an old favorite: no use going back :)

“Alice in Wonderland” was a favorite when I was younger – do you remember it? Silly, thoughtful, quotable…. The cover of my current journal has an Alice quote and I pause every time I see it (which is often – my journal a treasure to me, and I’m almost never without it!).  It says, “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then”.

“I was a different person then” – let’s take a selah: pause and calmly think of that 🙂

different then


As Christ-followers, we ought to be different every day.  The Bible has so much to say about being new – here are a few favorites, but you can find lots more:

“Behold I shall do a new thing” ~Isaiah 43:19

“His compassions fail not, they are new every morning” ~Lamentations 3:22-23

“He has put a new song in my mouth” ~Psalm 40:3

“if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” ~2 Corinthians 5:17

I’m going off-track for a minute, but hang with me – I’ll circle back!  Sometimes I think about a passage in Ezekiel.  In Ezekiel 46, the Lord gives instructions to the people about their manner of worship.  Verse 9 stands out to me every time, as it explains how the people are to enter and exit the place of worship.  The Lord tells them that is they enter by the south, then they are to exit by the north.  If they enter by the north, they are to exit by the south.  He emphasizes again, “He shall not return by way of the gate through which he came, but shall go out through the opposite gate”.  I’m sure that there is a historical and traditional context here, but let’s just make it as simple as possible for today: they were not supposed to leave the same way they came in. When they left, they were supposed to do it differently.

When I think about that, I think to myself: the Lord does not want me to leave His presence the same way I came in either. I came to Him for healing – He wants me to be well. I came to Him for comfort – He wants me to be full of joy.  I came to Him heavy hearted – He wants me to take on His light yoke.  I came to Him broken – He wants me to be whole.  He is able and faithful and trustworthy and kind – He can do all of these things and more.  I am not supposed to leave the same way I came in. Enter sick, leave well. Enter sad, leave joyful. Enter broken, leave whole.  Enter one way, and leave another way.

“Leave” means two things: we can leave a location, and we can also leave an item. When we left healed, we left the sickness behind.  When we left whole, we left the brokenness behind.  Adopt a new mentality: “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then“. Purpose to leave those things which are holding you back or tying you down: you were made new in His presence!  Refuse to return to those things!  You are a new creature – be new!

Be aware: it is a choice.  Once the Lord makes you whole, you can (sadly!) return to the thing that made you broken.  Once the Lord gives you joy, you can (unfortunately!) return to the thing that made you heavy hearted.  Sometimes we allow the broken-ness or sickness or anger or whatever-it-is-holding-you-back-from-abundant-life-fill-in-your-own-blank-here to become part of our self. Setting aside those weights (Hebrews 12:1) leaves an empty spot which the Lord will fill if we let Him.  Refuse to go back, even if it is familiar – push forward. “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then“.

In our walk with the Lord, we ought to be ever changing, ever growing, ever evolving. Our own spiritual thought process ought to be “it’s no use going back” – you are a new creature, a new creation!  Embrace change – and wake up tomorrow morning with the new mentality: “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then”.

Of course, now that we’ve spent some time in the presence of the Lord, we’ll say it this way: “ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17) and we’ll say it this way: “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?” (Isaiah 43:19). And friend, you shall know it! 🙂 Leave different than the way you came today – purpose to embrace the new and treasure change!

No use going back – let’s press forward!  God’s kindness is a treasure, and I’m praying you find Him kind today!

Jennifer ❤

an old favorite: when noun/treasure becomes verb/treasure

Passed this sign at the entrance of my neighborhood the other day:




Yay!  I almost never want to buy anything, but a good yard sale involves many things that I do love: people (watching them, meeting them, hearing their stories), walking, being outside, and the best: seeing all these little treasures! This morning, I was up and ready around 8:30, so I asked my 17 year old if he wanted to talk a walk with me.  Never one to turn down a good rambling around, Ty agreed and we set out.

