I’m Moving!

No, I’m not physically moving, but my blog is changing locations online, moving to self-hosted WordPress.org. WordPress.org will give me more flexibility, and The 2:1 Conference sponsor New Blog Hosting has offered me a deal I can’t refuse, so I’m taking the plunge!

What this means for you:

Overall, not much. My custom design is moving with me, so the blog won’t look like anything has changed. The URL will stay the same too: jenniferajanes.com .

But I can’t take my e-mail subscribers with me, so I need for you to re-subscribe using the new e-mail subscription service when the move is complete.

Thank you for traveling with me. I’ll let you know when the transfer is finished and you need to re-subscribe. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for updates!

Photo credit: www.freeclipartnow.com
Posted in Life, Writing | 2 Comments

Spring, Easter, and Gardens

It has been a rough day. I have felt physically ill because I spent much of the day focused on circumstances instead of on the Changer of circumstances. I have finally shifted my focus. I’m more at peace, and I’m trusting in His goodness and love again. As I was preparing to write this post to share some pictures and fun things we’ve done, a verse came to mind:

Therefore my heart is glad 
and my spirit rejoices; 
my body also rests securely.

Psalm 16:9 (HCSB)

I looked up the entire chapter because I wanted to see why my heart can be glad and my spirit rejoice, why my body can rest secure. It’s a beautiful Psalm, and it brought even more peace to my heart. I highly recommend that you read the entire chapter.

I have so many things I’m thankful for today, and lots of wonderful pictures to share!

#1296. the beautiful weather on Saturday that made our family celebration of Easter an outdoor event.

#1297. all the fun we had with sidewalk chalk,






#1298. bubbles,

#1299. cheap plastic frisbees,

Used as a frisbee

Used as a bat with a plastic egg as a "ball"

#1300. and empty plastic eggs.

#1301. recent rains that have significantly eased the drought conditions.

#1302. enough “drying out” that we can plant the garden.

#1303. lots of time to work on vitamin D production.

#1304. Princess Roo’s love of critters,

#1305. and her ability to calmly remove herself temporarily from social situations when she gets tired and overwhelmed.

#1306. beautiful dresses to wear to church on Easter Sunday,

#1307. and the ability to enjoy yourself in them!

#1308. precious memories to cherish.

#1309. family and friends who make our lives richer.

#1310. the cross and empty tomb, which give meaning to it all.

What gifts of spring are you celebrating this week?

Photo credit: Jennifer A. Janes
Posted in Faith, Family, Fun, Gratitude, Life, Multitudes on Monday, One Thousand Gifts | 8 Comments

Hope for the Dark Days

To those of you whose lives are shrouded in deep darkness today, whose world has been shattered by an earthquake of a circumstance,

God loves you. Long ago He laid it all on the line and gave Himself up for you so that you could be eternally united with Him. He is still in the business of performing miracles, bringing prodigals home, turning circumstances around, and bringing Hope into situations where despair and desperation have set up camp.

On that long ago day, it was dark, an earthquake rocked them, the veil at the temple tore in two. Jesus died a horrible death, bearing all the world’s sins, past, present and future. Where’s the hope in that?

The Hope is in Sunday. Never forget that your Sunday is on the way!

He is risen! Happy Easter!

Photo credit: hoyasmeg | James Emory on Flickr
Posted in Faith, Life, Prayer | 4 Comments

In the Midst of the Storm

Mustard Seeds

I don’t like storms, but I find myself in the middle of one again. This time it’s an actual, physical storm rather than a storm where my faith is being tested, my emotions are in turmoil, and our resources are being pushed to the limits. This is not how I wanted this post to be, but I’m typing furiously, trying to beat the storm before we completely shut down all electronics.

I know many of you are in the midst of storms. They may be physical ones like the one we’re going through tonight, possibly even part of the same storm system we’re going to be riding out. You may be in the midst of a storm regarding your job situation, finances, health, or even your faith.

Whatever the storm you’re going through, know that Jesus is in it with you. He is faithful, and He will see you through.

As we prepare our hallway for the possibility that we’ll need to take cover tonight, I remember the incident recorded in Matthew 8:23-27 (HCSB):

 “As He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves. But He was sleeping. So the disciples came and woke Him up, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to die!’

  But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, you of little faith?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm.

  The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this?—even the winds and the sea obey Him!'”

I am praying for you and will continue to do so, and I write that even knowing what I’m about to write, which is . . . After prayer and deliberation, Rebecca and I feel that Mustard Seed Planting link-ups have run their course. This will be the last one, although we hope you know that we’ll continue planting Seeds around the web. If you would like to continue with a weekly Seed post, please join one (or more) of these wonderful groups:

But today, one more time, please share the verses God is using to touch your life through His Word by linking up or leaving a comment here or at Mom’s Mustard Seeds. I’m looking forward to reading your posts!

Posted in Faith, Friends, Growth, Prayer, Scripture Memory | 12 Comments

A Bump on the Head, But Blessed

Thunderstorms and high winds came through our area this afternoon. Just before the storm hit, I heard something hit our roof. I looked outside. It wasn’t raining yet and there was no thunder or lightning, so I went out to see what it was. I underestimated the wind, because I was almost to the front porch when another limb fell and hit me in the head, leaving a big bump there and a scrape on my neck. It was an exciting afternoon, but not the kind of excitement I prefer. The incident reminded me again of how much I have to be thankful for:

#1286. not losing consciousness or having a serious injury from that knock to the head by this limb.

#1287. the kids stayed inside and were safe while I ran outside to check on the roof.

#1288. lessons learned (wait ’til you’re sure the storm has passed to check for damage).

#1289. safety during the deluge the wind blew in.

#1290. the privilege of speaking at a curriculum resources class at the local community college (and leaving them with a great impression of homeschooling families, I hope!).

#1291. the great companies I get to work with as I review their products.

#1292. family members who care about me and offer to get out in the thunderstorm to take me to the hospital. (I didn’t go.)

#1293. more rain! (We’re planting our garden on Friday!)

#1294. ibuprofen and caffeine to take the edge off my headache so I could do my presentation tonight.

#1295. readers who are kind enough to read my gratitude list even when it jumps back and forth among subjects because I’m tired and this knot on my head really hurts! Thank you!

What blessings did you see around you today?

Photo credit: Jennifer A. Janes
Posted in Family, Gratitude, Multitudes on Monday, One Thousand Gifts | 18 Comments

Always Icecream Update AND Fabulous Membership Deal!

You may remember my review of Always Icecream not long ago, and my post about Always Icecream/Clever Dragons agreeing to sponsor me for The 2:1 Conference. (If not, you need to click through those links and read them!)

Anyway, the girls are still using Always Icecream daily, and I’m still just as excited about it as I was then. BookGirl is going full force on the geography games. She has learned all fifty states and is now working on the countries of Europe and Asia. She is playing other games too and is having a great time and doing LOTS of learning at the same time.

Princess Roo is still plugging along, enjoying the learning games they have put on there for younger learners. I have been able to use these games to nudge her forward in her understanding of language arts and have discovered that her decoding skills are improving rapidly. She really enjoys the educational videos too and is determined to learn how to type!

I just received word that the “swag” Always Icecream / Clever Dragons is sending with me to 2:1 is a code that will give the user a great deal on membership to the sites. I can’t wait to share it with you after 2:1!

In the meantime, this exciting deal rolled out today and is only available for a limited time: the introductory special for a family lifetime membership is only $149 for a family of four children! (If you have more than four children, please contact the company so they can  help you with adding extra children.) This membership is good on both Always Icecream and Clever Dragons, so you pay one low price and assign your children to the right site!

If you haven’t checked out these sites before now, do it today!

Note: I received a free lifetime membership for one of my children in exchange for my honest review. (See link.) All opinions expressed are my own. I received no further compensation for my review. I am purchasing a membership for my other child. AIC/CD has agreed to sponsor part of my travel expenses to The 2:1 Conference in exchange for promotion at the conference. I continue to use the site and share information about these products because my family enjoys them and I’m seeing great benefits to my children’s education from them.
Posted in Review | Leave a comment

Labels Have a Place

I have spent the past six years of my life searching for answers for my daughter. I admit that I have sought labels, diagnoses—because I want to know what’s going on and how to help my daughter reach her full potential physically, emotionally, and mentally. I have found some answers. I have shared them occasionally but have mostly kept them to myself.

Why am I not more transparent? It’s not because I mind people knowing what we’re going through. It’s more because I don’t want to be known as “the mother of the child with ________.” More importantly, I don’t want my daughters to be known as “the kid with ________” and “the sister of the kid with _______.” It happens.

We are not defined by our own or our children’s disabilities. We are people who happen to have ______. I love to read, write, and spend time with my family. I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and friend. My older daughter is a book lover like me. She loves reading and enjoys studying science topics like animals and how the body works. She likes playing outside on the swing and making bracelets and necklaces out of clover. My younger daughter, the one who needs an extra measure of love and care, loves the colors pink and purple and beautiful things with lots of sparkles and glitter. She likes to watch, hold, and study bugs and animals. She makes up stories and draws wonderful pictures. We are unique individuals who are affected by these labels, but we are not the labels.

So, who do I share the information with, and when do I share? I tell all the medical professionals we work with. Every diagnosis we get is another piece of the puzzle we need to figure out exactly what’s going on. The consensus seems to be that we are dealing with an undiagnosed genetic disorder. It’s critical that each specialist we see knows what everyone else is saying so we can figure it out.

Other than in medical situations, my rule of thumb is that I expose the label when doing so will benefit my daughter. When it becomes necessary to ask for an extra measure of compassion and kindness or when she needs accommodations because a physical task is beyond her, that’s when I gently let the person know what’s going on and why she needs help. (I also share when seeking support for myself or my family or when offering encouragement to others.)

Most of the time, I think my daughter’s diagnoses should be like the tags on my clothing—hidden, not scratchy and irritating, and only brought out when necessary to read the directions for care.

How do you handle the issue of “labels” when dealing with a person with a disability?

Photo credit: Jennifer A. Janes
Posted in Family, Life, Reflections, Special Needs | 8 Comments

I’ve Got Nothing

The cookies at McAlister's are BIG!

The last several days have been exhausting. Last Thursday night, Princess Roo was up in the middle of the night with a stomach bug or GI issues. (I’m not sure which, but the result was the same.) Early Friday morning, DH left for the weekend to go to a business conference. The girls and I had a good weekend, but we missed DH. I don’t sleep as well when he’s gone, either, so I started this week tired. Yesterday we did lessons and made it to OT and dance lessons (mostly) on time.

Last night my product delivery was late, so I was up late preparing invoices and sorting orders. Today the girls and I completed our lessons and then headed out to spend the afternoon making deliveries. Now here it is, time to post a Mustard Seed Planting post. I’ve prayed since yesterday about what to put up, and I’ve got nothing.

Well, that’s not exactly true. Tonight as we read Exodus 6 as a family, I saw a phrase repeated several times that has stuck with me. Here’s one occurrence:

“I am the LORD.” verse 2 (NIV1984)

If I really know and understand that God is the LORD, Yahweh, Jehovah, I’ve got a lot more than nothing to write about.

The same God who delivered Moses and the Israelites from Pharaoh in Exodus is the One who has blessed me abundantly:

#1276. God gave me the strength to be up and down all night last Thursday, . . .

#1277. . . . and still take care of the girls by myself on Friday.

#1278. God protected the girls and me . . .

#1279. . . . and my husband . . .

#1280. . . . and brought us all together again on Sunday.

#1281. God blessed the “girls’ night out” my daughters and I had on Friday night with a meal at McAlister’s Deli and a fun movie when we got home.

