Wednesday, March 30, 2011

...From here?

I hate waiting.

There, now I've said it. I like to have a plan and stick to it. In preparation for any trip or project, you can guarantee that I have made a checklist and a least in my head if not on paper. In highschool and early on in college I used to get extremely annoyed when someone was running late or threw a complication into "my plan." After a few loving rebukes, I have since tried to be more flexible. Even so, I just don't like to be flexible. I like my own way better. I hate waiting - in everyday life and in my relationship with the Lord. Except God is obviously not obligated to follow "Jen's Checklist for How She Wants Her Life to Work Out."

I'm just going to be honest right now. This week has been a struggle. I'm having to let go of some of my dreams and surrender a few steps in my "plan" to the Lord. In my soul there is a deep restlessness. I feel like God has given me these intense passions only to let them lie dormant. I am waiting. Desperation for a life filled with His purpose consumes me. I just don't know what that purpose is specifically. I am learning to be satisfied in Him through the waiting, to be content even when I'm not where I want to be, and to be patient in waiting for His vision.

"For still, the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end - it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay."
(Habakkuk 2:3)

...From here?

Spinning, my head is spinning
With so much on my mind
My heart has a deep yearning
But for what, I cannot find

Here, for a season, for a time
Yet I’m eager to move on today
I want adventure, not routine
Some days I just want to run away

I feel You pulling me toward something
But when will Your revelation be near?
What is it that You ask of me now
Where are You leading me from here

…From here?

Something invisible compels me
In my mind there is restlessness
I must know, Lord, I must know
I do not want to wander aimless

I know you have a purpose
For the passion bursting from my veins
What You have started in me
Will be completed, not in vain

I feel You pulling me towards silence
So that Your voice I can hear
Your servants waits on you now
Where are You leading me from here

…From here?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Make me swoon...our love shoot

Have you ever seen a photo that expressed so much more than you could ever say? Our engagement photos are as such to me. When I look at them, rivers of emotions flood my heart. They are priceless to me. I remember looking at my then fiance and feeling so much love...those feelings still radiate from the images. I am grateful to T2 Photography for capturing these priceless moments and I am so excited to share them with you all!

Check out their websiteblog and facebook page. It will be well worth your time!

I feel so secure with him next to me.

Right here is my favorite place to be in the world.

He makes me laugh so much!

I can't get enough of my man playing and singing.

This I married a stud.

These photos capture a very exciting time in our relationship. If I'm not careful, I can try to make our life like these photos...which are pretty close to perfect. (Yes, T2 Photography is that good!) We will never be perfect, neither will our relationship. But I can cherish it everyday. I can choose to love and serve the man God has given to me. Sure, life will not always be as blissful as these images. Marriage is not about making us happy, but making us holy. Each morning I wake up and see these photos hanging on our bedroom wall and I am reminded of our commitment to each other. I see these photos and am recall just how blessed I am to be with such a wonderful man...

...which is worth more than I could ever say.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I am a dreamer

I am so thankful I married my husband Jonathan.

He knows me like no other person in the world.

The other day we were driving around and I started to tell him some of the dreams that have been spinning around in my head lately, of the things I aspire to be, and of my heart's deepest desires. I am passionate about so many things, but I've been having trouble figuring out what the main thing that I'm suppose to focus on in life. It is so easy for me to get caught up in my dreams and ignore the here and now. I love to think about "the big picture."

I love to write music and lead worship, thus I dream about being a worship leader at events like Passion or recording a worship CD.

I love to write about life, love and the pursuit of Christ (familiar?), thus I dream about publishing a book.

I love photography, thus I am dreaming about a nice camera and a photography business.

I love world missions, thus I dream about traveling the world, sharing Christ and coming back to tell the stories.

I love helping people, thus I dream about creating a non-profit organization that helps millions of people across the globe.

I love children, thus I dream about having 4 kids and homeschooling them with all the creativity and passion in these bones.

I love to create and craft, thus I dream about opening my own etsy shop.

I automaticly think large scale when it comes to the things I love. I'm a dreamer - it's what I'm good at. My husband is a dreamer too. We have so many aspirations. As I was sharing some of the things on my heart he said, "Jen, you're a dreamer. I am too. We both think big, but what if God is calling us to small things right now? We're married, and that means we need to focus on the main purpose God has for our lives...together." I'm so glad I have him to keep my dreams in check. Sure, I know that God has stirred some things in my heart lately. I know some of these dreams are from Him, but some of them are not.

Sometimes my view of Him becomes clouded by all my dreams. I cannot have that. Even if none of these things come to fruition, I can be content in small things becase I have HIM! And knowing Him is far better than any dream of mine. Is it hard to accept crushed dreams sometimes? You bet. But at the same time, I have so many that I can spare a few to be crushed!

So for now, for today, I will seek Him and His purpose for me. My heart can be so deceptive. I dare not trust any heart but His.

Say the word...

O God I want to please You
To serve You with all my life
I long to follow Your perfect will
To give all as a living sacrifice

But what do I do with my desires?
Do I need to let them go?
Will they fit in to Your plan?
Should I even want to know?

