Sunday, May 29, 2011

I am a music nerd

Yep, this is my favorite thing to do on my off days and in my spare time...

My dear husband has to work most holidays, including tomorrow. 

Take a wild guess at what I'll be doing for most of the day. If you said play a little music, you were right. Ah, it's going to be great. I have several things floating around in my head and I can't wait to flesh them out. 

Music is food for the soul, especially this one. I'm not really an emotional person, but I express a lot of those things through music. When I'm upset or frustrated, I play. I can be sad, happy, excited or any gamut of emotions...they call come out as melodies. Oh, and I love it.

Yes, yes...I know I'm a nerd.

Well, I hope you all have a great day tomorrow, whatever you do!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My summer reading list

I used to read at least a book a month in high school and college, not including my school books. I no longer do so and it makes me kind of sad. However, I am hoping to remedy that this summer. Here are a few books on my reading list:

Yes, it's true. I've been reading this book for several months. However, I never read through any Elliot writing very quickly. It's one of those you read for a bit and then put it down to write out some quotes and think about what you just read. (Or at least that's what I do.) I'm about half way through and I already have so many quotes highlighted. It's probably one of the best Christian biographies I've ever read.

Yep, this is another one I've been "reading" for quite a while. I'm on the last section of the book, but I can't seem to get myself into it again. It's not my favorite of Lewis’ works, but I’m determined to finish it. It is very thought provoking. Lewis delves into all the possible ways we can love. It's intriguing, but certainly not one that you are dying to get home to read.

I haven't read these since I was a kid. I know I'll enjoy them even more so now! I started “The Magician’s Nephew” the other day and I already finished it. Sometimes it’s just nice to escape the real world for a while. This time around I am scouring the pages for all the symbolism I can find. If you are at all familiar with the scripture it isn't hard to discover.I literally put on a Nancy Drew - like outfit and pull our my magnifying glass as I read these books. Ok, ok...I don't do that. I really put in a tobacco pipe and a Sherlock Holmes - ish hat. What? You don't believe that either? I'll stop now. Nonetheless, you should pick them up if you've never read them!
Oh my! I am so excited about this one! Has anyone read it? I read Radical last summer in just a few days. This one already proves to be very thought provoking. I love it when a book makes me want to put it down to read the Bible. I'm only on the second chapter and I have done so several times.

I read this in High School and it impacted my spiritual walk greatly. I’m excited about reading it again. It was very influential in growing my faith. It goes over lots of foundational theology. I love how he uses the term "ordinary" in this book. His "ordinary" Christian is just about equivelent to David Platt's "radical" Christian. It should be ordinary for us to be radical for Christ, to live in the Spirit and be used for the Kingdom. This is not a book for the faint of heart! It will be refreshing to once again turn the pages that helped me understand the Spirit and many other things.

So that's my reading list for now folks. Do any of you have some great summer reads you might suggest? I’m always on the hunt for a good book!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Our first Anniversary

Ah, the long awaited vacation finally came this past weekend! It was so good just to get away for a few days. To make a long story short, we had a bad turn of events and almost didn't get to go. However, it was all worked out at the last minute. We ended up in a different place, but as long as we were on the beach and together we were perfectly happy. We had quite a few interesting things happen to us. Just let me tell you...

This is the view from our place! We were on the second floor and literally steps from the pretty white sand!
This is the best way to start the morning - with coffee, your well-worn Bible and...
...your stud husband playing a little guitar. :)
After sleeping in, a little breakfast and some serious chilling out, we headed down to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Jonathan has family in Panama City, so he's been spoiled by this beautiful beach for most of his life. I however have not had such a privelege, so I love it when we come here. The Panama City/ Destin area is just gorgeous.

 This is the life folks! In the background of this picture, you can see some yellow caution tape. They were filming a commercial. You might see us on TV. Just sayin'. Shortly after this picture was taken, a guy almost drowned in the ocean. Two random guys went to save him. The poor guy got sucked out into the currant and didn't have the strength to get back to shore. It was an exciting morning to say the least. We also decided not to venture into the water. It was a smart move.
After a little clean up, my Boo took me to a nice restaurant close by. It was called "The Boatyard" and was in a boat yard. Clever right? I thought so!

This is how we feel about being married. Just kiddin'! Nah, we're in love. 
I'll give $10 to whoever can guess who's cup this is. Mine or Jonathan's? Ok, I don't have $10...just guess for fun.
The food was so good! Mmmmm! However, the photos of Saturday stop here. Just as I was finishing the meal I got horribly sick. We had to cut our evening short and go back to our condo. (This kind of thing would happen to me!) Oh well! We did get to watch our wedding video later on. I had forgotten some of the funny things that happened on our wedding day!

