To Read on the Journey

Friday, November 30, 2007

Alone time

Yesterday I was given 4 1/2 hours of alone time in our home. The kids were at a play with our home school teacher, who told me I could stay home, what a gift!

To prepare I cleaned the house Wed. eve., leaving no dish to be washed, no laundry beckoning me, no floor to be swept, no distraction. And, I woke up early Thurs. to be ready for the day once the kiddos were on their way.

And when they were gone-
I had my coffee and bagel on the couch, with an old friend Lucy (
I Love Lucy).
I wrapped my mind around Christmas (yes, I am a bit behind this year, aahhh).
I sat in the sun light and read, read, read. I have been reading Devotional Classics by Richard Foster. Yesterday I was encouraged by Dietrich Boenhoffer, Julian of Norwich, and George A. Buttrick.
I sat.
I talked to God, we had some catching up to do.
"Therefor we may ask from our Lover to have all of him that we desire. For it is our nature to long for him, and it is his nature to long for us." Julian of Norwich
I listened to my breathing.
I played the piano (practiced, also had some catching up to do).
I had a cookie.
I had a spoonful of cool whip too.
I sang.
I prayed for others.
I took in the quiet, the stillness.

What would you do with 4 1/2 hours,
and the house all to yourself?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I was tagged by Jennifer Partin at Where the Heart Is to share 8 random things about me. So here are some things about me that all have to do with vehicles (i don't know why, it just kinda worked out that way).

1. I got my drivers permit on 6/7/89.

2. I bought my first car when I was 15, and paid insurance on it for 4 months before I could drive it.

3. It was a 4 door, red with white strip, 65 Ford Falcon.

4. The car belonged to a good friend. I called him the moment I saw him in something else.
He had a banner in the back with his nick name, "
CANMAN", when I bought the car his mom made me a banner for the back that said, "NEICIE."

5. I got my license on Valentine's Day. That morning my mom (who was at work) phoned me and said, "Denise what does red and white make?" I thought she had gotten me a cool V-day gift and was so excited, till she said again, "what does red and white make?" I said, "you hit my car?" She replied, "I hit your car."

6. I hit a car 2 weeks after I got my license, while
shang hi-ing a friend on his b-day
we'd get a friend out of bed super early, dress them ridiculously, take them to b-fast, and make them dress that way for school all day).

7. I got a speeding ticket the day I was
baptized. I got the ticket in front of Jones ave. (it was a sign, literally and figuratively). I cried! Thinking, 'you can't give me a ticket , I am white as snow.'

8. I have owned a car from the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90, and 2000's. One of those cars had a working 8 track. Yep, and now I
reluctantly drive a mini van.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Real Men Bake Pie!

This Thanksgiving we decided to not travel central California, and to enjoy 4 days in our neck of the woods.
First, I have to brag on my husband because he is an exceptional husband, daddy, and now pie maker! Michael always "considers others better than himself." When he saw that making a fresh apple pie for Thanksgiving was not for me, he quickly took over, and invited the girls to stay up far past bed time to join in on the fun.

Thanksgiving a.m. our family joined friends for flag football. I gladly participated in the girls pyramid, ouch!In the afternoon we joined the Roger's family for a Thanksgiving feast. There were duelling turkeys, one traditionally baked in the oven, and another deep fried. My choice, deep fried!
The kids enjoyed the special attention they got from Mama Holly and Papa Dan (btw-"kids" includes me). Over the weekend we saw Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. This is a MUST SEE! It was wonderful and inspiring.
Mahoney asks, "What do you see when you look at me"... "Do you see a sparkle," Henry replies, "What's a sparkle?" Mahoney says, "It is something big inside me that is wanting to get out."
Do I have a sparkle? Sometimes I feel I do not. How I want people to see Jesus when they look at me.

We also spent the weekend getting to know Josh Rasmussen, who is leading worship at our church for the next 2 weeks. Michael and I met Josh at The Whitney Classic , where he was the guest worship leader. Josh lead with beautiful humility. I quickly invited him to lead for an event I coordinate each spring, The Feast of Tents (more to come Spring 2008). And, when we needed a substitute in the meantime, God placed Josh to fill that need. It has been wonderful to hear some of his amazing testimony, as well as follow his leading, and worship with him. Josh has an enthusiasm for God that is contagious.
Mostly, I have been blessed by my kids! I love the way they love others. They were quickly on Josh's lap, or playing, and showing affection. They embrace people as if to say , 'you belong to me.' What a ministry they have. Instead of awkward silence there are children. Josh seemed to enjoy being a jungle gym :-) Here he is giving Noah a guitar lesson.

