Thursday, December 31

10 years ago....now...10 years from now

Looking back...I am amazed how much has changed in 10 years. We had two little girls and a brand new baby. Our house was smaller and our income was just starting to increase.

Now...We have four kids. Our first is a driver, our next is about to get her drivers permit. I am approaching 40!!!! We have been married almost 20 years.
We have been working our way through a national recession but God remains faithful.

Looking forward...I will have two kids out of college (most likely), one in college and a new driver. I might even be a grandma by then. I will be approaching 50. My husband will be about to turn 50. We will be married almost 30 years.

We were thinking...that we needed a bigger house. We had outgrown our house...our new baby was still in a cradle but we were soon going to need a room for him. We were blessed, God had taken care of us financially and was allowing us to finally pay off our debt. We were starting to get to a good place in our marriage..it has since blossomed to a wonderful romance.

We are thinking...that God may require us to move again, maybe sooner than we think. The economy has slowed, but God has not...the next 10 years will be ones that will prosper due to the discipline He has been building in us the last two years.

I am thankful for...the growth of our family...not just our core family, but with rungs of love and growth. We added another child in the last 10 years. Relationships have changed and become something that I had only prayed would happen. I have reconnected with friends from the past that has brought a tremendous amount of joy!

We are praying...for direction, wisdom and guidance as we make decisions and changes in our lives.

Struggles...10 years ago...losing weight
Struggles...now...weight, but it's in process
Struggles....10 years from now..hopefully it's beat by then. :)


Now...some photos...
Ten Years Ago:


Now:


Tuesday, December 29

For Today (Tonight) : December 29, 2009

Outside my window...A dark night with a chance for snow...makes the kids happy, me not so much.

I am thinking...I should probably plan something for dinner.

I am thankful for...a warm home!

From the kitchen...who knows. I'm so tired of the "what's for dinner" question

I am wearing...jeans and my very old (have had it at least 20 years) sweater cardigan.

I am creating...some photo collages and calendars

I am going...to need to go grocery shopping soon, it's been a week and we are out of all laundry soap, and dish soap not to mention food items needed

I am reading...Humility by Andrew Murphy and Rule #1 (STILL...a lot to take in)

I am hoping...always

I am hearing...hillsong

Around the house...the Christmas trees are still up and decorated and will be for at least two more days.

One of my favorite things...my new shark steam mop! Got it for Christmas, it's wonderful. Bonus? It comes with a carpet skimmer to use to deodorize.

and now...a photo of our first white Christmas in 10 years

Tuesday, December 1

For Today (Tonight) : December 1, 2009

Outside my window...A dark night with a drop in temperatures occurring throughout the day.

I am thinking...about how to do some new things on a website on which I am working

I am thankful for...the day I was able to spend with my husband, and how blessed I am to feel about him the way that I do.

From the kitchen...Scallops in Cream sauce (My husband told me to be sure that you are thanked Angie!), Cheese stuffed chicken, salad with bleu cheese crumbles and roma tomatoes, homemade guacamole and bread.

I am wearing...my "skinny" shirt and khaki's...(bought the shirt a year ago for inspiration...and it worked!)

I am creating...some ornaments demonstrated by Angie (photos will be attached)

I am going...to be very busy the rest of this week! (Two cheerleaders with practices, two performances, a basketball game, a basketball practice, church, work, a night out at Art Walk, a Christmas party and a drive to and from St Louis for one of the mentioned performances)

I am reading...Humility by Andrew Murphy and Rule #1 (still...a lot to take in)

I am hoping...always

I am hearing...the music playing from the playlist @ mixpod.com

Around the house...I've been actually decorating for Christmas...even put a cute tree upstairs.

One of my favorite things...my wacom pen/tablet...makes editing photos and drawing much easier.

and now...a photo

Monday, November 23

For Today, November 23

Outside my window...Sunny but less than warm...in other words, it's November

I am thinking...how thankful I am that we have a warm house and ample supply of coffee

I am thankful for...the readily available items to meet of all our earthly needs.

From the kitchen...Pepperoni Pizza and Chicken Parmesan Pizza and break sticks.

