Monday, October 31, 2005

Van Needing a Name...

Well these are the new wheels that we'll be sporting around. Not exactly my dream car but great for hauling beautiful brown eyed children around, which does happen to be my dream. It's a diesel engine and it just sort of putters along up these hills. The name of the game here is patience because these mountains are definitely speed busters for little van's to climb. It makes it and it runs very well. So we need a good name for this little cargo van which will cart children. We are open to suggestions. (By the way when offering yours please keep in mind that "Mildred" is already will be used to lovingly refer to another piece of equipment that we are going to carry that begins with a "g".)

Tim just told us we're going to look at puppies today!! Oh fun fun fun fun fun!!!! All this new stuff is about to make me bubble over thinking about those sweet kiddo's coming in there and being loved on and getting a puppy to play with and oh dear............ Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 30, 2005

First Day in Hondo

Well today was our first day to wake up in Honduras. (By the way girls, I pillowed my head last night with your hands under my head, listened to lullabies from two of my favorite sisters, read sweet notes that hugged my heart, and rested in peace. Thank YOU!!)

Started out the day traveling to Santa Ana to worship and see the property as we hadn't been there since July to see all that has developed there. It looks GREAT! They have been working so hard to get the duplexes and the church building built and the ground for the children's home is all level and the blocks are going up one by one. They will be finished with the block within the next week and a half. Things are going to fly now. It's awesome to see all that's been done just since we saw pictures like a week ago. I'll share some pictures with you from the day and try to explain them a bit. It's difficult to see and visualize from a distance I know, but promised I'd post some so I'll keep updating these throughout the various stages.

This was at the new church building this morning for worship. There were so many kiddo's there. CUTE kiddo's. Oh dear, so I got to sit beside two sweet little girls who were drawing me pictures in my journal of gato's and perro's and various other things I have no idea how you say in spanish. :) Hopefully that will change soon. My brain definitely hurts from concentrating so hard on trying to understand what they are saying. I will be so glad when that improves!

AND HERE IT IS...the blocks that will house these two gringo's and 20 little nino's/nina's of the Lord's choosing! These walls are actually the walls for Karen and I's apartment side of the building. They will be putting up the walls for the other side soon. It looks great, walking around you could totally picture where things were going to be and we had sooooooooo much fun with that. It was a bit emotional to get here and see it and know that in just weeks from now there will be children with a place to live where they will be loved and wrapped up in God's great big arms. Mmmmmmmmmm sweet thought.

This is the kiddo's side of the building and just a bit of the absolutely beautiful view out the back. They are being so kind and building us a small deck off the back so that we can sit out there and have some quiet time in the morning or whenever. (Just so you know it'll never take the place of my favorite deck in the world...but I am glad to have you make sure you save my space on that one too ok??) The blocks that are running through the middle of the dirt which you can vaguely see are the outline of the kid's bedrooms. There will be 4 of them, two smaller ones and two bigger ones.

The property is beautiful and it's gonna be good. I did drive around Tegucigalpa today and we're trying to get oriented so we won't get lost. Went to a Price Mart which is somewhat like Sam's and got membership cards there today. Lots of errand type stuff to do in the next couple days so guess that's what's on the agenda, depending upon the weather. We'll see how that goes. It's raining and blowing here right now but not too much rain yet, so we're still praying God will just literally move it. These poor people on the mountains have no hope if it rains a lot because their houses are built right into the side of the hill and they just collapse and so it's devestating. Please pray for them.

Alright will close this one for now. Off to have a little down time and some rest, which is much welcomed and appreciated after the past few weeks of getting ready.

We love you all and will talk to you again soon. Miss ya much already!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Safe and Sound

Hey all...just a very very quick post to let you all know we are in Honduras safe and sound. We will write more very soon! Love you all!!!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Countdown Over...

Well it's here that day we've talked about and prayed over for so long and later this day I'll ride to Columbus with some dear friends and early early early tomorrow morning I'll board a plane that will take me to a country I've grown to love deep within this heart. It's still sort of feeling surreal in some ways like I keep having to have conversations with myself about the fact that this really is happening and I really am going to go live for a while in another country. I'm sure it will feel real sometime over the next couple weeks as we settle in and things feel very different.

