To Read on the Journey

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Old Friends are best
less you can find a new {blog} friend
to make an old one out of"
From "Maycation" with blog friends Sarah Markley & Kristen Cheney.

Necklaces by Lisa Leonard.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


i'm "that mom."

the one i feared, and determined i'd never be.

i'm short fused and blow at the tiniest unintentional offenses;
book neglected on the couch,
beverage cups rejected, and multiplying on the counter,
light left on in the bedroom closet,
fingernail clippings in the sink (eeeww),
a mountain of shoes piled up beside the shoe bins,
this-that-and-too-much-of-the-other forgotten in the van,
videos, wii games, and remote controls abandoned in the family room.

like ALL parents, i have many opportunities to EXPLODE!

i lack in the grace department.  i EXPLODE.... A LOT.

but i don't want to be  "that mom" anymore.

yes, i want my 3 to be responsible, follow through, finish well people, but the route i'm taking (nagging, yelling,  fill-in-the-blank-ing at them) is doing them more harm than good.

though i lack in the grace department, this can't be used as an excuse to be graceless.

i am  not incapable of being gracious. my longtime faithless friends; Frustration, Control, Disappointment, and Selfishness would like me to think otherwise (let's call them the "Plagues").

But Grace has pursued me.  yes, we've dated a little.  Grace sees in me what i cannot see in myself, but have secretly hoped was there.  In just a few encounters i've grown madly-in-like with Grace (Love is in our future, i know it).  i'm ready to jump into a committed relationship with Grace (Grace told me it wants me, just as i am).

it's not a surprise that the "Plagues" won't let me sever our relationship easily. i want to break it off, but the familiarity of our twisted relationship is so tantalizing (especially when i'm in pain, or hOrMoNaL). 

however, i know something they don't... i am made in Christ's image.

Jesus is Grace.

And because of Him, "i am a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come."

I Am Grace. 

grace collage

my hope is that someday my children will say,  "i want to be a mom like my mom."  she defeated Frustration, Control, Disappointment, and Selfishness.  she looked for grace and found it... nestled on the couch cushions, multiplied on the counter, shining in the closet, on top of a mountain, and in this-that-and-too-much-of-the-other.  she embraced the Grace she found {which was ALWAYS embracing her}, and wrapped Grace around us."

Dear Grace,  help me to seek You, find You, embrace You, live in You, extend You. i long to open my doors to You. to live in Your wide-open spaces, and to bring glory to You.  thank you for the opportunities my children give me to look for You.  Help me to seek you instead of settling into my not-so-old habits.  shape me into who You want, and have written me to be- an image/reflection of Grace.  glorifying you , may my children learn to embrace you as well, live in Your fullness, and glorify You as well. In Jesus, Amen.

Friday, June 25, 2010

a good evening is...

reading together from the good book.  
engaging with each other in conversations that stir our hearts, 
and mold our spirits.  
a bit of what we're reading 
Romans 5,  The Message
 "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." 
 a bit of summer rain accompanied by a double rainbow, then followed by a glorious sunset.
rainbow/sunset collage


a game of risk 
risk collage
(i was seated on the love-seat beside them, flipping threw the pages of a magazine, listening to war strategy).   

the evening made complete with summer's favorite treat,smore

How do you spend a summer evening?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

good morning

summer invites me to:
sleep in past 8 
(hey, i've paid my wake-up-at-the-crack-of-dawn-with-the-little-ones-dues. 
i'm enjoying the land of big kids now),
 to greet my world with a good morning kiss,
to grab a bowl of cereal, 
bury it in a sea of blueberries,
then plop down in the middle of the couch,
to visit with my oldest and dearest friends, 
lucy & ethel. 

how do you spend your summer mornings?