Sadly, our trip had to end! It was wonderful while it lasted. Our kiddies will probably look back on these photos and think "Mom and Dad were so boring! All they did was sleep, eat and lay on the beach?" Yes, oh yes. Still, the days of sand toys and floaties will come. For now we are cherishing the days of "just us". It is fun to be able to selfishly sleep until 10 and eat at a table just for two. It has certainly been a fun 1st year of marriage for us!

I am very much looking forward to the rest of my life with this man! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

sometimes dreams need breaking


My soul is empty.

I just got back from an amazing anniversary weekend with my love. I should be refreshed. I should be rejuvenated. I should be ready for this week.

But I’m not.

Instead I lay my head down on our couch and close my eyes for the last few moments before I head out the door. My Bible is at my finger-tips…but it remains there. Unread. My journal sits next to it. Unmarked. My prayers remain within me. Unspoken.

Why? It’s because I have rested, but I have not rested in Him. I have let my dreams creep back into my heart without being surrendered. Dreams that have not been broken to submission to the Lord are dangerous. They can take over the mind and torture. They brew impatience and boil with the urge to rebel. My soul is wild and reckless – it needs a bridle.

What is my dream? It is to pick up the guitar and sing - to compose new songs of praise to my Creator. I yearn to go and sit at my desk and write – write until my fingers are numb and my creative juices have nothing left to be squeezed. I long to be a voice in this generation – I voice that cries out for justice for the oppressed and mercy for the needy – for faith without works is dead. Good things are they not? Still, I know that good things are often the enemy of the best.

For now I am beckoned to silence. “Be faithful in little, My daughter” I am told. Deep down I know that my heart is proud. My very will needs breaking. My soul needs purging from its desire to do something great for the Lord. I have more clarity than ever, but it seems that vision is so far away at the same time. Is it not enough just to have Him, O heart? Though He withholds an answer, is He not still worthy to be praised?

And so I come yet again to surrender. I let Him break me, my dreams and all that I hold most dear. I cannot put my desires above Him. Life is too short to waste in mourning for broken dreams. Nothing is worth holding onto except for Him.

May my heart say evermore, “You alone, O God, are enough.”

“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
You hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”
 – Psalm 16:5-6

Sunday, May 22, 2011

One year down...many more to go

One year ago today, I woke up early morning by this revelation: "It's our wedding day today!"
One year ago today, I drove to the church where we were to get married. I was giddy with anticipation.
One year ago today, I got ready for the most amazing day of my life.
One year ago today, I donned the most beautiful dress I have ever tried on.
One year ago today, I read the sweetest card from my love. He said that I was making him the "luckiest" man in the world that day.

One year ago today I met the love of the life at the alter - it was our wedding day. All the stress of planning was over. I was finally at home in his arms.
One year ago today, my dad walked me down the isle to meet my love and gave me away.
One year ago today, we made a commitment to each other for the rest of our lives.
One year ago today, we became man and wife.

This has been the best year of my life by far! I am so happy to be with my man. He is everything that I hoped and prayed for - and more! Even after a year, I still can't get over how lucky I am to wake up next to him every single day. My heart still melts when I look at him. (Well, he is just so handsome that I can't help it!) He is the best husband any girl could ask for. Sure, he is human. He makes mistakes, but there is no doubt that he loves Jesus - and because of his love for the Lord, he loves me with an amazing selfless love. I am blessed indeed!

Happy Anniversary Husband!

I love you with everything I am.


Your wife ~ Jennifer

All photos are by the amazing duo of T2 Photography. Check 'em out!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Faith Spotlight: Salvation Story

Saturday, May 21st is the 16th anniversary of my Salvation. In honor of this very special day, I want to tell you all the story of how my relationship with Jesus all started…

As I child I knew that I loved God. I grew up in home with Bible verses taped on the windows and on the back of doors, scripture read in the morning and most nights. Spiritual things were commonplace in our house. My ears were filled with verses from the Bible and prayer as soon as they exited my mother’s womb. I even memorized the whole of Psalm 23 as a 2 year old and made up songs about ‘Jesus coming down’ at 4 or 5.

Even though I knew that I loved God, I didn’t know Him.

One evening I was singing as I swung on my new swing-set from my Dad. I was singing a song I learned in Sunday School about telling the Devil to leave me alone because he had no power over me. My mom overheard me and said, “Jenny, you shouldn’t sing that. You don’t have that kind of power because you don’t know Jesus yet.” However, I did what most 6 year old kids do – I ignored my Mom and kept singing and swinging. As darkness fell, I was taken back to something that had happened earlier that day….

“Jenny Bubbles (that was my dad’s nickname for me), Go put your money in your piggy bank.” My Dad instructed.
“Yes Daddy!” I said without any intentions of obedience.
I stuffed my money in my beloved doll house and ran outside to play.

