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!

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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

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.

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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!

Like us on Facebook at The Peaceful Nest and Faith Actually: Living Life After Tragedy!

Until next time xoxo,

Jenna Jury