Monday, June 21, 2010

eat it all

we had a full weekend...

camping in the back yard, protected by our fierce guard dog, belle (a.k.a. "jelly belly").

hanging out with cousins, luke  and nicolas, visiting from hawaii.
which included an ice cream outing, where we received a stern warning from the c.h.p. to abide by the "snack law," and do as the ice cream cone says, "eat it all." (he also informed us that eating brussle sprouts was illegal).
ice cream cousins

a graduation party (sorry no pix).  three table decorations (fish) came home with us. two remain. fish food has been bought, and the kids have promised to be 100% responsible for their latest pets. ( it's already looking grim for these two).

"E" is for emma... sewed a homemade birthday gift. cost for t-shirt and materials, $7.
e is for emma

went to a father's day matinee, Toy Story 3 (accompanied by many tears because Andy's going to college,) followed by father's day dinner with the rogers and allens.
the girls found the dress up clothes in the attic to entertain them, the boy's played "risk," and papa dan played his guitar.  being with the rogers and the allens feels like home to me. it is good to have people who are home.
  roger's father's day

what did you do for father's day weekend?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nothing Is Worth More Than This Day

(originally posted June 19th, 2007)

June 19th, 1988- Nothing is worth more than this day.  
In late spring of 1988, when I was 14, a friend invited me to Hume Lake Christian Camp, but because my mother worked as a waitress, camp wasn't financially possible (we got the free cheese. Those of you who got the free cheese know what I'm talking about). However, one week before camp the same friend who had invited me phoned to say another girl had cancelled. Her spot for camp was paid in full, and the church, River Oak Grace, wanted me to go in her place.

 I can't say I wanted to go to a Christian camp.  If there was a God, I had a question for Him, "Why did you give me this life, I've done nothing to deserve it?"
From birth my dad rejected me, and over the years has made it clear to me that I am not his daughter. He was a drug user for 27 years. In 1998 he was arrested.  He served a year in prison, where it was discovered that he is 
Bipolar-Pschitzoaffective. He currently resides in a state hospital.

 A routine weekend visit to my paternal-grandparents at the age of 2 turned into a 3 year stay when my teenage mother decided she couldn't care for me and my younger sister.  When I was 6 my mother returned and regained custody of us.  In the 13 years I lived with her she was married, divorced, engaged, separated, married, divorced, engaged, separated, married, divorced, married.  I've had 7 "dads."  

The message conveyed to me by my parents and "step-parents" was that I was not wanted.  Their rejection, abandonment, selfishness and neglect shattered me, and communicated that I was not worthy of being love.
  But God...

I went to camp.

Hume Lake itself was breathtaking. The camp experience was remarkable, and I was invigorated by the activities, games, being part of community, eating 3 meals a day, singing (always my favorite), and especially by people who poured into me. 
That week the speaker, Steve Russo, spoke about how "God is a Father who will never leave you or forsake you."  He shared from Romans 8, that "nothing can separate us from the love of God" (tears- it still gets me). I desperately needed that.  Wanted that. 

Wanted a Father who wanted, and was committed to loving me.    
So, on June 19th, 1988, In Hume Lake's Ponderosa Chapel, I took my first steps to my Father God.

And what a journey (journey: to travel from one place to another) it has been since! 

15 years later I wanted to return to Hume with my husband and 3 young children to celebrate with them this day which had forever changed my life.
I hadn't mentioned our plans to anyone, when a couple from our church approached us with an offer to stay at their cabin at Hume Lake FOR FREE! Once again God had orchestrated my going to Hume Lake (oh, how He loves me!)

One morning that week, during a morning walk around the lake, God and I were chatting. He and I revisited the 15 years since I had taken my first steps to Him. I couldn't help but express gratitude for the mighty ways my Savior had worked in my life, and then the sweetest thought occurred to me, and I said, "15 years ago I came here asking 'why did You give me this life, I've done nothing to deserve it,' and 15 years later I have the same question for You, 'Why did you give me this Life, I have done nothing to deserve it.'"

I really do not deserve the LORD God's generous love, but I am so so glad it is mine.
I don't deserve Jesus- Savior and Redeemer, but I am so so glad He is mine. 

I don't deserve the Spirit, Who tenderly speaks, leads, knows, but I am so so glad He is mine.     
I don't deserve this Life, but it's mine.

Friday, June 18, 2010

with or without Bono

  for christmas i surprised michael with tickets to see U2's 360 tour (yeah, i'm an awesome wife).  time off was requested, childcare was arranged, and plans for a mini getaway to san francisco were under way... until last month, when we discovered that bono had back surgery!  the concert has been postponed till 2011.

but it turns out we jones' can have fun with or without you bono!


sonora collage

pinecrest collage

we took advantage of the opportunity to be alone together ("alone together," is my favorite oxymoron. this too would have been a great title for this post.  bono should write a song with the lyrics, "alone together is my favorite oxymoron" ).

we headed off to the quaint little towns of jamestown, sonora, twain harte, and pinecrest.  michael pretended to enjoy antique shopping (hmmm, i love him), we shared good food,  stayed at a charming bed & breakfast, kayaked on a serene lake, had uninterrupted conversation, and took in a movie (robin hood, staring russel crow. very good if you've got free childcare, and bono is out of commission).

we're looking forward to 2011, seeing U2 in concert, and ANOTHER getaway!

What band would you most like to see in concert?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

under the circumstances

i recall hearing a story with a punch line once (which i'm now going to butcher trying to retell it) where a student tells his professor he didn't turn in an important paper because of this, that, and the other (see, totally butchering it). the student goes on to tell the professor that he couldn't finish the assignment "under the circumstances." (here's the punch line) the professor responds by saying, "well what are you doing under there?"

i told you i'd butcher it.

but did you get the point?  we shouldn't be under our circumstances.  we should be above them.

lately, i have been under my circumstances.

a number of trials have presented them self in this last year.

i hurt my back in august (when michael broke his hip and arm). i attempted to live in denial about it for as long as i could, but now sciatica is causing numbness in my left leg and arm. ergghh.

finances are a concern (we're still paying last years medical expenses, and new medical expenses are accruing).

a relationship with a family member is... ughhh. 

our van is sick, we may need to replace it.

finally, we feel that God has prompted us to leave our church (i've been there 17 yrs, michael 24 yrs). we don't know if this change is temporary or permanent.  we love our church family, deeply.  however, we see God moving in us and our children as a result of our obedience.

these circumstances are nothing new under the Son, but i have not been handling them well.

i want to handle these trials like James-
" Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

i confess that i have been living like an atheist, not believing God.

however, here is what i KNOW:
God ALWAYS works these trials out for good.
God ALWAYS grows my faith, and draws me closer to Him as a result of the trials.
when i get out from "under the circumstances," and trust my Father, He shows Himself as
Maker, Provider, Lover, Healer, Redeemer, and best of all SURPRISER!


so i'm crawling out from "under the circumstance," and abiding in the Son. i'm giving up worry and choosing to worship.  I'm considering these trials joy, because my faith is going to increase, and He is going to be glorified through me. 

Friday, June 11, 2010


 i'm home. 
 maycation evolved into "i-don't-care-cation" and "carbcation"
(let's just say my muffin top is now a full fledged muffin).
we had a wonderful two weeks, spent with 
blog friends, old friends, and family.  
we had visitors EVERYDAY
(i'm wiped out!).
i am grateful for conversations, laughter, 
worship, relaxation, community,
and grace
(there were a number of times i needed it).

i'm glad to be home.  

home is...

the five of us,

the sound of the girls playing the piano,

conversations with my Father as i take in the view from my kitchen window,

noah curled up in a chair with his nose in a book, 

clothes on the clothesline,

the smell of freshly cut grass, 

the neighbor boy over to play, 

michael tinkering in the garden,

  little hands helping with dinner,  

playing my guitar on the porch swing; joined by young worshipers, 

board games with daddy, 

good night kisses, and whispering "Jesus," 

 ending the day in michael's arms...

it's good to be home.  

What do you love about home?