To Read on the Journey

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Winner Winner Turkey Dinner!

 Happy Thanksgiving Eve! 

First thing's first, it's time to announce the winner of our Kiss the Sky
Chosen, Adopted, Loved, 
Can I get a dinner roll...err... turkey drumstick roll... err... drum roll please 
(someone's a little excited to chow down tomorrow)!

Congratulations goes to...

Ashleigh Becker

(Winner chosen using Random.Org)  

Thank you to everyone that entered. 
 I was teary eyed reading all your comments.  
I pray that God magnifies His sweet love on you and your 
chosen, adopted, and loved child. 


Now, it's that time of year again!
The time when we send out a warning to our feathered friends-
"Run little turkeys...
gonna die!"

If you enjoyed this video (and I know you did)
listen to Katie Rice's music here,
and check out Jesse Rice's book, The Church of Facebook, here. 

 Live in Peace,

Saturday, November 23, 2013


This morning I was reading Isaiah 43:1 "I have called you by name; you are mine." 

For 36 years "you are not mine" was the broken record my earthly father played for me.  
He swooped in and jealously and wildly staked His claim on me
 "I have called you by name; 

Today is National Adoption Day.

To adopt is to "to choose or take as one's own."   
I heard once that the commitment of adoption is one that cannot be severed.  

To say I love that is an understatement.
Being chosen, adopted, and loved by Father God is EVERYTHING to me. 

 Today on National Adoption Day I rejoice in Father God, 
Who wonderfully stakes his claim on us!
We all need it! 
Can I get an Amen!!? 

I especially want to cheer on mommies and daddies, 
who have followed His lead 
by adopting, and calling precious children, 

To do so I'm giving away this Chosen, Adopted, Loved 
 12x15 Canvas
 from our Kiss the Sky shop.   


How to enter: 

 Leave a comment, and share a bit of what adoption means to you. 
(I can't wait to hear all your stories!)

 Like Kiss the Sky on Facebook. 

Share a link to this Give Away on  your Facebook page.
(leave a link in comments)

Share this giveaway on Instagram and hashtag #kisstheskyshop



 Live in Peace,



Saturday, November 16, 2013

40 Zone Ahead

Dear Denise, 

Yeah you. The girl...lady...girl typing.  Today you are 40.  I know, it's weird.  40 isn't at all what you pictured it to be.  You perceived 40 to be, well, old.  And you are definitely not old. 

A 40th birthday is a monumental birthday, and because of that I want to give you a gift.  And not just any gift, but the gift you have been telling me you really want.  Blessing. 

I know, the last person on earth you would expect (or accept) blessing from is you (I can already see that you are cringing and this is making you uncomfortable).  But girlfriend, there are some things you need to hear, and on your 40th birthday I want you to hear them from yourself.

You. Are. Beautiful. 

The way you live in Michael's love is a miracle, and it is my favorite. 
When you sing I fall in love.
You have many talents, but the place where you really shine is as a mommy. 
You are not too much. You are enough.   
You "open your mouth and let the Lord out."
I am so grateful for the way you grab moments and treasure them in your heart; your "I can't afford it but it's mine" moments.
Your passion for your children and your children's children inspires me.   
I get a huge kick out of the way you approach random people. I especially love it when those conversations become opportunities for you to tell your birth story (or to get in their car).    
Denise, when you write... that feeling of the Spirit stirring inside you... oh it is delicious!  (Please write more.  Do it for me)

God's creativity is limitless. Your Father has got good things in store for your future; look back and hope forward.   
You are capable.
Finally, Denise, your soul is gorgeous.  I am in love with the way you love the LORD your God, and madly-in-love with the way you WANT ALL OF HIM for yourself and others.

Denise, I ache watching you struggle to believe all these things. 
But believe them.
I need and want you to.  

For your 40th birthday do it!  Set the woman inside you who cringes and shakes her head "no" to embracing these blessings FREE! 

Do it. 