I will continue to covet your prayers as I attempt to transition and walk in a manner worthy of this calling. Please pray for God to steady my heart and my mind over the next few weeks as I'll be homesick at moments I'm sure. Pray that God will continue to remind me how worth it this will be.

I could not have asked for Him to be any kinder over the past few weeks as I have needed to spend time with and say goodbye to people that I love very very much. He has arranged my schedule and my calendar to make that possible in beautiful ways and I will forever be so grateful to Him for that. I am walking away feeling as though the people in my world who matter know it. I've gotten some sweet moments with my family. I've gotten cherished memories with friends. I've gotten some really tender moments with Father. He has been so faithful.

Our legacy is not mediocrity as Beth Moore says. I pray to leave one that's more than mediocre. I'm praying you do too because people the world over are depending upon a Jesus who is worth way more than mediocre. Please Lord help us to do you justice.

Keep praying and I'll update you all when we arrive in the country. Updates will come regularly now from Tegucigalpa Honduras. How cool is that??!!


Thursday, October 27, 2005

It's Thursday...

Well you've heard me say probably a few times how much I love Thursdays. They've come to be precious precious parts of my world as I gather with 9 other sisters and we study and pray and praise together. Those are the spiritual words that we can all relate to but as I have been reflecting (and all of Heaven knows that these times certainly are prone to a whole lot of that) there are some other words that represent what we've done together too.

We've wrestled together over the hard things life throws at moments and we've not been afraid to say whewww I don't get this. We've been broken together and by now we know not only the wonderful things about one another but the blemishes as well, because we've exposed them to each other. We've been vulnerable, we've been honest, we've been less than honest at moments with God with ourselves and with each other, we've fought the devil together from our knees, we've lifted God together with our praise, we've surrounded one another with His arms and heart, we've become a small microchasm of what I believe God created the body of Christ to be.

It's been a place free to express your questions and your doubts. It's been a place where I am not limited by my age or my experience or less valued because of those things. We all come together with what God is teaching us and we walk away richer after sharing it.

These girls help take care of my "Jesus heart." I pray you find some folks who do the same if you are not already blessed with the gift of them. Of all the sacrifices this move requires in some ways, Thursdays will be near the top of the list of the most difficult ones to lay on the altar, because of all it's come to mean. Thursday nights with my blessed we have been to have had at least 100 Thursday nights together by now. They will go down in some of my most treasured memories of all times.

I do love you so my sisters. Thank you for helping to grow me into this! This is as much yours as it is mine. These words are for you...

The gate is wide
The road is paved in moderation
The crowd is kind and quick to pull you in
Welcome to the middle ground
It's safe and sound and
Until now it's where I've been

Cuz it's been fear
That ties me down to everything
But it's been love, Your love
That cuts the strings

So long, status quo
I think I've just let go
You make me wanna be brave
The way it always was
It's no longer good enough
You make me wanna be brave

Brave, brave


But if You believe in me
That changes everything

So long, status quo
I think I've just let go
You make me wanna be brave
The way it always was
It's no longer good enough
You make me wanna be brave

As cheesy as this is you all will be the wind beneath my wings when I'd rather land and nest than fly! You've taught me that soaring for Jesus is the only option. How could I possibly say thank you for that? Let's be BRAVE, whadayasay??!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Well if I've said this phrase once I've said it a hundred times and I have no idea where it originated. We say it in moments of unbelief, in moments of disgust, in moments of shock, you know it works for a myriad of situations. You hear people say it often as I do I'm sure.

In the past week or so those two words plopped down beside one another I suppose sum up this couple weeks in my life. I didn't know before there was "good" grief. Doesn't feel good. Doesn't look good with snot running down my face. Doesn't sound good as we weep loudly. But somewhere deep within my heart there is this knowing that this grief I feel way down deep in the pit of my stomach IS good because it represents the loss of something. That's not the good news. The good news is that to lose something you had to posess it in the first place. So in the middle of this grief it provides prime opportunity to look at all the Lord has blessed me with over the past few years of my life.

