To Read on the Journey

Friday, July 31, 2009

How He Loves Us

(go the bottom of post, play YouTube video, and scan back to the top to read/absorb the lyrics)

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us, oh
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us, oh (repeat from top)

Yeah, He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

And oh, how He loves us, oh
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us, oh

Yeah, He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.

Monday, July 27, 2009

there are somethings a sister should never let her brother do,
and their make-up is one of them

Thursday, July 23, 2009

heading for shore!

it was 113 degrees at my house earlier this week. the kids and i had been cooped up indoors for 5 days, and were on each others last heat-induced-cranky-nerve when the local weatherman spoke of cooling temperatures over the next few days. he promised "that the weather would drop, and instead of 113, temps would be down to 106."

Dear Mr. Weatherman,

we all know that as mommies we wear many hats. we are the resident cook, nurse, taxi, maid, teacher, seamstress, personal shopper, referee, etc.... well somehow i have also become the resident cruise director. i know my kids would be very happy if i began posting a weekly activities calendar. it's too bad for them (yet good for me) that i only post a weekly chore chart!

so monday, after 5 blazing HOT days cooped up inside with ms." i'm bored," ms. "i have nothing to do," and "mr. can i play wii" (for the 500,000 time), i was turning into,well, mrs. "don't mess with me." at some point mid afternoon i disappeared to mr. computer for a little company from the outside world. here i read my old friend jeff's facebook profile update stating that that he and his family were at sunset beach camping. i f.b. commented that i was "sorry to not be there" (they had invited us to join them sometime ago). at that moment good friends, 70 degree temps, and the beach sounded very appealing.

i returned to the real world, and to my job as cruise director, where i persuaded (forced) my unhappy kids to join me in a game of scrabble. somewhere between the words "felt" and "star," between the arguing and tears (5 days cooped up is not a good thing people), the phone rang... it was jeff, with the most beautiful words ever spoken to a mommy nearing insanity, "it's not too late for you to come and join us."

the questions of "could we go" and "should we go" quickly turned into "we have to go!"
so this cruise director instructed her cabin mates to pack up because we were
heading for shore!!

we enjoyed 24+ hours at Sunset Beach, 70 degree temps, and gracious friends. we topped it off with an evening at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk!what a treat it was to discover that on mon. and tues. evenings santa cruz beach boardwalk returns to 1907 by cutting the cost of treats such as soda, hot dogs, and cotton candy to just 75 cents. to top it off each ride is the cost of one 1.00 ticket! noah and emilie were THRILLED to discover our spontaneous adventure to the beach included a ride on the 6th oldest roller coaster in the u.s., the 85 year old giant dipper!thank you "jeff n' kelly hayes" (f.b. name) for rescuing us from the pit of heat despair!
we are BLESSED to have you as friends.

How are you staying cool and sane this summer?

you can pre-order the book The Church of Facebook ,written by Jesse Rice (another old friend) here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

No one deserves our love more

"Why Should God be loved? I answer the reason for loving God is God himself. And why should God be loved for his own sake? Simply because no one could be more justly loved than God. No one deserves our love more than God. Some may question if God deserves our love or if they might have something to gain by loving him. The answer to both questions is yes, but i find no other worthy reason for loving God except for himself."

"The first and greatest commandment is "thou shalt love the Lord thy God." but human nature is weak and therefore compelled to love itself and serve itself first."

by Bernard of Clairvaux
On the Love of God

when i entered this Christian life i knew that God loved me. as a child God pursued me, and tucked the truth of his love for me into my heart. he pursued me through his people- through a woman named "aunt wanda" who'd pick me up for sunday school, through neighbors that took me to vbs, and through many others. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, "the truth that has been revealed to you will not be taken from you or your childrens' children." and so i couldn't get away from the simple truth of the scriptures and songs i had heard as a child. they played on the turntable of my childhood memory, whispering to me again and again "Jesus Loves me this i know."

however i haven't always loved God. i loved myself. i loved myself in that i served, protected, provided, and was out for my own gain first.

and i knew i didn't love God. i knew i needed to, not for God but for me. He loved me, and in order for our relationship to be full i needed to love him.
but i didn't.
and i wanted to.
and so our divine romance began with these honest words, "God i don't love you, but i want to... i want to love you."

i don't know of any prayer that has impacted my life more. God has romanced me, and i have fallen head over heels. and not just once, but countless times!!! and he has romanced me with himself. not with temporary things, prayers answered, or a comfortable life... it is with HIM.

"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as longs as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands, My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you."
Psalm 63:3-5

Have you fallen head over heels in love with God?

Friday, July 17, 2009

We're Going On A Bear Hunt

Emilie's 10th b-day was a blast!
She enjoyed a slumber party with 3 friends- which included lots of giggles, dress up, American girl play, games, pizza, and a "Bear Hunt."

The "Bear Hunt" was really a scavenger type riddle hunt. I created clues or directions for the girls to follow, and then taxied them all over our little town to their riddle's destination. Once there they posed for pictures, had an activity, and were given the next riddle.

It watches the lights change to red, yellow, or green,
There is nothing in Oakhurst it’s eyes haven’t seen.

It talks and it snarls to men from England named Charles,
While posing quiet well for a photo with Marie from Portugal.

It’s relatives are known to hibernate in winter,
Yet this one resides at our towns center.

Too much candy will make them rotten
Too much soda will cause decay
Too much sugar will keep him drilling

Not enough brushing and he’ll give you a filling
He’s good friends with a fairy who visits in the night

To leave you a dollar in exchange for a treasure that bites

Visit him twice yearly to keep them pearly white

Or when your 82 they will soak by your bedside at night.Wash, rinse, comb, trim
Curl, dry, set
Brush, spray, layer, perm
Black, blond, brunet

This place is “COOL”
And will quench your thirst
With beverages made just right

Warm, steamed, blended, or iced

Drizzled with caramel, what a tasty sight
Choose hazelnut, chocolate, or irish cream

It’s yummyness in a cup...

Know what i mean jelly “BEAN?”
The next part of the fun had the girls following direction.
They went to a local super market, here they were instructed to buy just 1 item each from a bin. The item had to begin with an initial from their name. They were relieved when the candy bins supplied their need. They were pleased at the check out counter when their items were 6 cents and under (one item was free because it was unweighable).
Their next and final mission was to find a specific employee. Once found she instructed them to go to the bakery, purchase plain cupcakes, and to race to the baked goods isle to get 1 topping each to decorate their cupcakes. They had just 3 minuets. Ready, Set, Go! We topped the fun off by decorating and devouring our cupcakes together, and singing one more hApPy BiRtHdAy to Emilie!!

Special thanks goes out to my friend julie for her creative help. Thank you also to all the businesses that participated. We live in a GREAT community!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

i'm in the middle of a girl's slumber party.

this photo was taken before my house was taken over by 9 and 10yr old girls.

and this is after...

and guess what mrs. o.c.d. is okay with the cushions, blankets, and pillows spilling into every room. i'm okay with syrup and powdered sugar on the kitchen floor. i'm not freaking out at all that dress up clothes, and american girl dolls are hanging out with puzzle pieces and pet shop toys.
i'm fine with it because my girl is VERY HAPPY!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Emilie is 10!

My Sweet Emilie,
I cannot believe it has been 10 years already! 10 years since you surprised us with your arrival. 10 years since you took hold of our hearts. 10 years since we were taken by your beauty, and by God's overwhelming goodness in giving you to us.
It goes too fast.
Emilie you are a delight. I admire you my sweet girl. I admire the person you are; you are tender, compassionate, kind, and generous. You are outgoing, engaging, and ready for adventure.
I love that you are a girl who can play dress up one moment, and help lay a brick patio the next!
You impress me.
You see people with the eyes of God, always seeing beauty in others. Oh how I love your gift of hospitality, and the way you love people out loud!
I admire how you choose to be gracious. I am in awe at the way you seek truth and understanding.

Thank you for the ways you are intentional as a sister, daughter, and friend.
I learn so much from you Emilie.
When I grow up I want to be like you.

"I can see the fingerprints of God when I look at you.
I can see the fingerprints of God, and I know it's true,

Your a masterpiece that all creation quietly applauds,

And your covered with the fingerprints of God.

Steven Curtis Chapman

Monday, July 13, 2009

Surviving 10, again

Emilie will be 10 tomorrow (it goes to fast)! I will be surviving 10 again.

"Surviving 10," originally posted May 5th 2008

Here I am 10 years into this parenting gig- part of me wanting it all back, part of me just glad to have survived.

