Just some random, irrelevant, humorous, and hopefully inspiring musings on life, love, faith, widowhood, remarriage, adoption, blended families, caring for a handicapped child, mothering seven children, chickens, cooking, grief, over-coming grief, and everything else in between. Just Keep Livin!!
In honor of Mother’s day I’ve chosen to recognize 7 little people who have made motherhood a reality for me.Caleb, Tate, Lucas, Mya, Mabel, Josh and Jada – you literally get me up in the morning and keep me on my toes (with lots and lots of coffee!).Each one of you has brought such joy to my life in unique ways, and although I’m not always the greatest at remembering to tell you how much you mean to me, know from the bottom of my heart, that you kids are my heartbeat.
Caleb – My first born son, named after one of the Biblical spies allowed into the Promised Land, a sign of God’s blessing upon our family. You arrived in my life when I was merely 25 years old, andI bore you with a great amount of pain and determination, but you were so worth it.You were my “little beaner” and we were buddies from day one.You have seen way too much in your short 10 years from your brother being severally handicapped, to your stressed out mom during many of those hard years, to accepting a new brother and two new sisters and embracing the fact that your mom would be spread even thinner than she already had been, to finally being the one to discover that your birth father had left our family to journey onward to his forever home. I am so proud of the little man you have become.I pray that you continue to find beauty in this world, continue to push yourself past all limits and continue to ask the questions that no one else will ask.Always open your heart even when this world will send numerous blows your way. Continue to trust in HIM son, he we make all of your paths straight. Dad and I love you so much.
Tate, my son.You ran circles around my brain for about the first year I was blessed to be called your mom.I’ve never met a child like you who could literally talk all day long!You always have a spark for life that has never faded, even when your own birth mom passed away and you were left with a gaping hole in your heart.You, Tate, gave your dad hope so that he could move on and pursue love again, and you paved the way for your family to step out of grief and embrace the gift of a new family that God had sent their way.Thank you Tate for being bold enough to speak it like it is.Thank you for your tender heart and for accepting and loving me as your mom.Thank you for always being cautious of not hurting my feelings or the feelings of others by speaking of things that would only be painful.Tate, you have not let the hardships of life keep you down and instead you have risen to any challenge and have actually risen above and beyond anything we could have ever thought possible.We love you buddy.
Mya – You bonded to me immediately. We mirror each other in so many ways and that has made our relationship easy sailing at times and at other times some pretty rough waters.They say, what bothers you the most in others are your own worst personality traits and tendencies, and I would have to say that is an accurate statement!You are my wingman just as I was called upon to be a wingman in my youth, and that makes you helpful, a know it all, dependable, and absolutely necessary in my life as a mom. You, my daughter, carry a special role in our family as the oldest girl, weight is put upon you that is not always fair but you never balk at what is needed or asked, you just fulfill your role quietly and respectfully (usually). You have an old soul brought on by heartache and life but right now, in this moment, I’m so thankful that I get to be your mom. Thank you for accepting this role so easily and readily. Thank you for loving me and welcoming me into your heart. Keep your eyes on Jesus and he will direct your path. I love you Mya Dru.
Mabel Grace.Oh sweet pistol girl.I wanted you so badly.Actually I wanted a daughter so badly and when you were lifted out of my stomach and the doctor said, “It’s a girl!”I just wept.You have brought a smile to my face during some of the darkest moments a person can walk through.Sweet girl, you were so oblivious to the pain surrounding your first three years of life, your birth daddy being diagnosed with brain cancer months after you were born, chemo, radiation, Luke’s brain surgeries, another terminal brain cancer diagnosis and finally the death of your first father.I’m sorry I didn’t have any better answers for your little three year old heart when you awoke to find him gone the next day.I’m sorry for the confusion and the pain that you’ve endured in your short 6 years.I’m sorry that I checked out on everything for those three dark months after his death. I thank God every day for sending you a new daddy and for the bond of love you have with him. Keep your fire my little pistol, it will serve you well (most of the time) throughout your days.Along with that fire, carry your sword of the spirit and nothing will be able to sever you from your path.I love you sweetie.
