If you give a woman paint chips…

Monday, January 28, 2013 9 Comments A+ a-

Jon really has no one to blame but himself.  He started sharing all of his home improvement ideas with me. Mistake #1. Then he introduced me to Houzz.com. Mistake #2. But the mistake coup de grace was allowing me to go to Home Depot, unsupervised. 

Its been over four years since I’ve attempted any home décor projects, but after perusing gorgeous room after gorgeous room online, I was suddenly inspired and I decided to attempt a living room/kitchen makeover to rival any home improvement project I’ve done in the past.  I was in Home Depot no less than four times last week as I bought paint sample after paint sample.  I had no idea that gray was such a hard color to find… I should have known better after Becky’s post, but finally (6 paint samples later) I am satisfied with my color choices.  And I have Jon on board too. 

CurrentThis brown room will soon be a gray (greige) and a warm gray/purple color.  Even the mustard yellow kitchen will be going too.  I’ll be sure to post before and after pictures.

But I’ve noticed something about tackling a project like this.  And it goes something like this.

If you give a woman some paint chips…
She’s going to go to the home improvement store.


If she goes to the home improvement store…
She’s going to wander the aisles while the paint is mixed.


While she’s wandering the aisles…
She’ll notice the new chandelier that matches the paint perfectly.

She’ll hang up the chandelier as soon as she gets home…
In the new light, she’ll notice the curtains no longer match the walls.


She’ll go to the store with said paint chips…
And buy new, matching curtains, along with new throw pillows.


Once she hangs up the curtains and puts on the new pillows…
The outdated pictures hanging on the wall will suddenly be glaringly obvious.


When she goes to pick up the newly printed portraits…
She’ll decide to pick up new frames too.


With the new portraits and frames hanging on the wall…
The other wall décor looks suddenly out-of-place and wrong.


So off to Hobby Lobby she goes…
Where she promptly falls in love with 3 rooms full of décor ideas.

She brings home all three rooms worth of things..
And decides the bathroom should be redone too.


So off she goes to the home improvement store for paint chips.

Wish me luck, y’all.  And pray Jon and I don’t kill each other during this home improvement project.

Just Because

Sunday, January 27, 2013 4 Comments A+ a-

Because 15+ years later, I have been lucky to live life with this man. He has loved me well, he is my best friend, and our marriage has been the best adventure. Thankful to have him with me through the valleys and the mountain tops.

And How

Friday, January 25, 2013 7 Comments A+ a-

I am a worrier.  Its in my nature to be anxious.  Not that I think its ok to worry, in fact, God repeatedly tells us not to do it.  But let’s call it my “thorn”, the one thing that my flesh constantly has to battle. 

I’ve mentioned before that I’m the financial worrier in our relationship.  It doesn’t matter that we’re both spenders and I’m usually helping with the spending, I’m the one that worries over it.  I’ll be the first to admit we live paycheck to paycheck, something we understood was going to happen when I quit my job three years ago.  But expecting it doesn’t make it any less hard to actually live it.

And Jon, well, his faith is unshakeable.  His faith that God will provide is always spot on, its always there.  He’s unflappable.  And at times, it drives me batty.  I’d love to see a shadow of doubt cross his face because then I’d feel less like a failure in the faith department.  But at the same time, Jon’s my rock.  And if his faith is strong, steady, and sure, then I’m reminded that God IS faithful.

Lately, though, little things have been coming up.  The Littles want to play this sport and do that activity.  Appetites have increased and our grocery budget is no longer enough.  Hudson outgrew 5 pairs of jeans in a matter of weeks.  There’s the field trip, and the birthday parties.  There’s the basement we want to finish, so we have more space and Hudson can have his own room.  There’s the summer camp Devyn wants to go to, and the vacation we want to plan.

And all I can think is how?

How can we afford all of these things?  How am I going to find an extra $200 in our budget to pay for groceries?  How will we pay for the sports, the clothes, the getaways?  How will we ever get ahead, when we have the van to repair?  How?  How?  How?

And then today, during errands, I heard a strong whisper.

“Why do you worry about the how?  Haven’t you always been cared for?  Haven’t the needs of your children been met every single time for the past nine years?  Stop worrying about the how, let the past speak for itself.”

It was eye opening to say the least. 

I went back and read this post today.  And I was reminded, yet again, that our needs have always been met.  Always.  There has never been a time that one of my children has gone to bed hungry.  They are clothed and warm.  There is a roof over their heads, and there is love in this house.  Can I really worry about the how, when this is more than enough?!

