Wednesday, June 4, 2014

FAITH'S POEMS

My daughter is wrapping up 4th Grade.  She'll be moving to the Middle School next year.

I should tell you...my daughter...she's amazing.

I know, I know...I'm her mom...of course she's amazing.  Most every parent feels that way about their child.  And they should...all children are amazing.  They are gifts from God.  I feel the same way about my son.

You have to understand, though, that my daughter has gone through some pretty rough spots in her ten years.  She's gone through more than I can ever imagine.

And she's a stronger person because of it.

I'm a stronger person because of her.

She inspires me.

Every year the 4th graders write a book of poems.

This is a big deal.

They type up their poems, include clip art and photos, and then spend a morning in the school's publishing center where they choose a cover and learn to bind these one-of-a-kind writings into a keepsake book.

Yesterday she brought home, "Faith's Fabulous Book of Poems".

I read them.

They made me laugh...and they made me cry.

I'm sharing one with you...my favorite...because it sums her up perfectly and beautifully.

Here it is:

BIO POEM

Faith

Humorous
Athletic
Smiley

Who wonders what it would be like in Antarctica

Who loves to eat lots of candy
Who loves to play sports
Who loves to go on adventures
Who loves to play the piano
Who loves to go shopping

Who is an artistic girl
Who gets along with her older brother

Who likes to hang out in her room
Who likes to play with her three dogs
Who likes to eat tacos

Who wishes she had all the dogs in the world

Who dreams of being an artist
Who dreams of being a pet groomer

Who wants to play video games all the time

Who plans on being a taller girl
Who plans on having a great life

Who knows a lot about dogs

Who knows how to play lots of sports

Who stays herself no matter what!!!


Yep.  That's my girl.

Wouldn't change one thing about her.


Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple day.

peace.
jeanine

Friday, May 23, 2014

ENDURANCE. REALLY?

This Sunday I am scheduled to talk to the children at both services during the Children's Moment at church.

The Sunday School theme for month of May is, "Endurance".

The lesson this week encourages the kids to stick with it because God knows the end of the story and encourages them to find huge comfort in discovering that no matter what they face, God has it already worked out. 

Endurance.

Really?

Considering the events of the last few days...weeks...actually the last couple of months...being scheduled to do this message on "endurance" is quite ironic...and honestly, a little humorous.

I'm going to trust God to guide my heart and mind.  Trust that he will provide the message for this servant to deliver.

Because on my own...I got nothin'!

Wish me luck!

Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple day!

peace.
jeanine

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

SEVENTEEN DAYS

We're almost there.

Yep...just a little...bit...longer...

Twelve more days of school until summer break...17 if you count weekends.

Those of you who know me really well know that this mamma loves summer break.

I love having my kids home...even if sometimes they are just lumped on the couch or complaining of being bored.

They are home.

Home.

I know some moms who dread this time of year.

Dread.it.

They can hardly wait for school to start up again in the fall.

I'll admit, there will be days during the upcoming months of June, July and August that I, too, will welcome the thought of the next school year.

But even on those days I'll still like the fact that they are home.

Because I love the presence of my children.

Seventeen more days.

Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple day.

peace.
jeanine

Friday, May 16, 2014

HE KNOWS JUST WHAT TO SAY

I love how God always knows just what I need to see or hear, when I need to see or hear it.

Maybe it's through an article I come across, something I see or hear, a post someone puts out there or sends me, or a thought that he places in my head or heart.

Today He gave me this:

My healing is quickened through faith.

     Wholeness is our natural state of being - the pattern of perfection inherent to all life.  Healing is the process of bringing that innate wholeness into full expression.
     If I am injured, millions of cells collaborate to complete their healing work in my body.  Some cells focus on repairing the wound while others fight infection.  Divine Life continually seeks to restore wholeness in my body, mind, and spirit.
     If I perceive sickness or disease, I look beyond surface appearances and behold the deper truth of my wholeness.  I expect and accept healing for myself and others.  My faith in the power of Life quickens the healing process.

