Tuesday, November 14, 2017

LISTEN

This is going to be short and sweet, but it's on my heart so I wanted to share.

Friends...there are so many people that you are going to speak to throughout the day and there are many that are going to speak to you.

If I can encourage you today - SPEAK LIFE!

Surround yourself with the people who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
This may mean making some changes in your life - - - this is ok!
Sometimes tough, but also doable.

Our pastor spoke about this some in his message this past week; a reminder that God will ALWAYS send someone to speak life to you.  A reminder that you have to have people in your corner that are able to show you the bigger picture.

Sometimes, I think you have to be willing to drown out all the noise and listen to who He is using to speak to you.  What you need to hear can come in so many ways...

I can tell you - I'm a words person and my family and friends know this.
And my inner circle is small, but it's filled with people who speak life!!!
Within the past 3 weeks, my love tank has been filled just when I needed it most.

It actually started with a text that simply said:  "So while doing my last bit of homework for my Bible study, this question grabbed my attention.  I did end up writing other names, but none came as instantly and effortly as yours.  I just wanted you to know the effect your have on others just by being who you are..."  The question - In a world where Jesus followers often feel alienated, we can run to one another, huddle, laugh, and muse for a moment and almost taste home.  Whose company gives you what you think might be a foretaste of Heaven's fellowship?

I'm sharing this, not to boast, but to show - God will send people to speak life to you!!!

What this person didn't know when she sent that message was that is came at the end of a very frustrating day when my "mind" was getting the best of me and I felt defeated because nothing, and I mean nothing, was going the way I intended at work.  My "job."  What I get paid to do. And what I strive to give my best daily.

That text was a simple reminder that it doesn't matter what my "job" is day in and day out - what matters is the work I am doing for Him.

Speaking LIFE!!

We need people in our corner speaking life over our jobs.
We need people in our corner speaking life over our marriages.
We need people in our corner speaking life over our children.
We need people in our corner speaking life over our finances.   
Over our situations.
Over our hurts.
Our troubles.
Our fears.

And we need to be able to return it and speak life into those around us!

Take a look at the people around you.
Listen to them.
What are they speaking to you?
Drown out the noise, and take time to listen.

If  their words are not building you up, but bringing you down - you  may need to rethink the interaction you allow yourself to have with them. 

And take a good listen to yourself.
Are you using your words to build others up or tear them down?

Oh, goodness - we are so much better together!
Speak life to the people around you and let's watch this world change person by person!

xox


Monday, November 6, 2017

Failure to Thrive

Failure to Thrive.

You hear this a lot with pediatric patients, sometimes adults.
It's defined as decelerated or arrested physical growth and is associated with abnormal growth and development.

My parents were told this was what I had as a child; I wasn't gaining weight or inches.  And, unfortunately, that "title" stayed with me for a long time.

And I don't like this term, "failure to thrive."

There.
I said it.

In all honesty, I really don't.

And in my case, not only was I being compared to what an "average" child should be doing, but I have a twin sister I was being side by side compared to as well.

Failure to thrive.
How dumb is this?
Seriously!
I think they need to come up with a better term.

Which has led me to some thoughts:

Failure to thrive is so much more than a medical term given to patients.
Thrive means to prosper, flourish....do well, advance, succeed.
Failure - lack of success.  Defeat.

This is so much more than weight and inches.
Am I right?!
Think about it.

We have so many things that we are able to thrive with, yet we often let failure overcome.

Our jobs.
Our marriages.
Our children.
Our friendships.
Our talents.

And I often wonder is this failure to thrive more about what we can't do OR more about keeping up with the image of what we think others think we "should" be doing and we set our own self up for failure.

Meaning do we put limits on ourselves because we see others rocking it out and just feel like we're "never going to get there..."

With your job - it may not be what you want to be doing for the rest of your life, but do you show up and give it 100% no matter what?
With your marriage - are you giving what you want to be receiving?  Are you pursuing your spouse 5, 10, 15 years later like you did when you were dating?
With your children - are you setting the example, are you loving them when it's hard to even like them sometimes....just keeping it real, y'all - tween and teenager years can be tough.
With your friendships - are you allowing grace? Being there for each other in the highs and lows and not just out of convenience?
With your talents - are you using what you have or hiding it?

