Great weekend with “the baby bump” (The Grandaddy Letters)

Rebekah, Naomi, Katie and Vicki (picture on Rebekah's camera, shot by Kelly Black)

Write this on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates…

Naomi lives 1,252 miles away in Connecticut, and we love the home she’s making there with Craig. But, there’s no place like the church that helped raise you when it comes to a baby-shower with gifts and love in equal measure! So Naomi and Craig flew down Friday night for a short but very loaded weekend that left everyone both exhausted and happy.

There are lots of stories to be told – of course – but I think I’ll pick this one because it’s loaded with history. It’s all about the photograph (above left) and it begins at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Pensacola in 1983.

Rebekah and I moved to Pensacola in 1982, when she was called as Trinity’s associate pastor. We started a young adult Sunday-school class (because we actually were young in the 1980’s!), and it became an extremely active ministry for young families. Kevin and Vicki Ronan were a key element of that group and became an important part of our closest circle of friends.

In late 1983, Rebekah and Vicki went on a fact-finding trip to Haiti (it led to a long-term involvement in one village and several major mission trips over the next decade). As soon as they came home they both got pregnant and shared the exact same due date – September 15. Naomi was born early (August 22) and Katie came along Sept 25.

Not surprisingly, Naomi and Katie became best friends. The Ronans added two boys and our families remained very close until we left Pensacola in 1996. A few years ago Katie married Pat and moved to Tampa – but Naomi and Craig left Florida for Connecticut about the same time.

Long story short… Kevin and Vicki were in town this weekend and came over to Brandon with Katie for Naomi’s baby shower. And – this is really, really cool – Katie is expecting too. Not only that, but she and Naomi share the same (October 18) due date!

It’s like déjà vu all over again.

This is a story about life. There are literally hundreds of babies born every day, and – all over the world – young families are expecting. In some of these homes – Naomi, Craig, Katie and Pat qualify for this designation – the child will be their first.

The first child marks an awesome opportunity to set precedent as to what kind of a home this family will be grounded in. There is a sense in which Naomi and Craig… and Katie and Pat… are crafting possibly the most important duty of their young lives together.

The kind of home David Henry is raised in won’t happen by chance. A home is crafted in response to the decisions the parents make:

  • Love is a choice.
  • Honoring God in your day-to-day life is a choice.
  • Diet is a choice.
  • Values are a choice.
  • Mutual respect is a choice.
  • Education is a choice.
  • The level of media saturation is a choice.
  • Kindness is a choice.
  • Consistency is a choice.
  • Conversation is a choice.
  • Culture is a choice.
  • Faith is a choice….

In other words, right now it’s all a blank slate…

…But not completely, because the young people bring their personal family history to the table. This is what Naomi posted on facebook at the airport yesterday evening, heading out-of-town, “At the airport waiting to go home to Connecticut! What a great trip this was! This baby is already loved beyond measure!”

They are all loved beyond measure! Naomi and Craig (and Katie and Pat) already know what it means to be raised in families defined by love and faithfulness. I made the following statement in a story in “Chicken Soup for the Empty-Nesters Soul”…. “Our job is to raise children well equipped to leave home and to establish faithful lives that are both fulfilling and self-sufficient…”

Craig and Naomi with Scout - in our kitchen this weekend

My prayer (for all new, young families) is that they, too, will establish families on such a firm foundation of love and faith and grace and commitment. What happens next will be no accident.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)

Categories: The Grandaddy Letters

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3 replies

  1. How exciting & amazing that Naomi & Katie are expecting their firstborns on the exact same due date!!! Thanks for sharing this story & the photos. Pat Ogden


  2. Great words and wisdom. I pray everyday the Lord’s Prayer when I go into work and follow it by asking for guidance and blessings for my wife, Kim and young son, Gabe. I pray that we can provide him the foundation of love and grace that he will be cognizant of as he grows.


  3. This is an amazing story! Vicki is my cousin and Pensacola is my hometown. I met Rebekah in 1996 when she became the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Brandon where I was a member. I remember Naomi as a youngster then. I now live in South Tampa and am an elder at Hyde Park Presbyterian. I learned of Katie’s pregnancy awhile back, but am thrilled to hear of Naomi’s pregnancy and that they have identical due dates just as their mothers did. I know that Katie and Naomi will be wonderful mothers just as Vicki and Rebekah will be wonderful grandmothers. Vicki’s mother is my namesake and I know that she will be a fabulous great grandmother. These babies will be truly blessed to be welcomed into the world with such loving families!


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