Accidental Casualty Survivor, Faith, marriage, Uncategorized

“We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are. ~Anais Nin

I have no idea who Anais that quoted this title but it holds so much truth whoever they are!

Topic: Perception: Filters that can be deceivingIMG_3525

There are two sides to the story, there are facts, and thoughts and somewhere depending on our worldview there are perceptions. They can quickly become twisted and misinterpreted. I took this pic after reading some hurtful words, actually hurtful is low balling their true caliber they were low blow words. It happens!

Even people sharing the same life can have different perceptions of situations. I remember the first seven years of marriage very differently then my husband, but we shared space.

If you ask me I will tell you it was utter chaos. We were married young and despite loving people who meant well they knew what we would be up against.

Still finding ourselves…

Working with at-risk youth…

3 babies in under 4 years…

Financially strained…

So I will tell you it was hard, how I cried and struggled at times to see how we would ever make it. Glad I was so very wrong but my vision was jaded. I had suffered some postpartum depression. I was on a hormonal roller coaster between pregnancy and nursing. It.Was. Crazy.

If you ask Chris he would say it was great! Sunshine and roses, we were blessed with 3 babies in 4 years. We were poor but never went without. Our arguments discussions were passion filled and totally normal.

Want to hear a perception that haunts me? When I sat at that stop sign listening to Katy tell me about her volleyball game, my guard was down. I felt safe, nothing seemed urgent or pressed. Quiet. Peaceful.

From my left the approaching motorcyclist saw my car yielding at the stop sign. He, I am certain felt safe enjoying the evening ride shifting gears to climb that hill. He felt safe because from his view I was waiting at the stop sign. (Broken!)

But he wasn’t safe because I did not see him approaching up the hill. I did not hear him, I heard my daughter’s story.

I made myself drive up that hill many times after the accident. I wanted to see what he saw, I wanted to understand. I did not want the hill to have power over me. I wanted if I am being honest maybe for someone to pull out in front of me so I would know this was a dangerous intersection.

Perceptions go both ways and our worldview and how we have previously been hurt can alter or differ from other people we do life with. Both individuals are right in how they feel.

Ever talked with a teenager about why they are grounded, probably a very different view from the parent who took the phone away!

I once told a very close friend, and not just told but argued with him that I did not believe racism still existed. I have never been so wrong in my life! It would take years before the “kneeling protest” that took the blinders off for me. Invisible hate suddenly spewed everywhere. I was heart broken. I was wrong.

I love the cartoon where two people are facing a 6 or a 9 depending on their view. They stand toe to  toe arguing instead of leaning over and chuckling over the fact that they are both right.

So many are hurting or have been hurt and it’s hard to not become callous. Build up walls…

I don’t share to seek attention or pity, I gain nothing except maybe a friend along the way that shares my sorrow. I share with the purpose to educate and I will not apologize for the message that burns in me. It is not for you, I share for me and the one that created me!

XOXO ~Jenn

Galatians 5:13 New International Version (NIV)

Life by the Spirit

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Uncategorized

Pray the halls!

It’s a simple gesture but it’s an intangible gift walk the halls that are your everyday routine with purpose.

Smile, look people in the eye as you pass and pray for anything unspoken.

I had almost forgot what it feels like to walk the halls of a hospital (children’s hospital specifically). Each wall a vibrant color, each corner a continuing theme. Here on the 4th floor it’s a sea theme, smiling dolphins and mermaids. There are also glass windowed doors and curtains  that smack you in the face. At night after visiting hours it’s sacred space, quiet and the hallways are as calm as can be controlled because through those different doorways are many different stories, needs, prayers, hopes! The couples that sneak into the hall to talk or finally cry, weary nurses starting night shifts because the worst of child illlnesses don’t happen with the day crew!

It brought me back tonight as I walked the colorful hallway to get us water and prayed over the halls. We felt the prayers today from our family and friends. We are so grateful!!!

As a teacher, walk those halls and pray over all the unknowns! I believe those prayers are alive, they grow, they linger. Prayer is poerful!! Much better way to spend that couple of minutes passing a hallway then running through a to do list in your head! Continue reading “Pray the halls!”