Because I love you,

Friday, November 1, 2013

What I learned in October...

that garage sales are good for meeting your neighbors, and little else.

toasting my buns on the seat warmers while my son braves the cold to pump my gas is the cat's meow, the bees knees, the greatest thing since sliced bread! (i hate being cold)

i realized that i sing the same song every time i get in the shower. is that weird? not that i sing in the shower. that's totally not weird. in fact if you don't you should. there are great acoustics in there. i'm just wondering if it's odd that i sing the exact same song every time? here's a bit of the tune: 
" i wish i could crash like the waves and turn like the autumn leaves in effort to praise you... but i'm such a limited creature... but i know that i must try." 
i've  decided that worshiping in the shower is like a baptism. it's washing away yesterday's filth and beginning today all kinds of clean.

that strategy boardgames like settlers of catan or ticket to ride and i are not friends. at all. they are stupid. and i shouldn't attempt to play them. ever.  

that juicy fruit gum will kill gophers (thanks for the tip, christina), which is good news cause this guy was fired after being caught sleeping on the job! 
i neeeeeeed to date my husband regularly.  he is handsome and funny and he likes to just be with me (he's also doesn't hog the salted caramel crunch cake we're sharing).  i need to intentionally hit the pause button on life for him more often.

that this pumpkin spice chai latte  is easier to swallow than dave ramsey's financial peace university, and that my husband and i can discuss our finances and create a new budget together without arguing... once anyways.  can i get a "hallelujah!" (it might have helped that michael made me this delicious beverage to gulp while we examined the dollars and cents)

i learned to give myself permission to say no even after i'd said yes. even when i really wanted to say yes, but no was the better answer.

one week during small group this came up in discussion "some people want Jesus as their Savior, but don't want Him as their Lord."   early on this was true of me. i was grateful that He saved me from the pit i was in, and relieved that my eternity was secure in Him, but honestly i had no intentions of letting Him be GOD of my life. 
but He did. 
i can look back and see a million ways He has made me relinquish control of my life and depend on Him.  it's been painful.  but lately i find that His Lordship of my life is beginning to exceed my own;  i'm getting it through my very thick skull that He has to be Lord, and that no matter how cotton-picking-hard i try, i'm just not made to be.

What song(s) do you sing in the shower?

 Live in Peace,

Monday, October 14, 2013


In a quiet corner of our house Emilie stops me,
she wraps her arms around me,
falls into her mama.
I hold her.
 A 14 year old still needs to be held.
 "I love you, Baby."
She is taller than me, but will always be my baby.  

Emilie rests. 
Rests her tired head on my steady shoulder.

 "I really love you," she whispers.

I'm always
amazed by the grace 
and generosity of her love. 

 "I don't deserve your love. I'm such a mess."

 "I love you more because you're messed up," she says.

I chuckle.
 She wants to explain. 

I interrupt.
I squeeze my thoughtful girl tight and whisper, 
"I get it." 

I get that she adores the 
the redeemed,
the beautiful that comes from my ashes.  
  I fall into her safe arms.
Rest on her strong shoulders. 
She holds me.
This 39 year old mama cherishes being held.

 Live in Peace,

Photos from Feb, 2009.

Monday, September 30, 2013

In September I learned...

my girls will jump at the chance to clean my closet if I pay them with Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

laughter is the best response when clothes are discovered on the clothesline in an unexpected rainstorm. 

there is a helium shortage, and on the day we traditionally send a bundle of balloons to heaven, it will be impossible to get latex balloons when there is a helium shortage. And that is okay, because remembering and hoping aren't dependent on a tradition and balloons, but on God, Who there will never be a shortage of. 
that celebrating our 17th anniversary with a 9:30 a.m. reservation at Josefini Tortelli's (where we were served heart shaped pancakes, while wearing our pj's) will cause my heart to explode and my eyes to tear up with all kinds of  "and I can't afford it but it's mine."

that having an 11 yr old personal assistant is the bomb diggity!!  Josie is quick to help with day to day operations around the house, and also volunteers to stuff envelopes for our business.  She knows her way around the iPhone, and answers calls and texts for me when I drive, and also helps organize our appointments and schedule. She's one cool cat!  

that the Magnum delivery truck is at the same location every Friday at 10 a.m....I  may be scheming a plan to hijack the truck.
 I should have started seeing my chiropractor a year ago. 

face-timing with a dear friend while peeling potatoes is much better than peeling potatoes alone.  

