On My Bookshelf

One of the things that has been awesome about our move out here is that I have gotten back into the habit of reading – a lot. I’ve read about a dozen books in the two+ months we’ve been here, and I love it. For the last few years I’ve had a goal of reading 12 non fiction books over the course of a year, and I’ve mostly kept to that. I’ve barely read any fiction though. Life has just been too busy, and I’m too easily sucked into a fantasy world where there aren’t houses to clean and children to feed and husbands to iron shirts for. So, with less on our plate out here, I’ve been able to (mostly) responsibly add back in reading for learning and pleasure and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Here’s what’s been on my bookshelf in the last few months.


The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith

I purposely saved this book to read once we moved out here and I would be setting up house again. It really spoke to me with Myquillyn’s message of welcoming people into your home (family, friends and soon-to-be friends) without worrying about perfection. She gives lots of really fun, practical ideas for decorating that will not cost you a leg or twelve days of your life, but really emphasizes that home is an attitude more than a perfect set of decorations. It was lovely, a quick read and truly blessed me.


One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

I’m not sure I can do justice to this book. You know how sometimes you read a book that is just life changing? Ann Voskamp writes about finding true joy by eucharisteo – the act of giving thanks. Her writing is spectacular, and it just draws you in to her personal journey of healing from a life truly filled with pain and heartache. Our powerful God did a miracle within her heart, and she encourages each reader that He can do the same for each of them. This book blessed me, encouraged me, challenged me and opened my eyes to even more of the blessings that surround me every day.


The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan. Back in high school, Jenna lent me her enormous hardcover copy of the entire trilogy and I disappeared for about a week, completely lost in the world of Middle Earth. Then a few years later they made the movies, and I loved them too. Anyways, I’ve always loved losing myself in a completely made up world, falling in love with characters and imagining myself right into the story line. So. When I stumbled across “Eragon” (the first book in this series) at a thrift store, I was jonesing for a good fiction flick, and immediately got sucked into Christopher Paolini’s fantastical world of dragons and elves and men fighting to free their land from an evil tyrant. Here’s what you need to know about this series. The writing and the storyline improve vastly throughout the series. That’s a good thing. While the first book kinda feels like a retelling of LOTRs, the subsequent books become their own thing. The evolution of the characters is very entertaining, and the books are clean. Bloody, of course, but no sex and very little language. I liked them. One thing to note though; do NOT watch the movie. It’s horrendous. :)


Insurgent by Veronica Roth

We watched Divergent a while ago and really enjoyed it. Once I realized it was a trilogy I set out to get my paws on  the next book. It took a while on the hold list at the library, but I finally read it a couple of weeks ago. It was entertaining. Not the best, and I think the entire series may be more suited for movies than as great books, but it was still enjoyable. My only issue was that the whole book felt like the “placeholder” for the third book, which is a pet peeve of mine. If you only have enough material for two books, then only write two books!


The Chance by Karen Kingsbury

I like this Christian fiction author a lot. Some of her books are really great, and the others are always a well written, well thought out read. This one wasn’t exactly a favorite, but it was interesting to follow the lives of the characters and imagine myself in their situations. The protagonists write each other letters and then bury them the night before they are separated for eleven years. Their lives go very differently than imagined, and it’s interesting to follow them. One of Karen Kingsbury’s recurring themes is redemption, which I always love reading about.


The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

You know how sometimes you read a book that completely changes you? This was a fantastic read on motherhood. I identified a lot with the author, who waited several years to have children and then struggled during her first few years as a mom with the monotony and constant service of mothering littles. But God really revealed to her the absolute importance of mothering her children, and I’ve learned a LOT from her book. She goes through a lot of practical advice on how to create a nurturing home and family structure, and gives loads of scripture to back everything up. A great read.


And the Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers

This wasn’t my first time reading this novel, but Francine Rivers is my absolute favorite author. Of all time. :) Her novels are so realistic and complex, with excellent writing and character development. I enjoyed this book all over again as a young pastor pursues “success” at the cost of everything else, while his wife struggles to raise their son on her own, and an elderly prayer warrior stays the course and never loses faith in his Savior. Francine Rivers never shies from tackling serious issues in her books, and it prompted some interesting discussions between Lover and I. Love when a novel does that!

 

So that’s what I’ve been reading lately. Thursday we are heading back to the library for a fresh load of books, is there anything you’ve been reading lately that I need to add to my list? I’m always looking for recommendations!

jenny

 

 

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Posted in 2014 | Leave a comment

Favorite Things 2014

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I’ve been meaning to do a post for a while about some of my new (and old) favorite things since moving out here. Melissa’s Favorite Things Party is the perfect time to do that! Here are a few of the things I’ve been crushing on in the last few months:

1. Books. Specifically beautiful hardcover classic editions. I have several of Barnes and Noble’s collector editions like The Chronicles of Narnia, Black Beauty and the Swiss Family Robinson. And it’s one of the things I am always on the lookout for at the thrift stores. I’ve found beautiful editions of Jane Eyre, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist… the list goes on. I’d love to have a whole library of gorgeous cloth bound, embossed hardcovers someday. I also adore the Penguin clothbound classics (I have Emma), and then I just discovered the Puffin in Bloom classics at Anthropologie and I nearly bought them all on the spot. Anyways. Beautiful books. I’ll take them all please. :)

2. Mega M&Ms. I discovered Mega M&Ms right after moving out here. They are every bit as good as regular M&Ms but three times bigger! What’s not to love about that? I’ve stopped buying them for now since they weren’t doing good things for my waistline, but oh my goodness deliciousness.

3. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. Did you know that Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon at 16, and it was a NY Times # 1 bestseller by the time he was 19? And that he was homeschooled? Color me impressed. I thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in these books, they’re well written (and only improve throughout the series) and it was so enjoyable to lose myself entirely in a fantastical world.

4. Sonic Blasts. Specifically Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Delicious creamy ice cream, real whipped cream and generous amounts of peanut butter cups. YUM. We never had Sonic in Rochester, so this was always a special treat when we traveled. Now I have one less than a mile from my house. Dangerous, right? So we decided that they were only for special occasions and we’ve been sticking to that rule, although there are days it kills me a little.

5. Google Hangouts. I use most of Google’s products, software, programs, etc. But Hangouts is my favorite. I can do SMS, or chat with other people who have Hangouts, and do video calls. Those video calls are awesome. I can chat with anybody back in NY and have a real conversation, my kids can see their grandparents, it’s a blast. Sometimes we even get all three of my brothers and I (all of us in different time zones) toegther on one call and it’s a blast.

6. IKEA Sinnlig candles. In Vanilla. These cheap little candles burn for a surprisingly long time, have a great scent, and then when you’re done you have a little glass! I love them and used to stock up whenever we were near an IKEA. Now that we have one here in Denver I don’t need to stock up, but I’m still loving them.

7. Contigo Water Bottles. I bought one of these after Javi was born and I was consuming copious amounts of water. They come in great colors, are nice and big so you’re not refilling them every two seconds, and, best of all, absolutely no leaking when the spout is closed. They are surprisingly sturdy too, I can’t tell you how many times they’ve been dropped down stairs, on concrete and floors, and they’re still fine. I now have one for each of us since Denver is dry, dry, dry, and they are great. They do make a kid size, but I’ve never bothered with the smaller ones.

8. Burt’s Bees Replenishing Lip Balm. I’m a chapstick addict, and this is my favorite. I love the scent, hint of color and how well it hydrates my lips. I’ve got one stashed just about everywhere these days.

9. Canon 70-200 f/4.0L Zoom Lens. This is not a new favorite for me, but I’m rediscovering how much I love it out here with all of the wildlife. It’s not cheap by any definition but it is so worth it. It’s always been a great lens, taking absolutely beautiful portraits, but I’m loving the pics of the deer and prairie dogs and moose and everything else we’re seeing out here.

10. Nexus 7. I purchased this tablet about a year ago, and I find myself using it more and more as the months go by. It’s a great size for surfing the internet, reading eBooks, playing games and whatever else you want to do. It does great with those video calls, with great sound and a nice sharp picture… anyways, I use it more and more and it makes my life a little easier and more streamlined.

So those are my favorites for right now. Maybe you got some good gift ideas from all of this? Be sure to check out all the other favorites at the party and maybe leave me some of your own favorites in the comments too?

jenny

Posted in 2014 | 8 Comments

Javi Jokes Around Vol. 1

This boy of mine says the funniest things, and I thought I would share some of them here, so that I don’t forget them, and so you can enjoy them too!

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Me: Javi, let’s go outside for a walk, ok?
Javi: And we see a hopsgrasser?

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Javi: Mommy, look, there’s the moon ball!

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(While eating lunch, we notice a fly buzzing around.)
Javi: Mommy! We need a fly water!

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To KK: We go at green lights and we stop at red lights, OK, KK? 

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Me: Javi, we are going up to the mountains today! We’re going to see deer, and birds…
Javi: …and elephants and baby elephants!

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And my favorite:

Me: Javi, I need to go take a shower. 
Javi: No, Mommy!
Me: But Javi, I’m stinky!
Javi: looks at me thoughtfully, then pats me gently on the butt Mommy, you stinky on the buns? 

***

jenny

 

Posted in 2014 | Leave a comment

My Choice {Day 31}

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I’ve thought for a few days (ok, a week. Well, two weeks. :)  about how to end this series. It’s been tons of fun documenting every step of our move and trip out here, and how we are settling in. As I’ve talked about all month, our life has changed dramatically over the last two months, and it has been an adventure! I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Really.

That first day in our new apartment, when Lover went to work, I was home with the kids, alone, in a new place, without a car, and no one to reach out to. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. Those next couple of days were hairy. I alternated between “hurray! we are in Denver and I’m so excited and I love everything!” and “oh my gosh, what have we done, I’m so scared!” I spent a couple of days like this, and it culminated on Friday at lunchtime where I literally just put my head down on our (card) table and sobbed my heart out. The kids were understandably concerned, and gave me sweet hugs and watched me with big eyes.

And that’s when I realized that I had to make a choice. Life here in Denver was going to be hard, because life everywhere is challenging.  And I could either wallow in the frustrations and focus on the negatives, or make a choice to find the good in each day. I’ve started keeping a thankful journal again, and for a time I had a big poster on our wall where I wrote things I was happy about down too. When people ask me how things are going out here I don’t sugarcoat it, but I make a conscious effort to focus on the positives. Like 300 days of sunshine! :)

I have to make a choice to push myself out of my comfort zone and make friends. My default is to be the quiet girl in the corner, observing. But I know that for my sake, my husband’s sake and my kids’ sake, we need to get connected here. So I’m making the choice to be friendly and extend myself to others. It’s challenging sometimes, but we are loving the MOPS group we’re attending, our life group is full of young families like us, and we are starting to recognize faces at our church.

So much of life is a choice. Years ago I made the choice to invite Jesus in my heart, and that set me on an irreversible path that would shape the rest of my life. Each day living as a Christ follower is a choice – whether to follow him or live for myself that day. Whether to live that day with joy in my heart, or to live focusing on the negative.

We made a choice to move here, and it was a great one. Each day since then, I’m making the choice to live here fully, to find the good, and to live each day with joy. I’m so glad we moved here, and I’m happy to have documented the process so we can look back on this through the years and remember the adventure. Thanks for reading along with me as I rambled on for more than a month and a half! :)

jenny

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The Apartment: One Month {Day 30}

I’m trying to document the progress in the apartment on a month to month basis. This first month was all about finding a comfy bed and couch, and a proper table and chairs so we could eat meals as a family. You know, the little things that make it feel like home. For the first two weeks here we had none of those things and… it was not exactly fun. Although Javi did enjoy doing gymnastics on the card table that we found at a thrift store.

