To Read on the Journey

Thursday, October 28, 2010

pink tutus

josie has been wearing the same pink leotard with pink glittery tutu for nearly 2 weeks.  she has added to this ensemble in various ways; wearing it with jeans, decorating her head with a tiara or a creation corner headband, and (as always) wearing mismatched socks, and sometimes mismatched shoes.

josie's personality beams as bright as her wardrobe.  she begins her day by spreading love.  she wraps her 8 year old self around each of us, delights in us, and in the day ahead. 
josie has transformed our home into her concert hall; every activity of each day turns into a song (as i type she is singing about lunch and washing dishes). when she is not composing her own lyrics and music she is worshiping; praise is on her lips.
in the moments she is not in song she is bursting with laughter over some thought or memory.  she invites us into her laughter. 
josie lives in grace.  she doesn't dissect herself, but instead enjoys lightheartedness (oh how i hope this is a quality she will never lose).  
she is pure joy! even when days seem gray she beams with sunshine. i find my self standing in her sunshine.

josie changes the atmosphere in our home.
through her God changes the atmosphere in my heart.
thank you tasha (from creation corner)  for the wonderful gift! 
the jones girls are enjoying the headband with interchangeable flowers! 
to order your own visit the creation corner etsy shop.

Monday, October 25, 2010

what they play when i'm not looking

 Sunday school in the girl's bedroom.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

an old friend with a birthday and a convertible

last weekend (which in blogville was forever ago) we joined friends, jeff n' kelly hayes, for a date night to celebrate jeff's birthday.

i've blogged about jeff a number of times.  he and i have been friends for a hundred million years... well since 1985!  back when ronald reagan was president, "back to the future" hit the big screen, and every little girl wanted a cabbage patch doll.  when tears for fears was singing "shout," madonna was singing "crazy for you", and everyone was singing "we are the world."  yep, jeff and i have been friends for. ev. er!

25 years (gulp)!

jeff and i had similar upbringings. both our stories could have played out tragically, but God rescued each of us, and lead us into victory. 

over the years i have watched jeff overcome, seen him lavish love on his wife and boys, and have taken notes from him on how to be intentional in my walk with God.  seeing him live his life in faith thrills me to no end!

it has been a gift to grow up with jeff, but it has been a greater gift to grow up in Christ alongside him.

we celebrated jeff's birthday with a ride in his 1964 convertible corvair! 
this was my first time ever in a convertible (sad, i know).  i envisioned myself riding in his convertible with a scarf beautifully framing my face, large sunglasses shading my eyes (you know like all the glamor girls do in the classic movies).  but it ended up like this.

 next time i will use duct tape to secure my scarf.

after i tamed my hair, we enjoyed a delicious italian dinner together. after dinner jeff was serenaded howled happy birthday.  
when the dinner festivities were done we went out to the parking lot where i could be found drooling (yes, literally) over jeff's car (whose name is ginger) a bit. i think i'm in love (you might recall i have a bit of an obsession with old cars).


eventually the gang pried me away from ginger, and we went geocaching (another first for me)!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Into Marvelous Light

Into Marvelous light I'm running
Out of darkness, out of shame
By the cross, You are the truth 
You are the life, You are the way

A stranger with no hope
Your kindness wakened me
Awakened me, from my sleep

Your love it beckons deeply
A call to come and die
By grace now I will come
And take this life, take Your life

Sin has lost it's power
Death has lost it's sting
From the grave You've risen

Into Marvelous light I'm running
Out of darkness, out of shame
By the cross, You are the truth 
You are the life, You are the way

My dead heart now is beating
My deepest stains now clean
Your breath fills up my lungs
Now I'm free, Now I'm free
Lift my hands and spin around
See the light that I have found
Oh the Marvelous light
Marvelous light

Sin has lost it's power
Death has lost it's sting
From the grave You've risen

 Into Marvelous light I'm running
Out of darkness, out of shame
By the cross, You are the truth 
You are the life, You are the way

By Charlie Hall

Friday, October 15, 2010

a year from now

this week is baby loss awareness week.  a week to remember babies "born into heaven."
to those of you who have lost a child i mourn with you your great loss, and i celebrate with you that some day we will be reunited with our children in Glory.

