Weeping Cherries

faith, family, food and frugality

Messes and Mercy September 26, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 3:54 pm
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Today is a day that I am thankful for God’s grace in my life and the life of my children. My house looks like a tornado blew through it, and it smells of an odd combination: cleaning products and poo. Tonight my family very well may eat packaged frozen gluten free chicken nuggets on paper plates and James spent most of the day playing leapfrog letters on the computer while I scrubbed before mentioned poo. There are days when I would feel like today was a massive failure. 


My housekeeping would make me feel guilty; I would worry that my children would get cancer from the microwave zapped meal; and I would worry that my son would grow up to be a lazy 30 year old in my basement playing video games because of his computer time.



Today; however, I am thankful that God has the power and mercy to redeem the time in ways I was unable to. He has taught my daughter through her independent schoolwork today; he calmed me to where I was mindful enough to cherish the time I had cuddling and feeding John, singing to him about his Savior; the kids begged for more chapters read aloud from 2 Samuel at lunch- no matter the nutritional contents of it~they were fed; and they learned that Mama is human and fails when I had to apologize for getting upset when they woke the baby as soon as I laid him down.



I am reminded of a quote I read somewhere, “If you can’t have grace in the moment- Have grace in the turnaround.”



Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 3:42 pm
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JT.  Sweet John Thomas was born at the end of August and has filled our lives with so much more love!  Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!


“Gratefulness” or “Why I Will Probably Never Write A Novel” June 27, 2013


When I was a child, I used to write a lot of fiction: how the world became colorful; about the lady who lived in the old Victorian home on Weeping Cherry street; about the neighbors my brother and I spied on; and the missionary in Cambodia. I wrote poems and songs and day dreamed 100 stories for every one I put to paper.

I always imagined writing a great piece of fiction someday. I think a lot of people dream that- writing the great American novel. So, I often wondered why the dream died to some extent. Why all my current writing was of the non-fiction variety? They were simple stories about funny things the kids have done; writings about my home, the people in it and the garden we grow or the food that we share.


I would sit and try to think of something imaginary to write about because I had such an enormous imagination when I was little. Do you outgrow an imagination? Do you become cynical with age or do you stop dreaming?

Tonight, for Father’s Day (yes, it took me a while to get this post up) my husband and I munched on popcorn and watched a movie called “The Magic of Belle Isle”. In the movie the main character, an author, stops writing after the death of his wife until a little 9 year old girl wants him to teach her how to imagine a story. She and her family inspire him to dream all new dreams again and he begins to write. Watching, I wondered again to myself, “why don’t I write a story?” Always followed by the question, “but what would I write about?”.

This time, I realized something.

 I write little bits about my life and the craziness and wonderfulness that goes with it instead of spending my nights writing out of a dream world because my reality far surpasses my imagination. How many people can say that? I am amazingly blessed just thinking about it.


I found a journal some months back that contained my dreams and prayers and thoughts dating to when I was just 17 years old. As I read over those prayers, it overwhelmed me to realize that I am currently living them (well, all except the big old farmhouse or Victorian restoration home). From little things like my garden and bookshelves full of books, to big things like my husband and a house full of children. Things that God didn’t need to bless me with to bring glory to Himself or even satisfaction in my life and yet He did.

Which makes me smile… and makes me want to write about them and tell everyone… and makes me want to pinch myself some days to see if it is real… and makes me want to document it for all time for those days when things are really hard and I forget.   

It is the reason I can sit in front of a blank word processing screen thinking about making up some story and then before I can begin, tales of the day begin filling the pages instead because real life is so much better than any dream or hope or plan that I could have for myself.


That said, I still dream. I dream about my children’s lives. I don’t write these down because I have learned that what God has in store for them will meet or exceed every dream I may have for them. I wouldn’t want my children to read the dreams that I have for them some day and be limited by them or somehow think that Mama’s plan is God’s plan. However, there is one dream for my children that fills most of the pages of my journals. It is one that I want them to know that their Mama always prayed for them and their lives. If I could dream one thing for my children and look back on it one day when I am old and gray (if God should choose to give me breath until that day)- it would be that my children would be called by Him and saved and walking in faith.

mama love

print by: Ron DiCianni

I dream of the day that I can look back at my young, 30 year old self’s journal and see the pages covered with that prayer and swinging on my front porch swing (maybe even on the porch of an old farmhouse or Victorian restoration) become overwhelmed by the reality that my children have been blessed with everything I have dreamed for them. I understand the scripture, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4) It would be my greatest joy.

