Why I Take My Children on Vacation

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A couple of weeks ago I was standing in the Wal-Mart check out line. I was trying to quickly buy a few last-minute items before my sister’s bridal shower and running short on time. It was only fitting that I happened to stand in the slowest line. The cashier was very friendly. It seemed as though she was sharing her entire life story with the customer in front of me.

Their conversation peaked my interest when they started talking about vacations and children. The customer stated she was headed on vacation with her children, made apparent to me by the trunks, swimmers, floaties, and vacation gear loaded up in her cart. She rattled off her children’s ages, around 12, 11 and 9, this was her children’s first vacation. ever. 

I’m sure this isn’t very uncommon, because the cashier followed up with a little tidbit about her vacation experience as a child. She went on one, which was not a very good one. She declared. 

I was in shock. My children have been on vacation every single year since they were first-born. We love our vacations. My oldest daughter talks about the beach almost everyday. B would live right next to the ocean if she could. I would not be surprised if she migrates that way when she grows up. She’s a water girl. A few weeks ago we were at a water show put on by our local library. The water man asked different kids to name types of water. There were a range of answers; ice water, warm water, even toilet water. He called on B and she responded with sea water. Her mind is always on the sea. She has been to the ocean four times in her short life. I’m pretty sure the ocean calls to her soul.

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The other two vacations were spent in the Philadelphia area and Gatlinburg. She prefers the beach.

Often times I see articles floating around about how taking a child on vacation with you is not a real vacation. There’s no point in doing it. Don’t do it. It’s the worst thing ever.

However true those articles may be for the people who write them, it’s not true for me. I actually enjoy taking my children on vacation. Yes, they are still little. 5 and 2. B has been on 5 vacations and S has been on 2. We are about to embark on their 6th and 3rd vacation.

I’m not saying it is easy. What I am saying is, for me at least, it is worth it.

Why? Why not just leave my children at home with a babysitter, take a much-needed vacation on my own and relax?

For starters, I chose to have my children.

I decided to have these children. I knew parenting would be difficult. I chose to have them anyway. They are not an option. I don’t want them to feel like they are. Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t get away with your spouse. Because you should. What I am saying is your children need to know that they are a part of your family. Mommy and Daddy enjoy vacations, why shouldn’t they?

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B’s first time at the beach.

They are not little for long, I want them enjoy it.

Before long, my children will be teenagers and then adults, facing the world. They will have the same responsibilities that we have. Right now they have no responsibilities, except to do their best at their school work and learn how to be kind human beings. I want my children to have these experiences, as a family, while they are free, curious, and not tied down by responsibilities. They do not have to worry about how to afford the vacation or if their children are going to far into the water. They do not have to worry about a cranky child, paying for the gas or who is going to watch their pets. I want my children to have the experiences of a magical vacation that only a child full of wonder and curiosity can experience. Before they grow to big and miss that opportunity.

I want them to learn how to act in public, in many different scenarios.

I am a homebody. My children love being at home too. I try my very best though to expose them to many public places, so they learn what is expected and how to act while at these places. Do they always behave? No. But they do about 95% of the time. Why? Because they are exposed to different atmosphere often and we correct their behavior when it is not acceptable, in love. Many people are scared to take their children on vacation because of meltdowns. We have had to deal with many of those. They really aren’t as scary as they seem.

When B was an infant we went to New York City. She had a meltdown in the subway because she was hot and I cried. I knew why she was having a difficult time though. I was able to calm her down when we changed locations and arrived somewhere cooler.

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B being a champ on our first vacation

When B was 2.5 she took her first plane ride. On the way there she was amazing. On the way home? Not so much. B threw an epic tantrum for 3/4ths of the trip. The rest of the passengers hated us. All I can say is, bring headphones when you fly. Babies cry. This past summer we were doing family photos on the beach, in white. I took my lipstick from S because well hello, white. Cue major tantrum. Epic. It was all I could do to get her down to the beach. We still went through with the photos. Why? One because it made one heck of a story. Two our children do not control everything. If she wanted to pout, okay. We were still getting pictures taken.

S throwing her epic tantrum on the beach. I can’t wait to show her these photos when she’s older!

