all photos by my dear and talented friend, Megan Kauflin

what a happy day to have little sister in the mix
she has been the sweetest of additions to our family
and i just love seeing her nestled in with her 3 big brothers
we are beyond blessed with this crew


GOD is here

I share this today, because I'm aware of many hurting families this holiday season
our family is grieving
the loss of Joe is still very fresh, still unbelievable
the more broken and hurting lives I see around me
the more I know that we were not made for this earth
life is a battle, filled with heartache and loss
but there is HOPE
GOD is there
and our messes are HOLY
and because of the babe born many years ago
we can celebrate right in the middle of pain
because, halleluiah, this life is not the end

this is part of a post written by Glennon

Humanity is at its best and most brutiful within the family. And so I think that this holiday season we should honor all different kinds of families. Not because they are perfect, but because they are sacred. Every family is sacred because in a family, God is there. God is love, and so where there is love between people, any people – especially broken, messed up, weak ones – there is God. And THAT is what makes a family beautiful. It’s not the clothes and the smiles and the decorations. It’s the struggles and the miracles that happen when we love each other through those struggles.  It’s God in there.
It’s the pain and the loss – the half dead trees that life hands us and it’s how we say – FINE. I am going to make something beautiful out of this. Because it may be half dead, but that means it’s also half aLIVE. And if you are breathing and have someone, anyone to love today, than your tree is half alive too. If you have someone to love, then you have a family. Even if the love is messy and broken and the person you love seems far and beyond. Where there is love, there is God. And so whatever it looks like and feels like this year- your family is sacred. I honor your family this year. Family is hard, but we can do hard things.
I am proud to say that this year, I represent the broken families. The divorced ones and the together by a string ones and the recovering ones and the ones who have suffered great, great loss this year. I represent the moms who didn’t whistle while they handed ornaments to their children this year…but instead gritted their teeth and smiled fake smiles because DAMNIT THIS HOUSE WILL HAVE SOME MOTHER FREAKING CHEER. I represent the parents who have never been so grateful for Christmas specials and movies because: I can rest. I can rest and still celebrate. I represent the Love Warriors. The warriors who know that family is not the people you see on the Christmas cards. It’s the sacred space between them.
Look for the holes in those pictures this year.The spaces between arms and curls and precious little knees. GOD IS THERE. Say a little prayer for every family you see.
God- stay close to the family in this picture. And that one and that one and that one. Snuggle in between them and stay all year. Remind them , constantly, that their mess is holy.


that was a long, unintended pause on the blogging
but life has been busy, and inspiration low

i have some catching up to do
and pictures to post
but in the meantime, before december slips by
here are a few pics of our little farm house, Christmas style




8 months

emelia was 8 months yesterday
for once i feel like i've gained some time
i was sure that she was about to turn 9 months--and have been telling people that for the past 2 weeks
hooray for getting a whole month back

our girl-girl (or just girl--as xan like's to call her)
is just the sweetest thing ever
have i said that already?? :)

as of this week, she is officially crawling
has two teeth
waves bye-bye
smacks her lips when you say "kiss"
is starting to eat more and more big people food

AND gets up 2 or 3 times a night
yes, we've regressed big time, and mama is tired
but, i know my days of getting up with a baby are numbered
 so i don't mind

she sucks her thumb, and loves her favorite owl blankie
as of now she is still sleeping in our room--
maybe i'll move her next week
 i'm not ready quite yet


first day of school

we had such a great morning
lots of smiles and excitement
chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream
a little reminiscing about our summer
just a sweet beginning to the new year


here they are, can't believe how time flies
1st and 4th
xan's first year being gone all day--
and he has run out the door each morning and come home all smiles each afternoon
i was prepared for a battle, but it hasn't been the case


our morning quickly turned into one of the saddest days of our lives
but looking back on this morning i am so grateful that the boys
began the school year peacefully
mark got the call about his dad as he was walking out of school after dropping the boys off
mark was going to be at the navy base that morning
but at the last minute decided to call into his meeting so that he could take the boys
instead of being 2+ hours away, he was 5 minutes from his dad's house
and was able to jet right over there to be with his sister
while the paramedics and police did what needed to be done
we are grateful for the timing of the things
and the Lord's care that has been so evident to us from the very first




thoughts shared by mark at his dad's funeral
we can't even put into words how much 
we miss this man 