We had every intention when we moved out here of walking into a few furniture stores, placing orders and walking back out. And we so tried to do that when we got here. We visited several stores, and debated mightily on the virtues of the $600 couch versus the $2,000 couch. In the end though, we realized that we are just not the sort of people who buy brand new furniture. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing that, but it just isn’t us. We’d rather buy good quality, used furniture on Craigslist, give a little spit and polish, and use our leftover hundreds towards something more fun like travel. So – the only brand new furniture that we have purchased so far are our mattress and bed frame from IKEA, and three Poang chairs, also from IKEA.

Ready to see our place with some stuff in it? :) First up is our bedroom, which so far contains a bed and a lamp. We’re using a box and a tote as nightstands, and our clothes are all in the closets. I’m on the hunt for a little dresser for my side and a nightstand for Lover’s side, and of course some curtains. But I think that will be it for furniture in here. We don’t need more storage, and I’m loving the open, uncluttered feel of our room. We found the comforter set at Marshalls and I love it.

The kids’ room is still a mishmash. We kept KK in her pack n play for the first month to keep there from being one more change in her life. She loves it so that hasn’t been a problem. Plus, in the mornings when Javi wants to play with her, he just tips it over and lets her out. :) Crazy boy.

Javi sleeps on the blow up bed, or sometimes on the crib mattress under the changing table, or sometimes in the chair, or the floor, or in places like this or this. Someone called him an Adventure Sleeper and that couldn’t be more true.

Apartment 1 Month

 

We haven’t done much in the bathrooms, but the kids’ bath is looking cute with their towels hung up, a bright bath mat and KK’s headbands on one of the towel rods. Easy peasy.

The dining area is coming along nicely. We found these table and chairs on Craigslist for $125. The people lived almost 45 minutes away, out in the middle of no where, literally on a dirt road. The table and chairs are super sturdy and not too precious, and the round table fits really nicely in this little nook. We hung curtains just to soften things up a bit, and not have to deal with those ridiculous vertical blinds everyday. In fact, I took the ones on the little window there down and stored them under our bed. I think the rest will stay up in the apartment, but those one were driving me nuts. I left the brackets up and will just rehang them when we move out.

We put a fifteen dollar rug from IKEA under the kids’ side of the table, since the whole place is carpeted. That was a good call. It requires cleaning/picking up/vacuuming every day, but it’s keeping the carpet underneath relatively unscathed.

Apartment 1 Month1

On the other side of that skinny wall you can see on the left hand side, we hung the kid’s growth chart, one of the things we brought with us from New York. There’s their basket of toys too, which is working out well in that spot. See how high the ceilings are here? I have some plans for that back wall, just waiting on a new shipment from Amazon since the last one arrived damaged.

The kitchen hasn’t changed much, a few things on the fridge and a few decorations. I found that mirror at a thrift store, and you’ll see another up on the mantel for now. I’m thinking once we buy a TV, that will go on the mantel, and the other mirror will join this one over the cabinets. It would be fun to have a collection of mirrors up there, right?

I found that big, awesome clock at Goodwill for $9. I love it and I am so happy that it works! I may end up tweaking it, because that is what I do, but for now it looks great and, I can read it from the couch which is awesome because I am blind. :)

Last up is the main area. The curtains are from IKEA, one of the few places that has curtains long enough for these tall walls that don’t cost a fortune. I love the punch of color. How do you like our fancy schmancy coffee table? :) The Poang chairs fit perfectly on the side of the fireplace – someone asked about having white chairs and I mentioned they are washable. True, but we’ve discovered that fitting that foam back in the covers is a pain in the you-know-what. But – they’re working out well.

