I will go before you

and will level the mountains;

I will break down gates of bronze

and cut through bars of iron.

3 I will give you hidden treasures,

riches stored in secret places,

so that you may know that I am the LORD,

the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
Isaiah 45:2-3

These days

Fun pictures with the two littles while the big boys are at school. Lot's of changes around here, but good change.

We are decorating for Halloween today- more to come soon.

xo Jolene

Love Remains

Note on this mornings coffee. Through the ashes of destruction; Love remains.

Wear Forgiveness Like a Crown

Not doing great this week. Choosing daily to accept forgiveness. Trying my hardest to please an audience of one and look past the pain of lost friendships to see hope.

 "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord who has compassion upon you." Isaiah 54:10


I am working on unpacking our new home, it's bringing so much emotion to the surface, but giving me a good focus as well. Lot's of memories in these boxes. Good memories.

Rebuilding slowly.

Do you remember the picture wall we finally acomplished at our old house? You know, the one we put up about two weeks before we had to move? Ya, that one. Well, now it's going back up. Aaron doesn't know yet that any and all of our spare time in the evenings will be devoted to this until it's done. ;)

Chicken stock has been bubbling away on the stove. The smell reminds me of fall. Of laughter around the dinner table. Of a big, healing hug. Of nourishing my family with goodness. It reminds me of who I used  to be. I want to get back there.

Who knew chicken soup really is good for the soul?

Pictures of home projects tomorrow.

xo, Jo


We have had company since Thursday; two different families of dear friends, reminding us of what our normal used to be. Reminding me how to laugh, how to seek, how to have joy. Lot's of 'remember whens.'

Everyone has left now and I'm already forgetting. These feelings; the pain, the heartache, the shame. All back. And all too familiar.

These past days, I felt like I was watching an old home movie of happy and functioning me. I felt hopeful. I smiled. Now the movie is over. The credits have passed and I'm back to facing this dark empty screen by myself wondering how to rewind.

I think...I know that is my problem. I'm just stuck. I need to move forward and don't know how. I'm not who I used to be.

It's an odd feeling being around strangers right now. Going to the grocery store. Getting gas. Teaching classes. Getting a coffee.

I feel like I should have some huge life threatening gash or hemorrhage...something that reflects how I'm feeling inside.

That is the beauty and nightmare of emotional pain. It hurts so badly you feel like you should be on life support. Then, when you want to be anonymous, you can slip on a pair of sunglasses, walk with purpose....and be normal. Happy.

All while being quite the opposite.

I'm back to the simple basics. Reading scripture one verse at a time. Praying that God would teach me to pray again. In some ways meeting God for the first time. Getting to see pieces of His heart I never knew about. Discipline is hard to learn.

As I read back over my posts I think 'Man, what a downer, this isn't fun to read.' I hope I can get back to the beauty, joy, laughter, love and light that God has designed me to be filled with. There are little reminders of this in each day.

Reminders from last week:

(from my phone for now, I have more from my camera)

Naps with an Angel

This little sweetness makes me smile. Little moments like this remind me of hope.

xo, Jo


Feeling so broken. Alone. Ashamed. The pain is so physically real that my heart hurts and I can't breathe.

A friend asked me last night 'What is holding you back from giving all of you to God?' My answer was 'I'm not worthy. I don't deserve it.'

She said 'You're right, you don't deserve it. None of us do. And what a perfect time to give yourself to Him. Know Him. Draw close to Him. Study His word.'

God knew what my life would be, the choices I would make, the ways I would suffer, the ways I would hurt others, the things that would bring me joy.

He knew the moment I would turn my back on him and the day that I would come crawling back with my head hung in shame.

He knew it all. And still gave me life. Still died for my sins. All of them.

So where do I start? How do I rebuild? How to I pick up the pieces of this wreckage? And when will this pain stop?

I don't know how to follow anymore.

I could sit and stare for hours right now while my mind replays and remembers. I did this.

There is an empty piece of land here that overlooks the city. No one knows where it is. That's what I tell myself anyway. I've been going there to sit in the quiet.

To breathe. To cry. To be angry. Just to be. The silence is so loud sometimes. I think it's good.

Distraction masks these thoughts and feelings and the silence forces me to face them.

'In repentance and rest you shall be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.'
Isaiah 30:15

xo, Jo

River Time

Some close friends from our old home made the drive down to see us. They have four lovely kiddos the same ages as ours- such a welcomed distraction right now. I told them my mind is too foggy to make decisions right now, so my girlfriend is taking that on and planning the day.

Today we are going down the river. So much peace on the water.

Two mamas, 8 kiddos...yes 8, all under 10...did I just say peace?

I'm bringing my camera, putting on my river girl shoes and swimming suit and am determined to smile today.. even with this weight and ache that makes me want to crawl into a dark hole. Sunshine and light instead.