I am wearing...jeans, my favorite Ralph sweatshirt

I am creating...(trying) to create some ornaments demonstrated by Angie

I am going...to the Discovery Center tomorrow with the youngest's 1st grade class field trip

I am reading...Rule #1 (still)

I am hoping...always

I am hearing...the football game my husband is watching

Around the house...my wonderful fall flowers in my ball canning jars...they make me smile

One of my favorite things...Pumpkin Pie Andy's custard! YUM

and now...a photo to share from my archives:


the door from the library to the coffee house next door.


http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 17

Thanksgiving





As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches (at lightening speed) I have been feeling pressed within my spirit to think daily of those things for which I am thankful, as are many of you. For God's love and mercy, for my family, my friends, His blessings and tender mercies.
While I was pondering this today I kept returning to the words of a hymn that would pop into my thoughts. It rolled its way throughout every thought I had, it invaded every nook and cranny of my morning. It was my constant tune in my ears and spirit.


And then I received the news of an acquaintances loss yesterday, a father lost to a mother and two daughters in a car accident. My second daughter has gone to school with the oldest daughter since 5th grade. The mom is a friend of one of my dear friends. I was reminded then that this years Thanksgiving will be one of new loss for them, and hurt and pain. But God,in this, can also be found peace, and rest and healing and even thanksgiving for what they had known. Not right
away, maybe but that is my prayer.
Jesus, keep me near the cross;
there a precious fountain,
free to all, a healing stream,
flows from Calvary's mountain.

Refrain
In the cross, in the cross,
be my glory ever,
till my wounded soul shall find
rest beyond the river.

2
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
love and mercy found me;
there the bright and morning star
sheds its beams around me.

3
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
bring its scenes before me;
help me walk from day to day
with its shadow o'er me.

Monday, November 16

For Today: November 16, 2009:

Outside my window... The rain has arrived again, taking with it the wonderful warm temperatures we've been enjoying.

I am thinking... That I need to vacuum again...two dogs, four kids..enough said.

I am thankful for...The way God has blessed my life. He has given me a Victor's confession in place of a victims mindset. My life flows with abundance of blessings.

I am wearing...Jeans and my favorite coral colored sweater

I am creating...a website, blog, editing photos from two photo sessions

I am going... to be very busy for the next few weeks...

I am reading... Rule #1 by Phil Towns, about to be reading Humility by Andrew Murray

I am hoping... always :)

I am hearing...my keyboard clicks, and the sound of "Joan of Arcadia" in the background

On my mind... my husband's job, my job, my children...and waiting to see what God is going to do in each of them.

From the kitchen... coffee. Later, Chili.

One of my favorite things... the Iphone. It's so many things in one.

The rest of the week... Cheer practices, work, editing more photos, taking more photos, working on some more projects and hopefully some time with my family.

Pondering these words... To be a victor in the midst of circumstances we must be able to say "but God"...example: There are negative circumstances in life but God intends for me to be victorious!

A Photo to share


My youngest



I saw this on a friends blog and loved it, she got it from the link below:

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Friday, November 13

Searching for Home


Lately, I've been busy. Not the typical busy, the "I'm going to explode if I don't get a second to be alone" kind of busy. The kids are all going four different directions, and then factor in work and a new project that I've been tackling (one that requires a lot of learning) and the normalities of home life (laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning). I've entered the house, left the house, re-entered the house, etc...but I've not been home for sometime. And because of that I've been short tempered, I've snapped at the kids, I've been excessively tired, I've been feeling sad...but I hadn't realized why until this morning. Sitting in my big chair, with the sun streaming in the window making my arm warm and the clock quietly ticking in the background, the aroma of coffee wafting in from the kitchen, I realized that I've not truly been home in quite some time. I've been here, but not been present. I have been missing home, looking for home but have been falling short of landing here...in the quietness of the moment, spending time with Him before I spend time with everyone else in my day. When my visits and time with Him are rushed and fit into the schedule, I find my day turns out the same. For in Him I find my rest and peace...He is my home. Without my home being made in Him, everything else will fall short.

