Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Happy Birthday Anna!

Our baby girl is 7 years old today. our BABY.

The baby of the family that I never thought that I would have, is 7 years old.

That is cRaZY.

My pregnancy with Anna was an emotional train wreck. At 6 months pregnant I woke up covered in blood. My placenta had abrupted.  I was placed on bed rest for 4weeks and she was eventually taken by emergency C-section.  She left the hospital at 4pounds. Even the preemie clothes swallowed her.

I was filled with emotions when I held her for the first time. For months, after having experienced a placenta abruption, I had been preparing myself to lose her, the doctors and nurses and chaplains had been preparing me to lose her, and there she was, alive and healthy. 

It was surreal.   

 Our sweet baby daughter, with that sweet new baby smell.

I should have known that the drama that she bought before she was born would continue on after she was born.  The child is full of spunk and determination.

From the stories that I hear from my parents, aunts and uncles, I am raising a little me.  And let me tell you, it is EXHAUSTING . . . and oh so fun. I look forward to seeing what walls she will knock down that are placed in front of her, literally and figuratively.

"Mommy, why do you still have to go to school? You can read REALLY well already."

For her 7th birthday she has requested a karaoke machine.  The child came out of my womb singing.

That sweet little voice gets me every time.

I pray that she never stops dancing and singing and smiling and laughing.

We love you sweet Anna. 

Happy Birthday darling girl!

w/ Naomi, her best friend since preschool

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Anna's Performance Day 2015

Both of the kids have chosen a sport to keep them active. While Paul chose soccer, Anna chose gymnastics. 

The child loves it! 

Today was her first performance day, to show off what she has learned, and to practice for future competitions. In other words, this was a mock competition for the beginners. 

 The following are video clips of her routines. Mainly for the grandparents and family members that were unable to attend, but I hope all will enjoy. 



Floor Routine

Bar Routine

Balance Beam Routine

 Congratulations Sweet Girl.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day: Why I have grown to hate it.

How has my mother's day been?   

Well, to be honest, since moving to Elizabethtown I have learned to HATE the day. 

To begin with May is already full of special days for me with my birthday, mine and roger's anniversary, the birth of our daughter. Mother's day just kind of seems like one of those cheesy hallmark days that wants everyone to feel quilted into calling the person that birthed them, or raised them, or birthed and raised them.  

What ever. 

But the reason why I have come to hate the day is the hurt that it brings to so many. So many people feel so much pain on this day and that hurts me. 

In the end, ts it worth it? 

Let's face it, some people had shit mothers. This day makes them feel like crap.

Some people have always wanted to be a mother, have YEARNED to be mothers, and for one reason or another have not been able to. This day makes them feel like crap.

And some mothers have had to experience the awful horror of having a child die and are left numb on this day that is suppose to be filled with celebration.  This days makes them feel like crap.

Honestly, the whole thing just sucks.

Every single day I celebrate mother's day. Every single day I wake up thankful for the time that I have with these 2 gifts, knowing that in the blink of an eye I could lose everything.I don't NEED a special day.

This morning Anna was insanely difficult to get ready for church and Paul threw a fit in the middle of church in which he threw his shoe and sock as me.  While this was going on the woman in the pew in front of me was receiving a text message from her brother in-law, a reminder to hug her children tightly. Her brother in-law and sister in-law had just recently lost both of their children in 2 separate tragic accidents and were experiencing their first mother's days with out their young children. 

You see, mother's day just kind of sucks for me. I am filled with grief for those hurting people within my community, and as a hospital chaplain that ache is multiplied. I can't stop thinking of that poor mother who lost her infant daughter, who I held while she cried out to God to save her baby. I was the one that placed that baby in the body bag. I held the mother as she cried at the grave side.  

As we drove the kids to the park today we passed a cemetary in which a young man was placing flowers on a grave. I can only imagine why he was there and what he was doing.

As I look at people's Facebook posts of Mothers Day I feel the urge to type my own little ode to my children and to post a sweet picture of us. But then again, I don't. As I mentioned above, everyday is a Mother's day celebration for me. And I encourage every day to be a mother's day celebration for you.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Life is only as dull as you allow it to be.