Joshua- my sign of a promise, named for the other spy who could enter the promised land. I had no idea why in the world I would wind up pregnant during the worst possible time in my life with your birth father on chemo and radiation.It seemed like you had to be a sign of a promise for my life, and you were actually a sign for something so far beyond anything I could have comprehended or conceived in those moments.You provided me with something to live for during those months when your birth father could live no longer.You gave me hope and a promise for a better tomorrow and that better tomorrow has been fulfilled for me, you kids, and your birth father.I look at you today, all little man of you, at 3 years old with a gun shoved down your pants just like your big brothers and marvel at what God pulled together in your life.You now have a sister you couldn't' live without and a brother who is not your blood but probably more your brother than any other family member, and a daddy who you love and who loves you. Little boy, God knew what he was doing when he placed you in my womb.Thank you Joshua Isaac for something you have no comprehension of right now, thank you for being born for such a time as this and allowing your mother to believe again that there would be beauty from the ashes.I love you crazy boy.
Jada –You dear little girl, I love you ferociously but at times, my goodness….You have a stubborn tenacity that would be hard on any woman. I didn’t have the chance to bond with you in my womb, and I didn’t bond with you in your infancy either.That was a gift you gave your birth mother, and I’m sure you made her final days here on earth full of peace and joy while cradling you in her arms. In fact, you came into my life during the “stinker” years of 1-3 and those aren’t easy for any mother, let alone a mother who hasn’t had any initial bond with a child. I have prayed, many, many prayers of patience and understanding during these last two years.We, little Jada Alexis, are finding our sweet spot finally.I am thankful to be your mom, and I’m thankful for the stretching and pulling of my faith and life that you have brought.I’m thankful that you have sent me to my knees repeatedly in an effort to seek God’s will for my children. Jada, you are my princess girl.Always remember, I love you, I want to be the mom you need more than just about anything, and that I chose you because of that unconditional love.I love you princess.
Lucas Aaron Ronne – you have changed us all for the better.People wonder what the purpose of your life is and it is such an absurd question. You find joy in every single day. I don’t think many people can say that.You find joy in school, in family, in movies, in music, in food, and in chocolate milk.Every day, these things bring joy to your life.You don’t wish your life to be different, just as I don’t wish my life to be different.We are all in God’s perfect will just exactly where we are and that’s the best life you could ever live - smack dab in his will.You, little boy, are such a blessing and in fact, I believe that your life isn’t even necessarily about you, your life is about everyone around you and how we each change because you miraculously live.You dear boy, are a miracle.My beautiful family is a miracle and just as you don’t wallow in your limitations, we also don’t wallow in our loss, and instead we rejoice in what was created from the loss.Here’s to you Luke, “let’s give ‘em something to talk about….!”
One of the best aspects of being a blogger (even a very part time blogger) are the opportunities I have to review new book releases, and I am so excited about this recent opportunity to review Brave Beauty a devotional by Lynn Cowell; a beautiful inspirational book for the young girl in your life. Brave Beauty encourages spiritual truths that girls of all ages need to hear and be reminded of on a consistent basis. Truths such as the appeal of inner beauty, boldly living your faith, being a friend to those in need, and putting your trust in God. Cowell gently guides the reader, chapter b...
I walked into the ultrasound room and felt the complete absence of warmth. No beauty relieved the coldness, no picture of a mother holding a child or a sunset over the water. Nothing to remind those who nervously waited of the potential for joy within the world. A large, heavyset woman poked with her stubby fingers at my thin, slightly rounded body. As the silence continued to descend, the air thickened with unspoken thoughts. I looked at this doctor, the expert I had been sent to, repeatedly trying to catch her eye, to shake her unmovable countenance. I wanted to see a glimpse of understandi...