(or considered) that my kids will be parents much longer than they will be my children in my home. They will live many many more days understanding how difficult it is navigating this parenting gig then they will live being erked at how we have handled it.

that sending a pride-swallowing text to my teenager saying  "I'm sorry I've been gripey at you"  gets a return text of "Thank you for the apology. I forgive you, and I'm sorry for being negative."  I really love that this kid hates discord between us as much as I do, and wants to get back to harmony as  desperately as I do.
 Available in the Kiss the Sky shop

that most adults had an off-the-wall English teacher in high school. Mine was a goofy, polyester wearing, pioneer of organic eating, placenta planting- Mr. Corcoran.  Noah currently has a bizarre English teacher.  Maybe this is a rite of passage?

after biking 4 miles, my family will park illegally when hungry for tri-tip sammies.
 these delicious lyrics-
"Be lifted higher than all You've overcome
Your name be louder than any other song
There is no power that come against Your love
The cross was enough
The cross was enough,"
Which remind me that Jesus is capable of overcoming so much more than small-minded-me thinks He can.  Sheesh! He conquered death, right!! Everything else is a walk in the park compared to that. 

What did you learn in September? 
 Live in Peace,

  I'm linking up with Emily, from Chatting at the Sky. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

And I can't afford it, but it's mine

Recently, I was listening to a song I've heard a thousand times, "Something Changed" by Sara Groves, but this time one particular line from the song caught my attention- 

"And I can't afford it, but it's mine."

The reason it struck me is because I have been consumed with worry about our finances. So consumed that I can often waste my days fretting about the future, comparing and envying, feeling entitled, and buying a lie that God is withholding favor from me.

Hearing the lyrics, "and I can't afford it, but it's mine," has been a wake-up-call that my soul desperately needed.  This line has been on replay in my Spirit, and has lead me to replace that worry with this question- 'what IS MINE that I can't afford?' 
The answer is too much!


Emilie sits with me. Gives me her words, "You really are my best friend." She tears up, and voices how "lucky" she is to have Michael and I for her parents. She blesses. ...and I can't afford it, but it's mine.
Noah takes my hand, and the world is watching, but he refuses to care, he takes my hand and we walk. ...and I can't afford it, but it's mine.

Josie stops me in the hallway in mismatched jammies and tussled hair, she wraps her 11 yr old arms around me tight, "Mommy, I just love you." ... and I can't afford it, but it's mine.

I step outside to stand in the summer rain. The clouds shield my little part of the world from the exhausting heat. Michael joins me, wraps his arms around my waist, and pulls me close. ... and I can't afford it, but it's mine.

I encounter a sweet friend in the local coffee shop. We sip coffee, spill words and hearts, and hope in the the LORD our God together. ...and I can't afford it, but it's mine. 

I open up the word and read- "For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams." Isaiah 44:3-4, and I embrace this truth, and remember that there is no-thing I want more than the Spirit poured out on my offspring, and blessing on my descendants. ...and I can't afford His Promises, but they are mine! 

 Yes, too much is mine which I cannot afford.
As I transfer my focus from have-not to have
 I see clearly 
I am rolling in it!

   What can't you afford, but it's yours?

"Something Changed,"  Sara Groves

Something changed inside me broke wide open all spilled out
Till I had no doubt that something changed
Never would have believed it till I felt it in my own heart
In the deepest part the healing came
And I cannot make it
And I cannot fake it
And I can't afford it
But it's mine
Something so amazing in a heart so dark and dim
When a wall falls down and the light comes in
And I cannot make it
And I cannot fake it
And I can't afford it
But it's mine

Live in Peace,

Saturday, August 31, 2013


This month I made the leap from a dumb phone to an iPhone.  
I reeaaally like it.
I like receiving emails, and responding quickly to customers of our online businesses. 