Catch all drawer (random), Uncategorized

To go back even for just a moment!!!😭

To go back in time if only for a day…

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After picking up Chris and Patrick from their trip to Dominican Republic we stayed a while on the coast. There were some tears and the uphoria of missing one another lasted at least 12 hours before squabbles emerged, and things got real with 1 bathroom and 6 people but it was perfect! We attempted to recreate a photo from 2013, I don’t know who came up with this concept, but they are brilliant. I’ve seen them on Facebook and it always captures my heart,I am hoping to start a “thing” looking at the comparison stings a little, a lot! As they grumbled about hot sand, the do we have to do this and we were way past lunch time I did not react to the complaining or grit through my teeth about how this family beach pic WAS Happening!!! Instead, I smiled and soaked it all up because one day they will thank me! Patrick will turn 16 this fall and so that means I have 2 maybe 3 more summers together if the good Lord allows. Time shows no mercy I am starting to feel what I have heard other moms describe.
I looked at this picture from 2013 and I remembered the chaos, the sweet crazy that I would love to step into even for just a day. I would hold tight each of those smaller bodies that would still fit in my lap. Haven was still nursing, there were no cell phone distractions, it was loud and exhausting but life was simpler. The mom in this pic didn’t completely realize how precious time was, even though I knew not to sweat the small stuff, I did! I was also a chronic yeller. I was uptight and when I look at the small faces from 2013 I think about how I saw them as big, especially Patrick, oh how my heart aches to turn back time. I would have wrestled with them instead telling them to knock it off! I without hesitation would have snagged a few more snuggles in my lap!
We really didn’t or shouldn’t have splurged on a week vacation to Corpus/San Antonio but thankful I don’t listen to that voice either anymore! Wether it was financially responsible can shove it because time has no mercy, 5 years was just a blink, poof half a decade, bigger feet, longer legs, and way more opinions! I am so very blessed with this life, my crazy chaos, they have my heart!!! ❤️
There aren’t many things I am grateful for from my accident but I now realize in a very real way that tomorrow is not promised, be present in the moment, it’s ok to be loud and silly, even reckless occasionally!
So completely grateful, the Lord is so faithful!!

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Accidental Casualty Survivor, Faith, Struggles are Real, Uncategorized

Try not to step in “you know what” with your story…

“Don’t step in you-know-what with your testimony”

 

To share or not to share…a personal decision

 

For me personally navigating this road is trial and error. More error! I am a talker always have, I drove my middle school teachers crazy. I will forever try to exercise restraint in taking over conversations and responding before listening. It is a struggle but a vice I strive to change.

 

This quote from my cousin resounds in me. I do in fact have a testimony, many testimonies where I believe God has shown to be faithful. I never want to “one up” or boast in that sense but I sure feel compelled to shout from the mountain tops the love and grace received. Processing grief is different for everyone, some will retreat inward (I did this for a while) some will need to talk it out (I err on that in this moment.) Either way we must respect each individual space, process and terms.

 

A testimony is sacred. A tragedy like an untimely death is certainly not something to be marketed or exploited or become numb to the circumstance. I am broken when I share and I pray it never loses the sting in many ways.

 

Recently I have shared, quite possibly too much. I am an over-share-er (please forgive me) and I am self conscience if I am making my fellow CADIs proud/comforted, am I helping a cause, am I representing Christ in a way that draws someone in or turning them away? These are the questions that swish about in my inner voice.

 

I PRAY that I don’t leave a stench “stepping in IT” as I walk away from sharing. It’s like when someone walks up to join a conversation, and everyone glances over and checks the bottom of their shoe. Who stepped in it??? I won’t know until it is done, and I will either be embraced and helped, or I will hinder…But believe me I will analyze every spoken word and criticize it.

Confession:

My greatest fears are glass in feet, looming doom, and turning someone away from Jesus because I am human and a hypocrite!!! If I am being forthright I also fear judgement that I do anything for my own gain.  How could this story ever be praise worthy? It won’t but the people who carry on despite daily struggle to find new normal, face the guilt, lay down the brokenness and try to make it beautiful. You guys are my hero!

 

I wish not to remain in victim-mentality but move forward changed and a better person. Our community of CADIs/ACS grows daily, it is heart-wrenching. I can’t reach everyone but there are a few people who are committed to this community who want to help each other. It is a beautiful thing to be a small part of something bigger than yourself.

 

Everyone has a unique story that can benefit this world, as much as I am a talker I also love to listen to the different stories. Over-comers! World-changers! Humble and brave people that share their story.

 

For me I revisit my “why” I share because when someone (Johnny) was brave enough to share with me I immediately felt less alone.

I go back to the purpose of sharing, is it to educate about the state of mind, is my focus on sharing hope, did the Lord tell me to? If my purpose is to wallow in self-pitty…I should refrain.

When I mess up or I am insensitive, admit it plainly, ask for forgiveness, make it right as if possible.

 Find your voice! Never lose hope! Show compassion and embrace our differences!!!

Faith, Miracles Happen, Uncategorized

Lent 2018, what I learned from fasting from posting to social media and our second vehicle…

I’d like to say that I waited so long to share my experience from Lent this year was due to self reflection and waiting on the Lord…But that would be a lie! I have no amazingness to share with you except that it did bear fruit.

I gave up posting to social media kinda on a whim. I had just been pondering my need to post and wondered if I would have withdrawal from posting, I mean did I need to really share/over share so much about our life????!!! Big fat NOPE, my posting was not meaningful, and it was certainly not for the purpose of why I have a Facebook. I chose to buy-in with this platform is to connect with people in life I cared about, this is my why. What I make for dinner and ever random thought is not hidden in the agenda, it was obviously becoming a flesh=issue for me personally. So for 40 days I refrained (for the most part.) I don’t count the prayer request about our bank information being stolen (the enemy was throwing punches left and right) or the final respect to one of my most favorite evangelists, Billy Graham, totally understandable!

Life lesson: Life will go on without social media. Not documenting play-by play for people is totally good for the soul and for time! My friend’s still remember me despite the lack of me popping up on their feed!

So since Easter I have paused to think about what my purpose in sharing is, will it be a memory I want to revisit the years to come?

Would I roll my eyes at it’s context if it weren’t mine?

Am I self-seeking?

So basically I post 90% less! Shameful!

Coincidently during this time our van “Big Blue” also received it’s last $40 oil change before the attendant let me know just.how.dangerous it was to drive. Apparently we were a 1-0 on a scale of 1-10. The blessing is it was brought to my attention before making my trip to Houston alone with the kids! Thank you Jesus!

Here is the bigger growth, I felt content in the very inconvenient circumstance of a 6 person family with a 5 seater vehicle. Was it easy? Big Fat Nope! But did I throw a tantrum, lash out from frustration, or covet my neighbor…No I really didn’t, not to boast of myself. Really these are all things I am guilty of pre-accident. Unfortunately, there was a time I would believe the lie that maybe my marriage was the reason for our financial woes. We weren’t doing it right! Lie! I knew God would provide, I did not know when but we chose to be grateful for preventing another accident with the van, we chose to work together and up our communication, and most importantly we prayed for God to work things out at some point!!!!

ANd he did! On Good Friday we were able to bring “a new to us” van home. Blessed does not adequately describe gratitude!

So on to the next test, the following week myself along with many other teachers learned our school is closing. As much as I wish none of us were facing this time of uncertainty, I also know God is faithful! I will enter into the season of job hunting with eyes wide open seeking out God’s will, direction, and most importantly HIS peace!

Whatever we face we will do it together and trusting the outcome!

So cheers to a fruitful Lent 2018! What did you fast from?redeemed

Faith, Uncategorized

Breaking a cycle of spiritual attack with a hedge of protection, work in progress!

There was a time when my sweet friend from high school was like Jennifer I swear you guys are cursed. It kinda felt like that, sometimes I joke about our 3 month cycle of crazy circumstances but y’all the devil has no new tricks.

I’m a visual person so here is a quick reference timeline to our chaos.

 

Good news, the enemy does not win in our life. We love the Lord deeper, love for each other stronger, our children may need therapy when they are older but that’s normal, right?

What I learned through mentorship (women God has put in my life) and hard-knock lessons, and some out of pure desperation.

