Monday, May 19, 2008

Back Again,

Well if I haven't lost my entire readership... ;)

I would deserve it at this point too...

So I dropped off the blogging world for two months... ;) Now, finally, I'll be picking up on my other blog. And this blog will become an archive.

After this, you'll find me at

And now you ask; "Why two blogs?"

A legitimate question. :)

I actually started the Song in the Night blog because of a verse that spoke to me. After that, I had different "goals" for my two blogs. I intended for this blog to be more personal as far as "daily life" and the Song in the Night blog to be personal as well but more in the way of spiritual progress. Now the two will be merged. And it rather makes sense to me as well, because we are told "whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

So the routine, mundane day-to-day life can and should speak of His glory as well. Life should be LIVED in a way that brings Him glory, we should never think that we are only lifting Him up when we are in church or consciously studying His word. A quotation comes to mind, I think it was A. W. Tozer who said after a particularly convicting sermon: "Don't come up here to the altar and cry about it, go home and live it!"

It's true.

So I'll be back. It's a different location, but the same journey with the same Author of Joy - who gives us songs in the night.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Quick Update

Just FYI... I need to take a blogging break for a month at least. I've enjoyed blogging, it's fun and I like to write, but I've been very busy lately and need to concentrate on other things. It's all in the priorities. :) I may pick it up later on, I'm not sure yet where this will go. But meanwhile, rather than just "disappear" I thought I would give the heads up. :) I will probably post an update in a month or so on whether or not I will continue blogging. I have very much appreciated all of your encouraging comments! Thank you for reading my blog! :)

God bless,

Saturday, March 15, 2008

SPRING! (It's coming... :) )

I always get so excited when I feel the first hints of spring. Yesterday was warm and sunny, and I had to announce to everyone I encountered that SPRING was coming. Just in case they hadn't noticed for themselves. ;) Something like this:

"SPRING is coming! Did you notice? Can you tell? It's warm out! And muddy! And the snow is melting! Oh, and did I tell you it's almost spring?!?! Oh, oh, isn't it NICE out? See! See! Spring is coming!"

:-D What can I say? :)

Now I know mud season comes first, but I welcome that too because it means the winter is coming to an end. Winter is beautiful too, but it just doesn't have the excitement spring has! Not to mention the fact that winter means cold... :)

I was looking at my old posts and found the following written March 28 a year ago. I don't think anything has changed, really! ;)

"Lo! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves is heard in our land."
-Song of Solomon 2:11-12

I just love spring! It's my favorite season. I like summer too but it just doesn't have the thrills that spring has. It's when the sun comes out after depriving us all winter long, it's when the snow melts - slowly, a little more each day. The crocuses come out, the daffodils begin to poke their heads out of the snow, and it's warm out!

It just energizes me and makes me realize that I can stick it out through the rest of the semester. I'm so glad that He gave us seasons. The winter sometimes seems so long you can't see the end of it... but He always sends spring. And it's His timing, not necessarily when I would want it. I might plead for spring in the middle of a cold dark January - but He sends us spring in His own timing... which is always perfect.

We are familiar with what Solomon says about a time for everything
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."
-Ecclesiasties 3:1
It's easy to remember this, it's harder to always keep in mind that all of our times and seasons are in His control.

"But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hands."
-Psalm 31:14-15

All of my times and seasons are in His hand - and that's the safest place for them. :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Don't Let Me Miss It...

I love this song:

I've been so very tired lately. Every day I look for signs of spring; I'm longing for it. At the end of a long difficult winter the hope of spring is so refreshing... especially since it usually comes at the end of a stressful semester! I am looking ahead, wistfully, but right now the season (and the weather!) is still winter. And I am living in the present. I don't want my exhaustion and down moods and wishes and burnout to cause me to miss out on savoring life now. I want to live life to the hilt... even in a long cold winter. I want to seize opportunities, and I want to enjoy the ones that may not be there later on. I'm in a season that is fleeting, and I refuse to allow myself to slowly drag through what is left of it. There's more to life than that.

