Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Visit from the Herrings

We had a WONDERFUL visit from our dear friends from Greenville, SC. They were in town for a Darden Business School reunion and made time to join us at All Souls and take us to dinner. We had a lovely evening together and were able to catch up on everything from travel, to Furman, to our new life as parents.

I hate that we don't have a photo of Gordon & Sarah with Henry. But I can tell you that Henry spent some serious snuggle time on their laps. He seemed right at home there.

Gordon & Sarah: We love you so much. Thank you so much for visiting!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Something New!

In light of our week last week, it is so wonderful to celebrate new things! Our friend Juli Kalbaugh is a temporary member of All Souls. She and her husband are in Charlottesville before graduate school takes them to North Carolina in the fall. In their short time with us, she and her husband Corey have been wonderful blessings.

Juli is an artist and actually painted a piece for All Souls as we entered the season of Lent back in February. It is an extraordinary painting and was a wonderful centerpiece for us during that season.

As of this morning, Juli has launched her own website. Congratulations, Juli! Thank you for your creations.

If you want to see her amazing work, her website is

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Looking back fondly on a visit from the Texas Breens

It's been a rough week for us. Our church held a Memorial Service for Matt King on Thursday. There was a lot of crying and singing, and some laughter. It was a nice tribute to Matt, I thought. On Friday evening there was a vigil held at the intersection where the accident happened. It was too political for my tastes. You know, a lot of "Bikes good! Cars bad!!" kind of stuff, which in addition to WAY-oversimplifying the issue, should not have been the focus of the event. Anyway, tonight's regular Sunday service is sure to feel incomplete and sad, so in the meantime I'm going to focus on happier recent events:

A visit from my parents! My Dad summed up the weekend wonderfully in a comment below on an earlier post, but I'll just complement his effort with some pictures and stuff. Dad was a trooper (trouper?) for waiting so patiently to see his grandson. Once we finally got him up to VA, they immediately made up for lost time:

It was really special for me to see Dad and Henry play together, not only for sort of obvious 3-generations-of-Breen-men reasons, but also because I don't recall ever seeing my Dad around any baby before. Of course I knew he was capable (if I can handle a baby in my arms, anyone can!) but it was still a new and wonderful sight to see.

For Mom, it was the second time she got to love up on Baby H. for a few days. Love this picture.

I get sad when I think about how far away they are and how rarely Henry gets to see them, but with all them technologies we have at our fingertips these days, the distance is somehow shorter. We need to get on the Skype bandwagon. It was a precious few days with Gram and Grandpa. We love you!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

For Matt

This week has been a tough one for me and Andrew. But we have also experienced amazing love and community.

One of our friends was killed in a biking accident on Monday morning. His name was Matt King and he was a member of our church, All Souls. (For those who might not know, All Souls is only 16 months old and is made up of about 35-45 people.) He was a remarkable part of our community and was even a part of a small group of guys that Andrew hung out with regularly. It has been a deep blow to both of us.

Matt was incredible. He was truly one of those people that took on life full-speed-ahead and with great joy. JOY! Yes, that is the perfect word to describe Matt. He was funny, energetic, always smiling, and always chasing around the kids and getting them all wound up, just in time for them to return to their parents' care.

Matt loved Jesus. LOVED Jesus. And he wasn't afraid to let you know. However, he didn't need to tell you. His faith was evident. In fact, his accident occurred while riding his bike home from just serving breakfast to Charlottesville's homeless at The Haven on Monday morning. He loved serving his community.

His loss is a huge blow to All Souls. We will miss him dearly. But his death has brought out amazing beauty in our church. Tuesday night is our regular small group night. Because we knew more members of our church than just those in our small group might want to be together, we decided to invite over whomever wanted to join us. As the day progressed, more and more people let us know they'd be joining us. And finally, Matt's family decided to come.