Just a few items for consideration as you go about your week.
First - In honor of all of the wonderful mothers, grandmothers, and motherly figures in the world, I'm offering a Buy One / Get One 1/2 off sale on all autographed copies of Sunlight Burning at Midnight ordered here on the blog and also at Facebook/jessplusthemess. It's the perfect time to buy one for yourself and then gift another to that special someone in your life. This sale will be honored all the way through to Mother's Day - May 14. If you'd like the books sent to different ad...
One way we’ve been able to accomplish this desire is by peeling back many of the layers of what’s expected for a particular holiday and ask ourselves: A. Do we have the energy levels required to enjoy this activity (whatever it may be – elaborate meal, presentation, etc) or will this addition stress us out and if so, the activity needs to be eliminated or reconfigured to meet our current energy levels so that it doesn’t potentially hinder the true meaning of the holiday, and B. What simple traditions can we incorporate to ensure that our children are honoring whatever this holiday is truly a...
A few weeks ago I was offered the opportunity to review two recently released children's books, I’m Going to Give you a Bear Hug by Caroline Cooney / Illustrated by Tim Warnes and Bible Basics, A Baby Believer Counting Primer by Danielle Hitchen / Illustrated by Jessica Blanchard.
Blessed but stressed has been our life motto for over three years now – ever since we made the decision to add an 8th child to our family. Some have raised questioning eyebrows with this decision, but we forged through, and we stand by the decision today as one of the best things we’ve done for our family, BUT we are tired and stretched about as thin as they come. Something about raising teenagers, and not sleeping because of a newborn, and then raising teenagers with a toddler who does finally sleep (PRAISE JESUS!) but never, ever, ever stops moving when she’s awake, and then there are the ...
These are really, really good and really, really addicting so it's a good thing they have some health benefits or I'd feel really, really guilty after eating a few. I usually make these for the kids breakfast because most days they're up at 6:00 am so they need something easy, filling, and tasty in their bellies. These always do the trick.
Banana Chocolate Muffins
3 ripe bananas. 2 cups flour½ cup maple syrup2 eggs1 tea baking soda1 tea baking powder½ tea salt2 TB coconut oil1 tea vanilla½ cup orange juice. 1 cup dark chocolate chips
Mix the first 10 ingredients together. Stir i...
3-4 TB olive oil (depends on how much garlic and onions you add).
1 large onion chopped
4-5 TB finely chopped fresh garlic
(You can add chopped celery as well if you want)
Saute these three ingredients for a few minutes.
Add 4 14 ounce cans of quality tomatoes (crushed or whole is fine - I like Carmelina brand)
Add as much fresh spinach as the pot will hold.
4 TB Italian seasoning
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup red wine
2 cups of tomato juice (we make our own)
Salt and pepper to taste
Simmer all of this on low for an hour or two. Turn heat off and blend all together with a han...
In my second marriage to Ryan I have valiantly attempted to right the wrongs that I naively produced in the first marital relationship. They say “ignorance is bliss,” and I suppose that I was ignorant the first time around; however, having my eyes wide open through a second opportunity has changed my perspective on life and love. A few of my initial struggles were cemented in my identity as a strong willed, first born, young wife, and often included a lack of respect towards my husband (I knew best, of course!), and one that goes hand in hand with the respect issue, a lack of grace. I usually...
This week’s recipe is a spin off of my go to, extremely easy, “I only have 5 minutes to whip something together” dessert. The original recipe called for peanut butter, egg, and sugar. I’ve amped up the health factor by substituting some of the ingredients and adding a few more. My kids love em. Hope you do too. Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Delights. 1 cup almond butter 1 egg ½ cup maple syrup ½ cup pecans ½ cup dark chocolate chips. Mix everything together in a big bowl. Spoon droplets onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.
Just keep livin!