Friday, June 29, 2007

Looking for Advice.

Okay people... here's the deal. I'm going to being posting on Fridays (Lord and children willing) a question in which I hope to get some feedback from all you readers out there. I'm looking for advice. So every Friday I want you to give me advice. Um, there are no rules to this... just please post a comment. Suggestions are wanted here people!

Here is this week's Question(s):

What is your best tip for cleaning?

This could mean product you use. This could mean how and when you clean.... Go wild with this... I'm hoping for some answers!

Don't be shy. If you've never posted on my blog before.. well, now is your chance!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

From the beach.







.



moments.

Sometimes you have moments in your life where you stop and think, "Who am I? What am I doing?" I have these moments. Moments when I'm trying to pick up cheerios of the carpet. Moments when I'm trying to cook breakfast and find little arms and legs plastered to me. Moments of tickling my children on the bed or chasing naked babies out of the tub into towels. Moments of frustration when another bill gets paid late. and there's a huge late fee. Moments of anger and miscommunication and rolling over in bed. Moments of joy, watching Libby dance and Samuel bob up and down on his knees. Moments of beauty like a full golden moon or my roses in bloom or the way myson's hair curls. Moments of depression when I struggle to get out of bed. Moments of tenderness when my honey kisses me on the forehead. Moments of sheer silliness where Libby cannot stop laughing and I join in the rambunctious fun of a two year old.

Moments of delight, of pain, of sorrow, of sweetness, of kindness. I think we all experience these moments. sometimes I have to stop and think. I thank God. "Lord, you have made me as I am. Help me grow. help me be stronger. heal me. Help me trust you and rest in you...." to rest even when the children are screaming. Even when Mike and I are arguing. Even when things don't seem like they'll get better. Even when I yell or cry or give up.

God never gives up on me. He never stops delighting in me. He never say, "Whoa, I can't handle you or deal with this." His grace is sufficient for me.

I have this bracelet that I love. I might have mentioned it before but it's worth mentioning again. It has 2 Corinthians 12:10 on it: I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

So even when I am weak, even in these moments, I am strong.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My dad.



i never had the opportunity to post anything on Father's Day. This goes out to my dad. Some of my favorite things about my dad is how he doesn't care about what other people think of him. He is genuine. He is who he is. He is honest. He's humble. He's a great dad and husband. He is a dreamer. He loves having adventures.

As a teenager I grew up knowing that no matter what I did it wouldn't stop him loving me. It was a safe place to be in. I knew I could tell my dad anything... and I did :) Thanks dad for loving and caring for me for so many years. Thanks for loving my husband as a son and for building us the nest to live in! Thanks for letting us live with you for a year and a half!

Thank you for taking me fishing, for the play house you built us kids, for moving us out to the "country", for the jewelry you bought me and the "dates" you took me on, for teaching me about grace and Jesus and being a ragamuffin. For trips to the zoo, the park and Mt. Trashmore. For sledding with us... for taking me to the ER. For being calm in moments of crisis. For letting me dance on your feet. For walking me down the aisle. For talking me through how to get to Libby's gravesite. For laughing and for crying with me. For holding my hand.

I am so blessed to have you as my dad! I love you now and forever.

Jennifer Leigh

"your Jenny Girl"

Friday, June 22, 2007

What Can I Do?


This is the book I was recommending earlier. I have almost completely read the book cover to cover. it's entitled, What Can I Do? Ideas to Help Those Who Have Experienced Loss by Barbara A. Glanz.

This book is chock full of practical ideas but it also gets at some elements of grief that I have experienced and have not been able to put into words. So many times I've had to catch my breath reading some of the quotes in this book. It is a book that I wish I could get anyone who ever knew me or will ever know me to read. So a lot of it feels personal but it's a great tool to help others. I found it extremely accurate and helpful.

I particularly found the Foreword and Introduction particularly good. Let me give you a taste:

"Our society is not 'grief literate,' although we live in a time of tremendous loss. The aging of our population, news of terrorism, along with death and destruction from natural disasters necessitate that we learn the ways of grief-and of hope. Too often our instinct is to hold back, where we are most comfortable, fearing we'll say or do the wrong thing. The cliches we learn, such as 'she is in a better place' and 'time heals all wounds,' tend to upset rather than help those who are grieving.

Helping someone we love cope with a loss is an intuitive art. Most of us are never taught it, but it can be cultivated. Simply 'showing up' for others, providing meaningful support, and practicing compassion in the face of loss are crucial. The infinite ways we respond to a dear one's loss fill the pages of this warm and intelligent book.

So what can we do or say to bring understanding, compassion, and glimpse of hope to others? Barbara Glanz tells exactly how ot help someone we love survive a loss. The myriad of strategies, from gardening to selfless listening to cooking dinner, come directly from her life experiences...