For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal.
~ Jeremiah 30:17


Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple day.

peace.
jeanine

Thursday, May 15, 2014

CAR + KEYS...

Look what my husband has allowed me to have...and use...today:

















My car keys and vehicle have been returned.  Well...no one ever actually TOOK them from me.  Scott has been taking my car to work (because it's nicer than his car) or it's been sitting in the garage and my key has been hanging on it's designated hook in the back entry.  But I haven't been allowed to use either one for the past sixteen days.

Wait...I haven't driven in sixteen days?

This is unusual for me...for my husband...for my kids...because in our family, I'm the driver.

My husband drives when he needs to drive.  Other than that, I do probably 90% of the driving.  This has never been one of his favorite things to do.  So let me tell ya'...when I get to sit in the passenger's seat, or even in the back seat...I feel like a princess riding in a chariot.

All-in-all, though...I don't mind being the main driver in our family.

But when one has been on a lot of prescription medication as well as just having had surgery, driving isn't smart.  Not smart for me, not smart for my family, not smart for other people who are on the road with me.  It's just dumb.

But I have been off all medicines since Saturday.

And today I'm scheduled for a haircut.

And I really...Really...REALLY need a haircut.

So today I get to pick up that key, sit in the driver's seat of my car and drive a whole whopping seven miles (one way, mind you) to the hair salon.

If you'd like, I can post my driving route and approximate departure and destination times so you can stay clear of these particular roads during those times.

Nahhhhhh...

I'm just gonna trust that, as always...God's got this.

Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple...and drive-safe kind of day.

peace.
jeanine


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

MAKE A MEMORY

Our son is a member of the track and field team.

This is his second year participating.  Last year was his first year while he was still in middle school and now this year, his first year of high school.

He loves it!

Let me say it again, just to make you understand the significance...

He...LOVES...it!

For the last many years he has also participated in football.  Starting first with flag team football in fifth grade up to just this past fall during the start of his freshman year.

This, too, he once loved.

But the ninth grade football season ended for him in incredible disappointment.  I don't think he will participate again next year.

He knew he would never be the star football player.  But he practiced hard, had an excellent attitude (we know because the coaches told him), and stepped up his performance from the beginning of the season to the end of the season (we know this, too, because we saw it and again, the coaches told him).  He played in most games for a few minutes here and there...but not all games.  Some kids were run ragged playing both offense and defense, while a select few spent most of their time on the bench.  Yep...it's high school.  I get it.  The "win" is the goal.  Not like last year when the coaches said, "It's about building a team and refining the sport.  Winning isn't our top priority."

So this past fall, when the last game of the season approached, the coach told our son...in front of the team, "No matter what...you're playing in the last game."

Our son was excited!

The day of the game came and it was cold and raining.  We sat in the bleachers at the opposing team's field, huddled in blankets and rain gear and waited for the game to begin.

There on the sidelines, stood our son.

Waiting...

...and waiting...

...and waiting.

It was getting close to the end of a really close game and we ended up winning.

Sort of.

Our son never played.  We watched as he stood on the sidelines...cold, wet and shivering.

It was a loss...at least in my mind.  Not for the kids on the team that played hard to win.  It was a loss for the coach.  It was a loss for my son.

We got in the car to head home and I was in near tears knowing the disappointment that would be in my son's heart when he rode the bus home with his teammates.


I waited for him to walk through the door so I could hug him and tell him how very proud he makes me.  And as my tall, strapping, curly-headed boy walked into the kitchen, tears were brimming in his eyes and he tried hard to hold them back.

He walked over to me and I wrapped my arms around him and told him how much I loved him and how sorry I was he didn't get to play, like he was told he would.

His response was, "No, mom.  I'm the one who's sorry.  Sorry that you had to sit in the cold and rain for nothing."

