Friday, December 16, 2011

Proud Owners

Well, on our way home from a family Christmas up in Michigan last weekend, our beloved 1992 Toyota Camry bit the dust. We always said we would drive it until it died, and we did...twice. Six years ago, we put a "new" engine in when it died, and this time we decided it was time to move on. I have driven that car for the past 12 years and it was actually a bit sad to leave it at the mechanic!

Thankfully, we have a connection through my brother's father in law and we were able to score a 2010 Ford Fusion at a Dealer Auction in North Carolina!! We are so excited to get our new car! I'm saying this in public - so hold me to it...We WILL keep this car clean!! It is so hard having kids and a nice car. It seems like they always have something in their hands when they leave the house - a toy, a cookie, a blanket, a book, and the list goes on. It seems to always leave the house, but never return to the house. You would be amazed at the things we found when we were cleaning out our Camry! Craig even found the recording of our wedding (on a cassette tape!) in the console. I'll have to find a tape player so I can listen to it! :-)

It will still be at least 10 more days before we get to meet our new car in person. My parents will drive it back to us after they return from their FIRST cruise! (Just a little jealous) Hoping they have a fantastic time so that they'll want to go again with all of us kids!

And since I'm not that great at updating this blog, I will wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Turn That Frown Upside Down

This is the shirt that Morgan wore to school yesterday for blue day...and it is the title of my post. I can honestly say that the past five weeks have been some of the hardest weeks of my life. I never dreamed that the transition to kindergarten would be so hard on our family.

For years, Morgan has been looking forward to going to school. She's gone to MOPS, church classes, preschool, etc. and has never really had a problem going to her class or dealt with much separation anxiety. Let me tell you, we were not prepared for her response to going to school. We had tears almost every morning before school. There were many factors that caused these tears, but overall, it was separation anxiety mixed with a feeling of being out of control of her environment and not understanding exactly what was expected of her which resulted in a fear of failure. I don't know where this came from since we've never expected perfection from Morgan - it is just something that she has put on herself. We spent many days praying and crying, asking God to help Morgan adjust and learn to love school.

This also took an unexpected toll on me personally. It was so hard to see our daughter so unhappy to the point of tears and stomach aches and I felt so helpless and unable to fix it. This threw me into a downward spiral that I'm assuming is what everyone calls depression. I've never dealt with feelings like I had for such a long period of time. (I know to some, 5 weeks doesn't seem too long, but to me, it was) I was not a fun person to be around. My relationships with my family suffered as well as normal everyday things. It was not a pretty picture. However - in the middle of all this, God did blow me away with some unexpected blessings.

I say this all to get to this point - we had tried everything. We had no idea what else to do. We had turned a corner from feeling sorry for Morgan and empathizing with her to frustration that we weren't seeing any progress. We had been sharing with our small group and they had been praying with us through this and weekly we would pray together. The kids are usually in another room while we are meeting and during our prayer time this week, Morgan came out and sat on my lap. She was listening to our prayers and asked, "Mom, are they praying for me?" I told her that yes we were and I laid my hand on her and so did a few others and we just prayed that God would take away all the fear and anxiety and that He would replace it with joy and love for school. When we got home, Morgan asked me (like she does every night) if she had school in the morning. I told her, "Yes!" She responded with excitement, admitting that she couldn't wait! Well, I'd heard that before, so I responded that I was happy that she was excited for school and then I tucked her in for the night.

Monday morning, she came into our room at 6:15am...ugh! (My alarm is set for 6:35 and this mamma LOVES her sleep!) She said, "Mom, is it time to get ready for school!? I'm so excited!" (Usually, she's asking for a few more minutes to sleep) I pulled her in with me and had her rest for 20 minutes, but she just couldn't stop talking. "Ooo, it's computer day today?! I LOVE computer class!" All morning she was in such a positive mood. The difference was more than noticeable. I found myself thanking God that we even had one morning with no tears. Craig dropped her off at school and I received this text - "Nothing but smiles a high five and a blown kiss down the hallway!!!" This was a definite change from her running the opposite direction of the school, Craig chasing her, and carrying her kicking and screaming to her classroom while teachers were encouraging him as he walked down the hall with an, "I'm praying for you!" (Which was a blessing in itself in a public school!!)

We have definitely turned a corner. Each day since Sunday, Morgan has had a good morning which results in a good day. She even ate school lunch yesterday which was a HUGE thing for her!!

I know we're still on a journey and God is teaching our family many things in this new season of life. But, I know that there were so many of you praying for us and I wanted you all to hear this awesome story of how God worked in our little girl's heart!! One of my friends responded that she wasn't surprised because Morgan has always been so sensitive to the Spirit. I couldn't agree more. God changed our little girl's heart in His time, and we were blessed to see it happen.

Friday, August 12, 2011

We have a Kindergartner...