We cannot gloss over or spiritually bypass grief any more than we can manufacture hope. These things come from courageously facing losses with strength and patience. Those who do emerge with a renewed sense of compassion, faith, love and acceptance of life-on its terms, not ours. Being a loving, quite, humble, accepting, healing presence may make the critical difference in a moment of suffering."


Out of the dozens of books I've read on grief and loss this is the one I would recommend for everyone.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Back in PA.

We arrived home today at 4 p.m. It was a really peaceful trip. So I haven't checked my e-mail or looked at everyone's blogs in what feels like forever. I look forward to doing that tomorrow. We've unloaded and put away half of the stuff that was in the van. This is a major accomplishment seeing that we packed the whole van and crammed it with as much stuff as possible. Mike and I have spent the past couple of days going through our belongings in my parents barn and cleaning out the nest (where we used to live in their house.)

I'm going to finish watching to Have and to Have Not (Bogart/Bacall) with my honey and enjoy being back in our own bed. There truly is no place like home.

Look forward to sharing pictures...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Heart Strings.

Living in two places at one time is nigh impossible. Okay, it is impossible, unless your God. I really feel torn about where I live, spend time, and who to keep in touch with. i feel like I have friends all over the country and all over the world. Friends in the UK, Sweden, Australia, France, China, New Zealand, etc. Friends in California, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Texas, Virginia, Maryland, etc. You guys get the picture.

Being down here (in VA) has been great but it's making me long for my home in PA, the routine of the everyday norm. Of sitting on my red leather couch and drinking English Breakfast (yeah, for Twinnings).

I feel divided my heartstrings between VA and PA in particular are hard to sever. how do I enjoy one place and not long for the other? I know when I get home I will be missing my family and friends in VA. And yet, when I'm here I'm thinking about there?

And the truth of the matter is I will always be longing. Nothing feels like a perfect fit. I've changed, friends have changed, family has changed... and I think my real longing is for HOME. A place called Heaven. A place I won't reach until I stretch from this world to the next. till I breathe my final breath. then I will be at home. With no more longing. I will then be truly satisfied. I will see my Saviour face to face and embrace the One who made me. And then maybe I can hold my nephew and hug my sister... and kiss my grandpas.

Heading Home Soon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Striving and Failing.

I am sitting at my father's desk with a horrible headache. It is what I would imagine a hangover to feel like. I've never been drunk so I wouldn't know but my head is just killing me. So I'm here trying to post because I realize wow, I haven't posted in a while. That's what happens when I'm not at home.

Mike and the kids and I are still in VA. Mike is working for my dad for a week or two to make a little moolah and then we'll head back to PA. He starts summer Hebrew on the 29th or 28th or something like that. Okay, on the 28th. Samuel sees the geneticist on the 29th and then we're driving to Boston for my cousin's wedding which is on the 30th.

I got angry with Libby today. She willfully yelled at me "NO!" when I asked her to obey and I disciplined her. I wasn't so mad about that but I got angry because of my stupid mistake. I put Samuel on the couch so that I could spank her and right after I spanked her and she was crying Samuel fell off the couch and started crying. So the three of us ended up crying for a while. I apologized to Libby, consoled Samuel and thought, "Damn. I'm such a bad mom!" Moments before that episode I was thinking to myself, "I love parenting. Aren't kids fabulous? So sweet." I was thinking of parenting books and how I wanted to read them all this summer and be the best parent ever.

Yesterday I was sitting with my Aunt and telling her how I need to laugh at myself more. How I need to know it's okay to make a mistake. Please don't confuse this with being okay with sin or thinking it's okay to be a jerk and not repent... it's just at times I take myself too seriously. I expect perfection. i strive to be perfect and to have it all together. I want to be the pefect woman, wife, mom, daughter, sister, cousin, niece, friend, etc. You get the picture.

I need moments like this morning when I realize that I have a long way to go, but there is grace. And I realize that I need my Daddy more than ever. I need to rely on God's strength and not my own. I need to accept the way God made me and recognize my humanness and cling to God. I was listening to a message by keith Breault yesterday and was affected when he said that we can run and cling to Jesus. I need to cling to Jesus. Yeah God is Holy. He is awesome. He is other. Jesus was made higher than the angels but when He became human he became lower than the angerls. Don't ask me how that all works. He has condescended Himself and came down and became man... and He knows my failings, my weaknesses, my tendencies. He knows my sin and yet bids me come!


GRiEF.

There is this gorgeous picture of my sister on my dad's wall. I'm looking at it and am overwhelmed with grief. at times I used to think that I wished I had died. I thought she would have been a better mother than me. why did she die and I lived? I realize now that I don't need to compare myself to her. Her death and my life is not about who would be a better mom. But she is the lucky one. She's in Heaven with her son and I'm down here sinning and screwing up and struggling. she's free of sin. But she and I share something in common. We both serve an Awesome God. She can see Him face to face. She can truly be in the presence of God. and I can sit here at my dad's desk with tears pouring down my face and feel His spirit. I know that Jesus loves me and cares for me. He gave me His Spirit to comfort me. She may see Him face to face but right now I have faith, I know that I don't see face to face but i will oneday.