yesterday i posted "out of line," where i shared thoughts on the Psalm 139:16, "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

one of those days written by God, that i may never understand this side of Heaven, was the day God took our son Caleb home.

but yesterday as we sat at the table sharing moments written by God i was reminded of and shared about another day penned by God's  hand.

the day Saturday, February 10th, 2001.  i was at a  4 day retreat, The Walk to Emmaus.  my husband had joined men from all over central California the weekend before on "The Walk," and this weekend it was my turn to join strangers, at an unfamiliar church in the middle of nowhere, hoping to come face to face with Jesus.

but i didn't think i would.  really,  part of me didn't want to. i was mad at Him. it had been almost 5 months since he took Caleb home. i was sad. i wanted my baby back, in my belly, i wanted to be looking forward to the month ahead when he was due. instead i was dreading it. mourning everyday without him.

during the afternoon on this day of The Walk, we were lead into a sanctuary where we were given the opportunity to meet with a pastor for counsel and to be anointed with oil (freedom.  we could sit in the pews for as long as we needed, but we could not leave the sanctuary until we met with the pastor.

i sat there alone for what seemed like hours... the last one to make the walk to the altar.

as i sat in that pew i ignored God.
He did not ignore me.
He spoke.
teary eyed i pretended to ignore Him.
He cradled me.
i wrestled Him to release me from His arms.
still, He held me.
He cupped my tearful face in His hands.
i closed my eyes.
He spoke, "Beloved."
i cried..."why? why did you take my son? i want him back"
He listened.
still unable to look at Him i asked, "will i always feel such grief?"
He whispered, "Denise, your life will look different a year from now."
"What?" i asked confused.
He spoke again, "your life will look different a year from now."

i made my way to the altar, where the Wonderful Counselor  continued to lead me into Comfort, Truth, and Peace as the pastor spoke and anointed me with oil. 

i left The Walk assuming God meant my grief would change within the next year. i didn't think He meant  for me to take Him literally.

the week before Sunday, February 10th, 2002,  i was 38 weeks pregnant with a little girl.  michael and i met with the o.b. for a routine check up and to ask about being induced (something i'd not done before).   the doctor agreed, and scheduled us for Sunday.

as we drove home, michael and discussed how odd it was that the dr. had chosen Sunday. wasn't that his day off?  "why Sunday" i asked.

and i heard, "your life is going to look different a year from now."

Exactly One year later, 
on Sunday February 10th, 2002 at 2:58 p.m., 
Josie (Josefine, "may God add") was born.  

How precious to me are your thoughts, 
O God! 
How vast is the sum of them! 
Psalm 139:17

Josie isn't a replacement for Caleb, but the Joy she has added to our lives has replaced our grief.  God was so generous to write her into our lives.

Friend, God is LIVING and MOVING.  He sees you.  He knows you.  He holds you.  He holds your past, your today, your future.  He has a plan for you.  and more than anything HE LOVES YOU. 

May He lavish His love on you, and may you open your heart to receive ALL of His love! 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

out of line

at 7:00 a.m. each week day we meet at the table.

we meet at the table with messy hair, and dirty teeth. some of us are dressed for the day, and are slurping the last of our cereal.
one of us is in a pink fluffy robe.   she ignored the alarm again, and asked the morning for "just one more minuet,"  which once again turned into 5 or 10 "one more minuets."  she is stumbling through the kitchen, blinded by the light, squinting as she pours a cup of java.

it is now 7:10, and i take my seat at the table to share in togetherness with my family before the day  tugs and pulls us in different directions.  we share in togetherness with each other and with  the "Mysterious Unity from which we were derived" as we read the Bible and pray.

this is my favorite time of day.

this morning emilie lead us in our daily scripture.  she chose one verse.  as she prepared she thoughtfully considered its words, and wrote their worth to her on a 3x5 card to share with each of us.

she read...
"All the days ordained for us were written in your book before one of them came to be."  Psalm 139:16

she shared...
"to me these words mean that God has already written our lives."

 a discussion ignites around the table as share the Word. then one by on we speak of  many moments so clearly penned by God's hand that we have lived. 

we ask if we live every moment written by God, or do we sometimes step "out of line?"  do we step out of  a sentence He wrote.  do we change the adjectives that He carefully penned to describe us beautifully to now describe us tragically.  do we step off the page(s) He has written.  do we remove ourselves from entire chapters and live a story other than the one written for us. 

i know i that i step "out of line" daily. 

thankfully when i step "out of line" my story doesn't end, but instead it continues, written in Grace.

In the beginning was the Word (good news, salvation) 
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.  
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; 
without him nothing was made that has been made. 
In Him was life (eternal life),
and that life was the light (Jesus Christ- Savior) of men. 
John 1:1-4

By God's grace and because of His immeasurable love for ALL of us, before time, God wrote a Story of redemption for you, for me.   He wrote a Savior into our stories.  A Savior that would not only give us everlasting life, but that would Redeem EVERY LINE in our stories.
(I know this first hand, as everyday He is rewriting my life.  what was once a tragedy i now read as a Love story.)

before you or i took our first breath here Jesus, the Word, was already at work rewriting all the "out of lines." wonderfully and mysteriously rewriting every wrong, every hurt, wound, scar... rewriting every mess into a beautiful, God-glorifying  Love story.

Our prayer this morning was that we would live the lives God has written for us.  When we step "out of line" may we quickly and humbly return to the Author of our lives, and back into the chapter, the paragraph, the sentence He has written.  This is my prayer for you too, friend.  May every word of   your life bring glory to God.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


 Happy 90th Birthday Grandma!

I am so glad that God made you, and delivered you into this world 90 years ago today. 
I admire you.  
You are gracious.
You are thoughtful with your words.
You always speak of your delight for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
I recall meeting you for the first time. I mentioned to Michael, I already loved your family, but your Grandmother seals the deal!  Over the years you have delighted in me as if I were your own grand-daughter.  What a treasure it is to be Your family. 
You are generous with your life and have been intentional about
making memories with us at every opportunity
(Laguna Beach, lunch outings followed by swim play at your house, Yosemite at Christmas followed by lunch at the Awahanee Hotel, and more).
I love your sense of adventure and that you have traveled so much of the world. 
I especially thought it was beautiful that you took your grown daughters to Paris 
(I look forward to the day I can follow your example and do the same with my grown-up girls, when I will steal them away from their busy lives and make them only mine again. I will tell them I am following their Great Grandmother's example).
You are beautiful. 
The years added to your life make you more beautiful, more gracious. more loved (I hope my own family will be able to say the same about me). 
Recently you shared with me that Psalm 23 are your favorite verses. 
I celebrate those verses with you, and find comfort in God who is our good Shepherd, who knows us,  guides us, comforts us, and spills the abundance of His love onto us. 
God blessed each of us by making us yours. 
I Love you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

October Simile

How to write a simile- jones style.
first,  get dry erase markers to write on a window.
second,  pick a topic (we chose October). 
  next, make a list of adjectives and comparative nouns that fit your topic.
 then, write a simile. 

(topic) is...
as (adjective) as  (comparative noun)
as (adjective) as  (comparative noun)
as (adjective) as  (comparative noun) 
repeat as many times as desired

October is...
as flaming as Autumn leaves
as thrilling as Halloween costumes
as decadent as candy
October is...
as bumpy as a hayride
as bright as a pumpkin patch
as yummy as candy-corn
as exciting as a corn maze


Saturday, October 9, 2010

lightening, gorillas, friendship, wealth, and babies in tummies

 the title should give evidence to the fact that this is going to be a post filled with a whole lotta random... and no, there is NOT A BABY in my tummy (yikes!).

we traveled down to so cal (southern california for you non-californians) last weekend to celebrate michael's g-ma's 90th b-day (post coming this week). to get from our neck of the woods to so cal we must travel over the grapevine (which i have yet to see an actual grapevine on).  while driving over and through the grapevine we were surprised by a lightening show.  

the lightening show was brilliant and majestically terrifying.

