Special Moments

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4.

I have to start off by saying, I am tired. Like the kind of tired you are after having a brand new baby. Total and complete exhaustion. Why you may ask? Well, since March when Covid changed our world completely I have been forced to wear many new hats on top of the ones that were already placed firmly on my head. Not only do I attempt to keep up with my writing, but I also have roles of mother, wife, housekeeper, laundry maid, chef, taxi driver, dog-sitter, dog walker, babysitter, and my new role of a teacher. Did I leave anything out? Yes!! I forgot I am also now a wedding planner after the recent engagement of my oldest daughter Taylor. So you see my to-do list is endless, and the days never seem long enough to get everything done. By the time I climb into bed at night I feel like I have run the New York City Marathon!! (For the record, I hate running, LOL). I would guess that I am not the only one that could use a really long relaxing vacation. With all the craziness in the world right now and the hectic schedules we all tackle everyday, it is totally expected that each of us would be at the end of our rope. However, even when we feel like we do not have the stamina to get out of bed each day, we still owe it to ourselves and our families to not let our hectic schedules rob us of the special moments that are present in our lives.

This past weekend I went with my newly engaged daughter to tour some wedding venues and go wedding dress shopping. This was most definitely a special moment!! Touring the venues and listening to my daughter talk about her dream wedding and what it will look like was so incredible. All ladies know that those dreams begin to take shape in our heads from the time we are little girls. Not sure why God designed us this way, but he did. Every little girl dreams of her wedding day. Taylor smiled from ear to ear as she discussed her vision and it was such a special moment to watch my daughter begin to bring her dream to life. Then came the wedding dress shopping. Oh my, let me shout to all the mothers out there, this was AWESOME!! With that being said, though, it was also absolutley gut-wrenching at the same time. Yes, it is such a mixed bag of emotions for mothers. Helping my daughter pick out a dress that she will become a wife in was one of the most special moments in my life. The moment I saw her walk out of the dressing room in a wedding dress took my breath away. The only thing I saw was that little girl with pig-tails and I felt like she was playing dress up. This could not be my baby. I cried a little it was so surreal. Then I decided that I was going to be brave. For the rest of the appointment I remained stoic. No more tears. I was determined not to shed another tear. I smiled and laughed and took in every moment. Then the moment came that she found the “ONE”. I knew she had based on the smile on her face and the tears that began. She asked to try on a veil. As soon as they placed that on her pretty head, this stoic mom lost it. The tears starting pouring out and would not stop. My baby is officialy a bride! Yes, it was a little hard. It is hard to know that very soon her care will be placed in the hand of another, but I also during this special moment rejoiced!! How blessed am I that I am here, healthy, and able to experience this special time with my daughter.

Was I tired this weekend as I shopped and toured with my daughter? Absolutely!! I am still beyond exhausted. However, I was not going to let anything rob me of these memories. The world and life can take away so much from us. The crazy schedule of our everyday lives can rip us away from joy in moments that we may never get back. I can give into the exhaustion, or I can choose not to let anything steal my joy. Mothers, our kids grow so fast. Do not take any moment for granted. Yes, I know you are tired. I know, especially during these times, life is just plain hard. Make the decision today to choose joy. Rejoice in the special moments in life. Do not let life pass you by. Take a deep breath and sing songs of joy and praise.

I pray each of you are covered with many blessings today and choose to REJOICE!!

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

Live in Love

Do everything in love. Corinthians 16:14

Recently my family and I took our two oldest daughter’s jeeps and spent the day exploring a jeep trail called Shepherd Trail here in Kentucky. Our youngest daughter, Abby, was at a friend’s house that day so we were missing her, but we had such a wonderful day together on our jeep adventure. My family has always loved to look for new adventures to take and fun things to do together . I am proud to say that we do make an effort to do things often as a family. I believe one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is your time. I feel so very blessed also, that they want to spend time with my husband and myself.

The trail is a 38 mile narrow road that winds through the mountain and has several overlooks where you can stand and enjoy the scenery. With the fresh air of the jeeps the trail was just incredible. It felt like we were riding through an enchanted forest. The wind in our hair and the music playing in the background as we made our way down the narrow trail was something we all needed, just to feel free.

I loved looking back and seeing my girls, and our fur-babies, taking in the view with huge smiles on their faces. To me, that is a beautiful sight. There is nothing better than seeing your kids smile. I also found myself thinking how lucky I was to live in such a beautiful place. Y’all, if you have never been to Kentucky, you must come for a visit soon. I believe we live in one of the prettiest places on earth. I am proud to be from the mountains here. I am so very grateful to say it is my home.