  1. I use previous trials and overcoming hardships are sources of strength. I also seek out stories of others that I can admire and be encouraged from. Possibly why I share, the Lord has brought other testimonies in my path that deeply move me, I pass that on. It’s amazing to look back and reflect on how God was merciful and provided during the times that for lack of a better word, sucked. You think you won’t ever survive but you do! Use that, reflect on it, see where things came together and give God glory!
  2. Pray specifically. I learned this in desperation. I don’t pray fluffy prayers in the midst of trials, I try my best to keep up the same intensity and passionate communication with God even in between the chaos. By fluff I mean “your will Lord, whatever that is…” If I need a miracle I ask for it boldly. I trust the Lord to provide. If Katy or Haven are in pain from their chiari malformation for example I pray specifically for the pain to stop in Jesus’ name. I expect it. This may sound a little wonky and that is ok by me. I am honest about what I feel, my emotions on my sleeve and an open book!
  3. Pray for protection. Pray for the cycle to be broken if you feel there is one. Pray and plead the blood of Jesus over your life! Shout it out, cry it out, think it out loud that anything the enemy tries to steal, kill or destroy in your life is protected and broken by God and his angels! I believe this with my whole being, you may think what you want but I have lived it out. I also now pray that I am protected from myself, my short comings, my humanness, that I will cause no harm.

It is not always popular to do the right thing,  I will probably get critiscm for sharing these radical thoughts I am not a student of theology, but I sure have a relationship with a loving, providing, and personal God, my Heavenly Father, Jesus Messiah! I get all pumped up sharing about what he has done for me, what I have witnessed him do for others!

How can I pray for you?

If you do not know what I talk about but would like mentorship, encouragement or prayer please message me!

 

New to Waco, Uncategorized

Falling in love with Waco, TX while falling just a little more in love!

cameron p

We moved to Waco, TX summer of 2017 and it wasn’t for the Silos (Sorry Chip and JoAnna) we moved under what most would consider pretty strained circumstances, but God all but put a burning bush or brightest blinking lights over Waco, TX. There was no denying an open door, and a closed one behind us.

We are in awe at how God has changed our heart towards this small but big town.

Truth is we are falling deeper in love exploring the quaint little shops, the trails and history-rich architecture that Waco provides. And the FOOD, the FOOD TRUCKS!!! For the love!

If you are visiting Waco here is a running list of places to see, do, eat! Other than the #1 spot in the US currently, Magnolia Market, here are some sweet spots. The Magnolia cookies are as big as your face and are worth the line that wraps around the bakery.

brunch

#1 Lula Jane’s

What we love: The atmosphere! Everything on the chalkboard menu! Everyday Tuesday-Saturday something unique is served up fresh! If you happen to be there and the summer sandwich is on the menu or if the veggie burger is still available, you will not be disappointed!

Describe it: Quaint*Fresh*Grandma-ish*Wholesome*Delicious

#2 Cafe Cappuccino

What we love: The flavored coffee such as raspberry chocolate, Italian sodas and spilling off the plate sweet potato pancakes. I add pecans with a side of sauteed veggies, my honey loves the omelettes. They know us as regulars and provide excellent customer service! Bonus funky murals adorn the outside of the building in the heart of downtown Waco.

Describe it: Eclectic*Affordable*Fresh*Cafe Love*Breakfast*Brunch*Lunch

#3 Dichotomy

What we love: You will immediately feel cool or hip when you walk in here. The hubs and I have met here to have a discussion over discipline for the kids or escape the kids…We also worked across the table together laptops up and an excellent drink coffee or adult beverage your choice! Bonus: One of the best views of downtown Waco is upstairs from the balcony!

Describe it: Cool*Coffee bar*Adult Bar*Hangout*Chill*Funky

#4 Cameron Park Trail along the River

Walk, run, or chill! Take the fur babies, take the family, take your love! On our to-do list is rent a paddle boat, take the boat tour, or paddle boards this summer. You can bike, fly a kite, feed some ducks, enjoy the sunshine and outdoors! We have frequented this trail several times since moving to Waco. There is also a strip of food trucks on the University side of Cameron Park.

#5 Spice Village– This collection of shops is a one-of a-kind! So many things to explore. I have visited this mosaic of shopping with my bestie that came to visit and with the hubs. Had the best time with both of them! There truly is something for everyone. We laughed so hard at the collection of socks, knick knacks, awed and admired the decor, boutique clothes, and other treasures!

cameron park