don't tell me you have never eaten a booger. i would guess 99.9% of the world has sampled their boogers. i recall a boy in my 4th grade classwho really enjoyed his boogers. now he is 36, balding, drives a fancy car, and has a fancy job (i wonder if hair loss is a result of excessive booger consumption).
as you see from the video above we visited the jelly belly factory. if you live in cali. i recommend you take a detour and head over to the jelly belly factory and go on their 40 min. tour! it was Su.Weeeet.! literally.at the end of the tour there was a sample bar, with unlimited j.b. samples (you should have seen my kids eyes when they were told unlimited amounts of candy was available... you should have seen the "no it's not" look i gave them in return). j.b. has some delicious flavors, but they also have some new flavors, "beanboozled." these flavors involve trickery- discovering your chocolate was replaced by dog food, your coconut for baby wipe, your peach for vomit, and your pear for booger. and that, that is how i ate a booger (yesterday anyway).with us on our tour my grandmother "vava," and my aunt vera.
as well as visiting the jelly belly factory we visited my dad. my dad lives in a state hospital. he is paranoid schizophrenic. you'd think that going to a state hospital would be the polar opposite of going to a candy factory. it could be. you'd expect it to be. but it wasn't it. it too was filled with sweetness. sweetness as i watched my g-ma feed her son all his favorite portuguese foods. the way to his heart is though his mother's cooking, and she needed to love him that way. he needed to be loved that way. sweetness was having his sister, my aunt, see him again for the first time in 12 years. my family tends to ignore his existence (i know it's not intentional, it hurts too much, the loss of their only brother, first to drugs, and now to mental illness). but it meant a lot to me, and i know it meant a lot to him. sweetness came in conversations between him and his grandchildren. in talking about favorite colors, favorite foods, go-cart crashes, and how tall the grand-kids have gotten. sweetness overwhelmed not just my taste-buds, but my other senses as my dad hugged each of his grandchildren and said to each of them, "i love you emilie, i love you noah, i love you josefine." i want that. i want them to be loved by my dad. i want him to be loved by my children, his grandchildren. sweetness came in my own embrace, nestling for a moment into him, my dad. and finally sweetness came as we left. he went through the doors of confinement,where he was searched by the guards, and we walked out the other door into freedom. there we waited, waited for him to turn around to see us not wanting to leave, wanting to wave goodbye one last time, wanting to take every moment given to us to soak him up. to us he isn't a patient or a criminal- he is a son, a brother, a grandpa...my dad. he saw us waiting, waved goodbye, and looked at me, and said "i love you." (tears)
in many ways i have been "beanboozled," i received booger, vomit, dog food... instead of the sweetness i should have had in a dad. and it hurts. it hurts everyday. i mourn and miss the dad i should have had (tears). i mourn the life he should have had.
and i hate satan.
but i love God. i love God because through His grace alone i have mercy for my dad (for a man who has been awful, hurtful, abandoning me, denying me as his daughter, torturing me with lies) but i really LOVE him. and i see him. who he is, under the illness. and i long for him.
and because of this, i see how God loves us, sees who we really are under our brokenness, and longs for us.
the kids have been out of school this week for fall break. i had comedown with the october homeschooling blues, and fall break was the perfect remedy to cure this illness. i needed to be mommy again, and give the teacher a rest. i needed them to be MY kids again, and not my students. so we decorated the house for fall, went to a movie, made tasty treats, played in the sunshine, turned the music up REALLY LOUD (sorry neighbors), and we DANCED!
last month for our anniversary my husband surprised me with a GUITAR! ( i'm not going to tell you that he also surprised me with a babysitter, yellow roses, and dinner at the cheesecake factory, out of fear that you'll become bitter towards me for having the most AWESOME husband E.VER! ).
here she is, isn't she beautiful!my first guitar was pretty much the bottom of the line lets-see-if-denise-is-really-going-to-learn-to-play-the-guitar guitar. it appears that after a little over a year of playing i have proven myself worthy, and my sweet husband invested in me and my guitar playing passion. isn't he the SWEETEST!
by the way the guitar salesman said it was bad luck to name your guitar so i haven't. but if i was going to name her (which of course i'm not, because i don't want bad guitar luck- i need all the help i can get) i'd name her stella. she looks like a stella.
and i love it! i love playing the guitar.
i joyfully take stella her out of her case, take in her fragrance, set out my music, take her in my hands, and anticipate what is going to come out of her, and me as i worship (usually joined by my back up singers, emilie and josie).
