To Read on the Journey

Friday, January 29, 2010

eat, cuddle, enjoy, celebrate, worship

this weekend i'm going to eat cookies,
cuddle with my husband,
enjoy the company of a friend,
celebrate a 1st birthday,
and worship.
frosting collage
frosting2 collage

What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What's in a name -part 2

I'm here to rewrite this tragedy
One line at a time

Hold on,
I'm changing all the scenery

It's okay we'll be fine

Cause we know how this ends
We know there's a better story

There's a better story
Of true love
Of true grace

There's the hope of glory

And our first chance to be truly brave

It's the place we're going

When we can't stay where we are

Rewrite This Tragedy
, by Sara Groves

As I shared in a previous post, "What's in a name?"
The meaning of my last name Jones means "Yahweh is gracious."

I looked up the meaning of my maiden (now middle name), Teodosio. It comes from the Greek word, Theodosius. Theo means "God," and dosis means "Gift" and "Giver."

Have you experienced those moments where God rewrites your story? The moments where you look back, but instead of seeing tragedy, God is present, whispering in your ear, telling you the truth about who you are, showing you that you were in His hand, and indeed His all along.
From that moment on you never look at that situation the same, you look at it with God present, with God's hand on your life.

Over the past few days, since discovering the meaning of my birth name, God has been rewriting my line at a time.

He started at my birth...

To be rejected by your father is a tragic story, it is the story I have lived my entire life. My earth father, Joe Teodosio, arrived at the hospital after my teenage mother gave birth to me, took one look at his 5lb 12 oz baby girl, and said, "she's not my daughter." Over the next 35 years there were too many encounters where he made sure I understood my nonexistent place in his world.

But God...

over the past few days, God's Spirit has taken me back to that hospital room, to my infant cradle. Back to a scene whose story has haunted me, and He has rewritten it. I see him draped over me, God with me. I hear him whisper in my curly, little ear, "Denise, you are a God Gift."... "Denise you are My Gift."

He has taken me through other scenes in my play, rewriting my story, making the character in my story different than it was in the beginning.

There's a better story even in the broken story. God is walking me through the better story, and I'm living it.

But not only is He walking me through yesterday, He is showing me today. Whispering in my 36 year old ear, telling me who I am... "Denise you are God Giver."

Could I be God Giver?

I want to be. More than anything I want to be.

When the last chapter of my story is is read I want it to be said of me, " Denise was a God Giver."

Who does God say you are?

Is God rewriting tragedy in your life?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Seeing Red

I was tagged by my friend Linda, from Thoughts On These Things, to See Red in my home, and share photos.
l-r, red suit case, favorite red apron, red "you are special today" plate, red
painted cherries on my ME chair.

a little red doll, given to me by my dad.

red 2 collage
l-r, red mini suit case, red wall/red pillow/red flowers, red josie,
my favorite red card given to me by a friend
(yes that's me photoshopped into a falcon).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What's in a name?

I was sitting with a very pregnant, one-week-away-from-delivery-friend yesterday, and we were discussing baby names (of course).
Just as I was in that season of name choosing, she has been very intentional about the name of her child.

We discussed how the name you give your child has meaning, and that that meaning is a blessing over our childrens' lives, as well as a blessing over the family.

We wanted our first child to have a strong name, one that brought with it hope, promise, and deliverance.0346285-R1-011-4
Noah Joseph means "rest, peace, not broken, made whole," and "may God add"

I had chosen the name of my first daughter, and began praying for her when I was just 16. Her name fits her personality perfectly. As the middle child her qualities sweetly bless this family.
Emilie Erin means "industrious, diligent worker,"
and "peace or mountain of strength

Josie's name came to us quickly, she is named after my grandmother. The meaning of her name brought hope to us. We lost a child before her (Caleb, "who followed the Lord wholeheartedly"), and I wanted the blessing of God adding to our family. God has definitely added light, joy, and song to our family because of her. I also wanted the assurance of this child being dedicated, devoted to God.
Josefine Elise means, " may God add," and "consecrated to God"

But I realized I had only given thought to the first names. I had never considered that our last name might have a blessing with it as well.

I discovered that Jones comes from the Hebrew Yochanan meaning "Jehovah has favored," and from the Latin Johannes, which means "Yahweh is gracious."

He is gracious indeed! Since becoming a Jones, I have received more than I deserve. I find myself saying, "why did you give me this life, I have done nothing to deserve it." I see that God has only just begun to lavish his graciousness on me!

As I searched for the meaning of our last name I came across the Jones family crest, and discovered that the Jones motto is: Without God, without anything.

Yes, without Him, we have nothing.

