give advice even to his older brothers and sister. This obviously happened very gradually with him moving into his own place in Tahoe with David, getting a car, then moving far away to Idaho, and starting his own business.

    [Christmas 2005]

    But it took me by surprise when visiting my family in November of last year to realize that my baby brother is very grown up. I watched him talk on the phone with clients (double his age or more), draw up legal paperwork with the advice of lawyer friends, make wise business contacts, read books, network, and think through business plans and strategies. I was impressed. This is a guy with a sharp head on his shoulders who is going places and doing things with his life. Wow, that's my lil bro? The one who believed I had a removable, talking mole on my foot? Yeah, it is, and I'm so proud of the man he's becoming.

    I love ya, Geo, and pray for you every day that you will not only be successful in your business ventures, but also that you would grow into the image of Christ more with every new year. Happy Birthday, brother-friend!

    [Atlanta, April 2008]

    [Idaho-Nevada road trip, 2008]

    [Idaho-Nevada road trip, 2008]