And, our “new” leather couch. If I had to guess, it’s fifteen to twenty years old, but in absolutely solid condition. We wanted to try some new things out here, and one of them was leather. We got this for $90. It had some severe fading which I have discovered was partly fading, and partly just a lack of care. I ordered some leather conditioner and I’m on coat three, and it is making such a difference. I’ll do a whole separate post on the different products I am using to restore this couch, but suffice it to say, it’s looking a lot better. And it is soooo comfy. Love it. That wall above the couch is screaming out for a big piece of art, wouldn’t you say? :) By the way, I wasn’t sure if I would like white walls (these are a warm cream) but I love it. It’s light and bright and unifying in such a small space.

Here’s the mantel today. There’s the garland I told you about! Very high tech – felt leaves hot glued to raffia, but it makes me happy. :) I’m on the lookout for a bookshelf that will fit  nicely in the apartment, so eventually all those books will move. All of the tech hookups are above the fireplace, so the big mirror does a good job covering up all the stuff and wires up there.

Apartment 1 Month3

I’m so glad I brought the infinity light, it took up no room in our boxes and we desperately needed a light in this corner of the room. Who knows if it will stay there, but for now it’s working great.

Apartment 1 Month2

And lastly, one of the first things I hung up was this posterboard of good things that are happening to us here, along with two fun, colorful decorations. Hanging my guitar makes it both an art piece and keeps it mostly out of reach of the bambinos.

So that’s it! A little tour of our place one month in. We’ve made a lot of progress and it’s really feeling like home.

jenny

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Wildlife Refuge {Day 29}

So we are all recovering from a nasty stomach bug – Sunday and Monday were absolutely awful but it seems today that everyone is on the mend. Thanks so much to those of you that were praying for us!

We live just south of a huge wildlife refuge. Apparently it used to be an arsenal for the Army where they manufactured chemical weaopns (!), and was later cleaned up and converted to a wildlife refuge. We went there last Saturday to check it out. It’s huge and free, and the website said we might see all types of birds, whitetail deer, mule deer, prairie dogs, coyotes, pelicans and…. bison!! I was so excited to see the bison.

However, lots of the refuge was blocked off to visitors on the day we visited. The day before there had been a series of controlled wildfires that we had noticed in the sky, so I’m assuming that had something to do with it. We drove all throughout the places that we COULD visit, and saw a few deer, lots of prairie dogs, some cool birds, but sadly, NO bison. Such a bummer. I joked that we saw more wildlife on some of our trips out of the city to pick up furniture.

But, there were some absolutely beautiful views, and we did see a few animals. We’ll definitely try going back there again sometime to find those bison. Because, seriously, who doesn’t want to see buffalo!?! :)

 

I think this would be a great place to head back to when it’s a little colder and we can’t do as much outside. It would be a nice place to drive through, see some animals and then head back to the warmth and comfort of our cozy house! :)

jenny

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Barns and Sunlight {Day 28)

I found these pictures from sometime on our road trip, I think maybe it was in Ohio? We had grabbed dinner at Olive Garden and were driving back to the hotel, and I begged Lover to stop at this barn. I loved the texture of the old barn and the light was just breathtaking. We took some pics down at the barn, then walked up what turned out to be a guy’s driveway to get some pictures of the setting sun. He was surprisingly cool about us trespassing just for a picture! On our way back to the hotel the sunset was amazing so we stopped right on the shoulder and I snapped a few more pics. Gorgeousness. Enjoy!

jenny

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Lil’ Cowboys and Cowgirls {Day 27}

We didn’t do anything for Halloween, since we are all recovering from a nasty cold and little sleep this week (among other reasons). But in searching through my pics for these last posts, I came across these adorable photos of the Western wear store that we checked out one morning while waiting for IKEA to open up. I never realized how seriously people take their boots and cowboy hats – there were every size, shape and color available, from tiny tots all the way up to big and tall! Anyways, kids in cowboy hats – adorably cute and we nearly succumbed and bought them boots and hats. But in the end we were able to remain strong and left without purchasing anything!

jenny

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16th Street Mall {Day 26}

Happy November 1st! :) Thanks for all your kind words on my post about courage. They meant a lot to me. Now, I’ve got six posts left to finish this series, so let’s get started, shall we?