In that moment I realized what sin was and that I was a sinner. Fear gripped my little heart as I thought of what might happen to me if I was to die on my swing-set. I knew the answer – Hell. I had always known these things, but in this moment I really knew them. I had not a moment to lose, so I ran in the house and knelt behind my doll house – the very place I had hidden my disobedience.
I can’t tell you exactly the words I prayed, if I folded my hands or said “Dear Jesus”. But I can tell you this, I can remember that moment in time like it was yesterday. As a little 6 year old girl, I came face to face with my need for Jesus…I came face to face with Jesus. I realized what He did through his sacrifice on the cross, I realized why He came to earth, and I realized exactly what I needed to do. I told Him that I needed Him to forgive me, that I wanted Him to take over my life so that I could have Him and be with Him after my life on earth came to an end.

This may seem foolish to you, but I was changed after that moment. I remember running into the kitchen to find my parents. I was so overcome with joy that I could hardly speak! My parents were quite astonished that this had occurred and promptly took me into their room to make sure I understood what I was talking about. Somehow everything that I had been taught made sense in a new way.
"I'm a new woman now!" I said to my parents with elation. "The old Jenny is gone and now I'm a new Jenny"
Ever since that day, I have never doubted that I now belonged to Jesus. Sure, there have been lots of times that I have struggled, especially in high school. But no one ever said that it is easy to follow Christ. I've made mistakes, and I haven't always been completly devoted to the Lord, nor will I ever be. However, knowing God is the most amazing thing. I wish I could explain it in words, but I can't even grasp it fully myself. I am just in awe that the Creator even cares about knowing me! It really is a crazy kind of love!

This is one of my life verses:

"But I count my life as no value to myself,
so that I may finish my course with joy
and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus,
to testify to the gospel of God's grace."
~ Acts 20:24

What is your experience with Jesus? Is faith in Him even on your radar? I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You know you should take a break when... head into work with your keys STILL in your car. The car is running. You didn't notice because you were thinking of all the stuff that needs to get done during the day.

It is 10:30 when a co-worker comes in your office to see if you were leaving to go somewhere soon...because your car is running.

You then promptly check your purse for your keys. They are not there. You run to the parking lot to find your car. Keys are intact in the ignition. The door is unlocked. No one stole your ipod...or anything else.

All is well with the car.

Your mind is not well though. It obviously has a problem.

Yes my friends, I did this today.

I've always been an extremely focused person. I can put my mind to something and accomplish it in a brief period of time. I can get a whole lot done during the day, but this strength has a pretty bad weakness to accompany it. My focus makes me oblivious to just about everything else except for what I'm working on. This causes me to do some pretty stupid things sometimes.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who has done this or something of the like! I'm only 22 and I already have Alzheimer's. Great.

I think it's safe to say that I just need to relax and rest my mind for a while...yeah...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a few thoughts on dating

This is us back in the day...aka: when we were dating.

Lately I’ve gotten several questions about dating. How do you know when you find ‘the one’? What is some advice on dating and God-scripted love stories? I can’t tell you exactly the formula that will work for you, but I can share how God led me.

Well, let me take you back to where it all started…

Silently I sat on my bed by the window, clutching my bible and Passion & Purity by Elisabeth Elliot in my arms. “Daughter, I never promised that you would get married.” I heard Him whisper to my heart. After several months I realized that if God was asking for my dream of getting married, then He had a good reason to do so. So I gave that dream to Him – which sounds a lot easier than it really was for me. How do you really put into words what it means to surrender?

The rest of my highschool days pasted without huge struggles about being single. But soon those days were over and I found myself at a small Christian college. It was here that I struggled a lot with the desire for a relationship. Sometimes my heart ached so badly that I thought it would break from loneliness. It was a season of waiting. There were a few guys that I met on mission trips and various events and I’d ask God, “what about him?”

This is where I advise you to be very careful. Our hearts can be very deceitful. I can’t tell you how many times I thought “I could marry them” or “If they asked me, I would date them”. Don’t let your desires skew your thinking. Seek the Lord and He will reveal the right time. Lots of times He said “no” by never allowing me to see my crush again, or I found out they started dating someone else.

I met Jonathan the Spring semester of my sophomore year at a Bible study where he led worship. He had it all – he was tall, dark, ruggedly handsome, funny, outgoing and played guitar. I liked him more than anyone I’d ever met just from that first encounter. Even so, I didn’t pay him much attention the first few weeks. (He later told me that he probably wouldn’t have been as interested in me if I had. He didn’t want someone who just came to a Bible study to meet guys.) The next few months were spent getting to know each other at the Bible study.

How did I know he was ‘it’? Well, the first sign was our similar passions. Pretty early on he asked me where I thought the Lord was leading me in life – I had never met someone whose God-given passions were the same as mine. Exactly! Second, was the way he pursued me. He was careful, respectful and intentional. Some of the first questions he asked me when we started “talking” were about my salvation and views on the Bible (which made a big impression on me). I knew he was serious about me. He wasn’t just playing around with my heart – he told me that I was the kind of girl he prayed God would give him one day.

