Showing posts from 2015

Ultimate Gift-Giving...

In the hustle and bustle of the season I'm thankful that I have had time to stop. Time to reflect. I haven't made my schedule too full or too tight. I have these gaps of time... well, mainly to clean the house and keep up with laundry.. but at least a time that's not always scheduled.

I've been thinking about Jesus. His coming in the form of a small vulnerable child. His willingness to put on skin and be made flesh. I'm so thankful. I was thinking about my gifts this year. Pale and unpromising. Nothing special. Mostly for my kids. I felt low. Felt ashamed. I don't have much to bring. I'm not going to be lighting up eyes this year. But it got me thinking... the ultimate gift has already been given.

Jesus is that ultimate gift. He gave us Himself. He gave us His perfect life and died the death we deserve and if we are found in Him, if our faith and our hope are in Him, than we have a hope unshakeable. We have the Only gift that is truly needed. That can truly …

What colors are you missing?

Real food is your friend. It helps bring healing and supports and creates healthy systems: skin, respiratory, circulatory, bones, muscles, DNA. I'm bridging the gap because I don't every single day get all the fruits and vegetables I need. JP+ enables me to receive 30+ fruits and vegetables in my body each day! Are you getting your 7-13 SERVINGS of fruits and veggies?

What does it mean to eat clean???



ALL FIVE of my kids get their 20+ fruits and veggies a day for FREE

Day 11

Day 11 has begun of my 30 day Challenge of Transform30.

So far I've been diligent to keep away from dairy, gluten and sugar. I've been consistently exercising. Eating well. Having the 2 shakes in my day really helps me to stay on track and feel satisfied. I don't feel deprived and the whole food nutrition in my Complete protein drinks is giving me a"willpower" I've never been able to experience before. Starting my day with a concentration of 30+ fruits and veggies helps me to begin my day well!

My body feels happy. Really happy. I'm eating well. Getting sleep. Drinking water. My brain feels clear not foggy and my mood in general is way more stable. I'm not having headaches. I don't feel unduly sore (I mean my workouts are awesome so I do feel that kind of sore) but I don't feel the achy joint sore. Clean eating has been amazing.

And yet... there is a part of me that is scared. What if I fail? What if I don't succeed? What if nothing change…

How far can you go


Making One Simple Change

I hear their feet scurrying by my door... actually it sounds more like loud clomping and stomping than scurrying.

The days are full. Therapy for Michael. Cleaning the house. Dishes. Laundry. Making meals. Homeschooling. Teaching. Reviewing. Helping. Checking over work. Planning. Scheduling. Dental appointments. Haircuts. Trips to the zoo and the library. Tutoring Foundations and Essentials at Classical Conversations. Grocery shopping and errands. Spending time with friends. Playing outside.
It's a full life. And a good one.

I love the health I am seeing in my children. I see the transformation of kids who used to be sick often to children who are strong and healthy. Their asthma is gone. No wheezing. No hacking cough. Not tightness of chest. No inahlers. No Zyrtec for seasonal allergies. No runny eyes or noses. I'm seeing them getting better sleep. Eating healthier. I see their emotions being more grounded and calm.

We made one simple change... we added Juice Plus+ to their diet…

Me & My BFF...


10 ways to love...


Break the Rules...


autumn reflections

When you are changing your life in huge ways, even with small simple steps it's easy to come up against a wall of resistance. I am there. I can feel the bricks beneath my fingers and look up to see the towering wall that doesn't have an end. There is much that wants to come against me. That wants to crumble my resolve.

"It doesn't really matter that I'm moving more or eating salads and drinking whole-food nutrition," the lies that whisper in my head begin to echo and build in volume.

Shut up. I will not listen to you lies!

I AM changing my life.

I AM becoming healthier.

I AM managing my stress better.

I AM finding healthy ways to cope with depression and anxiety.

I AM moving forward in my life.

I AM confident in what God is doing.

I AM eating more fruits and veggies.

I AM trusting Jesus with my health journey.

I AM going to help other people get healthy.

I've decided to stop looking at what I can't do.... I can't fix or change my past mistakes, fa…

How Juice Plus+ is Changing My Life

Some of you keep asking what I've been doing lately regarding my health journey.... so I thought I would put it all out here for you...