I tend to wonder into bizarre situations. My life is full of them. Like the time I was standing in line at the grocery store and the lady behind me, impressed at how organized the little Amish woman in front of me was, yells out to her, "WOW, you are so organized. Man, look at me, I am the definition of a cluster F***" 

Like all good stories start . . . . So there I was, sitting in the library, in a small study carrel, putting the final touches on an essay, when a face appeared on my screen. The face was a bit blurry but I could tell that someone was standing behind me. I kept typing. The face got closer and clearer. The person standing behind me was looking over my shoulder. She was looking at what I was typing. I slowly turned around. Her face was in my face. Startled, she apologized and then pointed to the folder beside my computer. 
At this point in the story I should describe this women. She is most likely in her 70's, is wearing a long flowing hippie type bright blue skirt and a brown tank top. Around her neck hangs a wooden cross on wooden beads and she has on a boat hat with several pins displayed on it and Kenya written in big letter across the top.
Okay, back to the story. The woman points to my folder, which is a Beatles folder and begins to tell me about the first time she saw The Beatles on the Television. While she is telling me this story she is grabbing her skirt and twirling around and acting like the teen version of herself. 
Now keep in my we are in the middle of the library during finals week. It is jam packed with students . . . trying to study.  
I smiled at the woman and laughed along with her. She was rather hilarious and I enjoy spunky people!  Then I went back to typing my essay and she went back to her study carrel, which was right beside mine.
When I finished up the essay I was typing and started packing up my things, my curiosity got the best of me. When the lady was telling me about seeing The Beatles on television for the first time she mentioned one of the oldest dorms on campus. I was curious about whether or not she was a graduate of Georgetown College. So I asked her! She said she was, which lead to my next question, "What are you doing here?" She was clearly working on something.   She then says something so strange that I just had to ask more. "I'm here to leave my legacy!"  
I know what you are thinking, "Jessica, stop, just stop and RUN."   But that is not in my nature, I lean into flamboyant people.  "So, what exactly is your legacy?" I ask her.  She then goes into this long speech about how she is a world traveler and how she is a missionary of John the Baptist and  the longer she talks the more convinced I am that she is a freakin' nut job.  
Now, keep in mind, we are IN THE LIBRARY.  Before I am able to sneak away she grabs me by the arm and offers a prayer over me, a prayer in which she LOUDLY declares God to send me visions.
Once again, keep in mind that we are IN THE LIBRARY during FINALS WEEK.      
The lady was sweet in a crazy way. And YES, I do feel a little bad calling her crazy. 
But I kinda think she is a little off her rocker. But maybe I am just bad at reading people. (i doubt it)
The moral of this story is this.  Embrace the bizarre situations that you find yourself in, don't wish them away, lean into them. They make for great stories later.  Life is only as dull as you allow it to be.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Adventure Continues

I typed this blog last Monday afternoon (4/20/15) while at Anna's gymnastic practice:

Roger and I are neck deep in the whole parenting adventure. 

I thought we were neck deep in the parenting adventure when we had two toddlers and got annoyed when I would hear “it only gets harder” from those who had children that were older than ours. 

But now I should apologize to the people that I rolled my eyes at. 

It DOES get harder.

 Or maybe it is just hard in a different, more emotional way. 

To be fair, my body doesn't ache at night like it used to when I was chasing toddlers through the house and it is only every other night that I am up with a screaming child. 

 I will say that the elementary school years have been more emotional than I expected. On a daily bases I am screamed at and told that I am a horrible person by the same two little humans who then turn around and tell me I am the “best mom EVER.” And can you believe that in 1st grade the girl drama has already started?

This morning my alarm didn't go off at 5am like it was suppose to. 
(Or maybe it did go off and I just didn't hear it.) 
 I had intended on getting up early enough to make some final touches on a presentation that I was to give in my 9am class. 

That didn't happen. 

Instead, Rog got the kids up and going while I showered and then, bless his heart, ran to print off my papers while I finished getting dressed and the kids to the bus. The bus driver chuckled when all three of us (the kids and I) walked out the front door with our backpacks on. I'm sure we were a sight, me with my wet hair, Anna with her jacket half on.