Wednesday, November 4

Beauty in structure


Liver Life Walk Oct 24 2009
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

Recently, during a visit with my Mother-in-law, while we were talking about life and change she remarked "You know, as I was driving home it struck me that there can be great beauty in dying. I was thinking about all the beautiful trees this time of year, all the colors and variations, and then I realized that these leaves are only this color because they are in the process of dying." I agreed and we went on but the remark stayed with me. In the life of a Christian one goes through varying degrees of death...death to self, to pride, to agendas, to sin and so on. Often, within this death process we find it scary and sometimes even fight against the change.
The day after the conversation I came upon the tree in the photograph. I found it devoid of all its leaves already in a park surrounded completely by trees in full autumn regalia however this tree, bare of all its splendor, held for me the greatest beauty. Without is covering one can see the intricate weaving and workings of what has taken years to develop. The limbs, both great and small, had just recently been covered with multitudes of leaves but now, it is the structure, the core of what held up the leaves that contains the full beauty, something that has been a work in progress for more years than the temporary covering of leaves it recently held and, in the spring, will hold again.
Yes, death can create beauty, and more often, reveal the even greater beauty of what has been happening underneath it all.

Wednesday, September 23

Healing

When I was a child and I or one of my siblings would come down with some illness our mother would get us 7up and jello as our "sick food", sometimes we would also get chicken noodle soup, but always the jello and 7Up.
When I was in high school I came down with the flu, a rather vicious strain of it that had me up one nigh at all hours, miserable. Dad was gone on a two-week job driving truck, so all the care and responsibility for all six children lay on Mom's shoulders. 9 hours of her day she had spent working at the pants factory, the rest of the night she had been caring for us. I remember little else about that night but the site of Mom walking down the middle of the street illuminated only by the street light, wearing her robe and slippers, to buy a couple cans of 7up from the vending machine at the community center since it was 2am and all the stores were closed in our small town. She didn't complain, she didn't grouse, she just did it like it was the most normal thing for a woman to be out at the time of night armed with nothing but a handful of change and a flashlight.

As a mom, I have come to view that early morning walk as so much more than a quest for 7up. Each step, I know, resonated with love. She stepped out a cadence of "I love her, I will care for her, I will get her whatever she needs" so loudly that it beats still today within my heart...even as I sit here sick eating jello and drinking 7up (and gatorade) remembering that walk with gratitude and appreciation.

Thursday, July 23

Bishop and Pastor


Bishop and Pastor
Originally uploaded by Jean 1.

A week from tomorrow our Pastor, Spiritual Father and Founder of our church body transitioned from his natural body into his spiritual body. He was 80 years old and the picture of health. He was often heard to say "I do not want to live one minute longer than God's plan for me." He passed away after a day that he often described as his perfect kind of day...a walk in the morning with friends, a game of golf on a perfect weather day, swimming with family and friends and a nap with his wife of 60 years. He went to sleep and awoke in the Presence of the Lord.
Today, we celebrated the life of our pastor, a life that brought many people to a deep and true understanding of who we are in Christ. During the memorial service it was repeated over and over again about how he changed lives and helped others.
For Rob and I, we came to the church the very first Sunday after we were married. We knew that this man was speaking things we had never heard before, things that had the potential to change us for the good. Things like:
1. We are the righteousness of God in Christ. Because of this, we can live a righteous life and have security in knowing that God will help us to live that way.
2. We can have freedom from sin. Freedom from sin meant that we could ask God to change us in ways that we thought were destined to plague us for life.
3. We have been given all we need for life and godliness. With His Spirit we could walk by faith into the life He has planned for us.

For 18 years we grew and learned and continued to mature, watching Bishop (the name the church called him...Bishop means "Shepard") and imitating him as he imitated Christ. We watched him walk in forgiveness towards those who wronged him, Learned how to love those we don't really like, began to practice the joy of speaking words of love and encouragement to others. He was truly a great and godly man. He will be missed deeply, but oh how wonderful to know that he is in the continual presence of the King!
"He who is joined to the Spirit is One with Him!"

