Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Are you a nurse?

So today I started a new journey.  I went back to school. 

The summer before I got pregnant with Addie, I finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grow up. I will be a nurse (someday).

I went to school that year, and even signed up for classes the following fall (Addie would have been 2 months old), and I decided that would have been crazy and unregistered. I wanted to focus on my family.

Well, Addie is going to Kindergarten this year, so back I go.

I had my first class today, and afterwards I stopped at the McDonald's by my house and was greeted by a very friendly, older woman taking my money.  I recognized her.  I don't stop often, but she is so friendly and complementary, I remembered her.  She didn't fail to love me up today.

She said that I looked very nice, and I mentioned back to her that, though I don't stop often, I remember her as she is so friendly and completmentary.  After a bit more chit chat, she asked,

"Are you a nurse?"

The question caught me by surprise and I smiled and replied that, funny you should ask, I just got done with my first class today.  That my youngest was going to Kindergarten and I was going back this year for nursing.

She held up her hand to high five me and said I was going to make a good nurse and 'congratulations girl'.

I doubt she knows that I see this as sign that I'm on the right track.  Maybe she does. 

I prayed on the way to school that God would guide me in my decisions, and to be with me during my slightly nervous first day and all the way till I'm done done with all my school goals. I prayed that I would be open to God's plan and to use me the best way possible.

I wish I had caught her name.  God is using her well.  I pray that I make that big of an impact in my career and life.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


So this morning, I'm getting my stuff together a bit more this week and actually pulled out our Veggie Tale Devo book and this morning's devo was from Matthew 5:6 ICB.  The page was entitled Honesty.

"Those who want to do right more than anything else are happy.
    God will fully satisfy them."

It got me thinking, that it was maybe a little ironic that Matthew of all people was writing on Honesty. (Looking up the full verse, this verse was from something longer that Jesus said in the famous beatitudes sermon; I didn't recognize it in the ICB version), but none the less Matthew was retelling it.  

After Googling to verify that yes, this was the same Matthew that was the tax collector (still working on my Bible knowledge peeps! ;) ), I told Thing One and Thing Two that Jesus saw Matthew, who was likely NOT honest, as he was a despised tax collector (also learning this morning that he was actually Jewish too, Levi was his Jewish name, so this was a double whammy to the Jews. He taxed and likely cheated his own people.  He was a traitor too, working for the Pagan Roman government - ouch!)

Jesus saw in Matthew what no else likely did.  Frankly, I likely wouldn't have seen it either, especially if I were one of the ones he was cheating.  But Jesus called Matthew to be one of his special followers.

Yet another reminder we do not need to have ANY special qualities to be useful to God.  Phew.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Pumpkin Parable

This was shared with me by a friend and talked about in my Bible study this week.  It's short and sweet and a good reminder!  :)

From one pumpkin to another!!!!!!!

A woman was asked by a co-worker, 'What is it like to be a Christian?'

The coworker replied, 'It is like being a pumpkin.' God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.'

~ Author unknown

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wedding Vows from our (near) perfect day

I thought I'd throw up a quick post and put our wedding ceremony that I compiled last summer.  I wanted them to be reflective of first and foremost God, who is a part of everything I do, but not to the point it would make others uncomfortable.  Secondly, I wanted vows that showed mutual respect between husband and wife (NO obeying nonsense).  What I compiled are ceremony choices that are offered at my church and that my pastor gave to me (a wonderful friend of mine was actually the one to preform the ceremony - she got ordained online for us).  The second reading and the salt covenant were things I found online.  I also wanted to include our two kids in the ceremony.  I wanted the ceremony to include the smallish group of people invited that we felt had helped us become the family we are.  And it needed to be short enough so people didn't pass out in the sun or get tired from standing!

