Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday

Three years ago today, I officially became a mom - could there be a better Christmas gift?

Here's a picture of my big girl taken this morning.

If you're a somewhat new reader and want to read about Kendall's birth story, you can find it here, and for the first post I did after her birth, you can read this.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

40 Minutes in a Stranger's House

Wanna hear a story? It's a good one! Well, I think it's a good could be one of those things where you think you had to be there.

Okay, so we're here in Florida for the holidays, right? It's Wednesday night, and we decided to go check out some Christmas lights. Growing up here in Pensacola, one of the local catholic churches always had this HUGE display of Christmas lights. At some point they stopped doing it, but I heard they recently brought it back. So we headed out with the girls and Grant's parents to go check it out.

We get there, and the parking lot is E-M-P-T-Y. Okay, there maybe was one other car. But that's it. Not quite the crowds we were expecting. Grant's mom gets on the phone and asks her friend if she knew anything about it, and she said that they are doing lights, but only on the weekends.

So there went that idea.

We already had the girls in the stroller, so we decided to walk around the grounds a bit. Not only did this church used to do a Christmas lights display, but they also used to have the annual "Saint Anne's Round-Up," which was just a fun thing to go to. So walking around really brought back alot of memories that I hadn't thought of in about (I hate to even say this) 20 years (that can't be right!).

While we were walking around, we noticed there were people in the chapel, so we peeked in and saw a choir director leading a practice. This might seems like a trivial detail, but keep this in mind for later.

We made our way back to the car, but Grant's mom got another idea for something to do from her friend. She had a flier for this house out in Beulah (out in the country) that supposedly had 3,000 lights and all sorts of decorations, and this was the last night to see it, so we should probably go there.

Beulah wasn't too far from Saint Anne's, so we said Why not?

So off we went to some random house out in Beulah. We finally get to the street that this house was on, and we were expecting to see a long line of cars, or traffic, or SOMETHING. But there was nothing. Just a nice little quiet neighborhood.

Grant's mom told us the house number, and when we saw it, it had a few modest decorations out front, and some decorations visible through some of the windows, but nothing that stood out. Well right after she said the house number, she mentioned, "And we're supposed to go in," kind of nonchalantly.

Grant said, "WHAT? We're going IN there?" To which I replied, "Uh, NO we're NOT!!!"

Everyone in the car just starts cracking up, because really, there was nothing special about this place. Grant drove past the house to the end of the street, turned around and drove back past. His mom said she wanted to go knock on the door, and as she was getting out, I kindly suggested that maybe he should just ditch her, but of course he didn't.

Betty actually got out of the car, walked herself right up to that door and knocked. What she and the lady talked about, I don't really know. What I do know, is about 30 seconds later, I heard, "We're going in!"

So we parked in the driveway, and Grant made a comment about not wanting to get killed. When he turned off the car Kendall said, "Daddy, don't let me get killed." And that, folks, is why we will not be winning Parents of the Year.

Okay, so we go inside, and apparently, this lady was trying to promote her house as something to come see, but it hadn't really caught on. She wouldn't tell us how many people had come, she would just say, "Not many." Which we took to mean "You're pretty much it."

I'm not kidding when I say that Betty and I hid in a corner and laughed (we tried to be quiet about it, at least) for probably the first five minutes of our being there. Then I thought this lady might really think we're the crazy ones if we don't stop laughing, so we eventually stopped and started walking around. I snapped this picture of Betty and the lady of the house, and at first I thought it was a bad one of Betty, but now I really like this one because it was taken in the middle of our laughing fit. I think I was giggling when I took it...

She had 22 Christmas trees throughout the house. Twenty. Two. TWENTY TWO!!!!!! It sounds like a lot, but she actually had a really big house, and it was very tastefully done. Here's just a sampling of what some of it looked like...

Each tree had a theme (patriotic, under the sea, nutcracker, gingerbread, etc), and usually coordinated with something in whatever room it was in. I took particular interest in her craft room and how she decorated that tree...

