Friday, November 20, 2009

It's been way too long

It's been too long since my last post. I don't mean for that to happen it's just... well you know how life can get. It can get busy!

I'm doing good. I got a job at a preschool. I started in the summer and since then well, I'm just going crazy trying to get everything a busy family needs done. Being a mommy who works outside the home comes with new sets of challenges. Maintaining the needs of my home and family make it so hard to sit down at the computer and find time to write. There's always something that needs to be done or someone who needs attention!

I'm working as a preschool teacher for the school at my church. The great thing is Lorenzo, my almost 4 year old goes with me. It's the next best thing to being a stay at home mom! I get to make a little money and be with my at least one of my kids!

God brought into my life a great opportunity through this job. One of my students is autisic and I've always been drawn to these special children who seem locked within themselves. I really took a special interest in this student and the parents noticed and asked if I would be interested in taking training in something called Applied Behavioral Analysis. I jumped on the opportunity and have been doing online training videos and now give private lessons to this student.

I enjoy working with this student so much I now want to go back to school and get my degree in special education. The mother has said to me many times she thinks I should specialize in this field as she thinks it's my "gift." She said her son has shown more improvement with me in these past months than in the 18 months of special therapies and school he was in!

It's was amazing to me that my student's mother said that. My own mother always said to me that I had a gift and should somehow work with kids in need. She called it a special wisdom and said my nana Connors had it too.

I just know when I look into the eyes of a child with autism I cry out to God for help and mercy. My heart sings, asking my student "where is your soul? I know you are in there." Autism is trapping them, locking them inside a prision in their mind. It is my job to reach in there and help pull them out!

And so that is what I have been up too everyday. Helping pull this special child out. It's not an easy job, thankfully my student isn't violent but I have been bitten and it's physically very demanding. But it's so awesome to work so hard and then see the child respond and do something new, something you know they could never do before! To make a difference and get a chance to love a special child is really an awesome thing!

Someone asked if I have been working on my mother's novel. I'm sad to say I haven't done a single thing. It bothers me quite bad, I feel so guilty and have confused emotions regarding the subject. Am I supposed to be writing that story? And if I am supposed too and I'm not... well that just creates a lot more questions. Sigh.

Despite it being well over a year since my mother passed away, I'm still greiving terribly. The only way I can describe it is I feel like cancer stole something sacred from me. My sense of home and family have been ripped away and a hole is left there. Time will not heal that. Oh, I will adjust, what else can one do? But I know now I'll never be the same. And how can I be? Every holiday will remind me that it was supposed to be very different. My future, the way it was supposed to be was stolen from me.

We were supposed to have a life time of memories to make. Now it's like right in front of my very own eyes, a black hole opened up and ripped part of my happiness from my hands. As if through a fog I can see an older Claudia and her nana around the table for Christmas dinner and then it's like a vaccum comes and sucks that image away, leaving behind a whole lot that is never to be.

Now I'm left numb and scrambling to quickly redefine the meaning of a lot of things, before I lose too much time. Life is so quick and these kids I'm blessed with are little only once... Cancer has stolen my mom, but it's not going to make me have regrets with what I have left.

A very bright spot in my life right now is my relationship with my husband Javier. Financial it's been a tough year for us, but praise God I can report that despite those hardships our home has never been happier. I recently started back mountain biking. I used to compete along with Javier before the kids and had to drop that once I had them. But now they are getting bigger and easier to care for so Javier watches them while I ride. We load up the car on the weekends and head off to a trail as a family and then we take turns riding. It's been so much fun. There is nothing like flying down a trail on your bike to clear your mind. It's just me, my bike and the mountain! I'm so thankful to God my little family is intact and happy. Thank God for his mercy.

Whew, that got very long. I guess I should try and keep up on here better so I don't have to write a book when I come back on!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Your comments brought me here...

I'm still around! Thanks for asking about me.

I guess this summer has been a little hard for me. This past May marked one year ago that my mom entered Hospice care and the countdown to her death started. Most of you know I spent those last three months with her.

My mind keeps flashing back. I keep remember things like, "well last July 4th, Julie the kids and I bought a ton of fireworks and set them all off on mom and dad's drive way." Afterward we drove downtown and watched the city firework display.

Where was mom? In her hospital bed dying...

There are no words to describe that grief. The pain of watching her slowly slip away.

Someone, and I can't remember who told me right after she died that the grief hadn't even begun yet. I remember those words and understand them now.

July 21 will mark a year since her death. How can that be? It seems like yesterday. It seems so fresh. I've cried more this summer than I did last summer.

I keep thinking about the family summer vacation we would have taken this summer if she weren't gone...

I feel angry and cheated and I really really really miss my mom.