That's right! Our first little girl started Kindergarten yesterday! I was a bitter sweet day - I was such a mix of emotions. I was so excited for our little girl but I was also sad. So sad that I would be missing out on 7 hours of her day. For the past five years, I have stayed home with Morgan and enjoyed teaching her and watching her learn and grow. I had the overwhelming feeling that my job of instilling morals and values was over. (I know it isn't, but seriously, the first five years are sooo important!) I thought, "Well, I hope everything I've poured into her over these past years has sunk in and made her into the Godly girl I've prayed for her to be in this moment. I felt like I just had to trust and let her go - sooo not easy for this mama! I wasn't going to be able to protect her physically and emotionally. After we dropped her off at school, I had a little meltdown. I just wept in my bed while my gracious hubby held me. Then God gave me exactly what I needed - my little daily devotional told me this -

"God asks that we believe Him regardless of the risks - in spite of the danger - ignoring the odds." - Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, p. 370

"By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He...was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." -Hebrews 11:17-18 NIV

And she was fine. She was more than fine. She had a blast! When we picked her up, she said, "When do I get to come back?" She was more than thrilled to hear that the answer was, "Tomorrow morning!" And let's face it, she did have stories of a little girl pulling her hair and pulling on her friend's backpack strong enough to choke her, but we had a good conversation about loving and praying for our friends who may not know Jesus. Morgan thought that was agreat idea. So, even though I wasn't able to be there to make sure she didn't get her hair pulled on her first day of school - which breaks my heart - I know that God is working in this little girl's heart and she is going to be a light for Him this year in her classroom! Praise God!

She's all ready to go! I can't believe this time has come. Hold on to every moment - I've heard it so many times - because time does go

She was so excited! Just that morning she did confess, "Mom, I am just a little bit nervous too."
She wanted to talk to Grandma on the way to school!
Walking into her new school.
Welcome to Kindergarten :-)
Saying goodbye - This is also going to be a huge adjustment! Morgan and Jaron are so incredibly close. They love each other. Jaron was just lost yesterday without his sister. They play so well together and have really developed a special bond this summer especially. Morgan was getting ready in the bathroom and said, "Jaron, today is the day that I go to school!" Jaron replied, "I hate that."
I'm so blessed.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Just have to share!

I stumbled across this blog and I have to share. I was literally laughing out loud as I was reading. She definitely has a way with words...and pictures :-)

Monday, April 18, 2011

First Annual RJP Cutest Kid Contest!

You’ve captured that perfect picture, now what?!

Why not take a chance to win a FREE mini session with ReneeJPhotography along with a CD with a photo release?!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Email ONE photo…the cutest and most recent one you have of your sweetie (ages 0-10) to by Sunday April 24th.

· Photo must be a snapshot – no professional photos will be entered.

· No pictures will be accepted after Sunday April 24th. No exceptions.

· Include your child’s first name, age, parent’s name and contact email.

· *If you have more than one child. Enter each child separately.

· Session will be 30 minutes and will be held in the Grant County (IN) or Kalamazoo County (MI) area.

2. All of the photos will be placed in an album on Facebook entitled Cutest Kid Contest. On Monday April 25th voting will begin!!

· No negative comments towards any picture…if I see any I will delete them. Please remember all of the children are perfect and beautiful!

· Play fair. One vote per person!

3. How to vote:

  • Have all of your friends and family “like” the ReneeJPhotography business page on facebook.
  • From April 25 to May 1, have them “like” your photo in the Cutest Kid Contest album. The child with the most “likes” will win a totally free mini session with RJP and receive the proofed images on a cd with print rights!
  • REMEMBER!! Only “likes” will be counted! You may post comments but they will not be counted…only “likes”.

Start emailing me your pictures to!! Good luck to all who enter.

And just because I'm a mom who loves to show off my kiddos too...

Friday, March 25, 2011

FYI... embarrassing!

Okay, I finally bought a new card reader and I'm so embarrassed to post these pictures, but here they promised!



I ended up with 5 bags to donate and one bag of trash!! YIKES!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Well, I did clean out my closet...and I do have before and after pictures, but my card reader won't load my pictures onto my computer for some reason. It says I need to format my card. I've never had to do this. GRR!

So...stay tuned, I'll try to get my pictures up!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's Almost Spring...

I saw this on my friend's blog and though I'm a bit late...I figure better late than never, right?! So, I'm jumping in...

Go HERE for more information.

Pictures to come!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

ME Time Myth

Bear with me...this post is a bit long, but Tuesday at my MOMS Group at church, we were given an article to read and I think it is worth sharing.

The "Me Time" Myth
By Amy Roberts

I once heard a talk show host give a very compelling argument for why moms need time away. He said mothers give and give to the point of empty. They must refuel themselves so they can continue to give.

It sounded quite reasonable to me. Then why did my search for this hallowed “me time” always leave me feeling as though I needed more? While taking time for myself, I definitely felt refreshed, but the moment I got home and realized the sink was still full of dirty dishes and I would still have to give baths to all the children before the night would be over, I wanted to head right back out the door.

This left me feeling sorry for myself. Why couldn’t I have one night where I wouldn’t have to do the same things I do every night? Why couldn’t I come home to a spotless and trouble-free place where dishes were washed and children were in bed? Why did I have to go back to my duties so soon? To punish those who were making my life difficult, I would loudly sling dishes and be curt and hurried with everyone until I could get children into bed and escape to the sewing room or the computer for the remainder of the evening.