When I told her I was a fellow quilter, she pulled out this beauty that she's been working on. Her mom actually started it 2 years before she died, which was 3 years ago!

We found out that the reason she was opening up her house was for a fundraiser for Navy Relief. Her husband is in the Navy, and they have lived all over the world, and have collected ornaments from everywhere they've been.

Anyways, after about 40 minutes of tramping throughout her house, taking way too many pictures, asking too many questions...we decided it was time to go, where we all laughed - alot.

While we were driving home, someone (I think it was Grant) asked where her husband was. Betty said, "Oh, he's the choir director at Saint Anne's, and they had choir practice tonight."

Remember what I said earlier? When we were at Saint Anne's, we looked in the chapel and saw the choir director leading practice!!!

Pensacola's not huge, but it's not small, by any means. So that was just totally random, that we happened to see this stranger's husband in a completely different part of town.

So that's my story! If you didn't think it was funny, I'm sorry. It was definitely a highlight for us, and we keep saying that nothing from the rest of our time here will top it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

DPP - Day 19

Before the hustle-and-bustle of Christmas with extended family, we wanted to do an opening-gifts-time just for the 4 of us, so that's what we did this morning.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

DPP - Day 18

Well, it may seem I have been slacking for the December Photo Project, but not in other areas! I'm frantically doing stuff around the house, getting ready for our trip, and getting ready for Kendall's birthday party, which was this morning. It was a western-themed party, but I wanted to incorporate Christmas colors.

I made chocolate cupcakes with homemade peppermint cream cheese frosting. They were yummy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Christmas Spirit

Bear with me as I write this. I usually don't get this deep, so hang on...

During this time of year, there's countless TV shows and movies dedicated to "The Christmas Spirit" - yet none of them mention the birth of Christ, which is what Christmas is about, is it not? I mean, His name is right there in the word itself!

It's really kind of started to bother me, this generic "Christmas Spirit," so it got me thinking, which led to me writing this.

So I ask, what is the Christmas Spirit? And why do you have it? What makes this holiday and this time of year so different than all the others? If you take Christ out of the equation, what do you have? Isn't it just any other day?

I admit that I get into the Santa and reindeer thing, too. That's a really fun part of Christmas, it encourages the imagination, etc - I get it. But the holiday is not called Santamas. When it comes right down to it, we're not celebrating Santa, we're celebrating Christ.

One of our favorite Christmas carols is not a popular one, but it's one of the oldest. It's called "Of the Father's Love Begotten," and it was written in the 5th Century. (That right there is pretty cool, I think - the fact that we can still sing a song written so long ago, and the meaning of it hasn't changed. Amazing.) One of the verses says this:

O that birth forever bless├Ęd, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!

That, my friends, should be "The Christmas Spirit" - rejoicing in the birth of our Christ! Without Him, our lives are empty and meaningless.

I know this, and I've known it for a long time (since I was raised in a Christian home), but sometimes when you're taught something at a very young age, you tend to just kind of say these rehearsed phrases, and not really think about them. Now that I'm older and raising my own kids, I've found myself really thinking deeper about it all, because I really have to break down this huge concept into smaller bits and pieces to someone who's learning it all for the first time.

In closing, as I was searching for some sort of references I could use for this post, I came across this old sermon by John MacArthur. I really liked his closing prayer:

Father, we thank You for this marvelous reminder of the focus of life which is worship. May it come from deep within us, directed toward You, our saving God, for what You have done for us, what You have done for generation after generation of saved sinners and the way in which You have kept every promise to Your people. We rejoice. And our rejoice finds its focus in this great historic moment when You came into the world as a baby. Thank You, we praise You, we offer You our heart worship in Your Son's name. Amen.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mixed Feelings

You tell me if any of this makes sense...

Yesterday, we were at Grant's Christmas party for work. Santa made an appearance, like he does every year. Every year, Kendall has freaked out. This year, was not only no different, but worse than the previous freak-outs. Now, I realize that a lot of kids don't like seeing a big, hairy guy with a red suit and hat, and it's not unusual to see some crying.

This is not that.

We're talking blood-curtling screams, crying, shaking, yelling "NO!!!!" It sounded like something out of a horror movie, and it lasted for several minutes.

Keep in mind, all of this was a reaction to just seeing Santa. We weren't trying to make her sit in his lap or wave at him - He simply walked into the room, and that's what she did.

So, she finally calmed down (a little) and I was trying to get her mind on other things, so I took her to the dessert table, with all sorts of cakes, cookies, and pies. I asked her what she wanted, and she said, "A cupcape!" So, I'm looking around at all the dozens of cupcakes, and I asked which one she wanted. Buried under a couple of stacks of cupcake boxes, she noticed a cupcake with a little plastic Santa stuck in it, and she excitedly said, "I want the Santa cupcape!"


Then there was another Santa-sighting freak out (while she was holding her beloved Santa cupcake), so we went upstairs to where they were raffling off gift baskets. So we're looking at all the gift baskets, and inside one of them was a Santa stocking. I didn't see it, but Kendall did, so she said, "I want that Santa stocking!"

When we asked her why she reacted that way to seeing Santa, she never really gave us an answer except for "Because," or "I was 'cared."

But as I type this out, she's happily watching a Christmas movie featuring Santa and she loves it!

I just don't get it...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DPP - Day 14

Grant went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch with his office today, and he brought home a fried chicken foot. Awesome.

Monday, December 13, 2010

DPP - Day 13

So, I missed a day. And this picture was from a couple of days ago. But whatever. This was our sunrise the other day, and it was absolutely beautiful. For a few minutes, everything looked purple!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

DPP - Day 11

This picture deserves another post from my phone.

Yes, it's December. And yes, we're at the beach.

Don't hate!

It's nice and sunny and warm with a wonderfully cool breeze.

Don't do it...don't hate us!
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Friday, December 10, 2010

DPP - Day 10

Is this what you would choose to wear on a cold, rainy, foggy day? By the way, she's fake sneezing.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

DPP - Day 9

It happens every day, but the girls always get so excited to have their Daddy home.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

DPP - Day 8

As long as we live here, I don't think I'll ever get sick of seeing these sunsets. Would you?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

DPP - Day 7

These are my cannisters, now with chalkboard paint labels! I love chalkboard paint, and the idea to use it for this hit me the other day! Someone recommended chalk markers, and that's what I've used to write on them with.

Kendall Speak - Part 7

The other day, Kendall had a little lipstick case that my mom had left know, the kind with the little mirror in it? She put bobby pins in the case, and then she'd open the case, look in the mirror and take her bobby pin to her cheeks and her nose and she'd say, "I puttin' goulash on my cheeks and nake up on my nose."

For those that don't speak Kendallese, that's blush on her cheeks and make up on her nose.

Just now, while she's avoiding eating her breakfast, she asked if I wanted to see a trick. Of course, I did, so she did a somersault. Then I told her what trick I really wanted to see, and that would be making her breakfast disappear.

She said, "Okay! I will put my breasksast under my table!"

Monday, December 06, 2010

DPP - Day 6

I may have been a little late for yesterdays post, but I'm super early for todays - it's barely 7 am!

Kendall came down the stairs this morning, and looked out our back window/door. She saw a pink stripe in the sky, and she pointed to it and said, "Does that pink stwipe mean the sun is comin' out?" Smart girl, huh?

DPP - Day 5

So, I'm a little late getting in my Day 5 picture, but here it is! We had a great weekend with great friends in San Diego! We know Andy and Megan from when we lived in Albuquerque, but they moved to San Diego about the same time we moved to Ohio, and then we moved out here, and we're only about 1 1/2 hours away from them.

Such a fun weekend was had by all!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

DPP - Day 4

We're at the San Diego Zoo right now...that's right, I'm blogging from my phone!