Once it became clear that it was almost time to move on to dating, we spent 2 weeks apart with no communication in order to seek the Lord. It was an agonizing 2 weeks for me. In my heart, I knew that I already loved him. Even so, I gave all my hopes for this relationship to the Lord. I didn’t hear a “no” this time. I felt at peace with moving on and I knew that Jonathan was a man that I could trust with my heart. Sure, I had a few doubts here and there as we dated, but they were mostly in regards to the real person I found. I knew that I could not change him, so I had to ask myself if these were imperfections I was willing to live with for the rest of my life. Time and time again, I said yes and fell more deeply in love with this wonderful (and yet very human) man.

Was it scary and overwhelming at times? You bet. Still, in those moments I knew that the Lord was leading me. I had no doubt that I had sought His guidance and He had led me to this man. He chose me and I chose him…and we’ve never looked back.

The things of the heart are deep any mysterious. I don’t know where you are or what your past looks like. I can’t tell you anything but to seek the Lord. He knows our hearts and He knows what we need far better than we do. Trust Him, wait for Him. Your heart may break. Your dreams may shatter. Your soul may ache. Mine did. But there is always a purpose. The plans He has are far better than we can ask or think.

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:9
PS: I know I haven't gotten to some of your questions, but I promise the answers are coming. :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

~ make me a flame ~

I've been reading through "Shadow of the Almighty" by Elisabeth Elliot. This was inspired by what I've been reading:

God I pray, light these sticks of my life for You
Let all that I am be consumed
Make me a flame
Make me a flame

Take my life, for my life is not mine to save
Have it all Lord, and have Your way
Make me a flame
Make me a flame

Make me a burning flame
All-consumed for Your name
No matter how brief my life may be
And when this life is done
May it be Your name on my tongue
Jesus, for You I give everything

I'm no fool to give what I cannot keep
To gain more and more of Thee
Make me a flame
Make me a flame

Send me out, to light other souls for You
Let me make known to them Your truth
Make me a flame
Make me a flame

Make me a burning flame
All-consumed for Your name
No matter how brief my life may be
And when this life is done
May it be Your name on my tongue
Jesus, for You I give everything

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Love Story Guest Post

Ah, ah, ah... Ah, ah, ah... Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah ah...

Ariel's voice floated through my head almost every night before I went to bed. It was official. I was obsessed with Disney's The Little Mermaid. She was everything I aspired to be; she was beautiful, adventurous, friendly, brave, she had the most gorgeous voice...and she had...
Prince Eric!

I dreamed of him as often as I sang myself to sleep with Ariel's songs. How often was that now? Oh yeah, every single night.

Wish I could be part of your world!

And how I longed to be part of his world. I even drew myself getting married to Prince Eric when I grew up. In those pictures he was perfect and so was everything in my life...I even had red hair just like Ariel!

What does Price Eric have to do with our love story? Well, jump over The Honey Pie Archives to find out!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

...knowing God on earth...

It is so easy for my heart to become languid and for passion to lay dormant in my soul. Sometimes it is of great benefit just to go outside, to clear my head of all the distractions of daily life and get alone with God. Today is one of those days. I seem to have let "doing things for God" become a burden instead of a joy. Even so, when I finally quiet my heart - He is there. He calls me to come and taste the delights of knowing Him.

I have always loved this quote from Jim Elliot's journal:
"I walked out to the hill just now. It is exalting, delicious. To stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coat-tails and the heavens hailing your heart - to gaze and glory and to give oneself again to God, what more could a man ask? Oh the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth. I care not if I ever raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him. Mayhap in mercy He shall give me a host of children that I may lead through the vast star fields, to explore His delicacies, whose finger-ends set them to burning. But if not, if only I may see Him, tough His garments, and smile into my Lover's eyes - ah, then, not stars, nor children shall matter - only Himself." (Jim Elliot)
I want my heart to know that same overjoyed bliss in knowing my Savior on earth.

Today, I know I just need to push pause on all that I need to get done and just rest in Him, worship Him, seek Him and remember...

I am small...

My life is brief...

He is eternal...

Knowing Him is beyond comparison...

"When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which You have set in place,
what is man that You are mindful of him,
and the son of man that You care for him?"
(Psalm 8:3)

The heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1), and I can see it, hear it if only I take a moment to marvel and the magnificence of my God. Life is too short not to live it running passionately after Jesus. Like Paul, Jim Elloit and countless others, my goal is to know Him...but sometimes I lose focus. 

Throughout my life I have found that spending a little time out in nature and in prayer helps to rejuvenate my soul and refocus my heart to seek after knowing more of God. What has worked for you?


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