and it is something i never thought i'd be able to do. something i'd longed for, but thought it was something this 35 yr old, uncoordinated girl was incapable of. but it's not.
and i have to wonder maybe i'm not incapable of the other things i wish i could accomplish. maybe i'm not too old to begin. maybe i'll fail. but maybe if i try i'll be stirred up to be passionate and capable of more than laundry and cooking (which i'm not very good at all).
i miss when they were little. when time was concentrated on play, naps, graham crackers n' milk, giggles, slobbery kisses, and silliness.
i miss when fall invited us to tackle a fresh pile of autumn colored leaves to go "on bear hunts" to take wagon rides bundled up in our vava made scarves n' hats to curl up on mommy's lap next to the first fire with our "kiki, tiggy, or dee dee" (the names of their blankets) to race laps around the sofas, burning tracks in the carpet to engage in nightly wrestling matches and acrobats with daddy as they prepared for cirque du soleil i miss starting again the next morning with snuggles in our bed, tiny fingers wrapped around my neck.
"Look at me. I stand at the door and knock. I knock." Revelations 3, The Message
My door has been shut for a while. Opening it would make me tender. Being tender hurts. But i'm finding that not letting God in hurts more. So today I'm opening the door a crack. I'm looking at Him. I see my Jesus who has never left. He has been standing at the door- knocking, waiting... for me.
Take these shoes Click clacking down some dead end street Take these shoes And make them fit Take this shirt Polyester white trash made in nowhere Take this shirt And make it clean, clean Take this soul Stranded in some skin and bones Take this soul And make it sing
Yahweh, Yahweh Always pain before a child is born Yahweh, Yahweh Still I'm waiting for the dawn
Take these hands Teach them what to carry Take these hands Don't make a fist no Take this mouth So quick to criticize Take this mouth Give it a kiss
Yahweh, Yahweh Always pain before a child is born Yahweh, Yahweh Still I'm waiting for the dawn
Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up The sun is coming up on the ocean His love is like a drop in the ocean His love is like a drop in the ocean
Yahweh, Yahweh Always pain before a child is born Yahweh, tell me now Why the dark before the dawn?
Take this city A city should be shining on a hill Take this city If it be your will What no man can own, no man can take Take this heart Take this heart Take this heart And make it pray
here is a long, yet ENTERTAINING video capturing a bit of the night, and reuniting with old friends (also includes hello's to my b.f.f.'s who were unable to attend).
i look back at high school and am so grateful for that time. i am grateful for the friends i made. i wouldn't be who i am today if it weren't for the wonderful ways God wrote them into my life. i miss their presence in my life.
ideally children have families that meet their needs. ideally children have a physical home as well as an emotional home in their families. but i didn't. my family became the close friends around me. these friends were the people i ate with, cried with, laughed with, dreamed with, questioned Life with, and sought Truth with. they were my emotional home, and the school became my physical home.
i recall how i dreaded weekends, school holidays, and agonized over summer vacations. i felt homeless, without a sense of belonging. unlike the other children, i counted down the days till breaks were over. wondering if i was the only one eager to return.thankfully in the past 18 yrs since i graduated from high school i have learned to find my Home in God. through him and by the mentoring of others, i am learning to make a home for my family.but you see for me a high school reunion isn't just a gathering of old classmates, it's a family reunion.
it is a reunion of faces that are familiar, a reunion of people who grew up alongside me for 13 yrs, a reunion of memories shared, a reunion filled with the people who i am endeared to and love.
I'm Denise Jones~ Michael's wife, Noah, Emilie, and Josie's mommy.
Jesus knows me this I love.
Praise is who I am, praise is what I do.
I love words: written, spoken, sung, lived.
I have a love/hate relationship with homeschooling.
I value time spent with a good friend.
I go nowhere without my lipstick!
"By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us- set us right with him, make us fit for him- we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all; We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his doors to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand- out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting praise."
"Even in childhood was implanted within me a trace of that mysterious unity from which I was derived" St. Augustine Everybody has to change or they expire. Everybody has to leave, leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons. I want to keep my soul fertile for the changes, so things keep getting born in me, so things keep dying when it is time for things to die. I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago. Only a good story has a character that's different at the end than it was in the beginning. Through Painted Deserts - Donald Miller
"Our whole life was only given to us to advance us by great strides toward our heavenly country." Lancelot Andrews
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him."