To Read on the Journey

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I have had a love/mostly hate relationship with blogging lately.  In blogville everyone is  better than me at everything.   
Comparison is the thief of joy. 

I have been consumed with favor.  I. want. it.  I'm stupidly jealous of anyone who seems to be receiving accolades while I stand at the sidelines thinking favor is intentionally being withheld from me.
Comparison is the thief of joy. 

I have had an ungrateful attitude regarding our home lately- we moved in last November and there is so much to do, and it is not at all what I want it to be.  From where I'm standing everyone elses home is better than mine.  
Comparison is the thief of joy.

I see others with ability or talent or gifts or skill or whatever that I. want. too.  I've been ticked at God for making everything so easy for them and everything so dang hard for me. 
Comparison is the thief of joy. 

I focus on the financial stability and the financial ability of others while we work a handful of jobs to make ends-meat.  I waste a lot of energy envying their financial security.  
Comparison is the thief of joy.

I watch and assume people have ease in their relationships, while I have a messy history and a tainted-inner-monologue to overcome in many of my encounters with people.
Comparison is the thief of joy. 

I am mad that people get to be healthy and active and normal while my body hurts from various ailments.  I'm mad that my husband needs surgery, and that two of our kids currently have injuries.  It's "one thing after another," and why me, why us?      
Comparison is the thief of joy. 

Comparison is the thief of joy. 
And these comparisons, 
when I  focus on them, 
they cause me to be the ugliest- nastiest- joyless version of myself.


"Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I WAS GIVEN A HANDICAP to keep me in constant touch  with my limitations.  Satans' angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was PUSH ME TO MY KNEES.  No danger then of walking around high and mighty!  At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and BEGGED GOD TO REMOVE IT.  Three times I did that, and then he told me, 

My GRACE is enough; it's ALL YOU NEED
My Strength comes into its own in your weakness

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I QUIT FOCUSING ON THE HANDICAP AND BEGAN APPRECIATING THE GIFT.  It was a case of Christ's strength moving in my weakness.  Now I take these limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size- abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.  I just LET CHRIST TAKE OVER!  And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become." 
2 Corinthians 12:  7-10

When I don't focus on the first word of each of those comparison sentences,  "I," and focus on Christ instead, I SEE HOW INCREDIBLY EXTRAVAGANT GOD HAS BEEN TO ME.

When my handicaps bring me to my knees I experience intimacy with God, and comparison is replaced with the Joy.
(print available at Kiss the Sky shop)

And like Paul, I quit being consumed by the handicap and begin appreciating the gift...

And I see that "though outwardly I am wasting away," inwardly GOD IN ME IS STRONGER."

And as this happens I experience something quiet the opposite of being handicapped- 
I experience being

This is my prayer for you (and me, cause I NEED IT).  I pray for you to take your eyes of yourself, off of others, off of comparison, and place them on Christ.  I pray that instead of your handicaps (cause we've all got them) causing you to feel defeat that they would bring you to your knees; to your Father, and that you would be found in Him, and in His grace, which is ALL you need.   I pray for you to see these handicaps as gifts, and that His generous Spirit would show you how your handicaps are being used for His glory in you and through you.  I pray that your Joy would be renewed as Christ takes over, and that that would strengthen your Spirit.  I pray that in this strengthening you would find wholeness in Him.  I pray in the Name and Power of Jesus- our Savior, Truth, Way, and Life, Amen!

Does comparison steal your Joy?

Do you have handicaps that cause you to be the ugliest-nastiest-joyless version of yourself? 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hello Monday

Linking up with Lisa Leonard
Hello Monday. 

Hello "Time Flies...when you're having fun,"
14x14, Reclaimed Wood Clock
added to the Kiss the Sky shop. 

Hello to another week of the Daily Message.
 1& 2 Chronicles, you kicked my hiney! 
2 Corinthians, you are so delicious.
Hello second week of school.  
Only 170 days left.
Noah is taking a lot of cool classes at the digital high school he is attending.
The coolest class (in my opinion) is guitar. 
Last week he taught me how to play Jason Miraz' I'm Yours

Cute high school boy+ electric guitar+ I'm Yours= Swooning. 

Hello Bon Voyage party for Ginger
who's traveling the country for a month, 
then headed to Italy for 2 months, then off for more adventures until March. 
 I'm glad I got some time with her all to myself in Pacific Grove, Monterey, 
and Carmel last month.

Hello to my flower-girl, Nicole's wedding 
  rehearsal- 1996

to my girls being her jr. bridesmaids
(they are SO EXCITED). 

Nicole's Bridal Shower
(Nicole's fiance Joey has been touring the country 
with his band From Indian Lakes.
He also happens to be the grandson of Frank Beardsley & Helen North-Beardsley, 
who inspired the film, Your's, Mine and Ours.  
Most importantly he shares his birthday with me
which makes him off-the-charts cool).

 What are you saying hello to this week? 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

All For Myself

My prayer today for my family, 
for my children's children 
(because it's never to early to begin covering the future generations), 
and for all the generations that will follow~
till Christ returns 
and takes us home.  

 II Corinthians 6 16 b-18
The Message

...Each of us is a temple in whom God lives.  
God himself put it this way: 

"I'll live in them, move into them;
I'll be their God and they'll be my people.
So leave the corruption and compromise;
leave it for good, " says God.
"Don't link up with those who will pollute you.  
I'll be a Father to you;
you'll be sons and daughters to me."
The Word of the Master, God.

 Do you pray for your future generations?


Friday, August 24, 2012

What's in a Name

If you are ever with me when I am in a check out line or first meeting someone and seeing or hearing their name for the first time then you will likely hear me say, "the meaning of your name is..." or ask, "what is the meaning of your name?" 

Half the time these people think I am C.R.AAA.ZY!  (Okay maybe more than half the time) 

All the time I use this little interaction as an opportunity to pray for that individual; to pray that they will be who God ordained them to be.  This sometimes means praying that the person will overcome the meaning of their name and live in victory.  

The thing is meanings of names...well they get me oddly excited!

Or maybe I'm not so odd (okay, who are we kidding... I'm totally weird)... maybe I get excited because I am made in God's image... in the image of magnificent God who is IN THE DETAILS, and who ordained the names and lives of His people for His glory.

God in the details!!!  GIVES ME CHILLS (Spirit-inside-me-enlivened kind of chills... you know the kind)!

Want chills too? 

Right from the get-go in Genesis the God of the universe was intentional to tell mankind His plan for SALVATION through the lineage of Adam through the meanings of their names!! 




A couple of years ago God tenderly spoke to me the meaning of my maiden name, Teodosio.  
He generously replaced tired lies with truth.  Since then I daily (yes, daily) hear the Spirit speak and nudge me to believe that I am who He has written me to be, "Denise, you are a God-Giver."   I want to be. I want to be.

What's your name?
Today, I want to pray for you to be who God has written you to be for His glory.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dinner Theater

Layer 1- silly straw glasses.
Layer 2- swim goggles (used to protect the eyes when slicing onions).
Layer 3- the performer, Josie, who regularly provides us with dinner entertainment.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Desperate Measures

Today is the first day of school!

If you read my previous post then you know that I am
 experiencing "sentimental illness." 
(Today, I'm officially the mother of a high schooler)

"Desperate times call for desperate measures" 
the kids woke to a chocolate palooza for their first day of school breakfast! 
Chocolate Cheerios,
Chocolate Muffins,
Little Debbie's Chocolate Donuts, 
Chocolate Milk!
Overdosed on chocolate...
that's how I conquer  the "sentimental illness" blues.

This first day of school breakfast 
is going to go down in Jones history 
as the most memorable breakfast ever!
(mostly because I forgot about the "aftermath" associated 
with too much chocolate consumption...
let's just say we HAD to roll all the windows down 
in the car on the way to school). 

Laughter is good medicine.
  Guess who DID NOT CRY today?!
I'm so glad
(Noah was proud of me).
The floodgates almost opened when we were in route to school 
and Josie (who evidently isn't as embarrassed by my ugly-cry-face as the rest of us) 
pestered me saying,
"Noah's going to high school."
I forced the floodgates to stay shut (gulp), 
"Don't say it!  I'm doing so good!"
Tender Emilie replied, "I know how you feel, I feel it too."
Noah reasoned, 
"it's like when you have to go and some one starts prodding you 
by telling you not to think of dripping water and waterfalls."

We are one funny family!
(Oh I'm going to miss being together all. the. time.)

We arrived at the high school 
(which is surrounded by 300 acres of rolling hills.  Beautiful), 
and made our way through the drop off line. 
The car came to a stop... 
I looked directly at him, 
and softly spoke the name of the One
that I KNOW goes before my boy, beside him, and behind him~  
 and he was off.

As he walked away Michael commented that, "dropping him off went so fast."
To which I replied, "It's like ripping off a band-aid...
 you have to do it fast so it won't hurt so much."

First day of school pictures
(taken by our oh so handsome on-sight photographer)
 Noah- Freshman

Emilie- 8th
(Yep, I have to do this all over again next year!)

Josie- 5th

2012-2013 Jones home-school class

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sentimentally Ill

Noah & I- (He's a yummy 2yr old)

I'm crazy about this guy!

On Monday he goes to high school! 

For the entire summer I've been emotional, sappy, stealing hugs, holding him longer, and  pouting to Noah.  Pouting (which is a bit pathetic, but oh so hard to refrain from) I say,   "I only have 4 more years" and  "I can't believe you're going to high school" and "please don't leave me" and "it went too fast" and "why can't you be 3" and "it's almost over."  

The reality of Noah going to high school smacks me upside the head about a dozen times a day, and as a result I find myself in a few moments of tears followed by feeling ashamedly sorry for myself and rerunning my pouting episode again (and again and again and...).