First stop: lemonade stand.  We loved that little girl (she was selling handmade jewelry too – can you imagine something sweeter than jewelry and lemonade from a 6 year old? A.DOR.A.BLE.).  We weren’t quite ready for a cool drink yet, so we promised to circle back.  Next stop: all kinds of goodies!  We looked at everything, and Ty settled on a small chest, little tiny drawers, we thought it would look great on his bookshelf (he loves books and a good treasure like his mom).  Only $1 (score!), PLUS we got a story about how grandpa had made this beautiful little chest by hand.  Next stop: an antique camera.  My daughter collects them (how cool is that?), but the price was a little steep for our yard sale budget.  We passed, but not before we met this dear lady and her husband.  Next stop: lots of kids items, toys, books, cute cute cute.  We didn’t need anything, but we chatted with the dad and then two sweeties ran out, “Mrs. Spivey! Mrs. Spivey!”  They gave us big hugs for free, and we talked about when we would see each other next (Monday at school).  Next stop: an apple peeler/corer!  Remember the kind – it suctions to the counter and you twist the apple around and around until it doesn’t have the core and the peeling is all in one long curly strip?  Fun!  I had one once, when the babies were little….. hmmm, must have gotten lost in a move along the way.  How much is this one, brand new, still in the box? $1! Yep, we’ll take it!

Time to circle back for our lemonade, only a few houses down from the house.  “We’re back again! Do you still have lemonade?”  She does, and it’s 75 cents a cup.  Well, no day at the yard sale is complete without a good haggle over price at some point, right?  We bargained our new little friend from 75 cents a cup up to $1 a cup and we were all happy with the deal. 🙂  We’re ready to be home now (did I say I loved the sun?  Well, after our ramble, I think I’ll love the air conditioning!), but we have one more new family to meet and a friend to visit on our way.

Treasure chest: $1, apple peeler/corer: $1, two cups of lemonade: $2.  $4 well spent – and my true treasure today?  That was the time spent with my son, all by himself.  For this sweet one, quality time is his love language and my greatest joy.  That makes a nice combination!  We talked with neighbors and friends today, but mostly we talked to each other.  These moments together are not to be treated as common.  It’s easy to remember the “big stuff” (trips to Disney, surprise birthday parties), all the major “firsts” in life (steps, days at school, drivers licenses, etc.), but this isn’t all. Our lives are made up of the everyday that we can pass over as common if we aren’t careful.  These are the kind of memories that I want to save: hearing his voice, hearing his thoughts, having secrets or smiles or jokes shared between us.  Yeah, it looked like a little ramble around the neighborhood and a couple of crinkled dollar bills, but it was much more than that.  Ty gave me his morning, and it was my favorite gift today.  It was a treasure. ❤

Sometimes I think about Mary and all the celebrating connected to the birth of Jesus (BIG EVENT, no mistake about that!).  Right then in the middle of all this celebrating, she takes a moment and the noun “treasure” becomes a verb: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).  She had the presence of mind right then to pause and reflect and TREASURE the miracle and love her Son.

Small moments, big moments, take a pause and let the noun/treasure become a verb/treasure in your life.  We have so much.

God is so kind and generous!  Praying that you find lots of reasons to verb/treasure today,


an old favorite: this treasure :)

Last night, my sweet hubby bought me a bookshelf for the family room, and BONUS: he even put it together for me right away!  As soon as I saw the box, I called my twin sons into action. “Fellas, will you follow me around and help me collect my books?” They didn’t ask (mercifully!), they just followed.  First, guest room: empty every drawer in the chest, mirror dresser and night stands. (Now when you come to visit, you’ll have a place to put your clothes while you stay!). Next, my room – no need to empty the entire chest, just the bottom two drawers (now I have more room for clothes – nah, I’d rather have books!).  “Mom, are we done yet? It’s a lot already.” No, not quite yet, let’s go to my closet next, and then I have this small-ish pile next to the sofa in the formal living room – you couldn’t see it because it was kind of tucked in between the sofa and the bookshelf which is already living there.  Ty rolls his eyes a little bit (he’s even more organized than I am generally, and would never cram something into a corner). Jake, however, cheerily offers, “Yeah, mom, I understand tucking things in corners!  In my room, I – “… Stop right there, bud – this is NOT the same kind of thing that has been going on in your room! I’m rambling – let me get back to my new bookshelf!

