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Growing then Going…

Growing then Going…

Having a baby right before my sweet sixteen was traumatic at the least.

I remember thinking I could handle anything – even a baby… until labor.   I had to be induced, since I was 3 weeks passed my due date and the baby was already over 8 pounds!  I headed to the hospital, stopping for some McDonalds french-fries and a hot fudge sundae (because they go together), I checked in and was prepped for giving birth… I remember being so embarrassed in that little hospital gown, and having the nurses just poke and prod where they needed to.  I was scared out of my mind.  I ended up going through induction all day, to only have an emergency c-section by dinnertime.  I was lucky to be my doctor’s very first horizontal incision…  15 staples across my abdomen… whoo hoo!  Back then you did not go home after 24 or 48 hours. I was in for over a week.  I also shared a room with 5 other new moms.  Visiting hours were the law, and no one could spend the night with you – not even the baby.

My biggest concerns back then were not about how to raise my beautiful baby boy, but more about how much pain I was in, and how long was it going to last… I worried about the scar it would leave, and if the daddy would still love me.  I had no thoughts about the future of this little boy, just thoughts of love… I loved him more than I could have even imagined.  I just knew that Love was all I needed to be the best mama ever, and with my heart just bursting with it – I knew everything would be ok.  That was over 28 years ago, and I remember it like yesterday…

Well, I wish I could say that just loving your child was that simple.  I soon learned that love was more than a feeling.  It was sacrifice.  It was putting your own desires aside for the sake of another.  It was about protecting and even discipline.  Oh how I hated putting him in time-out!

As he grew, I grew.  We experienced a lot back then.  Some things I would like to forget altogether, but I know that the sum of my life now, is the addition of all the experiences I’ve had, both good, and bad, and I am kind of OK with how that turned out…

I am still considered pretty “young” most of the time. Especially in groups of women who have adult children.  I know I still have much to learn… but I can tell you what the hardest part of parenting as been so far… It’s letting go.  It’s having all of those mommy moments and then letting your kids go and just be who they will be.

I love being a mom, even when my heartbreaks, or I am frustrated beyond words.  Nothing I have ever experienced has brought me closer to God, or more dependent on Him than parenting.

Oh, to parent an infant or a toddler once again…. Sigh.

Don’t rush it folks… it will be gone sooner than you think. Really.


Africa Update or Mama Smiles… Whichever you prefer

Africa Update or Mama Smiles… Whichever you prefer

If you’re familiar with my blog, then you know that my one and only daughter, Katie, is spending 2 months is Swaziland, South Africa this summer.  I posted about it HERE, when I was still nervous, and she was still fund raising.  Then I posted HERE when the fund raising was over… She has just passed the half way mark, so I thought it might be fitting to post about it…

I thought we would not be able to communicate with her, at least not often, but to my pleasant surprise, we have been able to “chat” on facebook about once a week.  Her team is keeping a BLOG

, although they don’t get to post much, and one of the girls in her group has the international phone plan, that works occasionally, so I also get a random text once in a while.  This morning, I was blessed to get some “face time” with her because she was able to use an ipad and was in a South African mall with wifi… So, needless to say, my worrying has been at a minimum.

Her updates have been wonderful, and I can hear her excitement even in the words she types.  They are staying in a homestead in Swaziland.  There is no running water or any modern conveniences.  She has mentioned a time or two her grievance over not having real toilets, or showers.  They use baby wipes, and buckets of well water to clean with.  I’ve been instructed to have the tub cleaned and ready for her when she gets home.

She loves the people and her team.  The scenery is breathtaking and the children are her joy.  They work at “care-points” each day, feeding and caring for the children in the surrounding communities.  They have found several places to just help where needed, and they are always thinking of how to make a lasting impact.

She has been trapped in the shower shack (see the picture) by a heard of cows.  They have had some things stolen, by the cow herder.  He got caught, and fired, so everything was returned, but they woke to a dead cow in the front yard the next day.  So, since there is no refrigerators, they had the pleasure of watching the cow get cut up, and passed around.  Her exact words were ‘EW Gross!”