I guess that's one reason I haven't posted. Right now I'm full of pain and hurting. I know it will be ok, my mom said it would... but I just miss much...

My heartfelt prayer; Dear Jesus, Please tell my mom I miss her but I'm going to be ok with your help. I hear her words, her advice, her encouragement and with your help I will rise up! Love, Jennifer

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Dance with Jesus

Tuesday I attended a memorial service in honor of my mother, Kristy Dykes who died last July from a glioblastoma brain tumor. My mother was a pastor's wife serving 37 years in church ministry along side my dad. She was a published award winning author, speaker, writer, painter, pianist and so much more. A talented woman. Her grave marker reads Pizazz! Enthusiasm! High Energy! This describes her perfect.

I flew into Orlando without the kids on Monday for the short two day trip and my dad and Wanda picked me up. Julie joined us and we had a wonderful time together.

What is it like having a stepmother after the death of my own sweet and wonderful mother? Wanda is a comfort, a soothing balm to a wounded and worn soul. There is a spoken and even unspoken understanding and love that flows from her heart. She is a rare gift of hope and promise from God Himself.

Tuesday was the memorial service given by the Assemblies of God at their annual district council. It was in honor of all the ministers and spouses of ministers who have passed away in the past year. We sat in the front of a church that seats 6,000 and waited for my mother's name to be called and her picture displayed in a brief moment of honor.

Sitting there grief and disbelief grabbed hold of my heart. Waves of tears threatened to shake me to the core. Suppressed sobs and screams demanded to ring out of my heart and spill through tightly drawn lips.

"How oh how, will I ever be able to grab a hold of myself?" I wondered desperately. My eyes stealing fleeting glances at the many others who dabbed at tears with tightly wadded tissues. Their eyes rimmed red with tears that spilled in grief for their loved one. "Get control of your emotions, Jennifer." I shouted quietly to myself.

But oh how my heart bucked against reason and longed for once to be let loose in loud, long wails of grief and pain...

"Your beloved sweet mother is dead and you are all alone. You sit on a bench with only a rose to hold, instead of her sweet hand. She is gone...gone...gone...!"

Suddenly her name was announced, we stood in shock looking up at the picture of her beautiful smiling face. So full of love for life, passion and energy. And then it was gone. Blinked out and another face flashed on the screen. We sat down almost unwillingly as our hearts sighed for her to come back... "just one more minute...don't take her picture down..."

Crushed I felt. Defeated. Left feeling robbed, I sat with my shoulders slumped, head bowed and hid behind a curtain of my long brown hair. And then someone started singing. Something about Jesus the Savior.

I closed my eyes and listened to the music with my heart. Sweet images of my precious Savior Jesus started washing over my weary mind. My soul became silent and still with the knowledge that He is God.

I felt a gentle whisper into my heart calling me. Ever so quietly. Ever so sweetly. Ever so softly like a gentle flutter of a butterfly wing against my soul. A voice called... "Look Jennifer! Can you see? Can you see her, Jennifer? Can you see us? Look with your heart, not your eyes Jennifer! Look! See!"

Looking with the eyes of my heart, I strained against a cloudy and unclear vision. But I saw! A sigh of instant peace and joy washed over my soul.

For there in my minds eye was placed the beautiful and perfect image of my mother held tenderly in the arms of Jesus. And they were dancing! Dancing slowly to the same sweet worship music I was hearing! My heart sang: "Jesus, I see! I see her! She is perfect and made whole and smiling! She isn't gone! She's right there in your embrace, dancing with You!

Real or imagined, that image remains forever burned in my mind. Hope replaces broken despair! Peace replaces raging, unchecked grief! Joy replaces despondent sorrow!

Oh to have such eternal hope! Won't you too trust Him? Don't you too hear Him calling you? Whispering tenderly to you, "Look! See! Oh how I love and care for you!"

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, How sweet and beautiful You are! At times You take my breath away. I am speechless in front of Your stunning beauty. Just what is so beautiful about You, some may ask? Why, it is Your amazing selfless love! It is Your perfect love that is so stunning!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

just sad

What a sorry post title but it's how I feel today.

I just feel sad.

I'm not without hope for the future...

I'm not without love for the moment...

I'm just sad.

Sad that someone I love can get cancer and die, and I can't do one thing about it.

Sad that cancer still has the power to stike a family twice.

This world is so full of hurts, disappointments, pain, and grief.

Today I'm sad that I know first hand how brief life really is...

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, When are You coming? My soul longs for Your return. My soul cries out "how much longer, Lord?" What a conflict I find my soul in... my heart is longing to be complete in Your presence, yet... my soul weeps for those who still don't know You. Strengthen me for Your work today. Renew my hope for today. Love, Jennifer

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Birthday

Today is my 31st birthday!