Of course, a new bookshelf required careful thought.  I had to empty all current bookshelves and reorganize.  I also had to reacquaint myself with these friends who had been tucked places for all these years – oh, THERE you are, Charlie Shedd!  Welcome back to the outside world, Margaret Runbeck!  It’s been too long, Corrie Ten Boom!  Oh, Bruce Wilkinson, my old friend, how are you? Have to consider – who lives in the family room?  Who lives in the formal living room?  Do we categorize by author (yes) or by subject (yes, but only if I have several authors on the same subject) or by genre (this is more complicated than I had anticipated, but I am LOVING the dilemma!). Naturally I couldn’t simply put everyone on a shelf immediately – I needed to read a chapter from each one, remember a few treasured words. As I removed the books from their places, and began to open a few covers, I discovered more than an old favorite character or truth or phrase or friend.  I had more than published words to treasure this morning – much more.

I had forgotten doing this until they started falling out, but for years I had been sticking little notes in between my books.  (Lately, I have been putting these little bits of love in a photo box to savor later).  A thank you note from a student fell out first – oh my goodness, she was in kindergarten when she wrote this and now she’s a freshman in high school!  Next, a letter from my grandmother-  she passed away several years ago and I cried at the treasure her words were, and I laughed at the stories she had shared that day.  A note from my mom – she wrote it after the first ministry event I hosted some 18 years ago.  A picture fell out of another book – the twins were pulling baby sis in the Radio Flyer wagon – remember the one with the wooden rails on the sides?  Oh my goodness – a letter of encouragement from a woman in ministry I had looked up to so very much, especially in those first years when I needed so very much…. My parents’ wedding picture – wow, they were young! The little treasures kept peeking out, oh my goodness, so many, and I laughed and I cried and I remembered and I smiled and I felt as if I had discovered lots of little secrets and my heart was full and I loved the quiet, surrounded by love and books and words and comfort.

I thought about the photo box with my most recent love notes and memories, and looked at the pictures and notes surrounding me on the floor.  Nah, these wouldn’t go into that box.  I organized my books on the new shelves, admired the arrangements, then carefully tucked the notes and cards and pictures in between the books again.

2 Corinthians 4:7 doesn’t really apply here, I know that, but I can’t seem to get it out of my mind: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels”.   THIS treasure.  This TREASURE.  I like the idea of opening up, unpacking, and finding something altogether unexpected – and altogether blessed.  Isn’t that what happens with the Lord?  Every time we open His word, every time we open ourselves to His spirit, every time we strive to hear His voice, we find “this treasure” that the “excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us”.  It’s what I learned from my bookshelf today, from all these books that had been packed away for so long, each with a little “plus” inside. How very simple, how very sweet.

What a treasure 🙂

God is so kind and generous!  With prayers that you find Him so today,



an old favorite: raise up a child :)

This is an older blog post, but in honor of my twins birthday today, I thought I’d run it again 🙂 Now they are 21, but at the time of this writing, they were 20.  Thanks for visiting with me again! Fondly, Jennifer ❤ 

Last summer my twins turned 20, and I had an idea to make “months” signs and recreate some favorite baby pictures.  To complete the joke, I posted on my social media: “Our babies are 240 months old – we can’t believe it! Tyler and Jacob are excellent young men: they love Jesus and Super Smash Bros, Jacob loves to fish and Tyler loves to read, they are awesome brothers to Lindsay, and they bring joy to our lives every day! We love these guys and pray God’s BIGGEST blessings on them for the next 20 years and more!”  Our friends and family laughed with us all day!