Pictures later.

xo, Jo


Have you heard this song? I'm clinging to it right now. I hear the words and want so desperately to believe them. Most of me does. Part of me doesn't want to.

Grace can be painful to recieve.

I am feeling so weak these days. My heart is aching. I'm trying desperately to distract my mind from the pain, but nothing works for long. It comes in waves...about every few minutes.

I know my words are confusing. You're probably wondering what's up. Maybe one day I'll get there and share with you all. For now, I need this space to process. Bear with me.

I took some pictures today, I'll add them tonight.

xo, Jo

Finding me

I'm slowly starting to come back around. I feel like I'm stuck in the aftermath of a tornado.

Standing in the wreckage. Wanting to rebuild and not a clue of where to start.

I am starting here.

Choosing to focus on the my beautiful babies. On my marriage. On my neglected love for God.

Writing and photography has always been an outlet for me. A way to get these thoughts, dreams, fears and questions out. To focus on beauty and hope.

I've brushed the dust off of this camera and my typing fingers are ready. Little glimpses of me are starting to appear.

More to come tomorrow.

xo, Jo

{Easter} 2011

Our celebration of our glorious savior- all in pictures.

It has been two months since I last posted on my little much time, and still no sense of normal in our new town. We are staying with my in laws as we continue to find our home; praying and trudging along, knowing God has the perfect place and trying our hardest to practice patience. He has brought some beautiful souls into our lives and our little family continues to strengthen on this journey together.

So much to be thankful for in the midst of new and unfamiliar experiences. More updates and pictures to come. Love and hugs to all. xo

Life on the farm

We have really enjoyed being so close to family since our move. A few times a week we visit the farm and Nana and Papa, help with chores, collect eggs, hide in the barn, and enjoy the wide open spaces. Enjoying the simplicity of each day is what it's all about. xo

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Two brothers; chatting about the weather. Love it. :-)
Happy Friday!

A day in the life...

We soaked up the sun...
Found some airplanes...
Learned lessons on safety...
Learned about gravity...
Had lots of PE time...
Enjoyed the beauty all around us...
Really...lots of energy to burn...
All in a day of homeschooling. Learning lessons all around us. Of course we had some math, reading, writing and Bible mixed in, but some of our greatest homeschool days are exploring the world around us.

Just another day in paradise...xo

Anna Banana

My sweet girl is 4, I can hardly believe it. What an amazing soul she is; thoughtful, observant, sensitive, caring, and hilariously funny. I am so thankful for my one precious girl, what a gift from God she is. xo

Exciting things...

Exciting things are happening around here, my business is starting to take off! I just got this (among others) photo back from an amazing photographer at House of James. I am taking this new adventure one day at a time and letting the Lord's SO fun. :-)

I'm trying to finish up some projects for Anna's birthday on Wednesday. Two days until my girl is 4..oh my!

Is anyone sick of seeing cupcakes yet?? ;-)

Fresh this morning...

I won't always be posting pictures of cupcakes, but I had to share this one with you. The smells in my house this morning are too good not to share. This is Cocah- Coconut cake, filled with coconut cream, topped with coconut buttercream and coconut shavings. If you close your eyes and take a bite, you almost feel like you are on a Hawaiian vacation...minus the sand in uncomfortable places..ah hem.

Happy Tuesday friends!

Projects and Preperations

Next week, my girl will be 4! I can't believe it. I know it's so cliche to say 'my how the time goes' but it really does. It feels like just yesterday I was holding her sticky, chubby little hands while she learned to take her first steps.

Anna wants a kitty cat birthday this year, kitten decorated cupcakes and all.

I love Soule Mama and her fabulous creativity. Some projects I have taken from her books and have going right now are:

A (shabby chic) birthday banner, a birthday crown, and a pretty tablecloth for the party. Because of copyright, I can't post the images, but go to the links and check them out; SO cute!

I'm also working on some projects for my new business, Cocoa. I can't wait to share the new site with you when it's ready. I am making some pretty tablecloths and ruffly borders for the market stand. I love these fabrics by Amy Butler:

I'll start sharing my progress and the many tiny hands that like helping along the way. :)

What are you working on around your home?

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
My first cupcake order went out today; new business up and running soon. Details to come! Happy weekend friends!


Today we enjoyed a beautiful hike with my dear childhood friend Julia. It was stunning out! Not a cloud in the sky, gorgeous views as far as the eye could see, and lovely company. The kids did great, it was a very steep hike, and they kept right along. Tyler did lay in the middle of the trail a few times. haha I packed Aiden on my back and he still managed to grab a few sticks to swing around. So much to explore! Gods glorious creation! Breathtaking! Top of the mountain! And this lovely is growing quickly before my eyes. She will be four in less than two weeks.
We are still adjusting in this new place, but God is teaching us daily that He is our home and comfort. And with each day brings more goodness, beauty and surprises. xo