Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Joseph

We are so thankful that God gave us four years to nurture this precious boy, and that all of his days were written in His book before one of them came to be. We are sad we don't get to hold him and celebrate with him on his birthday but we know his day will be full of joy and gladness as he dances before the Father's throne.

Looking back over the last two years it is hard to imagine getting through them without the unbelievable support, love and prayers of our family and friends. We want to thank all of you who have loved us, prayed for us, and basically upheld us as we walked through an unbearably difficult time. It is hard to express the gratitude we have for all of you who have cared for us so deeply. Thank you.


In memory of Joseph's life I have put together a slideshow, along with some original songs by Allen. Over this last year a huge part of Allen's healing has been writing and recording these songs with his friend, John. I know I'm not biased but they are some of the most heartbreaking yet beautiful songs you will ever hear. These two are the only ones ready right now, but we hope to share more of them soon. And please forgive the length of this slideshow. It was just too hard to make it any shorter.









John 14:1-3
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.


Philippians 3:20-21
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.


Revelation 21
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

64 comments:

Sarah-Jane said...

aww gillo. That was so perfect.
Thank you for putting this together for us all to watch.
Happy Birthday Joseph.
We miss you so much.

Kate Etue said...

Beautiful. I can't believe a year has passed. We miss you guys and miss Joe. Love you!

Anonymous said...

Gillian and Allen,
Once again I'm speechless and unable to even think of words to write to you. Your willingness to share your heart with all of us as you have walked through this incredibly difficult time has pointed me to the Cross. Your strength has strengthened my faith. We will celebrate Joseph's sweet life tomorrow at New Hope and as the balloons go up into the sky, I will read to the students the scripture verses you have written on the blog. My heart is with you. I love you and miss you so much.
Mimi

susan and brian said...

Such a wonderful celebration - beautifully put together and the music awesome. Thank you for letting us share the insight into Joseph's life and all your lives. Thinking of you all at this difficult time. Love always, Susan and Brian

Lynn T said...

Happy Birthday sweet Joe P. We love and miss you. Love, Aunt Lynn

Jennifer said...

Wonderful slide show Gill. Many a tear will be hitting a laptop. Mine were flowing fully. The music was awesome Allen (and John). We are mourning these next two days with you as will many others. We love you so much. Joseph was a brave little boy. Many prayers and tears from Memphis. Praise God for that verse you put at the bottom about there being no more tears and no more death and no more mourning. We do have hope. There will be a reckoning.

Anonymous said...

That was a great slideshow and great music. This is a hard time for me as I am sure that it is a hard time for you all. You all are in my prayers.

Big Daddy

Anonymous said...

That was so great. Not a dry eye in the house over here. My favorite picture was at 2:05 where Joseph's in his high chair. He's got a look of terror on his face while Gil and Allen are just smiling! I cracked up when I saw that and watched it again and again. The music was perfect. Very beautiful. Love all of you. -scott cunningham

Anonymous said...

Allen and Gillian,
What difficult days these (and every one) must be. I loved the pictures---What a gift for so many of us who love you and pray for you! I'm so glad that Holly will grow up with all the precious pictures of the two of them hugging, kissing and laughing together! You have blessed so many with your honest words and feelings, but always sharing God's word, which brings comfort and so much hope. And, Allen, your songs are beautiful! May God continue to uphold you and strengthen you.
Love, Carol

Anonymous said...

Gillian and Allen,

Thank you for sharing the beautiful songs and photographs. I love his mischievious grins and I remember how you said he loved to say, "lets not tell mommy about this!" or "lets not tell daddy about this!" He is such a beautiful boy. We will keep you close in our hearts and prayers during this season. How I do long for that day when every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more mourning and sorrow.

love to you,

paige c.

Melody Lemonds Borum said...

Thanks for sharing this video. I wish I had known Joe P. He seemed like a very special little boy and is loved by so many. Happy Birthday to him.

Jessica Eves said...