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Still enjoying pictures and the ocean in the presence of a cranky toddler!

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Still pouting

Finally better!

I miss them when I am away from them.

When I was pregnant with S, Ben and I took a mini vacation to Chicago. B stayed with my parents back home. I loved Chicago. I loved being able to explore with my husband and not having a toddler in tow. It wasn’t long before I started thinking about B, though. I would see something I knew she would love and think about what her reaction would be. I would encounter people on the street and wonder what she would say if she was there meeting them. I missed her. To me that was more difficult than having to deal with any tantrums or worrying about taking care of a child.

My husband and I will have plenty of time when we are older to go on vacations by ourselves.

My husband and I plan on going on many vacations when we are older. Paris, Germany, Colorado, Hawaii. Sign me up. Maybe we will go alone. It’s more likely though that we will be sticking to our typical vacations with our adult children, like we do with my parents and family.  Making memories one vacation at a time.

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Pregnant with S, enjoying Gatlinburg’s view.

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Until next time,

Jenna Jury

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If I Could Tell my Teenage Self Anything.

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When I was around the age of twelve I went through a phase.

I started wearing my brother’s baggy t shirts, his flannel shirts and my baggy jeans. I also wore my hair down in my face. If you were to ask my mother right now what she thought about that stage, she would tell you it drove her crazy. She fought the urge to pull my hair back, out of my eyes on a daily basis. This stage lasted around 6 months, maybe close to a year. Then I came out of it. I started pulling my hair back out of my eyes, and wearing clothes that weren’t so baggy.

I didn’t realize it then, but as I look back, I can see clearly that I was a preadolescent girl, going through puberty, hating the way my body was changing. I wanted to hide. I felt awkward and strange. My mom understood this. That was why she fought the urge, she knew it would pass eventually.

I know that I was still technically a preteen at this age. The women in my family go through puberty early. The hormones, the changes, they hit us (unfairly I might add) before many other girls. There is no doubt about it, the teenage years are raw and harsh for many.

Your body is changing.

Your emotions are out of whack. Often times you may seem like a crazy person because your hormones are causing you to feel a little to intensely. So much so, that sometimes it becomes impossible see straight.

Your brain is not fully developed yet (it doesn’t do that until your 25 years old!) Which means, often, when you believe you are making a rational decision based on facts, you are really just acting out of emotions and immaturity.

You are under peer pressure, especially if you attend public school. There is a pressure to want other kids your age to like you and to fit in. If that does not happen, you may feel victimized and depressed. You may feel like an outsider, or as though something is wrong with you.

You’re starting to notice the opposite sex and want them to like you. Possibly causing yourself to compromise who you are and what values you hold dear to you.

I went through a period around the age of sixteen where I was prepared to put my entire future on the line for a boy.

A boy who was not in any way good for me. Why was I willing to do this? It was because I thought I knew everything. I thought I was in love. I wanted to stick one to my parents, possibly? I’m not really sure, they both saw the path I was headed down and said no way and put a stop to our relationship. I was angry for a while. Then I grew up. As all teenagers do. I realized my parents were indeed right and I thanked them and apologized to them.

The teenage years are a difficult time period for many.

You are stuck in between being a child and being an adult.

There are even more pressures on today’s teenagers because of the overabundance of access to social media and other people.

None of these factors are necessarily bad, with the exception of peer pressure, but they make the teenage years hard for some because they all happen at. the. same. time.

I can tell you, as a teenager, I believed I was right about everything and my mom and dad were, well, wrong. Fast forward about 15 years, and now, at the age of 30, I can say without of a shadow of a doubt that my parents knew what they were talking about. Do you want to  know how I know they were smarter than I thought they were? They to were teenagers once! So were your parents, and your grandparents.

Before you know it, if you aren’t already a parent to a teenager, you will have a teen who may think they know everything.

I asked around 20 people to share what they would say to their teenage self if they could go back and give themselves a piece of advice.

Here is the awesome advice they had to offer!

1. Try out for anything and everything you are interested in. Don’t be afraid to fail or be afraid to succeed.

2. Listen to your parents, they actually DO know more than you …

3. Don’t worry about what everyone thinks. Study hard. Take school seriously. Mama knows best – listen to her. Know your worth.