I was happy to see them hit 20, and happy every day with the wise young men they have become.  Of course, raising 3 children (all 3 born in less than 2 years!) wasn’t easy.  I don’t have to tell you: motherhood is not for the weak, nor is it a job to be taken lightly! In some ways, I think it is harder for young moms today than it was for me when mine were small.  All the more reason to depend on the Lord daily. Those truly were wonderful days, with my three littles toddling around!

These are wonderful days, too!  Tyler and I were out together the other day – we like to call it a “ramble”.  We went to mail care packages to the siblings who are away at school, ran a few errands, then hit an antique store in town (we love to look at treasures!).  I found some darling vintage Christmas dishes, and Ty found some gorgeous old hardback books by…. wait, now I’m doing a different kind of rambling!  Let me get back on track!

This particular store has a garage out back, and we couldn’t resist.  We walked in and saw a whole corner full of old children’s games and toys.  On the top of the pile was a big Teletubbie plush – does anyone remember that program?  Well, children’s items usually bring up an opportunity to tease me: I was a little fussy (maybe more fussy than was necessary) about what my children watched and read. So, Tyler says, “Mom, I remember that we weren’t allowed to watch Teletubbies – why not?” He’s already smiling and ready to laugh at my response, so I tell him the truth (I’ll spare you – it probably was ridiculous!).  I answered his question honestly, and that laugh led to memories of other things I didn’t allow, all in kind jesting between me and my son.  There was a popular movie then about a lion, but they didn’t watch it because I didn’t like the theme (uncle murders father, uncle convinces son that it was his fault, and then uncle convinces son to run away because he couldn’t tell his family the truth – all kinds of ideas I didn’t want introduced to my 3 year old charges).  We didn’t watch Dragon Tales, we didn’t believe in Santa Claus (though we did watch those holiday cartoons – we just didn’t present them as truth), the list went on.

Before you judge me too hard: the list of things we DID DO and the list of fun we had and things we DID enjoy was much much longer than the “don’t do it” list! Before you think, “wait – I do let my kids watch that show” and think that I am judging you, let me assure you that nothing is further from the truth!  I don’t have any judgement on any parent: I had an anointing from God to raise these specific three – and I believe you have an anointing from God to raise yours!  Our households aren’t exactly the same because our children and experience is not exactly the same!  There’s LOTS of grace here, honest promise! 🙂 

Here’s the moment I want to share: after Tyler and I stopped laughing at my silliness (some of it was right; some of it was exaggerated, I’m sure), I told him the motivation behind every decision I ever made on that got us to this point: “Son, I knew I only had ONCE CHANCE. ONE CHANCE to get you and your brother and sister successfully and happily through childhood.  ONE CHANCE to deliver you to adulthood as a God-fearing, faithful, normal, well-adjusted person.  If I was going to make a mistake, I was going to make it on the side of caution.”

You know what he did?  (forgive me if I start crying right now) My 6’2″ son, 240plus months old now, came to put his arm around my shoulder, and said two words:

“Nailed it.”

God bless him.  The Bible says to Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6 NIV).  Beautiful and comforting advice for moms and dads.  The Bible also says, Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck” (Proverbs 1:8-9 NIV)Beautiful and comforting advice for sons and daughters.

Thank you, Ty.  Thank you, Jacob and Lindsay.  You are literally the best!

Making a commitment to the Lord, making a commitment to a purpose AND seeing it through?  That’s a treasure.  Praying you have something to commit to, something to pour your whole being into, and I’m also praying that you will finish strong.  God is on your side – and I am too! 🙂

Jennifer ❤



guess who? :)

When the babies were little, we liked to play board games.  I remember when we first brought home a game called “Guess Who”.  It was a sort of “20 questions” situation – each player had a person card that their opponent must identify, narrowing the field by only asking yes and no questions.


We played along with the twins for a little bit as they were learning – it was tough at first to understand that their 2 people were not the same.  It was also tough to understand that one was to ask questions that might apply to the opponent’s person, not your own. So we ask questions: “Does your person have red hair?” If the answer is yes, you flip all the people who do NOT have red hair (flip, flip, flip, flip, flip).  “Does your person wear glasses?” If the answer is no, you flip all the people who DO wear glasses (flip, flip, flip, flip, flip). And the game continues until you have narrowed it down and can “guess who”. Fun!  The first time the twins played without my help, it was fun to listen in:

Q: “Ty, does your person have a hat?” A: “No” and then flip, flip, flip, flip, flip

Q: “Jake, does your person have white hair?” A: “Yes!” and then flip, flip, flip, flip, flip

The kiss of death was having a girl – there weren’t nearly as many women as men on the board.  And if your girl was wearing a hat?  Practically game over before you start!  My favorite exchange, and it still makes me smile:

Q: “Jakie, does your person have a beard?” A: “No” flip, flip, flip, flip, flip

Then Jacob added a little comment that changed the game: “That wasn’t a good question, Ty – because my person is a girl!” flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip 🙂 Round one to Tyler, LOL!

One question can still change the game.  Jesus asked the disciples a single question to end all other questions: “Who do you say I am?”  Let’s take a quick look at the conversation:

 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-17 NIV)

Even for us today, the question must be settled in our minds: who is Jesus?  Never mind who your friends say He is, never mind who your co-workers say He is, never mind who your family members say He is, it’s a question we must answer for ourselves and be able to trust fully in the reply: Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God! Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15, I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (15:3-4).  “First of all” means “of first importance”, the main idea. Paul is saying “if you don’t get anything else from me, get this: Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead”.

One question, one answer that changes everything else.  God sent His Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for your sins, so that you could be reconciled to God.

Selah – pause, praise and think of that!

Accepting the truth of Jesus’ identity (and not having to “guess who”) is a treasure – praying that you have the opportunity to apply this truth to your heart and let Jesus give you peace ❤

Jennifer 🙂



the road we already know :)

When Jesus was preparing the disciples for his departure (He didn’t say “crucifixion”, but with the benefit of hindsight, that’s what we know it was), they were afraid.  Their beloved teacher was announcing to them that He would be leaving.  Jesus always offered comfort to His disciples, and His Words still bring peace to us today:

“Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust Me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on My way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on My way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking” (John 14:1-4 MSG)

Jesus was talking about a clear path, a straight road with one destination: a heavenly home with our Father God.  Something maybe as simple as the road in the picture on the left here.  However, in their fear and unease over hearing Jesus was leaving, they couldn’t see a clear path – maybe a jumble like the one I see in the picture on the right.  (The picture on the right makes perfect sense to my husband – I have no sense of direction, and it just looks like a mess to me!  Stresses me out just thinking about having to follow that!)

Thomas was the first to speak out. I know he gets a bad rap sometimes, but I like him – he just needs information and clarification.  Many times, I’m the same way.  It encourages me that Jesus is so patient with Thomas. He isn’t offended by our questions!  Thomas asks Jesus,

“Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?” (John 14:5 MSG)

In the next verses, Jesus makes it simple to understand: Jesus Himself is the Road.  (and He isn’t frustrated with Thomas’ question, as He will not be frustrated with yours). All we have to do is keep our eyes on Him.  Simple to understand, but it is not always an easy path to follow. Trusting and obeying, He will always lead you to success (2 Cor. 2:14).

One of my favorite verses is John 14:18.  One [of many] comforting things Jesus tells His disciples was this:

“I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you’re going to see me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive”

Jesus always COMES, He never LEAVES. That in itself is such a comfort.  Do you feel alone?  Don’t depend on feelings – confess the Word of God over your life.

“The Lord came” (Genesis 11:5, Exodus 19:20, Numbers 11:25, Numbers 12:5)

“the Spirit of the Lord came” (Judges 14:19)

“You did awesome things for which we did not look, You came” (Isaiah 64:3)

“the hand of the Lord came” (Ezekiel 37:11)

“I will not leave you orphans, I will come” (John 14:18)

Having a clear path and a constant Companion to guide us – that’s a treasure!  Praying you experience this clarity and companionship with Jesus today ❤

Jennifer 🙂