The Loves of My Life

The Loves of My Life

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tired of Feeling

Growing up I always used to giggle at those moms that got all teary so easily. Then I became a teenager and I found myself slowly being able to tear up at sad things and happy things.
Now that I am an adult, I have become what I used to giggle at as a child.

I am a crier.

I cry at movies and TV whether they are happy or sad. I cry during worship. I cry reading books. I cry during sermons. I cry reading the newspaper. I cry when a friend is hurting. I cry when a friend is rejoicing. I cry when I mess up. I cry when my kids achieve something cool.

I cry at the freakin' Olympics for goodness sake.

This gift of compassion and empathy can be wonderful at times....and quite useful when serving others.

But there are times when I just don't want it. Many times it hurts too much.
Times like today when I receive a phone call at work from a friend with horrible news, I just want to be able to turn off the feel-o-meter and put it in the back of my mind.

But I can't.

Instead, I sit in my cubicle wiping my runny nose on the inside of my sweater because there isn't a tissue in sight. I sit there trying to finish a spreadsheet while trying to keep the tears falling from my eyes.

If I am made in God's image, and what I feel is just a tiny bit of what God feels, God must live on an emotional roller coaster. How can He not weep ALL the time of the tragedy and sadness on earth? How can He be full of joy when someone gives their life to Him.....and yet be full of sadness for pain and suffering.

Because if I hurt this much in pain and much more does God hurt?

It's something I know I will never quite understand......

So I am tired....tired of all the hurting, not just my friend's, but humanities'.

I want to turn it off and be able to not feel.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

God Gives An Answer That Brings Much Joy

About a month ago I posted a prayer to God about giving my friend a baby that her and her husband have been desiring for a long time. Ok, it wasn't really a prayer, it was more like pleading....but still.

I even updated with a short shout of praise that God gave them a beautiful baby boy.

I realize that not all women who can't have babies get the chance to hold such joy. Fortunately, my friend Elisa did, and I am grateful. Below is her video montage that she sent out to family and friends. In the montage there is a picture of her and her son Elias Dean with a mutual friend that could not have a baby as well......and sitting next to her was her baby girl that God gave her. I had already been crying watching the video, knowing the pain and waiting that went into those moments, but then I came across that picture and it sent me over the edge. What a beautiful picture of God's grace not just in one person's life, but two. The grace that God gave them each other to journey the road they had to take together. They may not have stayed the same was a blessing of surrogacy and the other adoption....but that doesn't matter. God brought life into both of  their families.........

My prayer is now that all women that go through that journey may know the blessing that Elisa and Jenn have received.

Extravagant Grace

Grace has been a theme that God has slowly been teaching me over the past few years.  I have learned that there aren't levels of a little grace, or alot of grace.....or an extravagant amount of grace......grace is all the same. Grace is just extravagant.

Grace surrounds me everywhere. It is in my marriage, it is my relationships, it is talked about in books I read and the church I go to, and  even some of my favorite blogs have put their thoughts to pen on the subject.

But nothing has quite confronted me, or shall I say reminded me, with the idea of grace being nothing less than extravagant, than a book I read this summer called, "The Shack".  

Over the summer, my sister told me I HAD to read this book that was the talk of the christian circles. Honestly, I was very suspicious. My sister and I are two different thinkers and while I don't have a taste for most mainstream Christian novels, I could tell she really wanted me to read it. So I did. And it changed me.

I don't want to spoil the book, I want to encourage others  to read it. It's not perfect, and some may not like it, but it's a great book to discuss the ideas it brings forth into your thinking.

The idea that changed me while reading the book was the author's notion of grace. I want to say it's God's notion of grace, but I realize some may not buy into it.  It's the idea that everybody....and anyone are loved and adored by God and all are extended God's love and grace.

I know, most of you are sitting there thinking, "Of course Jen, that's what the bible says, that's what we say in church, in bible studies, in cards etc.etc." 

But do we believe it? Do we REALLY believe that God will say about anyone, "I am very fond of them" ? That's what "The Shack" leaves us to think about. When I sit and work out that thought in my mind,  I know I haven't really believed it. 
I have sat on my throne and said that the ugly of ugliest humanity don't deserve such grace, such fondness. I have been repulsed by the thought of children molesters, serial killers, and rapists, even Al Qaeda. 

But after reading this book, I have come to the conclusion, that Yes, even they have God's grace and love.   That God would say  about them, "I am very fond of_____".  Now I am not saying God is fond of their weaknesses and sin. But what I am saying is that God knows them better than I. He knows what led them to where they are in their life. He grieves their hurt and their loss just as much as he grieves mine or the loss of those men/women inflicted on their victims and their families.