4. Listen to your mother and father. They really know more than you. Don’t date that boy. Try harder.

5. Be patient and this will pass. Maybe if I learned it earlier in life God wouldn’t have to keep teaching me over and over.

6. Stop quitting. And try harder.

7. Ask a lot of questions, have fun, do activities, be a kid while you still can.

8. Don’t move out just because your 18. You have to pay your own bills soon enough. Don’t rush to be an adult.

9. Don’t try and be the tough girl all the time – spend more time with your parents who are the only ones who have your back – and find my husband sooner!

10. You are perfect exactly as you are.

11. Stay away from the boy! Study and try harder in school. Just stay away from the boy.

12. Be a kid, don’t rush, soak the teenage years in, be adventurous, meet new ppl, listen to your parents ❤️

13. Learn what a FICO score is and why it’s important. Guard your credit.

14. Stay away from the wrong crowd, be yourself!!

15. Keep yourself pure!

16. It’s not the end of the world. It may seem like it but there is a whole future ahead of you; just breath. It’s not the end of the world.

17. You are special just as you are. Don’t try to change yourself.

18. I would tell myself to take more risks and trust God with your life.

19. Tell those you love them, often, you don’t know how much time you have left.

20. You wont be a teenager forever. Everything you are dealing with, will pass.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you are a teenager, I hope you found a piece of advice in this list that could be applied to your life. If you are past the teenage years, what is something you would say to your teenage self if you could?
Until next time,
Jenna Jury

If You Could…

I am working on a new blog post and want to hear from you!

Question: if you could go back and give your teenaged self some advice, what would it be?

Drop your answers below!

Yes, My Hands are Full

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You have your hands full.

If you are a parent or a caregiver, chances are you have heard this phrase a time or two. It seems if you have more than two children in your care, then your hands are automatically deemed full.

This phrase doesn’t bother me. I actually take it as a complement.

My hands are full.

They are filled with love.

My hands are filled with  little lives that need shaping and guiding.

Lives that need care and attention.

It is the most important job a person can have.

Today I was taking a walk with my two children, my two nieces and nephew, as well as my sister. The big kids were loaded up in a wagon that my sister pulled. I was pushing a double stroller with the babies.

When I am out and about with them, many people automatically assume they all belong to me. Even my sister, who is in her teens and taller than me.

An older lady walked by with two teenagers, most likely her grandchildren, and uttered those words to me. goodness you have your hands full! She didn’t really even make eye contact. I kind of chuckled and said yes I do.

Now, I’m 99% positive she didn’t mean that phrase as demeaning. It is just something someone says to make small talk to women who seem to be over their head or have an over abundance of children with them. I don’t consider having my hands full as a bad thing.

This comment got me thinking about a previous post I wrote on children being a blessing.

I may not be offended by this phrase. But it does rub some people the wrong way. As though the commenter is saying “why do you have so many children in your care. How irresponsible.” Even if it’s not meant that way.

If you are one of those women who feel hurt by these words I want to encourage you to keep these truths in mind.

You are raising arrows, and that is the biggest job you could have.

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children born in one’s youth. Psalm 127:4

Important. That is what your job is as a parent, a grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister, caregiver. The children in your life are easily molded, influenced, shaped etc. God calls us to guide them towards the right direction, while being there to correct and love, if they go astray. If you keep in mind that the job you have is bigger than you can imagine and 100x important than any other job, then this should negate any negative comments you may receive, intentionally or unintentionally.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Opinions take no effort to form and are often developed by what people grow up hearing or listen to now. Therefore, if someone is giving you their opinion, it doesn’t mean what they are saying is fact. You can choose to take it or leave it. If the opinion is unwanted, let it bounce off of you. If the opinion was one you sought out, but it opposes the opinion you originally started with, then consider it, research it, but don’t let it make you feel inferior.

Because you are not inferior.

You are amazing

You are important.

You are the best parent for the children God has placed in your care, biological, foster, adoptive, grand children. You are enough.

Your hands may be full but make sure they are full with love.

