Saturday, January 24, 2009

incredible gift

First of all, I have to PRAISE GOD and share with you that Joe got a phone call yesterday from.. his new boss...  He got the job!!!  And he's so excited about it!  Not only will he be doing what he loves (which he did here too) but also working in a great area, and with so much freedom to be himself, be innovative and expand in new ways.  So starting in March, if you're in the San Francisco area and want a tattoo, let me know and I'll give you all the info.  He's also working on some painting videos that he'll start selling through his website, and has a couple of series paintings that are super cool.  In the words of our nine year old Zeke, "I think Dad pretty much got the job because his art rocks."

I'm also writing this today because I'm feeling so thankful for all that God has done.  Joe was disappointed that things didn't go the way he was hoping at the shop here, but feels like if he hadn't come, he'd always wonder "what if", and he says that he probably needed this to give him the push to expand his art and try new things (He'll be putting together an art show with other artists hopefully in a few months too).  

I honestly feel like we've been given such an incredible gift.  I have never felt so loved than I have this past year.  A lot of times we wait until we're at someone's funeral to talk about how much they meant to us.  After all the kindness that's been shown, all the meaningful words spoken, all the love poured out, I feel like someone could just toss my ashes out a window on the freeway when I'm gone and be done with it.  They don't need to gather and share memories or say nice things about me when I'm gone because they've done it for me, with me, this last year.  Old friends, new friends.  I just feel so full.  To think back at how sad I was writing this first post about our move... I knew without a doubt that God would carry me through it.  But He hugely exceeded my expectations in every way.  It's been so amazing.  And I can honestly say... worth every tear.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I was driving home last night, listening to the radio, which was set to Joe's favorite Air 1.  Thelma Wells came on for a Life Change Moment.  I have grown to love Thelma through hearing her speak at Women of Faith events over the years and reading her devotionals.  You can hear some of her story here or visit her website here.  There's something so soothing about her voice and I love to hear her read God's Word.  On the radio moment, she talked about peace and read John 14:27 from the New Living Translation.  

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.

We are packing up our house this week-- again.  We just moved here less than six months ago.  It was heart-wrenching to leave our former home (family, church, friends, area), but we knew that God was with us and I was confident that He would carry us through the transition.  He far exceeded my hopes in every way.  He came before us, provided people to help us unload our uhaul when we first got here, brought us closer as a family, and led us to a new church family that has become very dear to us.  I thought that after we settled in here, I'd just have some really sweet alone times with God and enjoy my family in this new area.  I have done those things, but what I never expected was to fall in love with so many new people so quickly.  

Things did not go the way we had expected or hoped with Joe's job, and he was let go about two weeks before Christmas.  Since then we have been praying and seeking God to guide us for our next step.  Joe has really stepped up in being the spiritual leader in our home and I have so much respect and appreciation for how he has handled the situation.  It would be natural and understandable to freak out, be angry, maybe even depressed.  But Joe has stood his ground and sought after God and rested in His perfect peace.  We really haven't been anxious about it all... just trusting God to lead us and knowing that He has a plan.  We really can't question why He would move us this far only to bring us back again.  We can see His handiwork in the whole thing, and I'm sure there's much more that we'll look back on later and realize.

One week from today (if all goes according to plan), we will be on our way again, driving across several states, back to California.  We don't have a place of our own to live yet (but my very gracious sister and her family are generously making room for us).  Joe has two temporary guest artist spots in shops in Monterey and the East Bay for the month of February, and then a more permanent position in San Francisco starting in March (that one is 99% a sure thing at this point.. he should know later this week... please pray with us about that one).  

Through it all, we've been so thankful for God's peace.  Peace of mind and heart, like the verse above says.  When you're under the shadow of His wings, it really doesn't matter if the world around you is chaotic.  He has us covered and He'll lead us, keeping us close through it all.

Friday, January 16, 2009

16 things and Taking Flight

I have a new favorite book.  Really I have two new favorite books.  One of them the fabulous All I Need is Jesus and a Good Pair of Jeans, by Susanna Foth Aughtmon, of Confessions of a Tired Supergirl, which I'm giving away here.  (Winner will be chosen at random tonight... it's not too late to enter!)
My other new favorite, I've had my eye on for a while and purchased it a couple nights ago.  I'm trying to let go of inhibitions and create things.  I think I might just have a teeny bit of art hidden somewhere inside that would love to get out but doesn't really know how.  So one of the things I'm wanting to push myself to do this year is to just do it.  No worries about whether it's right or wrong, good or bad.  Just try new things and experiment and develop my own style.  I started an art journal last week, which was a good start... but I was so intimidated by the blank page that I left it pretty boring.  I like simple, and I think it stated where I was (am), but I feel like I could have added more but was afraid I'd ruin it.  

Anyway, my other new favorite book is called Taking Flight.  Inspirations and Techniques to give your creative spirit wings.  I bought it because I really liked the artwork.  I love collage and want to do more mixed media pieces.  What I didn't expect was to be so encouraged and built up.  I actually cried as I was reading it yesterday morning (and I'm not pregnant.  Tired and needing my baby to sleep more at night, yes.  But this book really touched me).  
And I was so excited to find the author, Kelly Rae Roberts' blog.  Reading the book and her blog, I am finding that we have some things in common.  Her name is Kelly and her sister's name is Jennifer.  My name is Jenny and I have a sister named Kelly!  She apparently has relocated sometime somewhat recently, and our family has made a major move (soon to be twice.. more later) in the last six months.  There were a few other things too, and since I'm feeling so friendly with her, I thought I'd take the 16 things challenge from her blog.  (We're friends, so she was asking me, right?)