God Bless your beautiful family. I will always have a place in my heart for Joseph and his story.
Happy Birthday Joseph!

Anonymous said...

Once again in your deep pain you have turned us to God. The pictures and music brought smiles and many tears. And then you turned us to the One who gives us hope, assurance, and peace. Thank you. May you know of the many who are praying for you. We love you. Norma & Vann

Sarah-Jane said...

we got up this morning, had a little party and watched the slideshow. Then we all went outside, sang happy birthday and the kids each let a balloon go to heaven.
I think it was so good for all the kiddos.
We love you, Allen, Gillian, and Holly!

Anonymous said...

God Bless you all during these next few days. The video is wonderful!

Carey Heid
SJ friend

The Morris Gang said...

Gillian,
Thank you so much for sharing all of those wonderful pictures of Joseph with us. We could really see his fun-loving and sweet personality coming though the pictures. My twins watched the slide show with me this morning, and as I wiped tears Drew reminded me, "You know mom, he really is alive. The song said so." We are praying for you over the next few days.
love, jennifer morris

juliette said...

Happy Birthday Joseph. Praying for you, Allen, Holly, and your families today and especially tomorrow.
We love you.
Juliette and JR

Corrie said...

Gillian & Allen,
Thanks for sharing your journey of sorrow, grief, questions and yet also hope, with so many who know you directly and indirectly. I've prayed for ya'll often this past year and will be doing so especially this week. What a beautiful tribute to your son! May you know the tender love of the Father in a special way these days.
Corrie - friend of SJ

ErinM said...

Happy birthday Joseph. We know how much you are loved and missed by all, and how much joy you brought while you were here.

Anonymous said...

wow!! Beautiful!

suzannemorris said...

Dearest Gillian & Allen,

Thinking of you so much this month, this week, these two days....whole family had prayer time for you last night. Thanks so much for making the video and sharing Joseph's life with us again. We love you!
Suzanne, for all the Morris family

Elizabeth said...

Allen & Gillian--

We are hoping in the promise of Easter with you this week!

Love,
Tony & Lizzi

Sara W said...

So beautiful. Thanks for that. Happy birthday Joseph!

Anonymous said...

Oh, that video was beautiful. I watched the whole thing and am so thankful that you shared it with everyone. I remember the anticipation of Joseph's birth--Kathy was so excited to welcome her first grandchild. As I was watching, I was dreading the moment when the pictures changed from healthy Joseph to Joseph with cancer--but I was amazed to realize that his smile, laughter and complete joy for life wasn't altered at all, even after his diagnosis. He was truly a special, one-of-a-kind boy. Thank you for sharing him with all of us. Your New Hope family celebrated Joseph so beautifully today, and we loved remembering him with balloons and hearing the scripture Mimi read to everyone.

I told Kathy that I was going to eat a bag of "lemon-m's" in honor of Joe P today. I had to go back on your blog and find that video (Nov. 2008), where he is eating them and Allen asks what they are called--he says, "lemon-ades" then "lemon-m's." What a great sense of humor. Praying for you all this week.

Love,
Alison Fontenot

Brooke said...

Happy Birthday Joseph! We celebrate your beautiful life today and are joyful you are with our Father while we miss your presence here with us.

Anonymous said...

oops...sorry, the "lemon-m's" video is in Feb. 2008, not November, as I said in my previous comment.

Alison

Wright Family said...

so beautiful, gillian. thanks for sharing that. we've been praying for you guys all week.

Heinzfeet said...

wow, Gill, that was an awesome video. I LOVE Allen's music. I've been thinking about you and praying so much for you the past few weeks. Praying you sense God's presence and encouragement in tangible ways today. I love you!

By the way, I'm pretty sure Joseph was eating Holly's head in one of those pictures! :)

Margaret said...

Thank you Gillian for sharing this and bringing forth so many beautiful memories. My heart goes out to you and Allen and Holly and your family even more especially this week.

page family said...

Happy Birthday Joe P.