May my children realize that in this culture of virtual reality and even in the wonderful world of books, the best story is the real one God is working out in their lives each day.



A Mother’s Reflection April 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 10:05 pm
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I don’t get a chance to post on here very often, I know.  I appreciate those of you readers who still hang in there with me :).  Since my last post, to quickly update you- we are expecting a little boy in September!  My baby girls are 1 1/2 and the stories about twins working together to create mischief is oh-so-very true.  They are just a crazy bunch of joy!  My little man is 3 and a crazy bunch of energy!  He keeps me on my toes and my face in smiles.  And now, to what brought me here to type to you all tonight- my daughter.

My sweet Aralyn Elizabeth turns 7 tomorrow. 



When I was expecting with her, I was told by other mothers that having a child was like having a piece of your heart walking around outside your body.  I have found this to be true with each of my children and they are all small pieces of my heart- living, breathing, flesh of my own.  

Each of my children is special to me for different reasons.  Ordained by God to be a perfect fit for our family.  I have names for each of them that are just special ones Mama calls them.  James is my Sunshine boy.  He brings so much joy and fun to my heart.

Ruth is my Songbird.  She is my spunky, fiery sparkler who is always humming something and singing sweet as can be.

Anna is my Grace.  When she was born, she was could not breath or eat on her own.  She had to be revived and survived on a breathing tube and was fed through her belly for a day or so until she started fighting and it was as if God breathed new life into her body and every day I feel His grace when I think of her.  She is also the sweetest thing you will ever meet and so far, my only calm one of the bunch 🙂

But Ara.  Oh my Ara.  She is Mama’s heart.  I have called her my heart from the beginning because every bit of who God created me in my innermost self, the essence of who I am- my heart- I see in my daughter.  When I read of David and how God called him a man after His own heart, I think of Ara.

I can’t really even put into words the connection that we have.  The feelings that we share.  The love that we both feel for people and the deep joy we feel at the same portions of scripture or beauty of creation. So much so that I will stop trying.


My sister took these pictures.  In them, I think you will see just how special this little one is to me.  She is her Mama’s girl.  She is my heart.  

I love you Aralyn Elizabeth.  Happy Birthday!







Happy Birthday Mama! January 13, 2012

Filed under: Family — Jen @ 1:21 am

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.
– Tenneva Jordan

It is through raising my children that I have come to some small understanding of what it may have been like for my mother to have raised me.   My Mama used to joke that she hoped I would have a child just like myself to raise so I would “get it”… Well, I had Aralyn Elizabeth.  I both laugh and cry when I hear myself come out of my sweet baby girl’s mouth but laughing or crying, I always appreciate my Mama more.  I am quite certain that I may have been THE challenge of my mother’s lifetime.  A bundle of energy and nerves wrapped in stubbornness and sprinkled with sass and ‘creativity’ and not always the good kind :).  How my Mama still has no visible gray hairs is beyond me!  But I am grateful everyday that she did not give up on me.  I am hopeful everyday that I can somehow repay her efforts.  I am blessed everyday as I watch her in her now role as ‘Mimi’ to my children.  Today, on her birthday I wish her every kind of happiness and many more years of the same.  Happy Birthday Mama, I love you.


My Ugly Heart December 6, 2011

  • (DISCLAIMER:  I have no idea how those bullets down the side got there or how to remove them.  SORRY!)
  • photo found at rachelgoode.blogspot.com

