Tuesday, December 24, 2013


it's funny, as I sit in the back seat of Moms' car, heading into town for last minute errands and then a church service on this Christmas Eve, I feel so content. content is one word that you don't usually use to describe this girl. I always want something else or want to do something bigger or go somewhere...and it's easy to get caught up in that. 

but honestly, as I think about it, I am so incredibly happy.

 I'm happy that tomorrow is Christmas Day. I'm happy that all my family will be together tomorrow. I'm happy that God has blessed us so much this year. I'm thankful that he never leaves or forsakes his children. 

this year, remember that no matter what your circumstances, Jesus loves you. he loves you so so much. 

"the King of kings salvation brings, let loving hearts enthrone him." 

happy Christmas, friends. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

nineteenth birthday

my nineteenth birthday started off with my parents serenading me while I tried to get just five more minutes of sleep. having your birthday on a Sunday is a wee bit lame because you actually have to get up and go somewhere. but I love church so it's all good.
                  sleepy 19 year old 
anyway. I got up and ate bacon for breakfast (bacon=extreme happiness) and drank hot tea. i wore a maxi dress and a blue sweater and some brown boots and tied my white headscarf from Slovakia around my head and we headed to church. 

we went to my oldest brother's church that morning (Eden Village) because he was preaching. it was nice to hear Michael preach on my birthday. then we headed to get drinks from Wilco (which for the record is a very nice place). 

we felt a little disloyal towards Parker's but oh well. we ate lunch and drove the hour home. 

when we got home I changed into my favorite black skinny jeans and hopped in Daddy's truck because he wanted me to go look for his dogs with him. (side note: Daddy hunts and he uses dogs. so he lets the dogs out, they run the deer, the deer approach a stand and someone shoots the deer. but then the dogs have to be rounded up and sometimes they don't come home for a few days...and sometimes an alligator enjoys a good meal...just so you know what I'm talking about here). 

usually, going to look for a dog will be a 30-45 minute process...

3 hours later and Dad and I were still sitting in the woods with him sporadically calling the dog and me needing to use the bathroom. it all had clicked that Moms just wanted me out of the house for some unknown reason. 

finally we went home. Thomas and some of the boys were standing in the front yard when we got there. we parked around back, and I told Dad I was gonna walk around front. I did, but the yard was empty, so I awkwardly stood outside, not knowing whether I was wanted inside or not. (it was awkward). 

after a couple of minutes, I was allowed in. I walked into the living room and immediately felt like I was on display. everyone (my parents, seven younger siblings, thomas and Becca) sat there just looking at me. I went and sat down in the only empty seat and said, "uh hi."

daddy brought me a big box that was almost as tall as me. the label said: to Jennifer; from Mom, Dad, Thomas and Becca. I unwrapped it (and I don't believe in saving wrapping paper so it was a quick process) and opened the top. I reached in and pulled out my present. 

a Seagull Entourage Grand Rustic. the most beautiful guitar I've ever played. I looked at it for a few minutes and then hugged Dad and Thomas and Becca and then started sobbing. I hugged Moms while I cried. 

you know from my last post that this has been a rough year for me. the guitar was just another sign of just how much my family loves me. it was all Thomas' idea. he wanted me to have a Seagull and he made sure it happened. 

the day finished up with a video chat with my bestie and supper at my grandparents. 

my 19th birthday was definitely one for the books. 
        and Becca brought me flowers. 

so, here's to the last year of my teens. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

goodbye eighteen

I'm turning nineteen tomorrow. I'm leaving eighteen behind. and honestly, it makes me sad and I have cried about it.

so much has happened over the past year since I turned eighteen. the first few months of being eighteen were the absolute worst months of my life. I cried so much in those first few months, over personal issues, family issues, church issues. issues that no one outside of my immediate family knows about. issues that I couldn't tell other people about and issues that I didn't want to tell other people about. 

but then, when June came along, life got a hundred and eighty times better. in fact, the whole year got better. and I wouldn't change my eighteenth year for anything. because all those tears and rough days taught me lessons that I won't forget. 

they taught me to forgive, to move on, to depend on Jesus when others let you down. they taught me that my family loves me way more than I ever realized, that they will stand by me when the whole world is throwing stones. and honestly, it was worth it. 

bye, eighteen. thanks for the lessons. for the trip to slovakia. for the friendships formed. for the hours worth of good music. for the hugs. for the laughs. for the money made. for the delicious food. for the time spent with my favorite people.

thanks for being better than i had ever imagined.

Monday, November 18, 2013

loving every single day

you know something? i think we tend to get caught up in the "big moments" of our life. the days that grab us and shake things up. we focus on those, tell others about those, and take pictures of those. 

but you know what God is teaching me? to love every single moment of every single day. 
to love the way my hair feels after deep conditioning it. 
to love the silly pictures i take with thomas. 
to love my silly siblings who dress up as Ladybug and Yoda. 
to love Sunday afternoons spent bike riding and laying on blankets in the sun. 
to love the time that I get to spend with baby Zeke. 
to love a good cup of hot tea. 
to love watching our football team. 
to love how much he loves me. 
to love this big crazy family of mine. 
to love every single day. 

and yeah, I get that it's not always easy. but friend, Jesus died on a cross for you. when we start taking what Jesus did for us for granted is when we become unhappy. just think about how precious you are to him and that will help you love every single day. 

love you. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

a post from the sis

[call me absolutely crazy...but my sis is guest-posting for me today...and she cut me ZERO slack. like, this is real, y'all. to be honest when I first read it, I was like, 'you expect me to publish that???' but, we all know how I want to be honest on this little blog. so here goes absolutely nothing...]

Hi there! My name is Jessie and I am Jennifer's little sister. I can't believe I am actually doing a post on her blog. Anyway, I am supposed to be telling you my point of view of the Slovakia trip. (Oh boy)      Oh yeah, that’s me :)  But I really wear glasses. (Jen here. she had a different picture here but I took it out and put this one in. hehehe) 
  So one night we were in the living room and Mom sprung the most absurd idea ever on Jennifer. It was epic y'all. I think Jennifer might have already gone through all that jazz, I am not much on details. Anyway the gist was that Mom thought Jennifer should go to Slovakia and Jennifer was totally against the whole thing. I thought mom was crazy. So yeah.
After awhile Jennifer was convinced and she said she would go. Then a little while later she started to get excited about it, and let me tell you, when she gets started on something she keeps on talking about it and talking about it. As it drew close I was ready for her to go just so I wouldn't have to hear about it anymore. Everyone was over reacting in my eyes. Mom cried some and all the kids just flocked around her. I was disgusted. (I have a fairly hard heart). I told them that it wasn't like she was going away for forever.

 The day came. Everyone was hugging her and Jake wouldn't stop crying. I was on my bed in our bedroom reading. She walked up to our door and said, "Well we are leaving." I looked up and waved and then went back to my book. She looked me for a little while then asked, "Is that it? We aren't going to hug or anything?"  I sighed and stood up, when we hugged I burst into tears. (horror of horrors) She kinda laughed at me and walked out. I just sat on my bed and cried. But like I said I have a hard heart and about forty-five seconds after she walked out the door I went in the living room and said, "Put in the 'Get Smarts'! (one of our favorite tv shows) 
  I have to admit I was in paradise while she was gone. I was the oldest girl, had my own room and was not getting bossed around. I didn't really miss her. Okay I did miss her one tiny bit. 

We texted or voxed every night. I loved having my own room. I could listen to what I wanted and do what I wanted. And I have always liked Jennifer but it was still nice.

Then it was time for her to come home. I was sooooo excited. I couldn't wait to tell her everything that happened while she was gone. 

Boy was I in for a shock. 

When she got home she was emotional and mean. She kept telling us to leave her alone and that we were all so annoying. Mom had said that we should give her grace but heck, she could forget that. I got really mad at her. She was always talking about how amazing that place was and how they let her have a little privacy. Everything here was like dirt compared to the same things in Slovakia. It got to the point when she would say, "I wish I was in Slovakia"!  I would retort "I wish you were to so I wouldn't have to listen to you"! Have any of y'all ever spent a few weeks with a grizzly bear? DON'T!!! 

(Jennifer here: um. yeah all that is incredibly true. I cried every day for like 2-3 weeks. I was grumpy and basically hated my life. it was rough). 

So that was how that was. Interesting. We are going to go through this again next year. But now I am looking forward to the cookie jar she is bringing me back which just happens to be red! (My favorite color.)

Now we are back to our normal weird, crazy, happy selves.

(blog owner here: I can't believe I published this. honestly). 

have a happy Monday!