The views from the overlook areas were beyond breathtaking. It really felt like you were looking at a picture. As I looked out at the view, I again, was so grateful that God has blessed me to live in such a beautiful place with picture perfect scenery painted all around me by his hand. As I was enjoying the wind in my hair, the freedom of riding, and the gorgeous scenery I can say that I did not have a worry in the world. The anxiety from all the stressors going on in the world right now had left me for those moments. I was free to watch the joy in my children’s faces, to be thankful, and feel blessed. I cherished every moment I was free to just live in a moment of peace, blessings, and love. It truly was a wonderful time.

On our way home and for the days that have followed our little jeep adventure I did some thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could live everyday like I did that day. What if we could just live everyday with joy and love. To feel free and blessed and take in the air, the scenery, and truly just be thankful for what is all around you. To feel the wind in your hair that makes you forget about your worries. What a world that would be.

Our world lately has been one that I no longer recognize. It has become a world that I am scared for my kids to grow up and live in. A world that I will pray that will rise above all that is going on and become a world of love, peace, and kindness. I hope one day soon each and every person will be able to feel that wind and feel free of the terrible things that are happening now. I want everyone to not only to have that freedom, but to live a life that is filled with love.

Elle, Emma, and Taylor(missing Abby that day)

Between Covid-19 and now the unrest in the country it is hard to think that we will ever be able to live a life full of peace and love. The divide in our world, and our country is a strong one. There is a lot of fear, bitterness, loneliness, and unkindness that is looming in today’s society. It doesn’t feel like the same world I grew up in. It is hard for me to understand how people can hurt others so much. I have always taught my kids to be kind to everyone and that all people are equal and we all have the same father, our God. I have tried to teach them the importance of being a good daughter, sister, friend, and neighbor. I am proud of them to because they all seem to have servant hearts as well. They are always looking for ways to help others. The most important thing I have tried to teach them is that LOVE never fails, never. If we choose to live a life of love and loving on others, we will not fail. Will there still be problems? Of course, that is part of life. However, choosing love and kindness is always the best option. We must treat others the way we would want to be treated. So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12.

Peace and love may not be in the minds of most people these days. I also know there are many leaders and others out there that are struggling to find a way just to make things some what normal again (If it can be). One thing I know is that the one person that can make each person and this world whole, that is our great God. I believe with him we can all be healed, and with him this world can be healed. God is perfect love. It is his love that will make people feel the way I did that day in the jeep. His love will make you feel like your hair is blowing in the wind and feeling a rush of fresh air. His love will make you feel joy and thankfulness. His love will show you the way to treat others. His love will fill your life with peace and contentment. And all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:14. Our God can bring unity, peace, and love to everyone. I encourage each of you to put your hope and trust in him. To live a life like God intended for us. To live a life in love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13.

I pray that I can be a reflection of love to each of you. I pray you are safe and healthy and covered in many blessings today.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

A Dog’s Love

People have many different ways of dealing with stress and anxiety. Exercise, journaling, reading, going on a trip, talking to a friend/counselor, going to church/praying are just a few examples of common activities people take part in to help in times of need. I have done all of these, and they have been very helpful to me. However, we all know everyone is different. One thing may help someone better than another. That’s ok. We are all programmed to deal with difficult things in our own unique way. For some people stress/anxiety/depression may be something that they deal with on a daily basis. Others, it may be something that comes in waves, or when a big event happens. Either way, there are coping mechanisms out there to assist in making things easier for everyone.

One of my favorite coping mechanisms that I have is something that is truly simple. I just hang out with my DOGS!! Ok, I know there are many people out there that are going to say “This lady is crazy!!”. I understand the criticism. However, if you are a dog person like me you will get me. I mean who else wags their tail and wiggles their entire body when I walk through the door? I am lucky sometimes to get my kids off the couch or off their phone sometimes to even say hello. My dogs are always happy to see me. I have never not had them greet me with nothing but pure enthusiasm each time I walk through the door. How can this not instantly make you feel better no matter what type of day you have had?