They went into a mental hospital, which was more of a hospital for the demon possessed.  It was the most terrifying thing she has ever experienced.  They managed to pray, and then get out, but it has stuck with them.  Katie told me today that she has planned a “Joshua” attack… since they can’t go back in the hospital, they will walk around it and pray till the ‘strong hold” comes down.  Prayers from here would be welcomed too…

They have been on safari, and have visited the mall.  They have fallen in love with the sweet bread that is sold through the jail-like bars on the windows of the stores throughout the area.  For the 4th of July they went to a party in South Africa… she said she hadn’t seen that many white people in one place since she got over there, and it actually felt weird. The food hasn’t been as bad as she feared and she misses chocolate more than anything…

One of the things she has learned is how simple sharing Christ really is.  She was preparing to say and do all the right things… And when it came down to it, she didn’t have to really say much, if anything at all.   She has been ministered to as much, if not more, then the people she is serving.

I must say, before she went, she had been living in a big city, doing the city life college thing.  I was concerned that maybe her heart wasn’t ready for such a big adventure.  Wow. I love being wrong sometimes.  Really.

Please keep her and the team in your prayers! Thank you!



Answered Prayer…Yes, it happens.

Answered Prayer…Yes, it happens.

My last post was about fellowship, and how important I think it is… That got me thinking about an even deeper fellowship, which is the glue that holds me together… Which got me thinking about a time when I was desperate for fellowship with a friend, or family member, and God made it clear that it was only time for Him.  I then thought I should share that story with you…

My oldest son has had many challenges in his life.  Much more than the average person for sure, and that has made life just a little bit more difficult for him and for those that love him.  This week we celebrated his 28th birthday, so we have come a long way!  We have some scars, but we also have some faith and we have clearly seen God’s hand in many of the trials we have endured.  I am very proud of the man he has become…

When he was 17 he had gotten into some trouble with the law, and had gone to jail for a short period of time.  This development had come after a long line of struggles and I was really exhausted.  On the morning of his court date, I had to drop two of my kids off at school, and one off at a friend’s house.  I had been sick, and I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for that morning as well.  I dropped off all of the kids, and was heading to the courthouse when it all just overcame me.  I needed to talk to my husband.  I called him and he didn’t answer.  So, I tried my mom.  She didn’t answer.  I called 3 of my friends.  None of them answered.  At this point I was crying and asking God where the heck everyone was!!  I got on a roll and just started screaming at Him.  I threw my phone across the van and really let God have it.  Why? I kept asking Him.  What am I supposed to do?  I told Him that I needed peace and direction!

I got to the courthouse and my son and his lawyer were outside the courtroom.  I was informed that within the hour we could all go home.  I had my doctor’s appointment, and I was still pretty upset, so I told the lawyer to drop my son off at the house, and I left.  He obviously had it under control.

I arrived at the doctor’s office almost 30 minutes late.  The nurse told me that I would now have to wait to be “fit in”.  So, being emotionally exhausted, I agreed with the terms and found a seat.  About 30 minutes later, I was moved to room on the far left of the building.  I sat in there for about another 20 minutes.  Then they came and moved me to the far right of the building.  I sat in there for about 15 minutes.  Then the doctor walked in the room…

I didn’t know her, but it was a big practice, and I was a “fit in” so I wasn’t alarmed that I wasn’t getting my regular doctor.  She seemed sweet enough at the introductions, and I immediately felt at ease.  She kindly took my hand and asked me what was bothering me.  Well.  I burst into tears and started telling her my parenting woes!  She encouraged me, by asking questions and really looking like she cared!  I ended up spilling the whole story in about 5 minutes.  She then took my hand again, looked me right in the eye and told me that she had gone through the same thing with her son a few years ago.  She then shared her story, and offered lots of advice, books for me to read for comfort and peace, and she even told me about a place that my son could go if he really needed to.

The nurse kept popping in and smiling and looking like she wanted to say something too.  The doctor asked the nurse to bring lunch to her, because she didn’t want to end our conversation just yet.  When the nurse came back, she asked if she could share something too.  She then told both of us that she used to be just like my son.  She told us how she felt and why she did some of the things she did.  She even told us what she thought when her parents tried to help her.  She then told us her beautiful story of redemption and transformation.

Well, after all of that sharing and crying, it turned out I had a sinus infection too.  I got some antibiotics, a list of resources that would help me with my son; some hugs, and headed home.

I left there in complete awe of my God.  He answered every single question I screamed at Him, just a few hours before.  He used those stories to give me hope and peace, and even an action list – which is important to type A’s like me.

A few weeks later, I called the doctors office to thank her.  I was told that she was not there.  She was just a friend of one of the doctors, who just happened to be in town that week, and was filling in that day because they were short staffed.  She was gone.  Really.