No, I don't want to miss the glory. I'm tired, yes. I'm ready for spring, yes. But this cannot keep me from adding my voice to that of all creation praising to the honor of His name. With His strength, I won't miss it.

"Don't Let Me Miss the Glory"
-Carl Cartee

"In the view from the mountains
There's a story to be told
In the crashing of the ocean
There's a power that no man will ever hold.
All the stars in the heavens
Decorate your handiwork
And like a mighty choir
They come to celebrate Your work

Don't let me miss the glory
Don't let me miss the praise
That all creation is singing
To the honor of your name

Don't let me miss the wonder
Don't let me miss the grand design
In the lightning and the thunder
Lord, open up my eyes
Don't let me miss the glory

The cry of a baby
The laughter of love
In the dance of the faithful
You will find the greatness of our God above
In the prayer of the righteous
In the beauty of your grace
In a brand new morning's mercy
All your memories of my sin have been erased

Don't let me miss the glory
Don't let me miss the praise
That all creation is singing
To the honor of your name

Don't let me miss the wonder
Don't let me miss the grand design
In the lightning and the thunder
Lord, open up my eyes
Don't let me miss the glory"

Friday, March 07, 2008

Toddler Logic -- And Cookies! ;)

Let me recreate a recent conversation with Kevin:

Kevin sees Jen mixing dough: "Are you making cookies?"
Jen: "No, it's apple pie."
Kevin: "Well why not cookies?"
Jen: "Because we have apples to use today."
Kevin: "Well, THEN can you make cookies?"
Jen:"Not today, I'm already making pie today."
Kevin: "Oh." *big sigh* "I love it."
Jen: "You love what? Cookies?"
Kevin: "No, apple pie."
Jen, surprised at his change of tune: "Oh, good."
Kevin: "Why are you making apple pie?"
Jen: "Because Kevin likes apple pie and I like Kevin."
Kevin: "Oh." *short pause* "Well I don't."
Jen: "You don't like apple pie?!?!?!"
Kevin: "Nope. Don't like it. I LOVE it!"
*very long pause*
Kevin: "So, how 'bout NOW make cookies?"

We went round and round and up and down this conversation - oh yes! ;) Toddler logic, must love! And with all this talk of cookies I've had this Veggie Tales' song running through my head:

"Larry: `Oh, Santa! I can`t wait for you to come, I just can`t wait for you to come, and I`ve got cookies! Two yummy cookies! Just for you for when you come, oh me, for you for when you come ... BECAUSE IT'S CHRISTMAS!`"

And when warding off a pillaging viking:

"Larry: `I don`t have land ... I don`t have crops, my viking friend, but I have cookies--two yummy cookies. And I don`t have horses, but please take this my viking friend. Eat one of these my viking friend. They are for Santa, but you may have one.`"

I'm taking some cues from Kevin and Larry and when I'm running late to work I bring cookies! "I'm late -- but I have cookies!" I announced one day, with Larry the Cucumber's cookie song running through my head. I DID refrain from singing it for them. :) Perhaps next time.

And now, I'm going to make cookies. For Kevin, and the rest of my family, and not to mention that it is useful to have cookies in case of random bank robbers and pillaging vikings -- you never know when one might show up!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Content; Not Satisfied

"Don't settle for good enough. There is more to this life than the status quo."

"And I—in righteousness I will see your face;
when I awake, I will be satisfied
with seeing your likeness."
-Psalm 17:15

A link to an article from YLCF that inspired me today. I am content - but I know how much I want more. More of His likeness, more of His joy, more of His love. I want more passion, I want more determination, I want more resolute energy, I want more focus. I think I just want more of Him...
because I see every day how much I need Him.

And, on another note:

Today is my sister Christina's 16th birthday!! :) Christina competes with her brothers in backyard hockey, is a 4-H horse bowler at the national level, helps me direct the children's choir at church, and is taking 2 college classes in addition to her 10th grade homeschool curriculum this year. (That was just an aside from a older sister :) )
Happy Birthday Christina!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What I Don't Want

I tend to sit quietly at the lunch table at work. Most of my coworkers are middle-aged and their conversations generally follow experiences that I don't have much input on. Along the lines of kitchen remodeling, car payments, house-flipping, and such. Just haven't "been there, done that." :)

The other day one woman was talking about the nerve of her husband to want a new truck two years into making payments on the last. Her words:
"I told him no. Definitely not... not unless he could find one that is the same monthly payment we are making now for the same number of months. He'll never find one."
She got up and left the table. The others exchanged knowing smiles and one spoke up:

"Yeah. He'll get his truck tomorrow."

"What?" I asked. "She sounded pretty definite...?"

"Oh, you don't know her husband. He gets whatever he wants and she pays for it. One time she told him not to buy a snowmobile and he bought six."

Sure enough, the next day the same woman came in and said, "Well, he bought the truck."

She looked directly at me and said "When you get married, make sure it's a man who will support you! Men just want us to make money for them to spend!"

Make sure it's a man who will support you... At work they call me a "lifer," my coworkers think they will marry me off and I will take my maternity leave for each child and come back after three months. They joke about me being there "forever!" They don't know that I have other ideas...

I honestly don't know where my Lord will have me in ten years, but I know for sure what I don't want.

I don't want to drop my kids off at daycare every morning and head off to work. I don't want them to cry for someone else when they get hurt, I don't want to miss out on their first steps and first words because I was on "another day, another dollar."

I don't want to argue with my husband over which one of us has to call in to take a child to the doctor. I don't want to frantically dial babysitter's numbers on a snow day because I just can't call in and end up missing the perfect attendance breakfast. I don't want any of that.

I don't want to be so stressed and frustrated from my day at work that I have nothing left to soothe my husband's stress away when he comes home. I don't want to divide up the household chores evenly between us. I don't want to be so backed up on laundry and dishes and housework that it's all I can think of once we are both home.

I don't want to convince myself that a second income is necessary because car payments and expensive vacations take priority over my family. I don't want to debate over whether I want another child because it would take so much time away from work.

I don't want my kids to remember me as not being there. I don't want school teachers to have more of an influence than I have. And while I'm on the subject, since I want to home educate, I don't want school teachers either!

That's what I don't want. And my latest working experiences haven't changed my mind. Whenever my coworker's little girl calls, and she picks up the phone and snaps "Well, whaddaya want. Can't. I'm at work." I think how I don't want that.

I just don't.

I think that our culture is irresponsible with money. We get on the plastic habit, end up in debt, and need a second income to pay it off. And what about the woman in the story I opened with? Well, I feel that when wives work, it takes away the husband's value as the provider and breadwinner. He is disillusioned and without a purpose, whether he realizes it or not. And, yeah, we're human; so why not just slide into irresponsibility and let your wife pay for everything? I mean, you're just not needed in the money making department so much anyway.

I'm not saying it's wrong to help out when it is necessary. I'm not saying a woman shouldn't be prepared to work if needed. I'm not saying education and training are pointless for a woman either. I'm currently working on my bachelor's degree in accounting. I may use it immediately, I may not, but since I am single it's not something that will allow my family's needs to slide in the meantime. And it's there if and when I need it.

Some say being a homemaker shows a lack of ambition. I disagree. To me there is no higher ambition than that of bringing up children in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord." And none higher than that of helping a man to further His kingdom.

That's what I want.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Not Tolstoy, Still Priceless

Kevin asked me to read to him tonight. So I read to Kevin (almost 4) and Anne (8). Thankfully I learned years ago that it just doesn't pay to be too picky about the quality of the books you read to a toddler. I mean, you just can't get past those overly-simple-repetitive-Dick-and-Jane-style classics.