Before we were married Michael and I went to premarital counseling. On one visit the counselor asked us to write a 5 and 10yr goal for our marriage. We wrote the American dream; work, save, buy house, baby on the way at the end of 5 years, work, save, another baby, more savings by 10yrs. We also wrote of our spiritual ambitions for ourselves as a couple, our desire for growth, and our hope to do ministry together.
Our lives have never looked anything like our 5 or 10yr plan.

"Many are the plans of a man's heart,
but it is God who determines his steps."

Noah joined Michael and I 19 months after we married. I wasn't one of those new moms that enjoyed every minuet. Becoming a mother changed everything before I was ready for change. I was 24, admiring the independence of my single friends. I was not ready to wear maternity clothes, to gain 63lbs, for stretch marks, to drive a station wagon, to give myself up (literally) for another person. When Emilie came along 14 months later (and 7 weeks early) I wasn't ready. When I was pregnant less than a year later I wasn't ready, but I was moving into accepting God's plan because I had seen how He had been faithful regardless of my readiness. When we celebrated our 5th anniversary and our 4th pregnancy (with Josie), I had finally given in, and I began giving up the idea that life would look as I wanted it to.

I recall one afternoon in those first years- Michael had come home from work, I was still in my p.j's, toys were everywhere, the kids were running in happy circles around daddy, dinner was no where near being started, there were endless piles of laundry, doctors bills sitting on the counter, credit card bills lingering over us like a dark cloud, and a check book that had been in the red for too long. I looked at him and said, "would you have run the other way, if you had known it would be like this?" Michael said, "No, never."

If I were sitting in that counselors office, and I had our 5 and 10 yr plan to write over again I would write just 3 words- REMAIN IN CHRIST!

Jesus is the only constant, the only hope, the only future, the only one who can determine our steps. And I am counting on Him for the shaping, molding, and growing of our hearts, minds, and souls. I am counting on Him to take care of the ministry he has given us in raising these people for His kingdom. I am counting on Him to know their future. I am counting on Him to know my future without them safe in our home.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


i haven't spoken to or seen noah and emilie in nearly 2 weeks.

i have received a postcard from each of their counselors, fill-in-the-blank form letters from both kids, a couple of facebook updates from spies (hehe), and this sweet letter from emilie.
but tomorrow they'll be mine again!

tomorrow we pick them up from camp, and i will embrace them and hold them tight.

then i will watch as they say their goodbyes. i will ache with them, because i know leaving camp, community, and all the people you have come to love is hard. i understand that part of them will long to stay there forever. it is normal to feel this way for those of us who have unity in the body of Christ, we are after all created to be one body.

and i will in some small way be invited into the community they have had, through the stories, adventures, songs... that they will share with me.

and there will be secrets. things that were written in the stories of their lives at camp that are between them and God...beautiful, mysterious secrets, of the ways outside my womb (referring to psalm 139), outside of our home, where God continues to create their inmost being, and knit them together to Him.

yes, tomorrow they'll be mine again for a little while, but i know that really they are becoming more and more His.

and that is the way it should be.

Monday, July 6, 2009

me for you, you for me!

with big brother and big sister away at camp, josie has had the opportunity to have her mommy and daddy all to herself.

some of the perks of being an only child for 2weeks in the jones household include;

never sleeping in your own bed. josie made a fort in her room, and has slept in it every night (for those of you who know about my o.c.d. tendencies, the answer is yes, i have let her keep the fort up in her room the whole time).

inviting friends last minuet to lunch and swimming!


having full control of the t.v and wii remotes (though you don't know how to use them).

beating mommy and daddy at boardgames (except for hi-ho cherrio, sorry!)

walking hand in hand between mommy and daddy.

a manicure and pedicure from your personal cosmetologist. you give great tips!

eating out too many times, not having to share, picking your own meals.

barnes & nobles, and coldstone creamery at 9:30 p.m.

4th of july cuddling with mommy on the boat as we watched fireworks, and sleeping outside on the deck with daddy.

licking the spoon without any helpers.

our undivided attention when you share your silly stories and 7 yr old thoughts.

tea with mommy.

josie, you are a delight. i am thankful to have this time to really absorb you; to take in your words, your toothless grin, your songs, your hugs, your personality, your tenderness, and curiosities.
i am thankful that though you enjoy your time having us all to yourself, you too are grateful that this time is temporary. i am thankful that you really love your brother and sister, that you want them home.
i love who you are as a little person, it makes me excited for the big person you will be.