She was there, in that office, for just that day.  God knew what I needed, and even the questions I had, before I had even thrown my phone…  If that’s not an answered prayer, I don’t know what is.  I also realized that I had waited an awful long time to see the doctor.  Kinda like waiting on the Lord.  What if I had gotten impatient and left?  God’s timing is not the same as ours, but sometimes it’s pretty close if we just wait…

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

One of the resources she recommended is the book “The Power of a Praying Parent” by Stormie Omartian.  It has brought me much peace over the years.

The place she recommended was the Paul Anderson Youth Home for Boys.  We did end up having our son stay there for a while – and I can also recommend it!  It is a wonderful place, truly anointed by God.

Do you have a God story to share?  Are you still waiting on the Lord?





Yesterday was kind of a girl day for me.  I had lunch with 2 sweet friends I hadn’t seen in a few months, and then I had women’s bible study at my house that evening.  It was a wonderful day filled with laughing, crying, hugs, and love….

This morning when the alarm went off, I was not pleased.  I rolled over and told my husband I was too tired today!  He grunted and told me it was because I had too much girl time yesterday… which is “life force draining”.  Seriously?  Then he tells me that women have the “D.E.F.” (Drama Effect Factor)  Then he tells me that he thinks all women should come with a DEF label… any woman over a 10, should probably be a Nun, because most men couldn’t handle her.  Then he actually said, “Men have a DEF issue with women sometimes”.  YOU THINK?

He was totally playing around with me this morning and teasing me for keeping him and my son trapped in the basement until 10PM, while me and eight of my girlfriends had a fabulous time together.  He was a riot, and it did get me up – mostly to just slap him …

After I got out the door, I was thinking about what he said, and it really did make sense in a way.  Women do share emotion.  Men usually don’t.  Women usually deal with drama.  Men don’t.  I wouldn’t classify sharing each other’s burdens “drama” – but men usually do.  Now, I know there are exceptions to this rule – and my man has even been spotted tearing up at a Publix commercial or two.  He even attends a “men’s group” each week where they take a “lie” of the world and compare it to the truth of the Word… aaaaand they talk about sports…

I was actually melancholy yesterday before I had all of my “girl time”.  I have had a lot on my mind, and was just feeling blah.  After spending the day with my friends, I felt better.  Really better.  I didn’t feel “life force drained”.  I felt revived.

I think fellowship is very important.  It’s even important to God.  The Bible is filled with instruction and encouragement on fellowship. Hebrews 10:23-25 says, “ Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

I love spending time with my girlfriends.  I recommend joining a small group, or mom’s group, book club, or something.  Bible Studies come with the added bonus of learning God’s Word together, as well as praying for each other, which is awesome…  I know some ladies out there think they are loners.  You’re not.  You might not like a big group, and that’s OK, but no one should be alone all the time.  We weren’t designed for that.  You might have been burned or you’re scared, but we’ve ALL been burned and are scared!  True fellowship is worth the risk.  I promise.

I love being a girl and I love fellowship… How about you?

talking, listening & short shorts

talking, listening & short shorts

I talk a lot.  Sometimes I actually get tired of talking.  I’ve gotten better over the years, and have learned what conviction is, although sometimes it’s a little too late.  That’s the problem with us folks of many words.  The more you speak the more opportunity you have to say things that you probably shouldn’t have.

I think the gift of talking, comes with the gift of listening.  The first can be self-serving and empty with out the second.  Believe it our not, even God pointed that out in His Word… (Pro 10:19

, 12:18, 13:3 & James 1:19, Matt 12:26-37 (ouch).  If you can listen, you can speak life or death, and even be quiet when necessary.  You can help people, or hurt them.  I can testify to this, from years of experience!  That’s why I think the two gifts go together.  God usually doesn’t give us something that we won’t have to work out, besides salvation.

A couple of months ago, at one of my son’s baseball games, I accidentally sat with the opposing teams parents.  The lady sitting next to me was pretty sweet, and we chatted all though the double header.  We cheered for each other’s boys, and congratulated each other for good plays.  She’s a cheerleading coach and has a daughter and son, both in middle school.   We shared lots of “mom” stories, and we really seemed to hit it off.   One of the things I shared with her was the difficulty of raising a daughter and a son just a few years apart.  I warned her about the “crushes” from her daughter’s friends, and I told her about the “modesty” rules we had to have in our home.  My husband and I take modestly pretty seriously, and want our home to be a safe place, where my boys, and my husband, are not faced with “stumbling” in lust.  I casually told my new friend, that we didn’t allow any of my daughter’s friends to hang out in short shorts and tank tops, while lounging in our home.  It was a challenge! Especially through middle and high school!