I woke this morning with Claudia pressing her little button nose to mine, her sweet breath on my cheek and whispering "happy birthday, mommy." It was so tender, I couldn't keep a stray from tear escaping.

Today hope flows through my heart, I know that somewhere in heaven my mom knows that today is April 18th. This is the first birthday of mine that she's been in heaven instead of here...

I don't doubt that today she remembers and is smiling and most likely thanking our creator for LIFE!

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, Thank you for my life. How can I ever express my joy that You thought of me, that You made me. That You created me to know You! Thank you!

Jesus, here is a question that You know the answer to: How can there be love without choice? You have given me the gift of life and not only life but eternal life and so today on my birthday I have a gift for You! Today, to show my love I choose You! And not only do I say I love You, but I desire to show You this love by a choice.

Today I take a piece of my flesh, my earthly desires and I nail it to Your cross! You know my innermost heart and soul, I don't even have to speak out loud what those fleshy desires are. With the power of You love, I turn and face You.

My heart and soul LONGS for You. I have so little to give, so little to offer. I am so frail, so weak, but what I do have is a heart that is beating for You.

I invite You in to my day, and smile knowing You are by my side holding my hand and delighting in my gift! Love, Jennifer

Monday, April 06, 2009

Where have I been?

I'm sorry I've just disappeared!

April has been very busy. I've been preparing for VBS, and working on Sunday school stuff. Plus the daily doings of a busy household with small children.

Now I'm in Tampa with Javier and the kids. My dad got married to Wanda on Friday. We arrived late Wednesday night in Tampa and on Thursday before the wedding we drove to Brandon and met Wanda and Paige, her four year old granddaughter.

I wondered how I would feel seeing my dad and Wanda together for the first time. You know what? It felt completely natural. I knew I would like Wanda but I just wondered how it would feel to see them together. There is something about Wanda that is comforting, warm, and a calming love you can feel.

There is much I want to share about the wedding, but I will have to come back later and write more.

Saturday we went to Jacksonville and went to my dad and now Wanda's home.

Dread filled my heart. I didn't want to go inside, but running away solves nothing. What else can one do but push forward? What was I dreading, you might wonder. Honestly, it had nothing to do with the changes. Simply put, that doesn't bother me. It had nothing to do with Wanda. It feels comforting and right that she is there. It was only about the fact that my mother wasn't going to be opening the door, waiting for me.

It was HARD. Harder than I thought to be there. Had I not had two small children and a husband there with me, I would have jumped in the car and driven straight to my mom's grave. Every fiber of my being wanted to fling myself on her grave and dig her out, screaming, "you're not supposed to be dead to us. Don't you know you're supposed to be in your house?"

I've never felt so angry about her being gone, her spirit so far away, so untouchable in heaven. I wanted her home. Greeting us in her kitchen. I could see her smile, imagine what she would say and do.

There were many bitter, angry and depressed tears. I haven't grieved like that before. I know where my mom is, my heart is set on the place where she is, my eyes focused on the goal of one day getting there myself. But Saturday's tears boiled down to pity.

I don't regret those tears or letting myself grieve like that. I know God understands and gave me the space to just simply be human.

But you know what, one can't stay in that frame of mind long. It's a dangerous, dark place that pity, depression and anger leads you. They beckon with their cold, sharp tentacles. Desperate to wrap pity around one's mind and it's a horrible trap.

Thank God for His mercy and LOVE that are stronger... that are more powerful... and more wonderful than one can imagine. Thank God for His HOPE that is fresh... that flows like river... that fills your heart and gives life!

Sunday was a new day and I woke feeling... released, renewed and refreshed. Ready for a bright new future. Worship at Southside Assembly was wonderful! I went with Jesus by my side and praised my God just steps away from where my mother's coffin once held her earthly shell. I raised my hands in VICTORY because death didn't win! Through Jesus, there is eternal life. I smiled knowing in heaven my mom was dancing along with me! I felt like I was smiling with her, knowing a wonderful secret!

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, I thank you for being so close beside me this week. Thank you for allowing me to grieve and release my anger and hurt. Thank you for allowing me to be myself and still loving me despite that! Thank you for taking care of my mother, for giving her such a wonderful place to be, in heaven and in your presence. Thank you for the gift that is Wanda. I see her for the beautiful treasure she is, and I stand in awe of your blessing to our family. Simply put I love you, Jesus. Love, Jennifer

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sunday went great!

Sunday went better than I ever thought it would!

I wasn't very nervous, my voice didn't quake and I didn't hyperventilate. Although my hands did shake a little.

After the announcement and skit I taught Sunday School to the preschoolers. We had 10 little ones and I had my hands full. We've about doubled and need to make some changes to adjust.

We've come to point were we need another volunteer. It's hard doing crafts with 10 preschoolers who all need help, right at the EXACT same time!

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, I praise you that our preschool class has grown! What a wonderful blessing to teach these kids about you. We've grown so much that we need more help. I pray that you will speak into the heart of someone, whether it's someone already in the church or someone new. You know our hearts and needs and I put this into your trust. Love, Jennifer

Friday, March 20, 2009


All the results from Javier's test are back...

Everything appears fine!

He still has some tests left to do on his heart, but he's feeling better and back to work.

Perhaps those tests will give us some answers or... maybe it's just one of those things that happen?

He is back to biking, I'm a little nervous about that but it's a big part of his life and the doctor didn't say to stop. He has a big race next Sunday. Please keep him in your prayers.

I've been busy working on VBS, reading the director's manual and seeing what all needs to be done. This Sunday I'm making an announcement and doing a skit in the main service to promote a VBS volunteer meeting coming up. I pray I don't pass out! I get VERY nervous in front of people.

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, I can't help but laugh that I find myself giving an announcement this Sunday. You do know I get super nervous and start talking funny in front of a crowd, right? I can't promise to sound like a pro, but what I do promise is that I'm going to rely completely on you. I'm going to do my best and not worry about the rest. I trust you to be right by my side. I believe it's not just me giving that announcement but us together! If I completely fail and even fall on my face, it won't be a failure to me, because I'm drawing closer to You. Needing You, wanting You, expecting You and counting on You and You alone! I love you Jesus! With smiles, Jennifer

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Little Scare

Friday started as a typical Friday evening for us. We got our favorite pizza and picked up movies for my favorite thing, a fun family night at home. The kids and I were sitting on the couch watching Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Javier was sitting nearby at the dinning table on the laptop.

I heard a commotion across the room and looked over and noticed, no Javier. That's odd, I thought. When I finally pried the kids off my lap and got up I saw Javier passed out cold on the hard tile floor with blood coming out his head.

I bent over and noticed a cut on his forehead and a broken front tooth. He started moaning and coming too. Amazingly I stayed calm and got rags for the blood and ice for his head. I grabbed the cell phone, preparing to call... who? 911? Nope that doesn't work well here. I called his mother and thoroughly freaked her out but she called an ambulance and rushed out the door to come help.

I kept thinking Javier would get up and say "I'm ok, what's the big fuss?" But instead he couldn't get up and couldn't talk and didn't know what was going on. He started sweating and shaking and got cold.

The kids were hovering around asking ONE MILLION questions, poor little things. It was a shock to all of us to see this big strong man of ours so helpless. I put the kids to work, gotta keep little minds busy to stay out of trouble. They hurried back and forth on their mission of getting blankets and pillows for daddy. Claudia sat behind his head blowing kisses to her daddy.

Finally the ambulance arrived and by then he was talking but couldn't get up. Off they went to the ER. I got the kids settled with brother and sister in law and headed into the ER.

They did a bunch of tests, a CT scan and in the end said everything came back fine. He had a massive headache and a broken front tooth but no stitches. They don't know why he passed out and recommend follow up testing soon.


Update: Javier woke Saturday morning with a bad pain in his neck and still felt dizzy so off to another ER. They redid the CT scan, this time including his neck and still didn't see anything. They think it has to do with the nerves in his back and referred him to a neurologist.

I'm so grateful everything has come back negative so far, I was really nervous yesterday evening waiting for those CT results. It felt like I was reliving some of what we went through with my mom.

Please keep him in your prayers that the neurologist can find out exactly what's wrong and he can get some relief from this pain and dizziness.

Monday, March 02, 2009

God are you calling me into...


I've felt for a few years a tug on my heart. It's as if God is whispering into my heart that He has a plan for me.

I keep trying to ignore that voice. I keep pushing against that tug. My resistance is making me miserable because I know He has a plan but it just doesn't make sense to me!

I keep thinking "God, now how can you be calling me into ministry? How can I do that? How could that possibly work out? What would Javier think? Why on earth would You want me?"

Then I get a call.

The chairman of the Christian Education committee has asked me to direct Vacation Bible School this summer. You see, the Christian Education Director at our church just recently resigned to start a church on the other side of the island. And there is a need...

I responded I would love to, but I needed to pray about it. After all I am looking for job, what if I'm working and can't do it?

So I prayed and then talked to Javier about it. I poured out my heart and shared with him the desires I believe God has given me. The desire to do something in ministry. I also shared my fears with him, the ones I mentioned above. All the sudden it became crystal clear to me, I know exactly what God is calling me to do. I've just been too afraid to trust, to hope, to believe, to dream.

A fire started burning in my heart and a thrilling passion took over my soul. A peace like I haven't felt since I got saved came over my heart and I finally submitted and admitted my call. It's like a missing piece of the puzzle came flying into my heart and I feel so complete and confident.