And that is what has changed me. It allows me the  ability to believe that 
no one is a lost cause and no one deserves to "rot".  It also gives me the freedom to forgive much easier than I have before and to have compassion on those I have had none for in the past.

And one other thing I loved about this book, is that is helps me to see God in different ways. I especially liked the way in which God revealed himself to the main character. I think it gives many Caucasian churches much to think about.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Somethings gonna get the shaft

Hi, my name is Jen, and I am the writer of this blog. 

I know, I's been a week since I have written anything.

I've been tired, and too busy.

I started a new job, my kids started school, I started teaching Sunday school (what a pastorly wife thing to do), and I am realizing that this baby I am carrying is a life sucker. I say that not in a negative way, but in a way to say, that I am much more exhausted than I have ever been with my previous two pregnancies and I am realizing that I have limitations this time around.

So with all the things I am enjoying to do like ( not in order of best to least)
1. Engaging in the blogging world
2. reading
3. watching my favorite TV shows
4. seeing new movies
5. being with my fam

Plus- all my regular activities like
1. being a mom to two school kids
2. being a wife
3. being a Sunday school teacher
4. being a team mom for soccer
5. planning a baby shower
6. going to weekly Bible study
7. working
8. blah blah blah blah blah

I am wondering.......what's gonna get the shaft.
Will it be reading? blogging? The Office & FNL?  Sleep?

lol- it won't be sleep

Not sure what will happen. It could be anyone of those things, could be more than one, or it could be none.

All I know is that right now I wish I was super woman, and I could do it all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Secret Love

I love and enjoy many things-  I love to  read, I love to serve, I love my family, and I love good music. etc etc.
But there is one thing that I really do love and enjoy...

Good entertainment. 

I love films. I say films now instead of movies because I am finding as I am getting older, I am choosier about the movies I like. For example, "Legally Blonde" is a fun & cute movie, but the film "Amelie"  far surpasses it in quality. ( Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy a fun and cute movie now and again).

I also love good TV. I have found over the past few years, that TV is getting better and better. I am not a TV junkie- but when I find a good show, I latch on. 

I also love reading about entertainment. My taste does not dip into the gossipy magazine category, but it can be as simple as getting my EW magazine every Friday and savoring each piece.
All this to say, I am usually pretty knowledgeable about TV shows and some movies. 

So in the next few days and weeks- I will be happily posting about some of the fall premieres of favorite TV shows. You can consider it propaganda since I will be trying to win you over and get you to start watching!

First day on the job ...not so bad

Thanks everyone for all your encouragement.
First day went great.

It started out realizing that my desk is the hideaway for all things that are sweet and snacky. 
That means two things:
I'm gonna gain some extra lbs. and if people want said snacks, they need to come see me- I love visitors.

Plus- I was busy. I don't think this will be a job where I get bored.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

First Day Jitters

So today I start a new job. I'm a little nervous. But my nervousness is not from the usual things that make one nervous.

I'm nervous because this is my first office job in 7 years. The last office job I had I hated. That's right, I used the word hated.  Don't get me wrong, it was nice to have a paycheck, I was thankful to have a job to send Paul to seminary, and I made friends that I still keep in contact with today.
But the job itself.

It was nothing.

I got paid to do nothing, and I hate that. Some people don't mind the office job where they can sit leisurely, snack and read the latest in People's magazine. That's not me. I like to be busy. I like to do something and feel as though I have accomplished something. I used to get through the day by re-organizing my desk a few times, making the rounds to my team pleading with them to let me help them, then I would go back to re-organizing my desk. Oh...and every week I got one thing to do- it was my highlight. I got to make a report. yippee! 
I got paid a lot of money to sit around....and I am extremely grateful for that money. but i was bored out of my mind.

So, today I am nervous. I don't want to be bored. I don't want to sit at a desk trying to figure out what Internet sight I can surf next. I want to work.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Little Moments

Ever since my daughter was born I knew we had special bond. I recognized it in the way she always held my hair with her tiny fingers. Didn't matter what we were doing......if she was breast-feeding, if she was sleeping in my arms, if I was just holding her on my lap as she sat, those tiny little fingers would grasp a few strands of my hair and cling gently as if to say, "I'm never letting go"

At five she still hasn't let go. I'm the one that she has to cuddle with at night before she falls asleep. I'm the one she comes to in the morning to get her snuggles. I'm the one she insists on riding with, sitting with, being with, cuddling with.