I know this isn't what he said, but what I heard was, "I'm sorry I'm nothing."

Unexpectedly, I saw the coach a few weeks later and with as much pleasantry as I could muster, told him how disappointed our son had been after that last game.

Coach wouldn't even look me in the eye.  He sat with his head down and said, "Yeah...I really screwed up on that one.  I realized it on the way home from the game.  I'm sorry.  I really blew it."

I told him I wasn't the one he needed to apologize to.  That evening our son received an apology via email, encouraging him to keep playing.

He isn't sure, but our son has said several times since then that he doesn't think he really wants to play football again next season.  And every time he says it I can just see the disappointment and sadness his is eyes.

Whatever he decides, we will support him either way.

* Note:  We're all human.  We all make mistakes and have one time or another broken a promise.  This football story is just that...a mistake. *

Now let's move up to yesterday's Conference Track and Field Tournament in a neighboring town.  The team was dismissed from school late-morning and our son didn't walk through the doors to home until nearly 10 PM last night.

As a team, they did good.

Individually, our son was happy with his 100 meter and high jump.

Did he come close to winning in either or qualifying for state?

No.

But he came home elated over the day's activities!

While he sat in the kitchen devouring six reheated chicken strips and left-over fries from the Dairy Queen that we had all had for dinner earlier and telling us excitedly about the day, he was fumbling with a little piece of paper that he held in his hand.

I asked him what it was.

He said, "Oh...it's just a little inspirational thing."

I asked if I could see it and as he ate another piece of chicken he gladly handed it over to me.

As I read it, tears brimmed in my eyes once again, but for a different reason than after that last football game.  That "little inspirational thing" read,

Today:  Believe, Envision, Think and Compete!
This is fun day...Glorified recess.
People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
Do your best and make a memory.
It's a great day to be a TIGER!
You will compete well today!

My husband asked to read it when I was done. He probably wouldn't admit it, but I think he might have gotten a little teary-eyed over it, too.

He asked our son, "So bud...who gave you this?"

With a mouthful of chicken our son replied, "Coach R__."

The Coach.

I understand now why our son enjoys this sport like he does.

Because he's encouraged and the expectation is to "do your best and make a memory."

He has never come home apologizing to us for "having to be there for nothing."

I really hope this is a sport he continues to find himself making many memories in over the next few years.

And I hope Coach R__ and the rest of the track and field coaching staff keep coaching the way they do and that they continue to make those memories happen.


Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple day.

peace.
jeanine

* After publishing this post I was informed that the "little inspirational thing", as my son called it, is referred to by the track and field coaching staff as a, "zoom-zoom".  These small pocket-sized notes are intended to give the athletes some perspective and motivation for the biggest meets of the year. *


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

HOME ALONE

HOME
My favorite place to be.  I like to go out and do things, too...but home is always where I long to be at the end of the day.

ALONE
Also a favorite.  Sometimes way, Way, WAY too much of a favorite, though.  Except for when my husband and kids are with me...then it's a whole different story.

HOME + ALONE
This is my day today.
The first one in a while...and under less-than-normal circumstances.
Not sure what to expect.

But I'm pretty sure...

...I won't have nearly as much fun as Kevin did.



















Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple day.

peace.
jeanine

Monday, May 12, 2014

MAKING MY WAY BACK


The last two weeks have been challenging and frightening.

In fact, the last several months have been challenging and frightening.

It started in February with Parker having mono and then a lump on his neck that wouldn't go away.  The ENT/surgeon was quick to "dislike" the lump and wanted it removed immediately, especially considering the RB (retinoblastoma) history in Scott and both of the kids.  The fear the doctor had of this lump being cancerous was one he didn't hide from us.  His thought was he would rather do surgery and be happily wrong about cancer than not do the surgery and wait.  The end result was that he was "happily wrong about cancer" and the lump turned out to be residual effects from birth that turned up years later.