And guess what? Javier gave me his full blessing! We've decided together that I'm going to accept the challenge of directing VBS this summer and use it as a platform into ministry. I'm praying for God to use this to raise up a leader in me and see where He takes it from there.

It's putting faith into action and once again Javier is practicing faith without even being a believer! We are believing that God will work out the finance part of the situation.

I still don't understand why God wants to use me, I don't feel like I'm a leader. But I'm focusing my heart on what I do know, that everyday I'm going to turn to Him and ask "Jesus, what are we going to do today? How are you going to use me, to equip me to fulfill the plan You have for me?"

Oh it's going to be exciting!

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, Oh boy, do I need you more now than I ever have. You've NEVER left me before and so I have confidence you will stick by me now! My confidence is in You and I ask for Your help, Your power to go forth and fulfill my destiny. Love, Jennifer

Friday, February 27, 2009

I miss you

Tonight I'm just missing my mom...

Big tears drip down my face. I want to call her so bad. I can hear the conversation in my head. "Hey mom, whatcha doin?" I'd ask. She'd probably reply that she was finishing cleaning up the kitchen, or maybe just finishing up a writing project.

I just want to hear her voice, so positive and happy sounding.

Maybe I can sneak a call to my parent's house and catch the answering machine, which still has her voice on it. "Your call is important, please leave a message." To hear her voice, so clear and ALIVE. It was the voice untouched by cancer.

Very soon my dad will be changing his answering machine, I know it's time, he knows it's time. We all know. I just want to hold on to something from the past. I just feel like telling her, "ok mom, I'm really tired of you being gone. Can you just come back now?"

The more days and months that go by, the more normal it feels for her to be gone. I'm getting used to her not being here, and I hate that. Part of my heart doesn't want to know what it feels like to go on.

I keep thinking how this time last year was her last really good moments. The doctors explained how she would have a window of time after the radiation which she would be at her best before she would rapidly decline. Oh how short that window was!

Thank God I got there during some of that window and had some great moments with her. I remember when I had to say goodbye in the Orlando airport and just walk away. How can you walk away knowing that could be it? I wish I could jump back in time and run back to her in the airport and never let go.

But I couldn't do that then, and I can't have her back now...

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, I really miss her. Could you do me a favor and find her there in heaven and give her a big hug and tell her it's from me? Can you tell her I miss her and love her? Thanks. Love, Jennifer

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The portrait is done

I got the portrait of my mom back! I'm so pleased with it. A big thank you shout out to my dad.

My mother-in-law, Lourdes took me to a framing shop and helped me pick out the mats and frame. The frame is silver but has rust colored lines through it that match her hair.

We hung it at the bottom of our stairs and it's in between the kitchen and living/dinning room area.

The kids and I are enjoying having her picture so close by, and in a small way it's like having her with us.

Claudia keeps looking up and asking "mommy, nana is in our heart, right?"
I'm trying my best to explain that Jesus lives in our heart, and nana is with Jesus so in a way she's there too. And we will always carry her memory in our hearts.
We miss you mom. We will never forget the enormous love you poured into our lives.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A God Who Answers Our Prayers

The past few weeks I've really prayed asking God to give me wisdom in one major area of my life and I just love it when God shows up big!

I've been praying for wisdom in raising my little kiddies. They are three and five and such a delight, but oh boy, do they stretch my patience.

Lorenzo is coming out of the terrible two's (ok so he's been three since November) but the tantrums. Oh. My. Goodness. He cries and pitches fits with a passion not seen since... well, me actually! I've been told I was very "strong willed."

So just how does one get a passionate, strong-willed, temper tantrum throwing three-year-old to cooperate? There are times I want to pull my hair out, scream and run out the door! But guess what? That gets us no where quick!

Since I believe God is the giver of wisdom I decided to pray and ask for some custom made wisdom into the situation.

Suddenly in my heart, part of the answer became clear.

Isn't it awesome how we can go to God and ask Him stuff like this?

It's slightly humbling what I feel God told me, but I'm not going to shy away!

Two things. I realized I fuss to much and I get frustrated too quickly and easily. As clear as a bell I saw the areas I needed to work on to be a better mother.

Just today, my hubby commented how patient I was with my three year old. I just had to smile and give the glory to my God, because believe me that patience came from Him!

You see, God is waiting to shower down gifts on us. Just ask Him. Need wisdom into a certain situation? How to deal with that tough co-worker, in-law, husband, or wife? I challenge you to make it a matter of prayer, ask Him for the answer. Then open your heart and receive it and let Him work it out through you. Let Him use you to shower His love, His mercy, His grace into someone else's life.