For instance, tonight Kevin picked out three books.

Clifford Barks
The Bear Detectives and the Missing Pumpkin

Twas the Night Before Christmas

I added one book of my choosing to the list; The Three Snow Bears (I love Jan Brett! :) )

Clifford Barks was very closely along the lines of "Clifford barks at the flowers, Clifford barks at the trees, Clifford barks at the people, Clifford barks at the bees."

'Nuff said. I shall only add that it wasn't my first choice... ;)

Twas the night before Christmas - Kevin learned a new word from this one. Plump. He asked me what it meant. I said it meant chubby. He then asked; "Am I chubby?" "Are you chubby?" I answered "no" to each question. Then (because the term must apply to someone) he stated firmly, "Anne is chubby." I think that statement resulted in this picture:

I also learned something from that book that I didn't remember from the poem before...


Santa smokes. Ahem.

And I quote:
"The smoke from his pipe he held tight in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath."
Ah for positive role models... :-D

Oh, and the bear detectives.

"Aha! You've found a pumpkin leaf,
Just show me where
you found this leaf
Then I will find the pumpkin thief."
Yeah, enough of that one too. Let's just say I'm not crazy... yet. ;)

Then we pulled out the camera and started taking pictures. Oh, and Kevin is very camera trigger happy, and he wanted to take pictures of himself making fish faces, and of the floor, and of -- my feet.

I'll spare you. :)

The Snow Bears book was my favorite. It was Goldilocks told with polar bears in Alaska. The most "classic-y" one, and I prefer classics.

No, they weren't in depth. Not even close. None of the books were terribly brilliant or inspiring or mind-developing. Actually some verged on being, well, annoying.

That's not the point. :)
Rather, it was a moment, and now a memory, and it's only once and it's just TOO MUCH FUN!

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Verse and a Thought

"Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

-Philippians 4:6-7

"Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all."
-II Thessalonians 3:17

"In returning and rest shall ye be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be your strength."
-Isaiah 30:15

I know, I've been very sporadic. No excuse really, but to be honest I have been struggling. I am thankful when He impresses His words on my heart. I believe there's a greater purpose behind our struggles, and He uses circumstances and situations to renew us spiritually and bring us back to Him. Easy to forget, painful to remember, but the end is priceless. I'm trying to hold onto this.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oatmeal Whoopie Pies

Oatmeal Whoopie Pies

2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tbsp. hot water
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups oats

Beat together brown sugar, shortening, eggs, salt, and baking powder. Mix water with baking soda, stir in. Add remaining ingredients. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 F for 8 - 10 minutes until puffy and slightly browned.


3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat all frosting ingredients together until fluffy. Add more powdered sugar or milk if necessary for consistency. Frost the bottoms of half the cookies and top with another cookie.

This recipe originally came from an Amish/Mennonite cookbook. Supposedly the name comes from the fact that children shout "Whoopie!" when they are baked. :)

My family doesn't shout when I make cookies, but they do disappear quickly! :) It takes a lot of cookies to feed this crowd! :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

What I've been up too... :) the Job Search

I started to type in the title for this post and it popped up as one I had used before. Well I think it's sufficient, if not original. :) I did add on to the title. Slightly more original.

So, (obviously) I'm searching for a job now, and I had three interviews last week, which multiplied into five interviews including follow-ups. Amazing that I had follow-ups, since my interview skills seem to be declining.

Maybe not exactly declining. I never really needed interview skills before, since my other jobs were for people whom I knew well. In both cases I was asked to work, decided to take the job, and ended up filling out all the application and reference paperwork solely for records after being hired. There was that one time that I *accidently* applied at a trucking company and went in for an interview anyway - but that's a different story. :) (Yes, apparently for me it's possible to *accidentally* apply for a job somewhere... :) )

I thought that my first interview last week went very well, (considering) - until I reflected on my specific answers to questions. Namely; sick time. I was asked how often I called in sick at my previous job. Without thinking, I responded: "Well, the first year I almost never called in sick. The second year I called in fairly often."

Yes, I actually said that in a job interview! Oh, and by the way, "fairly often" is translated as a) twice I had a doctor's note to take me out of work and school, once for a week, once for a day; and b) I called in maybe three other times and went to work many other days that I perhaps could have called in. (It was an odd year.) However, calling in at all was frowned on at my old job, so the number of times I did it probably got translated in my mind as a "fairly often" which came out at the most appropriate time. :)

Anyway, the lady who was interviewing me said "Well, we don't like people to call in here. It causes others to have to cover for them." Well, I didn't expect them to like it, really. It seems as if it would be odd if an employer liked people to call in. Needless to say; I didn't get called back for a follow-up for that job.

The second job was for a nice small town family business, who were specifically looking for a long-term employee. A long-term employee who wanted to work part-time at that specific job for the rest of his or her natural life. A nice job for an older retiree, really. Because of my age, they were very cautious to make sure of the fact that I wanted part-time work - forever. Enough said.

Oddly enough I was not nervous about any of the interviews. I felt qualified and fairly confident, in spite of my blunders. But it was the last interview that I was the most at ease with. Perhaps too much at ease. Again, I felt good about the interview until I reflected later on, and realized some things that I perhaps should NOT have said.

They asked me if I have a good sense of humor and I told them how we would relieve tension at the flower shop by inhaling helium and talking or singing. (It makes your voice all high-pitched and funny sounding. They (my interviewees) did laugh. Perhaps painfully. Then they asked how I handle callers and compaints of the more nasty type. I told them that I just grit my teeth and get sweeter and sweeter as I become more annoyed but since I am convinced of my superior intelligence and handling capabilities it keeps me from ever loosing it. Again they laughed. Maybe more painfully, maybe sincerely - it's hard to tell. Throughout the whole interview I talked constantly, odd for me, and laughed at maybe too many opportunities. Than they asked what my weaknesses are...

I said that I'm told I don't talk enough. Yeah.

I'm still waiting to hear from any and all of the job opportunities. Meanwhile, if a lesson comes out of this for me I think it's the fact that God works in spite of us. Or me. Thankfully.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose."
-Romans 8:28

They work together for good in spite of me. Even when I happen to be in the way, or in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong response. My blunders CAN be turned around.

I think it's definitely work a long sigh of relief.

And anticipation. :)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hymns and Choruses

Yesterday after church was dismissed I was confronted by a familiar older lady.
"I have a complaint!" was her firm greeting in the form of an announcement.
I smiled and mentally prepared for a hymns versus choruses rant. This lady was notorious for intensely disliking choruses and not afraid to say it. Although; funny, it couldn't be... it was hymn Sunday. What could her "complaint" be today?

"WHY is the piano so LOUD? CAN you explain it to me?"

Very surprised, I exclaimed; "Too loud? Is it really?"

"YES. It is MUCH too loud."

Grasping for words, I replied, "Well, I'm surprised it is loud because it has rather a heavy touch compared to other pianos... it might be the acoustics of the sanctuary...?"

"Well. Isn't there a soft pedal? USE IT." She spoke firmly and did not smile.

Meanwhile I tried not to smile. Usually I am rather thin-skinned, but for some reason this lady never seems to "get to" me. I know she means well, she just has a rather odd way of showing it. Not to mention that I hadn't even played piano that Sunday to start with; so it really wasn't anything I had done.

The worship director appeared at that moment. Distracted, the lady stared at him.

"And are YOU the one who always picks THOSE CHORUSES?" Accusingly.

"Well" he said smoothly "when it's my week to lead."


Thus it began... again. :)

Here we go again. The ageless hymns versus choruses debate. And to be honest; I really don't get the controversy. I have a confession to make: I like both hymns and choruses. Yes; read BOTH. Even TOGETHER, perhaps. :) Am I very strange, and quite alone in this?

I hear it from both sides. "Hymns are soooo sloooowwww. And soooo boring. Why must we sing hymns?" "And CHORUSES! Why, choruses are redundant, and have no solid foundation. They are meaningless words that say nothing and are only an excuse to incorporate a drum beat."

In my church, we attempt to please both crowds. We alternate between a praise team/choruses Sunday and a traditional hymn/piano only Sunday. My question; am I the only one who wonders if segregation is unnecessary? I wonder, why can't we have hymns included in the praise team, or choruses on the piano Sunday. Is each worship/music style limited to the songs traditionally associated with it?

What is really here important anyway?

I think it is imporant to evaluate the words we are singing. Is the new fun chorus (or old, traditional hymn) making sweeping statements that we are not really prepared to follow up on in our lives? Do we really mean what we are singing? Also, is there meaning in what we are singing. Is it more than a string of words that sound good, but can't be defined as "worship?"

Honestly, I think the hymns/choruses debate can be funny. Here is a funny satire that I often think of when the hymns and choruses debate is brought up. :) Disclaimer: it involves cows. :)

Yeah, I think it's funny, and sometime sad, but also mind-boggling, because I just don't identify with it most of the time. I like both styles. :)

Back to my story; the lady continued with her popular "choruses are awful" dialogue, and then we went our separate ways. Later that day, she called me.

"Jennifer, I just wanted to apologize for what I said today. I did not mean to be overly critical, and I'm sorry if I sounded that way."

How sweet! I told her it wasn't a problem, (and I thought I had found a new friend). :) Then she asked me:
"By the way; who was THAT MAN who was talking to us?"

"Oh, the song leader?"

"Was THAT him? He's the one who pickes the choruses? Well. I won't be apologizing to him. I MEANT what I said to him!"


Ah, life. And people. And opinions. Thank God for variety - even in music! :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

More of Passion - and the New Year Without Mistakes

Wow, it has been a long time. :)

The past month has sped by in a blur of cramming, finals, long coveted graduation, and then right into Christmas with cookie baking, shopping, gift-wrapping and family time. Not to mention the continual and thus far unsuccessful job search. :) It seemed as if as soon as I was finished with school Christmas was upon us. There was not an end to the fast-paced, busy and exhausted scheme of things.

My blog was not the only thing that got lost in the shuffle. I recently realized that there were several friends I had neglected for weeks. I called three people in a row to see how they were doing, and apologized for being so out of it. I have this feeling that I have had my head buried in the sand, and I am just now pulling it out and blinking at what I have missed. :) Crazy? Maybe, but that's the feeling I have! :)

My last post recognized that I was missing passion, but even with this recognization I passed the following month in a blur - and not a passionate one. More of a "necessary-must-to-have-to" blur.

I like how New Year's follows Christmas - our "resolutions" are often neglected quickly, yet it's a fresh new year with endless possibilities and another chance to "do things right." :) I also like how Anne Shirley says "Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it." I always seem to make mistakes at Christmas! But the Christmas coming has no mistakes in it yet. :) I have another chance next Christmas to a) think ahead b) take some time to relax c) NOT choose the wrong shipping d) not neglect the essentials, carefully weighing what is necessary and what can be done without; and, most importantly, e) reflect on His precious gift.

Christmas is only one example, and it comes at the end of the new year. The whole year is a chance to love Him more deeply, to follow Him more closely, to glorify Him more fully, and to obey Him more perfectly. I don't usually make specific "resolutions" in fact I was never overly fond of the word; but I know one thing: that I don't want this year of my life to be wasted. I want to be infused with passion! I don't want to live a mediocre Christian life. I want to serve Him - passionately.

"But whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it."
-John Piper

I think this quote sums up what I could say much better than I could ever say it. :) A passion worth having is worth both living for and dying for. My blurred lifestyle as a past trend isn't necessary to hamper the "living" of what is ahead.

What is your passion?