What is the meaning of your first and last name?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Do you want words to stir your heart?
Read this.
And when you are done and want more, read this


Monday, January 18, 2010

i asked God to help me love my neighbor.
i do.
and it hurts.

it was easier when i didn't let his life touch my life. i think i knew it would hurt if it did. and it does.

it brings up a world of childhood emotions. lately i find myself in a sea of tears. the broken child in me wants to protect and cover him from the hurt he has no choice but to live in.

my neighbor is 9. he is an adorable, red headed, freckled faced boy, with the GREATEST giggle.

he lives with his grandma (who is his guardian), his mom, his sister, his schizophrenic aunt (recently released from the state hospital), her baby (grandma is her legal guardian too), and who ever else decides to crash there.

his dad is in prison. his sister's dad died. his baby brother died two months ago.

his mom came over a bit intoxicated last week to use our phone. i drove her home (yes next door). she had a very intoxicated "friend" visiting. he stayed all week.

we picked him up for church yesterday (he's been going with us regularly). he had a new haircut.
i told him he was handsome.
it was brought to my attention later that that haircut came with tears and him being cussed at by his uncle (who gave the hair cut, and was at the house for the weekend).

last year i started praying for God to put a man in this little boys life. someone to tell him who he is. i think boys need dad figures. i think they need a man to tell them, show them they are capable, to model what it is to be a be godly.

last year after i prayed this he was expelled from school. he missed too much. he fell behind. he was placed in a continuation school where he was the only student. it seemed hopeless.
But his teacher is a man from my church, who LOVES God, and LOVES my neighbor, and wants to be the man this sweet boy needs in his life. he wants to speak truth to him, tell him who he is, teach him, love him.

a few months ago after he had gone to a family bible study night with our family, he called me (they don't have a phone anymore) and left this singing message, "Savior, He can move the mountains, My God is mighty to save, mighty to save."

tears... i hope HE does. Pray with me that God saves him, moves the mountains in this little boys life, and brings him into Hope. Pray that he will have a future lavished in God's love, and goodness, living in His Truth, thriving in Freedom.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I Want To Be One of Them

Please visit the blog Rage Against the Minivan to read about how you can pray and help the Howerton family bring their son home from Haiti.

When the Saints
by Sara Groves

Lord I have a heavy burden of all I've seen and know
It's more than I can handle
But your word is burning like a fire shut up in my bones
and I cannot let it go

And when I'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought

I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars
And when the Saints go marching in
I want to be one of them

Lord it's all that I can't carry and cannot leave behind
It often overwhelms me
But when I think of all who've gone before me
And lived the faithful life
Their courage compels me

And when I'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought

I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars

I see the shepherd Moses in the Pharohs court
I hear his call of freedom for the people of the Lord

And when the saints go marching in
I want to be one of them
And when the saints go marching in
I want to be one of them

I see the long quiet walk along the Underground Railroad
I see the slave awakening to the value of her soul

I see the young missionary and the end of the spear
I see his family returning with no trace of fear

I see the long hard shadows of Calcutta nights
I see the sisters standing by the lepers side

I see the young girl huddled on the brothel floor
I see the man with a passion come and kicking down the door

I see the man of sorrows and his long troubled road
I see the world on his shoulders and my easy load

And when the saints go marching in
I want to be one of them
And when the saints go marching in
I want to be one of them

(f.b. friends, to hear song and read lyrics as well see video)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weekend Plans

Last weekend I suggested to my husband that we make tamales.
He made tamales. He made tomatillo salsa.S collage

I helped.... a little. I helped fill the tamales (after he'd spent a day and a half preparing them), I had the girls create salsa labels, I took these great photos, and I ate the tamales and salsa.

I'm thinking this weekend I'm going to suggest to my husband that we clean the garage... oh wait, I already suggested that we clean the garage last weekend, and he already cleaned it.

Hmm, any suggestions on what my husband and I should tackle together this weekend?

What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Oh, oh, magnificent

I was born, I was born
To be with you in this space and time
After that and ever after
I haven't had a clue only to break rhyme
This foolishness can leave a heart black and blue, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar

I was born, I was born to sing for you
I didn't have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice from the womb
My first cry, it was a joyful noise, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar
Justified, till we die you and I will magnify, oh, oh
Magnificent, magnificent, oh, oh

Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love unites our hearts
Justified, till we die you and I will magnify, oh, oh
Magnificent, magnificent, magnificent

Magnificent, U2

Performed on a rooftop in London.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Love Language

Psalm 139 is well known scripture for many mommies. Verses 14-17 resonate with us-

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

But it is Psalm 139:1 that takes my breath away, "O Lord, You have searched me and know me."

To me being known is being seen. Being seen is being loved.

That is my Love Language.

It is how I am best loved. It is how I love best.

The more I know Jesus, the more I believe this is His Love Language.

This is what I like most about Jesus.

Jesus is intentional about knowing people. He sees us. Doesn't judge at first glance, but gets to the heart of us, to our story, to all the stories that have come before ours. Stories good, bad, of defeat, and victory which were written into our stories, and He knows us. Knows us better than we know ourselves. Gets us. See's us. And ENTIRELY Loves us!

I want to know, see, and love like Jesus.

For too many years I have played loving because it was the "Christian" thing to do. But in too many circumstances I never really loved. I was just meeting my Christian requirements. I don't think that is entirely bad, sometimes we must "fake it till we make it." Obedience is the first step. But I've outgrown just being obedient. I want to love, from my inmost being I want to love.

I want to love:

My neighbor. Who is broken. She resides in a prison not made of visible bars, but of drugs, alcohol, and defeat.

My neighbor's children.

A friend, who has destroyed her life, and is living in lies.

A relative whose choices grieve me.

and too many more...

I want to love them.

This is a gift I can give daily.
What gift can you give daily?

Monday, January 11, 2010

A few of my favorite things- part 3, "You had me at the box."

It started with a box.

Michael's grandmother, Gram, made a tradition of giving a Christmas gift to her husband, Gramps, every year in the same box. Eventually the box made its way into the family. Each year someone new receives a gift in the box. This year I got the box! Because the box is valued and part of tradition, just getting the box was a gift.

But the blessing didn't stop there!

Before I continue, you'll need some back story: nearly two years ago I had a naked wall in my house. While visiting my s.i.l. her buffet (which was being stored under her house) asked me if it could come live at my house on that naked wall. My heart went out to the abandoned buffet, and I asked Lindsey if I could "store" it for her . She agreed, and in addition said I could "paint it whatever color I wanted to." Being the thoughtful s.i.l. that I am, I chose a color that would never compliment the colorscape (it should be a word) of her home, RED!
I really want to store the buffet as long as possible.

Shortly after we Michael painted it red his parents were over visiting. Michael's dad liked the buffet, but commented that I needed a red bench in my front window to compliment it. I agreed, and ever since have been searching for a bench to compliment the buffet.

This Christmas my search was over-red bench collage

Michael's dad made me a bench and painted it buffet red! As they removed the sheet, displaying my thoughtful gift, tears filled my eyes, and I said, "You had me at the box."

It is so good to be known.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A few of my favorite things- Part 2

Continued from yesterday's post...

I'm really blessed to have a husband whose parent's brought him up right! As a child they put him (and his siblings) to work alongside them; cooking, building, cleaning, problem-solving, creating, helping. And because of this Michael has confidence tackling many projects.

I don't think they knew then that they were giving their children a great gift. One that would translate into confidence and capability in their lives. THANK YOU NANA & GRAMPS! This is a gift we hope to (and are) passing onto our children.

Because of this gift given to Michael in his childhood I am blessed with the opportunity to have a great big "honey-do" list! And at gift giving time my honey-do wheels start turning.

Here are two "honey-do" and "knowing" gifts we LOVED giving.

b collage

Michael made the girl's beds for their American Girl dolls. Don't they look terrific! I made the bedding to match their bedding. The girl's were delighted when they discovered them on our Christmas morning by the tree.
Their dollies have already taken up residence in their beds- tucking jammies behind their pillows, and hiding A.G. belongings under the beds.

This gift was given to Micheal's grandmother, Gram.
For all they years she has been a Grandmother, Gram, has had a photo taken of each of her grand-daughter's and great-granddaughters in her mother's dress, seated in her own childhood rocker.
We thought it was time all those special photos were matted and framed for Gram.

The photo in the center of the frame is of her mother, Lilian May Riley Sullivan, in the dress.
Nana Sullivan is surrounded in the frame by her great, and great-great granddaughters!

I could hardly wait for Gram to open her gift, to see the expression on her face, to know this tradition she has carried on is valued by the generations.
(the two empty mattes are awaiting pix of new great-granddaughters).

BTW- Michael works by day as a fine art digital print-maker, and by weekend as a photographer (thanks honey for working the two jobs needed so we can eat and have a roof over our heads! thank you for making it possible for me to be a s.a.h.m./home schooling mommy to our kids), and again has the skills and resources to make a project like this happen.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A few of my favorite things- Part 1

Growing up my least favorite thing about returning to school after Christmas break was the dreaded question, "what did you get for Christmas?" It wasn't because I received bad gifts (except for Purple Christmas 1992, when I received purple pants, purple boots, a purple purse, and other hideous purple items), it was just because up to that point I really liked my gifts (even the Pumpkin Patch doll I received when all the other girls were gifted the popular Cabbage Patch doll). I didn't like comparing gifts with the others. I didn't want to compare mine, I wanted to continue enjoying them.
Even then as a little girl on the school playground I wanted us to celebrate with each other the gifts big and small we'd each been given.