It's snazzy being able to find the location of the post office in Los Banos when I failed to stop off at one in Chowchilla.  Even better is being able to find the location of the nearest Chipotle.
Facetime is cooltime.
I give the You Version bible app an A++   
Most importantly, I may have discovered the cure for momnesia in the Reminders app. 

I'm sure there are a zillion apps I am clueless about, but one that I am glad to be able to take advantage of is Instagram.  It's nice to sneak a peak into the lives of family, some of whom are in Maui and Australia. Keeping up with old and new friends is a bonus, too. 

Here's a peak at our month on instagram. 
Follow me at jonesidosio

The girls with their friend, Chloe, filming "Game Show of Randomness" with host Kat Payjak, and contestants KC Shine and Eugene Alfred Fitzberg III. 

 We wrapped our summer fun up with a camping trip to Sunset Beach. L-R: New bike rack, Home Sweet Tent, toasted Bisquick dough, riding in Monterey, Sunset Beach, S'more French-toast, Pizza My Heart, Jellyfish so close, and finally there's nothing better after a camping vacay than coming home to a sparkling clean house. 

We celebrated the birthdays of dear friends, Jeremy & Diane Vacarro, and are grateful that they're 40 and WE'RE NOT! 

We had our 11th annual first day of school breakfast, and first day of school photos (Josie-6th, Emilie-9th, Noah-10th).  I'd like to insert that for months I have begged Noah and Emilie to wear "I'm the Big Brother" and "I'm the Little Sister" tees for their first day of high school together... you can see that they didn't humor me. Emilie did wear a bit of ink-work "He Sustains Me." *love* And like that my Soph and Frosh were off... #somebodyholdme

Sometimes Josie rolls down our bed and leaves scripture on our pillows. She trains this mama in the way she should go.

Michael and I have been mentoring some newly married couples(or rather they have been mentoring us -isn't that how it usually ends up).  This is half of our delicious group showing off their steak salads topped with onion rings (we feed them because we remember well that newly married couples can't afford to eat).   We've been through Sacred Marriage and a Song of Solomon series. This week we begin  Tim Keller's The Prodigal God.  I Can't wait! 

After a whole week of school "Girls just want to have fun!" 
The weekend was spent finishing a ruffled bed skirt I began for Josie in February (procrastinate much), and re-re-painting her room (I'll spare you the pic of my painted gray hair)
Each year our church, The Well, holds the State of the Church.
This year the pastor emphasized that 
 "We're better together than we are alone,"
and shared the many ways the church has been the church this past year.  

instapics- Worship with a packed house of God-sibs= MY FAVORITE THING EVER!
Michael and I have had the privilege of serving as greeters for the event for 2 years. 

These milk & dark chocolate chip cookies made by Josie are quiet possibly my second favorite thing ever.  Michael and I agreed that these are the best chocolate chip cookies ever made in our household in our almost 17yrs of marriage...and it took an 11yr old to accomplish that. 

And finally, beginning my day, and closing out the month with worship...
"Your Presence is all I need, 
It's all I want, 
And all I seek..."

Live in Peace,


Sunday, August 18, 2013

He wins!

Last week Emilie got amped after reading John 1:5 from her Bible.
She enthusiastically shared, "The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." 

Her enthusiasm came a few days after we'd had a discouraging conversation about our culture and the immorality in it that is tolerated and promoted.  At one point during the discussion I resembled the generations who've gone before me as I echoed their disheartening conclusion, "it's going to be much worse for your generation than it was for mine."     

Darkness can bring out the Debbie Downer in me.

But God- through Emilie.

After she read John's words she energetically proclaimed what she was discerning from the scripture, "The Light illuminates and shines in the darkness. THE DARKNESS CANNOT OVERPOWER THE MARVELOUS LIGHT! The sin in the world seems to be overpowering Truth, but God's Light overpowers ALL the darkness. God is powerful! I feel Hope." 

Emilie reminded this Debbie Downer that no matter how dark it gets- Jesus wins.
Boom Ya! (as our friend Spinner says it-  Emilie and I might actually be dorky enough to have exclaimed that during our conversation).

