Friday, January 30, 2009

commUNITY

It is a manifestation of the humility of God that he creates a kingdom so rich in love that he should not be our all, but that others should be precious to us as well. Even in Eden, before the Fall, while Adam walked in Paradise with his God, even then God said, "It is not good for man to be alone. "He gives to us the joy of community, of family and friends to share in the Sacred Romance.
John Elderedge
Journey of Desire

I treasure relationship. I would like to sit with everyone I know, and marvel at the way they are so wonderfully written into my life by God's mysterious hand.

I treasure relationship, but I am never fully satisfied. I am hungry for more... for more intimacy.

I wonder what relationship was like for Adam and Eve before the Fall. What was it like to not feel loneliness? What was it like to be not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually "naked and not ashamed" with each other and God.
That is the intimacy I long for in relationship.
I think this is the intimacy we all hunger for.

I know I will never be fully satisfied here on earth relationally. I am always going to be hungry for more because God designed us for more- with Him, and with each other.

Knowing this has brought freedom to the relationships I have. I no longer clutch, grasp, claw, beg, or suffocate the people I love, but instead I wait for God to unfold each relationship as He wills. And, I look forward with great anticipation to the beautiful, naked (yes, naked) relationship we will have with each other in glory.

John Elderedge says, "When we see each other in God's great kingdom we shall know each other's names, we'll hold each other's hands, and far better than that. The naked intimacy, the real knowing that we enjoy with God we shall enjoy with each other."

George MacDonald said, "I think we shall be able to pass into and through each other's very souls as we please, knowing each others thoughts and being, along with our own."


Won't that be wonderful friend! I can't wait to see how very beautiful you really are. I can't wait to hold your hand, and to know your story, to laugh and cry with you, to have all of the Jesus in you meet with all of the Jesus in me, and to embrace the fullness of God's amazing grace in your life. I know that I will grow deeper in love with Him, because of His faithfulness to you. I can't wait!

but until then i'll be missing you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

a child will lead them

my emilie lead the bell choir today at church. she is 9, and she lead the bell choir!! here is a sweet conversation emilie and i had this evening-

"emilie did you enjoy leading the bell choir today?"

"yes, i really liked it. it was a really neat experience for me to get to lead, and i am just a kid."

"you are a good leader."

"thank you."


"do you like to play the bells, as much as you liked leading?"


"oh yes! i really like to play."


"you are a good leader and you are a good follower too. it is important to be a good follower. being a good follower makes you a good leader. do you understand?
"

"yes."

" i am proud of you. you are learning this lesson young. i have just begun learning this lesson in the last few years. don't forget it emilie, remember these lessons you are learning."


"thank you. mommy, do you know what i didn't like about leading?"


"what?"


"i didn't like that i was getting all the recognition for leading, but the team wasn't getting any, and they are the ones that played."


"hmmm, emilie, that makes you a good leader too, you see that it takes the whole team to make it happen, everyone doing their part."


"yes."


"emilie i am proud of you. not just because you did a great job leading today, but i am proud of your heart, and the shape it is taking."


"thank you. mommy, did you ever get to have an experience like this when you were 9?"

"no emilie, but watching you today was my experience. seeing MY little girl honor and bless God, serving Him with her gifts, emilie that was my experience."


i am a blessed mommy ! and even as i type that i wish that i could express to you the magnitude of those words. God is good, HE is the EVERLASTING GOD, and has BLESSED me with the desires of my heart! i did nothing to deserve this life. all i can do is marinade in His many, many, many, many, many, many.... blessings!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Flume Hike

"It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring."
The winter weather is back! i'm going to enjoy the rainy weather and curl up with a warm blanket, hot tea, and a good movie.

For a few weeks we have enjoyed nearly 70 degree, sunny, January days.
This last weekend we took advantage of the nice weather and went on a hike down the Brown's Ditch Trail, which locals refer to as the Bass Lake flume.

i have lived in these mountains for 15 years, and i'm embarrassed to say i had never hiked the Bass Lake flume.

Many times my husband has spoken of his fun childhood adventures down the Bass Lake flume. As a child he would ride down the flume in an intertube, in his youth he enjoyed riding down the flume on his bike (crazy!), and of course he has hiked the flume many times.

So we packed some lunches, put on our hiking wear, and made the 5 mile round trip trek on the flume.

What is the Bass Lake flume? it is a 2.5 mile long cement flume, which carries water from a creek above down to Bass Lake. In some areas you can walk along the flume, but in many areas the flume is elevated and you must walk across it on a steel walkway.Noah enjoyed taking the lead on our hike. Emilie loved being outdoors (she is like her daddy).
Josie was delighted when she hit the ladybug jack pot! She wanted to scoop them all up, make them her own, and bring them home.Michael and i were relieved to step away from life and all it demands of us, and just enjoy the simplicity, fragrance, and beauty of Bass Lake.

What do you enjoy doing on a sunny winter day off?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

never to late to begin

This past summer my husband surprised me, and got me something i have always wanted... a GUITAR!
i have always wanted to learn to play the guitar. i began taking lessons a few months ago.
let me say, it is NOT easy learning something new when you are 35.
i envy my kids and their ability to absorb and retain information. i admire the time they have to practice and pursue the things they are passionate about. i admire how they can enjoy every aspect of their passion without the weight of dinner, bills, laundry, and the never ending to-do's. sometimes these things cause me to want to throw in the towel and call it quits!
but i know me. i know that i need to follow through. i know that i need to pursue the things i long to do, otherwise that longing will always be there.

so here it is my friends- after 8 lessons, totaling $200, i can play "Jesus Loves Me" on the guitar.
and that longing in me being filled is PRICELESS!

video

what have you always wanted to learn to do?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Life in a "Keeping Up With the Joneses" world.

i'd like to write a book titled Keeping Up With the Joneses for Dummies. there would be only one page, with one simple word ..."Don't!"

i have never told you why the title of this blog is "Keeping Up With the Joneses." i'm sure you think it is because my last name is Jones, but that is not the reason. in fact i can think of a few other blog titles i would use which don't have my last name in them. Blog titles i have been mulling over for some time, because i would like a more original, inspiring title.