It was a miracle I made it to class only 15min late

This afternoon I have skipped class so Roger can lecture in an evening class at the seminary. 
 Since I was driving from Georgetown as he was driving to Georgetown, we met in Midway for lunch. 

Hi husband!      Bye Husband! 

You gotta be super sneaky and creative when you are neck deep in parenting or you will NEVER see each other. I mean, you will SEE each other, but you will not SEE each other. You'll just be space cadets staring at a wall. 

When I got back home at 3pm I got the kids off the bus, Anna to gymnastics and while she practiced I helped Paul with his homework. I'm a tad bit EXCITED that his soccer practice was canceled because of rain. Normally he has practice right after Anna.

 I'm trying to pump myself up about making dinner, cleaning up after dinner, getting kids bathed, and to bed, but boy oh boy am I tired. I. AM. TIRED.   

I find solace in knowing that other parents have days that they too are clinging to sanity by their finger nails, no matter the age of their children. 


Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring Break

I might have missed my calling. I mean, I might need to get a job in manual labor. I totally just pulled a chest of drawers up the stairs in order to do SOMETHING other than type or read. And that's not the only thing I've been tugging up and down the stairs these last 3 days.

I am so stinking tired of reading. I am so stinking tired of typing.


I'm typing now. 


I feel as if I have senioritis, except I am not a senior. I still have AT LEAST a year left of grad school. 



I can't believe I just typed that.

 I remember when I was so eager to do homework, to read, to research, to type pages and pages and pages and pages that only my professor would EVER read.    I think I have written a book.  Yep. I'm pretty sure of that.

Tonight when the kids go to bed I SHOULD work on my midterms, in like TYPE a billion essays. But no, that's not what I plan on doing. You know what I am going to do? I'm going to PAINT. Yep. PAINT. As in paint a room.  Anna has moved her room, (I have moved her room) so now my office is her old room, which is PINK.  Yeah. Ummmm. I can't do pink.   I'm going to go with a bluish grey. The color says, "hey, I am serious, but not TOO serious."

To tell you the truth, I WAS going to work on my essays today while the kids were in school, but mr Paul got up at 4:30am sick. He's been chilling on the couch all day so technically I could have gotten some typing completed. But honestly, I can't use my brain at home. NO WAY.  I need to go somewhere to type serious scholarly midterm level stuff. I had planned on doing a town study hop, but that is a no can do with a sick kid at home. Thus the reason why I am SOOOOOO EXCITED about going to Home Depot tonight for paint supplies.  I GET TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!     I get to do what I WANT TO DO. 

I promise tomorrow I will be a better student. I hope.  


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Spring Break: Grad School Edition

Spring Break for Seminary is next week. I was planning on taking that week to dig through the piles of toys and clothes that the kids have scattered throughout the house and toss them.  But no. 

 I have 2 take home midterms, full of LONG essays, I'm talking 5 pages per question, to complete. I have an online lecture to watch and an extra article to read and research to do. On TOP of the normal class reading and research that must be completed by the Monday following Spring Break.

Can someone please tell me what the purpose of a spring break in Grad School is?  Because it is obviously not for a break.  "Hey, you're not coming into class so you will have an extra 17 hrs in your week"   How kind of my professors to make sure those hours of freedom are filled for me. I wouldn't want to get bored.  I mean, seriously, being married to a minister, raising 2 children, and working a part time job while going to grad school can REALLY be boring.  I'm tellin' you. I am beyond thankful for their thoughtfullness.

Okay.  Vent over.  I must get back to typing. I gotta get all this "normal" class work done before the spring break fun begins.

Good thing I turned down those Panama City tickets.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Voice of Grief: Two Years Later

Sunday night, while searching old documents on my laptop, I came across a folder that read "journal." Sometime in 2013 I decided that keeping a paper journal was no longer the thing to do and began typing my entries. In the end I went back to the old fashioned pen and notebook, forgetting the 3 months worth of entries.

Yesterday, Feb 23rd, was the 2nd anniversary of what is known in our family as "the tragedy." The day that 19year old Kody accidentally shot and killed his older brother Kyle, then in shock and sadness turned the shot gun on himself.

Sunday night while reading through the 3 months of journal entries, I came across this, one of the nightmares that I had shortly after the deaths.

Journal entry from 2013:
              Last night I had an awful dream about Kyle and Kody. I was at their funeral and kyle, in the coffin, had blood seeping from his eye. He then got up out of the coffin, took a seat beside me, and began asking questions.

What happened?
Where am I?
How is Mawmaw?

               In the dream I couldn't take it any more so I ran out of the funeral home. But wherever I went I was met with a TV that was playing the funeral. I woke up in a cold sweat and had Roger turn the lights on. I sat up in bed praying until I was comfortable enough to go back to sleep.

A few weeks after the tragedy Roger was working a shift as the on-call chaplain at the local hospital and was asked to come in because of a deadly wreck on 65. A family of four on their way home from vacation had been involved in a fiery crash. The parents were burned alive. The small children were the only survivors. When Roger arrived in the trauma room the nurses were prepping the kids to be flown to the university hospital. Roger prayed with the children, listened to their concerns, and helped explain what was going on. He told me of his heart break when the little boy asked prayer for his parents. Being that the boy was not yet in stable condition that information had been withheld from him. Roger, taking the little boys hand, lead them in prayer, knowing that the parents had not even made it to the hospital.

That story sticks with me because it helped bring me out of the "poor me" funk. When bad stuff happens loneliness sets in. We begin to feel that we must be the only people in the entire world to feel loss and heartbreak. Though our loss is unique to us, it is not unique to experience loss.  To be willing to love is to be willing to experience loss.

I do not think God took Kyle and Kody to teach our family a lesson, or test us, or punish us.  The God of my understanding doesn't do stuff like that. We humans have free will. Things just happen. Sometimes bad decisions are made and people get hurt . . . even killed. For me, the beauty of being a Christian is not that bad stuff doesn't happen to us, but that we are given the ability to see goodness even in the midst of despair. We have these things called church communities that consist of people willing to weep with us, pray with us, listen to our doubts and anger, and guide us through the rough terrain of grief. We have scripture to encourage us, as well as give voice to our pain. 

Though it might not be immediate, eventually the fog will lift, the face of God will be visible again, and we will learn that He was there all along, holding our hand through the tender care of others. 

In the hours, weeks, and months after the tragedy I feared another one would follow. How does father, a mother, a brother, a friend, an aunt, an uncle, a cousin, a grandparent, go on living after such a death? We all make choices in life. We can choose to stay stuck in the "poor me" rut, or we can choose to face grief head on. My family chose to face grief head on.

It is now two years later and we are still grieving, some of us more than others. Grief never goes away. We just learn to face it. Some days it knocks us down. Other days we knock it down. But it is always there.

 Keith, Kyle's twin and Kody's other brother,  has since gotten married to his high school sweet heart. He and his wife Lacey are expecting a little girl in June.

My brother, Jacob, and his wife Shannon are expecting a little girl this summer too!   I'm going to be an AUNT!!!!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Anna gets her ears pierced

I have bizarre parenting techniques . . . according to my mother. 

Today I took Anna (age 6) to get her ears pierced. 

My philosophy on the whole ear piercing thing is that I wanted her to make her own decision about it.  
I guess that is where my mother thinks my parenting is a bit bizarre.  

You see, my Mother  did not allow me to make that decision, nor the decision when to shave my legs. While all my friends were reaching the ear piercing milestone and the shave your legs milestone, I was stuck behind. It didn't feel so good. I would occasionally sneak to shave my legs, and yes, I ended up piercing my own ears. I was one determined little chick. I am sure it was rough to raise such a strong headed little girl. But I like to think that today, as a 30yr, I have channeled that stubbornness into a healthy assertiveness.    (I also ripped my braces off with needle-nose-pliers. But that is another story for another time.)

For Anna, I wanted to take the opportunity to teach her about making informed decisions. She, like me, is quite assertive.  

"Mom, will it hurt?"  

"How bad?" 