These elephants are getting pedicures! And I entitle this post "Elephant Butt."
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Friday, December 03, 2010

DPP - Day 3

Today's picture is of the ornament I got at an ornament exchange last night! The exchange was done white elephant style, so things could be stolen up to 3 times. I stole this one from someone who stole it from someone else, so it was still eligible to be stolen, but no one did! I was pretty excited about it. If you can't tell from the picture, it's in the shape of Mickey.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

DPP - Day 2

Is anyone else just a little freaked out by our Elf on the Shelf (which, by the way, Kendall so cleverly named "Elfie")? I am...just a little.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

DPP - Day 1

It's December 1! Which means it's time again for the December Photo Project! I've done this for a few years now, and want to keep it going. You should join, too!

I started another blog for my newest obsession (quilting), to save those of you who could care less from seeing me post about quilts. But, I'm kind of merging the two right now. Because I'm up to my head in quilting projects that I'm trying to finish before Christmas (that just makes me laugh, because it's not gonna happen), so that's where I am today with my picture. Here's Cami's feet on the quilt I'm currently working on for my niece.

Because, you know, as soon as you lay something on the floor that's new and colorful, the baby HAS to stand on it!


I have words from the Hallelujah Chorus stuck in my head. I have to say, out of all the words and lyrics to be stuck in my head, these are some good ones: "And He shall reign forever, and ever...King of Kings, and Lord of Lords...Forever, and ever...Hallelujah, Hallelujah!"

The reason they're stuck in my head? Maybe you've seen it already, or maybe you've seen the links to it on Facebook, but this is why...

Watching that video brought tears to my eyes, gave me chills, and just made me happy. I like seeing some people's reactions at the beginning (which was maybe confusion, annoyance, shock) change by the end (smiling faces, happiness, appreciation). I was also happy that this group chose to sing this song. It's so easy for us to forget what Christmas is about - in our house, we try to strike a balance between Santa and the birth of Christ, but it does get hard given the culture we live in.

Anyways, the nerd in me came out when I heard this song, so I looked some stuff up on Wikipedia, and I thought this part was interesting:

The most famous movement is the "Hallelujah" chorus, which concludes the second of the three parts. The text is drawn from three passages in the New Testament book of Revelation:

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (Revelation 19:6)
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:16)

In many parts of the world, it is the accepted practice for the audience to stand for this section of the performance. The tradition is said to have originated with the first London performance of Messiah, which was attended by King George II. As the first notes of the triumphant Hallelujah Chorus rang out, the king rose to his feet and remained standing until the end of the chorus. Royal protocol has always dictated that when the monarch stands, everyone in his (or her) presence is also required to stand. Thus, the entire audience and orchestra stood when the king stood during the performance, initiating a tradition that has lasted more than two centuries.[11] It is lost to history the exact reason why the King stood at that point, but the most popular explanations include:

*He was so moved by the performance that he rose to his feet.
*Out of tribute to the composer.
*As was and is the custom, one stands in the presence of royalty as a sign of respect. The Hallelujah chorus clearly places Christ as the King of Kings. In standing, King George II accepts that he too is subject to the Lord of Lords

I hope you watch the video, and I hope it moves you as much as it moved me.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kendall Speak - Part 6

Usually, when something fun is coming up, I don't let Kendall know too far in advance, because she'll get really excited about it, and start talking about it non-stop. I didn't tell her about this, but she overheard me telling someone else about it (I need to remember, she's almost 3 now, she can actually eavesdrop!), so now she's talking about it non-stop. We'll be going to the San Diego Zoo soon, and she's pretty excited. So this was our conversation in the car yesterday (keep in mind, she says her L's like W's)...

Kendall: Do you wike ewephants?
Me: Yes, of course!
Kendall: Ewephants are aweways at a zoo. They wive there.
Me: Yeah, some elephants do live at the zoo.
Kendall: Mama, do you wike giwaffes?
Me: Yes I do!
Kendall: Giwaffes have big necks and ewephants have small necks. Giwaffes have big necks so they can eat weaves. But ewaphants don't have big necks. Ewephants don't eat weaves.
Me: If elephants don't eat leaves then what do they eat?
Kendall: They eat ewephant food.
Me: Oh, I see.
Kendall: And tigers don't eat weaves, either. And they don't eat ewephant food. Tigers never eat anyning.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I Do, Do You?

