Monday, February 28, 2011

support the ryder's {TEAM LIBBY}

if you've come here to learn more about supporting the ryder's, WELCOME & please check out this {EARLIER POST} & definitely watch the video.
a HUGE, GIGANTIC, ABOUNDING, GNORMOUS THANK YOU to all those wonderful bloggers out there who sent you here to learn about the Ryder's, their story & how to support them.  words cannot describe how much that means.

--more than anything our hope is that their lives would be an encouragement to you.  please see libby, justin & ava's full story {HERE}.  lymphoma has changed their lives & i believe their story may change yours.
--if you would like to run in the music city marathon please email ang at  ben & i will be there cheering you all on!
--please see the chip in on the right side of the screen to support the ryder's financially via paypal.  all proceeds go directly to the family to cover medical bills.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

new york, new york {part 1}

did i go on one heck of an adventure! my friend turned co-worker, jules, had a show with one of our favorite customers {young life} and i got to go with her.  i mean if i can tell you a perfect job scenario...this is 100% it.  two really great friends sent to one of the most fun cities {NYC baby!} to 'work' {i promise we did} and have so much fun together selling to the organization that we love & do ministry with.  ay ay ay already!  whenever i'd catch up with ben he'd just say "you girls, you're on the biggest adventure."  and it was so true.

if you know us i'm sure you can imagine julie and i running all over the city in the windy cold, on subways, and trains and in and out of shops and restaurants {jules leading the way of course because i could get lost in my closet}.  if you're my mom you were probably afraid for me the whole time.

we flew into newark a day before our presentation to ensure that we'd be there in time in case of delays etc.  i had been in chicago for about an hour when the sun finally came up.  it was real early.  we got to newark around noon, picked up our bags, rental car and proceeded to *try* to make it to our hotel which was less than a mile from the airport.  you could see it from the airport.  but the stinkin' roads were ridiculous.  round and round we went, on ramp, off ramp, on ramp, last exit before toll, off literally took us about 15 minutes to go our 1 mile.  this happened more than once.  after checking into the hotel we got the run down on the area from "nigel" {what i believe to be the fake name given to us by our concierge}.  after getting settled we headed to newark penn station, tried to park in a garage...everyone was parked on top of each other, we got confused and scared & gave our keys to a stranger who said "i'll take care of it."  thanks ishmael!

from newark penn we headed to new york penn {really you had to pick such similar names?} and then...we arrived!  nyc - here we are!  we tried to track down some original ny pizza but i'm pretty sure we got a knock off sbarro essentially.  we wandered and shopped.  h&m was a hit.  a 3 story hit.  we wandered some more.  made our way to times square which was unbelievably bright.  soooo bright.  we stopped at a booth selling discount theatre tickets.  it kind of seemed like a deal but after finding that the discounted ones were still between $60 & $130 we decided against it.  we rode the subway {...interesting?} to soho and wandered little italy.  a man who called himself 'the italian bear' while wearing a giant fur coat ushered us into his restaurant.  scary?  maybe.  but it was nice and the food was yummy.  after walking about 30 blocks we made our way back to penn station to come home for the night.  it had become bitterly cold and our dogs were barkin'.
for you project runway fans out there...

i think that it went well.  they invited us to eat dinner with them which was so kind and fun and then we were off again.  ps...pushing rolling racks full of clothes around a hotel makes you look silly and everyone judges you for bringing so much crap overnight.  i just wanted to tell everyone we passed "these aren't ours people" as they oogled.  i'm sure they were thinking..."how can two girls need so many brightly colored s/s tees?  who hangs all their t-shirts on rolling racks?"  embarrasing.  buuuuuuut, more embarrassing things can happen.  we wanted to celebrate with a dip in the hot tub {which turned out to be a warm tub} but i brought a bathing suit and no cover up and jules brought neither.  so she put on some of our least favorite garments from the show {including a youth medium tee and running shorts} and sadly both of us had on our fuzzy boots.  we looked ridiculous.  i just hoped that no one would know we were from ky.  that would just make it worse.  

we had planned originally to leave nj wednesday afternoon but we knew by tuesday morning that our flight had been cancelled due to the blizzard that was hammering chicago.  we were flying with american and sadly their two hubs are chi & dallas so we were really in a pickle to find that dallas was also covered in snow & ice & that it wasn't letting up.  not to mention that super bowl weekend was on its way so everything that wasn't canceled was booked & booked.  we slept in & then started our day...a really fun day.  i'll save that for part 2.

my camera died right about i'm hoping jules will send me her shots soon.

tuesday was our big day.  the presentation.  i think we woke up late so we didn't get our continental breakfast.  i really wanted to eat a bundle of free waffles so that was disappointing, but i digress.  we loaded up all our things for our two hour drive through lots of snowy road and 3 different states.  we went to lake champion {my very first summer camp camp}.  we made it unscathed with just minutes
to spare before speaking.  we had hoped to be there sooner but you know what they say...

