Wednesday, April 27, 2016

the mud pit

hello, blog.

it's been 2 years.  almost exactly.  minus 1 day.

my blog is like produce in my kitchen.  i go in spurts where i eat every produce item i buy.  nothing goes bad.

and then i over-do it.  i buy bulk.  i get bountiful baskets.  i purchase enough food for a family of 5 when i am a non-family of...1.  and before i know it, i have produce everywhere in my kitchen.  and i ignore it.  but i can't throw it away, because that would just be a waste.  instead, i leave stuff sitting on my counter and keep checking it to see if it's molding yet, and THEN i can throw it away.  but in the meantime, i just pass by it with no intention of eating it ever, but doing a quick check once in awhile to see if i can justify throwing it away yet.

true story.  i have a bowl of 5 oranges that have been sitting on my microwave since Easter, which was a month ago.  those stubborn things won't mold.  but i don't trust them.  so, therefore, ergo, they will sit there until they show signs of rotting.  because to throw them away before that point would just be a waste.

ok so it's not exactly like my blog.  but all that to say, there are random days i remember my blog and pull it up but have no intention of writing anything.  2 years later, i finally decided to write something.

because tonight something kinda cool happened.

i was on a drive tonight (it's what i do.  especially when i'm in a tough season. ...a lot of miles have been put on my car the last couple of years).  trying to figure out why i couldn't get out of the slump i had found myself in.  this song was next on the playlist in my car, and the driving rhythm of this part of the song caught my attention, and then the words did --

(play the song.  Shane & Shane - Psalm 46 [Lord of Hosts].  i tried to queue it up for you at just the right part so you could feel like you were there but i don't think it worked - go to 1:28)   

O God, who makes the mountains melt
come wrestle us and win...

Lord of hosts you're with us
with us in the fire
with us as a shelter
with us in the storm...
You will lead us
thru the fiercest battle
oh where else would we go?
but with the Lord of hosts...

instantly this image of someone fighting/wrestling/trudging thru a mud pit came to mind.  maybe because i had just watched a clip last night of Kacy Catanzaro in "Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge" ... but that's beside the point.

and i am not even kidding you.  as that image is going thru my head, i'm driving down the road and i glance to the right...and there's this big mud pit from all the rain we had yesterday.

i'm seriously not even kidding.  it happened in that order.  and when things like that happen, you tend to not just let it pass by.  instead, i pressed in and asked the Lord to show me what He was wanting to show me.

you look at this mud pit and you can easily tell that if you walk around it, especially behind it in this picture, there's dry land.  this mud pit is not hindering anyone from getting anywhere, trust me.  but i saw myself taking the mud pit route.  struggling in the mud pit.  trying to fix things in my own way.  pretty much taking all the hard things of the season i'm in and drenching myself in the yuckiness of each of those things.  focusing on them.  determined to wrestle each one of them in a futile attempt to make sense of them in order to resolve them. dumping the mud right on over my head and struggling to take steps forward because i keep getting my flip flops stuck in the sinking hopelessness that ensues whenever you focus on all the hurts, wounds, and things you just can't...fix.

meanwhile, Jesus is walking slowly along beside the mud pit, on the high and solid ground. waiting.  always patiently waiting, with that sweet look of unconditional love in His eyes.  those eyes that look on with complete fullness of love but with a slight sadness to them, as if to say, "I am waiting here and I want so badly to rescue you from that pit but you have to make the decision to let Me pull you out.  Then walk with Me up here on the higher ground."

the route where you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2)  the route where the mud pit and all its yuckiness might still be there and might not be resolved, or "dried up".  but it's the route where you continue to walk the high ground with your eyes fixed on Jesus and the mud pit becoming more and more at a distance.  it's the route where you believe what Jesus says about you, who He says you are.

that is the route i want to take.  

sometimes its easier to just jump on in the pit, let's just be honest.  but it never goes well for you.  it never goes well for me.  it's hard work to stay out of the mud pit and sometimes it feels pretty much impossible to stay out of it.

but may we (may I) choose to let Jesus rescue us again and again.  may it become less and less of an occurrence.  because may we (may I) continue to grow more determined in keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and following His lead - for He is the only One who will never fail us.  He will never utter condemnation or hold a false notion against us.  He is full of mercy, tenderness, compassion, and love.  He is completely trustworthy and He will never fail us, no matter where the route takes us.