Have your Christmas decorations up, that is. Last year, I was really unmotivated to put up decorations...maybe that was because I had a newborn, and we had gone to Florida for Thanksgiving, and I was stressed at the thought of travelling with two babies across the country, so I didn't want to think about decorating a house. Or maybe not, who knows?

Anyways, this year, I have definitely been in the Christmas spirit! I really do love decorating for Christmas, so I was glad to see that the spirit hit me this year.

A couple of weeks ago, while Grant was on a solo trip to Ikea, he came back with something for me - which is a very rare thing, which is what also made it so special! He knows I love Christmas decorations, and when he saw this set of Christmas trees, he thought of me.

I absolutely love them! Don't they look kind of Dr. Seussy? I think so.

I might put pictures up of other decorations, but right now, the house is kind of in disarray, and not very picture-worthy. But our tree sure looks pretty!

I had a little elf help me. Not this elf, though...He's just here to keep an eye on us.

Something about that elf on the shelf and the books behind him just makes me laugh.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're still looking forward to an awesome Thanksgiving dinner with some friends this evening. My contribution is this yummy sweet potato casserole...

...and fried okra that has yet to be cooked. I'll be introducing a bunch of Californians to the Southern treat, so I hope they like it!

I'm thankful for so many things, but in particular - my wonderful husband, my two sweet daughters, the beautiful weather, and special friends that we get to spend the evening with. I'm also thankful for the rest of my family in Florida, South Carolina, and Iraq. I wish we could be with everyone!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kendall Speak - Part 5

I was pretending to eat Kendall's side, and Grant was "eating" her foot. We told her how yummy she was and she said, "I not yummy! I taste tewible!"

Kendall tried to give me some candy and I said, "No thanks, I'm not hungry right now." She said, "Yes you are!" Then she put her ear to my stomach and said, "I hear your tummy grummin'!" (that's grumbling, by the way).

When we were at the beach in Oxnard a few weeks ago, Kendall wanted her sand toys to play with. I told her I forgot them at home. She was quiet for a few seconds, then she asked where Target was.

One afternoon, after a very short nap, Kendall came downstairs. I said, "Kendall, did you sleep? I don't think you slept." She said, "Yeah! I sleep tight!" (Referring to when we tell her to sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite).

Monday, November 08, 2010


Try to follow me here...

When we lived in Albuquerque, we became very close friends with Brent and Edie. They had previously lived in Los Angeles, and we now attend the church that they used to attend. So we're friends with people that they were friends with. Got it?

Also while we were in Albuquerque, we were friends with Andy and Megan (who now live in San Diego) and Oliver and Summer (who now live in Michigan). Got that?

Rewind about a year...I'm at church here in California, and Florianne (a mutual friend of mine and Edie's) said that Edie was turning 40 next year, and we should all go out and surprise her. I told her I was in!

So for the past year, there has been preparations for this epic surprise. And epic it was!

Most of the planning has happened just over the last few months. Megan and I were planning on flying out from California, and we were planning on staying with Summer, who was still in Albuquerque at the time. Summer told me there may be a chance that her family was moving to Michigan, so we would need to have a back up plan as far as a place to stay. But she assured me that if they moved, she would still come out for the surprise. That did happen, so we made arrangements to stay with someone else, and Summer booked a ticket to Albuquerque.

Are you following? I feel like I need a chart.

Marchelle, who is another mutual friend of Edie's who lives here in California, booked the same flight as me. Florianne, Deb, and another Kelly all planned to drive to Albuquerque from California.

I definitely need a chart.

In the meantime, I'm the link between the "Albuquerque people" and the "California people," since I'm the one that actually knew everyone involved. There was a secret Facebook page, Facebook chats, Facebook messages, emails, phone conversations...ALOT of communication!

Summer came up with a pretty elaborate plan to surprise Edie. I can't remember what she named it, but it was something like the "Magical Mall Surprise." And that's what it was!