That topic was really just one of many my new friend and I shared, and honestly, I didn’t even really remember it.  I don’t normally remember most of my conversations, until the middle of the night when conviction or Satan wakes me up.

We went back to play that team last week.  I will tell you that my insecurities were large and in charge, as I saw her sitting down the line with her family and friends.  I was expecting her to give me a half wave, and look away, as I was sure I probably offended her in some way or talked too much at our last encounter.  I know, I know… Lame.

Much to my surprise, she waved and even moved her chair down and sat with me.  As I sat there, thinking what an idiot I was, she excitedly told me that she had thought about me, and something I had said stuck with her, and has made a difference in her life!  What?  Really?  Excuse me, but being the Mom of 3 adults, leaves me in a mostly constant state of frustration.  I don’t know if I’ve ever had that statement said to me before…(I’m sure my mom can relate)

I looked at her, with obvious shock, and said, “what?”  She then excitedly told me that she had never thought about her son and daughter and the entire hormone thing together.  As a cheer coach, she had never even thought about those short shorts and tanks, and it hadn’t ever occurred to her that the way the girls dressed, just might be a stumbling block for hormone raging boys.  She had to order uniforms for her team, and she didn’t order the short shorts!  She was even communicating with Nike about trying to find more athletic attire for her girls.  She told me that those girls are athletes, and should look more like that as well!  She was even doing away with the hair bows.  She was on fire and focused on the challenge to modest up those uniforms, as well as staying aware of keeping her home a safe place.

Wow.  I was amazed.  First, that any of my babblings would be remembered, but then more importantly, I marveled at this women and how God was working in her life.  Her determination to make a difference was inspiring.  To be even more transparent, I was actually envious of her conviction that obviously surpassed mine.

It made me think about talking and listening.  I did listen to her, and she apparently listened to me.  How responsible should we be about what comes out of our mouths?  How thin is the line from hurt to help, and where does that responsibility lie? With the speaker or the listener?  God used something, as he usually does if we are really listening to things he wants us to hear.   She is using her voice and her influence to make a difference, and I believe she will.  I can only pray to do the same.

Are you a talker or a listener, or have you mastered the balance?



Really? for the week

Really? for the week

These are a few of the things that caused me to say, “really?” last week…

  • Watched 4 hours of a Storage Wars marathon…And liked it.
  • Traveled for 2 hours (each way) for my son to play baseball. Twice in one week.
  • Have the worst sunburn on my knees.  Just my knees.
  • Pollen.  Just pollen. (GA broke the count record at 9,369)
  • Spent an hour on the phone with a dog whisperer… (prozac dog post HERE)
  • Found out there’s a TV show called Duck Dynasty…(wondering why we can’t come up with a show idea and make it big…)
  • Had my daughter tell me that the larger spoons threw off the “feng shui” of her breakfast cereal experience.
  • Caught my husband watching Welcome Back Kotter on his iphone…
  • Had my son tell me the Hunger Games really wasn’t that violent.
  • Had to remind my son that 22 children were killed in the Hunger Games…

I also found out that my daughter is almost to her fundraising goal for her mission trip this summer.  She will be heading to Africa for 2 months.  You can read my original post about it HERE

If you feel led to contribute, please do! otherwise, we certainly covet your prayers for her as she fulfills her call.

What made you say Really? last week?


Dancing, ER’s & Gallbladders, Oh My…

Dancing, ER’s & Gallbladders, Oh My…

This week has been one of the strangest yet.  Saturday night my husband and I went to a formal event, complete with filet mignon, open bar, and a big dance floor.  I was in a gown, and he wore his tux as we danced and laughed and had a fabulous evening.

Sunday morning I had a stomach ache, but I was up and around.  Sunday night I woke around midnight with intense pain in my back and chest.  I was short of breath and nothing was making it better.  I woke my husband around 1, and he took me to the emergency room.

After the EKG and blood work, they did an x-ray and an ultra sound.  Then the doctor pushed on my gallbladder and I went though the roof.  It hurt so bad, I saw stars.  Apparently my gallbladder was so full of stones, that it was enlarged and stones were even backed up in my liver duct. I needed antibiotics and I had to have surgery that day. Really?