"What do they do?" 
They punch a hole in your ear with a gun. 

Yes, you are allowing them to punch some of your skin out.  

"umm. okay. Never mind. I don't think I am old enough."
alright, well let me know when you are.

For the past 2years now Anna has been back and forth about whether or not to partake in this female tribal tradition. Over these 2 years I have helped teach her how one goes about getting information in order to aid in the decision making. We have interviewed friends, watched youtube videos, googled ear piercing websites,  and discussed mother to daughter about the pros and cons of piercing. We have also researched how long the earrings must remain in and the work it takes to keep the earlobe from getting infected. 

So, when she said this past weekend that it was time, we set a date.

We both decided that Friday would be a good day so that she would have the weekend with them before heading back to school. 
She also decided, since she knew she would be a bit nervous, to take her special blanket with her for the piercing. 

her little neighborhood friend gives her a thumb up but still doesn't know why someone would get a hole in their ear

She did wonderful!  And the girl is so proud of herself for following through with the first big decision she has ever made.

When Anna called her Granny I could tell that Granny was not pleased. To help ease things with my Mother I expressed my desire to get a tattoo . . . on my FACE.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Overflowing With Personality: Our Daughter Anna

Anna, at the age of 6 1/2, is a character.  

Currently her favorite show is Good Luck Charlie. The main character in the show has a video diary that the  show is created around. 

One particular evening Anna decided that she too wanted to make a video diary. She asked me to curl her hair like the main character's and I agreed to film her. However, in her video diary she just made a bunch of stuff up. So no, I do not walk around the house drinking soda and eating popcorn, and Paul does not watch TV like crazy.

I asked her permission to post this video on my blog and she said yes. That is a BIG deal for her because  she is typically a private child. 

Because I like to encourage my children to do what they are passionate about, I asked her if she would be interested in trying out for the local play of Rapunzel.  Her response?  "But mommy, I don't like doing things in front of people. I'm too shy."

Fair enough.

So, for now, I will enjoy the mini glimpses of her performances that I eye as I walk through the house.   

Though she sometimes allows me to sit down and watch her "show," most of the time she becomes embarrassed when she sees anyone watching her.

It is such a treat to watch this little person's personality blossom.

Paul's Exercise Video

Last night I taught Paul how to do a plank. I told him that it works all the muscles in the body. 

I guess I might have exaggerated with the ALL statement.  

He promptly informed me that it did not work your eye lid muscles and would not put that to rest.

I sent a text to some friends about this child's need to always be right. One friend sent back that he should move his tongue in and out because the planks do not work the tongue muscle. Another friend sent back that he should breathe in and out through his nose while doing planks in order to work his nose muscles. 

Well, Paul being Paul, he did just that.  

Another friend sent message that she would need a video of Paul doing said exercise. 

Paul was more than willing to shoot a video showing how he can infact work every single muscle in his body at the SAME time.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Living Fully In The Moment

“Time is a relentless river. It rages on, a respecter of no one.
And this, this is the only way to slow time: Fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all your attention, you slow the torrent with the weight of being all here." - Ann Voskamp


Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: Our Year in Pictures

This  past year (2014) I was intentional about keeping our photos in order. Because of that, when New Years Eve came around I had an easier time of reflecting on our past year. Boy was it a year. I didn't realize all the stuff that we had done until I looked over all the photos.



New Years Eve of 2013 was spent with our friends Colt and Ashley in South Carolina.  We stopped to stay the night at their house on our way to North Caroline.  

We spent the first week of 2014 at a beach house with Roger's Family.

While in North Carolina we took the kids to see the Medieval Times Dinner Theater


In February a  big snow storm came rolling through which caused the kids to miss an entire week of school. We had the neighborhood kids over for smoothies and dance parties.


In March my mom came up to spend the day with us and Anna got her first (and only this far) manicure.

Layla (Roger's sister) also came up in march for a visit and we went exploring in the woods because the weather was unusually warm.


In April a Jasper Family meeting was called to order. My mother-in-law Scarlette had been accepted as a CBF Missionary and needed help brainstorming for the upcoming year.

We also had more warm weather and took advantage of it by going to the Zoo with friends.