What good are our hands and our abilities if they are not put to good use? Whether you have two children or twelve children, that is your decision. What you do with the very few years you have raising your children will determine what type of adults they become. Yes I know there are other outside influences, school, church, friends and family. However, Your child’s home base should be the most influential voice they hear.

So use those full hands to shape loving and kind children who grow up to be loving and kind adults. Use those full hands to show your children how to make their own decisions, be their own person and not allow the opinions of others to determine who they are. Use those full hands to show them who God says they are and help your children become rooted in his words and promises.

The next time someone says to you, you have your hands full reply with yes, I do, they are full of love!

Until next time,

Jenna Jury

Our Both Hands Project

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When I was 21 years old I traveled to Belize to participate in my first mission trip.

It was there that God broke my heart. He broke it into a million pieces and then in exchange he gave me his heart.

His heart for the orphans.

It was during one of the projects we were working on, that a little boy, attached himself to me. He followed me around, sat on my lap, and stayed by my side the whole day. He didn’t speak much, but his smile made my heart melt. I was later told that he did not have his own home and parents, instead he stayed several different places, with his aunts and uncles, neighbors, etc. during the week.

My heart shattered.

It was then that my mind and world was opened up to the millions of orphans all around the world.

I had been living blind to the problems so many children faced.

The poverty.

The pain.

The heartache.

I decided when I left Belize, I will one day adopt.

When I was 17 years old my Pappy died.

I remember the day as though it was yesterday. He had been sick for two years and we all knew the day was coming. It does not matter how prepared you are though, when you lose someone you love it is always painful. I went to my mamaw’s home after school, I arrived just as the funeral home was taking my pappy’s body away. I walked to the back bedroom, my grandparent’s bedroom, where my pappy had laid for months. There was my strong and beautiful mamaw. Her face was distraught. She was in pain. She had just lost the love of her life. I felt helpless. She laid on her bed, for what seemed like hours and wailed. I could feel her pain.

When we lost my pappy, we lost a part of my mamaw as well. They were a unit. It was always mamaw and pappy. They were together all the time. Then we all had to watch helplessly as my mamaw tried to navigate a new world. One that didn’t involve my Pappy.

Married for 51 years.

I saw first hand the struggle a widow has.

The pain and heartache living without the one you love.

The uncertainty of the future.

The loneliness, even if you are standing in the same room as someone else.

My favorite book in the bible is James.

It’s only fitting that one of my favorite verses takes residency inside of this chapter.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

If you read a verse before this one it says:

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless James 1:26

Worthless religion. Even if you consider yourself religious, but you don’t be careful what you say? That’s worthless.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that James follows with the religion our God does accept. Because we can be a christian and say that we love God’s people. We can be a christian and say that we will take care of those in need. But actions are stronger than words. Actions show what is truly in your heart, while words just show what you want others to see. We make excuses for why we don’t possess God’s heart for people.

It’s to expensive.

I’m to busy.

Someone else will do it.

I know because I have made those excuses.

As christians, we need to die to ourselves every single day. We need to ask God for his heart. Because our hearts? They are selfish and flawed.

Taking care of widows and orphans.

God shows us his heart right there in this verse.

He shows us how pure and simple Christianity can and should be.

Take care of the widows and orphans.

I’m going to say it one more time.

Take care of the widows and orphans.

The ones who have no control over their circumstances. They didn’t ask to be in the situations they are in. They are the most vulnerable. Filled with heartache and pain many of us cannot understand.

How? How do we take care of the widows and orphans? It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as donating or educating. It can be as big as fostering or adopting.

It can be as easy as bringing a widow a meal. It can be joining a team to fix up her home.

There is not one way to do what God asks. Find your way.

We are in the middle of adopting a little boy from Vietnam. As many of you know, adoption is expensive. Ben and I decided we were not going to let finances be an issue with this adoption. We would work our behinds off and trust in God to provide a way to bring our son home.

When I came across Both Hands, I was ecstatic! Both Hands is an adoption fundraiser. I am sure many of you have run a 5k race or participated in some other sponsorship fundraiser. That is exactly what Both Hands is. Except instead of running a 5k race, we gather a team together and fix up a widow’s home. That is one hand.

Then Ben and I, along with our team members, send out sponsorship letters to ask for sponsorship while we work on this project. The funds go towards our adoption to bring home our son to his forever family. The other hand.

What an amazing and beautiful project to be a part of.

What a way to truly be in God’s heart.

Taking care of the Widow and Orphan.

God has led us to a Widow, whose home needs some TLC. We are excited to serve her!

If you are interested, we would LOVE for you to consider being a part of our team!

If you feel like you want to sponsor Ben and I while we work on her home, you can donate here!

Sometimes a need can seem so big, and we are only one person. You may be thinking what can I do? The truth is you can do a lot!

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like. – Augustine

Love has the hands to help others.

Until next time,

Jenna Jury

What is the Peaceful Nest?

The Peaceful Nest.

That is the name of my website.

But why?

Why did I choose the name the Peaceful Nest? Why do I think it is so important to have peace? In ourselves? In our families? In our homes?

Peace has not always appeared so transparently in my life.

In 2011 my son died. He was six days old, born prematurely. He died in my arms. I say it bluntly because many times people tip toe around the death of a baby.  His death is my reality. It’s not something I can hide from.

After David died, I spiraled into an anxiety filled depression. There was not anything that illuminated peace in my life. How could there be?

Six months later our rainbow baby was conceived, surprisingly. My pregnancy with Miss B was difficult to say the least. For 27 weeks I prayed against Pre-Eclampsia showing up again. It showed up anyway. The same exact week gestation I had delivered my son. 27 weeks.

Where was the peace?

I knew anxiety would only make my pregnancy more difficult with Miss B. I was put on hospital bedrest for four weeks. I used that time to work on my relationship with God. It had become very muddled. I held anger. I blamed God and myself for David’s death and my sickness with Miss B.

If you want to read more about that time in my life and how I learned to forgive myself and let go of anger, I encourage you to read about it here.

After Miss B was born, I continued to have anxiety. It wasn’t until she was around 2 years old when I realized the importance of peace in our lives.

Anxiety was ruling me.

I lived in fear that something terrible was going to happen to my child. I would stop my car, while driving, and pull over just to check to make sure she was still breathing.

I snapped at my husband and other’s around me constantly. Why?

Because I didn’t have God’s peace. You know that peace I’m talking about? The one that surpasses all understanding?

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. Philippians 4:7

Yea that one.

I wanted it. I knew I needed it in my family and in my house.

How could I get it?

If you read a couple of verses before it tells you how you can have this peace in your life.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:4-6

Wow.

Let’s start at the beginning. Rejoice in the Lord always. ALWAYS. I knew I wasn’t doing that. I was focusing on what had happened and the situations around me. I wasn’t focusing on the good. I wasn’t focusing and rejoicing for the victory God had provided in my life.

Do not be anxious about anything.

I wasn’t going to the Lord in prayer about my anxiety. I was living in it. I knew I couldn’t focus on praying when I was so deep in despair. I knew I needed to do something about it. I went to my doctor and sought medical help first. Then I talked about my anxiety with someone who would understand and not judge me. It was then, that I began to come to a place where I could go to prayer over my anxiety.

Then I started to experience it.

That peace that you can have even when something is going wrong. That peace that envelopes you,your family, and your home. God’s peace.

That is why I started The Peaceful Nest.

Let your gentleness be evident to all.

In your marriage, your relationships, your parenting.

Gentleness will bring you peace as well.

The Peaceful Nest is a place I want others to be able to come to for help.

Help when you are struggling.

Help when you need advice in parenting, marriage, or something else entirely.

I started the Peaceful nest as a resource for other’s who desire Peace but do not know how to start. How to maintain it. What is important and what is not.

I am here to tell you. First you start with God and within yourself.

Then you figure out peace in your marriage and relationship with your children.

When those pieces of the puzzle come together, that peace will start showing up around you.

And trust me, once you have it. You wont want to let it go.

 

If you would like to read our story about David and Miss B, you can pick up a copy of our book here.

You can watch a clip of us sharing our testimony on Cornerstone here.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook at The Peaceful Nest and Faith Actually Ministries.