I hope you see where I'm going here.
It's really easy to get caught up in how it looks from the outside looking in to someone else thriving, but guess what?!?
Those people are probably feeling the same.exact.way.

You have everything you need to thrive; God has equipped you with everything you need for this journey through life.
They have everything they need to thrive; God has also equipped them with everything they needs for this journey through life.

Let's stop comparing side by side and just start blooming and creating a beautiful place for us all.


Sunflowers stand tall and mighty.
Lily of the Valley sits low and delicate.

Both just decided to bloom!
No need for competition...just determined to thrive!

Friends, we are better together.

xox,
Jenny

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dream With Me...

 
Today, I would like to take the time to introduce you to a local organization, Epoch Dream Center, that is doing HUGE things for our local community!  I've asked they share their story and how you can get involved!  Please share this post!!!  The more people we can make aware of all they are doing to help just one local community, the better! 
 
Epoch is all about showing how we truly are better together and have stepped up to make sure our children are geared for a better tomorrow!  Please consider volunteering your time or financially coming alongside them to ensure this program continues to reach our future!
 
 
**********

 

The Epoch Dream Center is a free after-school program servicing under-resourced children in Kindergarten through eighth grade. We are located in Hebron, MD, just minutes outside of the town of Salisbury. To paint you an accurate picture of Hebron, you need to know that there are approximately 400 children. Fifty percent of these children are living below the poverty level. In Hebron there is one school, one bank, one park, three churches, one local pizzeria, and one mini food market. (And that is about it!) Studies show that between the hours of 3:00 – 6:00 PM every day, students are most likely to experiment with alcohol and drugs, violence, and criminal and sexual behavior. If you were to drive through Hebron at this time of day, you can see plenty of children walking home from school, many of whom are unsupervised for a few hours.
 
So here is where we came in: about five years ago, our directors, JoAnn and Erin, saw a need to offer the children of Hebron a place to be supervised. They wanted to create a place for children to be fed, a place to be mentored, a place to be nurtured, encouraged, academically supported and a place to build character. And from that, the Epoch Dream Center was born!

Each day, when students arrive at the Dream Center they immediately participate in what we call the “Epoch Mantra.” They say in unison this declaration that they will have a positive, productive and purposeful time at our center that day. They then have a snack, have a “family meeting” (relationship building time) with their class, and they read for twenty minutes every night. Our students complete their homework, spend time with their interest-oriented club, have gym time, eat a family style dinner and participate in family chores.
 
So what makes Epoch different than any other after school program? One reason, is mentoring. We believe that relationships are the key to everything with our kids. We put so much effort in building relationships with our students because when we do that, we then have the right to speak life, influence behavior, and catalyze change in our students. To take this a step farther, we match every student with a personal mentor of their same gender who visits for at least an hour every single week. What better way is there to build relationships with these precious kids than through mentoring?


Another way Epoch stands out among after school programs is because of our focus on nurturing. One of our main goals is to fill necessity gaps that a child might have while they are growing up. A common gap that we see is the need for nurturing and encouraging. So, we show up. We show up to every concert, every school play, every award ceremony, every field day. We show up to the funerals for grandparents and brothers; we cut their grass while they get back on their feet. We are in the schools every week visiting and collaborating with staff. We hold kids when they are sick and when they are sad. We celebrate with them through every passed test, every project they give their best in. We listen to their hearts. We listen to their dreams. We listen to their frustrations. We listen to their cries because that person let them down again. We hear them. We know them. We know how different and unique they are. 

Epoch is different because of our desire to serve as “family." When we think about our own childhoods and how we are raising our own children, one of the most influential factors at play is family. So, we thought to ourselves, how can we recreate this family atmosphere at Epoch? Here is what we decided: we make our program operate like our own families. Every day we talk about our days… not just the “how was your day at school” … “fine” conversations. We discuss them. We talk about what was great and what wasn’t, and how we can change it for tomorrow. We get to know each other and we learn how to participate in family discussion. We eat dinner as a family every night. Our kids participate in chores and have responsibilities just like they would in our own homes. We build a sense of belonging within and among our children because we know that this is one of their greatest needs. We have had so many of our children whisper to us: “Epoch feels like my family.”
And finally, Epoch is unique because of the values that we instill. We have something that we like to call the “Epoch Code.” This code is what guides our teachings, our behavior interventions, our intentionality and basically our whole program. If you come to Epoch, ask any child to say the Epoch Code and this is what they would tell you: Work Hard. Respect Authority. Love Everyone. Forgive Quickly. We hold each of these values very highly and we believe they are the key ingredients to make successful, enjoyable citizens! If our students learn anything from their time with us, we hope it is how to do these four things. 