I was almost going to forgo the whole Unity candle/sand thing because well, I'm never one to do things JUST for traditions sake, and though I completely respect other people's choices to use either/other options, candles don't work outside.  There is wind, nough said.  And the sand thing just wasn't my style.  I didn't want another thing  sitting around my house to not dust.  Then I stumbled upon the salt covenant (it's explained in the ceremony below) was perfect for what I was looking for.  It's very personal and practical.  (After reading the covenant below, I'll also add each guest added to our salt bowl as they went thru the receiving line after the ceremony and that the container of salt is sitting on my stove.  I cook with it, and I'll never let it run completely out, always adding to it, so the original salt is always a part of my cooking and our lives - yes you can gag now).

So here it is.  I figured some of my hard work from last summer could be put to use again. Maybe - to all the 10's of people that read this blog ;).

Wedding Ceremony (7/10/12)
Isle defined by torches/luminaries
*Guests take their placesCristi(pastor) directs this
Mike and Dan escort Grandparents/ parents to chairs (GG, Swede, Sue, Dennie, and Barb - 6 chairs - one extra for Jackie, 3 on each side of isle.  Parents on west side, GP and extra chair on east)

*Cristi takes place
*Bridal Party Enters
Andy takes his place at the front (takes Addie with him if she agrees)
Dan - BM
Katie - MOH
*Bride enters
John (and Addie) walks Jessie to front
*Opening Commentary

Cristi to guests– “Family and friends, we have been invited here today to share with Andy and Jessie a very important moment in their lives. In the years they have been together, their love and understanding of each other has grown and matured, and now they have decided to live their lives together as husband and wife.  The uniting of man and woman in heart, body and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy, for the help and comfort they give one another in prosperity and adversity, and that their love may be a blessing to all whom they encounter

Let us now witness their promises to each other and surround them with our love and prayers, giving thanks to God for the gift of marriage and asking God’s blessing upon them, that they may be strengthened for their life together and nurtured in the love of God”

*Declaration of Intent (Cristi addresses Andy and Jessie, asking them to turn towards each other)

Cristi to Jessie – “Jessie, will you have Andy to be your husband, to live together in a holy marriage?  Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him in sickness and health, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?”

Jessie – “I will”

Cristi to Andy– “Andy, will you have Jessie to be your wife, to live together in a holy marriage?  Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and health, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?”

Andy – “I will”

Cristi to families – “Will you, the families of Andy and Jessie, continue to give your love and blessing to this family?

Family – “We will”

Cristi to guests – Will you, friends and family, by God’s grace, continue to help uphold and care for this family in their life together?

Guests – “We will”

Cristi to all – “Let us pray. 

Dear God, look in favor upon Andy and Jessie and bring Your joy to this wedding by Your presence now.  Grant them Your love, grace and steadfastness.  In Your sons amazing name, Amen


Cristi to All – “We will now hear our first reading”

*First Reading

Philippians 4:4-9 NLT

4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.


*Wedding Vows

Cristi to Jessie and Andy – “Jessie and Andy, I invite you to join your hands and declare your vows.”

Cristi to Jessie– (repeat back) “Andy, I take you to be my husband from this time forward, to join with you and to share with you all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, and in all circumstances of our life together, to be loyal to you with my whole life and with all my being”

Cristi to Andy – (repeat back) “Jessie, I take you to be my wife from this time forward, to join with you and to share with you all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, and in all circumstances of our life together, to be loyal to you with my whole life and with all my being”

Cristi to all – “We will now hear the second reading.”

*Second reading

'TIL DEATH DO US PART ~ By Carol D. Bos ~

I hope it is decades before death parts us
But I don’t know what God has in mind
I pray that he’ll let us be happy always
But I can’t comprehend plans divine.

It may be that turmoil will dot our landscape
With it’s gray skies and swirling intrusion
It may be that joy will fill both our hearts
And we’ll think pain is just an illusion.
But I think it’s likely we’ll see some of each
As we walk on this pathway together
I promise you now: I will give all I have
From my mouth you’ll not hear the word “Never.”

With so much uncertainty, crime, and abuse
That exists, everywhere, all around us
More than ever we need to hold fast to the truth
Of our marriage…Life will not confound us.

Time together is fleeting; it is too scarce to waste
My goal is to make my life-mission
A beautiful tapestry highlighting “us”
Sewn with threads from our human condition.

I want to explore the full spectrum of life
Before we’re too close to its leaving
I want to embrace vast explosions of joy
That make both our hearts strong and heaving.

I know I will love you for all of my life
No matter the time we are given.
I’m yours till death parts us-left all alone-
Until God reunites us in heaven.

*Exchange of Rings

Cristi to Jessie  – (having Jessie repeat back) “I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness”

Cristi to Andy – (having Andy repeat back) “I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness”

Cristi to Jessie and Andy – “Jessie and Andy, you have promised before God and in the presence of your family and friends to be joined together as husband and wife.  Those, whom God has joined together, let no one separate.”

*Salt Covenant

Cristi to all “During Old Testament Times, agreements and promises were sealed with a Salt Covenant.  Salt was the only means of preserving food and for this reason everyone carried a small pouch of salt with them.  When they made an agreement with another, they would each take a small pinch of salt from their bag and place it in the pouch of the other.  This was to symbolize and unbreakable agreement.  The only way out of an agreement was if each person would go to the other’s pouch and pick out their own salt originally placed in the pouch.  As picking out the exact grains of salt originally placed would be virtually impossible, the agreement could not be broken.

As during Old Testament times, Jessie, and Andy, and John and Addie each bring their own salt to this covenant.  Together, they will pour their individual salt into one, symbolizing their commitment to one another and to God. Their commitment to love, support and honor one another through all that God may bring before them, cannot be broken unless each one can retrieve his or her individual grains of salt. ”

Salt exchange – first Andy and Jessie add salt to the bowl, then John and Addie

Cristi to guests “As Paul said to the Colossians, ‘“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.’” 

Jessie and Andy invite you all to support and contribute in this salt covenant immediately after the ceremony.” 

*Closing Prayer.

Cristi to all – “On this day of rejoicing, let us bless and praise God for the joy that Jessie and Andy have found in each other.  You have given Jessie and Andy the gift and heritage of children; make their home a haven of love and peace.  Use us to support them in their lives together.  Strengthen and bless friends and family gathered here, even as we call to mind those who are absent from us.

Most gracious God, you have made us in your image and given us over to one another’s care.  Hear your people, that unity may overcome division, hope vanquish despair, and joy conquer sorrow; through your son’s awesome name. Amen

 “I now pronounce you husband and wife.   I present to you Jessie and Andy Crooks.”

First Kiss

Recessional to “I’m a believer by Smashmouth with kids

Andy and I greet each guest in a receiving line between where ceremony was and the tent (in shade if possible) and have each guest add salt to our salt container.
Our (near) perfect day :)

Proof that all the planning in the world can't
save the planner from goofing.  Look what hand
I'm putting his ring on! 8-P
So brides, don't stress out about perfection. 
I look at this and still smile about it :)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The 14 days of Valentine's Day....Kiddo Style

Hi all,
    A quick post before I head off to Target to procure supplies.  I was inspired by one of my fav blogs The Mother Load written by my brilliant friend Heather.  She is putting on a "14 days of Valentine's" for her kids.  I figured though it's starts tomorrow, since it's only 14 days as opposed to 25 days like Christmas I could pull this off.

I pulled some ideas from her blog and another one that I Googled, We Love Being Mommies. 

Here is my quick list in case you feel like throwing this together.  My first one is $$$ which you probably have laying around the house.  You could do this.  And, as my Brilliant friend Heather says, my kids will be shouting from the rooftops how awesome a childhood they have.  Or at least I'll redeem myself from today when I so meanly forced Thing 1 to help me sort laundry and had both Thing 1&2 pick up their toys from the family room.