Joy!

Two weeks ago I went to Urgent Care and then to the ER with what I thought was an appendix issue.  After a CT scan and an ultrasound it was believed I had a mass on my ovary, despite having a hysterectomy less than a year ago.  My OB doctor on call at the hospital, as well as the ER doctor, painted a frightening picture.  Ovarian cancer.  I needed to see an gynecologic oncology specialist at the U of Minnesota but that couldn't get scheduled until later in the week.  They convinced me to stay overnight at the hospital in order to manage pain and anxiety.  My OB knows the cancer history of Scott and the kids very well and the anxiety that accompanies the wife and mother of these three incredible people, so I agreed to stay overnight and followed the prescribed medications.

Tomorrow it will be a week since my surgery.  To everyone's relief, there was no tumor/cyst/mass.  My right ovary somehow "twisted" and filled with blood.  The fist-sized ovary is what looked on the CT scan and ultrasounds to be a tumor/mass/cyst...whatever you want to call it.  But it wasn't called cancer!  The ovary was removed and I went home the same day.

Joy!

Today I'm uncomfortable, sore, bruised and feel like I've been punched and kicked in the stomach.  But I don't have cancer, so I'm looking at all the physical healing as more of a bump in the road...a glitch in the system.

Emotionally, though, I'm struggling.  I was on a LOT of medicine and although that medicine eased pain and anxiety, it also caused memory lapse prior to, as well as a little after, surgery.  This is very difficult for me to accept.  Incredibly.difficult.  Difficult to the point of it causing more anxiety, but for different reasons than before.  Not knowing what happened during this time is almost more than I can stand.

Along with lapse in memory, the medications made the nights very long post-surgery.  One would think I could just sleep.  I do, but not after struggling to get to sleep.  Getting comfortable at night has been challenging and for several nights I slept on the couch because the couch "cradles" me just right and I could sleep without much discomfort.  But even though I was able to get physically comfortable, I was finding that once it was it was dark, so were my thoughts.  There was one night I actually had to sleep with a light on because I suddenly found myself terribly afraid of the dark.  It is when my head hits the pillow and the night sets in that the anxiety from lapses in time sneak in to taunt me.

Last night I was desperate to sleep in my own bed.  Again, my head hit the pillow and the taunting began.  I decided the devil is having fun with my discomfort over time lapses.  I found myself having to repeat over and over and over again, "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.  The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it."  Finally Jesus took control of the anxiety, relaxed my mind and heart and body and I was asleep, even if only for a few short hours.

This morning I was reading the GrowPrayStudy (GPS) email received daily from our church.  Today's devotion ended with this prayer,

"Lord God, when the night seems darkest around me or those I love, I ask for your comforting presence.  Remind me that joy comes in the morning.  Amen."

Joy comes in the morning!  In the light I can see more joy than I can even begin to measure.  Joy in the love of my husband and children.  Joy in our health.  Joy that comes from us being a family.  Joy in the fact that no...matter...what...God doesn't let go.  He doesn't.  From the darkest times to the brightest times, He doesn't let go.  He's there through it all.  I was telling someone recently that in every single one of the trials that have been present in our family, joy has come from each one.  Joy in seeing God's hand in things, even if we don't see it right away.  Joy in what is perceived as a challenge, only to be presented with someone or something incredible despite that challenge.  Joy in the people God has blessed us with in our lives.  Joy in knowing that there is much to be thankful for and that this, too, shall pass.  Joy in another day...another hour...another minute.

During yesterday's sermon at church, the pastor was referring to a friend of his who enjoys scuba diving.  This friend told him that during scuba training they warn people that situations may arise where it gets really dark under the water.  When this happens it's easy to get disoriented and divers are instructed to reach up and "feel the bubbles" because bubbles go to the surface and lead you to safety. 