I went to her gravesite on Monday. I didn't feel any emotion at the site but when i walked away and got in the car and drove for a while I started bawling. I thought I had pulled it all together by the time I reached Starbucks. I walked in the door and walked up to the counter and one of my brother's friends was working there. He told me it looked like I had had a long day. I told him, "I went to my sister's..." and that's all I could say. I wept. He came around the counter and gave me a hug. He had known Libby. I don't know if you've ever seen someone really cry. I mean the kind of cry that children give when they're hysterical. they are heaving and crying and hiccuping and can't pull it together. It was that kind of cry. I felt frustrated at not being able to keep it together in a public place and angry that I had to try to control myself when I desperately needed to cry like that.

A Side Note.
/spreaking of grief,I found an amazing book yesterday that I want to share with you all of you. It just came out! It's about how to practically help people who have experienced loss. I've only flipped through it but I'm ecstatic. I think everyone should have a copy and read it because it is chock full of practical advice, wisdom, and ideas of how to help people, what to say, etc. when someone has experienced loss. I don't have the title with me but i will find it and post it soon.

So there are my random thoughts in know particular order. The clouds are dark and it looks like rain, but I know that the sun is still there. So even in the moments when it looks like there is no hope, the storms are present I know that my God is still there. He will never leave me or forsake me. He is my refuge and strength. And even when I fail... I know that He never fails... and that because of Him I made righteous. so when it really counts and really matters, He stands in my place, He takes my failings, and I am covered by His victories, by His blood, and am made right before God. thank you Jesus.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Island Dream.

I have been enjoying myself far too much to post as of late. Mike and the kids and I have been experiencing just a bit of heaven. It's been such a good break for us. Time to read books, swim in the pool and just enjoy the kids. We also had the pleasure of a friend joining us for 2 nights and were able to enjoy good food, good fellowship and some nice cold beverages! Libby loves the pool and even if her lips are almost bluish purple she doesn't want to leave the water.

I just want to publicly thank my dear in-laws for letting us use their beautiful home in Nags Head. It's been such an amazing time. A vacation that we could never have afforded on our own. If any of you are looking to rent a beautiful spacious beach home the Island Dream is a wonderful homey escape from the world.

Tomorrow we're going to take the kids to the beach. We've just been venturing to the pool lately, which has been so much fun.
Looking forward to a movie with Mike tonight.... aaahh the bliss of rest and relaxation. Thank you Lord!

Friday, June 01, 2007

June.


Welcome June. Welcome to the bright warm days full of sunshine. Of days lying in a hammock. Of days savoring the smell of freshly cut grass. Of days where you pull out your barbecue and enjoy grilled chicken, fish, and veggies. Of long days full of light where the sun goes down to bed late.

I love summer. I love soaking up the sun and reading books and laying on the sand. Mike and I drove to VA on Wednesday. He called me up Wed. morning and said, "Hey, what if we go down today?" I thought, "heck, yeah!" So as we were driving Samuel proceeds to get sick. he threw up so much. On the way down we were wondering if we needed to go straight to CHKD (children's hospital of the king's daughters in Norfolk, VA). Thankfully we were able to get him some pedialyte at 10:30 at night. He was able to keep it down. We knew as long as he was able to remain hydrated that he would be well. So he's got a wicked cough but he's now better and back to eating solids.

I have already enjoyed my time down here. Yesterday I laid in the hammock at my parents for a half an hour. I have had dinner with our friends the Williams. We've been able to spend time with the Napier's today and tonight my parents are watching the kids and Mike and I are going on a date. Yeah!

Another plus, our tax return money cleared and we're going to be able to pay for our rent! Praise the Lord! He is so good. He's been such a faithful provider!

Tomorrow I'm going to a friend's house for a tea party to celebrate my birthday. Sunday is my actual birthday. I'm hoping to go to my sister's grave site in the morning. Then to church. That night we're having family over for cake and icecream. I'm really happy to be around family and friends! What a blessing.

Oh by the way, I cut my hair. I had a picture that I showed the hairdresser but my hair looks nothing like the picture. I was pretty freaked out. I called Mike and told him I had a bad haircut. When he saw it he thought it was cute... it helped me feel better. Maybe it's not a "bad" haircut, maybe it's just not what I had hoped for.

Next week we're going to the beach. Mike's parents are letting us use their beachhouse. I'm so excited and looking forward to some relaxation and sun and sand and being with my babies and my honey. So this was a pretty random post. I'm just so thankful for God's goodness. For his provision. For days that are happy and filled with hope. For times where I'm actually happy and can enjoy life and breathe... and just be who God created me to be.