May was an incredible month. I turned 30!  My cardiology team celebrated this milestone with me at the clinic. 

In May Roger and I also celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We celebrated this 1st decade by spending a week alone in the Big Apple . . .  New York City.

my favorite spot in NYC

the house we stayed at on 19th street

We attended our 1st Broadway Musical. Wicked


In June our youngest, Anna Catherine, graduated from Kindergarten.

We traveled to Georgia to watch Roger's mother, Scarlette,  commissioned as CBF Field Personnel.

And took part in the wedding ceremony of our dear friends Kelsey and Tyler

Roger trying his best to direct the rehearsal in the rain.


In July we took Paul and Anna to the Frazier History Museum. Paul was insanely excited to see all the armor.

We also spend many lazy summer days with friends and around the house in our own wonderland of a backyard.

In July we also said "goodbye for now" to Roger's sister Layla and her husband Aaron. Shortly after this picture they got on an airplane for Micronesia. They are currently teaching High School there.


In August our friends Colt and Ashley, who we visited at the first of the year in South Carolina, came back to Kentucky to get married. Roger was asked to officiate the beautiful wedding. 

Anna started gymnastics for the first time.  Which, it turns out, she is awesome at!

And the kids started 3rd and 1st grade. Can you tell little Paul is not excited about summer being over?  Can you tell that I am totally ready for a break from parenting all day long?


 In September Paul started back his soccer season.

In July Paul turned 9 but we were unable to have a big party for him until September. He requested a Scottish themed party. My friend Rachel made him a bagpipe cake and my father in law brought his DJ equipment out to pump Scottish music into our backyard.

We also took mini getaways into Louisville for ice cream and cake at the Pie Kitchen.


In October Roger, the kids, and I traveled to Pennsylvania where we stayed in a condo in the Pocono Mountains.

Days were spent sipping coffee, playing in the backyard and hiking down the Delaware.


 Because we were so close to New York City we opted to take the kids there for a day trip. 
traveling to see Lady Liberty

Exploring Ellis Island

People watching in Time Square
At the end of October we celebrated Halloween back in Kentucky with our neighbors. Our street REALLY gets into Halloween which makes it fun for all ages.



November was a crazy month. I was trying to finish out my semester strong and the kids were getting very much ready for winter break.The long nights of homework, followed by the hours spent working in the ER, as well as the hours spent traveling on the road (6hrs a week), were wearing me down. But we tried to take breaks when we could and spend as much time together as possible.


We were out to dinner and Anna convinced us that we NEEDED to take a carriage ride.

Took time to visit my grandma Beaulah in Northern Kentucky.


Like for most people, December for us is a bit busy, but not nearly as the previous month. However, I should not speak for Roger. Pastors always have a rough December. Any and everything seems to take place during advent.

Christmas Dinner at the church
 While Roger was busy with his pastoral duties, the kids and I spent cold lazy days binge watching Christmas movies.

Oh, and sometime during the month of December Paul had to have tests run on his heart. This was just a precaustion because of my heart history. However, he was super excited to have his heart looked at and requested that I go with him and take photos. He told the nurse "you don't need to call a chaplain in for me. I already have one. My mom is a chaplain."   It is sweet to see my child proud of what I do.

This year Roger and I opted to celebrate Christmas with the kids on the morning of Christmas Eve. We had all day to lay around, open presents, laugh, sip coffee, and eat candy, before he had to head into work to prepare for the Christmas Eve service. Now that the kids are older it is important to me to start our own family traditions.

The simple kid got his magic tree house journal.

She begged for high heel leather boots and that is what she got.
New Years Eve was low key this year. Rog and I let the kids stay up late ( they barely made it to midnight), we munched on left over food, played board games and watched movies.  When the year rolled over to 2015 I stood on the front porch and blew this little horn that Anna had gotten from a friend. It embarrassed the kids which made me stand out there even longer and blow even harder.

We attempted to take a New Year selfie but Paul was still mad at me for standing on the front porch blowing a horn.   The poor dog is probably thinking 2015 is going to be another rough year for him.

 Happy 2015!!!