 

 

 

Our Fancy Nancy Tea Party

More is always better when it comes to being fancy.

At least that is what Fancy Nancy believes. If you are a mom to little girls, you may know who Fancy Nancy is. For those of you who do not know who she is, she is a beloved Character from the book series that shares her name Fancy Nancy, written and illustrated by Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser. You can check out more here and order some of the amazing book!

Miss B has fallen in love with Fancy Nancy.

I have seen many parallels between Miss B and Fancy Nancy, that may be some of the reasons she loves her so much.

Last year Miss B’s Mawmaw and Pappy took a trip to Paris, France. When they returned B listened with earnest to their wonderful stories and took in all of their photos. Her favorites were of the Eiffel Tower. It was then she deemed her Mawmaw and Her Pappy experts on all things France. (French words, food, etc.) and Paris, France the best place in the universe. She has a mini Eiffel Tower statue in her room, she loves reading books about the tower, and learning french words. Her favorite is Merci. (because it sounds so fancy!) Even her two-year old sister S loves the Eiffel Tower. Every tower she sees, she says excitedly “Mommy look it’s the Eiffel Tower!”

So it was only fitting that her favorite character would also love France.

We were working our way through the book series when we heard the Disney channel was coming out with a Fancy Nancy show! Miss B was ecstatic. She made plans right away to watch the show. I won’t lie, I was pretty excited myself.

A couple of days before the show premiered, I thought, why just watch it? Why not make it as Fancy as I could?

Thus I decided to throw the girls a Fancy Nancy Tea Party.

It was complete with a hair station, where they could make their own fancy headbands. A make up station. I am one of those moms who lets her little girls play with make up. I know many moms do not feel the same way, but I don’t see the harm in playing with it and the way I see it, if they have the chance to play with it now, they won’t go hog crazy when they become teenagers and adults. Plus I love the stuff. Of course, they do not leave the house with a face full of make-up. But to play with at home. Why not?

We also had a nail painting station.

The girls woke up at 7 am and threw on their fancy dresses. They were bursting to get started! I woke up to Miss B saying “Sissy, Sissy get up! It’s Fancy Nancy Tea party Day. It’s going to be the best day ever!”

The show didn’t start until 11 am. We had a lot of time to kill! When their cousins arrived at our house, we started on the stations right away.

We had a mini dance party.

Read some Fancy Nancy books.

Then we counted down until the big premiere.

To go with the show, I threw together a “fancy” tea party. Complete with danishes (because they are fancy mommy- miss B). baguette and croissants (because they are from France mommy-Miss B) We also served, cookies, strawberries, cheese, and ham for good measure. As well as sweet tea, what is a tea party without tea?

I would say Miss B and S and E had a wonderful tea party! I asked the girls after what their favorite fancy word was. B of course said Merci. E said hers was pretty. and S enthusiastically stated her favorite fancy word is ooh la la. Is there anything cuter than a two-year old running around the house saying ooh la la! ooh la la!

I don’t think so!

DIY Fourth Of July Stacked Hair Bow

Good afternoon friends!

Fourth of July is right around the corner and I wanted to share with you a simple DIY craft. For those of you who have little girls in your life, these are perfect, simple and easy to make for the upcoming holiday! You can even use any type of ribbon you would like to make bows all year round, for every day of the year 🙂

I know there is a huge wealth of information out there on how to make bows. However, it really seems to become a dying art form. I used to sell hairbows. Now I just make them for my girls and nieces. When there are five little girls to make bows for it can become quite busy! So I just wanted to share my way of doing it for my readers 🙃

Let’s get started. Here is the bow I made recently for my daughter. I actually made them each one. One has a solid bow and the other a polka-dotted bow. (but I digress).


To get started here are the materials you need.

Scissors

Needle and thread

1.5 inch ribbon

5/8 or 7/8 inch ribbon (I use 5/8 in this bow)

3/8 inch ribbon for center. I have red polka dotted ribbon pictured, but I ended up changing my mind and going with a solid blue for the center. 😉 (Here is where I get my ribbon and tools.)