Happy Pre-First day of "14 Days of Valentines"! :)

1-Feb Fri/School Pancakes/Syrup "I syrup love you !"
2-Feb Sat/Sheri? Donut Holes "I love you a "Hole" Bunch
3-Feb Sun/SuperBowl Stickers "I'm stuck on you"
4-Feb Mon/School Gold Fish "You're a Great Catch"
5-Feb Tue/ Animal Crackers "It would be un-bear-able without you"
6-Feb Wed/School Apple snack "You are the apple of my eye"
7-Feb Thurs/ Pen/crayon "You are just "write" for me" "you color my world with happiness"
8-Feb Fri/  Money "You're my treasure"
9-Feb Sat/FMSC M&M's "You're "Marvelous" and "Magnificent"
10-Feb Sun/  Teddy Grahams "Your bear hugs blow me away!"
11-Feb Mon/School Cars "I Wheelie love playing with you"
12-Feb Tue/Ilove2Read Bubbles "You blow me away"
13-Feb Wed/School Sucker "You make life a little sweeter"
14-Feb Thurs/ Lucky Charms "You're Charming.  I'm lucky to have you in my life"

This list may change slightly depending on what Target's 1$ bins hold :D

Thanks "The Mother Load"

Monday, December 17, 2012

Get it out.

A very honest and vulnerable statement from me. 

My friends, so many of us are hurting because of Friday's insanity, for one of many reasons.  We have little ones that were hard to let go of this morning.  We are teachers and had to face today with less than a sense of safety in our classrooms.  We are moms and dads who can't imagine the pain those parents are feeling.  And many, many other reasons.

Most importantly I'll gently ask you to pray. Even if it's been a while.  Or a really, really long while.  Or you never have before.  Or you're not sure any"one" is there.  Tell God that you are angry and sad and don't understand. God wants us to bring it all to God. Get it out. Do not keep this hurt inside.  I can tell you from personal experience, God is the only way I have gotten over some very difficult things in my life.  I tried to handle it myself.  It didn't go well (at all) till I realized I had no other choice but to ask for God's help.  And the help came.  And I got (am getting) over it.  Pray.  God's there.

Also, we are meant to live in community.  Talk frankly with at least one person about your hurt,  Do not let it ruminate inside.  I am generally not one to lay it all out on the table.  It quite frankly scares me to be so vulnerable.  But I had a good "chat" (yes, texting counts) with a friend and I really do feel better.  Be vulnerable with at least one person that you trust.

And it's ok to cry.

Hugs and love,
Mama J

Monday, July 9, 2012

Back at it...

....I have less than 2 weeks till I say "I do" or I will, or whatever it is that I wrote into my vows ;).  And Thank the Good Lord! that it's not more.  I'm so sick of wedding stuff, and all the stress it entails, I could yak.  The next time DD and I get married, we're eloping.  JK. 

So after a less than relaxing trip up North for a "vacation" (that's a whole other post), I'm back at finishing up the last details.  And I keep going back in my head to a little funny DD said the other day.  It involved me and a squirt gun.  We had been on my neighbors porch the other night and DD and I had just missed a very spirited discussion about politics between two of our neighbors.  I told them I was going to get one of the kids squirt guns out if they kept it up.  Somehow it morphed (via DD) into me having a squirt gun at the wedding if people got out of line. 

So now in my head, when I need a little chuckle, I picture me, in my wedding dress, all gussied up, with the biggest super soaker made, strapped to my back.  Anyone gets lippy, or starts complaining about something, all I have to do is reach over my shoulder, grab my water gun and BAM! they get a good squirt of water.  (Think Princess Vespa in Spaceballs, in her wedding dress, gun in hand, after she blows the smoke out of her (yes I know) real gun after she blows down a bunch of clones - I promise I would only use a water gun ;) )

This makes me chuckle.  It possibly might keep me sane in the next two weeks. 

Good day all.  I'm going to call my seamstress and see if my dress is done.  I wonder if it's too late to sew in a holster???

Thanks Natalie for the pic!