Friday, February 25, 2011

so here we are.

today is an interesting day.  an interesting end to an interesting week.  i've basically felt like i'm losing my mind for the last 14 days or so.  i've had a lot of fun, had blessed conversations, seen God at work and i've also felt defeated and down, tired, & ill.  kind of not like myself.  this is not a pity party.  i know people go through much harder things than what i have to deal with...its just an 'interesting' time.

in much more fun news...

tonight new young life leaders are getting placed in our area!  so exciting.  a bundle of friends will be embarking on a mission to go out an love high school & middle school students over the next few years {or longer}, going in to their mess and showing them where real life can be found.  to think about the ways that God is going to grow them through it and the ways he'll use their efforts and faithfulness give me butterflies.  i pray that he would use this group of people to advance the kingdom.  what an exciting day!  {i'm gonna try and take pictures, whether or not i can get them loaded on the blog is another story...i'm still sorting that out}

i hate to re-post things that my friends have already seen but this has literally been on repeat on my computer for the past week.  i just simply LOVE it.  you'll love it too.  you need to listen.  it's like a love song, but not a ballad.

and because it's friday and maybe you like funny things...

ps.  i wish i had long hair again.
the end.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

{run the race}

i have been blessed beyond measure by faithful friends who KNOW the Lord.  they know Him intimately & in real ways.  they live out the gospel daily, laying down their lives, picking up broken people & pointing them to their one & only savior, Jesus.  libby & justin are two of those people to me.  two people who point me {and so many others} to Jesus.  it's weird to be thankful for cancer, but i am.  i am thankful for the dependency they now know & for the hundreds {maybe thousands} of people that will know more of who their heavenly father is because of the ryders.  all glory to the King!

i have other friends a strong, passionate community of people who really ARE the body of Christ.  they are running in the music city marathon at the end of april.  they {we} are raising money to support the ryders.  to cover their medical bills.  this video explains their hearts, our hearts, better than anything i could ever write.  please take a look.
ang, you made a beautiful video.  thank you for loving people really well.

ryders & friends-
'therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.'

feel free to forward this link or video on to anyone you know who might be interested in supporting!  also, check out the ryder's blog for their full story.  it will change your life.  i wish you knew them {if you don't}!  the chipin on this page is the same chipin shown on [thirsty hearts], it is linked to the same account {just fyi}.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

some shots from the jennas

here are a few of my favorite shots from the day.  as jenna said, the ones of her i took and the ones of me jenna took.  my computer just told me that my picasa & google memory has reached capacity two absolute FAVORITE pics from the day won't upload into blogger.  arg.  anyway.  i'll figure that out and show ya later.

my typical expression while trying to figure out my camera...

today was a wonderful.   filled with time with my wonderful hubby, just doing life together and watching him hangout with high school guys who spent the night playing madden.  i slept in late.  i ate donut days because ben is thoughtful.  we shopped {ben has been a man on a mission, a denim mission}.  i drank diet coke {yum}.  we got to visit micah, ang & silas for hours and watched the cats dominate.  it was awesome.  he is growing like craaaaazy, so big and has such a fun personality.  it turns out that not all babies are as cool as him, he's really extra special fun.  i like to watch him laugh at ben.  and i love when he runs toward me.  he let me cuddle him today as he scheduled the next year and a half in ang's planner.  it was really precious.

last night was equally joyful.  leadership with some of our favorite people and great teaching from a local pastor about the harmful effects of technology on our lives and in the world.  it was scary and real.  ironic as i type {on the internet} but i mean it, it was great.  i'm going to listen to the rest of the series online and when i do i'll be sure to link up for you.  then to cheddars for a team dinner {sans ang} with great conversations and laughter.  twenty-some of our other friends were also there but we were hoping for a more intimate din din.  be basically got both the big group and the little, so really fun.  then since ben was having a slumber party me and kaitlin got to play at the 312, hangout with her roomies and have soooooo much fun.  they are hilarious.  i have really fun friends.

now i'm about to snuggle on the couch with my love and watch sherlock homes.  i love it, the one with r.d.jr.  its a comical, mystery, suspense thriller.  i really enjoy it.  i'm also going to craft while watching and cuddling.  that's what i call multi-tasking at its finest.

hope your weekend is just as blessed!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

oh heck yeah!