Thanks Gill for the beautiful slideshow and Allen and John for the music. I'm glad you didn't leave any of the pictures out. Every moment should be treasured. Thanks for reminding me today of how we have a God who chose us to be with him for eternity. This world is temporary, but the relationships we build with believers on this earth is eternal. We will see you soon Joe. Your family is in our prayers.

The Page Family

Melissa said...

This slide show is precious! We're thinking about your family especially today. Hopefully we can meet you all soon!
Love,
The Liens

Nana said...

Happy 5th Birthday Joe P.I bet heaven is a noisy place to-day.The song "Ican only imagine" seems very real today.As Allen said a few weeks ago Joseph is not sad.With that in mind I will hold on to that and also to Gods word from Isaiah35:10 "The ransomed of the Lord will return.They will enter Zion with singing;everlasting joy will crown their heads.Gladness and joy will overtake them,and sorrow and sighing will flee away" Joseph was such a joyful little boy here on earth I can only imagine the joy he is experiencing and sharing in HeavenThe joy the Israelites spoke of is just a little glimpse and hint of the joy that is ahead for all of us that believe the promises of God.The sorrow and the weeping and sighing that fills our hearts now wil end one day.One day when we see Jesus we will be overwhelmed with gladness and joy.I have that hope for you and for me and we will be whole in eternity I can hardly wait.Gillian and Read the book A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. and in the last chapter it talks about the difference between loss and grief and in grief there is a sweetness in remembering and remembering is eternal.So today and always I pray that God will flood your hearts and minds with eternal memories of Joe P. I have laughed out loud this morning remembering some of the hilarious things he did and then cried longing just to be able to kiss those little cheeks.I love you all dearly.Nana Bear.

Sam said...

Gill and Al,
I miss y'all and wish I could be there with you today and tomorrow. Praying for you.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIG BAD JOE P!

-uncle sam

Phil said...

Much love to all of you.

Shannon said...

Thank you so much for sharing all those precious pictures. The music was just beautiful. I especially loved the song at the beginning (and at the end). My favorite picture was the one with Joseph and Holly with Santa and Joe is screaming! It made me laugh out loud.

But I am crying my eyes out. I am so thankful I can mourn with those that mourn and that we have an eternal home where there is no pain or sorrow.

I am praying for y'all and thanking the Lord for the wisdom you have shown me through this struggle. I was reminded today that it is through these horrific battles that we are shaped into His image.

Loving you,
Shannon

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing. absolutely beautiful. we are praying for your whole family.

happy bday joseph:)

love,
erin and dave

Anonymous said...

Thank you for continuing to share about your precious Joe P. What a sweet, dear boy! I am always so encouraged to see how God has helped and is helping you day by day.May He grant you much peace and comfort today on this anniversary of his "going home" to heaven! We love you all, Chrissie and Rick

ambie said...

What a precious precious video and what beautiful music and scriptures. Praying for your family today and over this coming week. May God fill you with all comfort!!
Happy Birthday Joseph!

love,
The Hess Family

Sue said...

So, so beautiful. The pictures were wonderful and it occurred to me while watching how blessed he was to be born into your family. You can see how happy he was to be surrounded by such love and joy. You are in my prayers today.
A sister in Christ,
Sue
PS I loved the music!

Laura said...

Happy Birthday Joseph. That is a beautiful slideshow with beautiful music and shows the joyfully life of your little boy.

Brea said...

Happy birthday, Joseph! How much joy you brought to your family, and what a gift your life was to them! My tears are flowing as I think of how much they miss you and long to see you, and I thank God that one day soon you will be together again.

Allen and Gillian, I am praying for you this week. Thank you so much for sharing this remembrance of Joseph's life. What a delightful, fun, beautiful boy he was, and so full of life! Allen's songs express so well and so beautifully how difficult it all is to understand, and how faith is trusting in the loving heart of One we cannot see or comprehend. Your sincere and honest faith is an encouragement to me. May God continue to grant you His peace in the midst of grief and suffering.

Dando said...

What a beautiful post. Happy Birthday Joseph. I am looking forward to running in your race!

jody said...

PERFECT!!!! Love it love it....

Allen and JOhn are amazing musicians. What talent and heart. Thanks so much for doing this. L

OVE YOU ALL! Happy B-day Joseph. We are having big chocolate brownies in your honor tonight. Abigail sends her love and hugs and kisses. Jody

Randi said...

Tears are here. Happy Birthday, beautiful boy. I have never met you but I miss you so very much.
Love,
Randi

Christy said...

Oh sweet boy, I've thought of you so much this week. We all celebrate you and your life, so glad for the joy you now know, but that we can still only dream of. Can't wait 'til we can share it all together.

(For some reason my stupid computer won't let me see the slide show. Anger. I will persevere and find a way ....)

Anonymous said...

beautiful boy. beautiful music. thank you for sharing this Gillian! We miss Joe P. and I loved remembering him today through all the special moments you captured here.
love,
Tracey

Anonymous said...

I have followed your blog for eighteen months now and have been deeply impacted by your family's journey. Needless to say, your celebration of your son through the slideshow and music made me hug my own children tighter today and for days and days to come. Thank you for your example of love, courage, humility, kindness and grace throughout this difficult journey. You are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Little Joe P.

Gill the slideshow is beautiful. It was such a joy to watch and listen to Allen's amazing music. I miss you guys so much. I got used to having Holly spend every other night with us. The house seems pretty empty without it now that the chaos of summer is over. Hopefully we'll see you all soon.

Uncle Dave

p.s. I'm super excited about baby Peabody and the run for Joe P!

John and Sue Burch said...

That was a beautiful. Allen - the songs should be a real ministry to many - and can understand why they help heal your heart so. Thanks for sharing all of those photos and the tunes that heal. Praying for you today.

Our Family said...

I'm praying for your family today.

Ann O'Connor said...

That it absolutely beautiful the songs are amazing.
Love An Ben & the Boys

Lauren Klein said...

Love, love, love the montage and Allen's singing. What a beautiful bunch of memories you have with your baby boy. Lots of love.

Audrey said...

woke up thinking of you the past 2 mornings. praying right now gillian.
audreyfinney@bellsouth.net

inkBLOTdesignsSTUDIO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
inkBLOTdesignsSTUDIO said...

thank you so much for sharing your precious memories of jospeh. praying and loving you always.

céire

Reed's mom said...

beautiful video and songs, what a wonderful birthday celebration to your sweet, sweet boy! been thinking of you all this week, keeping you in prayer. love the willis family

Anonymous said...

Hi Gill,Allen and Holly.
Always thinking of you.
Love from everyone in Sandycove
James & Ingrid x

Ali said...

Gillian this was absolutely beautiful. Praying and thinking of you guys. Know that you have an army of believers surrounding you. Ashley Hathcox and I just got back from travelling through Europe and we made a 5 day stop in Dublin/Sandycove. What a great family you have! We saw where you all lived when you were there and pictures of you when you were little. They are so great.

much love and prayers.
ali tanner

Anonymous said...

Loved the slide show and love you guys. Thank you for sharing great memories.

Love,
Orlagh

Chloë said...

hello. that is beautiful gill. I'm sure many tears were shed in the making, as they were in the watching. your personal angel has unleashed some pretty amazing writing talent in both his parents. i'm sure he will continue to watch over you as well as he has this year. thinking of you always. love chloe

Janice said...

Praising God through my tears, renewing my hope in the absolute ruler who makes all things new.

Deb D. said...

What a beautiful child. What a beautiful tribute. The joy he had through all his life is so clearly evident, and it is easy to see why with all the love he received. Thank you for sharing your precious son with us once more. He has been missed.

Carrigan Family said...

absolutely beautiful ..... short on words and long on tears. praying for all of you.

Rosie said...

Thanks for sharing the slide show. It is good to read about the healing process for you and Allen. I am praying that all goes well with your new baby!