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, Oh how I need You. I call to You asking for help. Give me wisdom in how to raise my children. You desire that we live in peace and so I ask You to equip me with Your power to accomplish what You have set before me. Give me just enough for exactly what I need and not a drop more. I desire to pant after You, needing You, wanting You and living my life one day at a time completely relying upon You. Love, Jennifer

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Are you chosen?

Today while sitting in traffic I was reading the Bible on my iphone when the end of this verse struck me...

Mark 13:20... But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days.

Chosen. Interesting word I thought. But what does that mean? Does He choose some and not others? What about those He doesn't "choose?" What happens to them?

Merriam Webster Online defines chosen as: one who is the object of choice or divine favor.

I certainly feel like He choose me. It's not so much that I'm using that verse in context, I understand He's talking about end times. What I'm refering to is that He used the word chosen, and I can relate to that word. It struck a cord in me because I once felt Him call me, and He revealed Himself in a personal and unique way.

I often wonder why He did that. What makes me so special? I'm so grateful to know Him, but my heart cries out "what about those who don't know Him?"

I really don't think I'm special. I'm not sure why there are those whom He doesn't reveal Himself so clearly too. I can only try and show you my heart, perhaps give a glimpse of what He sees.

I long for Him. To know Him, to be loved by Him. I want Him more than anything. I desire Him. I'm chasing after Him and I'm not going to let go until I know more, experience more.

What exactly am I chasing? What does that mean in real life? One thing I'm chasing is His peace. The kind of peace you can feel. Peace similar to a cloud that wraps tightly around and keeps you from falling when you hear the worst news of your life. For me that was when my mom was in ICU and the doctor gave the news that she had six months or less to live. That peace felt like cotton candy and all I had to do was open my mouth and taste it.

Today when I read chosen, my heart cried out and grabbed onto that word for my husband. "Jesus!!! Choose Javier." I want my husband to know Him. It's not that I want Javier to find a religion, or change, or donate money to church, or become weird.

I just want him to be blasted and washed by His love. I want him to feel 100% loved by his Creator. Just one blast and I know he'd be hooked! I've been convinced by that love. I want Him to call out Javier by name.

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, Have mercy on Javier. Have mercy on my husband. Choose him. Call him. Show Him who you really are. Pull off the scale on his eyes and let him see You. You called me, You love me and I'm asking You to do the same for Javier. It's the cry of my heart. I'm not going to let You go, I'm not going to stop asking for this mercy. I want it for the sake of my husband, for the sake of my children but also for the sake of the kingdom! Advance Your kingdom. Use me! Use him. Just a blast, Jesus. I know You want him! Love you always, Jennifer

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Inherited Obsessions

If my mom were still alive I'd call her up and our conversation would go like this, "mom, remember when I was little and would get "very attached" to certain things? Well, Lorenzo is just like me!"
My mom and I used to talk on the phone almost everyday. We talked about life, kids, God and more.
I loved how she always had wonderful, Godly advise and would end many conversations with a prayer, tears always in her voice. She was a woman who had empathy for all in need.
One story I remember her telling about me had to do with white gloves. Once when I was little I suddenly decided I wanted to go to sleep wearing my white Sunday gloves. She explained that I couldn't sleep with them and passionate little me pitched a royal fit. Many tears later, she won and the gloves were put aside. So she thought! Later when she went to check on me, there I was asleep wearing those gloves!
Later when I had kids, she used this story to point out that some battles aren't worth fighting!
How grateful I am that I had her, to teach me these things about motherhood. I miss her so much. I don't understand why she had to go now, there is so much more I need her to teach me!
Now I have Lorenzo, who in many ways is a little "mini-me." He's a passionate little guy who apparently has inherited my obsessions! In the picture notice how he's sleeping beside his new red shoes. He usually wants to go to sleep wearing his shoes, and knowing that some battles aren't worth fighting, I've bargained with him and instead her puts his shoes beside his pillow and sleeps that way! Wonder where he got that from! ha!
My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, Sometimes I don't understand why you gave me such a wonderful, wise mother and then took her away. There is so much more I needed to learn from her. Why now? I don't understand, but I do trust You. I look to You with my arms outstreched, expecting YOU to help guide me. I ask You for wisdom in raising these special kids You've trusted me with. I ask Your Holy Spirit to come and be that voice of wisdom, that unique guide that only He can be. Love, Jennifer

Friday, February 13, 2009

Where the learning begins

Here are the kiddies sitting at their favorite table. It's one of the many things my mom bought them. I put it outside in the garage and that's our pool in the background. Before you get worried, there is a metal gate that retracts blocking off the pool from ground to ceiling. I just opened it for the picture.

I didn't get the job I interviewed for. They felt my Spanish wasn't strong enough. So frustrating, but I'm believing He knows and is going to take care of my needs.