This encouragement from God's word for Emilie (and me) could not have come at a better time as she begins high school tomorrow. Like her big bro, she's ditching home school and stepping onto the public school scene.

She's excited to go.

Because today is the last day I don't have to share her (boo hoo) with the anyone (except Josie) I started it off by calling dibs on sitting beside her in church.  When Emilie worships she reaches in deep and pours out praise.  I wanted to be next to her. 

As we worshiped I leaned in close, and sang harmony to her lovely melody. We came toward to kiss together.  *love*   Then this mama pressed into God- the Truth and Light and Hope Emilie knows- placed my hand on her and bathed her in prayer with the fitting song the congregation sang-    

Promise maker, promise keeper
You finish what you begin
Our provision through the desert
You see it through 'til the end
You see it through 'til the end

The Lord our God is ever faithful
Never changing through the ages
From this darkness You will lead us
And forever we will say
You're the Lord our God

In the silence, in the waiting
Still we can know You are good
All Your plans are for Your glory
Yes, we can know You are good
Yes, we can know You are good

The Lord our God is ever faithful
Never changing through the ages
From this darkness You will lead us
And forever we will say
You're the Lord our God

We won't move without You
We won't move without You
You're the light of all and all that we need

(Lord, You're everything
Lord, we trust You
We're in your hands)

The Lord our God is ever faithful
Never changing through the ages
From this darkness You will lead us
And forever we will say
You're the Lord our God

And forever we will say
You're the Lord our God

The Lord Our God, Kritian Stanfill

He will finish what He has begun in Emilie (and each one of us).
Though everything around us changes He is constant.
Though we don't understand His ways, we trust that He is good and uses every situation for His "Big glory."  (as Emilie us to say it when praying The Lord's Prayer when she was 3)
He is the Light of all and all that we need.
Even in the midst of darkness He will lead (look at how He is already leading Emilie!)
And best of all- He is the LORD our God!
(I feel the need to insert another "Boom Ya!" here) 
Who goes before, beside, and behind Emilie on the wild adventure of high school.

Live in Peace,

Friday, August 16, 2013

10 Reasons Why I DON'T HATE Camping

You read that right, "10 reasons why I DON'T HATE camping,"
because I could easily list 20 reasons why I loath it-
muddy quarter showers,
needing to pee at 4 a.m.,
dirt. everywhere. dirt.,

washing dishes in a bowl,
noisy neighbors,
and did I mention the urgency to pee when it's dark o'clock, and the potty is a bazillion steps away, and it's insanely cold, and...

but I can't be a hater...
because my family loooooooovvvveees camping. 
So I suck it up, and take one for the team,

 and discover there are a few not-so-terrible things about camping.

 Like S'mores.  Thank you, Jesus, for whoever created the S'more! 

Outlets. I know, it's cheating, but this girl neeeeeeds her hairdryer worse than she needs a warm potty that's 5 steps away at 4 o'clock in the morning (if you're ridiculous like me I can tell you where the only camp sight west of the Mississippi with outlets is for a small fee). 

 Reading by lantern, flashlight, and headlamps. So cozy. 

Our usual100 degree temps are replaced by chilly mornings- wearing beanies, wrapped in blankets, while sipping hot cocoa.

Playing together- card games, Farkle, Rummie Cube, Speed Scrabble. 

  Beach time. 
And since we're at the beach, we HAVE TO grab a ridiculously delicious slice of PMH and a tee from PIZZA MY HEART for just $6!

We're also close to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, which happens to have dollar nights on Mon. & Tues. evenings. Who wouldn't want to ride a roller-coaster for a $1!

These last two are the top reasons camping isn't awful-
Michael does all of the cooking on his father's old Coleman stove.  ALL OF IT. 

And he makes me S'more French Toast.
And S'more French Toast may just be enough to move me from being a hater to a lover of camping.  

Do you camp? 

Live in Peace,

We're currently wrapping up a camping trip (one "last hurrah" before the kids are back to school). 
These photos are from our camping trip in 2011.