He is the Lord of hosts.  the Lord of Heaven's Armies.  He's the One i want to follow.

Monday, April 28, 2014

the day I made homemade mashed potatoes

today I made homemade mashed potatoes all on my own for the first time ever.  I thought I should document it.  I also cooked zucchini squash for the first time ever.  score and score!

what I didn’t know, when I cut into the potatoes to prep them, was that these were purple potatoes (I’m new in the kitchen, c’mon!).  when I cut into them, I thought they were beets and I pulled out the bag to make sure the label said “potatoes”.  sure enough, my mashed taters turned out to be a fun, spring-colored purple!!  it made me laugh. :D this might be the coolest colored meal I’ve ever made!


on another happy note, last Thursday night (4 nights ago), I planted my seeds in their little seed pods in hopes of having my very first garden this summer!  I planted 50 edamame seeds, and then 50 more seeds (a combination of cucumbers, sugar snap peas, carrots, onions, and beets – blehhh, yuck).  this morning I was BEYOND ecstatic to see little beet sprouts sproutin’ on up!  throughout the day, more and more things started popping through the dirt!  it’s so magical, everyone should try it!!!

I like to think the positive words of encouragement and the happy dances that surround these trays promote quick, bountiful harvests!



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

the beauty of this moment

I went on a quest to get wood this afternoon to build my hammock stand.
I may have gotten distracted by the warm sunshine...
I'm at a coffee shop, enjoying a little reading outside in the sun before I continue on in my search for wood.
There is a beautiful, warm breeze blowing.
As if that's not enough, my ears perked up when they picked out the melody line of "I Shot the Sherriff" by Bob Marley playing over the speakers. My ears had tuned out the jazz music playing, until this great jazz rendition of the Bob Marley song came on.  A jazz rendition of Marley?? I didn't even know such a thing existed!!

We have such a personal God that delights in giving good gifts!  He knows what warms my heart - coffee, sunshine, warm breezes, and music that reminds me of the islands.

I'm so glad I listened to that still, small whisper that said, "grab your iPad out of the car and stay awhile" as I started walking to my car to continue with errands.  This was unexpected!  But I suppose that's how God most often works. ;)

Now there's a rock/Celtic song playing! Who's up for a spontaneous Irish jig??

Monday, April 21, 2014


today I really just wanted the beach and the ocean and Jesus.

I thought maybe I’d just drive to another state in search of a substitute for the beach and the ocean.  but everywhere I could think of is just full of shopping options – and I really don’t enjoy shopping.  I’m like, a professional at buyer’s regret.  I’ll buy something.  and then return it.  true story.  the guys at Guitar Center started recognizing me because I bought a guitar, then returned it.  then later I bought a djembe and returned it.  when I went in to buy the djembe, one of the guys goes, “so you ended up returning that guitar, huh?” – embarrassing.

the other option was the mountains, which I’m actually really not a fan of either.  oh the claustrophobic atmosphere of tight, windy roads…forests of trees blocking the beautiful sunlight…temperatures 50 degrees colder than where you started your trek… so far from food establishments… is anyone else’s heart starting to beat faster and you feel a panic attack coming on??  stay calm, close your eyes, and go to your happy place!!


a few years ago or so, someone I hardly knew told me I was dramatic.  I said, “whatever”.  now I see there may have been maybe a little bit of truth to that statement.  :)

the point is – getting back to the point here – it was clear that I was not going to get my beach/ocean/Jesus experience in today.

you wanna know what I did instead?  I transplanted my first ever mint plant into an actual pot.  I know, I know – “jen” and “plant” really don’t go together (neither do “jen” and “pot”…for the record).

