Faith · Family · Parenting · Perspective

Family Hike

Today we walked away from it all. The piles of laundry, unwashed dishes, shoes scattered across the mud room floor, and the business phone- we just walked away.

It was glorious.

For 1.5 hours, we hiked a nearby pasture. Up the hills and down the draws, my husband, kids and I walked the deer paths. High up in a tree herons were nesting. The wild turkeys and owls made their presence known.

Paying special attention to avoid the honey locust trees, we found a grove of walnuts. The kids collected turkey feathers. The big prize would have been deer antler sheds, but we didn’t find any.

Crossing the creek multiple times, we either walked a natural log jam or found a fallen tree to place across the shallow water. I can firmly say that none of us will be tightrope stars.

My phone came out once to take one picture. Neither my husband or kids know I took a snapshot of this moment. It was a joyous reprieve from connectivity. No service meant no intrusions into our family time.

Be still and know. Nature has a way of cleansing the mind and opening the soul.


Faith · Family · Health · Parenting

Friday Tidbits

Four short tidbits for Friday

  1. Pink cowboy boots. It’s not a PE day, so little miss is excited to wear her boots to school today. Physical Edu stifles fashion in Kindergarten.
  2. What is up with stomach flu and Friday’s lately?! Pitter patter of feet to the bedroom at 2:18am. “Mom- my stomach hurts really bad!” Little man down…
  3. Usborne books- This is one of my daughter’s favorite Christmas presents. Washable ink. You stamp your finger or thumbprints then let it dry. Each page has a different theme. We spent an hour drawing faces on the prints we made previously.
  4. Morning reading: Jeremiah 27-29 and Sacred Marriage. Two interesting reads! The repeating theme in Jeremiah: warning after warning- second chance after third chance after infinite chances to turn back to God. Whew! What patience! More on Sacred Marriage in another post.


Faith · Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Lost but Looking

I’m struggling today. Lost. Not sure what my big goal is. Floundering. Day after day…


This appears to be the downside of re-reading and studying “The Best Yes.” I’m so unsure of my life goals that I can’t even answer some of the questions. Basic goals, in no particular order, at this point:

  1. Trust God.
  2. Love my family.
  3. Love my husband.
  4. Keep kids alive.
  5. Do my job.

Seriously. That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.

I’m not in danger or live in a war zone. It seems like I should have more plans than this.

No bucket list. No travel the world. No write a book. Ne. Non. Nada. Nothing.

It occurred to me that I’m not even in control of Item #4. I can do my best at this and still not guarantee it. Sounds pretty low, huh… Talk about your biggest fear?! My sister faced this when my nephew fought anaplastic ependymoma aka brain cancer at 18months. He’s now a healthy 10yr old, but honesty time —bad stuff happens and we aren’t in control.

Fear has me reeling this week. I’m questioning how deep is my faith if something like this happens? And dear Lord, please don’t let this happen! If I type these words or utter them out loud, does this make it more likely I will be tested and refined in this way?

As far as God is concerned, I’m already an open book. So, I guess that is reassuring. Typing the words doesn’t make that more real or more likely.

As our previous pastor told me once when I visited with him about my anxiety – “God is God. God is Good. All the Time.” He is my Rock and my Salvation. I don’t have to be enough. Take that off my shoulders! It isn’t my job description.

I’ve spent the last month of quiet early mornings reading Isaiah and then dove right into Jeremiah. While this does encourage some deep soul searching to see if my actions and heart match my words, it might be time to read something a bit more uplifting like Psalms or a book in the New Testament.

As I type, this song came on. “Eye of the Storm” — Thank you. Just when I needed it! Took the words right out of my mouth.

After I get in a run – think endorphins – I might try to make sense of this calendar and sketch out a few plans for life. Until then, I’ll enjoy the people and moments that make me happy.

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Faith · Fitness · Parenting · Perspective

Kindness in the form of the Berenstain Bears

Nice story from yesterday, written originally in a text to my family:
My kids could not leave me alone this morning or behave while I tried to get in 2 miles on the treadmill before T’s basketball practice. (They were allowed to run around on the track and had a ball, books, etc to play with)

After 20 minutes (of random stops) they proceeded to try to stop me twice in the last two minutes of my run. I told them to go sit down. Twice.

They did and a super nice older lady picked up a Bernstein (Berenstain) bear book and started reading to them.


When I told her thank you after my last two minutes on the treadmill, she was so gracious. ❤️

She said “I was a young mother once too. It looked like you could use a little help.”
I told her thank you and that was the nicest thing anyone had done for me all week!

Almost made me cry. It was so non-judgemental and genuine.

Good and kindness exist. When you come across it today, please respond with gratitude and pay it forward!