The next morning, feeling dissatisfied with the amount of me time from the evening prior, I would take my coffee, sit at the computer, and completely ignore my daily duties. I would get irritated with the children because their antics were cutting into my time. I was stressed and edgy and desperate for more. My children would call out for me and I would answer, “She’s not here right now.”

Then, I began staying up much too late in order to squeeze in more alone time. I dreaded going to bed because it meant waking up to children’s needs and a disaster of a house.

I became increasingly upset by my husband’s time off from work, along with the business lunches and the business trips. To compensate for the perceived unfairness of the situation, I chose to do nothing on weekends: no laundry, no dishes, no parenting. Soon, my weekends were spilling over both ends and into the weekdays. All of this only served to overwhelm me even more and feed into my desire to escape.

In a moment of clarity, as only the Lord can offer, I saw my behavior for what it truly was: selfishness. Along with this epiphany came the conviction to quit seeking Me Time.

Me Time is a myth. It is an unattainable, always interruptible, never satisfying piece of junk psychology. Me Time, by its very name, suggests that who we are during the daily grind is not who we truly are. It begs us to search for fulfillment outside of the titles of “wife” and “mother.” It accuses precious little ones and God-given spouses for suppressing us. It reduces motherhood to a disease in which little dirty faces and endless monotonous tasks slowly suck the life out of us. It says we can never be refreshed by spending time in the presence of those we care for day in and day out. It points out a perceived hole in our world that needs to be filled, a tank that must be refueled, a monster that will swallow us if we neglect to feed it Me Time.

The more we indulge the thought that we are somehow owed this time away, the more we will seek after it. The more we seek after it, the more every little opportunity afforded us to take a break will seemingly end too quickly. The everyday life of being a mother will become drudgery. We will dread every aspect of this role. We will snap at our children any time they try to draw us out of our precious time alone. Not getting this time will ruin our day, and if we do manage some time away, we will despise the re-entry.

However, with any lie, there is a certain amount of truth hidden within. There is an emptiness within us that needs to be filled, but only God can fill what you are aching for.

The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” Lamentations 3:24–25

Our time away should be spent seeking Him. Anything else we try to fill that emptiness with will fall miserably short. Likewise, the company we seek during our time away should be spent with people who are about the business of edifying and strengthening us in our role as wife and mother, not tearing at the very foundation of our home. We will never gain anything but resentment from the counsel of those who encourage us to seek self.

We must cease to see the role of wife and mother as a job we put aside at the end of the day. We must do our daily tasks cheerfully, as unto the Lord. We must learn to enjoy being home with our families. We must find contentment in serving others. We should spend more time drinking in the beauty of our children, searching their eyes, holding their hands, being Mom. When we do feel neglected or overworked, we must immediately seek the Lord to refresh us and keep us from sin.

There will be days when we are afforded opportunities to do things alone or with other women, but if we are content in our God-given role, we will no longer cling so tightly to these moments as the only way to save our sanity. Our need for Me Time will fade as we begin to see motherhood as a blessing not to be escaped, but embraced.

Published on January 26, 2009

I have really been challenged in the way that I think about quite a few things as I read this article. I know that our children are gifts from God and I truly desire to see them that way. I can so relate with Amy as I'm sure all moms can. Let me know what you think of this article!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Slippers, Leg Warmers & Cards

Hello lovely people! I know it's been so so long since I've updated what's been going on. And to be honest, it's been a whole lot of not much :-) But I'm kind of okay with that. We have been getting lots and lots of snow the past couple weeks. (I say lots and lots, but really it's only been a few times getting a few inches, which is a lot for Indiana) However, it's been enough that Morgan has only had preschool 2 times in the last two weeks. She is starting to miss being at school! She did however manage to have a little girl time with a school friend yesterday who gave her these "GEMS". I can't believe that leg warmers are actually back....and Morgan loves them.

I must admit...she does wear them well ;-)

We've also been playing a new game from Christmas. I love that Jaron and Morgan can both play this game. It's the kids version of Phase10. Morgan and Jaron have been playing so so well together lately. I absolutely love hearing them in the next room being creative. They have come up with some great plays for me. So fun. If I could figure out how to get videos on here, you would laugh hysterically at some of the things those two come up with. I love being their mommy. They never cease to amaze me.

Don't you adore those tiny, chubby hands?! He had the nickname "Rolls" when he was a baby because he had so many they are disappearing, and my baby is growing into quite the little boy.

And yes, I do believe that my little man most definitely must be cold blooded. The moment we walk in the door, he strips off his socks and shirt...while Morgan and I search for our slippers. I love this little boy so much. He makes me smile so many times every day. His new thing that just melts my heart is that whenever we are apart (even if it is just for an hour...or even a nap) he will find me and say, "Mommy, I missed you!" Then I get the biggest hug. He is definitely all boy, but I love that he has a soft snuggly side too!

I'll leave you with this...a thought for all of us moms who feel like all we do just doesn't always seem to make a huge difference:

"I don't do big things, I do small things with BIG LOVE."
-Mother Teresa

Monday, January 3, 2011


"But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM."
2 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV