Archives For Family

 “All babies are glorious before God.” – The Shepherd of Hermas

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Storment’s Party of Six

G.K. Chesterton once said that he learned more about God from watching children than from all the books in his library. And I’m starting to understand what he means by that.

That quote at the beginning is from an ancient Christian document from around 150 A.D. We hear it today and it sounds like the kind of common sense you’d read on a fortune cookie or on a Taco Bell hot sauce packet…but in it’s day it was absolutely revolutionary. In the world that it was written in people didn’t think that babies were glorious before God. Babies were a risk and if you were lucky a retirement, and while parents loved their kids back then too, nobody would have thought to make such a sweeping statement like “All babies show us something about God.”

Yesterday as I was sitting in the Hendrick Hospital room in Abilene, I kept noticing their signs saying stating their mission was to be an institution that embodies the healing ministry of Jesus, and it dawned on me once again that we’re having a baby in an environment that values children largely because of a Jewish Carpenter who never had kids of his own, but said that we should not just welcome them…but become like them.

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Hannah holding Joel for the first time

Yesterday morning, Leslie and I showed up at the hospital around 3:30 A.M. and after about 14 hours of labor she gave birth to a healthy 7 lb 10 oz baby boy we named “Joel Jefferson Storment” Actually, at the time he wasn’t named “Joel Jefferson” he didn’t have a name until late last night. We had decided to wait until we actually met the new little guy before naming him. We wanted to spend a little time with him before we named him, you know, just in case we named him Malachi and he came out looking like a Gus.

We now know that is a mistake because no one should be able to name a child after 20 hours awake and an empty stomach.

Leslie once again had a natural childbirth, each time we go through this I’m reminded how incredibly tough she is. I get lightheaded when I watch House, but when it comes to delivering kids she’s like General Patton.

Last night, after Joel was born, it kept washing over me that I’ve got a better life than I deserve, and if I killed over tomorrow I’ve already gone over the amount of joy anyone should have in a lifetime.

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Eden and Samuel with Joel

Eden, Samuel and Hannah are so great with their new brother. A camera can’t capture the wonder in their eyes as they look at him. Samuel immediately started trying to teach him about Star Wars and Legos and Eden started singing him the Razorback Fight song (a big parenting win!) Hannah just wanted to hold him and give him all those hugs and kisses that she’s been saving up for months (while practicing on her doll) .

And since one day this little guy is going to look back and wonder where he got his name, and so this is what we want to tell him:

I want to tell you about why we named you Joel. Your name means “The LORD IS God” and In the Old Testament there’s actually an entire book called Joel (you could’ve been named Obadiah) it’s from a really bad time in Israel’s history when the Israelites are losing everything from a bizarre natural disaster. The locusts are eating their crops and destroying their livelihood and God tells Joel to remind Israel that even though things are bad now, God hasn’t given up on them. Even though they didn’t plan out their future this way, God has Joel tell them not to lose heart because God plans to give back what has been taken away.

Actually here’s how God says it: “I will restore the years that the locusts have eaten.”

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Samuel pausing from telling Joel about Legos to take a picture

I love that idea. That somehow all the years that didn’t turn out exactly the way you’d hoped…God was going to restore. I don’t know how God runs the universe. I know that there is a lot of heartbreak out there that we all contribute to, and these days it feels overwhelming. You are being born into a world that is terrified and divided. Today’s newspaper was covered with news of the Ebola virus and another flare-up of violence between races…somedays it feels like the locusts are winning. But we still believe God plans to heal all harms and that the word He started and said was good he has never let go of.

So we named you Joel, he was a prophet of Restoration…because we believe that’s who God is and we believe that’s a good thing to give your life for.

I want to tell you about your second name. That’s important too: Jefferson. I know it sounds quite presidential, but that’s one of your grandad’s name (technically Cletis Jefferson is my dad’s full name but…) We gave you this name because we think that names matter, at their best they give you a kind of trajectory for what a good life might look like, and we know that there are a lot of temptations to think a good life is something shiny and expensive. But on the day you were born we wanted you to know what a very good life looks like.

As you get older, you’re going to hear and see a lot about men pursuing women as objects, as if they were something to be collected, and the person with as many as possible has the best life. We don’t believe that’s true. So we named you after a guy who has loved only one woman and loved her well, and will die 10,000 times happier than Hugh Heffner (I’ll explain who that is when you’re older) could ever dream of.

As you get older, you’re going to hear a lot from a lot of people who assume that the best life involves lots of money and prestige, but we named you after a guy who’s highest paying job was an assistant manager at Wendy’s, who’s T.V. repair business quit because he didn’t have the heart to charge the people who he served, but who laughs easier than anyone I know and sleeps well at night. We named you after a guy who’s rich where it counts.

As you get older, you’re going to see lots of people trying to position themselves for status in the world, and some of them will be good at it. We named you after an un-assuming guy who’s quietly served others with a disarming humility for 70+ years. We named you after someone who never won an award, but did win a lot of people’s hearts with the ability to make fun of himself in a way that brings joy into whatever room he’s in.

We want you to know that’s what a good life looks like.

And we want you to know how much your family already loves you. You’ve got grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins that can’t wait to meet you.

You are very loved little buddy.

Welcome to the world and welcome to the family.

P.S. In the interest of full disclosure, I had also tried really hard to let Leslie name him “Joel Danger Storment” but apparently Leslie thinks that might make it hard for him to ever book a flight..

P.P.S.  It still might be a nickname.

Christmas 2013 Movie

So this is what we’ve been doing for the past several days. The company says that it takes 2 “moderately skilled” workers 20 hours. It took 7 of us 36 hours. (We felt like we were being insulted by an instruction manual)

I feel a bit like that kid in the new Apple commercial who spent Christmas making a video, but this was one of the most fun presents Leslie and I have ever been able to give. And it takes a village…literally. Almost our whole street that got involved in building this.

It’s hard to believe that one year ago, Hannah was born, it was a joy, and a bit confusing, celebrating everything today, but we are so thankful that we have so much to celebrate.

We’ve never been good at planning enough to send out Christmas Cards to all the people who have blessed our lives. And honestly, we’ve been so lucky with friends we can’t afford the stamps. But here’s a way of saying thank you to all of our friends and family.

Whatever your Christmas looks like, or whoever you built something for, from our family to yours,

Merry Christmas!

On January 8, 2013

Changing Resolutions

IRS LETTER TO NEW PARENTSThere is something about the first couple of weeks in January that make us want to try and become someone better. So you set your goals, get your memberships, or buy the patch.

You want to be a better person.

For the past ten years I’ve set pretty ambitious New Years resolutions for myself. I’m not a Type A personality, but I’m close. Like a type A- or something. I love to work hard toward accomplishing a goal, and the thrill of having done something difficult. So in the past I’ve started rigorous work-outs or planned to read through the Bible in a year, or combine the two (B90x) or whatever it was.

But not this year.

This year Leslie and I didn’t have any goals, we had a baby.

And for the past few days our little family has just been living life through the baby fog.

I saw the above picture sometime last year, and I loved it. It’s an actual return letter from the IRS. A couple apparently was being audited because there was some discrepancies in their tax report. And the couple gave as their excuse that the human brain turns to Jell-O when having a baby.

And the IRS accepted it!

Which makes me feel better about where we are at in life. Because if the Federal government accepts this line of reasoning then we are at least somewhat in a normal frame of mind.

Hannah Grace has already gained a couple of pounds, along with her daddy, (generous church members and no resolutions don’t mix well). She’s already growing taller, doing new things, and making new faces. And if our experience with the other kids holds true, these days are long and the years are short. She will one day become a toddler, then an adolescent, and then a woman.

She’s born to change.

So I’m thinking about change, and resolutions and becoming a better person, all while I hold our new little baby that can’t really do anything, and I realize that this season just might be a word from God for my life. And maybe for you too.

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On December 26, 2012

Hannah Grace: A Christmas Miracle

Eden holds Hannah for 1st time

“God makes babies, because God loves stories.” – Elie Wiesel
So yesterday afternoon at 1:14, Leslie gave birth to our 3rd baby. She’s a girl, named Hannah Grace, despite my coworkers‘ suggestion to name her Hannahkuh. Actually, at the time she wasn’t named Hannah, we decided to wait until we actually met the new little girl before naming her.

We didn’t want to give her a name, and then have her come out looking like a Barbara. However, we now think that might be a mistake. Mainly because we forgot that all babies come out looking like Winston Churchill.

I also forgot how crazy being in the labor and delivery room is. It is very much like being in a war zone. The nurses heard all the crying and moaning and were concerned for a while, but eventually I pulled myself together (Leslie barely broke a sweat). Each time we go through this I’m reminded how incredibly tough she is. I don’t even handle paper cuts well…so I’m very glad that my role is just to do jazz hands and have the nurses sedate me.

G.K. Chesterton once said that he learned more about God from watching children than from all the books in his library. And each time I hold a new born baby I get a glimpse into what he meant by that. Especially when you get to have a baby on Christmas Day. the sheer vulnerability of this little 6lb bundle of skin, makes the Christmas story seem all the more impossible.

She’s so fragile and wonderful, and so dependent. She depends on others just to stay alive, and for every Christmas after this one, I’ll have a better reminder of how far the trip was for the Word to become flesh.Hannah getting her foot printed

But this Christmas birth was especially powerful for Leslie and I, because it was exactly a year ago at this time that we were in the same Hospital for very different reasons. Last year we had a later term miscarriage that was difficult, and as we were holding our new little girl today it dawned on us that we wouldn’t have her, if we wouldn’t have gone through that.

Last year one of my good ministry friends told me about something a delivery doctor at his church had said.

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On August 7, 2012

Storment’s: Party of Five

This is a video of our trip to the doctor yesterday. This video is our way of sharing our trip with the people we love. We had a blast doing this, Eden and Samuel are pretty excited (as you can see) and we are, as a family, pumped to welcome a new little one into the world. So thanks for being a part of life, and for helping to welcome a new little baby into the world. Love, the Storment’s.

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On February 15, 2012

Naming The Loss

In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul says that we should comfort others with the comfort that we have received in our sufferings. To that end, this is the letter we wrote in December, to our daughter who was never born.

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On April 17, 2011

Samuel’s Birthday

So today is Samuel’s 1st Birthday. It seems like yesterday that he showed up. We weren’t ready for him to be here, but here he came nevertheless. (We hadn’t even settled on his name. So for the first 6 hours of his life, he was Baby Storment). His entire first year has been pretty topsy-turvy. We’ve moved 4 times, changed jobs and cities. We left a church community that we loved and came to one that we are growing to love.

A lot has happened in this last year. And we are so glad that Samuel has been around to be a part of it. This is a post I wrote on Samuel’s actual birth day. And it’s more true now than ever. Thanks for being here little buddy. Leslie and I are so proud to call you son.

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God’s continues to make babies, because God loves stories.” – Elie Wiesel

So yesterday morning at 5:18, Leslie gave birth to our 2nd baby. It’s a boy, named Samuel David. Actually, at the time he wasn’t named Samuel David, we decided to wait until we actually met the new little guy before naming him. Our thought process was that we might name him one thing and he come out looking like a Zebediah. We now know that is a mistake. Mainly because we forgot that all babies look like potted hams during their first few moments, and we didn’t want to name him Spam. Continue Reading…

On February 14, 2011

Dancing with Eden

Maya Angelou was once asked what was her secret to being such a good writer and poet. Her response was, “Because when I was a little girl, every time I walked into a room my daddy’s eyes lit up.”

One of the greatest joys of my life is to have a daughter. It’s also is one of my greatest concerns. I know that the way a lot of little girls grow up to think about God is influenced by how they saw their dad. I’d like for my life to be a bit of a parable for Eden to see God more clearly through.

But I also have learned something about God through Eden. Actually, I’ve learned a lot through her. I’ve learned what it looks like to trust someone implicitly. The other day, Eden actually told me “Don’t worry about anything daddy, because God is in your heart!”

Did I mention that she is two?

Leslie and I have learned a lot about unconditional love through how we feel about her.  We’ve re-learned about the kind of innocent curiosity that life can beat out of you. And she’s taught us how to treat people better. Eden sees people. Better than I do, the world hasn’t taught her yet that certain people aren’t supposed to be treated kindly. So she will stop in the grocery store, and make Leslie say hi to people that she wants to get to know. She hasn’t quite bought into the whole concept of boundaries just yet.

But probably the best thing that she has taught us is how to dance.

Almost every night, the Storment’s have a dance party. One that is almost always initiated by Eden. Her particular favorites right now, are Nelly, Black Eyed Peas, Nat King Cole, and of course, the Tangled soundtrack. And almost every night, we get together and dance. Some might say that what I do looks more like convulsions. But Eden hasn’t complained yet. Continue Reading…

On January 13, 2011

Swagger Wagon

This is a follow up to the recent post on being a Mini-van Owner. One of my friends showed me this video to help console me. It worked. This was greatness. The creative team behind this was genius…Loved the line: “Every mother’s day proves, I’m kind of a big deal.”

Special thanks to Jim Settlemoir for passing this on.

On January 8, 2011

Seasons (or the Death of Cool)

I remember when we first had Eden, I was obviously pretty pumped about having a daughter,  but I vowed then to never to be the owner of a Minivan. We would be the cool parents, you know the ones, they just throw the baby in their messenger bag and hop on a motorcycle as they speed off to whatever cool social event they had just been invited to. Obviously showing up fashionably late.

That dream died this week.

I’ve heard it said that owning a minivan is the death of cool. And while that’s true, I never realized how little value “cool” would be to me at this season in life. I remember reading Paul Reiser’s book “Babyhood” in college, and this paragraph has stuck with me through the years:

“The Mini-Van is the last stop down in the ‘I used to be cooler than this’ slide.  Because in a Jeep you can still at least pretend to be cool. When you’re at a stoplight and an attractive woman pulls up alongside you, you can still smile and convince yourself, ‘Maybe she thinks I’m enormously rugged, and the car is loaded up with equipment for that dangerous geological expedition.’ But in a mini-van you’re fooling no one. You’re on a your way to Gymboree, the side compartments are stuffed with diaper wipes, and the interior is all sticky with Apple juice. But you know what…You’re a dad, not Indiana Jones.” Continue Reading…