Tuesday, April 14

God knew


In September I took a job that was scheduled to last for three months, just a fill-in for friends while one of their employees finished her schooling. Not a problem, I can do anything for three months.
God knew, it was all a part of His plan. The day I started work ended up being the day my friends turned bosses left town for almost all of those three months due to medical necessity. I jumped in feet first and began the process of learning what I would need to know to run the company while they were out of town.
God knew, He empowered me. I asked questions, I learned quickly and worked. As things began to right themselves I became more and more invested in the company. I was given more and more responsibility. I began to wonder how the young lady was going to be able to return to her job that no longer resembled her job since I had been given 4x the responsibilities that she had handled. So I prayed about what we were to do. I was ready to hand back over the job, but also ready to stay if that's what God wanted.
God knew, He had made a plan. During the same months of my three month stint my husband's job became unsure in the marketplace (he works for a GM dealership). The extra income was a handy supplement to his income at the time when we needed it most. When the end of the three months approached we all began to pray about direction for this job position. And when I say "we" I include my friends/bosses, the young lady for whom I was filling in and myself. In the span of time, God gave direction for me to stay on as the office manager, her to move on to the pursuing a vocation in which she had just obtained her degree from college and we all to continue supporting each other through prayer and supplication.
God knew, He had made a plan. Each day I go to work and am reminded that He had this job in mind for me. Where I had seen only the short term when I agree to be their fill-in, He had designed for me to partner again with people with whom I could join my faith, invest my time and talents and contribute to a company that I strongly supported with more than just time.
God knew, He had a plan, a purpose and a provision for all my needs.

Thursday, March 5

Happy Birthday to my youngest

 


On the 3rd of March, my daughter Jae.don (who I usually refer to as Christi[a nickname from her middle name]) turned 6. The entire day before I found that I was rather emotional about her having this little milestone and kept telling her, "come here and hug Mommy....I'm saving up your five year old hugs" or "let me kiss you again, I need another 5 year old kiss". She'd roll her eyes and smile and then oblige me. Her daddy thought he'd help things by saying..."Today she's five, before you know it we'll be at her wedding" and then he'd wink at her. She laughed for awhile with him and then she'd run back over to me and sit in my lap. That night before bed she climbed in my lap and snuggled up like a baby and just rested there. I could tell that she'd been longing to do it all night, but was trapped between wanting to be big like all her siblings and wanting to be small and still be the baby. So I held her and tickled her and talked baby talk to her...her giggling the entire time. It was a very sweet and wonderful time for both of us. After a bit she climbed down and went and got into her Daddy's lap. There she just laid on his chest and wrapped her arms around him. They didn't speak, joke or giggle...they just sat. Their hearts did the talking, what I call "heart-speak" After a time gave him his goodnight kiss and headed off to bed.

Its in the reflection of those moments where my own Heavenly Father speaks to me about his love. I'm so much like her in my day to day. I rush from one commitment to the other, often toting kids, stuff and life. I am often taking care of today while I'm planning tomorrow, next Tuesday and next month all in the same breath. To get all accomplished, it must be this way sometimes. But there are times where I forget that the "now" moments are what are shaping next Tuesday, and next month, not to mention next year and so on. I need to have moments of just quiet rest and playfulness. I need to remember my childishness. I also need to climb into my Daddy's arms sometimes and just sit and hold and be held...no words are needed in those times, it's all "heart-speak".
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Saturday, February 28





“From the rising of the sun, unto the going down of the same…the name of our Lord is to be praised”



The other day I wrote about starting my day, today I write about ending my day.
Like many moms, my days are quite filled with work, housework, kid-taxi, and personal interactions. By the end of the day I am usually drained…depleted…I’ve given all and it shows. I’ve been making a conscious effort in my mornings with all of my children and it has helped them and me be more positive and radiant throughout our days. But… by the time 4pm rolls in I am starting to go downhill, thus so do the children.
This week while driving one child to cheer practice (a very peppy child) and then later another to a different cheer practice (a very grumpy child) and later helping one child with homework (a very distracted child) and even later helping the oldest child work on an issue (a very tired child) my mood deteriorated to grunts and moans and, I must confess, eye rolling. And then. I logged onto Facebook to check on a friends status (she’s going through a very difficult time) and began to leave a message of encouragement. It said “I’m here for you, I’m praying for you and your family.” And it’s true, I have been. But I had not done so for my own family that day. I re-evaluated my state of mind, because in that moment I found that I had let life once again determine the mood and tone of my home. I had fixed the mornings, but the evenings were now to be taken to task. As always, the Holy Spirit was right there to realign and correct my spirit and to give me my evening song. My children’s moods lightened, my night felt less heavy and I began to relax, I even sleep more peacefully than I had in awhile.
Last night I slipped back into my old habit for a bit until my evening song popped back into my head and I began to right my heart, spirit and actions. I am ever grateful and thankful for the mercies of the Lord, they are new every morning!