As I think about what I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving it is God's grace, compassion and mercy. I am thankful that I recognize that I need it (uh huh, there was a long, ugly time I didn't see that I did). I am also thankful that I now have it to give, as I have wasted too many years holding on to pride, justification, and anger.
Father God, "Magnify Your mercies on me," MAGNIFY Yourself in me. I am nothing without You. You are my sparkle- shine, shine, shine, light the world, SHINE! And make me like a child, embracing people with love, kindness, acceptance.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wind Beneath My Wings

"Did you ever know that your my hero, your everything I wish I could be, and I can fly higher than an eagle, you are the wind beneath my wings."

I sang this song too many times in high school. Did you have a person to dedicate this song to? I did, Nicole Fortner (a.k.a. "Kokko").

Nicole was in my class growing up. She had curly auburn hair, freckles, and a personality and confidence like no other. What I admired most about Nicole was that she was friends with everyone. Nicole was friends with the popular people, the geeks, the partiers, the Jesus freaks, the athletes, cheerleader, brains... and she was friends with me.

Here are a few favorite memories of Nicole-

In Jr. High she felt she needed a new out fit, she discussed this with her mom (who worked at a local clothing outlet store), her mom (Amy) told her she had plenty of clothes, enough to make a different outfit everyday for a month. Everyday for 30 days I looked to see what Amy had put together for Nicole.

In high school Nicole had acrylic nails. Her mom was a manicurist. I can hear Nicole's nails "clackity clakity clackity," and see them in all their festiveness, appropriately decked out for holiday, school spirit, or prom.

I remember one halloween party when she came dressed up as Cherry 7 UP. She had a Cherry 7 Up can around her body with pink balloons fizzing out the top.

I smile at the memory of us in Capitola, Sunset beach, and at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

I recall Oakdale's Jr. Miss. I had always wanted to be in it, but was so afraid. Nicole agreed we would do it together. She did an unforgettable monologue of "The Letter" by Amy Grant.
She won runner up. I won Spirit and Presence & Composure (which was a shock).

I think on when we painted our legs for school rallies, she was the best!

I giggle at houses and getting caught by a very nice cop at 3:00 a.m. My red 65 Ford Falcon wasn't a great get away car.

I recall my broken heart after a break up, and Nicole comforting me by doing donuts in her car in an empty parking lot. My tears turning to laughter.

I think of her heart for God's best, and once when she just wanted to drive. She talked, "I love Jesus, I do... but the things I want to do, I don't do, and what I don't want to do I do."

I remember her rescuing me from the chaos at my house, safe at hers.

She brought me out into life.

I was a bit on the intimidated/shy side before Nicole. Wanting to LIVE, but afraid too. Nicole became a Christian freshman year, I did that summer (but was still very unsure). Nicole invited me countless times to Campus Life and to church. Midway through our sophomore year I agreed to join her at Campus Life, and finally after countless invitations I joined her at church our senior year. At Campus Life and Oakdale Church of the Nazarene I formed relationships that have had a lasting impression on my life. Nicole was Jesus tangible, and shared Jesus to so many. Her own parents and siblings came to Christ because of her. I would not be who I am in Christ today without her presence in my life.

And I remember her standing outside my apartment one fall day in 93, I looked at her and said,"Nicole you are so beautiful," she looked at me, smiled, and said "I love you, " I replied, "I love you." And she drove off.

A few days later on Nov. 20th 1993 she was gone. She made a bad choice, a childish 19 yr old choice. She drank and drove. She drove her little car into a telephone pole, and her life here was over.

15 years later I remember. 15 years later I miss her and wonder. 15 years later I am grateful that God gave her to me- to move and grow me, to bring me out into life, to encourage me to spread my scared but wanting wings and fly.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pie- part 2


These are some of the emotions I have had over this weekend. These emotions always come with tears- happy tears, and with wonder. "Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what He has made crooked? When times are good, be happy; when times are bad consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his own future." Eccles. 7:13-14
It has been one of those weeks where I wanted the crooked things to be straight, and I fought (thankfully mostly God) because they are not. I do not understand, I cannot say I like it, but God is good, VERY GOOD!

And Celebrating God's Faithfulness-

This weekend our church Sierra Vista Presbyterian, celebrated "21-derful years." We had a dinner Friday evening, and all those who began, or were charter members of the church were invited (My hubby is a charter member). Former pastors and staff were invited. This was a wonderful time to celebrate those who had a vision-who began the church from a bible study,then bought an old farm house with property and worshiped in a remodeled garage, later built a small church, and again in 1995 built and moved into a larger sanctuary, which we have outgrown. This was a wonderful time to celebrate those who had visions of ministry, and of glorifying God, and who so many times have stepped out in faith.