Denver has a really cool pedestrian street called the 16th Street Mall downtown. We drove down there one evening to walk around, explore and eat dinner. We grabbed sandwiches at Jimmy Johns and then just strolled and meandered our way down the street. We encountered all sorts of interesting things!

The first thing we encountered was this lady walking around with her snake. I can’t remember what kind of snake she said it was – maybe a python? But she let Javi hold it which totally made his day. My hand is in the picture because both she and I were saying “don’t squish his head!”

It looked like during the summer there is a ton of stuff going on at the Mall. It reminded me a lot of Bryant Park in New York City, lots of free events for residents of Denver. We’ll definitely be back another time to explore some more. This cow was really cool, covered in facts about Denver. Did you know that Denver has a ton of parks, and gets 300 days of sunshine a year? Eat your heart out Rochester. :) The kids loved “riding” the cow.

Down at the very end of the street were these metal buffalo sculptures “mommy, take my picture with the more cows!” that the kids thought were pretty awesome. Javi wanted a picture with each one, which made me laugh. Javi, by the way, is holding a book on sights and attractions in Denver, which he studied very seriously as we walked the street.

The kids spotted this other cow (steer?) and wanted to sit on this one too, so we crossed the street so they could sit on it. However, there was a couple there, dressed as mimes, that thought we were coming to see them, and they put on a little show for us. They were truly terrible. We couldn’t understand anything they were gesturing about, they inserted themselves in the picture of the kids – it was laughable how bad they were :) See how KK is like – who are these weirdos?

Peanut walked a ton of the way, which was really impressive. She insists more and more on walking like a big girl and not riding/being carried like a baby. By the end of the night though, she was getting tired, and spending lots of time snuggled in Daddy’s arms. These two melt my heart.

There were some definite characters out on the streets that night. Several people begging (some with clever placards and some just walking up to people) for weed, beer, money or food (in that order!). The terrible mimes. A guy dressed up a in a huge dragon or crocodile costume that made him about six and a half feet tall, who stopped to talk to us about his daughter from inside the creepy costume. The fun just never ends! It was an entertaining evening and a nice way to spend time together as a family. Oh, and then when we got back to the car, Javi wanted to take my picture. So there you go. :)

jenny

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Courage {Day 25}

OK, this post is a little different from the usual fare around here! We’re talking about some personal and deep stuff today, so consider yourself warned, mm’kay?

You know how some people choose a word that defines them for a year? Well, I have never intentionally done that, but for the last few years I have found that all of the lessons God has been teaching me run together into one word that defines that year. A few years ago that was Contentment, and then after that it was Joy. When 2014 began, I started trying to figure out what my “word” was that God was going to instill into my life. To be honest, the year started out really, really badly.

I struggled more with depression than I ever have in my life in the first four months of 2014. I was home every day with my kids, adjusting to life with two little ones. Keilana had terrible reflux, which made her both understandably grumpy and understandably demanding. Which meant that I was understandably tired. I was so frustrated feeling like I wasn’t bonding with my little girl at all, because she was so unhappy so often. The weather was horrific, and we were stuck at home day after day with freezing cold temperatures and gray, cloudy days.

There was one day I was so desperate for sunshine that when the sun peeked through the clouds for a few hours I bundled up the kids even though it was nearly 0 degrees. They didn’t last long, so we came back inside, but I actually went out for a walk while they napped a couple of hours later. I just walked up and down our little dead end part of our street so I was close enough to the house to feel comfortable, but I was so desperate for fresh air and sunshine I just had to be outside.