Alligator clip or two prong clip

hot glue gun (not pictured)

Lighter to heat seal ends (not pictured)

To get started I use a handmade “bow maker.”  It is approximately 5 inches for 5 inch bows. I took a piece of cardboard, cut it at 5 inches. Two inches over I cut one inch out, going about a quarter of the way down. I like to make my girls bows at 5 inches but you can make them however big or small you would like. Many people will free hand as well. I prefer using a bow maker because of how fast I like to make the bows. It  allows me to make sure they are nice and even every time.

I take my 1.5 inch ribbon and wrap it around the bow maker three times in the front, right over the 1 inch slit. Then I cut it off. You will end up having both ends of the ribbon on each side and there will be two loops in the back.

Next I take my needle and thread. Going behind my bow maker, I stick the needle and thread up through the center of the ribbon, stopping half way through the needle, I pull the ribbon off the bow maker.

Then I bring my needle all the way through, wrapping the thread up and over the bow. When I pull, the ribbon will make an accordion style fold. Then I fold the bottom of the bow twice, completing the fold. I wrap the thread around multiple times and then tie off in the back.

Then I repeat the steps with my smaller ribbon.

I’m almost done!

At this point I cut the ends of my bows in a V shape. Then heat seal the ends so they do not fray (important step!)

Next I move over to my hot glue gun and Stack the bows together.

Then I take my lined alligator clip and glue it to the back of my big bow.

The last step is to take your 3/8 inch ribbon and wrap it around the center, gluing in the back. I like to glue mine over the alligator clip because it makes it sturdier in my opinion.

After your bow is put together you can spray it with hair spray or stiffening spray to give it that stiff feel, and so it will stay in place. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Depends on where my spray is and if I feel like doing it! haha.

There you have it. A beautiful Fourth of July bow. I hope you join me for my next DIY where I make a flower wreath for my girls bedroom.

Until next time xoxo,

Jenna Jury

Having Peace In Our Marriages.

Good morning! Welcome to Morning Coffee With The Peaceful Nest. I hope you all are doing well this morning.

Yesterday I touched on having peace within ourselves. We can not begin to create peace in our lives until we develop it within ourselves. Yesterday I gave some tips on becoming a peaceful person. Later this week I will touch on the topic in more depth. You can also go back and read my post on what God says about peace.

Today I want to talk about having peace inside our marriages. After God, our spouse is the most important relationship we have. If we do not protect it diligently, as well as build our marriage up, trying to cultivate a sense of peace in it, then it will become brittle. Easy to break.

The day Ben and I got married it rained. Everyone was freaking out about their hair getting ruined. Including me. Then my hairdresser told me rain actually signifies good luck on your wedding day. It used to be in some Indian tribes they would tie a knot when someone was getting married, to signify two people coming together. I don’t know for sure, but I assume that is where “tying the knot” came from. When it rained, it was considered good luck because the rain would make the knot tighter, stronger, and not as easy to untie.

The significance of this old practice was not lost on me, because only a year and a half into our marriage, our son died shortly after he was born. Here came the rain. Ben and I went through a torrential downpour. The worst rain in our marriage thus far. If this rain did anything, it made the knot of our marriage that much stronger and tighter. Binding us together in ways many think impossible.

I can not sit here and tell you during and after our storm our marriage was full of peace though. No, we both grieved differently and need so much grace during that time. There were arguments and pain. Sometimes there still is, like in most marriages. However, the peace in our marriage came after we both practiced doing certain things to cultivate it. Here are ways we did just that.

1. First we both made up our minds that our marriage and our relationship would never be on the chopping block. No matter what we faced, we would get through it together.

2. We are 100% honest with each other. There are no secrets in our marriage. We both have trust in one another and know that no matter what, the other one will be 100% honest. In order to keep that trust we have to make it a priority to protect it.

3. We keep an open line of communication with one another. Yes we have disagreements but we always talk those disagreements out. No we may not always see eye to eye on a topic, but we both try our best to at least make an effort.

4. We support each other no matter what. Ben doesn’t squash my dreams and I don’t squash his. If there is a desire in either one of our hearts and it lines up with the word of God, we both say go for it, I’ll support you 100%.