I forget how much of an outlet it can be to just create.  creating/playing music is a huge outlet for me.  exercising is an outlet.  but I forget that I like to create outside of just music.  I started trying to learn how to bake recently.  unfortunately, my high school girls that come over for Bible study have been my guinea pigs.  most of the time the verdict is, “…it tastes healthy” – and to that I have to agree.  I haven’t mastered the art of baking good-tasting, healthy things.  I tried to make my very first apple crisp last week.  did you know there’s a difference between a “mound” and a “mount”?  yeah.  apparently you’re not supposed to create a mountain of apples for an apple crisp.

photo (2)for anyone wondering, this is a mount.  not a mound.  do not do this if you’re trying to make an apple crisp.

so today I “created” by playing in dirt.  and then by playing with my camera, taking pictures of what I created by playing in the dirt.  my cousin has inspired me with the pictures she’s been blogging with lately.

this is my mint plant.  in a green pot.  because mint is green.  my roommate named him Wilbur.  I don’t know why she named it – it’s not like I name inanimate objects…  ok yes I do.

mint plant

Monday, March 10, 2014

the gifts of today

lest i take my days for granted and overlook blessings as a given...

-today I got to drink pure, clean water out of jugs!  CLEAN water!
-today I got to take time to enjoy my morning coffee and talk with my Father…the Creator of the UNIVERSE.  seriously?!  I am so thankful for Jesus!
-today I was thankful for the flexibility of my job, because I could not concentrate on work this morning and so I moved on to other things after a couple hours of trying.
-today I got to see family!  family is a gift I too often take for granted.
-today I got to have coffee with friends and laugh and dream and plan.
-today I got to listen to music and have a spontaneous dance party in my kitchen!  what a gift it is to be able to hear music and be able to dance (even if I’m a white girl – I don’t even care!).
-today I got to taste spring!  ok not literally.  I got to feel spring.  it was finally 70 degrees!  2-4” of snow forecasted for tomorrow, but that’s beside the point. :)
-today I experienced victory over insecurity!  I experienced what it was like to act out of love and not out of fear in a situation where I normally would’ve fallen to fear!  thank You, Jesus, for the victory that can only come thru You!
-today I was reminded of the opportunity I had to go thru YWAM a few years ago, the forever friends I made thru that experience, and the way God has completely redirected my life since then!
-today I am thankful for grace and for the countless ways I have experienced God’s unending grace thru fellow brothers & sisters in Christ.
-today I am thankful for the vehicle that I have – it’s reliable, it has a sunroof, it has heated seats, and is a blessing in so many ways!  I’m thankful I even have a vehicle.
-today I got to experience love thru so many people, in different ways!
-today I was able to see the sunset – and what a magnificent one it was, too!  I am so thankful I have my sight and that God delights in blowing us away with brilliant colored skies!  the picture doesn’t do it justice.

Sunset 3.10.14

i.  love.  my life.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

"i join with you - will you join with me"

a friend posted a link to this blog via Facebook.  it's something that weighs on me as well, and since someone else already wrote a good blog on it, i might as well just link to that and spend my time doing something else - like making coffee.  ooh.  now THAT is a great idea!!  :)

and i love how this blog ends.

Loving and Understanding Your Unmarried Friends Better

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Letting Go

this is one of those songs where I swear they read my heart and composed the lyrics.  I love how intimately my Father knows me.  He knows that it is thru music that I most often connect.  I bought this album 2-3 weeks ago, but this song didn’t stand out to me until Jesus started taking me thru a deep journey over the last week or so.  this encompasses what He has been doing in my heart.  letting go… oh that He would take me deeper and lead me to pursue the things He has for me, not the things I seek in vain.