You know people have said to me often, "Oh you are sure giving up a lot, all the comforts of home and the safety of this country and just so much." Which I suppose in some ways is true. But what I want to say in response and usually can't get past the knot in my throat is this...I would take a cold shower anyday if I just didn't have to give up those smiles and tears from hearts that know mine and know what I'm thinking and feeling without saying a word. I would never flush my toilet paper again if it meant I could hang onto moments to see every single milestone as my nephews and my neice grow up. I would put my life at risk moment by moment if I just didn't have to give up hugs that speak value and acceptance and love to deep places in my soul. I'd just well I'd be willing to give up the "comforts of home" if it didn't mean giving up the people who represent home to my heart. Meals around the table with my family, den and deck time, colored water moments, sifting with my soul sister, hugs and kisses from the two cutest little guys in the world, calling Mary Ann once a day and hearing her sweet spirit, worshipping beside the people who know what's in your soul...and the list goes on and on and on.

So you wanna know the things that are good grief moments in my world. It's tears all over my face and snot running everywhere right now as I leave, which is a beautiful representation somewhere in my soul of all I've been given. It's moments with people I love and hurting, literally aching in your gutt because you can't imagine living the "daily-ness" of life without them.

Yeah I'm certainly convinced there is GOOD comes from a hole in your heart when you realize how full the Lord has filled your blessing box. It comes from a heart that He has stretched so wide which contains so many missing chunks of your heart that you've given out to so many people in so many places. It comes from holes left because those chunks of your heart you never get back in quite the same way and as you're going around to attempt to collect them so you can walk away with at least part of your heart you end up with so many chunks of them within you because they've sort of all run together. It's grieving for sure. It's hard. And yet I wouldn't trade the hurt if it meant I would have had to miss a second of the blessings.

I am one lucky girl. I love you all. Please keep praying. We covet and appreciate them more than you know.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Another Good Day...

Well God's smiling on me again today because I get to travel for an overnight retreat and be the cheerleader for Momma Grose as she goes to minister to some sweet ladies in Alliance. Please keep her in your prayers that God will sustain a weary one who has not gotten much rest as she's sat beside the bed of her hubby who broke two vertebraes earlier this week. She's a trooper and she'll go and proclaim God's word boldly but a few extra prayer warriors this time would be good! :)

Over the past year or two being a cheerleader as she goes to minister has become one of my favorite things to do. She lives out a ministry I believe in with all of my heart and it's a delight to encourage that and learn from it. I will treasure the memories of the privilege of doing this one more time immensely!

Have a great weekend! Remember that the King is enthralled with Your cool is that??!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

God's Provision...

I have learned some of the coolest lessons from people God has placed in my life and He continues to amaze me that He never stops providing those people who will teach me some of life's most precious lessons. Feel like I've had an abundance of them lately and that God is orchestrating this beautiful collage of memories to tuck away in my heart which will hold me up when I need to be held. I am a people person for sure and over the past few years I have had the opportunity to form some precious relationships that go way deep. It's tough when you get down to 9 days until you leave this spot where your heart has certainly made itself at home to figure out how you will spend time with each of them and allow your words and your time to speak of how much you value them.

See it's funny because "I had a plan." Even the fly by the seat of my pants girl sees a need for a plan now and then. I had seriously set aside time on my calendar and tried to chunk off time for those I love as much as possible. Then earlier this week some things happened that we had no control over and a couple of the people I had blocked off time for were unable to work that in during their "time slot." So instead of where it belonged on "my" calendarand in "my" plans, I sat beside a hospital bed with a guy I have come to adore and held his hand while he was in horrendous pain and we talked about how sorry we were that we took some things for granted, how relationships really were all that mattered and when you get to the end of life all that you had, how badly we needed permission to not be perfect and with tears running down my cheeks and one of the sweetest conversations I've ever had, God took my calendar flipped it all around and absolutely blew me away. Sat in that same hospital room and watched his sweet wife help him shave his face and speak words of love to him to help him get through this DIFFICULT time and I saw this love that is a living testimony to all who know them and get to see it up close. I saw things in this moment, that none of us wished for and all of us would wish away, that I wouldn't have seen otherwise. My plans, my calendar...gone...for one that's far better.