Sometimes I forget how special it is because it's always a constant. Sometimes I forget because I feel claustrophobic and just need a little time to myself. Sometimes I forget because she is being 5 and I want to wring her neck. But, sometimes.......she manages to remind me again how special our relationship is.

I was taking a shower yesterday morning.  I love my showers....I mean I LOVE them. As a mom, you don't get peace and quiet like you do in the shower, and the water massage on your back- heaven.
But in the middle of my shower yesterday, a little hand opened the door and I turned to see the lovely face of my little girl.

"Mommy, I just want to spend time with you, Can I come in?"

And that's all it takes, my heart melted and in she came.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Putting Others' Interests Ahead of Our Own

That may not be the exact quote that McCain gave in his speech on Thursday but it is the essence of what he said. Just as Obama has, these candidates have recognized that the way we live as Americans, the "me first" philosophy,  isn't working and something needs to be changed.

Before McCain's speech I had been pretty frustrated with him for many different reasons, but after listening to him on my comfy couch I began to regain some of the respect that I had had for him 8 years ago. This doesn't mean I agree with some of his plan......but for me, I walked away thinking....he does care, he has integrity, and he does desire what he thinks is the right thing for the American people. 

That was big for me. I was extremely disappointed in all the speeches that turned mean spirited -even Obama's comment that McCain doesn't get it.  (that was the first time I heard him say something about the opponent I thought was inappropriate). I was frustrated with the end of Palin's speech (who even though I didn't want to...I do like) where jabs were thrown. I want the candidate to be better and rise above that and I think McCain did a really good job of doing that.
I also appreciated the fact that he wagged his finger at all parties...and tried to distance himself from the current administration. He reached past the party line and talked in terms of everyone needing to do their part together. He was like a parent  telling both parties they need a time out while still trying to unify them. This is my favorite line of the night-
"Let me offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second Washington crowd: Change is coming"

 A few weeks ago I said I didn't get it when people thought McCain could do a better job than Obama- and for now I re-tract that claim. I do get it. I do understand.
Do I agree?
you all know the answer to that

But I have to say that it's refreshing to be able to go to a voter's booth and not think I am voting for the lesser of two evils. I think we have two fine candidates......and it will be interesting to see what happens and to know this will be nothing short of a fascinating election.

Friday, September 5, 2008


So i was excited to blog a post about McCain's Speech last. I had really positive things to say about it. But I received an email this morning that made me really mad- which in essence means it was very hurtful.  It was an email questioning my faith based on who I am voting for. It was an email that in essence said I couldn't possibly be a follower of Christ because who I am voting for.

I am not gonna get into it cuz I will continue to cry......but let me just say this, I have never nor will I ever judge one person's personal faith and relationship with their Savior based on politics and who they vote for. It's down right judgmental which is unChristian. 

I told my husband this morning that my heart is heavy that Christians do this.  I know it is possible to have open discussions and dialogue between people that are positive and respectful even if they think differently. I have been excited to listen to other's and learn about their stances about what's going on with our country. It's the first time in my life I have wanted to care about politics. I have taken great care in educating myself so I am not relying on propaganda from any side. I know politics are a sensitive issue, but why does respect have to fly out the window when the topic comes up? There are ways to discuss things in light of differences and it is not by being condescending to others. I desire to learn.....and to be responsible with my decision making.  I want to know why people think the way they do and what causes them to think one way and not the other.

How sad it is, that even the people that should be able to be respectful.....can't seem to. I was deeply saddened today by the email I received, but I wasn't sitting here thinking," Oh Boo Who me, someone doesn't like what I think" I was grieved because I am not only believer that is being judged based on their cast ballot. There are many others that the "conservative christian right" judges and condemns and I think this grieves Jesus as well. If you don't like my political stance.....that's fine (btw, i'm independant), but leave me and my Savior out of it.

So I really wanted to blog about McCain, and I was completely distracted. Most of you know me....and I have to say what's on my mind and heart. I shouldn't even be blogging about this anyway.....but since I was challenged a few weeks ago to be someone that could do good through my blog, I couldn't be quiet. I have realized recently that there are strangers that read my blog (what an honor) and I hope they will not judge me quickly.

