To Read on the Journey

Friday, July 29, 2011

thw world's greatest campers

it's been 12 days since i've seen my 3 wacky, wonderful kids!

they have been at 
"the home of the world's greatest campers" 
and i have missed them!

 one evening during our trip to maui, as michael was praying,
he prayed these words for our kids,
" even though we're missing them we know they're not missing You."
i know that just as the time with michael in maui caused me to burst with love for him, 
these 12 days at camp for the kids has greatly expanded their love for jesus

...and in just 1 hour i get to see them bursting at the heart seams!
i can't wait.

here's a little video i had the kids make me as we drove to camp.
the first snippet shows that they are just a little excited for camp. :-)
the second snippet is a song we sing to each other. 
{i watched these videos a handful of times while i was away from them}.

thank you to nana & gramps, who helped make going to camp and maui possible!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


i’m sitting on a plane somewhere over the pacific ocean 
between maui~ our honeymooniversary
and cali~ back-to-life-back-to-reality.
the laptop sits blank page before me. 
i'm ready to type i-don’t-know-what, but get words on a page.  
i place the earphones in my sun-kissed ears,
select i-tunes, 
"denise’s reflective songs" list,
and shuffle.  
the song begins.
i smile, think of course 
it is our song,
our anthem,
“fly” by sara groves. 
it is fitting. 
michael sits beside me, eyes closed.
i inhale and exhale the lyrics... my life.
i  replay it again and again.

"speak in a summer tone
pause in the afterglow
tenderly whisper my name
tell me once again 
why i am your bride
so i can fly
so i can fly..."

i increase with love for him with each word. 
i have increased with love for him so much over the past 9 days  
i think i might burst!
i asked him earlier this week,
“do you think when we go away together we intend to fall in love again?”
with certainty he replied, “ABSOLUTELY.” 

it is unspoken, 
but we both know we are leaving the weight of the world
stealing what is rightfully ours
~the other.

living every moment solely to replenish US. 
 we intentionally release our grips on the ordinary,
and fall
into the
we are to each other.  
and here on the plane
with maui behind us 
and reality ahead of us,
i look at him
and think,
i miss him already. 
and i'm counting the days until we can steal away and fall for each other again.  

Monday, July 18, 2011



all 3 kids off to camp  ✓

celebrating my 15th  honeymooniversary with  michael in maui   ✓ 

see you next week!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

knee-highs in july

why am i wearing knee highs in july? 
because the small kid's toy 
at my bed side this morning 
that i kicked with my foot
was NOT a small kid's toy...

it was a MOUSE! 

{a half-dead mouse}

i shrieked!
jumped onto the bed,
hurdled michael
{who was now no longer sleeping}
to get to the other side of the bed
and as far away from the imposter as possible, 
and cried, "mouse! mouse!"
half-awake, michael asked, 
"what do you want me to do?"  
{are you kidding me!?!
save me!}
"get it out!" i pouted. 

still dozy, he asked, "how?"
i pushed my fears aside and came up with a rescue plan.
i took the pillow case off his pillow, 
threw it at him,   
and told him to use it to retrieve the revolting rodent.
without anymore hesitation 
{because i was full on freaking out and begging him to remove my tormentor}
my knight in shining boxers
saved his damsel in distress
from her fierce enemy.
so why am i wearing knee-highs in july? 
because i will never EVER go barefoot AGAIN! 

{can you guess which child picked out my socks for me?}

Friday, July 15, 2011


it's a tradition in our home to give blessings on birthdays.

the first blessing was on noah's first birthday, when after digging into his cake, his daddy and i {who by the way was very pregnant} blessed him before all our guests.  there the tradition began, and EVERY birthday since then you will find us concluding the celebrations with our blessings. 

our blessings usually include our delight for the individual; their character, growth in Christ, and recognizing obstacles they hurdled that year. it also includes speaking words of hope over their future.

words of affirmation {especially when spoken before others about you} nourish a life with truth. {i grew up malnutritioned in this area. my family will not :-) }.

words of hope spoken over a future sustained and directed many of our old testament leaders;  abraham, jacob {israel}, esther, david {to name just a few}.  the lack/withdrawal of a blessing destroyed individuals {for example esau, and the nation of edom}.  as parents michael and i expect that the powerful words of hope and future we speak over our childrens' lives will sustain and lead them into God's will for them.


yesterday, after emiie's 12 birthday dinner was polished off, seated at the table together, noah {who typically seems the least interested in participating in any of our traditions} asked, "are we going to do the blessings?" michael responded, "why don't you go first."  {giving blessings has grown from michael and i giving them to the children to all 5 of us giving them to each other}.  honestly neither of us expected noah to be ready.  getting him to talk usually involves some "pulling of teeth,"
but to our surprise noah said, "okay."  
looked at emilie, and began...

"emilie, you are the sweetest, kindest, most loving person i know.
you are outgoing and friendly. you walk up to people, befriend them, and talk with them. 
everybody likes you.  everybody wants to be friends with you.
you are so pretty, so beautiful. when i say you are beautiful it's not just on the outside, it's on the inside too. that beauty on the inside shines out of you and makes you even more beautiful."
he said a lot more.

i was in joyful tears, overwhelmed by my 13yr old son, and "scarce could take it in!" 

i was overwhelmed not only by the content of his words, but by the power and authority that noah spoke with. his words were intended to speak truth and hope into and over his sister {who at 12 is wrestling with self-doubt and insecurity}. noah's purpose was to BLESS his sister, who he adores. {yes, he adores his sister}.  and he did!!!
 noah & emilie- 2000


to learn more about giving a blessing, read "the gift of the blessing" by john trent & gary smalley.
i read it in 1996 {before i was married or had children}. it helped me understand my own need for blessing, and how necessary it was to give the gift of the blessing to my {future} family.

here is a link to an insightful post about giving the gift of the blessing.  


one more thing- i think it's important that you know we are a normal family.  we have good moments  and bad moments.  like all kids, mine argue, fight for their own way, and boss each other.  i blow up.  we learn grace and begin again numerous times though out each day.  

however, i am very intentional here in blogville to make sure that the words i speak about my children express high value of them. they read many of my posts. i know my words here {as well as in our day to day lives} have the power to uplift or hurt them, and i want all these word to bless them.

i wanted to lift any blog-fog and assure you my family is just as normal as yours {assuming your family IS normal}.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Birthday Blessing

i named you after a song.

a song a high school friend lead me to because he saw me in the lyrics.

at 16 listening to that song i felt for the first time that i was known. 

these are some of the lyrics to that song "emily" by michael w. smith

“you’re going through that stage
it’s a restless age
young and insecure
still there are doubts to fade
moments to be made
and one of them is yours

on the wire

balancing your dreams
hoping ends will meet their means 

you feel alone

well does it help you to
know that i believe in you
you're an angel waiting for wings

emilie, today you are 12!  as much as i would like to be in denial and keep you my little girl forever i can see that you have entered “that stage” {sooner that i expected, sweetie}.  like all girls {yes, all} you have been bombarded, and are wrestling with feelings of doubt, insecurity, and feeling alone.  i would like to be able to tell you these will subside, they won’t.  BUT GOD.  sweet emilie, this is where your faith is going to be put into action!   your need for Jesus is going to increase, and you are going to experience tangibly what i have been praying over you for the past 12 years...

“I pray that out of His glorious riches 
He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 
so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith.  
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 
may have power together with all the saints
how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 
and to KNOW this love that surpasses knowledge- 
that you may be FILLED 
to the measure of all the fullness of GOD."
  Ephesians 3: 16-19

you are going to experience His immeasurable love. {“immeasurable” that is your word. remember.) God, is going to have opportunity after opportunity (because adolescence offers many} to lavish His love on you!  My prayer for you is that you will learn to faithfully submit your heart, mind, soul, and strength to Him, and that you will DWELL RICHELY in His love.

i know you.  you are tender to God's ways, generous with grace {thank you}, compassionate, and you seek Truth.   i know that you are going to seek His face and find it!  that is who you are.

i hope it helps you to know that i absolutely, 100%, BELEIVE in you, Emilie Erin Jones!!