Lover was traveling and working lots during that time. There were so many times that something would go wrong, and he would either be gone or just unavailable at work because things were so busy. I handled bedtimes, nighttime wakings, sickness, and on and on by myself. We went on vacation in February and his back went out at the end of our trip. I had to care for him and the kids, navigate doctors appointments and everything else in a new city and then drive us home to NY..it was scary. It took him a long time to recover, and I had to handle a lot by myself while he healed.  I’ve always relied so heavily on him, but for one reason or another I kept finding myself without him, unable to lean on his strength, and feeling so completely alone.

To make matters worse, I started to hear these thoughts in my head that terrified me. A voice would tell me, over and over, that I was completely alone. That I had to handle things all by myself because there was no one who would be there for me. In retrospect, I think I was very clearly under the worst spiritual attack I have ever experienced. I have never before experienced the feeling of something literally hanging over my head, breathing terrible, lonely, depressing thoughts down onto me. I was terrified. I thought I was going crazy, that the stress had just broken me down into some shell of the person I had been.

I continued to do all the things we normally did – church, family events, etc. but I felt disconnected and removed from them – like I was watching things happen around me but still felt completely alone. I concluded, based on the first four months of that year, that my word for the year was “Alone.” 

I talked to Lover about all of this, especially about the voices telling me that I was alone. He encouraged me to start praying, out loud, for Jesus’ protection whenever I started hearing that. It took several times of desperately praying, claiming the power of Christ in me, my protected status as God’s daughter, and telling whoever or whatever that was that it was not welcome to speak to me that way. And it worked. The voice stopped talking to me.

As Lover and I talked more, and I confessed to him that I thought my word for the year was ALONE, he encouraged me to keep looking. That I wasn’t alone, I had Lover and my family and God and my friends, and that there was a different lesson that I was learning. So I kept looking.

May and June were so, so, SO much better than the beginning of the year. I had terrible hormone swings with Keilana’s pregnancy, and I think that it took about six months for everything to even out after she was born, so that was part of what I was experiencing. The weather was also a factor, along with that scary spiritual stuff that was also going on. But as the weather improved, my hormones stabilized and I was making time in prayer a huge priority, life started to feel more normal. We had some more really difficult weeks in May – Javi had croup, Keilana cut more teeth, I was sick – sometimes it seemed like the hits just kept on coming, but I was starting to have hope again. We had another week of vacation at the end of May, for my birthday, and this time it was truly restful. By the end of that week I was re energized, Lover and I had time together, the kids were doing well – we were much improved.

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Around that time is when I realized that my word for the year was not, in fact, ALONE, but rather COURAGE. So much of the year had brought unknowns and challenges that I had never faced before. So much of it had been scary and intimidating. In fact, the definition of courage is “the ability to do something that frightens one.” Had I been frightened a lot lately? Heck, yes! But with this different perspective, that I needed to have COURAGE, I started to find the challenges much more surmountable.

Of course, you know where this is going now, right? We are in the middle of one of our biggest adventures to date, starting a new life in a new city. Boy, oh, boy have I needed courage lately! Courage to sell our stuff, pack up our life and set up a new home. Courage to say goodbye to friends, family and loved ones, and courage to put myself out there to make new friends here. Courage to experience all sorts of new things – a new church, a new home, new driving routes and routines and weather patterns.

God knew that I would need to break with my patterns of living in fear, of letting fear control me. And honestly, I’ve worked so hard on that in previous years. I’ve refused to be defined or held back by my fears. But He knew that this experience would stretch me in ways that I couldn’t even fathom, and so I would need to step up my game.

I mentioned a while ago how important Psalm 46 has become to me. The verses in this Psalm? Courage filling. God is our fortress -God is our refuge and strength -God will help her - God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved – The Lord of hosts is with us – Therefore we will not fear.

I can’t say that I’m 100% thankful for those dark days that I went through this year. But seeing it in perspective really helps me. And as I think about our future here in Colorado, in which we still have so many unknowns, know that I will be doing my best to face them with courage.

jenny

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