Saturday evening we had a Harvest Celebration (I coordinated this event). Nearly 300 joined in on the fun which included a Chili cook off, Pie contest, face painting, Bow-Tie the Clown, a caller and square dancing. I cannot tell you how I LOVE to CELEBRATE! How I love to see the body, young and old together- dancing, laughing, loving , fellowshipping, enjoying . I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! Tastes like heaven.

And when it was done I had pie :-

And Today, Dr. Rev. Bill Welch who was pastor at SVPC for 18yrs gave the message. In many ways God used Bill to raise the church to adulthood. Today it was beautiful to have him at our 21st birthday to give each of us a blessing with his message "Who You Really Are."
From Matt 5, "You are the salt of the earth... You are the light of the world."
Jesus is talking to the disciples, the church, the Christian community. He is stating a fact, giving a compliment- You are the salt of the earth. He isn't saying you should be, ought to be, will be, but YOU ARE. Salt does not exit for itself. No one says, "mmmm, that's good salt"
We aren't to be salt piles, or to stay in the salt shaker, salt (disciples) exists for the world.
Jesus said "You are the light of the world," the witness of the church is visual, and God gets the glory.
At one point we were asked to close our eyes and picture ourselves at a dinner, with our favorite people, you've never felt so alive, and Jesus is there. Dinner is over and Jesus leads you off, arm around you, smile on his face, and says, "you know how I love you, I'm proud of you, your representing me well, keep it up! I'm in you remaking you, it's my power working in you. Things are different because you are at the table... Be generous with your life, when you're generous people will see me, and my Father will be glorified." (tears)

Father God thank you for reminding me who I really am, I forgot again, help me to be who I really am, to be the salt and light I am. I need YOUR power to be at work in me, I see that it is, sometimes that hurts, it doesn't look as I think it should, I want to straighten out all that seems so crooked. How I wish life were lived in hindsight, thank you for your crooked ways, they make me know you, love you more..I want that. Help me to be generous with my life, to give myself up for you, which is scary. Thank you for giving your whole self up for me. I want to spill you. I want you to be glorified, I want you to have the BIG glory. I love you (tears), I love you.

As 21 year olds, we at SVPC have new vision for the church, "To be a Christian community that exist for the greater community." We are stepping out on faith, we want to be "about our Father's business," and have great expectations for how God will grow and move us.

BTW-Journal entry from 1994 (age 20), "I have been going to Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church. I work with the youth group there. It is a nice church, but it will never be my home."
Ha, God must have laughed!

Friday, November 16, 2007

last night before bed i made my rounds to each child's bed, and there i gave out the last of my 33yr old kisses. Surprisingly i had quiet a few left. Kisses that sweetly wake happy dreamers just enough to get smiling faces and "i love you mommy."

it's my happy birthday.
today i am 34.

Thursday, November 15, 2007



These are the emotions I have had for a week now. I do not know how to rid myself of them. These emotions always come with tears. It is the same old things, bringing up the same old things. The same old things will not change. That hurts. I have to. Don't know how.

I needed a break from it all, from the constant ramblings in my head, from the to-dos, from the hurt. So I had pie.
Noah is sick. And it was just him and I yesterday. Me in tears, him coughing. I'd had enough,I needed something good from this day, one thing good. " Noah you wanna get pie?" (Noah loves pie) I said, "I think pie is probably good medicine for a cold." Noah agreed.
God I'm gonna have pie with my boy right now, and I need you to let it be just him and I right now, turn everything else off.
Hot apple pie, ala mode and time just looking at my boy. "Mommy, your right pie is good medicine," he says as he looks at me with those big brown eyes. "Yes Noah, pie is good medicine."

Saturday, November 10, 2007


We had great Jones family vacation in Mexico!

The kids loved playing with all their cousins, swimming, body surfing, snorkeling, giant sea turtles, and late nights.

The adults enjoyed lazy days filled with tanning, margaritas, chips and salsa, shopping at the marcado, playing 10,000 and speed scrabble.

Highlights from the trip
Watching the kiddos enjoy their cousins
Parasailing (uh huh, I flew!)
Cooking together -yummy garlic shrimp!
Counting freckles at bed time
Speed/travel Scrabble
Necklace shopping with Cindy and the girls
Giant Sea Turtles
Madonna makeovers
Being sung La Bumba at El Vira's
Dinner, a stroll, and ice cream with Michael (thanks to generous sitters- Nana and Aunt "Jennifuh")
Nana helping Emilie learn to dive
Gramps helping Josie swim
Noah's excitement boogie boarding