Today I had a to do list a mile long. I did. I had things that felt pressing and guess what happened. Most of them didn't get done. You know what did happen. I got back to my house this morning after spending time being a hostess to this sweet little 80 year old man who loves Jesus so visibly and abundantly it took my breath away. I had just come home and one of my dearest friends called and said they were going to Burger King for lunch. I had sat down here at home intending to get busy and get so much of this stuff done and I heard God say Jen relationships are so important. Your calendar and plans are mine. Trust me with your calendar. So went to lunch and had some precious time with a couple friends I wouldn't have gotten had God not been so kind.

Then walked into the christian bookstore because I needed to pick up a gift and ran into one of my favorite people on the face of the earth that I seldom get to spend chunks of time with. We get snippets and lots of emails and we love those, but it seems like that's all life affords at the moment in this friendship. So we stood in the bookstore and talked for an hour probably just about life and all that's going on in our hearts and it was one of those don't really want to end this conversation times. It was a deep breath in the middle of the day. A kiss from God to remind us He loves us that we bumped into each other in the bookstore. I had just sat down to review a book and she came walking back in and said, "Jen listen I'm heading over to Caffeinated to drop off a gift for someone, let's go get some coffee, do you have time to do that? I have other things I thought I needed to do but I can't think of one that's more important than how badly I needed this today." Do you see the theme...our plans, our calendar...GONE...for one that's far better!!

I am amazed at His provision I really am. I used to think, oh yes God will provide for my shelter and my clothing and my food and those necessary things in my world. As if my heart and my emotional needs were too small or too vulnerable or too something for Him to be very concerned about. You know what I'm learning, I'm learning that sometimes it's my emotions and my relationships and my heart He cares the very most about. I just delight in that at moments. Sometimes I catch myself with my face up to the sky just taking a deep breath and saying, could you be any kinder to my heart God? Today was one of those days.

Think about how God is working right now to touch your heart, emotions, and relationships. Come on you know you want to...put your face up to the sky, smile real big, take a deep breath, and say it with me...

Could you be ANY kinder to my heart God?? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...I LOVE HIM!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

And By The Way...

God has been incredibly kind and we have raised a significant portion (about 75%) of the funds needed to complete and furnish this project, but we still need about $20,000 to finish it off. If you are willing and able to partner with us financially we would so appreciate it. It's 2o more families at $1,000 or 20 churches or however God chooses to make it happen. I promise you it's an investment that pays off dividends unlike any others I know on this earth.

If you have any questions or need any information email me at

God Bless!!

Final Blueprints for Casa de Esperanza

Hey gang, these are the final blueprints for the children's home. We have had to make some changes as we have seen needs arise. First we were going to only have two bedrooms and because of various ages and the need to possibly take some little boys also, have turned that into four bedrooms. There are some slight variations in some other things, but this will accomodate various needs better than the original plans. Construction is going on right now in Santa Ana so we can soon bring these kids home. YAY!! Please continue to pray as the days are moving quickly and lots of goodbyes are just around the corner. Please pray that God will give me a steadfast heart to do that which He has called me to.
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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Cameron's Funny :)

So my mom takes my nephew Cameron to the grocery store today and he wanted her to take him to the toy store to get a toy. So after much deliberation he picks out a cell phone and makes his purchase. They're on the way home and mom is trying to talk to him and he looks at her and says, "Mamaw I will talk to you in just a minute when I get off the phone with my friend this is a VERY important phone call." He's four. A VERY important phone call, oh dear!! That was my laugh for this evening.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Seems like this word keeps coming up in conversation...LAST...

