II Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dear Friend,

I just typed out this email to a dear friend of mine who wrote me to tell me she's sorry she's been "missing" but that she feels like a slacker and can't get it all done. I liked my reply to her so much (Thank you Holy Spirit) that I decided to post it for you to enjoy as well. :)

Dear Friend,
I'm sorry you're struggling. I hate times in my life like that. It's weird because it's not as much about my circumstances as it is more about the way I'm perceiving it. Sometimes, granted, my schedule does get crazy hectic (like now-around the holidays)...but there are years where I maintain perspective and I stay peaceful and other years where I feel like I am literally one gasp of breath away from drowning in the ocean of commitment.
I know I'm not Dr. Phil or anything...but if I could give you some "been there-done that" advice...I would say....cut yourself some slack. Don't beat yourself up. That is the last thing you need..and just what the devil would like to do. You have the rest of your life to get in super fabulous shape....but your babies are only young once. Housework never ends. You'll never be done....so...just do what you have to and don't stress over dust and dirt. :) I've found that we can go a good FULL week to two weeks without me doing laundry if we REALLY have to. Sure, someone will have to wear the panties that they hate and no doubt there will be mismatched socks on everyone's feet...but we can survive. Not only that...but if we had to, I'm pretty sure we could exist without going grocery shopping for a couple of weeks too. It wouldn't be long before meals became very boring and "canned" but we would make it and no one would die. :)
Take a moment to think about what is REALLY important...in the big scheme of things and then make that your goal. Everything else that gets done is just icing on the cake. Of course I am NOT saying give up on anything. I am just saying let life be for a bit. Roll with it. Pat yourself on the back for the things you DO accomplish and don't let anyone or anything make them less victorious because of the one or two things you didn't get done. I hope that helps. I've had my seasons of feeling like a big old slacker and it's no fun. Let the peace of God which passes ALL understanding dwell in your heart and mind. :)

I'm here for ya, (that goes for you too, dear reader!)
Love, Jen

Friday, October 28, 2011

Too important not to say...

Do you ever let something go for so long (too long) that when you are ready to come back to it....the task is just almost overwhelming? Yah...me too. And today that is how I feel about this blog. I have so many things I want to say and write that when I sit down to start....it's like a raging FLOOD of thoughts...so I sit here looking at the blinking cursor and then hit "Cancel" and go do the laundry instead.
But not today.
Today I read something that gave me the 'Umph!' to just push through that crazy rushing flood of thoughts and swirling topics and JUST DO IT.
So what I'm thinking about today is character in our kids and whether or not we are actually putting anything into building it within them.
I know for me personally, I'm struggling here. I see my children becoming "their own person" more and more and sometimes I don't love what I see. The worst part is that all my kids are..... is a reflection of me and their daddy. So I asked...do WE act like that? And well...in our own more grown-up, more sophisticated way....yes, we do.
Well boo. How come when I try to "fix" others like my hubby or kids, the fingers always point back at me?? :)
There are many character traits I want to instill within my children...but only one of them is CRUCIAL:
First and foremost, I MUST teach them how to have an intimate passionate relationship with Jesus. Without this, they cannot succeed and with it, they cannot fail.
I also think that trying to build such traits as honesty, kindness, sympathy, gratefulness, etc. are going to be tough without the foundation of this personal relationship with the Lord. Think about it...the more we seek Him, the more we find Him. The way we seek Him is through prayer and His Word. The more we read His Word, the more we understand who we are in Christ. When we get to that point, we walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh. At that point, being honest, loving, kind, sympathetic and grateful are all just byproducts of living a Spirit-filled and Spirit-led life. :)
And once again...we've come full circle and the ball is in our court (as parents). Are we showing them this by example?

We must teach our young children this. It doesn't come "natural" to them. If we all acted like babies or young kids, none of us would exercise, we'd eat pizza breakfast, lunch and dinner and we'd probably play video games and watch tv during most of our waking hours. So it takes someone with maturity to turn off the tv, put away the video games, cook a healthy meal, go for a walk and OPEN UP THE BIBLE together as a family.
If sports and activities make it impossible to have time for these things, then I guess you are left at a fork in the road....deciding what is a better investment of your time. All time gets spent...just some things bring back a greater return than others. :)
Deut 30:19
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

Friday, April 15, 2011


So...I hate to be like this...but if you're here reading this, then I am asking you to please click over to my other blog and read my newest post. In honesty, the post should've been done on this blog because it really wasn't going to be about exercise or fitness, etc....but I typed it over there and now I just can't see writing it all over again here. SO...click here to read! :)

But before you go....
Don't you just love reading your OWN blog? I just came over here and started scrolling and before I knew it, many moments had passed. I'd like to hug whoever came up with this idea of blogging. What a wonderful testimony to how life progresses and changes and grows. To everything there is a season....that is for sure. I smile at the funny posts and the happy times, my heart breaks again with the sad posts, I yearn for the days when my kids were little-er and did such cute, silly things. Yet, I'm so grateful to be where I am today...where God has brought me and grown me. Embrace today, because it is happening NOW. :) These are the best times of your life!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


So here is the Duncan group you guys hear me talk about! Love these people! :)
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Grant, Jaxon and Brooklyn. Believe it or not...they weren't posed...Grandpa just happend to have the camera at the right place/right time and said HEY GUYS, LOOK OVER HERE and SMILE! :)
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Weekend Fun

This weekend we took a little trip down to our hometown to visit family and finally meet the newest addition to our (extended) family, MaKenzi Ashton Jones! She is 9 weeks old…which means we’ve been trying to make a trip down to see her for 9 weeks!
I knew from the pictures I’d seen that it was only going to take seconds for me to be completely smitten with her…and I was right. Wow! I don’t get to hold little babies in my arms all that often and it’s so easy to forget how tiny they are! She was so precious and they had her all dolled up with huge bows in her hair the entire time (which I LOVE). :)

The first night we were there we had grilled burgers at Matt’s Nane's house. Afterwards we hit Summer Sno for sno-cones! Duncan has the best sno-cones on EARTH..so if you ever go there, be sure to stop and get one!

On Sunday we went to The Christian Center (where we met, got married and went to church the first 6 years of our married lives). It was good to see old friends and be in church with row(s) of family!

After church we had a big family lunch at Matt’s mom and step-dad’s house. That is also where we always stay when we visit and they are so wonderful to us! I’m so grateful that Matt’s step-dad, Duane, is a photographer and he usually snaps some good pix of the family. This year was no exception!

After lunch, all the (grown-up) kids went to the park to play a mean game of Frisbee. While the little kids played at the playground, we got in about 30 minutes of serious Frisbee playing. It was SO MUCH FUN. I found out that I’m not half-bad at throwing a Frisbee, but not nearly as talented as Matt and our BIL Larry who can make that thing soar about the length of a football field with precise accurateness! We started a rule that if you missed catching it, you had to get down and do 5 push ups. HAHA That didn’t last long. Then we had dinner at Matt’s other grandma’s house and enjoyed a nice visit with her and her new husband, Bob.

Today, Monday, we got up and did a little shopping at an AWESOME little boutique called Prairie Rose where Brooklyn got a new shirt, 2 necklaces and a pair of earrings and I found a perfect gift for a couple of my girlfriends. I really wanted this shirt they have there…but couldn’t bring myself to spend the last $ in my clothing envelope on a single t-shirt. It was so cute though. It was a black burnout with the words MY KIDS ROCK on the front in really cool looking letters all “rocker-ish” looking. Oh well..:)

After shopping, we had a Mexican lunch with Matt’s dad. The kids always love spending time with their Pee-Paw! He keeps us all giggling.

Right before we left town, we did something super fun….just as a family. We went to Wal-mart and bought $100 worth of groceries for someone who we knew needed them. We also got a cute card that said on the front “Who loves you?” and then on the inside says “I DO!” and I signed it “Love, God.”
Then we did a DING DONG DITCH, meaning we snuck up to their house, put them on the porch with the card, rang the doorbell and RAN back to our car (which was parked down the road a little ways) and took off. We were all giggling and breathing so hard! It was SUCH an adrenaline rush and what a FUN way to spend $100!!! All of us said we can’t WAIT till we can do that again!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Almost 13 Years!!!

To accompany the post I just did about Brooklyn trying on my wedding dress...and to celebrate the fact that Matt and I are about to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary...AND because I just got a new scanner :), I thought I would put one of our wedding pics for you all to see. I was 19, he was 21. Mere BABIES! :)

Wedding plans? :)

So, I know I've been AWOL from here for a while. Life is crazy-you know how it is. :)
Anyway, in my spare time (HAHAHAHA) I've been watching DVR'd episodes of TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress". I didn't mean to get started on this...but I was watching it one day and I wanted to record the remainder of the show...but instead of hitting "record remainder", I must've hit "record all future episodes" so now when I look at my DVR'd shows...there are gobs of this show on there. And WHY I can't just delete them...I don't know...but instead I stay up till all hours of the night watching these girls try on extravagant wedding gowns and love every minute of it. So-a few nights ago while the boys were snoozing, I put this on and Brooklyn watched with me. Of course, it's no surprise that a conversation about MY wedding dress came up and boy was she ever EXCITED to know that it was hanging in our guest closet just WAITING for her to try it on! :)
She RAN to get it and out she came...looking like..................A BRIDE!
Woah! I was not ready to see my wedding dress on my TEN year old daughter and see her look like the woman she will one day become. That was a glimpse into the future I wasn't quite ready for. But, rather than let my emotions get the best of me, I just smothered the tears that were threatening to explode from my eyes and together we giggled and laughed and dreamed about "her day". Then we had to grab the camera and snap some photos!
I thought it was SO CUTE that she thinks my dress is "amazing and beautiful" and that she totally (THINKS SHE) wants to wear it on her wedding day! That's so sweet...but I know better! Give her another 10-15 years and I'm PRETTY sure she won't feel the same way.
This dress is the only wedding dress I ever tried on. My mom and I got up one day, went to David's Bridal, I showed the lady a picture of a dress from an Estee Lauder 'Beautiful' perfume ad that I had admired, she led me to this dress...which is the EXACT dress from the picture! I tried it on, saw that it was on sale for $199 and we bought it. Done deal. I never looked back or even considered that I might have liked or wanted another dress. At that time (I was only 19) all I could think about was MATTHEW PAUL JONES and how infatuated I was with him. I would've worn a trash bag and carried dandilions for all I cared..I just wanted to HURRY UP and be his wife! :) We got engaged on Dec. 26, 1997 and got married almost exactly 3 months later on March 28, 1998. I don't remember much of anything from those 3 months other than dreaming of what our life together would be like. My poor mom..she had to plan and prepare the whole wedding herself. I didn't have preferances about anything. Can you believe that? I am SO DIFFERENT from that now! Boy oh boy...my parents should be SO GLAD I got married when I was so young because if I was doing it now...it would take YEARS to plan and I would need a small fortune to pay for my "preferences" now! :) I've developed expensive taste over the years!
Anyway, I never even considered having my dress preserved or anything. It was just the outfit I wore to walk down the isle...nothing sentimental. My niece wore it at her wedding a few years after mine and I think she felt the same way. Just needed a white dress to get the job done. All this time it's been hanging in the closet and I've actually tried to get rid of it (garage sales) or give it away plenty of times...but somehow the thing just won't go away...and now I'm so glad! Brooklyn is going to have a blast over the next few years playing dress up in this gown and I'm gonna enjoy it with her (and try to hide the occasional tear that slips out! :)

Saturday, February 05, 2011

I am a sloth

I don't really know what a sloth is...other than the funny looking guy on Ice Age...but that just seems to be the right word to describe my dedication to this blog. It's sad, I tell ya.
I actually am only writing THIS POST because I got on here to look at some of my friends blogs and in order to find them, I had to pull my own up and when I did I saw that it's been nearly a MONTH since I last posted. You know why? Because stinking FB is sucking my brain cells out again. Yes, I returned to it slowly after being off for a month and now I'm back in over my head. Bleck.
Anyway, I'm sorry I've been neglecting you, my first love. I'm gonna attempt to make a change...straight away. :)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

New Jeans! (one pair)

So, I've been meaning to take a pic of my new jeans (that I bought with the money that I won from the Holiday Challenge) and so today I finally grabbed Brooklyn and had her snap a couple of pix. These first two are of my OLD raggedgy Lucky jeans that I LOVE but are literally falling apart. They have a hole in each knee, one on my left front hip and a GIGANTIC hole in the butt! But I still wear them! Ha Ha

Yes, this close up is of my butt cheek....sorry if that is TMI. :)
My new jeans are funky and fun...they are Big Star brand style Miki...size 28 regular...in case anyone wonders (or wants to send me some! ha ha ha). I love this style because they aren't too flare leg or too skinny leg. They also are a higher rise so that they don't show any booty crack when I bend over. They come to right about an inch below my belly button.

NOT loving this picture of my booty...so just ignore the shape and look at the jeans! ;) You will never hear me say that my rear is my best asset...ever.

My FAVORITIST pair of new jeans had to be altered (they were only about 6 inches too long! ha ha--seriously though!) and so I won't get them until January 11th. I'll take pix of them too for ya, because I know you're just anxiously awaiting it! HA!!! They are like--opposite of these jeans--they are a dark wash with a very cool white/silver thread and hardly any distressing.

Lastly, I leave you with the cutest (BY FAR) pic of all...the one I snapped of my sassy little Brooklyn!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Journal It

I was going to send this as an email to my friend Kate...but then I thought that there might be other young mothres out there who could benefit from this idea, so I'm posting on my blog instead. :)

When Brooklyn was 3 months old, I was reading a parenting magazine. It was the section in the front called "It worked for me"...probably in either Parents or Parenting. Anyway, it was a lady who had written in telling that from the time her children were babies up until they were grown, she had always kept a journal for each one of them and then gave it to them when they were 18.

I loved the idea and began it that very day. That was nearly 10 years ago now and I am still journaling and it has become one of the most precious things in my life. Especially now that Brooklyn is older and she knows about it. She loves those books probably more than any other posession. I had intended to keep them a secret until she was grown up...but she found it one day in my bedside table and immediately became enamored with it, so I allowed her to hear bits and peices (as I read it to her). Then she started leaving me notes on my bed saying "mom, pleas writ to me agn" :) when she was only about 5 years old because she LOOOOVES to hear stories about her life and what I am thinking and feeling about her.

Here are some suggestions I have about this, if you should decide to do it:
1: Get a spiral bound book, it's much easier to write in when you don't have to hold the page down because of tight binding.
2. Write about the big things...but also remember to write about the every day things. Some of our favorite entries are the ones where I say "Dear Brooklyn, today you are 2 1/2 and guess what? You are wearing big girl panties today! You still haven't figured out exactly what that means, but you sure are proud of your little Dora undies and would rather wear them and only them (with your tiara and clip-clop shoes too, of course) than any clothes! You are talking all the time these days and say the cutest things. Today you told Daddy that you were going to marry him when you grow up! Speaking of growing up, you are getting so big! We took you to the doctor for your check up and she said you are so healthy and strong! You are already wearing size 3T and some 4T. You don't much like to eat your veggies but you do LOVE Grandma's pickled beets, which suprises me! You would eat french fries with every meal if we would let you and still won't try a donut because you think they have "nuts" in them! ha ha Right now, I am reading Dr. James Dobson's book called "The Strong Willed Child" because even though you are my little sweetie pie...you can be SUCH a stinker sometimes too! You certainly think you're the boss a lot of the time. Somedays I feel like you are way too smart for a 2 1/2 year old because it feels like you know exactly what I'm saying, and you intentionally do everything that I don't want you to do. It is exhausting and at times I wonder how God figured I was qualified to be your momma. You don't really seem to care about having a time-out and when I swat you on the bottom, you just look at me like "big deal" and run off to play. I wonder if you're too little to be "grounded"? hee hee--just kidding! One thing I know...God blessed me with you and He will definitely help me figure out what I need to do to teach you and help you become the young lady that He wants you to be! He knows exactly what you need at all times, even though I don't...so as long as I stay in close contact with Him, I know it's all gonna be just fine! :) I love you my growing-up-way-too-fast baby girl!

See...there was nothing "huge" about that entry...but rather than just list out details like "today we went to X and we ate X and then we came home and watched tv and then went to bed"...it talks more about feelings and thoughts...which is much more interesting to read later on.

4. Write often. I used to try to write about every other day or so...but now I only write, on average, maybe 3 times a month...sometimes more, sometimes less. I especially try to write when we've had an extraordinarily good or bad day.

5. Don't only write about the good times. I have plenty of entries where I tell the kids what naughty little boogers they've been that day. When they are older, they will appreciate your honesty and when they are parents, they will especially appreciate knowing that you've been there/done that!

6. Don't think that boys won't enjoy reading these journals! Grant is only 6 and he loves to hear me read from his book just as much as Brooklyn does!

7. Write about your husband. Some of my entries are just paragraph after paragraph about how much I love and adore their daddy. I just read one that I wrote to Brooklyn the other day that said, "Right now your daddy and I are disagreeing about something and that made me think that I want to write to you and tell you some things about marriage..." and then I went on to tell her how pride will hurt a marriage and how being selfish will only rob you of the joy that you long for....etc. etc. etc. I told her how blessed I am that her daddy loves us so much and works so hard to provide for us. That he loves God and is our spiritual leader and that even when we disagree, I am still head-over-heels happy that God gave him to me! "Oh how I pray that God will bring a young man just like your daddy into your life one day."
Kids need to know this stuff--and how much your and your spouse love each other!

8. Write about YOUR accomplishments and goals too! Without going into too much detail, I have written about my weight struggles in my books to Brooklyn, because when she is a young woman, I want her to be able to read about this and know that I wasn't always "fit and healthy". She will see that it took determination and struggle and lots of hard work to change the way we live, but that I did it because I want HER to grow up healthy and strong and NOT have the kinds of issues with weight that I did. (ps. I don't read that part to her right now).

9. Have a seperate book for each child. They will want to have and keep these as they grow up and move out on their own...so make them individual and unique!

10. Write about answers to prayers and ways that God has worked in your lives! It is our responsibility to show our kids how God has blessed us and provided for us. It is a wonderful way to help you remember too...all the times that God has answered our prayers!

So..........I hope this inspires you to do this. Even if you only write once a month, it will be something your children will cherish!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

I'm throwing a temper tantrum!!!

Okay, So...on Wednesday, I woke up feeling sick to my stomach. Unfortunately, I only set my alarm early enough to wake up, brush my teeth, throw on my work out clothes and make it to the gym in time to teach my class...SO....that meant that I didn't have time to call for a sub or "wait it out" and see how I was going to feel. But...I had a pretty good indication something was going on because in the 20 minutes before I left the house, I used the bathroom 4 explosive times (tmi? :)
Anyway, I get to the gym, teach my class using light weights and doing more instructing than actual demonstrating and then head home, shower and get in bed. There I stayed rolling around, moaning and groaning for the ENTIRE DAY until around 6 pm when I FINALLY was able to throw up whatever it was that was KILLING my stomach all day long. Never been so happy to puke in my life!

Anyway, all day that day just the thought of food make me sick...but by the next day (Thursday)I was CRAVING Subway. Very unusual for me. We aren't frequent Subway eaters...but for some odd reason, nothing else sounded as good as a 6 inch sub loaded with veggies and doused with creamy italian dressing.

Fast forward THREE whole days (today) and I'm STILL craving the sub. Matt knows how bad I want one so we brave the fridgid temperatures and drive into town just so I can have my sub.

Mmmmm.....hot, toasty, loaded, yummy sub sandwhich. We get home, I make up my plate with my sandwhich a small pile of Cheddar and Sour Cream Lay's and a nice icy-cold Pepsi Max. Right about that time Brooklyn hollers from upstairs "MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!!! I need you to come help me with the TV." I try to holler out instructions on how to get it switched over from video to the satellite again...all the while I'm practically DROOLING all over my plate...but nevertheless...she can't figure it out. So, quite frustrated, I set my plate down on the table and RUN up the stairs, fix the TV and RUN back down stairs. I was probably away from my plate for about 45 seconds max...but that was ALL THE TIME IT TOOK for SAM, our cocker spaniel, to eat my ENTIRE SUBWAY SANDWICH AND CHIPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SERIOUSLY! I wasn't sure if I was going to cry, scream or break something!
It was an eye opening moment in my life. One I'm ashamed of. I can NOT believe I can get that emotional over a SANDWICH! I was overwhelmed with anger and sadness for a good 5 minutes screaming and flailing my arms around in the air, shouting all kinds of horrible threats that I was going to do to him (which I would NEVER really do).
In the end, I calmed my heartrate, composed myself and poured a big bowl of Multi-Grain Cheerios mixed with Raisin Bran covered in skim milk and called it good.
Well, not good.
Good would have been my sub.
But it was dinner.
As Matt would say..."it'll make a turd."