Creativity · Faith · Family · Fitness · Health · Parenting · Perspective

The One Word Goal


Self improvement season. We are a couple of days out. Sitting on the cusp of when people will pledge to themselves to eat healthier, exercise, change spending habits or make another life change for the better.

Perhaps it will be to add in more reading or quality time with friends and family?

Reading Rainbow – One of my favorite childhood classics!

Suppose it’s a mental shift to a minimalist lifestyle? Or to go back to school?

Why do we wait until self improvement season to set these goals?  The new year. A fresh start. Flipping the page on the wall calendar.

Marketing people love this time of year. When better to push a new product or equipment on us? There’s no better time to remind us that we have flaws.

It is unlikely that I will be bucking this trend. I set goals as well. Goals are useful when kept in perspective.

  • I know I want to be more efficient and intentional with the end goal of being able to freely flow in my non-work time.
  • My parenting fuse is too short with my 7yr old… I’m a work-in-progress to expand my sense of humor and patience. *sigh* Boys are so LOUD!
  • Running half marathon #4 or dipping my toes in the water with another sprint or longer triathlon. Plans to train will have to wait until after my annual MRI in February. (aka – what is going on with my right hip and leg?)
  • Finish the sort and purge leftovers from doing the remodel last year. Our extras could be someone else’s treasures!
  • Laugh more. Smile more. Play more.

A dear and wise friend texted me yesterday with her one word resolution for 2018. After a particularly hard year of burying family members and friends, she is seeking to again find JOY.

To encapsulate all of one’s goals for a year into one word is a challenge. I started this entry four hours ago.

After much deliberation (drum roll….. da da da da da da da…..) the mindset to ENJOY. Is it all going to be good? Definitely not. I’ll likely have to move my mind around a little bit to make it happen, but L.M. Montgomery says it best:


With best wishes and kind intentions for a healthy and safe start to your new year, much love — Jen

Faith · Family · Fitness · Health · Perspective

I am thankful for MS because _____

“I am thankful for MS because ___________.”

This was a prompt on a MS focused social media feed I follow. It took me a moment to hone in my feelings on this open ended statement.

Before answering, I scrolled down through the many responses. They ranged from angry and bitter to grateful and inspiring. To each his/ her own on personal feelings, this chronic condition is as unique to the individual as freckles on a face.

My post was short. It has given me “perspective.” On both good days and rough, foggy brained and clear, fatigued and energetic, this condition has given me a different perspective on how to approach life in general.

Three years ago, I was going strong (albeit with a numbed right arm). I was training for my first half marathon, signing up before my diagnosis. I was pushing hard. Full of determination and pride for what I was working towards. Pride is so hollow.

The diagnosis was devastating to my family. Honestly, after researching my odd-ball symptoms, I was pretty sure that was what we were going to hear.

Fast forward three and a half years…. we’ve juggled and jumped the paperwork and financial hoops (doctors, insurance, medications). Adjusting accordingly to temperatures and fatigue levels is a daily occurrence. I’ve ran three half marathons and approximately 1300 miles. Some days are easy. Some days drag.

Perspective: My husband and kids get my energy and effort first. It’s ok to say no. My Best Yes might be to say no to outside activities, social gatherings, or work projects. What I choose to say “yes” to is done with more thought.

Perspective: It is more important than ever to make sweet lemonade from life’s lemons. Anger and bitterness multiply if I let it in. And  let’s be honest, it doesn’t fix anything.

Perspective: Compassion, a listening ear, and empathy are three of the greatest tools. I don’t know what’s going on with other people, but I can guarantee that listening without preconceived  judgement goes a long way. Not assuming that I know how someone feels or what they are capable of has been a humbling lesson to learn with MS.

Perspective: mobility- can you run? Can you walk? Can you use both hands? Can you feel with all your fingers? Don’t take it for granted.

Perspective: Humility. I am breakable. I am broken. I thank God for what I’ve learned, who I am, and what He is using me for.

Perspective: the gift of time.

I’m thankful for each and every day- good, bad, apathetic or productive.

MS is not a gift I’d wish for anyone, but the perspective it’s given me is.

Much love this Christmas season– Jen


Faith · Family · Parenting · Perspective

The mouth can be a tool

Coming up here on the holiday season. With it comes a lot of together time… and stress… and hustle and bustle…

In all this, I have to ask myself what my mouth is doing? Is it being helpful or hurtful?

Am I looking positively at all our gatherings? Overall, yes. Will I enjoy every single moment with every person I interact with? Ummm…….

In that train of thought, I came across this in my Daily Study Bible in Proverbs.


Proverbs 11:9 9With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape.

See the translation into daily speak: Every person you meet today is either a demolition site or a construction opportunity. Your words will make a difference. Will they be weapons for destruction or tools for construction?

Holiday goal: be a tool for construction.