 So here is where you come in!!!

We are always looking for more mentors (especially men!) and volunteers. If you are interested in finding out more about this, please contact Rachel ( rachel@epochdreamcenter.com ).
 

Although, our greatest need at the moment is financial. Our program is expanding, we are experiencing changes in funding, and we need a new financial avenue to keep our program running. Out of this we have created a child sponsorship campaign. We want to give you the opportunity to directly and positively impact the life of a child living in your own community! We have different sponsorship levels, as low as a $35 monthly gift to partially sponsor a child. There are multiple levels, all the way up to a complete monthly scholarship for a child at $300.

Would you consider sponsoring a child? Would you consider beginning a better story in the life of a child?

Maybe this could be something you do as a family, a small group, a club or a group of friends. Maybe this is something your church, religious group, or service organization could do? Think about this: if you could ensure that a child in your community, that goes to school with your children, could have access to the same nurturing, mentoring, encouraging, character development and basic human needs that your own kids have, why wouldn’t you do it?
 

 
We would love to come present our program and campaign to your group, just ask us! You can access specific information about sponsoring a child and more information about our program at our website, www.epochdreamcenter.com, and you can follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see what is happening day to day!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Telling Your Story


Friends!!!  It has been a while!

I'd like to say it was because I was doing something grand and adventurous, but the truth is I've just been tired.

Physically.
Mentally.
Emotionally.
Spiritually.

I have been quick to blame it on my thyroid and other heath issues I had going on, which in part is true.  But, in all reality, that was just a good excuse. Although I have been keeping up with my Facebook page and leaving an encouraging word for the day there, I neglected the blog.
Somewhat on purpose.
Because in all honesty, I just felt like I didn't have much to give. 

A few weeks ago I was able to spend some one on one with a sweet friend of mine and we were able to just simply catch up.  We ended up walking through one of our local parks for almost 2 hours (one of those times where time stood still and it seemed like minutes).  But just chatting with each other and sharing where our hearts are...and being vulnerable enough to say sometimes I just don't feel like I'm enough.  That someone else can do [insert whatever] so. much. better.  And how we feel like what we need more of is women (and men) who come alongside each other, regardless of age, color, background, etc and stand shoulder to shoulder, supporting each other and standing in the gap for each other.  

And it's so true.
That is my heart.

To build one another up.
To hold a hand.
To give a hug.
To pray for.
To sit beside quietly when no words are needed.

At a conference I attended this weekend, I actually had time to simply be still and spend some quiet time just talking to God and soaking in His peace.  Added bonus was that it was in a beautiful, serene location that sits on the Chesapeake Bay AND the weather could not have been more perfect.





If I'm being completely transparent, I can easily allow myself to get caught up in trying to be "perfect" and I forget that God is looking for authenticity.  

Intentionally, I do try to just keep it real on the blog and my personal posts, because let me just tell you, I know for my own self, I identify more with other people's struggles than I do their triumphs.

Who wants to be reminded constantly of how they're not measuring up?
Why not just say, you know what - I'm struggling, but I know I'm going to push through.

So for me, one of my biggest takeaways was "hearing" that it's ok to be still.  
And it's ok to have times of solitude.  
That I don't need to go, go, go...
When we are tired, it's much harder to handle stress.
It's ok to separate yourself and make sure you're taking care of YOU before you're taking care of others.  
Just keep it real and let people know where you are.  

Maybe, just maybe this is why I have found myself in a place of just complete exhaustion.
God wanted to remind me that I can't be all things to all people.
And if I wasn't listening, He was going to make it happen.