(oh, i just want to go back and kiss and squeeze you at every stage!)
Happy 12th Birthday, Sweetie!

i love you immensely,

Monday, July 11, 2011

7/11 Day

the alarm sounded at 7:11 a.m.
this morning
and the 7/11 day festivities began!

emilie's bestie, "chloebal warming" {chloe's camp name} joined us
and we went ALL OUT 
celebrating 7/11 day,  
 emilie's exit from age 11 in a few days,
and chloe's entrance to age 11 this week too! 

our goals: 
speak in 7 word sentences
{that didn't last long}
do 7 different things
do things in 7's or 11's.

#1. 7/11 for slurpees!
{this was the first slurpee my kids have ever had. i blame it on my stainphobia}

#2. batter up for b-fast... the birthday girls splurged and shared the ice cream sundae pancakes!
{yes, they had their slurpees before b-fast}

#3. bowling.  knocking down 7 pins counted as strike!

#4. the $3 theater for judy moody.
the girls sat in the 7th row, and noah and i sat in the 11th row. 
#5. a ride on a merry-go-round. 
#6. the nickel arcade
{i gave them 7 nickels... and then gave them 11 more}

#7. 7 samples of yogurt at yogurtland...
followed by yogurt
{and a sugar-coma of course}

i'm a few pounds heavier,
 a few dollars lighter,
 a whole lot of giggles happier,
and a ton of memories fuller


the kids had a 
7/11 DAY!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

every. single. angle.

"all i have seen 
teaches me to trust the Creator
for all i have not seen."
ralph waldo emerson

last weekend we took advantage of the beauty in our own backyard
and ventured off  to yosemite. 
{why don't we do this more often?}

we hiked to taft point and sentinel dome.

michael pointed us in the right direction.
{he always does}.

the kids were overjoyed to discover patches of snow 
enticing  them to engage in a bit of summer snow "skiing." 
at the end of the first trail
we came out of the densely wooded area and into the open at taft point.
the view was breathtaking!!

i stood there taking it in. 
i moved a few feet to the left~ absolutely magnificent. 
then a couple steps to the right~ stunning. 
i bent down to take it in from another angle~ amazing. 
from every perspective i encountered the view left me in awe.

and from where i was standing i was only seeing a glimpse of the masterpiece before me.
{aren't we always}
 i hadn't yet come to the edge,
to take in the fissures,
 to see the enormity and majesty of the entire valley. 

as my eyes beheld the splendor before me, 
stilled in worship, 
my soul questioned how man
can doubt there is a CREATOR. 

i say to the kids, "imagine the pleasure God had creating this!"

and i see that as He created He considered every. single. angle.
every square inch was intricately designed.
His artistic and inventive hand was on and in every detail.

and i think about my own life~
which at the moment is brimming with uncertainty...
and i hear the Spirit whisper as i stand there on His masterpiece, 
" Beloved, God loves you more than His creation. 
 He has every detail from every angel of your life
masterfully written. 
every square inch wonder-fully considered in His design. 
trust Him.
look back and hope forward 
with great expectation in the LORD your God."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

another week of wiww

linking up with "lindsey bug"
for another edition of wiww!
pleated poppy

wiw to visit a friend 
pants~ h&m
necklace~ gift from m.i.l. when they took us to zewatinaho, mexico
rings~ left hand wedding rings & ring with  caleb's name engraved inside
right hand, 3 rings with noah, emilie & josie's names engraved inside.
{i'm supersentimentalsappy}

wiw to church
dress~ gap
belt- maurices
sandals~ old navy

wiw to celebrate the 4th of July 
top~ hand me over from my sister
red petal pusher~ the pleated poppy
jeans~ kohls
shoes~ another hand me over from my lit'l sister
josie- in her new outfit from who else but my sister
{we'd be naked if it wasn't for her}.

does anyone bless your wardrobe with their "hand me overs?"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

off with a bang!

our 4th of july included
good food~ baked oatmeal for b-fast and mason jar peach cobbler for dessert 
{b-fast & dessert are the most important meals of the day},
good friends~ eric, michelle, emma & olivia,
a front row seat to to the fireworks show on bass lake
from the in-law's boat!

how did you celebrate independence day?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

summer fun~ the supersentimentalsappy edition.

we are crossing things off our Summer Fun list,
and adding more fun to it
one FUN week at a time.

we've been in the valley visiting family and old friends.

our first top was a visit with my good friend jeff, his darling family,  
his car~
the kids got their first convertible car ride in ginger. 
{jealous.  you might recall i have a bit of an old car obsession}


next we visited and stayed with my sister, "toni bologna full of macaroni" 
{she lovvvvveeesss it when i call her that}.
the kids enjoyed playing with their younger cousins.
 {how DARLING are these pix i snapped of their family!}

we took our pvc pipes from home for some sprinkler fun at their casa.
my nephews were wowed by the sprinklers, especially when i brought out the shaving cream!

during our stay we to got to see the movie Cars with my nephews.
i get a kick out of watching the excitment of 
little people at the theater! 
getting to experience this with my nephews was a rare treat. 

we mountain folks can only take so much of the valley and it's 104 temps.
so the kids and i escaped for a day and and took a little excursion to Pinecrest Lake 
{where it was 82 degrees. much better}.
there we tackled a 4.5 mile hike around the lake
followed by a bit of paddle-boating. 
as noah, emilie, josie, and i were leisurely paddeling around the lake 
noah looked at me and sweetly said , "this has been a good day."
i thought so too... a very good day. 
how i adore my kids and cherish all the memories we make together!

{is emilie tall or what !?! my premie is definitely not a premie anymore!}
as we headed back to the valley we made a pit-stop
 at JimTown Frosty for some ice cream!
my mom use to do this with my sister and i when we were young.
we HAD to stop.
it's tradition.

during our valley visit i had the JOY! JOY! JOY! 
of visiting with my bf from jr. high, julie 
{or "j" as i refer to her}
 {"j" and i. our kids- our girls are now the same age we were when we met. crazy}

julie has lived on the other side of the world in virgina for 15yrs {blah}
{the other side of the world is a meany for stealing her}. 
if i'm lucky i get to see julie once a year {double blah}. 
this year i was lucky!

julie knows i am supersentimentalsappy.
so she wasn't at all surprised when i  drove through our old stomping grounds 
while blasting tunes from 1986.
"i wanna be a cowboy and you can be my cowgirl... 
yippee yippee yi, yippee yi yo yo."
{we are from the "cowboy capitol of the world" so this song is totally appropriate}
here we are at the old Oakdale Jr. High School
we met in 1986 in Mrs. Rowland's Music/Drama class. 
in 86' julie totally rocked the skater look
{her bangs were longer  post pictures}
while i attempted  to 
soar into jr. high popularity with my feathers
{obviously i failed}.
next we headed over to good ol' Oakdale High School.
 {we were attempting to get jumping pictures, but gravity wouldn't let us}

oh, the memories!
"there's fungus among us,"  homecomings, drama with mr. oksen, dance with ms. usher, 
crushes on boys, spiral perms, guess jeans, keds, tanning lotions that turned us orange,
sweet 16's, her pink vw bug, my red 65' ford falcon
catering on the weekends, Hume Lake,
 Gilmans, ice blocking, prom, graduation class of 91'...
it's hard to believe that was 20YEARS ago!!!
we still look 18 &
17, don't we?!?
i'd like to thank~
oil of olay, for helping me keep the "olay" in my "lower upper 30's,"
my hairdresser who hides my "crown of splendor,"
 my sunglasses which cover a multitude of sins wrinkles, 
and picnik's {where i edit my photos for blogville} 
airbrush, wrinkle remover, and insta-slim options
{your welcome, now you know all my little secrets}.

here's a flash back to 1989
Michael Damian's Rock On video