Winnie
Lola and Penny
My grandpup Ollie(We call him Bean)

A dog’s love is so pure. They do not care what you look like, how you smell, how much money you have, what type of car you drive, or any of the things that some of us classify as important. All they want is to love you and for you to love them in return. They do not ask for much. Just a big belly rub, to throw the ball, take a ride in the car, go on a walk, or just hang out on the couch. The simple things in life is all they need. Would the world not be a better place if we could just think and be like dogs sometimes? If the simple things would be all that we needed? That in itself, would be a giant stress-reduction. To stop worrying about the big things and just enjoy the simplest of things.

The unconditional love of a dog truly just helps me melt away some of the stress I have of everything that is going on around me. When I cry, they lick away my tears are they lay tenderly beside me and never leave my side. When I just need to get out and take a walk, they are happy to join me every step of the way. They notice when I am feeling down, and bring me their toy to play. Just watching them bounce around and play without the weight and worry of the world, truly just brings a smile to my face, and instantly makes me feel better. They live life so carefree, and from moment to moment. They don’t worry about the days ahead, they don’t hold grudges. they live each day with as much excitement as the last. Again, if we could just live life more like they do I believe their would be more joy in all of our hearts. The joy of being CAREFREE!!

No matter what your coping mechanism may be I encourage each of you to utilize those techniques. Be sure to always take care of your mental health. Never neglect it!!! And if you don’t have a dog, I encourage each of you to consider getting one. There are many dogs out there that need homes, and would love to become a part of your family. The love they bring to a home is indescribable and although they are a big responsibility they are more than worth it. I promise they will bring a smile to your face even during the hardest of days.

I pray each of you are safe and healthy today. I pray each of you are smiling, full of joy, and covered in may blessings today.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

A Breath of Fresh Air

In his hands are the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; And His hands formed the dry land. Psalm 95: 4-5.

Yesterday my family and I took the day to visit my families farm which is about an hour away from our home. It isn’t often we get to go there due to the hectic schedules that we usually are trying to navigate on a daily basis. However, due to the current situation we are living in with the Covid-19 virus our busy schedules have come to a screeching halt and the spare time we rarely had has become available. I truly love the farm. It has acres and acres of untouched land with beautiful ponds and tranquil hiking trails. It is a wonderful place to hike, fish, horseback ride, or go four-wheeling like we love to do here in Eastern Kentucky. It is just a fabulous place to get outdoors and enjoy some much needed fresh air.

Since we have been in our home for some time, my family and I decided we all need to get out of the house, but do it in a safe way as well. We all just needed to get away. God gave us such a beautiful sunny day yesterday, so it was a perfect time to let go and have a little fun!! Like I mentioned in a previous blog post, everyone is feeling nervous and anxious over the current situation in the world today. It is a scary time indeed. It definitely helps if we can get away from our phones, the TV, and computers and just find some time to enjoy the the beautiful things that God has created and just clear our minds of the clutter that is there. An added bonus to the social isolation is that we also get to be with our families making memories, this is such a beautiful thing, especially with all that is going on right now. I do not want to take one moment for granted.

I could see the joy in my girl’s faces yesterday as we spent the day together. The thing I liked the most was the fact I could see the worry leave their face as well. The anxiety that has been there the past couple weeks lifted, even if it was just few short hours. It is amazing what a little sunshine and fresh air will do for the spirit. They all talked about how much fun they had and not one time was anything mentioned about any scary things that are happening right now. Everyone was truly able to just let go for a while. What a BLESSING!!!

Yesterday I just felt like I could breath. I loved spending time with my husband and girls. I loved being able to hike and fish, and ride around in the outdoors. I cherished every second of it. I loved looking around at the beautiful scenery that God made that was all around us. The beautiful trees, the grass, the ponds, the streams, the fish, and the cute little chipmunk we saw running around on our ride yesterday. All things God has made and yesterday they seemed all the more beautiful to me. I found myself saying a few more extra prayers to God yesterday for such beautiful gifts of life . How thankful I am for all that God has created, and how thankful I am that we got to take some time to enjoy it as a family, together.

I encourage each of you that can to get out and get a breath of fresh air. Go for a walk, take a drive, or just go outside and sit in the sunshine for just a few minutes. Just take some time to clear your head, and allow some sunshine to soak into your soul. Take the time to enjoy God’s beauiful creations and let it help ease the burdens of today. Say a few extra prayers of thanks for the beautiful sunshine, scenery, family, and breath that you are given today. Thank God that even though things are uncertain right now, he still has created such a breathtaking world. Take a deep breath and enjoy.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of this hands. Psalm 19:1.

I hope each of you are covered in many blessings today.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer