I Write Because…

I am an introvert and introverts by nature do a lot of deep thinking and observation. Sometimes Often, I need to process my thoughts in other ways than mulling them over in my head. Sometimes I talk about them, but since I am mostly a stay-at-home mom and my husband works from home, the only person I often have to talk to is him, and, I love him, but let’s be honest, sometimes he just can’t listen like I need him to and he certainly doesn’t have the capacity to always hear and understand my musings. So I have come to love to write as another way to process.  And sometimes I find that my writings resonate with others.  Sometimes others can identify with what I am thinking and feeling and that is rewarding.  Also, at times I gain a different perspective after I have written things out and it helps me to look at those thoughts in a new way.

So I write…to process these thoughts in my head and to connect with others and to gain a new perspective, or expand upon my original one.

Life Lessons From the Football Field

I’m a football mom. And a pretty proud one at that.

My 13 year old son is finishing up his 6th football season and in my years of being on the sidelines, I have observed that the football field is a fantastic place to learn some important life lessons.  There are many takeaways from the game that my son can carry throughout life – both onto future football fields and off into other areas of his life.

Takeaway #1: You have never won a game all by yourself and you have never lost a game all by yourself.  And you never will.  My husband has stressed this with our son this year.  He had the opportunity to score on several occasions, but he doesn’t let that go to his head. When he makes a mistake on the field, however, he is very hard on himself. But on the football field, you can’t do any of it alone.  Both the successes and the failures are the result of how the team works as a whole.  If each offensive player doesn’t understand and carry out his role on the field, the play will fail.  If each defensive player doesn’t fulfill the responsibilities of his position, the opposing team can very easily make big and fast gains.  You are only as strong as your weakest link.  This saying applies to so many areas of life – in any situation where there is more than one person working toward a goal.

Takeaway #2: The success and the demeanor of a team is a direct reflection of its leadership.  I believe this is one of the strongest lessons that my son has learned thus far.  If the coaches work together and stress teamwork and brotherhood, hard work and commitment, respect and dedication, the team will emulate those things.  If the coaching staff is divided and doesn’t teach respect or demonstrate how to respect others, and if the coaches don’t stress teamwork and brotherhood, it is directly reflected by the team as well.  My son will tell you: It is so much more enjoyable to go to practice and to play in games with the first group of coaches leading your team. It is so much more fun and rewarding to play with a team that has been encouraged and led to become brothers.  And I can tell you: this applies to all of life. It is so much more rewarding to work for, or to be in any type of relationship with, people who are encouraging, who demonstrate respect, who are willing to work together, who are equally dedicated to the project or relationship.

Takeaway #3: You can’t pick your coaches and you can’t pick your teammates, but you can pick what your attitude will be.  There will be seasons when you will have a difficult coach or a teammate who is hard to get along with, but how you handle it will speak volumes about your character.  If you show respect and patience, it will pay huge dividends in the end.  Others will see who you are in the attitude you portray and how you carry yourself in difficult situations.  If you get mad and throw a temper tantrum, it will be hard to overcome the negative reflection that has on your character.  If you show honor to others even when they aren’t honoring you, you can be sure that people won’t forget that either.  How do you want people to remember you?

I think it’s pretty obvious how this can be applied to every other area of life as well.

I love football.  I am so glad my son loves football.  I am so grateful that my son has had the opportunity to play for some coaches who have nurtured his love for football and who have helped him grow and develop through the game.  This will carry over throughout his football “career,” but more importantly it will carry over in some way into the rest of his life.

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Dear Pennsylvania,

I am writing to beg for your forgiveness.  I am sorry for not appreciating what we had together for so many years.  I am sorry that I wanted to leave you because I thought there were more exciting places out there to live.  (Well, I actually left you because God called us elsewhere for a season, but I wanted to leave you before then).  Oh, there are exciting places out there…and they are beautiful, lovely, fun to spend time with.  But there is no place I’d rather LIVE than with you.  And to be honest, it’s not really about you.  It’s about the people within your borders–MY people.  It’s also about the lifetime of memories I have with(in) you.  It’s also because you are breathtakingly beautiful. Your luscious, rolling green hills in the springtime, your brilliantly hued trees of the fall, and yes, even to some extent, the magical white of your winter (although, I’d gladly take one glimpse of this per year than 5 months of it, but I’ll try my best not to complain).  Yes, your seasons.  I’ve missed your seasons the past 2 years that I’ve been away and I can’t wait to get back to experience them with you again.  I had taken you for granted for so many years because you are all I’d ever known.

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I took you for granted so much that I can’t find any good pics of you in my photo albums…

But you need to know that you share part of my heart with someplace else now.  Nicaragua.  Some small roots had begun to grow there thanks to the beautiful people I met and fell in love with and the unique experiences I had. The saying is so very true.  Home is most certainly where your heart is.  But your heart can be in more than one place.  On earth, mine is in two places, with you and with Nica.

So I’m coming back to you soon! I’m coming back to be with my people and to make new memories.  But I’m coming back different.  I’m coming back knowing more about who I am after experiencing life in a new way and spending much focused time with Jesus.  I have a lot more to learn and I don’t want to get comfortable again, but I believe that for me, I function best with the support of my people, my community.  God can use me however He chooses, of course, but He created me as I am and He knew exactly what I needed.  He knew He needed to take me out of my “home” to experience some of the world, so I could be changed and come back to my “home” to share those experiences and that growth with my community.  I’m excited to be with you again!  I am excited to be with my people again!  I’m excited to share the future of my family and of Metanoia with you!  I’M COMING HOME!

Much love,

Jen

Who and What and Why

Our family has been through some change and lots of adventure over the last several years. Our current role is that of missionary family.  But we aren’t the “typical” missionary family you think of raising support, living in a third world country, preaching to the “natives.” Oh, we’ve done some of that.  We raised support to move to Nicaragua to work with Metanoia Missions International. We lived there for a year (June ’13-June ’14), and during that year we realized that our God-given gifts and skills were better utilized by the organization in the States where we can focus on the administrative and fund-raising aspects of our various ministries.  So we moved to Texas for a year, but that proved not to be the place where God wanted us long-term.  So, now we’re back home in PA again, picking up where we left off, with more life-experience and adventure under our collective belt.

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One of our favorite spots in Nicaragua

Our family is uniquely designed.  I have been married to Dave for 14 years and am stepmom to two children who are now adults…woah!  I am mom to two more children, Luke and Sydney. I’m also a mom-in-law and soon-to-be Mimi! Life is crazy…crazy good!

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Our growing family!

I have grown in ways that I never even knew I needed to grow in through the experiences of these past few years.  Many moments have been rough, challenging, and tantrum-inducing on occasion (me being the one throwing them). But I have learned so much about myself and some things about others and a lot about God and His love, mercy, and grace.  I want to share what I have learned to anyone who wants to listen, and if no one wants to listen, I at least want to record it so I can remember it with more clarity.  So here’s to my thoughts on life, for what they’re worth!