Today I started working on simple school lessons with Lorenzo. Claudia is in pre-k and has an hour of homework each night. It's amazing the push they put on these kids to learn everything so early. It would bug me except these kids are so active that it's good to put their little minds to work.

Did you see my dad's blog? He posted something interesting, you might want to check it out. Some exciting news, I've been dying for him to share!

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, Today I am asking "just what do you have in store for me?" You know exactly what I need, what is best for my family. Give me wisdom, I need clear answers and guidance from You. Love always, Jennifer

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Dad had this beautiful portrait of my dear mother made last summer. It was made using a recent photo of her before she got real sick. He put it in their room near her hospital bed. For three months she laid in that bed, slowly dying. Everyday getting weaker and more frail.
I would wake up every morning and wonder if she made it through the night. Was she still with us? I would go in quietly and check her, immediately relieved she was still there.
But the relief would quickly be replaced by dread as I would wonder how much longer she would have to suffer. I would check her breathing, was she breathing slower than the day before? I was constantly looking for "signs" that the hospice pamphlet said would accompany the end.
When she finally let go of my dad's hand and grabbed the hand of Jesus, I was an hour or so away on the highway, trying desperately to get to her. For months I'd been by her side, wanting to be with her as she met her Savior face to face.
But it wasn't to be, and in the end God knew. My dad was with her and witnessed a private, Holy moment.
I was able to see her before they took her away. I climbed in her bed and put her arms around me, sobbing like I'd never done before. For months I tried to be strong and keep her spirits up. I wanted her to know I'd be ok. But then her spirit was gone and it was just me saying goodbye to the earthly shell of what was my wonderful, sweet mother.
Oh how I miss her...
Last Thursday, my doorbell rang and it was the mail man handing me a long tube. Can you guess what was inside?
The portrait of my mother! My dad made a copy and wanted me to have something special and meaningful of her. Isn't that sweet of him? He has been the most wonderful father I could ever ask for.
I'm going Friday to get it framed and we're hanging it in Claudia's room!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Friday, February 6 2009 was our 11th wedding anniversary! 11 years people!!! Wow that went fast! I was 19 he was 25, we were in love and moving to Puerto Rico. We gave my parents a week's notice and my dad married us in Lakeland in my parent's home. My mom, the ever talented woman she was, pulled together a wedding for us in one week.

One week after our wedding, Javier left for Puerto Rico to start his new job and secure an apartment and vehicle for us. One month later I followed him and we began our new life together.

On Friday while holding hands at the breakfast table I looked into his eyes and said "you know after 11 years, I'm still deeply in love with you and get excited and get butterflies in my stomach over you." The man of few words looked back at me and said "me too!" That says it all.

God truly is the Healer. He healed my marriage and that's why we are still together. There were times when we could have gone our seperate ways, we could have left with very hurt and heavy hearts. It was only God's mercy that He poured down His amazing love and restored our love for each other. He took my broken heart and showed me Javier through His eyes. It's His love that is between us and binds us together! It's amazing how beautiful someone looks through His eyes.

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, Thank you for hearing my cry and reaching down with Your hand that heals. You touched my heart. You touched Javier's heart. I will be forever in awe of You. Love, Jennifer

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Missing out

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, Today the kids are sick and we are stuck here at home. I'm sorry I can't meet you at your house this Sunday, how about you come over and we meet at mine? I invite you into my day and ask you to be by my side. Help me comfort my sick little ones and give me extra strength and patience to be the good mother you have called me to be. Love Jennifer

Friday, February 06, 2009

Puerto Rico

This is a picture of my little guy Lorenzo. He turned 3 in November. We went on a long walk together while his sister, Claudia was in school.

This was taken in my neighborhood. One of the things I love about Puerto Rico are the colors of the island. The sky is SO blue and the trees SO green. You have to see with your own eyes to know what I mean.

I just love sitting in my backyard and looking at the bright green palm trees against the brilliance of the blue.

Not long ago we had mother bird make her nest in one of our palm trees. It was so neat watching the babies grow up. I got to see the mother teaching her babies how to fly. She led them all out on the palm branch and encouraged them to take flight.

That's what my mother did all my life, she taught and taught me so I could make it in this life.

Now she's gone and it's my turn to fly off and soar... taking all she taught me to help make my life count.

