Monday, December 27, 2010

Here it comes!

The 2nd Annual Durango Daddy Daughter Dance is coming! I am the lucky recipient of the title of event coordinator to bring together an amazing event at our church that honors the relationship between a Dad and daughter. This year's theme came from another Taylor Swift song that one of my amazing teachers Ashley told me about. It is called, Never Grow Up.

Last year we had an awesome turnout of over 185 Dads and daughters flood our sanctuary. I am meeting with the team of people who will help with various areas of the event next week. My daughter has already found, picked out and we've purchased the dress she is going to wear. My husband is thrilled to take his sweet girl again. As she fast approaches eight years old he is so excited to honor her and the relationship they have.

I am AGAIN getting a little melancholy. Love the event. Love planning it coordinating the theme, decorations, directing teams, praying for it, promoting it. I'm totally excited. I love projects like these because they start at one point... and they have an amazing satisfaction. I get to "be" or hang out at the event ( I hid from my daughter and her friends last year) but to watch little girls dance with, chat with and eat with thier Daddies is awesome.

I emailed my Dad the other day. I told him I loved him. I do. I wanted him to know it, because it's true. Anyway, listen to this awesome song. I can't wait for this really cool event. :) Peace, Jen

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Mom

My Mom has come to visit us this Christmas. She is actually staying with us in our home. She is a blessing to all who meet her and there is NO ONE like her. I repeat. NO ONE. She is an individual and perfectly and wonderfully made for me and my family. I am even more blessed because she is spending the week with my kiddos while I go to work. I cannot explain how much the kids love it when she comes. She really doesn't have to do anything other than wear her Spongebob Squarepants pajamas, snuggle them and read to them and encourage them. They adore her.

After we moved away from my Dad and my brothers headed back to Wisconsin, it was a struggle and a process in missing my family. My Mom lives in New Mexico most of the time but comes back to see us often. But there is something about having your family with you on Christmas that makes it extra special.

Christmas time is a time for showing one another the grace and love God gives us. It is a time for words that speak life into peoples lives. It is a time for giving of gifts. Homeade gifts, gifts of words, gifts of service, gifts of quality time and most important gifts of love. My Mom is that gift to me.

It's kind of tough to have QT with her right now with the kiddos interupting our chats, but we're getting them in. We pour each other a cup of coffee and visit. We laugh. We hug. She is the BEST gift giver in all the world. She remembers anything you have ever said you wanted, needed or thought about and somehow they are all magically located under the tree Christmas morning. We painted nails yesterday... she allowed grace to paint her nails red, white and green. They were supposed to be stripes but turned out to be smudges of each color. Yet she admires them with love. My daughter made her coffee this morning. Wanting nothing more than to be near her Grandma.

So this Christmas I am relishing and enjoying the time I get to spend with my Mom. Making every moment count and enjoying the time I get to spend with her. What a blessing she is to us.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A prayer answered and a special Christmas gift...

I have to tell you a sweet thing my husband just came home and told me. If you remember, this year we had to give our sweet Tid Bit to the animal shelter. Our sudden move to a new rental made it impossible for us to keep her. Our schedules were that we are never home. When we lived on my Dad's land, she could run around and play with my Dad and his other dogs. She would be alone in our house, bored and frankly she was too smart of a dog to just have hang around.

This was a tough decision for BK and I. G and T LOVED her very much. She grew up with them and was a very special part of our family. But because we did not have much time with her, she had a hard time listening to us, did not know what to expect and most of the time was utterly confused about what we wanted.

The new rental is also very close to a busy road where we get lots of traffic. I feared the thought of TidBit getting out of our home and running into the street.

Anyway, BK and I took her to the animal shelter and all I could do was pray. I asked God to bring her to a family or a couple who would be able to love her, spend time with her and thoroughly enjoy her. She is SUPER FAST. I always wanted to get her in an agility training or something. She is part "heeler" so she needed a job to do. Something she knew she was good at.

Anyway, I followed up with the shelter after I dropped her off. They had a home and garden fair at the Fairgrounds and the animal shelter featured TidBit as one of the dogs to adopt at a booth they had at this event. MANY people came to look at her and thought she was great. When I called the shelter about a week later, the lady told me that she in fact was adopted by a couple who saw her at the fairgrounds and came back to the shelter to inquire about her. I was thrilled. No kids. TidBit would be the center of their world. Praise God. I told the kids and even though it was good news it was hard for them to hear. They didn't care if TidBit found a great home, they wanted TidBit to be their dog still.

Yet, God is even more faithful. When I prayed, I asked God to give her a full life. I cried when BK dropped her off. She was special. I just prayed other people saw what I knew about her to be true.

Anyway, today BK was at the Mall and found out from our old neighbor that friend of her adopted TidBit. That she is now a certified Therapy dog for people in the hospitals, hospice and little children. She sits with kids while they read her books, she visits sick grandmas and grandpas in the nursing homes and she visits hospitals where people need a friendly dog to greet them.

BK are so excited for her. We haven't told the kids because again we don't think they would appreciate it yet. But we will. This is a sweet little Christmas prayer answered. A reminder to me of a God who knows the little things in my heart that I desire and meets me right where I am at.

Thank you God for giving our puppy an amazing home and a new "job". Thanks for the reminder of your sweet love. May I never forget how unfailing, specific and good it is. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Authentic Me

: true to one's own personality, spirit, or character

worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact.

I've always considered myself to be an authentic person. You get what you get. I am who I say I am. I'm not too complex. I admit my mistakes, I wear my emotions on my sleeve, I do not care much what others think about me. I grew up in the midwest. You have to be a little bit tough to live there. Winters are harsh. We used to joke in Minnesota that it is hard to make friends there because everyone has all of their already established relationships, in the winter everyone hunkers down with their "peeps" and coming to the state from another place was hard to break into and form close relationships. But that is pretty much how it is. You have to "earn" your way into relationship. You have to "prove" yourself worthy. You have to show that you can "run with the big dogs" before you will gain any ground, respect or confirmation. As I've mentioned in the past, I grew up VERY CODEPENDENT. I was a pleaser. I was the "diplomat." I was constantly looking for ways to help people. I thought it was out of the goodness of my heart. But now I realize it was because I was paralyzed with fear that if I didn't do it, my world would spin out of control. I needed to "create" "force" and "maintain" order. Otherwise I wasn't sure I could survive.

Like I've stated before. I was raised in an awesome home in the suburbs of Milwaukee, I love my family, my home and what my parents taught me. I was taken to church, we had nice things, my Mom and Dad worked their booties off to give us an amazing life as a family. But I believe the minute BK and I decided to surrender our lives to the Lord and call ourselves Christians is the day I started gaining new perspective on God's plan for me. God's intentions for my life and how God wants me to live. I have an audience of ONE.... (no more, no less) and in that HE is giving me insight, revelation, and a deeper understanding of my own heart and what it yearns for, and what it needs. And what he is showing me now is that I need AUTHENTICITY. I need to be more authentic.

All the time I've spent "playing" peacemaker, has not prepared me for this day. An authentic Christian TELLS you what they want, what they expect, what they know to be true. An authentic Christian may not agree with you but will tell you how they feel and still want to be united in relationship with you. An authentic christian is not AFRAID of how other people will act, what they will do or what they might say. They wholely and completely trust the Lord to take care of everyone else.

I think what people can't stand about Christians is the facade that we are all SO... OK. That we are like flippin Mr. Rogers. How many of us would one time have liked to see Mr. Rogers chuck his shoe across the room and demand a different style?

Walking with Jesus is a journey and to be perfectly honest it may take me my entire life to get a COUPLE of the fruits of the spirit... but it's totally OK with God. It may take me a while to learn how to talk to my husband or my kids or my friends, but it's the journey I am on with God. I've stuffed a lot of crap over the years. (God loves me even though I say crap)
I know when it's happening. I do it to spare people the agony of having to "deal with" me. But God is showing me that it's not my job to spare people. It's not my job to tip toe around their issues. It's not my job to pacify, soothe and stroke everyone else around me. It is my job to love them yes. But not my job to make their lives OK.

So... as I seek to learn with authenticity looks like and watch how it plays out in my life. I will remember that God is the only audience member I have. He is the most important and where the rest of this journey takes me is up to Him.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mostly pics

We are in the midst of Christmas Programs at school this year. Toby had his on Monday. (K - 2nd grade) It was sweet, lots of kids, lots of singing and dancing. It is one of those traditions I was talking about that I love so much. The kids love seeing their friends, performing for family and celebrating as a community. I was SO tired. Josie was ready for bed, but we went and we had fun. Toby was excited to perform for us. Enjoy the pics.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Traditions

I love traditions. I love when a family does something 'cause that's just what we do in our family.' I love it. It is what makes a family a family. It is one of the first things you learn about your spouse. The traditions of a family. You can either keep them going or change them or tweak them but having them is always so much fun. Here are a couple of ours... and a couple I'd love to try in years to come.

1. Making Gingerbread houses (Jinny started this with my kids last year and they LOVE it)

2. Picking out and putting up the Christmas tree. Grace seems to be the "pro" at the perfect tree. This year I was wrangling Josie and keeping her warm while we shopped, but she found a beautiful tree that is perfect for our house.

3. Stockings. In MY family we had St. NICK that came on December 5th and filled our stockings... Santa came on the 24th. We never questioned it because if we didn't BELIEVE.. he wouldn't come. And MAN did we want him to COME TO OUR HOUSE! :) We hang and fill stockings on Christmas Eve.

4. Monkey Bread on Christmas Day... it is a gooey mass of deliciousness on Christmas Day that my husband makes for us.

5. Where is Jesus? The nativity is put out before Christmas. However Jesus is not in the manger until Christmas Day. I used to love to come and look at the manger in oour house on Christmas Day. To see the cute little baby Jesus.

6. Watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation... a tradition in my family. More appropriate for older kids. Our kids are too young to find it funny. Home ALONE is a good one for them now. Also another great Christmas movie.

7. Christmas performance at church, Christmas program at school, Giving tree at school.
8. The Roger Whittaker Christmas music... as well as the Muppets Christmas. LOVE THEM BOTH.


I would love to do the following things in the future:

1. Serve at a soup kitchen
2. Mission Trip
3. Birthday party for Jesus.(we are doing this at church on the 19th)
4. Get a forest license and chop down our own tree.

Christmas is GRAND... isn't it?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December Joy...

Josie via my mobile phone

Josie knowing she's not supposed to DIG in the garbage, but trying to be cute anyway.

I can't remember a time when I've been more excited about Christmas. I can't remember being more elated about celebrating the birth of Christ. It brings me such joy to think about decorating the house, buying a fresh tree and decorating it with the kids and making sure we are all focused on the reason we celebrate this beautiful season and time of year. My husband is healthy, my kids are happy and healthy and we have some of the best friends and family in the world.

I was thinking about some past posts and it kind of makes me giggle how much I went into ministry with barely a smidge of understanding in terms of what God was doing with me to prepare me for this journey. I am being sanctified, stripped of the "old Jen" and being given some revelation about myself that sometimes is not so fun to know. I am giving up control of things... all the while kicking and screaming because it's so uncomfortable. I am learning to trust and love a God with my most precious priority. That which is my family.

In a way, God has said to me... I've got them Jen. You don't have to be ME for them. You just have to be you... and love ME with all your heart. My friend Linn created a blog post about how the disciples threw down their nets and followed Jesus. They dropped everything that mattered to them to follow Him. In many ways I worship my children. I am overly consumed by how I AFFECT how I IMPACT how I TRAIN and how I LOVE THEM. I know it says in the Bible to train a child up in the way they should go. But it also says not to don't WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING... THANK HIM FOR ALL HE HAS DONE...

So, I'm in this awesome church, being impacted by God in such a personal way, seeking His kingdom here on earth. I'm listening to Him give me a vision, a passion and a burden for children and how much of a big deal they are to Him. I'm leading adults who themselves are learning from Him pressing into Him and being in relationship with me while they serve kids in our church. I'm trusting God with my husband and his health, I'm trusting God with my kids protection in public school and his provision for them in all that they need. I'm learning to manage my time and minister to kids and be honest with people about tough stuff. I'm dropping my nets. And following Him, trusting Him and "PRAYING ABOUT EVERYTHING."

My baby is now one and a half. My husband is on the road to a healthier life with the new medicine he is taking and I am looking forward to the next year and all that comes with it. I am done worrying, done complaining, done wondering. I am doing it. I am not looking back and I am following Him. Jesus, Help me to always follow you. Help me to KNOW that you are who you say you are and that you'll do what you say your going to do. Lord, help me to know you have my kids in your arms, that those plans for them that you had intended are in full force and they will see them through to fruition. God give me peace about riverKIDS and what you want me to do to help reach more kids in Durango. And Lord most of all bring me people who understand what a "BIG DEAL" kids are to you.

I love you Lord. Thanks for this Christmas season. Thanks for putting up with me for so many things... and thanks for reminding me how much you love me.