To Read on the Journey

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What Song Would You Sing If You Were On American Idol?

so this is our last day of vacation!!!! (i am singing that as i type it)

there were many options for the title of this post (as you will see from the entertaining video)-
Fortune Cookie Pancakes
Man Enough To Be your Woman
My Butt Looks Good In These Jeans

I Do Not Have A Minnesotan Accent

so tell me What Song Would You Sing If You Were On American Idol?(btw- did you notice how spinner mentioned that my fortune cookie meant i'd have my chance on american idol. the statement is funny seeing now how the remainder of the day played out. spinner what else can you tell me about my future?).

we visited the holocaust museum, the smithsonian castle, and the capitol.if you are ever in d.c. you must visit the holocaust museum (not recommended for young children). it beautifully and honestly honors the lives of those who tragically lost theirs. as we walked through michael tenderly talked emilie and noah through the devastation they saw. it is unfathomable.
At one point in the museum there was a bridge to cross, on each side 4 story high walls were covered in beautiful, pre- holocaust, pre-hitler, life telling photos of those who had lost their lives.

as home schooling parents we feel fortunate that we have had (and have) the opportunity to walk through history with our children. we get to teach them the Truth on which our country was founded. we lead them through the many stories of victory, defeat, and perseverance. with honesty we explore how our history makes us laugh, cry, scream, and HOPE.
as we teach them we take into account that we are raising tomorrows leaders. we know that by looking at our past we are making an investment in our future.
and we hope, for the future of this nation- this "one nation UNDER GOD."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cookies at the White House

On the next to the last day of vacation (yep, just one more vacation post to go) we returned to D.C. and visited Teddy Roosevelt Island, Arlington Cemetery, and the White House.We visited D.C. in 2000 when Noah and Emilie were 22 months, and 9 months old. Back then our round trip tickets cost us $426 (cheap because naoh and emilie were both under 2 and traveled for free).
Here Emilie and I at Arlington Cemetery in 2000 and 2009 (so glad that i'm not sporting that hideous 90's hair style anymore). This video is for you my sweet friend Kristen! Me eating one of your DELICIOUS cookies. I bet the President was watching from his oval office window, salivating as I bit into the salty chocolatey goodness of your cookie.

Upon the recommendation of our hosts Ginger & Spinner, we visited the monuments in the evening, and they were glorious! One can't help but have a heart of gratitude for the many that gave (and give) their lives to fight for and protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Walking On Sunshine, Woa Oh, And Don't It Feel Good

yer gonna wa- unt to pop yerself some-uh that their popcorn (hit load, whiles you wait), then plop yerself down in the lazy boy-oy, cuz this here video's a bit on the lo-ong side of thangs.
join us whiles we visit with betsy ross, 'sperience our first philly cheese-steak, sang the "fifty, nifty united sta-ates song," walk on some uh that there sunshine, play fish, and have supper on the chesapeake bay.

and this here is my new blogging voice (don't worry it's just for this post). after 11 days back east (most of them spent with spinner and ginger- south carolina natives) i seem to have developed a bit of a tu-wang.

order your own "cockade" ( as seen in the video).
from the Pleated Poppy or Joy's Hope.

and can you tell me which state i left out when sangin the "fifty, nifty, united states" song?
i'll give you a hint... it was the name of a broadway play.

i love Intercourse...Pennsylvania!

First i have to say i'm getting tired of posting about vacation. I want these vacation postings to be DONE! I want to get on with real life postings, and the everyday happenings of this Jones family.
But i also want to be sure to document the fun we had, because i know that later the kids will enjoy reading these posts, looking at pix, and watching their zany mother's videos.
So bear with me, there are just a few more vacation posts left!

As you can see from the title we headed over to Intercourse, PA. for a day (this town use to be called Cross Keys, but was renamed Intercourse in the early 1800's).

We were in awe at the horse n' buggies that casually fill the streets, by the simplicity of the Amish and Mennonite life styles, and by the reality that they live in today's world while holding firmly to yesterday's values and traditions. One can't help but envy the innocence they know and live in.
It is quiet odd though because in Intercourse, the Amish and Mennonite are the main attraction.
Their lives are dissected by our curiosities. Makes me grateful that my life is not being examined by outsiders. YIKES! What you might discover if it was... me without a good night sleep, in cranky mommy mode, in my yoga pants ( i don't do yoga, they're just really cozy pants), t-shirt, and baseball cap that I've been sporting for 3 days. Days i've decided to go without a shower, hair dryer, straightener, and worse without LIPSTICK (okay, really i NEVER go without lipstick, not ever). Well, let me just say, it would be FRIGHTENING!


need a few moments of REST? read this post at one of my new favorite blogs, together for good.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Announcing the WINNER! & Driving Under the Influence of a Dunkin Donut

The winner of the first ever $20 Starbucks gift card to be given away on this blog is...(drum roll)....JESSICA from "Who Left The Light On!!"


Thank you to all of you for playing. I enjoyed, and got a kick out of all your FUN comments. Since all the answers were right, we created a # for each entry, placed them in a hat, and drew commenter 14.
(Jessica, email me at with your address so I can send you your prize).

During our trip back east we took a break from D.C. and visited Philidelphia, PA. (home of the Liberty Bell) and Intercourse, PA. (home of the Amish, Mennonite, and some beautiful furniture. If anyone lives in PA. and is planning on moving out to Cali. there's a dining room table and chairs I'd like you to pick up and move out to me on your way). We also visited Annapolis, MD.

if you watch the video you will understand the following-

Dear Dunkin Donuts,
Please include on your drive-thru menu your donut selection. It is difficult to order (while vlogging) when I do not know what my donut choices are.

A Confused Donut Connoisseur

We feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity not only to take our kids to D.C., but to also take the kids to see first hand the Liberty Bell, and Independence Hall where our Declaration of Independence was drafted, first signed, and read.
Now back to donuts... what is your favorite donut?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

American History Museum


The American History Museum is my favorite of all the Smithsonian Museums. There you will see much of our nation's history, the beauty and tragedy of it.
While we were in D.C. I had a sense of belonging to the people around me. Belonging to people of different race, culture, back ground, and religious belief. This history belongs to each of us, and continues to affect and shape us as a nation. I became increasing grateful for the sacrifices made by so many, whether sitting at a lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., fighting for others who were robbed of their freedoms, or for keeping a watchful eye on our flag one Sept. eve in 1814... visiting D.C. caused me to grasp hold of the truth that we are fortunate to live in "the land of the free, and the home of the brave."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Quiz & Give Away

One of the advantages to having friends Spinner & Ginger live near D.C. is that they can know the sweet spots that tourists don't know about. On our day together in the city they lead us to the Eastern Market! Here we enjoyed quaint neighborhoods, a delicious pancake breakfast, as well as local creativity, and culture. Another advantage is that Spinner knows all sorts of interesting facts about the city. He also volunteers as a docent at the American History Museum (yep, the museum with first trains, cars, Lincoln's hat, Jackie O's dresses, the ruby red slippers, and Seinfeld's puffy shirt!).

However, the biggest advantage is that they LOVE our family. I just can't thank them enough for having us, and for spilling generosity, kindness, playfulness, knowledge, and FUN onto all 5 of us (i could go on and on 'bout the ramp Spinner built, and the GINORMOUS crickets he saved us "dungeon" dwellers from, or fortune cookie pancakes, great conversation,laughter, and more)! As well as visiting the Eastern Market and American History Museum, we also made a stop at the National Archives to take a look at the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Oh yeah, and you did read the title correctly! There IS a GIVE AWAY! Watch the video below and share with me something you learned, ANYTHING! and you could be the winner of the first ever $20 gift card to Starbucks!! Well the first one to ever be given away on this blog anyway.

(if you are reading this over at my facebook account and want to see the video and enter the give away than pop over to my blog at and leave your comment).

Winner will be announced Monday Sept. 14th at 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

sometimes i laugh so hard i wet myself!

lisa, julie, and i. that's how the days of my young life were spent, with them- sharing clothes, talking 'bout boys, sleep-overs, bad hair cuts, passing letters in class, school plays, break-up tears, sun bathing (after lathering up in mineral oil, or worse- butter!), summer camp, catering (julie's family owned a catering business that i worked at for 6 yrs), football games, school dances, sweet 16, getting our drivers licenses, prom, graduation, first apartments, fiances, weddings, babies...25 years.

i wouldn't be who i am today if it weren't for these two beautiful women. i KNOW that God wrote them both into my life.

i was in 6th grade the first time i felt delighted in, and it was lisa who delighted in me. she chose this quirky, insecure, broken, 10 yr old girl to be her friend. she didn't care that i got the "free cheese," she didn't seem to notice. she noticed ME. she WANTED me for a friend (just thinking about it makes me tear up). do you know what it is like to have someone want you, when for 10 yrs no one has wanted you? well let me just say i DANCED in our friendship! i came alive because of this friendship. i moved toward believing i was wanted, delighted in, and worthy.
4 yrs later lisa invited me to Hume Lake Christian Camp (tears)... and here i am was in 7th grade music/drama class that i first met julie. i can tell you exactly where she was standing, how i took one look at her, and decided then and there we were going to be friends. i soon discovered that julie and i were so much alike. first, we had the same interests,which at that time were music, drama, and dance (i was a horrible dancer. julie would work with me after school to help me learn routines). we were both born to teenage parents (and by the same o.b.!) we both came from portuguese families (if you are portuguese you will understand the significance). we understood and empathized with the others family chaos, and we both longed for Jesus and a Life of victory in Him. in a season when life can feel so awkward and isolating, our friendship caused me to believe that i fit in simply because i fit in with her. i think we all need to feel like we belong, even to just one person.
i recall two times in our 25 years of friendship where God has used julie to speak Truth over my life. Truth that on both occasions saved my enjoy this our final day together from this trip (this next video is a bit like watching the movie Ground Hog's Day, as i include 3 attempts to introduce the day).