Gratitude, Grief & Glory
My Tribute to My Father, Joseph Fedeli
When your father is Joe Fedeli, the only right place to begin is gratitude.  I am grateful that before college he entered the seminary as a Franciscan.  He wanted to become a priest to become closer to God, but he also wanted a family.  I am especially grateful for that.  His life was the pursuit of a humble man running hard to the very end toward a priestly vision that saw all life, all work, and all relationships as sacred ministry.  Dad saw people as made in the image of God, and He was in awe of the gift of his own life.  Awe of God and love of people—from this starting point everything about my Dad makes sense. 
“Sky time.”  As my cousin Mike Miller described so unforgettably yesterday, Dad would say “Sky time” to you as he snuck up behind you, grabbed your elbows and lifted you above his head to the ceiling.
Sky time was the heartbeat of my father’s life.  As I reflect on my father’s time on earth, as I weigh all the love and discipline and laughter he poured into my life, Sky time was the simple secret of his amazing life. He knew the power of uplift, of elevating another person above yourself, and he especially knew the impact this could have on children and on those who are struggling in life.  What I want to give you today is a brief behind-the-scenes look into what made my father tick.  It has taken me 37 years to come to grips with it, but in my father’s passing his secret has become so powerful and vivid and real to me as to be unmistakeable…and completely compelling. 
Make no mistake.  Dad had his flaws.  He would be the first to tell you.  The man tucked in his sweatshirts.  He may have been a little too willing to trust people at times.  But the fruit of his life points to something undeniable: He was truly great.  And his greatness is in this room today, it is the impact his life had on you and me.  And the proof of this is the Sky time you all have given me this week by lifting me up with so many kind words and stories of Dad.
Some public legacies are not matched by a consistent private life of integrity and service when no one is looking.  I can tell you, as good as his public legacy was, my dad’s private legacy was better.  When I was little he would often crouch down, look me in the eyes, and tell me, “Go past me.  Just like your pappy told me to go past him.” My dad’s parents, not wealthy or powerful in any way this world would notice, gave my dad what he needed to go further than them. It began with faith in God, which produced in Dad the freedom to love others unconditionally—as we all have felt.  This is the source of Sky time.
This is also why it is so incredibly painful to be without him.  When I came to the house, minutes after Joanna first found Dad’s body, the bottom fell out of my heart and an immense grief rushed in.  My father was gone.  I feel this grief ready to wrestle me down especially after this week ends and life’s normal routines return.  Yet, along with grief I felt this incredible joy.  He lay there in his chair almost asleep, with no sign of struggle or pain, his glasses on his face and flip flops on his feet, with one of his favorite shows, the football program Friday Night Lights. I didn’t know the exact cause of death, and I didn’t really need to know.  I knew beyond doubt that my father had passed from this veil of tears into sight of his Savior, Jesus Christ.  He broke the tape throwing his chest forward.  I also knew at that moment that his life had prepared me for his death, that I would be given the strength to do just what my dad exemplified—to entrust my grief to God and first serve others around me who need uplift. 
So I wept with my sister, my mom and my mom’s husband Stephen.  I talked to the EMTs and the police.  I spent a few moments with this incredibly kind man, Father Regan, who led us in prayer as we wept again together. Then I escorted everyone upstairs.  And then I went back down to my father’s feet and wept like I have never wept, feeling the loss of just being in my Dad’s presence and especially making him smile and laugh. And here is where I will feel the most loss moving forward. To lose my father was to lose the man who made any and every sacrifice he could to make me a man, and to go past him.  This is an amputation. 
Dad was the one I look to to know if I am on the right road.  Dad had this subtle way of letting me know I was too self-confident.  Overconfidence was probably the single thing he focused most on in his training of me over my whole life. I am so prone to it.  That’s why when I was about 10 years old my Dad gave me the book “My Utmost for His Highest” and encouraged me to “wake up early each morning and recognize your nakedness before the Lord, since he sees you as you truly are.” Sky time. A daily practice with God.
So as I move forward in grief before the God of my father, I find his example most compelling and challenging to me.  I am the kind of father inclined to control or hover over my kids for fear of something bad happening.  Know what I’m talking about?  But when Dad saw his children overconfident in our own ways and not trusting God, he didn’t try too hard to control us.  Instead, he increased his outpouring of unconditional love through kindness, he prayed more fervently, and he stood firm in recognizing the mystery that God only knows all the work He is doing in people’s lives.  In our very last conversation this past Sunday, we talked about his concerns for someone he loves dearly.  He restated to me what he has said dozens of times: “I don’t know what the Lord is doing, but I don’t want to stand in His way.” He didn’t fear the grief that could come from something bad happening to one of us.  Sky time.
Dad and I were planning a trip to go to Italy, maybe as early as this Spring, which I initiated just to learn more at my father’s feet.  He called it “the passing of the baton.” He said I was ready.  But as this fallen world would have it, I must wait.  Julie Jakopic was right yesterday when she said “It is OK to be angry about this.” This is not how God designed the world to be.  But death does not have the last word, does it?
Perhaps like me, you have regret not spending more time with this amazing man. I wanted to restate the wisdom shared with me earlier this week and at the wake yesterday by my Uncle Rich Fairley, who lived with us when I was young and became one of my heroes growing up, as he still is to this day.  He said he felt the same regret too, but he recognized my dad wouldn’t want the attention on himself, but instead to go lift up the next man as he did.  Those wise words of my uncle, whose life has become so much like my fathers, my grief this week has fundamentally changed.  This isn’t the last stop on the journey.  In the past 24 hours, one of dear friends suddenly lost her father also.  There are so many people who need to be listened to, laughed with, and lifted up, just like my father showed us.  Can you find those people and love on them?  I know you do this already.  You know the secret to a great life. 
Dad left us a rich legacy, but his work is not complete.  Dad knew to his bones that he was participating in the broader redemptive work of God through Jesus Christ, to bring love, restoration and healing to troubled people and hard places in this fallen world.  It was no accident he chose the Juvenile Justice field.  It was no accident he and my mom embraced foster care of young children.  They knew the heart of God who had adopted them in Christ, and from that they were overjoyed to adopt my wonderful brother and my amazing sister.  Glorious.  It was no accident that in my father’s final days he was beginning volunteer work with Prison Outreach Ministry and was just matched as a mentor for a man recently released from jail.  And it was no accident my father died when he died or the way he did. 
So I say to you here as I did yesterday at the wake, as Jesus himself did after telling the story of the Good Samaritan: “Go and do likewise!  Give your life in the service of others until your last breath.” And I say to you, Dad, “Sky time.  In your life you made me a man, and in your death you have lifted me to see heavenly things, so I can bring them to this earth while I am here.  You are truly great, and I cannot wait to see you and laugh with you again.” 

my handsome men