The day of Edie's birthday, we were all going to one of the malls in Albuquerque where all of the out-of-towners were going to be spread throughout. Susan (an Albuquerque person, and the one who's house me, Megan, and Summer ended up staying at) found a way to get Edie and her kids to the mall. They first went to Forever 21, which is where Marchelle was. Then it was the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, where Florianne was handing out chocolate. About that time, Boo (Edie's 10 year old son) said something to the effect of, "This is getting kinda creepy). Then they came to Aeropostale, where I jumped out behind a couple of mannequins. Then it was on to a kiosk outside of American Eagle, where Megan was trying on sunglasses, and Deb was a mannequin in the window of American Eagle. Then we went to some kind of strange store where they sold belly dancing outfits, and the other Kelly came out from the back. Then we went to storytime at Barnes and Noble, where Summer was reading to some random (scared?) little girl. Each time Edie came across one of us, she was super surprised! Oh, and Erika (another Albuquerque girl) was dressed in disguise, and she hopped around to all of the places with a camcorder, to document all of the surprises.

After meeting up with Summer, we promised Edie that was the end of the surprises, and we wanted to take her to dinner. Little did she know, that we had reserved the private room at Savoy Bar & Grill, and there was a whole bunch of local people there to surprise her, as well!

What we realized throughout this process, is that for a group of Christians, we are really good liars! That's usually not a good thing, but it came in handy for this elaborate plan.

The next day, after everything had settled down, Edie got a few more surprises - Joanna and Jana, two of Florianne's daughters flew in from California. She also got a great little scrapbook that Marchelle put together, with pictures and messages from friends from all over.

Needless to say, I don't think anyone will or can ever top this!

A fun little fact that we came up with while we were all together - the number of kids represented by all of us who were there with Edie was 28!

It was a great weekend. Edie and I are now not the links bridging everyone together - all of the "Albuquerque people" and the "California people" are now friends, which is a great thing! There were a few Albuquerque people who had moved away and weren't able to make it for various reasons, but everyone who didn't make it was thought about and talked about and missed!

For some of us, it was the first time we left our kids behind. I personally thought it would be difficult, and the night before I left, I was a little bit of a wreck. But while I was there, I never really had the urge to be home. I fully enjoyed my time away!

I hope this all made sense. If it didn't, that's okay - just enjoy some pictures...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Life and Death

Yesterday, we celebrated Cami's 1st birthday! I didn't want to have a full-on party, but I did want to do something special. So I ended up just inviting Melissa and the girls over for dinner. I had thrown a baby shower the day before for a friend who's having a girl, and I made these pink and brown butterfly decorations. I'm cheap, so I decided to keep those up for Cami's birthday.

The menu consisted of:

Crostini with Brie, Dates, and Toasted Walnuts
Baked Orzo with Shrimp, Lemon, and Feta
Green Beans with Tomatoes and Balsamic
Dark Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes for dessert

These were all new recipes for me, and everything turned out great, but for me, the stand out was the crostini. I even took a picture of them!

The cupcakes were also good. It was from my new "Simply Sweet" dessert cookbook from Pampered Chef, and it's a nice twist on a molten cake. The gooey middle comes from sticking a chocolate truffle inside the cupcake when they come out of the oven.

We had a good time. Kendall and Mookie were silly, as usual. And even though we didn't have family there, it really turned out to be a nice, memorable celebration. Although, we did Skype with a few family members, so that was nice.

Today, we're remembering the second anniversary of Ryan's death (Grant's younger brother). He would've been 19, and in his second year of college. I found these old pictures from when Grant's family visited us in Albuquerque in either 03 or 04, so Ryan was either 12 or 13.

And I don't know when this was written, but it's evident that Ryan really looked up to his big brothers. I think Grant's mom sent this to us after he died.

This sounds so cliche, but it's true - only God knows why Ryan died so young. We will never understand why, but we have to remember that it was part of God's plan. However, we can be comforted knowing that Ryan was a follower of Christ. 1 Thessalonian 4:13-18 says:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.