So here we go.. 16 random-ish things...

1.  Judah just woke up from a very short nap.

2.  I really wish he'd go back to sleeping through the night like he did for his first eight months.

3.  I really really love coffee.

4.  We're going as a family to see Marley and Me today.  

5.  We've already heard about what happens to Marley.

6.  I really don't know how people in Minnesota survive year after year in these sub-human temperatures (30 BELOW zero here this morning!).

7.  But I'm going to miss this place.

8.  That said, I'm also really excited to get back to the Bay Area.

9.  I wish I'd never stopped taking piano lessons when I was a kid.

10.  Though I would love a little more stability right now, I totally respect and admire my husband's drive, determination and risk taking in following his dreams.

11.  I love to travel.

12.  I also love food.  All kinds.  

13.  My sisters are amazing, encouraging and inspiring.

14.  I also have amazing friends.  I feel so blessed.

15.  I'm very competitive when it comes to playing games.

16.  I grew up as a military brat.  It was hard at times, but I have great memories of a happy childhood.  I love my family.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

giveaway at

I won my first ever giveaway this week and so I'm paying it forward.  (I was going to post a photo here of the prize package, but for three days now I have not been able to get blogger to upload it!)  Head on over to to see the prize and enter!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

word of the year

A week into the new year, still reflecting, still looking forward.  I liked the idea I saw over on tip junkie about having a word of the year.  I often have a theme verse for a season, and sometimes theme words just come to me as God is teaching me... through sermons, songs, verses and life.  Like a few years ago, when He was teaching me about His MERCY.. what an incredible gift.  (And where our little Mercy got her name.)  And then there was a season of PRAISE.  Praising Him through it all.. the pleasant, the difficult... fighting through praise, finding strength through praise.  And then Judah came along.  His name means praise.  So does Brooklyn's, by the way.  Which is awesome.  Ezekiel means strength.  That's not my word for the year, but I thought you might like to know, and didn't want to leave him out.

This year's word (or at least my word until God shows me another one) is SAVOR.  I'll have to admit that this one didn't happen upon me like the others did, in a more spiritual way.. But as I was thinking about this past year, and looking forward to what might be ahead, I was asking myself what I really want for this year.  And I really want to savor it all.  I've been in a savoring state since last year, leading up to our big move from California.  I really wanted to savor everything and every moment with family and friends.  And coming to Minnesota, I wanted to really experience it for all I could, and I've been enjoying and savoring as much as possible here.  And the kids (wait.. don't you just love that in a blog, there are no real grammar rules, and you can start a sentence with And when you really want to?).. anyway.. Our kids are growing and changing all the time and I don't want to let a minute of it go by without noticing, savoring each step.  

So I decided that would be my word for the year.  SAVOR.  I need to find a fitting verse to go along with it.  I also like that it can be referenced with food because I really love food.  And maybe I should apply it to food too.  Sometimes we eat just to eat, and munch on something while we're multitasking doing other things.  But isn't it so much better when we pay attention to each bite and really enjoy it?  Here's an example.  I love Oreos.  I don't usually buy them because I've been known to eat an entire sleeve in a sitting.  If they were chips or popcorn, that much might be acceptable.. but not Oreos.  So on the rare occasion that we do have them, I'll give myself a nice little stack of three.  And then I'm also online or reading or something and all of a sudden my stack is gone when I thought I had one more.  I always end up wishing I would have savored it before it was gone (so I end up going back for one more and totally enjoy each bite).  

But with real life, we're not usually given the chance to go back for one more.  Your three year old's snuggly moments are over and now she's off to run and jump and play.  Your husband's day off was spent running errands and now it's over (and it's great to go to the grocery store without having four kids in tow, but time together needs to be priority too).  You have so many things that you want to get done during the little ones' nap time but you miss the opportunity to spend good quality time with your older ones.

SAVOR.  I want to make the most of every opportunity and experience each new step to the fullest.  Now I'm off to savor a cup of coffee.  

Here's to a savory year!  (I could get really cheesy with this... and probably will.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Friday, January 2, 2009

flashback friday

These pictures were taken in July, when our last day with my sister's family (before the move.. not last day ever!) turned into a sleepover. Here are all the kids snuggled close together in their living room.

And this is the brilliant idea they had the next day...  The girls taped their hands together so we couldn't leave.  Heart breaking to tear them apart.  

Oh how we love our cousins and sleepovers. Hopefully it won't be too long until we can have another.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

more Scripture memory

A new year. A fresh start. A clean slate. A future wide open. I've been contemplating things I'd like to do differently in 2009, things I'd like to do more of, and things I'd like to continue doing. I'll make a list at some point.. but I decided not to make it a list of resolutions, but rather of goals for the year. At the very top of my list is memorizing more Scripture. God's Word is alive and active and so powerful... when we use it. But to use it, we have to know it. I want His Word hidden in my heart. There are lots of verses I've memorized over the years that are like lifelines to me. There are so many more hidden in The Word that I really want to commit to memory. So I was thrilled to discover on Beth Moore's blog that she invited her readers "siestas" to join in one big accountability group and memorize Bible verses together. You can check it out here and here... and join in!

The verse I chose first was sent to me in an email this morning by my womens ministries pastor at our old church, in response to a request for prayer for my husband as he is seeking employment, wisdom and direction right now.  (We'd appreciate your prayers too.)

Jeremiah 33:3  Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.  (NIV)

And the Message Bible states it this way:  Call to me and I will answer you.  I'll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.

I also like the verse Beth chose to start with:

Isaiah 33:6  He is your constant source of stability; He abundantly provides safety and great wisdom; He gives all this to those who fear Him.  (NET)