#1282. God gave us a beautiful day to enjoy the park on Saturday afternoon, . . .

#1283. . . . and a great friend to spend time with Saturday evening while the girls played.

#1284. God gave us merry hearts as we laughed while Princess Roo tried to show us how to make a certain facial expression.

#1285. God lifted a burden that was weighing heavy on our hearts when we got a letter from the IRS in the mail with great news for us!

Please take a moment to share the verses God is using in your life by linking up at Mom’s Mustard Seeds or leaving a comment here or at Rebecca’s blog. I love reading your posts and find God using His Word to minister mightily to me—through you!

Mustard Seeds

Photo credit: Jennifer A. Janes
Posted in Faith, Family, Reflections, Scripture Memory, Special Needs | 6 Comments

Illusion by Frank Peretti {Review}

I began reading Frank Peretti books when the buzz was about This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. I don’t want to think about how many years that has been. (It might date me.) Since that time, I have read every Frank Peretti book that has come across my path. When I was offered the opportunity to review Illusion, I jumped at the chance. It has been a while since I’ve read a new Peretti release. I wasn’t disappointed.

Illusion begins in the worst of all possible places. Dane Collins and his wife Mandy have been in a car accident. Mandy’s injuries are severe, and she is declared dead. As an organ donor, she is immediately removed from the room so the transplant team can harvest any usable organs.

Dane is devastated. He and Mandy were inseparable. They had lived together, loved together, and worked together in a traveling magic act for four decades. He continues with their original plan of purchasing a ranch in Idaho and then begins the process of working through his grief and figuring out what comes next.

When he goes into town to shop, he sees a young woman doing a magic act. He gives her some pointers and realizes there’s something familiar about her. She very much reminds him of his wife as she was when they first met. But that’s impossible. Mandy is dead.

What follows is a tale that requires us to suspend disbelief as Dane attempts to discover whether this young woman is an illusion, a delusion, or something else entirely.

If you like the idea of being on a runaway train, never knowing what’s coming around the next bend, constantly surprised at the twists and turns the tracks make, you will love this book. I couldn’t put it down and am still agape over the ending. Be sure to pick up a copy of Illusion. It’s a thrill ride!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Illusion from Handlebar Marketing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I received no further compensation for this review.
Posted in Book Reviews, Review | 2 Comments

The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo {Review}

I have read through the Bible many times, and I find that it answers a lot of my questions—and leaves many more unanswered. Obviously, we’re not meant to know and understand everything, but I’d still like to know . . . where Daniel was on the day Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into that blazing hot furnace. He must have been away on business, or he would’ve been in there with them. Questions like that are definitely on my list of things to figure out when I get to heaven.

Apparently, Robert Liparulo thinks beyond the text when he reads the Bible too. In The 13th Tribe, he looks back to the day the Israelites worshiped the golden calf while Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God. Then he speculates on what might have happened if some of the Israelites had received a punishment worse than death that day—immortality and, with the inability to die, the loss of any chance to see God.

These Immortals become the 13th Tribe of Israel, the outcasts, and they begin the centuries-long process of trying to earn their way into heaven by ridding the world of evil and meting out their own form of justice with intelligence and technology that surpasses what the rest of the world has at its disposal.

The Tribe is working on their latest plan to bring the world’s attention to sin and the need to eradicate it, and this is their biggest attempt ever. Then their paths cross Jagger Baird’s. Jagger is a former army ranger, now head of security for an archaeological dig on Mt. Sinai. He is struggling with the aftermath of the accident that claimed the lives of his best friend and his family, and his faith in God is almost nonexistent.

When the Tribe threatens the lives of his wife and son, Jagger is drawn into the fray, and he needs some serious help if he’s going to overcome a Tribe of Immortals!

If you enjoy fiction, suspense, and speculation on some of the Bible’s unanswered questions, you will love The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo. I highly recommend it but must warn you that you won’t be able put it down!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The 13th Tribe from BookSneeze / Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I received no further compensation for this review.
Posted in Book Reviews, Review | 2 Comments