as josie's teeth chattered from the backseat, noah and emilie were enamored by the show, "i think God is spoiling us with this lightening show. i can't take my eyes off of it!"   emilie chimed in, "i think God is entertaining us for our long (6hr) drive there."
as their Spirits were struck by the lightening, i was struck by the worship happening from the backseat of a station wagon.

 because we were in so cal (which happens 2x a year at most) we squeezed in a couple visits with some of our favoritest people EVER!

first,  a visit with the crutchfields.
i'm crazy (literally) about this baby
(whose dad is my emmy award winning friend-
yeah, i'm going to say that every time i mention him, and 
whose mom is my God-sister)! 
we also met up with "uncle pluto" (known to most people as jeff) at a delicious burger joint
near santa monica.
uncle pluto currently works at paramount studios for an emmy nominated show.
uh huh, we know people who know people who have been on the cover of PEOPLE
or who could potentially be on the cover of PEOPLE. 

it is important to see those people who just by being with them you are scooped up, wrapped in their arms, and squeezed tight.

on our way home from so cal we stopped at a car dealership to check out  a vehicle we had seen on line the week before.  we did our research and had decided this particular vehicle met our checklist of requirements. we were especially pleased to discover this particular suv was marked down to $5, 000 less than the blue book value.  we worked with the nicest non-haggling used car salesman ever who lowered the price even more to fit our budget.
we brought home a "new to us" 2007 Saturn Outlook. this suv is a bit too classy for these joneses. it has a c.d. player (exciting for us), leather seating for 8, bun warmers, lumbar support (oh my back is happy), automatic rear door opener/closer (what will i do with all that spare time), and 10 cup holders!  noah got in and said, "this car seems too rich for us, i don't feel like i belong in this car."
after he said this i responded, "that is exactly how i feel in our family." it's too much too take in, but i will!
we returned home sunday evening to what was suppose to be a much needed uneventful week.
for the most part it was until i picked noah up from school wednesday... "noah how was school today?"  noah's eyes lit up as he began to tell of the afternoon's event, " i was in science class, and the door opened, standing there was the school secretary and a GORILLA!  the gorilla came in the class started messing with another kid, and then came towards me.  it messed with my desk, and messed up my hair, and then it gave me a reese's candy bar, and left."  not the answer i was expecting, but i was glad to see the "no child left behind" act at work! hehe.
i asked noah why he thinks the gorilla came to his class scoping him out to give him candy.  he had no idea why.  i have a pretty good guess as to why... because my  boy is DELIGHTFUL and AWESSSOOMMMEEE, and even a gorilla knows that!
noah returned to school the next day with a curious george card containing a "thank you" note addressed to the gorilla (i sure do like that kid).

as i type i'm reminded of another after school conversation from a couple of weeks ago. noah was telling me about a boy who had misbehaved during class, was sent to the principle's office, and who has not returned to school since. the boy shared with noah that he was "going to juvy."  noah went on to share what the other kids in the class said about the boy. we talked about rumors and how quickly they spread.  then i asked noah what he thought of the boy.  noah said he was sad for him.  he shared a bit of what he knew about the boy, about his broken home life.  as noah spoke i heard grace. i saw my boy looking at his classmate's wounded heart. i was pleased that noah wasn't joining in on the rumor weed.
before we arrived home we had prayed for the boy twice. noah has continued to pray for him since.
later i thought of Proverbs 23:15-16  "My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right."   i grabbed noah, hugged him, and whispered in his ear, "i delight in you." may God continue to lead him in wisdom and grace.

last night we were seated at the table for dinner and josie prayed, "Jesus, thank you for this day, thank you for our food, and thank you for putting me in my mommy's tummy so i could be in this really good family."  tears welled up, with eyes closed and head bowed i smiled and whispered to my Savior, "thank you, thank you for rescuing me, redeeming my life, and putting me in this really good family."   

i am blessed. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

170,000 Miles Later

Dear Mini-Van,

I can't believe this time has come... the time for us to say goodbye.  You've been a part of our family for 9 years and 170,000 miles.  

I recall speaking to a friend as Michael drove you home from the car dealership 9 years ago. Disappointed at the reality of becoming a mini-van mom (whose other car was a station wagon),  I said to her, "I can't believe we are getting a mini-van."   Her children had recently left the nest. She had recently graduated from her mini-van to a sedan.  Her wise response to me was "enjoy it, someday you will find yourself missing that mini-van."
Now here we are, and I'm saying goodbye.
She was right. I'm missing you.  

I want to say thank you! Thank you for all the memories....

For bringing Josie home from the hospital, announcing the news on your windows with a white shoe polished birth announcement.

Thank you for driving us to preschool, t-ball, ballet, gymnastics, Awanas, church, piano lessons, guitar lessons, snow-skiing, to the lake, to sleep-overs, play dates, and to weekend getaways (those were my favorites).

Thank you for holding everyone one of our Christmas trees securely on your roof, and for all the gifts you've secretly carried. Thank you for having self-control when I wouldn't.  It was smart of you to  hide the Christmas cassettes (yep, the van has a cassette player. It also has a vcr.  yeah, we're that cool), and for not letting me discover them till the day after Thanksgiving.  You know me well, and that I would have started playing them in September had you not "hidden" them from me! I will miss you this year when we are singing, "Just hear those sleigh-bells jingilin, ring ting tinglin too..."

Thank you for carrying us to our first home (in "Nova Scotia").  We're sorry it took us 4.5 years to get the garage cleaned out so you too could move in. Thank you for never grumbling.
We are grateful for all the times you served not only as a van but as a truck... you came through for us at Home Depot, willing to help with all our home improvements without complaint every time!

Thank you for driving us all over California!  You delivered us safely every time to family gatherings, weddings, funerals, celebrations, and to countless events.  We especially loved our trips to Yosemite, Disneyland, Ikea (Disneyland for mommies), Sea World, Monterey, Carmel, Sacramento, Cambria, NewPort Beach, Napa... you were always so good to us, though we weren't always so good to you.

Thank you for carrying us through laughter and tears. For listening to baby scream, kids complain, mommy scream, and mommy complain.  Thank you for letting us say "i'm sorry" again and again and again.

Thank you for never complaining about our loud music, and even louder singing...thank you  for even dancing sometimes.  

Thank you for being a sanctuary, a place of worship, and a vehicle where the Spirit spoke to us and stirred us to grace and truth.

Thank you for cradling us though so many miles, and for becoming a part of many our stories.

We will miss you Mini-Van.


We are now the proud owners of a new (to us) Saturn Outlook.   I'm thinking about getting one of those license plate covers that says "If you hit my Saturn I'll kick Uranus."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

hat head

it's a hat day.

a much needed hat day.

it's a  i don't have to shower, blow-dry, straighten, make-up, or coordinate skinny jeans (uh huh, i got some) with a top and sweater day.

today it's a yoga pants (minus the downward dog), team building exercise t-shirt (that i received from someone else who actually exercises), zip up hoodie, and a hat day!

it's been 12 days since my last hat day.

i usually have 2-3 hat days a week.

2-3 days a week where i am not required to be anywhere other than the dining room table (for  homeschool), or at the bus stop to pick up the boy. 

2-3 days to sip my coffee instead of inhale it, to read  Little Women  to my girls (oh how i wish i could move in with the March family), to linger, to organize my thoughts (there are a lot of them), to breath Him in, to clean, to play Stella, and to blog.

because i have gone so long without a hat day i have 15 blog posts swirling around in my hat loving mind.

posts about clothespins, sweet bread, great-grandmothers, ecuador, stretchy belts, and about a silly  little girl who wore a wrist brace and sling for 3 days to be funny.  posts about how rich we are- though our bank account would indicate otherwise.  posts about saying goodbye to a "family member" and welcoming a new one. posts about squeezing in moments with besties, and being refreshed by friendship. posts about learning grace, counting on God, thanking him for pain, and about choosing glory.

but before i post any of that i must wear a hat.

now, if only i could decide which hat to wear...

do you  have "hat days?"
days that invite you to breath in each moment instead of requiring you to sprint to keep up.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Embracing Him

Joining in with fellow bloggers- "the other Denise" (as i refer to her), and Erin,
and linking up with a
Scripture & A Snapshot

These roses (75 of them!) were a gift  from my husband.  
They were purchased and brought home to me from Ecuador.