and tell me have you ever laughed so hard you have wet yourself?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

absolute JOY

while we were in d.c i had the opportunity to see my b.f.f.'s of 25 years lisa and julie. both have moved to virgina with their families, and now live so far, far, faaarrrrrrrr away from me.

it brought me absolute JOY to get to spend a couple of days with my dear friends, who after so many years and memories have really become my sisters. i especially enjoyed soaking up their sweet children (some now the ages that we were when we first met).

we spent the day together visiting the natural history museum -where we saw the hope diamond, lots of bones, minerals (some looked like kryptonite. it may have been kryptonite because i felt unusually weak near that cluster of rocks) and insects. we also visited the air & space museum, where we saw the voyager, space ship one, the lunar lander, and the wright brother's plane (the real one)!
(sorry, some of the images are a bit small. to enlarge photos below simply click on photo)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Field Trip

Adventure: An unusual, exciting, typically hazardous, experience, or activity. The exploration of unknown territory. The encountering of risk. Daring and exciting activity calling for enterprise and enthusiasm.

To kick off this home-schooling year we planned an 11 day field trip to Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania (a trip that was planned and paid for before Michael became the "Wedding Crasher").

We set off on our ADVENTURE which began with a 6 hr drive, over night hotel stay, 5 hr flight, 4 large bags, 3 carry-ons, 1 wheel chair bound husband, 1 heavy wheel chair, 1 little girl with a twisted ankle (uh-huh, Josie twisted her ankle the day before the trip. she limped like a trooper the entire time), 1 mommy fresh from the chiropractor, and 2 kids FORBIDDEN to get injured! Church, family, and friends were praying for us (okay, really for me not to lose it!). Packed in our hearts was a good dose of DETERMINATION. We planned to take it one day at a time, and HOPED to make WONDERFUL lasting memories.

We arrived in D.C. and were greeted by our friends and hosts Ginger & Spinner (you can visit Spinner's blog Filatore here). Vacation is definitely more fun when you have great friends to stay with! Yes, accommodations are FREE and that is a plus, BUT being with friends who are like family was a BONUS (we're glad they are moving back to our neck of the woods soon)!

Their is so much to do in D.C. that it is overwhelming!
We spent our first day in D.C. visiting the National Zoo and the National Cathedral.

Here are photos from the BREATH TAKING National Cathedral.
In the days to come I look forward to sharing with you the exciting happenings of our adventurous field trip. I will also include some fun vlog's from our trip.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

just a quarter inch

me: josie, i love you more than anyone else loves you.
josie: but not more than God.
me: yes, God loves you most, but i am right behind Him.
josie: you are an inch behind Him!
me: an inch?
josie: well maybe just a quarter inch.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

abnormalville & grace

i've been gone.

first i was gone- taking care of my injured husband, and readjusting to life with him broken and wheel chair bound.

then i was gone- on an 11 day trip to D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, with wheel chair bound husband, 3 kids, 4 large (and heavy) suitcases, 3 carry on bags, and Tom Tom.

i've been home for a few days, but i still feel gone.

i think it is natural to come home and look forward to things retuning "back to normal." however, in the last few days it has hit me that life won't be "normal" for a while.

i miss "normal."

but all i can do is walk through each day extending grace to every circumstance, every need, every thing that is abnormal. this doesn't come easily for me. what comes easily is complaining, becoming frustrated, and making a home in self-pity... but i HATE living there. so i find myself walking through each moment reciting over and over again "give it grace."

give grace to the-
dishes in the sink
day old clothes on the clothesline
weeds in the garden
postcards that were never sent
piles of books and toys unclaimed
lesson plans unwritten
bills ignored
phone calls not being returned
a blog neglected

i have nothing left but to give it all grace right now, because i can't do it all, and i can't beat myself up for not doing it. so here, in abnormalville, is where i learn to give grace to myself. here in abnormalville i've got a lot of opportunity to practice :-)

so here's what i NEED from you- prayer. i need prayer that i will be able, by the grace of God, to lavish grace on the circumstances, people around me, and onto myself.
i also need prayer physically. in my attempt to be a crutch for my sweet husband i injured my back. traveling, lifting, and caring has aggravated the injury, and well, i REALLY hurt.
(go to second chiropractor today).
thank you.

finally, to read a beautiful STORY of God's GRACE made real in someone's life, visit sarah markley's blog the best days of my life.

i look forward to sharing with you pictures and vlogs (video blogs) from our great trip. here is just a tiny glimpse.
Noah, Emilie, and Josie with Betsy Ross (and some other guys) at Betsy Ross' house in Philadelphia, Pennsylvanian.