When I woke up yesterday I had incredible anxiety over leaving the house and attending church...a place that normally makes me feel safe...so at this point in the sermon I almost had to keep myself from reaching my arms up in an attempt to find the bubbles that would lead me to the safety of the surface!  Thankfully God kept me still in my seat because had this actually happened I would have no doubt looked as crazy as I was already feeling!

This weekend the prescription medications went dry and I'm managing pain and discomfort with over the counter Ibruprofen or Tylenol.  Although they don't work as well physically to manage the pain, hopefully this will allow the prescription medications to exit my body and ease the emotional challenges and horribly disconcerting feelings they inadvertently brought with them over the past couple of weeks.

I'm going to nap now.  Parker has a band concert tonight and I want to be able to enjoy this last performance of the year.  I hope that this nap will bring much needed sleep that has been eluding me at night.  I also hope that tonight's slumber will be better than last night...and tomorrow night will be better than tonight.

I must remember to "follow the bubbles" to the safety of the surface and remind myself that JOY comes in the morning!


Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple...and joy-filled day!

peace.
jeanine

Monday, May 5, 2014

PLANNING

Today I am planning.

However, I'm not sure what, exactly, I am planning for.

This makes it challenging to plan.

I have a out-of-the-ordinary day tomorrow.

A day that could go multiple directions.

I could make a plan for each of those potential directions.

But that seems a waste of a beautiful day today, doesn't it?

I mean...I could plan for direction A, B, C or D...and only actually need one of these plans.

Planning for the other three would all be for not.

I could plan for all of these potential directions, need only one of them, and even have my plans for that one be completely off-the-mark.

There are times when planning is critical.  It's essential in making sure things happen in an efficient and orderly fashion.  Dotting all the "i's" and crossing all the "t's".  Planning keeps calendars and schedules on track.  It makes sure people are where they need to be when they need to be there.  It's knowing one of multiple steps that can be taken at any time during the process.

I'm not sure any of that will work tomorrow.

So, basically, any efforts to plan today would be like trying to nail wind to a board.

Just not gonna happen.

Basic plans are in place for kids and dogs and where's and when's.

Other than that...I gotta just let it go.

Give it up.

Let the wind blow where it may and trust that God will hold on and not let go if the winds get too strong and try take me with them.

Today I will do my normal Monday routine.  I'll plan for an off-schedule Tuesday.  Then Wednesday we can start working our way back to normal again.

And...if somewhere along the way it gets a little bumpy...well...God will smooth it out eventually.

Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple day.

peace.
jeanine

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A BUTT-DIAL FRIEND

Last week I received a call on my cell phone from my longest-time and dearest friend.

We both have busy families with children similar in ages.  It's unusual for us to call each other unless we're in the process of making plans.  Our communication is usually via text or email.

So I was quick to answer when I saw her number come up on my caller ID...even though I was walking out the door.

I said, "Hello?"

No one answered, but I could hear static noises and a sound like wind blowing in the background.

"Hello?" I said again.

Still nothing.

A third time I said, "Hello?"

Again nothing.

Scott said, "You've said 'hello' three times...she most likely can't hear you."

Just as I was about to end the call I heard faintly in the background, "I don't have time for this!  Go poop!"

This immediately made me laugh as I realized she had just butt-dialed me while letting their dog out.  I hung up and couldn't stop laughing.

To make sure this wasn't something more significant than an accidental butt-dial, I called her back a few minutes later.  She didn't answer and I had to leave a message.  I told her I assumed it was an accidental call, but I wanted to make sure it wasn't something more.

Later that evening I received a text from her apologizing for the "butt-dial" and that she was letting the dog out before she went to the high school to hear her son sing in a program and had inadvertently dialed me.

Needless to say we both got a good laugh out of it.

But as I continue to reflect and giggle about this accidental phone call I realized that it brought me more than a good laugh for the day.

This call brought pure JOY!

JOY in the fact that I have a "butt-dial friend!"