The reason I write this post is for this simple reason.......  I pray that as people who believe in the saving grace of Jesus we will all  be respectful enough to understand that our salvation does not rest in being republican or democrat and it does not rest in who we vote rests on the cross.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Day With Only A Few Tears...Sniff Sniff

They they are.....dressed to the nines in their school uniform ready to take on the world. Ok, maybe not the world.....but at least their classroom and playground.
Our morning went surprisingly well, a great breakfast, fun getting ready, reading books least the kids read together, and good friends to walk to school with.
I have nothing profound to say......I am just full of pride and joy due to watching my children take their steps into a world of learning.
Riley was brave and almost never looked back. And Jeremiah became his reserved self for the unexpected.
I can't wait to hear how their day went....if they liked their teacher, if they made a new friend, who did they play with on the playground and who did they sit by. I have 5 hours til they come home.......and I am counting the minutes.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Feeling a Little displaced

Today is the last day of summer......and as I read some of my friend's blogs that talk about getting ready for the new school year, I find myself feeling worried. It's a weird feeling. As I look around...we don't have piles of new supplies to put together or get ready. There's no scent of glue or new pencils on my table.....just backpacks and a uniform to put out. I feel powerless. We are new so we don't get " the List".

We are at a new school this year. Jeremiah is entering 2nd grade and Riley is going into kindergarten. As I was taking a shower this morning I was thinking about tomorrow morning and how I can't believe my little girl is entering school. My little baby is growing up, and even though I'll have one more, it's hard to imagine anyone else being my baby since our newest addition is  still in utero. I reminded myself to bring kleenex with me because I know I will sweet Riley, mama's little girl, the one who doesn't like to go any where without her mommy. :)

But my mind turned my beautiful little boy and I found myself suddenly sobbing in the shower. He is the one who has brought me to tears today...he is the one where all my fears lie.
This is a brand new school for him. I know all parents worry about their children making new friends, but my worry is different. He is different. He is a joy....but he is different, and now he is at that age where kids notice. He talks a little too loud, he has a hard time with personal space, and he is a constant mover and noise maker. I cried as all my fears of him not making a friend poured down my body and into the drain. Every parent wants their child to have that one friend.....that one friend that loves you regardless. It took Miah over a year to make that kind of friend at his old school, even in the midst of knowing a lot of kids.  That's a long time. And he's nervous......I'm nervous. I am thankful that he knows two kids, but I know I can't make them his savior. He's a great kid ......and I hope their is another little second grader boy who will show him kindness.  God has been gracious to him....He has been gracious to me. I am sure of his provision for Jeremiah.....but it still doesn't wipe away all my worry.

So...I continue to pour my heart out to God, pleading once again for his goodness and his faithfulness....feeling a little displaced and a little worried.

Monday, September 1, 2008


"Yet the Lord Longs to be Gracious to you: He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of Justice, Blessed are all who wait on him" Isaiah 30:18

I know I am taking this piece of scripture out of context, but alone it exemplifies how God desires wonderful things for us, we sometimes just have to wait.

There are many example of waiting in scripture.......The Israelites had to wait 40 years to reach the promised land, Sarai had to wait many years before birthing a child, Jacob waited 7 years for a wife and then 7 more for his "favorite" wife, and God's people waited for His coming.

There are still many kinds of waiting today.

Waiting to be pregnant,
waiting 9 months for a baby to be born,
waiting for your last child to enter school,
waiting for your loved one to come home from war,
waiting for a leader to stand up and lead against injustice,
waiting to hear tests results........

the list goes on and on.....

Waiting is hard. Sometimes we don't even think we are waiting, but we actually are just grieving what God has not shown us or done for us yet.

it's hard....really hard.

But when you get to see what you or a loved one is waiting's a moment that is beyond describable. Your heart bursts with an enormous amount of joy, pride, and thankfulness all at once. I was blessed enough this weekend to not only see what God has done in one friend's life but 4.

Today I got to visit my Friends' Carl & Elisa new baby that they have waited for for more than 4 years. It's been a long painful wait, and yet when I see them holding their new son, I can't help but rejoice and sing praises to God for being so gracious to them.

I also experienced the joy of watching two friends commit their lives together as husband and wife. They started dating in high school and have been together 7 years. It has been a privilege watching them navigate their way through high school, and college all the while remaining true to each other, true to themselves, and true to their God. They have "Waited" and it was such a beautiful moment knowing that their wedding night would be all that God has promised and a lot of laughs.

God has been gracious....and I have spent moments this weekend in awe of being able to participate in what God does for those who wait. What an honor........Baby Elias Dean Fraytet giving a little yawn. He's such a cutie! Momma Elisa wears the glasses cuz Elias likes to look at them.
Paul and I with Dale & Tyler Kriebel......isn't she gorgeous!!! :)