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, Thank you for the beautiful gift of life. Thank you for the wonderful mother you blessed me with. Help me to be a good mother to little Lorenzo and Claudia. Give me little bits of wisdom throughout my day to help develop what You created inside them. Love, Jennifer

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Waiting Quietly

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him

Psalms 62:5

Have you ever been in a time of waiting? Waiting for the blessing of a child... waiting for a healing? Waiting to hear about a job?
That's where I am today, waiting to hear if I got a job that I interviewed for last week.
Times are tough and I need this job. I hate the unknown... I like to know what's going to happen and have a game plan.
But like always in life, certain things are out of my control. So I turn to Him and wait quietly. Knowing my hope is in Him, not in a job.
My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus,
I am confident in you. You know exactly what I need physically and spiritually. You know me inside and out and so I simply trust and wait on you. I promise you today to do my part and I can't wait to see what you hold in my future. Love, Jennifer

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Grateful Today

24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24
This day was made by Him and oh how I rejoice in all He has given me!
It's amazing that three years ago when I cried out to Him for help to restore my marriage and keep my family together He saw this picture above! All the time He had me in His hands and He never left me. There were times that were scary and unknown but He brought me through!
My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, Today I am grateful for a loving husband and father. Thank you for the love you put into my heart for this man. Jesus, use me today to show him your love. Love, Jennifer

Monday, February 02, 2009

Background color


I'm frustrated about the color thing, I just can't get it to change! I'm thinking of changing the whole background to get a lighter color, maybe something in turquoise in honor of my mother... but I really like the faith, love, peace thing so I'll keep working on it!

I wanted to reply to the person who asked me about making the backgroud lighter, I'm going to play around and see if I can do that. Right now it doesn't allow me to do that because I'm using a the background from a certain website, please give me a few days to work on it! I certainly want it to be easy on the eyes!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

My New Look

I'm so excited about the new look my blog is taking. I haven't been happy with the look of this blog for a while but didn't know how to make changes. I thought about hiring someone to do a makeover on it. Finally I prayed and what do you know but I found a site that helped me re-do it all on my own!


I've still got more work to do. I need to update the profile and I want to start adding pictures. I love reading blogs that are personal and have pictures.

I've worked on getting the print as dark as possible to make it easier on the eyes to read. If anyone has any comments or suggestions I would love to hear them.

I'm going to take this blog in a lighter, different direction. I've thought of starting another...but I love to journal about Him! So I'm keeping the title the same but my post topics will including more personal, family stuff going on in my life.

This morning the kids and I are off to church. Javier left early this morning for a bike race. Thankfully a friend picked him up since we are sharing a car right now. I was worried I wouldn't have a ride to church.

It's my turn to teach the preschool class! Yippe!

My heartfelt prayer: Dear Jesus, Please come into my day right now. I pray you will walk with me into the classroom and be by my side as I share about your amazing love. I pray you will send angels down to surround my children, especially Lorenzo. Give me special wisdom to lead the class while still wearing my mother "hat." Love, Jennifer

Friday, January 30, 2009

Blog Under Construction

My blog will be undergoing some changes. Check back for a new look!

p.s. I hope I don't delete everything!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Her words

I found the most beautiful card from my mom, it's not dated but I know it's several years old. It was tucked between some books I was reorganizing. It says:

Thank You,
for Giving Me
Happiness and Smiles
I was thinking about you and how much you mean to me and how I can't imagine my life without you. Daughter, you are a blessing that I'm forever thankful for. I love being with you, and every time we're apart there's a little part of me that stays with you.
It goes on but those words... a little part of me that stays with you, just reached out and grabbed my heart. It was as if she was saying to me "I'm still with you..."
I can't imagine my life without you...
I just want to tell her, "I can't believe I'm 30 and your gone from my life. I can't believe you died mom."
As I sit here sobbing I know what she would say to me, she would tell me to call out on Jesus for help.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Mom said to trust...

I miss my mom so much.

Last night as I celebrated the New Year with my kids and hubby, I looked around and felt blessed. Blessed my children are healthy and happy.

But I also felt such a sense of loss. It really hit me again last night, how much I miss my mom. How much I loved her. I looked at her blog and past pictures and posts and just wanted to reach out and grab her through the computer. I felt like shaking her and saying YOU weren't supposed to die! You're supposed to be here laughing with us.

We are entering a new year without her. It hurts so much... words just don't describe the ache.

For a long time now I haven't read past posts from my mom's blog. All the posts after her surgery... I was with her during those times, busy living it out with her. I didn't want to take the time to sit at the computer when I could spend it with her. I knew it was all there for me to read later.

After she died, it was too painful to look at. It makes it more real that she's gone.

But now I'm starting to go back and read. Oh, to hear her voice through her writing!

When I visited her in March 2008 she gave me a word from the Lord. It was late at night after we spent hours sitting at her kitchen table talking. It would be our last meaningful face to face conversation before she died. The next time I saw her she was in hospice.

I wrote what she said down, she was too tired to write it for me and couldn't write very good anymore anyway. I sat down in her office, she beside me while she repeated what she felt was a word from the Lord to me. I folded the paper up and tucked it in my jewelery box when I got back home.

Now I'm facing a tough time in my personal life and I've pulled out that little note...

I promise I'll share what it says soon...