The doctor informed me that I would have the gallbladder removed, and then the next day, I would have a procedure to clean out my liver.  I ended up not having to have the liver procedure, because the doctor from the first surgery was able to clean it up himself. Praise the Lord.

Now I’m home, resting and recovering.

I’m still in shock.  I never had any issues with my gallbladder before. I honestly thought I had heartburn, or gas.  My husband thought I was having a heart attack. I certainly didn’t plan on having surgery this week.  It really reminded me just how fragile life is, and how things can change in an instant.

I have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and concern.  I know I have friends, but I have never had so many people offer prayers, food, company, or rides.  I’ve gotten cards, flowers and wonderful meals.  I know that I received a miracle, having to skip the liver procedure, and getting the medical care that I did.  On top of that, I literally felt the prayers of my friends, and that filled me with the peace that passes understanding. (Phil 4:6-7)

As much as an emergency surgery was not in my plans this week, it was in God’s, and he took excellent care of me, through the doctors, my family and my friends.

An unexpected added bonus has been watching my husband trying to take care of my responsibilities, as well as his… Today he even told me he thought that I’m really super woman… That alone, was worth all of it.

Now I am trying to figure out how to eat without having issues.  I’ve read all kinds of things!  I know I need to avoid fatty foods – anything with more than 3 grams of fat, should not go in my mouth.  Fried and spicy foods are also on the no no list.  With so many people who have had their gallbladders removed, you would think there would be an easy go-to place for diet.  Everything I found seemed to be all over the board, and even contradicting.

If you have had a similar experience, let me know!  I would really appreciate hearing how your eating habits have changed, and how long it took to get back to normal…

Top Ten Really of the week

Top Ten Really of the week

Top ten Really’s for this week…

  1. The opening prayer at the Grammy’s (more of a wow, than a really)
  2. I teased my friend over at Thriving Despite Us about wearing velour sweat pants, so she gave me a pair… I tried them… and loved them. They do not have anything written across the bottom either… Don’t worry, I won’t wear them out of the house…
  3. My daughter’s Facebook fast only lasted 24 days… (bahaha)
  4. Having my 14 year old tell me that, even though he doesn’t always agree with our rules, I don’t have to worry about him breaking them.
  5. Realizing I haven’t scrap booked in 4 years… (after doing it daily for about 10) where did the time go?
  6. Buying doggie diapers, a pheromone collar, and a “thunder jacket” for the prozac dog… (mentioned in last week’s Top Ten)
  7. Seeing a little boy follow his mama around the store with one thumb in his mouth and the other hand in his pants…
  8. Listening to my husband make random noises, and then a few minutes later hear him tell our son to stop making random noises, AND then he asked my son why he does that…
  9. Hearing my 14 year old explain the reason’s he isn’t going to date, (besides not being allowed) is because he doesn’t have a job, a car, or time…
  10. Standing in the pet store, on Valentine’s day, with my friend…she’s wearing a nice, but plain Polo sweater, kakis, and loafers…with a cart full of kitty litter… I’m wearing a bright pink sweater, a shirt with a big sequin heart, and rhinestones all over my jeans and shoes… buying the aforementioned doggie supplies…Then my friend told the person behind us to go ahead, cause we were together… sigh. (if you don’t get this, it’s ok… my husband had to read it twice and didn’t think it was as funny as I did)

Ok folks, I’m ready for you’re list… what made you say, “really?” this week?


Top Ten Really? of the Week

Top Ten Really? of the Week

Since my blog is titled, Really Jennifer, and it’s usually about things I say, “really” to, I’ve decided to have my top ten of the famous expression as a regular post… So here’s the first one that should have been posted last week… Enjoy.

My top ten Really’s of the week…

  1.  Traffic. Everyday. Of. My. Life.
  2.  The Superbowl halftime show… that I didn’t watch but read all about later.
  3.  Superbowl commercials with half naked ladies in them… and watching them with my pubescent son… (how fast can YOU change the channel?)
  4.  Marisa winning The Next Great Baker… (I liked Nadine better)
  5.  Holding my dog, crying my head off, while listening to the guy at the dog pound explain to me the cheapest way to put my crazy dog to sleep…then he tells me I can bring the body back to him for free disposal…
  6.  Actually buying and administering doggie prozac.
  7.  Gas Prices.
  8. Politics.  (Add a Seriously! to this one)
  9.  Having my college student explain to me why she could never live with “parentals” again, now that she’s independent…
  10.  Having to explain the difference between independence and freedom to my college student.

These are the most memorable of the week.  What can you add to this list?