A friend who no.matter.what.else is going on in life, we somehow connect whether it be via text, email, phone calls, in person (which is the BEST) and yes...even butt-dials.

It's a comfortable, relaxed, pick-up-right-where-you-left-off kind of friendship.

It's just a beautiful thing.

Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple...and "butt-dial friend"...kind of day.

peace.
jeanine

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NOT PEACEFUL OR SIMPLE

The title of my blog, "peaceFULLYsimple" is how Scott and I and the kids try to live our lives in a hectic world.

A few of the ways we attempt to do this is by...
* trying not to over-schedule anyone in the family
* keeping Sundays a day of church, family time, winding down from the week before and preparing our minds, bodies and hearts for the week ahead
* when discerning over important decisions we determine whether-or-not we feel peace over our choice and if it is simple...meaning does it unnecessarily complicate life?  We do this for individual decisions and decisions for our family.
* Sports or extra curricular activities are not allowed if it requires Sunday attendance, especially Sunday mornings.  Scott and I typically will not even attend a meeting if it happens on a Sunday.

Of course there are always exceptions to every rule.  But for the most part, this is how we try to live individually and as a family.

Did you see in the paragraph above that I wrote, "exceptions to every rule"?

This week is one of those "exceptions".

Except for on Monday, there is/has been something every.single.night this week, through the weekend and into every.single.night next week (except for one) and through the next weekend.

This is not a good example of our family motto of, "Seek peace and simplicity...FULLY."

But it happens and we will roll with it, knowing that this stretch of exceptions to the rule will be short-lived.  There is an end in sight.  I know this because it says so on my calendar, right around June 9, where the words, "LAST DAY OF SCHOOL" are written, followed by lots of exclamation points.  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This time of year is track practice and meets, finding somewhere for Faith to go for the latter because she strongly dislikes going to meets, field trips, birthday parties, sleepovers, Wednesday night church programming, weekend youth retreats for church, band concerts, visits to next year's advancement to middle school, meetings, 4th grade sleepovers, etc., etc., etc.

It's all good stuff.

LOTS of good stuff.

So when I have the opportunity, I will enjoy the silence before each round of busyness kicks in.

And when it does, I'll be ready for it.

Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple day.

peace.
jeanine






Tuesday, April 22, 2014

LETTING GOD

So often I would like to keep my children close to me and not send them about their days.

Today was one of those days.

Both of my kids have something significant to do today.  One needs to work on resolving issues in a challenging class.  The other has several days of state-wide testing.

My heart is focused on the fact that one child is his own worst critic and is beating himself up over performance issues.  Along with my daily words of, "Make good choices...do something nice...and know that I love you," I also added, "Remember...you are NOT defined by a grade or a teacher's interpretation of you."  

My heart is also focused on state-wide testing and the amount of visual focus that will be required to efficiently take these tests.  These first days of testing will be reading.  Reading is not challenging, but a large quantity of reading in a specific amount of time can be visually challenging...and exhausting.  She was worried about not doing well.  Again, my message was, "Make good choices...do something nice...know that I love you...," and this time, "...and if you do your very best you will have nothing to regret."

I may have physically dropped them both off at school today, but my heart and mind has not left either of them for a second.  Even while focusing on my tasks of the day.

I've been praying for one to have confidence in himself and courage to resolve whatever it is he needs to resolve.  Praying for him to never feel like he's not good enough.  I've been praying for the other one to also have confidence in herself.   Praying for her to have extra endurance to meet the challenge of additional visual effort that will be required of her over the next few days.

Today is scheduled to be a long one for everyone in our family.  Each of us has something that will not bring us home until late evening.  A day like this makes my feeling of not wanting to let go even more difficult.

But I must.

So I will let go...and let God.

Wishing you a peaceFULLYsimple day.

peace.
jeanine


Thursday, April 17, 2014

"I DO"

Twenty-one years ago today I married the man of my dreams.