Tuesday, February 17

Making a start

Each day I wake up, wake the teenagers and walk to the kitchen to make coffee. I'm rarely happy to be awake...to be honest I'm usually very grumpy about be awake so early in the day. In these early times I begin the engagement of battle between mood and mind. I am often spared conversation since my girls are engaged in the process of readying themselves for the day, usually sparing them from any infection of my poor state of mind.
Once the girls have left I have 15 minutes before I wake the next two children to ready them for school. My next two require more of me, more of my words, my time...So I work harder for them.
As I sat this morning, coffee in hand I was convicted with my lack of effort for my older two children. Why do I feel that the oldest two no longer need my input? Do they not need spiritual guidance? Have they arrived and grown so much that they no longer need a word of peace, love or joy to start their day? If anything, they need it more. They need the Word, Life and Truth pumped into their environment and mind and spirit as they begin their day...preparing them for their journey into the battleground of High School/Middle School.
I, too, need the Truth and Life to start my day, more than coffee, more than sleep...I need Jesus.
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Monday, February 9

Rest for the weary


You know those times in your life when you are bone weary. You feel like there is never going to be enough sleep in your future to allow you to feel rested. It might be after the arrival of a new baby, or post surgery or maybe even due to work related stresses and even travel. But even when you feel like you'll never get enough sleep, you realistically know that eventually you will and it just seems like you won't.
Well, my poor husband has been feeling like this for over five years. His weariness has caused me great concern, enough that after all this time he has finally consented to undergoing a sleep study evaluation to determine if he has sleep apnea (I feel certain that he does...I'll know by 7 am if I am correct). His brother has it and has been on a C pap machine (air pressure machine for breathing) for over 10 years. I am also convinced that both of his parents have it, but I doubt anything will ever be done on their parts to correct the problem. But I digress.... I am quite excited that he may finally get the sleep that his body needs and my heart desires for him to have.

Thursday, January 29

Finding joy



This season my son, Ryan, has been learning the game of basketball...much to the joy of both his parents. While I dislike watching basketball on t.v. I do enjoy the game in person. My husband and I both played the game in school, although he's the only one who played in high school. At first Ryan didn't really care one way or the other, but thought "sure, why not try it" when I asked if he was interested. As he began to learn and find out the nuances of the game he began to like it. When we went to a college game to watch it, he fell in love. Once he played his first game, he found joy! He truly enjoys playing and watching basketball. But there's more to his ball handling techniques and game rules on which he has been focusing.
The league on which he plays, Upward, has a few unique standards to teach and encourage. During each practice the coaches take a 15-20 minute break to present a Bible study for the team. I love that the person who each team member looks up to is the one speaking to them about God and concepts that tie into life and not just sports...scripted or not, it's a blessing. After each game the teams meet up and receive stars of recognition for their efforts in the game. The first week Ryan received a star for sportsmanship. The second week he received one for best effort. The third week he received the star that he had started praying to receive....Most Christlike. When his name was called for this one, his eyes lit from within...JOY! The rest of the day was interspersed with sentences of "I knew that God would want me to clap for both teams, because we were all working hard" and "I just wanted to make sure that Brandon knew that I thought it was a great shot" and "this is the best star anyone can get because it means that people can see Christ in someone". And in those moments I not only observed his joy, I was a part of it!
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Saturday, January 17

Happy Birthday to my second daughter


This blog post is belated, her birthday was the 3rd..but the sincerity is still deeply felt. Ive had this post in my heart since a couple of days before the big day but found little or no time to let it come to fruition. Between work (another blog post to come) kids and activities and life itself I have found myself going more than staying. The plus side is that we're rarely home to worry about the house getting messy...the other side is that I have had to incorporate more ways of becoming organized to make our lives run more smoothly. But I digress...

This post is about Jeanna (her real name, usually referred to as Niki on this blog).
This year has been a great school year with so many more awesome opportunities in the near future. At the beginning of the year she was still looking for the right niche, someplace that she fit in...she's a loving and giving girl who had yet to find her group. She was just jumping into things that gave her passion and joy (singing and cheer leading) She now sings in two different band as a part of our youth program. It has been such a blessing to watch her grow and develop into a confident and strong young lady. My daughter who was so shy and introverted now sings in front of people and is preparing to try out for high school cheer.

Happy Birthday (belated)!