I don't really like the word but I keep hearing it and in hearing it am having to face it I suppose. I will drive to Lancaster tomorrow and see my cousin and it will be the LAST time I'll see her for a while. I got out of the car with Momma Grose tonight and as I hugged her like I've done so many weeks before, it hit my heart that that would be the LAST ride home from Bible study we'd have together to mull things over and talk like we've done so many times. Tonight was our LAST Beth Moore study together with this group of gals I've met with for the past couple years every Thursday night. This weekend will be my LAST ladies retreat for a while. Next weekend will be the LAST time I'll get to hear Momma Grose speak to a group of gals and I'll get to be the cheerleader as she ministers. Some day soon it'll be the LAST time I'll hug my precious little nephews for several months and get to eat dinner with my family. It's just a season of lasts in some ways in my world right now.

A season of firsts is also right around the corner. The FIRST time I'll get to bring one of those babies home from the state run orphanage. The FIRST prayer before bedtime. The FIRST sleepyheaded hug in the morning. The FIRST time I get to share bible stories with a precious little heart. The FIRST time I am able to carry on a conversation in Spanish. The FIRST week in a Spanish church with Honduran brothers and sisters. The FIRST time I hear the word momma and it refers to me. Lots of FIRSTS also...

Made me think tonight about Heaven I guess. Truth of the matter is there are people who are living on this planet that when the word LAST is used it comes with such a finality and a gavel's pound with it. When the last has come there is nothing more to follow. I love the fact that in my world as painful as they may feel at the moment, my LASTS are not forever. Some day I'll sit with these sweet sisters whether it be here or around a crystal lake. Some day I'll eat dinner not just with my family but with all God's family. Some day my lasts will all fade into the best season of firsts I've ever known. The firsts of Heaven which will have no lasts.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

He Gets It...

Have you come to the realization lately that God is the ONLY one who gets it? Like really fully gets it. The only one who has the answers to this specific situation and you're specific role to play in it. The only one who understands the depths of your pain and yet the only one who understands the depths of all the good stuff as well. The depth of your love for people, the depth of your joy in watching some moments take place, the depths of all that lies in your heart.

It's been a slow process because I desperately want the people around me to "get it." To understand my heart, to feel the love I have for them through my actions and words, to understand when I say I hurt how much I mean that and how deep it goes. Just within the past week or so I've started to embrace this idea though that God is really the only one who can really fully grasp all that is Jen. It's like this secret little place only He and I can go. This bond that supercedes any other bond I have with another soul on this earth.

I am privileged to be around some of the most beautiful wonderful people this world has to offer and some of the best "get it" girls that God ever called, but I'm learning that even the best of the best aren't God and we'll all be somewhat limited in our "getting it" here on this earth.

I so appreciate today that He does. He sees me and sees my heart and regardless of what's in there, He "gets it." Thank You Father.

Monday, October 10, 2005

What Matters...

I'm learning that as difficult as this leaving business is...some of life's sweetest moments come when pretenses are down and life slows just a bit and we take the time to look at each other and say the things that matter.

We were talking yesterday, during a gift from God very sweet day, about how times like this clarify so much. In Momma Grose words, "things of importance just rise like cream to the top don't they?" Indeed they do.

So I'm learning more about what really does matter. God ultimately matters. People matter. Moments with the people you love matter. Matters of the heart, well they matter!!

And you know what else I'm learning, I'm learning that the rest just doesn't much matter!!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Check This OUT...

Hey gang...check out Hines or AB's site linked at the right to see pictures of the dedication of the Cucuoy houses for 14 families who now have a place to sleep that is way nice for Honduran living. These duplexes are in the same little complex that the children's home will be in. Good things are happening and my heart gets excited when I see pictures of all God is doing.

For those of you who will remember Lexi (the loco bus driver). He and his family moved into one of the houses so I'll get to see him often, and I suppose go to church with he and his family as well. Fun huh??!!

Continue to pray for all that's being done in His name. May we always give Him every ounce of the glory. Thank You Lord for new homes for families and a new start at a better life. That is just way kind. We love you.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Those Nails...

Well it was another one of those nights we all dread and my niece, Carley, had to be taken to the hospital again because she was having a seizure. She's two and is absolutely delightful but since she's been born it's been one thing after another and two years of tests and doctor's visits and no real answers as to what is going on. It's in those moments that you drive up the road thinking through how many things do not make sense and wondering what you say to people you love who aren't sure what they think about this God thing anyway to help them understand that God loves them. I mean it doesn't make sense to me and I know in the deepest parts of my heart that God loves me. I think in the middle of my drive last night I heard God say, Jen how about you not worry about trying to explain me or do me justice. How about you just go and be real and honest and love on them. How about you say I don't get it either. How about you just show them that loving God doesn't mean you know all the answers it means you realize how few answers you do know and you need someone who does. Lots of life lessons in that 5 minute conversation with God for sure. Just show up and be real. It's been a recurring theme in my time with Him over the past year or so. Yes Lord I get it.

The most tender thing happened in my heart somewhere in the middle of all the difficulties though and it may only be proufound to me because I realize some things are "have to be there" moments. It's another one of those moments that I type out and save so that I won't forget I suppose. We had been at the hospital for a couple of hours and for most of that time Carley was sleeping in my brothers big ole arms which still after two years makes me tear up. It's just a sweet sight. This 6 foot 5 guy who is just huge holding this little girl that has him wrapped around her finger. I had been waiting in the waiting room but I saw my sister in law come out of the room and go outside and so I thought I'd go sit with my brother. When I walked in I saw the nurses there getting ready to take blood and in an attempt to be a good moral supporter decided I'd stick it out with them. I stood at the foot of the bed, the two nurses were on the right side of the bed and my big ole huge brother on the left side of the bed holding Carley down. He had to hold her arms and the nurse wrapped that blue band around her arm and stuck the needle in that tiny little arm and Carley just started screaming and crying. It was horrible. Now I realize it's just a needle and thousands of us have had blood taken and it's not nearly as dramatic as this may seem...but the worst thing was her little eyes looking up at her daddy with this imploring pleading look. It was like she was saying daddy why are you letting them do this to me. Please make them stop. They couldn't get the needle in on the first time, even after drastic wiggling (arrrghhhh) they missed the vein and so the took the band off and said ok daddy you can hold her. She wrapped her tiny little arms around my brothers neck and all was ok with the world. The only problem was he was going to have to put her back on that table and endure that all over again because we still had no blood sample. So he talked quietly in her little ear and he placed her back up on that table held her arms down again as I held her legs and she saw the blue band coming and squals erupted again. I watched tears roll down my brothers cheek and the nurse stuck her again and the blood started to flow into the tube. (Thank You Lord) I am not sure at what point through all of that it happened but I couldn't see the needle anymore, I only saw a nail. I think it was in her sweet little eyes as I saw that imploring, pleading look and I watched my brothers heart break at not being able to take her off that table walk out the door with her keep her safe and pretend this wasn't happening. It got me. I walked out the door put my head in my hands and wept.

A blood sample was needed another day long ago and it wasn't in a hospital it was on a hill, but I feel confident a few things were the same. That imploring pleading look. That love that would do whatever it took. The pain. The tears. The daddy who could hardly bear the hurt.

One thing is so beautifully wonderfully different. That blood wasn't sick or infected or needed for tests. That blood changed the world.

Thank You Father for enduring the pain of watching those nails be sent through Your precious Son so that we could be set free.

My brother, my prayer is that you will someday soon see that another daddy understands your pain and you were reason enough for Him to watch His Son hurt too! I love you.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Can I Just Say....

I love God...not kinda maybe sometimes probably sorta...I mean I LOVE Him, I like Him, I just think He's doggone fun and He has just GOT my heart.

Learned a lot about that this week through our Beth Moore study and perhaps will share some of those insights soon because they are worth sharing, but don't remember all the details and so need to refresh a bit before I attempt to type them on here.

Just spent a memory day yesterday helping with a large conference in the area called "Women of Purpose." It was delightful and I'll write more about that very soon. Isn't it fun to just be a part of something that you know God is beaming with a smile about. It was one of those days from beginning to end. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok off to collectively do this worship thing with some of my favorite folks. I pray blessings for you this day!