As I've grown I've aimed to become very intentional in the gifts I give. I have truly experienced, "that it is greater to give than to receive." I LOVE to give.
I am blessed from start to finish! Beginning with the "aha" moment the gift comes to mind, the process of creating, the moments of anticipation as the receiver opens the gift, and finally that moment when they discover they are known and deeply loved! Even now I tear up just at the thought of how WONDER-FULL that is!

Sarah Markley, from the blog Best Days of My Life explains it like this:
"In my own personal love-economy,
gifts are important. I like to give them, I like to receive them. But it has nothing to do with money. It has everything to do with knowing."

Over the next few days I will share with you gifts that share how we knew loved ones, and gifts that showed we were known.

Here are two ways I "knew" loved ones this Christmas.

I COULD NOT wait to give my sister her gifts! My sister and bro-in-law are in the process of adopting two darling little boys. She has had her eye on my Lisa Leonard mommy necklace that I wear, proudly displaying the names of my 3 loves- Noah, Emilie, & Josefine.

Look at her happy face below when she received her own mommy necklace!

In addition I took all of the photos taken of the boys since they received them and surprised her with a BLURB book.
I can't wait till they are officially ours, so I can finally share with you how stink'n ADORABLE they are.

I have scripture that God placed on my heart to pray for each of my children when they were babies.
Emilie's scripture comes from Ephesians 3:17-19
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, (18) may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, (19) and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
This scripture speaks of God's immeasurable love. I want my sweet girl to live in that. She will be reminded to do so as she wears her own Lisa Leonard necklace with her word "immeasurable" on it.

Did you give or receive a gift this Holiday Season that expressed "knowing?"

AND for the chance to win your own Lisa Leonard necklace, visit here to enter a GIVE AWAY!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hold Tight!

(originally posted March 24th, 2008)

Let us love Him! Let us love Him! He made us, and He is near. He did not make things and then walk away. He remains intimately involved, and all things have their being in Him.
See Him.
There He is, where truth is loved. He can be found within the very heart, even if the heart strays from Him.
Go back into your heart and find him sinners. Wrap your arms around Him who made you and hold tight ....

True Life came down to us and bore our death. By the abundance of His own life, true Life killed death.
And the voice of true Life thundered.
He shouted to us to return at once to Him.
He called us to the secret place from which He came.
His journey took Him first to the virgins womb.
There He took up mortal flesh of human creation.
He adopted mortal flesh, so that it might not be forever mortal. He embarked into life as a bridegroom into his marriage, knowing the joy of freedom that a great distance runner feels to launch out on the course.
For He never slackened his pace. He ran on.
and He shouted on.
His words and deeds clamored.
His death and return to life roared.
His decent from the Father and His ascent back cheered.
The Life cried out to us to return to Him. When He did leave the world where our eyes could see Him, it was so that He might return to us in our heart. He left that we might find Him. He departed, and -surprise!- the heart is where He reappeared.

St. Augustine

Friday, January 1, 2010

Some 2009 Favorites

2009 Favorite Pix
(This is just a few. Really. It took a lot of self-control not to load my entire i -photo library).
More 2009 favorite pix below

2009 Favorite Posts

Punching Bags
my mom got a punching bag for Christmas. it is hanging in her garage, where she does her punching thing. in my opinion it was an odd gift to request. i would never ask for a punching bag, i wouldn't want to waste my time beating and pounding at something.
or would i?

Birth Story
my friend said to me that our stories, when we came into a relationship with Christ, are our birth stories. she commented on how we mommies love to get together and recount all the details of the birth's of our children. she said that God loves to tell the story of how we were born, again and again, but the only way He can do this is through us. isn't that a sweet thought.

You Are My I Love You
I am your parent; you are my child.
I am your quiet place; you are my wild.
Driving Under the Influence of a Dunkin Donut
This is probably my favorite video blog (vlog) of the year. My husband Michael (who is typically my victim when I vlog), turned the tables on me, and with full control of the camera, captured me dunking and driving (btw- wouldn't that be a great advertisement slogan for Dunkin Donuts).

Seat 12A
I can't recall most of what Bob said, but I remember his face, and the Spirit alive in him. My Spirit was hungry for his Spirit. The Jesus in me had to sit with, meet with, cry with, rejoice with, the Jesus in him.

09 2collage