2013 and My One Word

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 7 Comments A+ a-

I wasn’t going to do the one word for 2013.  Perhaps it was because I didn’t want to sit down and put effort into finding a word.  Perhaps its because finding one word has become such a popular thing to do, and I have a weird aversion to popular things.  (Simply put, if its popular or trendy at the moment, I want to steer clear of it.  Yes, my name is Jenn, and I’m weird like that.)  Never mind that I had Hope in 2008 and Authenticity in 2010, I had no plans to participate this year.

But here’s the thing. 

God often has other plans, and even when I don’t plan on doing something, He’ll show me over and over again that He intends something different.  Its starts off as a soft nudge, then if I’m not paying attention (and  most times I’m not), it becomes a full-blown shout and I can’t possibly ignore it.

Enter 2013 and my word.  Courage.CourageCollage

I started inserting the word Courage into my prayer.  And it was nice that I was praying for it, even if it terrified me to my soul (still does), but I certainly didn’t expect it to turn into more.

Then Courage kept showing up in other aspects of my life.  In the form of a song, a devotion, a commercial, a book, and this past Sunday, at church.  Courage.  Ok, God, I get it.  There’s going to be a theme this year. 

I don’t know what 2013 holds, I don’t know what He intends to teach me about Courage.  I know I’m scared.  I can only imagine the circumstances in which I need to show Courage.  And since I have an overactive imagination, my mind has already gone to some scary places.  Looking up the word Courage, I found that Fear is one of the autonyms for my word.  Ironic much?

Courage is not a word I would have chosen for myself or this year.  Quite honestly, its not a word I would have picked up once, let alone take a second and third glance at it.  But that’s how I know God has intended this word… for me… this year.  At this point, all I can do is listen and obey, and pray the actual act of Courage will show up in me eventually.courage-2

Operation: Get Cancer Out

Thursday, January 17, 2013 12 Comments A+ a-

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Dad’s surgery was today…  And if I ever need to be reminded what it looks like to be a good friend, I need not look further than our own family and friends.  The thoughtfulness and support that poured forth today was nothing short of humbling.  The texts, calls, messages, emails, and gestures were simply amazing.  I am just awed that so many were praying for us today.  And I can’t begin to tell you how much it meant to us.

Dad’s surgery was two hours shorter than they originally told us, and was back in the recovery room after only four hours.  Once in recovery there was some issues with breathing and high blood pressure, but everything soon stabilized enough to get him upstairs.  He’ll be in the trauma/surgical ward until Saturday or Sunday.

The absolute highlight of today was getting to witness “Loopy Dad” as he went into, and came out of, anesthesia.  Before going into surgery, he told Mom and I that he was counting the horses as they passed him in the canyon.  Most people count sheep to fall asleep, but nope, not my dad.  He counts wild horses.  And coming out of anesthesia, he referred to the nurses as coworkers and kept telling them to move their mail carts.  But the best part was once we were all in his room upstairs, and he woke long enough to say, “First of all, I want to thank you all for coming.” Complete with a pageant wave.  And then fell promptly asleep.  I think he might be in the running for Miss Congeniality.

When we stopped by with the Littles tonight, his sassy, rambunctious self was back and tried conning the night nurse into give him more water and ice chips.  Jon and I were laughing so hard as the nurse gave it right back…  I wish I could be a fly on the wall tonight, especially as Mom and the nurse try to outsmart him. 

All in all, a good, smooth surgery.  We expect results to be back in two weeks, and we’ll know more then.  Thanks again for everything, we’re so blessed by you all!

This is neither here, nor there.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 8 Comments A+ a-