Matt's family is from South Carolina and had made the terrible journey up to Charlottesville on Monday. After spending most of Tuesday taking care of all sorts of necessary details, they made the incredibly brave decision to join us, to spend some time with Matt's friends. So we gathered, we ate, we hugged, we told stories, we laughed...a lot, we cried, we shared. It was an amazing expression of REAL community. Together, walking through this tragedy, holding each other as we try to navigate such a senseless accident.

I am so honored to be a part of such a community.

Today, we met at Matt's apartment. His parents agreed to let us pack up his stuff and clean his apartment for them. Then, they can go through his things on their own time. It was yet another tangible expression of our love for Matt and our commitment to each other. Matt's joy was present even today. We told hysterical stories of Matt as we cleaned...and even imagined him having a great laugh in Heaven watching us work so hard. The joke was definitely on us!

Tomorrow, we will meet to formally remember Matt and mourn his loss. Please pray for his parents, his little brother Ethan, who's 20th birthday was the day Matt was killed. Please pray for the driver of the truck that hit Matt. He was not at fault at all, but will carry with him this tragedy the rest of his life. Pray that he would learn and believe that Matt would only want him to live a free life full of joy.

We are praying, too. And thanking God so, so much for such an amazing community.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Praying for Halle

As you may know, Andrew and I have a slew of friends who are expecting little ones this year or who have just recently had a baby (or babies, in the case of the triplets). It is easy with today's medical advances to take such miraculous creations of life for granted.

Unfortunately, I have received news from one of my best friends in SC that has jerked me back into the reality that each of these lives is a precious and fragile gift.

I'm writing to ask you to pray for baby Halle (who is 9 weeks old), her parents Cat & Erik and her big brother, 20-month old Anders. Last week, doctors discovered that there is something irregular about Halle's brain.

For more info, visit

Please join me in praying for Halle and her family. Even though I cannot be there in person, I can do what I know is even more powerful--rally prayers for them from around the country.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Four Months Old

We are working on a post about Andrew's parents visit. But I couldn't wait to post these.

Today Henry is officially 4 months old. Where has the time gone? Enjoy these photos we took outside this evening.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Henry's First Baseball Game

Today could not have been more glorious. It was a spectacular day to head out to Grounds and watch some UVa baseball. Joining Andrew, Henry and I were Gram (Judy Breen) and Grandpa (John Breen) and Nicole, Bryan, Tyler, Izzy, Brendan and Nicole's parents. We had a blast

Here is Nicole's mom holding Brendan, Judy, John and Nicole's dad.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Lesson from the Dodson Clan

I just had to share this.

The Easter Bunny hid many Easter Eggs in the yard at Greg and Krista's house Easter morning. Well, they decided to have a relaxed morning and not run out to hunt for the eggs right away. And by the time they did get outside, the local squirrels had done some serious damage to the eggs and devoured the candy.

Evening worship services have many benefits (both our church & Greg and Krista's church meet in the evenings). But one, unforeseen side effect is that hanging out too long in the mornings just might give the area wildlife time to enjoy the spoils of Easter morning!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Easter Morning.

Henry's first Easter basket.

All Souls, our church, had an Easter Morning Celebration downtown with Carpe Donuts. The owner of Carpe Donuts was giving away free doughnuts and coffee. What a yummy way to celebrate that Jesus Is Risen!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

What happened to spring?

We have enjoyed some summer-like days this week. What fun! I was determined to not yet turn on the a/c in the house. But once the temperature in the house reached 83, I gave in. We were having some fun with Henry when things got pretty warm. This pic is a little blurry; but I just had to share.
Andrew and I are addicted to that show "Who Do You Think You Are?"--the one all about genealogy. I'm convinced now that there might be some Michelin Man in our blood somewhere. I love his rolls!

Today, cousin Sara came by for a visit. Henry LOVED seeing her. She had him giggling like crazy. It was so wonderful to watch.

After such an eventful day, H went to sleep early tonight (early enough that there was enough light to snap a few shots). He's now in the habit of sleeping with his hands up by his ears. When he gets sleepy, he starts rubbing his eyes and grabbing his hair on the back of his head. It is so precious.