2 words.... Juice Plus+

My friend Keri introduced me to Juice Plus+ in May because she loves me and cares about my family's health. In particular she wanted to help Samuel, with fighting cancer, and Michael with his cerebral palsy.

The kids and I started in mid-May.

These are the changes I've seen in my children:

-better sleep
-more emotional stability
-less emotional outbursts (especially with Michael! He's not hitting others or himself! He's not telling me he hates me. He's not screaming and throwing fits. He's quick to apologize when he gets upset. He has more self-control!)
-increased cognitive function (no more brain fog with Samuel!) Doing better at school! More attention!
-improve immune systems (if they get sick they recover so fast! and they are not getting sick the way they used to).
- where are their seasonal allergie…

Keep Running

I was so emotionally exhausted after Samuel's appointments this afternoon that I crawled into bed and took a 3 hour nap! What a blessing my husband is to offer respite to me; he came home from a long day of work and took over.

 I'm so proud of Samuel. I know he was nervous but he did a great job handling his EKG, echocardiogram, blood draws, IV and CT Scan. We follow up with his oncologist, Dr. Lowe, tomorrow. Praying for good news. We want to hear N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease!)

Ian started throwing up this afternoon while I was taking Samuel to his appointment. He has continued through the evening.

Michael and Peter puppy piled on the bed with me while I napped this evening.

Laundry awaits me and schooling and more organizing and eliminating.

I'm wide awake at 1 a.m. and thinking.

Trying to quiet my heart and still my thoughts. Asking the Lord to direct my gaze on Him and deep breathe while asking Him to be my center.

Asking the Lord to direct my day and show me what to …

Embracing the Present....

I choose to be in the present. Not wallow in the regrets of my past nor dwell on the fears and worries of the future but to allow myself, as best as I can, be present where ever I am. To see, taste, touch, hear, speak fully where I am. To embrace those around me. To love where I am able. To serve and lay down my life.

And when I choose to be in the moment I find a joy. A secret of contentment that bubbles up in my heart because I see grace for each and every need, and peace for my grief and worries, and hope that God is bigger than me. He calls Himself I Am. He is the most present person there is.

And so I run to Him in my time of need. In my time of discouragement. In times of need and plenty. When I danced around the house because, yes, we did pay our rent this month! When I weep for the loss of a precious child and the brokenness that we experience still living in a fallen world, knowing that death has died but for now it separates us from those who have gone ahead. When the shower …

I will try again tomorrow...


Computer Failings, Hairy Legs and other Reasons to Run to God.

So my computer has been having issues, especially, it appears, when I'm trying to work on my teaching/tutoring tasks. It's a force that keeps driving me to the Lord. My Mac (which I really do love) has been having issues and I know what it's trying to tell me... you need to get a new one. But I don't want to. I can't afford to. And I just want to make this one work as long as it will possibly give me.

Even while typing the last paragraph I had several weird things pop-up on my screen as I typed that I had to click closed in order to keep going. I use my Mac for writing. For creating schedules. For editing pictures. For venting into the air and then rapidly deleting. I use it for teaching, tutoring, gathering resources or just putting my thoughts all into one place.

Please Lord, let this Mac last as long as possible!

My days are full. So full in fact that it doesn't leave me time to deal with my hair legs. It doesn't let me squeeze in all the many needed tas…

Papaw Ralph... and hard good-byes.

He tenderly reaches for Michaels hand and let's Michael crawl up into his lap. I see his eyes soften and his lips turn up in a smile.

I see him with a cap on his head.
I see him with freckled hands that have been worked hard over the years.
I see Papaw Ralph in my mind.
He's gone home to be with Jesus.

I got the news the day before school started. Mike was out of town with work and I was home with the kids preparing for our new school year. I made the decision to not tell the kids. I didn't want to cast a shadow on their first day of school. But it cast a shadow over me. I didn't sleep well. I stumbled through my day. I waited until Mike was home so we could tell the kids together on Wednesday morning. We were packing to leave for the funeral.

The kids stayed in town and Mike, his brother, John, and I drove west. We stopped at their brother, David's home and we enjoyed the fellowship and rest of being with family. I got to see my beautiful niece Soleil and listen t…

The Day Before School Begins... Morning Routines & Finding Joy in the Process

School starts for us tomorrow! We begin our second year of Classical Conversations (CC). I'm the tutor for a morning class called Foundations as well as the tutor in the afternoon for the 4th to 6th graders in a class called Essentials. In Essentials I will be teaching them English Grammar (including diagramming sentences) and how to write well. Thankfully we have a curriculum that lays it all out for me. Still hard work but doable!