  • The Christmas season has a way of revealing to me what a sinner I am.  Fitting, since the holiday is a celebration of my Savior’s birth, but humbling none the less.
  • Every year around this time I get bit by the bug.  A bug so rampant, I’m thinking it needs to be added to the strains of illnesses included in the flu season records.  As a helpful guide, I am including a list of symptoms.  You may have the Christmas bug if:
  • 1. As you are shopping through Target, every toy you pass you imagine being opened Christmas morning by your child with a huge smile on their face, accompanied by the exclamation, “I love it!  You are the best Mother in the whole world!”
  • 2. The words “Honey, we bought each other a house (or insert needed appliance, car repair, or plumbing job here) for Christmas, let’s not exchange gifts this year” make your heart drop with sadness no matter how right they are.
  • 3. Your store daydreams change from #1 symptom to imagining your child unwrapping the boring things like underwear that they really need but don’t want with a disappointed look on their face, accompanied by the proclamation, “This is the WORST Christmas ever!”  (you only think that’s an exaggeration- I have a very dramatic little 5 year old.)
  • 4.  You start wondering how kids during the great depression didn’t break their parent’s hearts after opening their one and only gift- an orange which was a rare treat to them.
  • 5.  You realize now, more than ever, you are much more materialistic then you ever imagined…
  • Treatment for the Christmas bug includes a hefty dosage of reality:
  • 1. Your child doesn’t need every toy in the store, in fact they are undoubtedly better off without it and so are you.  Not to mention, as the years pass, their enthusiasm for gifts drastically reduces and last year we were horrified to hear the dreaded phrase, “what else did you get me?” escape our child’s lips more than once.  “Where did we go wrong?”, we asked ourselves.  After all, we had been careful not to make Christmas about the presents…or so we thought.  We didn’t “do” Santa, we limit our gift giving to a few special items per child, we read “The Three Gifts of Christmas”  leading up to the holiday, we even tried no gifts on Christmas day one year opening them on Christmas Eve instead so all of Christmas day could be focused on Christ’s birth.  How did we end up with such greediness coming from our children? Perhaps the first dose of medicine I needed to swallow was the reality that my children get the Christmas bug too.  Whats worse?  They caught it from me.  MODEL CONTENTMENT!
  • 2.The house, furnace. dishwasher, new axles for the car, toilet repair, you name it was a BLESSING!  And despite the little pang in your heart that tells you otherwise, it is enough.  Gather friends and family in that gift of a home.  Warm bodies from that furnace mean warm hearts snuggled in their beds on Christmas Eve.  Dishes covered in food being loaded in the dishwasher make me grateful when I think back on six years without one and thankful that food was on those dishes around the table where my family joins together to eat.  Whatever you may have inserted in that blank, whether a car repair which enables you to travel and see loved ones or even the fixed toilet that saves your ears from the constant sound of it running-  GIVE THANKS!

  • 3. When needs are met, whether through Christmas or any other time of the year, teach your children to praise God!  “Kids you know you needed new underwear, don’t tell me you didn’t notice the holes in yours and no- holiness isn’t a good thing when it comes to underwear.  Praise God!  He provided you with new underwear this Christmas!”  CHOOSE JOY!

  • 4. Oranges DO make great stocking-stuffers.  Throw in a ziplock baggie of cloves and let your kids decorate them to make pomanders for your Christmas table centerpiece.  BE CREATIVE!

  • 5. Pray that the Holy Spirit would change your heart about Christmas.  Pray that He would take your greed, selfishness, and desire to please anyone but our Savior.  Pray that He would transform your family through the power of His love and that we would all be awestruck by the wonder of His glory!  PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!

Ara and James at the Christmas Tree

My dear friends, that truly is “All I Want For Christmas”…  for God to take my ugly heart and give me one washed clean by His blood.  Hallelujah, HE DID!  And that is the reason for the season!

Blog Meme? ::right now:: May 30, 2011

Filed under: Family,Home,Seasons — Jen @ 4:56 pm
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DISCLAIMER- I might be stealing, if I am, I am ever so sorry.  In my blog surfing, several times I have come across what I believe is a blog meme called “::right now::”  It is a simple structured blog post to give readers a peek into your day using action words to describe “right now”.  Because I am not sure what blog it originated with, I am most likely not giving adequate “hosting credit” to it and so I apologize for the lack of online etiquette.  I believe it is a Monday Meme and today I found it on SouleMama.

::right now::

My Nature Girl

right now I am…

::wondering if taking a family hike today was such a good idea at 27 weeks pregnant with twins.  (going into the trail downhill, was much easier than coming out uphill and my balance was, lets just say, not so good)

::marveling at how much older my little girl seems everyday and the paradox that is her selective gift of being aware of details.  (how is the same girl who spies a camouflaged snail under a log on the side of a hiking trail not able to find her bright magenta flowered play boots daily when they are in the same place every time?)

::feeling large 🙂

::smelling the lingering smell of turkey bacon coming from the kitchen which reminds me of Grandma H’s house.

::thanking my parents for a very generous babies gift in the form of a new dryer that won’t take three cycles to dry clothes (going to be a life saver with three little ones in cloth diapers!)

::enjoying having spent the weekend with family and friends and having my sister home for summer break.

::looking forward to celebrating 6 years of marriage with my love this week!

::wishing you a blessed Memorial day with loved ones!