Noah's been with me for 14 years now so he knows how to handle me when I get this way:
A). He tunes me out.
B). He gives me "the look" and a long I'll never leave you and I love you, too hug.
C). He gives me a look that is not "the look" and I know to go cry it out in my closet where my emergency chocolate is. 

Needless to say, "B" is my favorite response ("C" is only tolerable because of the chocolate).

A few weeks ago and midway through my fits Josie asked if I was "sentimentally ill."  Josie  says the wittiest things.   Coincidentally, she may have just diagnosed a whole batch of mothers, who like me, don't want their babies to ever leave the nest (unless they vow to build their nests next door, which mine have ALL promised to do). 

During the time I have been affected by "sentimental illness" Noah has been his usual calm, cool, collected self  (Get's it from his father. Thank God one of us is sane)... 
until the other night.
Noah-3, calm, cool, and collected in his daddy's childhood sunglasses. 

We were driving home from his high school's freshman orientation night when he coolly stated, " I don't feel nervous at all."  I just listened (note to future mother's of teenage boys: when they start talking you say NOTHING).  Noah continued about his lack of nerves and how he felt fine about high school, then he was quiet for a  mile or two...

my calm, cool, collected son's 
demeanor changed
and he had a stunned expression on his face. 
He looked at me in disbelief 
and shouted, 

He shook his head, "High School.  I'm going to high school."  
He let it sink in for the first time..."I only have 4 more years!" (Uh, hello Kid!  This is what I have been telling you).  
He started putting two n' two together and said, "I only have one more summer to be a kid,  after that I'll have a summer job, and then I'll either always have a job or school or both... I only have one more summer to be a kid!" (Woooooah, Nellie!)  
"720 days till I'm a professional" (This was mentioned at the orientation- 720 school days.  Really could have used my emergency chocolate then).  
Noah let it all sink in, then sat back in his chair resolved, "I'm going to high school."  

He's going to high school.
  Noah-5, Kindergarten  

 Maybe when Josie grows up (somebody hold me) she will find a cure for "sentimental illness."  Only then will teenagers be spared the agony of overly emotional clingy mothers.  Until then I recommend teens take some lessons from Noah, and that weepy mothers stock up on tissues, over-sized sunglasses (to hide ugly-cry-face, cause  you know I'm going to need these come Monday), and an excessive amount of really good chocolate.


My prayer for Noah in this new season of his life (and always)
 comes from Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

"She never stopped to think whether he was a friendly lion or not. She rushed to him. She felt her heart would burst if she lost a moment. And the next thing she new was that she was kissing him and putting her arms as far around his neck as she could and burying her face in the beautiful rich silkiness of his mane. "Aslan, Aslan. Dear Aslan," sobbed Lucy. "At last." The great beast rolled over on his side so that Lucy fell, half sitting and half lying between his front paws. He bent forward and just touched her nose with his tongue. His warm breath came all around her. She gazed up into the large wise face. "Welcome child," he said. "Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger." "That is because you are older, little one,"answered he. "Not because you are?" "I am not.  But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."

Noah it is my prayer that you grow to have this intimacy with the LORD God; rushing to Him, kissing Him, putting your arms as far around His neck as you can, burying your face into magnificent God, always finding Home in His mighty arms!  I pray for you to experience His warm Breath (Spirit) on you, in you, coming out of you.  I pray for you to always gaze UP into His large wise face- see Him and seek Him- He WILL lead you.  And  as you grow I long for you in Christ to find Him bigger
 In the name of Jesus- our Savior and Hope, amen.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kiss the Sky GIVE AWAY!

The Kiss the Sky shop has a new logo.  

When I was 6 I had a step-dad that hung a wooden swing from a giant oak in our front yard.
My step-dad was the best pusher. 
I could hardly wait for him to arrive home from work each day so I could fly on my swing.
The moment his vehicle arrived I'd race to beg him to give me a giant push.
He never refused.

He pushed me so high my toes touched heaven.

My 6yr old world, which was already plagued with heartache
faded below me when I was seated on that wooden swing, 
gripping the rope, 
soaring up to the Sky.

At 6, swinging was worship.
It's how this little girl would leave the weight of the world and 
"come toward to kiss" a loving God.

Today the kissing (worship) most often happens through words. 
Words sung, read, spoken, whispered...
 words which turn my eyes toward the Sky-
toward a loving God.

The Kiss the Sky Shop, 
which opened mid June, 
is an expression of worship through words 
in Stand Out and Canvas prints.

Today you can win a print of your own.
This 8x10 Stand Out Print, with favorite words from Psalm 118:24, 
 is being  GIVEN AWAY at my sweet blog friend
Hannah Singer's blog,
Happy Days!
Click here to enter.

Or pop over and get the 10% discount code good for all products in the Kiss the Sky shop. 

Visit Hannah's lovely etsy shop, here. 

Special Thanks to Melanie for designing the Kiss the Sky button. I love it!