  • Most days I forget that I have fibromyalgia.  I’m fortunate in the sense that I think I have a mild case.  But cold weather and stress are my triggers, and as such, I’ve been in severe pain the past few days during this cold front.  And I’m talking –2-degrees kind of cold.  Ouch.
  • Its been so bad that Jon can’t cuddle with me.  Not even kidding.  Poor guy has been relegated to cuddling with his pillow because his touching me just hurts. 
  • But I hear there’s a warm front coming through soon.  Yay!
  • Last night, we put the Littles to bed and after some delays, we soon heard the wonderful sound of silence.  We naturally assumed that everyone had finally fallen asleep.  But we all know what they say about “assume”, don’t we?
  • Come to find out, Ashlynn had climbed out of her crib and decided to play in glitter.  As in, eat it, rub it all over her pajamas and hands, and wipe it in her hair.  At least it was pretty. 
  • She was promptly put back into bed, and it wasn’t until I was getting ready for bed myself, did I notice the toiletry carnage in the bathroom.  She’d unwrapped every single tampon, from a brand-new box, and had thrown the wrappers everywhere.  I was dying to take a picture and share it, but I’m pretty sure that one falls under the “overshare, no thank you” heading.
  • Hudson has reached a new phase.  At least, I’m hoping it’s a phase because… well, the alternative makes me very uncomfortable.
  • He is currently IN LOVE with his mama.  No, I’m not talking the maternal love one has for the woman who gave them life.  I’m talking flustered, red-faced the moment I walk into a room, jealous of any affection or attention given to Jon, to the point he’ll weasel his way in-between us, tongue-tied love.
  • Don’t get me wrong, it’s a huge ego boost. But I’m thinking in a year or two, this will probably be frowned upon.  Starting with yours truly.  So lie to me if you have to, this is just a phase, right?!
  • Reagan.  Oh sweet molasses.  This girl truly needs her own social media account because over half of my updates, tweets, etc. are about the antics of our sassy Rea.
  • Today she ran the small, kiddie grocery cart into the back of my legs more times than I can count.  At one point, she turned to me, with an exasperated sigh, said, “I really am a bad driver!” The things that come out of her mouth are often times so adult-like, so mature, and yet, with enough sass or innocence, that all we can do is laugh.
  • Her love language is without a doubt both quality time and acts of service.  Nothing will fill her love tank more than some one-on-one time with Jon or I, and/or getting to help me clean or make dinner.
  • I can’t believe she’ll be starting preschool next year.  Hold me.  I’m savoring this last semester of having her home with me in the afternoons.  I truly cannot believe how fast life moves forward.
  • And if I ever have any doubts that time marches on, I need not look any further than our resident eight-year-old.  Seriously.  8 years old.  I really have no clue how that happened because I swear, I SWEAR, she just started walking last week.  Right?
  • Devyn has turned into my mini-me.  The other night, after Jon had already gone to bed, she snuck out of her room about 2 hours past her bedtime to let me know she finished another American Girl book.  She’d laid in bed for two hours, reading by the light of the hallway.  Do you know how often I did the same thing?!  I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud.  Even if she did disobey the bedtime rule, but we’ll just overlook that, m’kay?
  • And we’re also about to start a new venture with Miss Paige.  Volleyball.  Yep, that’s right, Devyn is starting the world of sports with her girlfriend, Shyann, and volleyball.  (Somewhere Uncle Caleb is doing a victory dance.)
  • Practices, coaches, rosters, and games, oh my.  6 weeks of crowding into a middle school gym to cheer on our girl and her team. I am both looking forward to it and terrified that its one more reminder that forward we go.
  • Jon and I’ve decided that we’re pretty game to have the Littles try whatever sport they want.  Our only stipulation is that they must finish the season, even if it wasn’t what they wanted, its about the commitment.  So, we’ll see what’s in the cards for us in the years ahead.
  • So far this year, we have Reagan committed to trying soccer in the spring, Hudson is, without a doubt, doing baseball this summer, as well as getting all the Littles into swimming lessons again.
  • Oy.  Just typing all of that out makes my wallet hurt.  Newsflash.  Kids are expensive.
  • In the past, I’ve prayed that God would give me love and grace to handle each situation.  I believe He’s been faithful to the prayer.  But lately, I’ve been convicted to add to the prayer.  So now I’ve started praying that God would give me love, grace, and courage.
  • Yeah.  It makes me a lot nervous to pray for courage.  Simply because I know that God’s way of answering that prayer is to give me situations in which to be courageous.  Awesome.
  • But a couple of years ago, I had a situation in which I felt God asking me to put it all on the alter and give it to Him.  As I placed each thing on that alter (Jon, my marriage, our children, finances, control, the future, my sisters, etc.), it paralyzed me.  It was terrifying (TERRIFYING!) to say, “Here it is, God, everything that means most to me.  Its yours, do with it what you will.”  But it got easier each time I prayed it.  So I figure (and hope) that this prayer will also get easier with time.  We’ll see…
  • Our new church (yeah, I still owe y’all a post about that) has a social media director.  As in, they get social media and today’s culture.  It was weird at first, but then I got used to seeing tweets and updates from the church in my Twitter and Facebook timelines.
  • Then our head pastor decided to follow me on Twitter.  Um, is he sure he wants to do that? Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I tweet anything that’s inappropriate, but does he really want the play-by-play of getting the Littles to just.stop.fighting?  Or how about the fact that I’m whoo-hooing a trip to the grocery store by myself?  See, that’s pulitizer prize winning stuff right there.  Poor guy. I’m not sure he knows what he got when he clicked that “follow” button.
  • And last, but not least, Dad is having surgery to remove his prostate on Thursday.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.  Do I have a peace about it all?  Yes.  But I’m nervous because its my dad and it’s surgery.  A 6-hour surgery at that.
  • If you think of us, will you join us in praying?  It’ll be Thursday morning, and I believe all of the sisters, mom, and Grandma Rose will be at the hospital all day.  I’m praying for continued peace, for wisdom for the doctors and a steady hand in the operating room.  I’m praying for a healthy recovery, and a good prognosis.  Thanks all!  We appreciate it more than we can say!

Blogging, Life, & Responsibilities

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 9 Comments A+ a-

I’ve given a lot of thought to this post.  In fact, truth be told, its constantly on my mind, in the dark corners where the spider webs collect dust.  That nagging thought and question about what I’m neglecting, and how I can reconcile this space on the internet and the rest of my life.  How does one find the time to blog when there is laundry to fold and put away?  There’s the constant need to sweep up the crumbs that have fallen in the 40 minutes since the last sweep, the bathrooms can always use a good cleaning, and I should probably take care of the smell emanating from the refrigerator.  And I can’t forget the bills to pay, the calls to return, the Littles to watch, the homework to help with, and heavens, I really need to take down the Christmas tree and decorations.

But its been over two weeks since I last posted.  And I miss this place. 

I’ve been blogging since the fall of 2005, a month before Devyn’s 1st birthday.  I’ve been blogging since before Blogger had custom templates, on the generic blue and green theme.  Before sponsors, giveaways, weekly memes, professional bloggers, and the like.  I’m not saying those things are bad, PLEASE hear me on that!  I’m just saying that I’ve been blogging since before blogging became popular.  I have seven years of my life invested in this blog.  The archives hold a treasure trove of memories and milestones, of ideologies and essays.  This blog is too much a part of me to ever stop…

But here’s the thing… Life goes on, munchkins grow up, and it’s a lot trickier trying to navigate the murky waters of a) finding the time to post, b) what is appropriate to post about Littles and their lives, and c) not posting for posting’s sake.  While I certainly don’t expect everyone to blog for the same reasons (as they shouldn’t, how boring this world would be if we were all the same), I adhere to certain “rules” for my own convictions sake.

  • I won’t be leaving this place.  Its mine.  My thoughts, beliefs, feelings, experiences.  This is where I come to process so many of my emotions on any number of topics.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to pack up and move on. 
  • I can’t promise that I’ll write as routinely as I once did.  I’ll write whenever inspiration hits and I love that so many want to read about our life.  Truthfully, I’m quite honored.  But I find those moments to be fewer and further between.
  • Anything that I share about the Littles and their own experiences in school, with friends, with family, will be done so with the permission of said Little.  I find that this has become much trickier as they grow older, but I must walk that tightrope carefully.
  • I find that grief is a funny thing.  It has sucked me dry, in every way possible.  I haven’t had the passion or inspiration to write here as much as I like.  I hope as healing continues, the joy I have in blogging will return.  But in the mean time, this beautiful blogger expresses much more eloquently than I could what I’m currently feeling.

Oh 2013, I have high hopes for you.  Granted, you won’t have to put forth too much effort to outdo 2012, but let’s not let that go to your head.  I’m borrowing my sister’s words and praying for a year of health and healing.

Mostly, I hope and pray for healing. Healing for my Dad as he recovers from his surgery on January 17th, and that we will hear that he is cancer free after his surgery. I would also pray for healing for so many that lost loved ones this past year. Those that lost loved ones to tragic and horrific shootings, and those that lost loved ones in other unexpected ways. I also pray for healing for families that are being torn apart through other circumstances.

I hope and pray for healthy babies. A healthy 3rd baby for us, healthy babies for my sister Alli and my friends, and most of all I pray for babies for all of those couples that have been dreaming and trying to have a family for many months or years.

2013.  Let’s do this!