5. We protect our marriage from outside influences. Marriages fail and have issues that cause turmoil because one or both spouses fail to protect themselves from outside influences. What does that mean? It means we do not allow anything or anyone come into our lives that have the potential to destroy what we have built. Maybe it seems enticing, maybe it is difficult to unblur the lines, but things like porn, relationships with other people of the opposite sex, keeping secrets, and things along those lines have no business inside your mind, heart, or marriage. If they are there you are opening up the door for man made rain. There is no way to have peace when you have opened the door to turmoil.

6. We always respect each other. In public as well as private. Never degrade your spouse. Never talk bad about them to other people or air your private business to people who have no business knowing. Talk to your spouse in a way you would like them to talk to you. Even when you’re mad at each other.

These are just a few ways my husband and I protect the peace in our marriage.

To recap

1. Make up your mind your marriage is never on the chopping block.

2. Always be honest with one another.

3. Keep lines of communication open

4. Support each other always.

5. Protect your marriage from outside influences.

6. Respect one another always.

I hope you have found these tips helpful!

Until next time xoxo

Jenna Jury

Morning Coffee With The Peaceful Nest. Having Peace Within Ourselves.

Morning Coffee With The Peaceful Nest(2)

Good Morning! I hope you are doing well 🙂 Welcome to Coffee With The Peaceful Nest. Today I want to talk about how to have peace within ourselves. In case you missed it, You can go back and read about what God says about peace. Then head over and listen to our podcast on speaking life to those around us. Which, to be honest, once we start speaking positive to ourselves and others, we begin ushering in a level of peace we never have known.

Peace comes from God. We know that. How do we start receiving that peace? I believe wholeheartedly it starts from having peace within ourselves. If we do not have peace with ourselves, there is no way that peace is going to emulate into our relationships and home.

If you are struggling with finding peace and keeping it, first look into yourself and see if you have peace there. You may be asking yourself. How? How to I have peace with myself. Here are a few ways .

1. Evaluate your relationship with God. Peace comes from God. In order to have the peace of God we need to evaluate our relationship with Him first.

2. Be an honest person. If you are not honest, and not trying to be honest, you will create for yourself more discord than if you would have otherwise. That starts with being honest with ourselves as well.

3. Do not be a gossip. There I said it. Gossiping is one of the biggest “joys” so many people seem to participate in. But what does God say about gossip? In Ephesians 4:29 he says Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. and in Proverbs 6:16-19 he states There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

God tells us in his word to use our words to talk positive, not letting any corrupt talk come out of our mouths. He also tells us he hates the lying tongue, those who tell lies about others, and those who sow discord among people. What does sow discord mean? It means those who cause problems on purpose between other people. That can include (but isn’t limited to) spreading gossip about people.

4. Don’t desire the knowledge of other people’s business. This goes hand in hand with don’t be a gossip. I tell my girls all the time “Worry about yourself ,don’t worry about (insert other person’s name)” for example. If you are to busy spending your time worrying about other people, what is so and so doing in their lives right now, most of the time it has absolutely no bearing on you and your life. You have less time to focus on yourself and family . Doing so can cause an unsettled feeling in us. Because we are focused on what other people are doing. Two we are not focusing on what’s important around us.

One of my favorite quotes is “It is one of my sources of happiness never to desire knowledge of other people’s business.” – Dolley Madison

5. Self Care. As mothers we tend to neglect ourselves as we care for the needs of others. But self-care is important to our mental health as well as our physical health. You cannot draw from an empty well. Take the time to go out by yourself. Take a bath. Go on dates. Speak kindly to yourself. Go to the doctor. Take care of yourself too. Our children will also see how we take care of ourselves and emulate that into their own lives as they grow up.

6. Lastly, Don’t over book your schedule. It can cause stress for us when we have to do too much. There is no way to have peace within ourselves when we are overwhelmed.

Do you desire to have more peace in your life but are struggling on where to start? I hope these tips helped! Have a wonderful day and do not forget to join me tomorrow morning as I talk about having peace in our marriage! Later this week I will Ben and I will be discussing family dynamics and how that correlates a peaceful or non peaceful family. You will not want to miss it!

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Until next time xoxo,

Jenna Jury