To be honest, when i started this blog in the spring of 07, i was having a hard time fitting into my Jones skin and my God skin.

First, you need a little history on me. i had spent (wasted) many years trying to "Keep Up" with a Jones. i had made her an idol, and something to aspire to. After years of "Keeping Up" i realized i couldn't, and i became bitter. i soon realized that "Keeping Up With the Joneses" had become a handicap for me ( i even wrote a paper about it for a college class).
I use to pray, "God, i NEVER want to be a Jones, because i never want people to feel like they have to "Keep Up" with me."

But then love happened...

i met him, Michael Jones. The most handsome, considerate, loving, give-yourself-up- for-this-girl-guy. He was (is) perfect. And in Sept. of 96 we were married, and i became Denise Jones.

Don't you think God had a good laugh at my "i NEVER want to be a Jones."

Still, i had no idea though that i would have such a hard time fitting into this Jones skin. in time i discovered there were still Jones idols in my closet. i had created an image of what a Jones should look like. i believed the Jones' around me to fit that image, and i believed i didn't measure up.
i wanted to be enough for a family whose name i now bare. I wanted the acceptance, affections, praise, and love of a family. I believed (as i had my entire childhood) that if i was enough, i would gain these things. i never did gain these things. The truth is i didn't have to, they were there the moment i became a Jones (their "daughter-in-love" as they refer to me). i was so busy though trying to fit, that i completely missed that i did.

At the same time i was having a hard time fitting into my God skin. The same way i had made Jones idols, i had made an idol of Christianity. i was working overtime to live up to an image. Believing again that if i was enough i would gain the acceptance, affections, praise, and love of a church family... and even more, that i would prove myself worthy to be God's daughter.
i learned the hard way (as i often do) that you can't earn worthiness. You just are.
The same way i was a Jones the moment i married Michael, i was made worthy the moment my life belonged to Christ.

The Jones skin and God skin had fit all along.


And the journey i have been on for almost 2 years, is to live like someone who fits in her God given life.



So as you can see, we're not the kind of Jones' you have to keep up with...
unless "Keeping Up" equals
seeking humility, weakness, vulnerability, less of me, and all of God.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

photo meme

i can't seem to come up with anything to fill this white blank space with. i have a lot of words and thoughts to share... maybe too many.
so when i saw Kristen and Alana's photo memes i decided to join in on the fun.

if you want to join in this is what you do-
1. choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer
2. select the 4th picture in the folder
3. explain the picture
4. NO CHEATING! (no cropping, editing, etc...). If you want to play, join in the fun!
this is my josie. she is 2. she is playing in bass lake. she is fascinated by the mud she has in her hands.... she will be 7 next month, it goes too fast!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

call it a resolution if you have to

i don't do New Year's resolutions. it's okay with me if you resolve to do something. i will support and encourage you. but i don't.
i do Monday resolutions. i usually resolve to begin something next Monday. i'll begin walking again next Monday, get up early and read next Monday, begin that project next Monday, commit to practicing my guitar next Monday, quit smoking next Monday (i'm NOT a smoker, just wanted to make sure you were paying attention).
this Monday i resolved to do something, it's now Wednesday, and it's going well. Woohoo for me!!!!
you see, i am a time waster. uh huh, i waste time, piddling around, procrastinating, putting off for tomorrow (or next Monday) what could and should be done today.

i was talking to a friend about this the other day. she sighed and wondered what it was like to have time to waste. she has 4 kids- ages 21 months, 4,7, & 8. she is very busy juggling her time. every moment is valuable, and unwasteable.

i remember those days. i had no time to waste. i remember well the days when my kids 1,3, & 4 required (demanded) all of my time and energy.
but now my kids are 6,9, & 10. they can do a lot on their own. they get their own b-fast, wash their own dishes, make their beds, dress themselves, put away their own toys, empty the dishwasher, feed the dog, sweep, vacuum, dust.... and do you know what that means for me- TIME, TIME, WONDERFUL, GLORIOUS TIME!!!!

you can't blame me for wasting time. i had been so hungry for it. i wasted just a little at first, enough to sit down and catch my breath. but then i wasted a little more, and then a bit more, and then finally a lot more.

i have become selfish about MY time, believing i deserve it. i have tuned out things that need to be accomplished, and sadly, i have tuned out the people who matter most to me.

i am not happy when i know i am being selfish. so i'm gonna stop. i'm gonna stop abusing this spare time. i'm going to start using it wisely.

so this Monday i began a To Do Time Journal. i am writing down the things, big and small, that i want to accomplish each day; drink water, clean the junk drawer, play a game with the kids, practice guitar, pay mortgage, mail the last batch of Christmas cards (told you, i have been wasting time), and so on....
once i do something on my list, i cross it off.
in just a few days i can see that it has been so good to budget and spend my time well.

hmmm, maybe by next Monday i will not have anything to resolve to do... but it's not likely.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 favorite pictures

The Roost has invited us to share 10 of our favorite photos from 2008.
narrowing it down to 10 is so hard! i tried! but i knew you'd want to see pictures 11,12, 13, & 14 . so for your sake, i included them.


lucy loves ricky!
"some splainin to do"daddy's backpacking girl
the blessing of friendship35th slumber partymama holly's lovesistersi heart josie!i heart josie more!handsomein daddy's arms
lifea moment for usand another