Friends, there were days in the past few months where I am not even sure how I made it through the day.  That's how exhausted I was.
After sleeping all night, it was all I could do to get out of bed in the morning.
By the time I did get to work, I wanted to take a nap.
By mid afternoon, my mind was just in a constant state of chaos; I just couldn't focus.  
When I got home, I would either lay on the couch or snuggle up in my bed and sleep until dinner - that either my daughter or hubby had made.
I was asleep again by 8 or 9pm.
This became my "routine."

I would pray on the way to work for enough energy to just get through my day.  And on the way home, enough energy to just be "present" for my family.
I was frustrated that my body was working against me.
My work friends, my close friends and my family extended so much grace to me.

Not that I wanted to share all my "stuff" with the world, but people, I was a tired, hot mama mess...every.single.day.

You know what?
God has used this time for me to regain my focus.
And I have been reminded that God has given us each something to do!

Not one of us can do the same thing the same way.
He has purposed you with something greater than you.  
He has purposed ME with something greater than me.
And we need to get good at being good at whatever that something is.

My goal in life - really, it's to be one of those people who just shines His light.  That people see Jesus in me.  That I seek to find the good in a time where the bad is overwhelming.  That I choose to love when it's more likely other people choose to hate.  That we don't overlook "color" but instead, find a way to bridge the gap.  To speak up for those whose voice isn't being heard.  To never let anyone feel that they are alone on this journey.

I will continue to share my stories.  

Maybe there's just one person who might read this blog one day and find that something that is written is just the word they needed to hear.  
Even if it reaches just one person, I'm still fulfilling what I feel passionate about.








In summary - a few takeaways for you:

1. Learn the value of solitude.

This is one is funny to me because I'm always pointing out how much better we are together. AND we are!!! But we also need to make sure "we're" in a good place, a healthy place before we can help someone else. I can't tell you how good it felt to just be still in His presence, surrounded by sunshine, the bay, and the sounds of the water.

 

 
 
2. Know when to be Still!

Refer to #1. When we are tired it's much harder to handle stress.

3. Surround yourself with good people.

Goodness, I've been blessed with amazing friends! 
Make sure you are surrounding yourself with good friends.  
When talking about going to this conference, I had two friends who more or less told me "no wasn't an option" and made it possible for me to attend this weekends conference. 

Who does that?!?

Friends who not only love you, but know you need something just like this!  I even received this little surprise:


4. God isn't looking for perfection, He's looking for authenticity.

Do what God gives YOU to do...none of us are the same and we all have our own thing we're good at...so get good at being good at it!!!

5. Laughter really is good for your soul!  Tears are, too.  And it's always a good thing when you can experience both with your people.

And lastly,  I really enjoy digging deeper into scripture.  With this blog, I strive not to "force" my Christianity on anyone, but it's who I am, so there will be times it's my focus!!  I can honestly say this past year has been so good for me...between Pastor Mark's messages on Sundays to personal devotion and prayer time...to weekends like this where I could just sit and listen for hours to something I've probably heard 100 times shared in a new way where I take away something different!

I encourage you to take some time and simply be still and talk to God...and then listen for the way He chooses to speak back to you!

I have come home with a heart that is full and a soul that is refreshed!  I left there thinking to myself, I want to be like these ladies  - I want to be able to encourage someone with the words I write or the things I say.  I'm looking forward to sharing more of what comes to this heart of mine in hopes that I do just that.



xox
Jenny

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Fully Capable in Isolation

***I just wanted to start by apologizing for the delay in posts over the past few months...sometimes, life just gets the best of us!  However, we do try and post an encouraging word each day on Facebook, so please like our page if you haven't already!***


This morning, I did not want to get out of my bed.
At all.
I just felt crummy and had no motivation to get myself moving.
And I wasn't completely sure if this was all in my head or if I truly didn't feel "well."

Which brought me to these thoughts I wanted to share:

This past Thursday, I received the radioactive isotope to destroy my thyroid.  One thing that comes along with this is having to remain in isolation for 3 days. You would "think" this is something to look forward to - 3 days to yourself!

Well, for me, not so much.

My isolation came with a lot of restrictions and things I could/ could not do.
Yet, I was fully capable.

Isolated and still fully capable.

Isolate/Isolated/Isolation by definition is cause to be or remain alone or apart from others.  Synonyms include separate, set/keep apart, segregate, detach, cut off, shut away, keep in solitude, quarantine, etc... how ever you choose to put it - you're alone.

Capable is having the ability or quality necessary to do or achieve a specified thing; able to achieve efficiently whatever one has to do. One of my favorite synonyms is to "have what it takes."

For the past 3 days, I had the ability to do everything I needed, but my isolation restrictions held me back.
For the past 3 days, I was separated from everything that was "normal" for me.  
For the past 3 days, I was dependent on my hubby for meals (that he so graciously would bring to my door).

Let me just keep it real.
It sucked, y'all.

And it made me realize how often we do this in life.
How we are fully capable yet we isolate ourselves.

This morning, the majority of my isolation was lifted!  I still have some restrictions with the time I'm able to be close to our girls (children in general) and pregnant women, but that will lift in about 2 weeks.

My isolation was lifted, I was fully capable, and I didn't want to get out of my bed.
I actually laid there for a few minutes, willing myself to go back to sleep when I finally spoke out loud, "My goodness, Jenny!!!  Get it together!  Put your shoes on and get out of this space!  Go get some fresh air.  You've been in here for 3 DAYS!!  You are more than capable!  GET UP!"

And I listened to my self!

I got out and walked for about 30 minutes and then started the task of washing all my linens and laundry from the past few days and took time to listen to our pastors sermon online!  All while eagerly waiting for my hubby to get home with our girls so I could hug them!!!

And this thought kept rolling around in this head of mine, so maybe someone needs to hear this today.  I know I sure needed the reminder.

What is it that you are fully capable of doing but are allowing yourself to remain apart from others?
What is it that you have all the means right at your availability, but you allow yourself to come up with reasons (excuses) as to why you should just keep putting it off?

I can tell you one thing for me has been exercising at a gym!
Now that sounds really stupid, huh?!
I'm fully capable of exercising...I've never enjoyed it...and if I'm honest, it intimidates me.
Why?!
Because in this head of mine, I guess I feel like people at the gym "have it together" and I just do not.
But guess what?!
I have the same ability to achieve fitness goals as those showing up at the gym everyday.
So - look out!!!  This hot mess express will be trying something new, a POUND class, for the very first time tomorrow!!!

Maybe for you it's something with your job.
Or maybe it's a goal you've set for yourself.
Maybe it's putting yourself out there and looking for new friendships or relationships in general.

I feel like we often ask for these opportunities that take us to the deep end, so to speak, and we quickly feel like we are drowning.
Sometimes, the water isn't near as deep as you think and you simply have to stand tall.
Sometimes, you are in over your head and you simply have to just keep moving to stay afloat.
Sometimes, you need to remember that you've been brought to these waters because others cannot reach you and it's time for you to do your thing!

A few weeks ago, I stopped to take a few pictures of some sunflowers on my way home and thought about them today.


This one reminds me of isolation...this sunflower is surrounded by light and other sunflowers that are blooming bright yet it was singled out [isolated], fully capable of blooming, but just not yet showing off it's ability.


And then you have this one that is blossoming bright and surrounded by others, sharing their light! This is a reminder that we need others - please don't allow yourself to isolate yourself from others.  I am a firm believer that we are truly better together and that God will bring people into your life for a reason.  Surround yourself with those people!  And I know, I know...sometimes it's hard to put yourself out there if you are so used to just going it alone, but don't let that intimidate you!  Start small - start a conversation, share a smile, offer to help someone...you never know how a friendship might be born!

YOU are capable of anything you put your focus on!  Remember that!  Give yourself a pep talk if needed, get your tribe behind you and share your ideas/dreams so that they can help push your towards them and look for signs when you start to pull back, and just simply allow yourself to enjoy being surrounded by others who see your potential!  Don't hold all that you have to offer this world in isolation and know you are more than capable!

xox,
Jenny

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day Celebration

My name is Shelby and I am the momma of a beautiful (I may be biased) 5 year old little boy, Colton. My husband, Evan, is an amazing man and we have been married for 8 months, but together for 6 and 1/2 years (feels like a lifetime though with all we've been through). I am a nurse in the Cath Lab; I started nursing school when Colton was 3 months old and finished before he turned 2 (even if it was 4 days before, lol). I grew up in Pocomoke and now live in Hebron where my husband and I recently bought our first house. Being a mother is my greatest accomplishment and Mother's Day is always a time of Celebration for me for many reasons!





5 years ago today I was celebrating my very first Mother's Day... I was celebrating more than that.
I was celebrating life.
I was celebrating not only this new life I had brought into the world, but my own life.
The day Colton was born was the most exciting day of our family's life but also the scariest!
As quick as the joy of seeing this sweet baby boy overcame us, fear swept in and overcame my family as I fought for my life.


I count my blessings EVERY SINGLE DAY! Labor was long and drawn out for me, my blood pressure spiked, I was in labor for 24 hours and pushed for almost 4 hours before we decided to have a C-Section. Everything was fine; I was in recovery celebrating with my family. I was bleeding a little, but everything was fine. I got dizzy, my color changed, and suddenly NOTHING was fine; I was bleeding, literally, to death.


Evan held me as they announced Code Blue over the intercom.
He held me as they started CPR.
He held me as they rolled me away from him back to the Operating Room.
In that moment he thought he would never hold me again. He thought he would be a single Dad to this gorgeous baby boy.
5 hours later he held me again as I lay in the ICU with machines doing everything for me.


The next day he held me as he told me in the mix of saving my life they had to do a hysterectomy.
He held me as I realized, at 23 years old, I would have no more children, I would never be pregnant again.
Two days later he held me as I held Colton and we were a family TOGETHER!




During this crazy, tough time for 2 young parents, someone told us that God only gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers.  It's what got us through! We knew in this time we had to be soldiers for this baby boy God had given us! We had to be strong! So that's what we did! We fought the battles together and 2 weeks later, we were home still fighting the battles TOGETHER! And we still fight battles, but we are His strongest Soldiers!


This week is always filled with mixed emotions for Evan and me!
Joy - because we have a beautiful baby boy that means the world to us and we love more than anything.  Grateful - because we were given the chance to raise him TOGETHER!  Excitement - as we watch the excitement take over our now 5 YEAR OLD as we celebrate his birthday.  Sadness - as we remember that day as if it were yesterday and how scary hearing "Code Blue" for your family member is. 
Today I look back and remember holding my Bunkin in ICU for the first time, I remember the feelings I went through finding out I would have no more children, I remember being angry, sad, depressed even, but today I am so Happy and Grateful for everything I have been given!


I get to Celebrate Mother's Day with my beautiful baby boy tomorrow!  I'm watching him grow everyday and get to enjoy the "pizza pie" and "pea salad" he just sat on my lap to "taste" anytime I want to!


HAPPY MOTHERS DAY, MOMMAS!!! Squeeze them extra tight!!!




Friday, May 12, 2017

Rooted in Love



I don’t know if you have ever noticed this in your life, but for me recently, it seems like there is a central theme that has become a focus in my life – at home, work, and church – right now.

It’s this whole idea about being planted and what you produce!

This past week the message at our church was focused on this very same thing:

It is like a mustard seed, which is the [smallest of all seeds] on earth.  Yet [when planted, it grows and becomes the largest] of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” Mark 4:30-32


A little take away from this.


For me, it's how sometimes I get so hung up on size.
SIZE!
How dumb is that?!


Just keeping it real my friends.


But we're reminded about the mustard seed; the smallest seed planted in the ground...yet when planted, grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants.


Friends, no matter our size, or what we've been given, or what gift or talent we have...We have been planted for a purpose!


But sometimes, we don't see ourselves as being planted but rather as being buried.


You're NOT being buried!
You're being planted!!


Etch that into your mind!


Sometimes that means you're going to have to change your perspective!
Sometimes you're going to have to take what's pushing you under and have FAITH that God is doing something below the surface and He's working it all together; growing you and preparing you for something greater!


The size of what's planted will never be the same size as what is produced!


You MUST see the tree in the seed!!!


And this is where I'm currently at in my life, if I can just be transparent.
I'm a people person who really is not a people person...if that makes any sense whatsoever.
I love building people up, I love encouraging others, I believe God puts people on my heart when they need it most for me to pray for them.


And I truly do believe we are so much better together!


However, I don't like being in the spotlight and I certainly don't like speaking in public. 
And I often feel out of place in crowds of people.


So I've found my little comfort zone in sharing my heart via social media, blog, texts, notes in the mail, simply praying. And I know, my name isn't one millions of people recognize or even know. And I know, I may be a small voice in the midst of an ocean ​of noise.


But I also know that just taking my little seed and letting God plant me for something greater will show that size matters not!


God has a purpose for each of us...do you have a seed? That's all you need!

Which brings me to the real reason for this blog – over the past several weeks, we (well really just my hubby) finally have our front flower gardens looking pretty!


I actually came home one evening last week, later than normal due to an appointment, and knew as soon as I turned the corner that something looked different.  As I got closer, I could see that it was our garden!!!  I’m not one who loves surprises…but this was the BEST surprise!


Phil’s work schedule has been crazy busy and he just didn’t have time to put into it…but he knows how much I love this time of year when everything is just bright and blooming and blossoming – so much color – almost like everything is speaking LIFE!


Everything in my flower garden speaking life with the exception of my lilacs.


And, see…what had happened was…


We had a new guy come cut our lawn a few weeks ago.  And I didn’t even think to mention to him about my small, still trying to grow, lilacs. 
So when I went to go water them the day after, I found that they had been run over by the lawnmower and taken down to the bare bones, barely noticeable from the ground at all.    


And my heart just sank.
I asked Phil to take a look and he assured me that they would be ok.
That the actual roots hadn’t been touched.
They would just need time to heal and we would see life again.


To give a little more info on these lilacs, they actually came from shoots that my mom had cut from her grandparent’s home.  She planted some at her house, gave me two that I planted at our house.  And my mom actually gave some to a friend of hers to plant at her house.
I did a little research on lilacs and found that they are often considered to symbolize love. 
And looking at my lilacs, this has been swirling around in this head of mine…

 This is a photo of the lilacs that actually came from my great grandparent’s home.
Full of life!  Roots that run deep and have weathered the extreme year after year for decades - freezing temperatures to the highest heat from the sun, rain, sleet, snow, hail, high winds, even tropical storms and hurricanes.   Roots that have continued to sprout and show beauty no matter what comes their way.


Much like love.
They have held their ground and continued to reach out no matter what.


And here’s photos of the shoots that were planted at my mom’s house:


As you can see, there is life to them, too.  Not as full and vibrant as the first, but strong enough to stand high and sprout leaves and possible flowers this spring.  They are still getting their roots grounded and finding their place in this world.  But reminding themselves where they came from and the strength of love that initially supported their shoots. 
And here’s the photo of the shoots that were planted at my mom’s friend’s house:


Stronger and full of growth!  They are doing SO well that she is even able to take her own shoots to pass on to her granddaughter to plant at her house.
A reminder that love carries on.

And finally, here’s a photo of what I am now seeing of the lilacs at my house:



I wish I had thought to take a photo of what they looked like just a few weeks ago.


But look at them!!! 
Starting to show life!
But not before I had to put walls around them…to protect them from the outside and what was coming at them.


Not before I gave them some extra love; “food” to help nourish and extra water each night to remind them that they CAN live again.
A reminder that love doesn’t give up on you.



And as Mother’s Day is approaching, I was overwhelmed with how these lilacs reminded me of what motherhood is like, well at least for me.


I come from a love that is strong and rooted deep.  
It’s actually beautiful when you take time to really look at the love my family shares. 

And even though I started out small, I have planted roots and now have a family of my own.  My family has grown so very much in the past 13 years…so that love I grew up with continues on.
And although our roots aren’t as deep, and have been cut down to the ground at times, they are strong enough to weather the highs and lows that have come at us, and we just take the needed time to come back stronger each time.


Our girls have friends that we are able to “love” and nurture and I’d like to believe that love will carry on, too. 
Hopefully, you’re still with me at this point.
All I really want to say is this – We are leaving a legacy.  Each one of us.  I encourage you to plant your seed and see the tree.  Remember that sometimes you’re going to feel like you’re being buried with what may come your way –  or even feel like maybe you didn’t come from deep roots.  If I could encourage you today - choose to push your own roots down a little farther and let it start with you.


Years down the road, may your great grandchildren be able to look back and say, I came from a lot of love!
Ending this with how I feel...I want to leave a legacy and these few lyrics from Nichole Nordeman say it all:
“I want to leave a legacy

How will they remember me?

Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed Your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy



xox,
Jenny