Last year was a whole new world with having 5 kids homeschooling all for the first time. The great thing is we bonded together as a family. Our life had been so disjointed prior... moving in so many different directions with the diverse medical needs of our family. Therapy for Michael: physical, occupational, and speech. Samuel's cancer check-ups and audiology appointments for hearing aid and hearing loss.

Was it our most successful academic year? No, of course not. But we were able to work on how we speak to one another. How we can love each other…

Sleep wherever...

Somedays I tucker them out so much they can't make it til bedtime...

The tears in the night

Up in the night with the crying child whose ear is hurting. I'm looking up natural remedies frantically and frustrated that I'm not sleeping. Another night of little sleep.

And I snap. I'm angry about the wailing... partly because it's annoying and disturbing and mostly because I feel helpless to do anything. And as I'm gathering hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar I get further exacerbated by the bugs I find everywhere and I begin to grumble.

And I have to stop myself and ask Jesus for help. Help me comfort my hurting child. Help me to be selfLESS.

And now the natural remedy coupled with ibuprofen has finally
soothed the swimmers ear. My child sleeps quiet beside me. Arms encroaching my space. Head sharing my pillow.

And I am thankful that God is not like me. He doesn't tire. He's not impatient. He knows and understands me perfectly and isn't frustrated with my limitations and weaknesses.

In fact He sings over us and delights in us. And so as I seek to…

The Gift of Rest, My Need to Get Unplugged & Resist the Lies

I have had some of the most restful days this past week that I've had in a long, long time. I've been able to sleep, exercise, eat, play and go to Barnes and Noble whenever I've wanted. I have been "kid-free".

This is not my daily life. This is not normal at all. But I have enjoyed the ability to unwind and breathe deep and stretch as needed.

My life is full. Full of 5 beautiful, crazy kids. Full of cleaning and meal making and laundry doing. Full of joy and work and the occasional heartbreak that comes from living in a fallen, broken world.

I have found that in my unwinding... I need to be unplugging more. I'm finding myself in this quiet time, drawn to a screen like a moth to a light. And there are so many screens to choose from... my laptop, ipad, cell phone.

If I'm not careful I can fool myself into thinking I've been productive when I've just let myself wander down the rabbit hole.

If I'm not careful I can buy into the lie that my reality…

I must keep moving...



I'm tempted to give up at times. But I'm not going to. Life is challenging. It has unique difficulties and roadblocks. And there are times when you need to genuinely stop and rest. But I'm trying to learn to pray and know the difference on when I need to press forward and when I just need to say no, this isn't it the time to stop. Running into a wall over and over again is not helpful. But learning to go over the wall or around the wall is.

I'm tempted to push snooze when I need to wake up. I want to give in to a temporary satisfaction instead of longer lasting pleasure. Asking God to help me to trust Him and move forward in my health. To change my eating, my diet, my exercise... MY HABITS!

This transformation has been happening for a long time. Many things internally have had to be re-aligned and fixed before I could take this step to move forward. Emotional and spiritual things had to be discovered and healed before I could do this.

I'm moving past issues that…

Changing Your Life

"Changing your life is like climbing a mountain, you can't see the great view from the top but you know it's coming..." Jennifer Napier

On the days he hates me.

He hit me once and then again. He ran to his brother and popped him on the head. I pulled him away and held his hand. "Noooo!" He wailed. He went rigid. His eyes staring at me with scorn. His little body tight. His frustration mounting. And then he said the words that pierce my heart, "I hate you."

And it's really hard in that moment to gain perspective and clarity. It's hard to see his inability to control his environment and world. His desire for control in whatever way he can grasp it overrides any kind of behavior or attempt at kindness.

And my heart seizes in my chest and I tell myself to breathe. To exhale. "Son, I love you. You may not hit me. You may not hit others..." and he instantly starts whacking at himself. Trying to hit himself. Trying to punish himself. I put down the things in my hands and I say to him, "And you may not hit yourself. Squeeze me. Squeeze me hard." I wrap my arms around him and give him firm pressure. He&…


per·se·vere ˌpərsəˈvir/ verb gerund or present participle: persevering continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success. "his family persevered with his treatment" synonyms:persistcontinue, carry on, go on, keep on, keep going, struggle on,hammer away, be persistent, be determined, see/follow something through, keep at it, press on/ahead, not take no for an answer, be tenacious, stand one's ground, stand fast/firm, hold on, go the distance,stay the course, plod on, stop at nothing, leave no stone unturned;

Long days.

Littles finally truly asleep.

After reports of a bloody nose, who is getting out of bed, who has to go potty, who needs water, who is scared, and who banged their head against the wooden bunkbed.

Putting out "fires" day and night it feels like. I have such a deep appreciation for the single moms in this world and for moms who are home while their husbands deploy. This "single parenting"…

Bye-Bye Caterpillar, Hello Butterfly...

Hi friends. It's time. Time for me to transform. Time for me to slough all the extra weight that has been slowing me down... that was bound to me through trauma and stress and grief and loss and heartache. It's time to say good-by to the caterpillar and hello to the butterfly.

There's a New Girl in Town and her name is Jennifer. She will still smile and laugh. She will still enjoy life. But she's embracing health in a whole new way.

(I don't know why I was speaking about myself in the 3rd person, but that's okay.)

I'm moving more: walking, strength training. I'm not fearing the sweat but embracing allowing the toxins to leave my body.

I'm hydrating by drinking water.... a lot... with lemon, with mint, with cucumber, sometimes infused with strawberries and I might even get a little wild and throw in some apples.

I'm eating my fruits and veggies... At least 31 a day. 

I'm resting and sleeping when needed. 

I'm seeking healthy ways to release s…


“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we're all in this together.”

Brené Brown


Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.

Brené Brown,Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Ministry: Where I Am & Where I'm Going...

I was sitting in Panera at a typical monthly meeting, listening to the core team in my church plant discuss the usual.

But then something happened.

I'm not sure what exactly.

I felt this tingle in my spine as my pastor and my brother-in-law started discussing their most recent trip to Uganda. And I had a vision of rocking African babies and serving. It was big. Bigger than I can express at the moment.

It kind of hit me like a bolt of lightning. I could feel the energy and excitement tingle in my toes and fingertips.

Am I crazy? Is this crazy? I've never had a heart for Africa? I've never had a desire to go that continent, with the small exception of visiting the pyramids in Egypt.

I kind of pictured my missionary days as being over ever since I've married and settled down and had 5 kids.

But a seed was planted. A small little seed of hope was dug into my heart. And it's been watered and the sun has shone on this seed and now I have a little plantling of faith grow…

The day before my birthday, Birthday Blues, A poem.

Birthday Blues, Birthday Blues.

Shake them off but they stick like glue.

Wrestle them down into a tiny box

Put on the lid, sit on the top

But they Spring forward like a jack in the box.

Some moments time passes achingly slow

with more diapers to change, more noses to blow

And other moments it slips through my hands

like trying to catch water from my shower or hold grains of sand.

My story is still being written, it's not done, it's not the end

But I struggle to see the passing time as a friend.

He's written all my days, and hey I'm still alive

This isn't the end. I'm just turning 35.

Sorry I get like this,  philosophical and so crazy contemplative

It's just a by-product of being overly numerative.

Breathe, take a breath, and then exhale

Tomorrow is just like any other day, yes, I will prevail.

So I take all these feelings and emotions and I give them to God

And say I surrender, please help me to turn off

My brain that won't stop thinking and processing


Counting Sheep and Still No Winks

It's almost 3 a.m. and I can't sleep.

I've tossed and turned for hours.

Just like I did last night.

I even avoided watching my recent tv show on netflix addiction.

So, what have I done....

I've found out a few friends are pregnant. Thank you FB

i got a great recipe for glazed lemon zucchini bread. Thank you friend's post.

I read some articles.

I drank some water.

I admired some photos.

And time slips by and my eyes closing doesn't lend to dreaming. this is rough because I need to get up in a few hours and start my day. And we have practicum in the morning (Conference for Classical Conversations). And I got so little sleep last night... and the night before. In fact for the past several weeks. And I told myself I would go to bed by 9!

And now my thoughts tend to alternate between heavy and deep and loopy and weird.

And I pray... I pray for the Moms up with their newborns... awake in the wee small hours of the night. I think of what time it is in Sweden and how m…