today there is a high of 65 degrees and i am freaking out man {guy in the back seat - a la super troopers}.
in honor of beautiful, warm, blissful weather me and jenna {aka jenga-snap, gil, geddle-finger}are going on a photo adventure after work.  it is for a purpose but it is also just for fun.  to be outside.  without a coat on.  i'm hoping she'll show me some of her moves.  i need skillz, i need help when it comes to the ol' canon and jenna is just the person for it.  she actually just launched her photography website: jenna nicole photography.  you should probably go look around.  and then check back again after our adventure and see what happened.

here i come, frolicking into the land of photos & pretty things.  watch out world! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

everyday love days

everyone's blogging but meeeeee.....{did you read that in a whiny second grader in a grocery store voice?  that's how i meant it}.  literally everyone posted yesterday to send sweet nothings out into blogland and dote on their hunies and i failed {in cyberspace & in real life}.  i'm sorry you have a bad wife, boo.

so valentine's day.  what an interesting day for me.  i'll spare you all the gory dets but my oh so very kind husband brought me home beautiful flowers and wrote me the sweetest love note.  and i hadn't even set down to write a love letter to him {i still haven't}.  i'm the worst.  benny, i know that you celebrate valentine's day because i love valentine's day.  i'm so thankful for your thoughtful & precious gestures to me.

i'm excited to have a do-over valentine's day with you.  thanks for letting me have do-overs.

and i agree, everyday should be love day husband.

{ps.  this is how i like to think of you.  making me laugh until i crinkle my nose & squint my eyes}.  i'm really glad we're married.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

by the seat of my pants

a few weekends ago i went on a surprise {to myself} trip to s.carolina to visit my beloved friend shan shan.  it went something like this: 
1.  i missed her terribly. 
2.  she said "why don't you come down here tomorrow?" 
3.  i said "well, okay!"  & began making plans.

i'm kind of a control freak crazy planner and since i have a full-time job, a {sweet} husband, giant family & ministry to do i rarely do spur-of-the-moment adventures anymore.  relapsing into 'college jen' i trucked on down.  i took my lunch at the end of the day to miss a bit of the good ol' lexington 5 o'clock traffic and really loved my trip down.  i never drive long distances alone anymore.  i'm either with benny or with girlfriends.  i have no complaints in that department but this was just different & good & necessary. 

i sang {loudly}.  mainly to mumford & sons, which if you haven't yet, you really should.  i also found 5 or so sermons that ben had left in my car from last spring break.  john piper preaching on john 5 & 6.  it was awesome.  he basically was just going through the gospel chapter by chapter with  his congregation, breaking it down, figuring it out, applying it.  it was awesome! he spoke truth {the very word of God}.  he didn't sugar coat it; it was real and great and spurred me on. {you can check out the full gospel of john series HERE}. 

two that especially rocked my world in the car were:
the love of human praise as the root of unbelief
If you believed Moses, you would believe me

while i'm being a wild sermon pusher right now i might as well say that you should also take an hour and listen to this.  it has blessed me in huge ways to think about loving my Lord above/before loving his people.  listen {HERE}.  the first commandment being first.  priorities in order.

and that was just the fun on the way down!  geesh.  i arrived about 10 pm, making great time of course, on the doorstep of sweet shan.  i couldn't have been happier to be there.  we visited {that was the best part}, we went thrifting, she showed me where she will one day marry her sweetheart and where we will party afterward in jubilee.  both locations were goregous by the way.  i took pics but i'm not sure that i should be the one "revealing" those oh so special details of her big day.  hopefully, she will be documenting those very soon {ahem, hint hint} for all to see.  we read bridal magazines, planned the most hideous and the most beautiful weddings we could imagine.  we ate.  we went to see black swan. we curled up on the couch with her fur-baby.  we slumber partied.

i hated to say goodbye but had a house full of students to get home to sunday night.  it was too quick of a trip.  i'd like to have stayed much longer.  but it was fantastic.  i hope to go back soon, but i don't know when the next visit will be but it can't come too soon.  it was perfect.
i looked up why in the world people say "flying by the seat of your pants" {here}.  just call me google.

Monday, February 7, 2011

the big 2-6!

today is my wonderful hubby's birthday!  he's 26 fantastic years old. woot woot!

i'm so blessed to have you as my partner & to get to celebrate growing up with you!  i hope you have the best day ever walking around campus in the fattest snowflakes i've ever seen.  God is growing you into a really awesome man.  i'm so thankful for you!

happy birthday handsome!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"storm of historic proportions"

i'm baaaack!  holy moly what a crazy week.  i can't wait to really "check in" but for now, let's just say...i'm home!  i had the opportunity to go to new york for work with one of my dear friends & co-workers, julie.  we worked & adventured {oh, we adventured} & inevitably were trapped under a white blanket of death {aka biggest blizzard ever}.  three cancelled flights later....we arrived home.  this weekend is crazy.  next week is crazy.  but the last two weeks of life have been so much fun i must jot them down.

until then-
jen jen