I give them all to You now
I can only rest my heart in You
I trust that You will guide me
And show me what to do

Should I crucify my dreams?
Say the word and it is done
Do want them burnt on Your alter?
O not my will but Yours be done

I cannot do anything less
Than give You all of my heart
So I offer up all that I am
You are in control of every part

Can You question now my soul?
Will you doubt Your LORD?
Will you trust in His unfailing love?
For nothing else can you afford

Say the word, Lord, say the word
Speak and I will obey Your call
I give back to You the life I owe
Take it, O Lord, take it all

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sun & Sand

Ah, there is something about the beach. It is just so relaxing to listen to the waves crash upon the shore, have the sand between my toes and the feel the warm sun on my face. I grew up about 20 minutes from the beach, and my family loved to spend the long summer days there. Now, I'm glad we are still fairly close. 

It was great to just get away from our city for the day and relax with each other.

It was the perfect day for a day at the beach!

Mmmhmm, I love my hubby.

Oh yes, sun and sand!

Our friends Cassidy & Josh were camping at the beach, so we decided to meet up with them.

The ladies.

And the men.

Then Cassidy thought it'd be fun to do some jumping pics:

We are pros...ok maybe not. :)

Photo courtesy of husband's photography.

Yes, the seaweed behind us smelled fantastic. Really. Oh well. At least it wasn't in the water!

Since some of your guys can't go the beach, I made you all feel better by getting really burned. Super burned. This morning we were both really dehydrated because of it. I haven't had a burn this bad in a really long time. The poor sunscreen was just sitting in my time we will listen to it's pleas! Silly us. 

Even still, it was a beautiful day with my husband and our friends...we are just red as tomatoes to prove it. 

I hope you all had wonderful weekends, minus the sunburns!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thanks & Weekend Plans

Man, I am completely blown away by your comments on the difference project and my original worship song the past few days. I have been so encouraged, especially in regard to my commitment for the next 9 months! So thank you! I know that I will be reminded of this commitment everyday when I see my TOMS sitting in the closet.

Now for the other half of this post! Can you guess where we are going this weekend? Tip: we'll be needing these...

If you guessed the beach, then you are right!

Sunscreen and towels are a must... is food! I could eat the whole package of dried pineapple. Seriously. 

I am so thrilled about meeting some friends at the beach this tomorrow. I've been DYING to get some sun and sand! My husband is so sweet to spend one of his few Saturdays off going on a day trip with me. The beach is not his favorite place. He's keeper!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Here & Now

A couple of you guys asked to hear me play and sing the song I've been working I'm going to share it on here. This is the first time anyone but my husband has heard it. He could play and sing it so much better than I do, but oh well!

However, I give you full warning - this is me exhausted, my voice is tired, I'm not singing right, I slip in and out of head voice and I messed up on the piano parts. It's a work in progress. If you are a music nerd, please don't tear me to shreds! I am an amateur song-writter at best!

I had a better take, but someone walked in on me. Can you say awkward? Let me tell you, it was weird. After that I was too tired to give it another go. So here is the very imperfect first take:

I'm not sure why the video isn't matching up with the audio...working on that. If any one is an expert on uploading youtube videos from PhotoBooth, let me know what I'm doing wrong!

Music is like breathing

I've been singing since I could talk. I love it. Music is close to breathing for me. I'm pretty steady emotionally - roller coasters of feelings are not my thing. But on the piano, everything comes out. Everything.

The other day I shared with you all my secret place. Well, this is my other secret place...ok, it's not really secret. If there is a piano close in assured that I will find it...and play it!

I love to sing here

I love to just play here

I love to create here

All my emotions come out on the keys.

Every note can express so much

Yes, playing and singing is indeed very akin to breathing.

It is my soul's deep sigh.

What is like breathing to you?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Difference Project

For the next 9 months, I am committing not to buy any new clothes.

No new shoes.

No cute new jewelry.

No more adorable vintage inspired fashions.

Nada. Nil. None. Zilch. Zero. Nix. Nothing...until December 22, maybe even after that.

To be perfectly honest, I felt like I should do this last summer after reading Radical by David Platt. But I didn't. Instead I said to myself, "I just won't buy anything I don't need." Well, that ambition was done in after I laid eyes on the wonderful fall fashions at Target. This time, I have to obey. I cannot keep spending money on "cute" things I don't really need when there are so many ways that my money can make a difference for those who truly need. No more justifying my spending because "I find stuff on sale" or "I don't buy very much at all." No more!

I'm calling it the difference project. One person can make a difference. Giving up buying new clothes may make the difference between life and death for a poor starving child. It could be the difference between disease and health. And I want to be that difference.

For my last purchase, I decided to get a pair of TOMS. Fitting, no? I needed a good pair of "missionary" shoes for a mission trip (hopefully!) this Fall.

Of course when I went in the store to buy them, I was bombarded with so many new (and adorable) Spring clothes. This is going to be hard people!

Yeah, it hasn't really sunk in yet!

I debated on whether or not to even post this. I know that the Bible says that you should give in secret, not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing. However I have decided to do so for two reasons:

First, to keep myself accountable. Obviously, I tried this before and failed miserably! This way I can share my struggles, temptations and stories of how God is using this to make a difference for His kingdom.

Second, to encourage YOU to do join in. Can you imagine if 10 people gave up buying clothes, eating out, or something of the like in order to really make a difference in this world? That would be a lot of money! Together we can be a force for good in this world. We cannot ignore the call to care for those who have needs. It's all throughout the Bible. Just look for it and take it seriously. I can't wait to see how God is going to use this project!

I would LOVE to know if you are joining in on this project. I am adding a new page where you can link up and share what you are doing to make a difference.

Jesus, please take this very meager offering and use it for YOUR GLORY! You are worthy of so much more than merely this.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

a huge injustice: human trafficking

27 million people are enslaved. It is estimated that human trafficking generates around 32 billion annually. This makes trafficking of persons the second most lucrative crime in the world.

Over 1.2 million children are trafficked annually.

2 Children are sold every minute.

Over 100,000 U.S. children are forcefully engaged in prostitution or pornography each year.

This girl is wearing the same dress for 3 months. She calls it The One Dress Campaign. Why? Because she has to do something. She has to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. This is how she is raising awareness of this injustice.

I cried when I read her story.


I want to share this email she sent me the other day. Please read it. This is real. This is an injustice in our world and we can do something about it!

I cannot claim to be an expert on human trafficking but I would be glad to share a bit of my heart with you. Ever since I first heard about modern day slavery I have been heart broken about how rampant the problem really is. I saw a video from the Organization 'Love 146' in church before I knew Jesus, and even then God broke through my hard shell and I wept for women and children who were being abused. Sexual slavery is the most heinous crime. Women and children are mutilated physically, emotionally, and psychologically-and most times this type of abuse causes victims to feel guilty and dirty, as if they were to blame for this hideous behavior. 
The very idea of commercial sex is a testament to the distortion of our world. My sisters boyfriend Teddy told me about an organization called The Daughter Project, which is a nonprofit organization in Northeast Ohio that is building homes for survivors of human trafficking. In these homes the girls can find healing and restoration. I was drawn to the hopeful and proactive mission of The Daughter Project. When dealing with such a dark issue it is very easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless-but God is good and faithful, and the Daughter Project is showing the love of God to a broken world. 
It is people who are obedient to God's call on their lives who make an impact in this world. We are called to walk humbly, do justice and love mercy-I am simply trying to do that in anyway I can and for me that meant wearing the same dress every day until June 4th, blogging and engaging in conversations with people about human trafficking. I'm so thankful that we serve a God who does not abandon us to the hopelessness of this world. 
The ways I would suggest people get involved in the fight against human trafficking is to be educated about it, spread awareness, and partner with existing organizations. We are all gifted in different ways so I would encourage everyone to exam their own talents and see where God might have them use those unique talents-we need to get creative! But my experience in talking with people about my One Dress Campaign is that most people are not aware of the issue. Human trafficking is so tragically under the radar that many young women and children are also slipping under the radar. I am struggling through the issue myself and I don't know any quick or easy ways to get involved, other than volunteering time, money and talents to wonderful existing organizations. To name a few, here are some links: 
The Daughter Project - a project based in Ohio
Love146 - Abolition and Restoration! They combat child sex slavery & exploitation with the unexpected and restore survivors with excellence.
The Polaris Project - Their vision is a world without slavery
If I can share any thing else or clarify anything please let me know Jennifer. I would love to answer any specific questions you have to the best of my ability. 
God Bless,
Emily Ewing

You can read more of her story on her blog, She Breathed Deeply. I promise you will leave her page convicted!

We are incredibly blessed here in America, but there are so many people who are taken advantage of in this world. As a Christian, I cannot pretend that these things don't exist and continue in my affluence. I cannot stay silent. I've been praying about what I can do to help in this area. I hope you share it with you all soon.

Here's a few more links you can check out as well:


Invisible Children

World Vision

Here's to loving justice and mercy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

~ Letter to Spring ~

Dear Spring,

It's good to see you again. I've missed your warm days and cool evenings. I've missed the scent of freshly cut grass and the glorious breeze swirling the aroma of new blossoms past my nostrils. Your evenings bring more daylight and it is a welcome change from the darkness of winter's.

However, this year you will find me much altered. Last year you saw me go to lots of bridal showers, finalize that oh-so-stressful guest list, start my first full time job, do lots of DIY projects for the wedding, attend to premarital counseling, dream about our honeymoon in the Caribbean, and attempt to adjust to so many life changes all at once. Remember that Spring? Well, now I am happily married. My dreams are no longer of the wedding, but of much bigger things this year.

Where will you find me next year, dear Spring? I look forward to finding out! For now I will simply enjoy the beauty of the changes that you bring - this has long been a favorite season!

I promise to savor every precious day.

Much love,



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