September 16, 2019


Bryan and the boys got me a beautiful bouquet of flowers on a random Sunday in September. It wasn’t my birthday or an anniversary. They did it just to show me love.

Rhett walked in after they gave them to me and said, “I think they’re ugly”.

Now, if you know Rhett, you know he’s glass half empty. Always. So I knew there was more to the story.

Bryan walked in and explained that he’d had the florist add sunflowers because they are my favorite, but she only had a few sunflowers she didn’t think were the best that she’d tossed in the trash. Bryan told her they’d take them anyways. 

Rhett looked at the bouquet and saw flowers from the trash. Which made them “ugly” to him. But I said over and over how beautiful and perfect they were and how much they brightened my day and he started to come around too. 

I was just reading my bible and was brought back to this conversation from yesterday. I’ve been doing a lot of work on who God says I am and finding my worth in Him. 

Today in Holley Gerth’s book I was reading she said, “Who you are and how you look are intentional, chosen with care.”

And it brought me back to the flowers. Bryan intentionally asked for the sunflowers because he knows how much I love them. They were chosen with care by him for me, but they were discarded by the florist. 

How true is this of Our God. The world and social media and tv... they tell us beauty is only found in looking a specific way. But what if God is here saying, you may have been discarded by the world, but I intentionally chose your features because they are what you needed to draw closer to me and show my love to others. I chose them because I love you and want what’s best for you. 

You may be missing a petal and have a crooked stem. But when He sees you He see beauty. 

While I was writing this I kept looking at the arrangement on my counter. They are gorgeous and smell so sweet. But I feel like something would be missing without those sunflowers. I am so glad Bryan added them. I’ve loved them since I was a little girl, and God has used sunflowers to comfort me and bring me joy in many ways and in many seasons. 

Today He has used sunflowers to show me that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. And I think the one who created them is who I’ll decide to listen to. 

September 8, 2019


How in the world is this possible?

They say don't blink, that it goes by in an instant.

They're right.

My tiny 6 lb. 3 oz. baby (and interestingly enough, he was my BIGGEST baby) is nine. I blinked and we are here, half way to 18.

Every single thing I learned about being a mother, I learned from you. I never knew how I could love someone more than myself until you were here. I would move Heaven and Earth for you.

My heart often aches for you and all that you have seen and experienced in your short nine years of life so far... so many things kids shouldn't have to know about or experience... so much hurt and loss.

But you, my son, are a warrior. You are a thinker. You see a problem and look for the good. I have absolutely no doubt that you will use all you have experienced for the good for the Kingdom. I pray that you will always be able to empathize with those who experience loss and hurt. I pray that you always look for the good. I pray that you always look for the kids sitting alone and extend kindness.

You absolutely blow me away with how good you are with your siblings. This year we had a really big change, and you have taken Remi under your wing and you couldn't be more proud of your Sissy. You're also so great with Sawyer and a great big brother for Rhett to look up to.

I always thought as a parent I'd be the one teaching and molding, but little did I know you'd be teaching and molding me as well. I see so much of myself in you and daily I pray away the things that have hindered me and hope that you miss those attributes. I pray a barrier around your room at night, that angels would be watching over you as you sleep. 

I am enjoying watching you grow. I'm not sad. I genuinely enjoy every age and stage with you. You've turning from little boy into a more mature boy who is beginning to understand more about the world and life. I love watching you play baseball, which you are so passionate about. I love seeing you with your friends talking and playing at school. I love that you always want to be the first one to get Remi and Sawyer up in the mornings and to tell them good night at night. I love how much you love your daddy and how much I see of him in you as well.

And I love that when you can't sleep you still want me to tuck you in and scratch your back. I am seeing those "little kid" things start to fade. You don't need me as much anymore, but I cherish the moments you do need me.

I don't deserve you as a son. I am truly the blessed one that God saw it fit to make me your mom. I don't feel qualified and to be honest most of the time I don't know what I am doing and I am just hoping it works out okay.

I am praying that year nine brings us out of the valley of the last several years and into a place where you can bloom and blossom and be a fun loving child without the worries of the world for a few more years.

Happy, happy birthday Hudson Charles! I love you, I am so proud of you and so proud to be your mommy. 



August 29, 2019

The Golden Lightsaber

On my kitchen counter, next to my prized Rae Dunn collection and all the important things that most counter's hold, sit two "Golden Lightsabers". Typically I don't keep toys on the counter. My counters stay cleaned off and decluttered. But yet, this is where the light sabers live...

My first born turns 9 in less than two weeks. He'll have to correct me, but I believe that we got his first golden lightsaber right before he started Kindergarten. Since that day it has been his most prized possession and favorite toy. The minute he gets home from school he changes shoes and goes out to play. He acts out battles and fight scenes. He saves the princesses. He attacks the bad guys. 

Last night when I called him in for a shower he said, "I'm almost done with my battle, Mom. Can I have five more minutes?" This is a legit thing. He doesn't play with anyone, it's a game in his mind, and something I hope to always have ingrained in my memory.

The lightsaber has taken residence in our kitchen since Bear decided the chew Golden Lightsaber #2 up when Hudson left it outside. Golden Lightsaber #1 lasted for two years before it finally broke. Golden Lightsabers 3 and 4 reside on the counter for safe keeping.

But I realize he's getting older. He loves baseball and Fortnight. He spends time after school playing Nintendo Switch with his school friends or having playdates. My baby boy is getting big. He is the most thoughtful, helpful and kind child I have ever known. I am loving watching him grow up and love the person he is becoming.

Eventually the lightsaber won't reside on the counter any more. It'll be replaced with something "cooler" and will probably be forgotten. (Cue a Toy Story 3 moment, don't get me started).

So if you come over and see the light sabers in their place, now you know why. And if you don't... I'm sure there will be something from one of his sibling's in it's place. And possibly the best thing about having so many kids with an age gap between them is just like Hudson loved Toy Story when he was two, now seven years later his baby brother, Sawyer, watches it on repeat and maybe he'll love lightsabers too. 

August 25, 2019

Remi's First Birthday!

Oh sweet Remi. You turned one on July 14. I don't know what time and I don't have memories of that day with you. I don't even know how much you weighed. But I know you were so, so loved. You were snuggled and held by Mama Maegan and you had that sweet newborn scent and feel like each of your brothers (and sis) did. 

And while I don't have that memory with you, I do remember hearing that you were born and healthy and beautiful and you looked exactly like your birth dad. 

Sister, the last ten months have been a whirlwind. You joined us with the perfect amount of sparkle and pink and joy and filled a spot we didn't even know existed. You are spunky and sassy and 100% girl but you hold your own pretty well. You know your place in our home (um... in charge) and you fit perfectly. You're walking and talking and playing and doing all the things one year olds do. 

I don't have the memories of the first three months of your life. But I have cherished every moment since I first held you in October. I've taken mental snapshots of us rocking and snuggling and of the way you fit on my shoulder when you're sleeping. I see the way that your brothers light up when they see you and the way you smile at them. I love the way you love your daddy, you cannot get to him fast enough when he walks into the door at the end of the day and you won't let him put you down. You are absolutely loved and wanted, sweet girl.

So, so many of your friends (Mrs. Janice, The Lewis'- including your favorite twins on the planet, The Harpers) and family (Mommy and Daddy, your brothers, Mama Maegan and Daddy Eric, Grammie Tina and Pawpaw, Aunt Dawn, Kaylee and Macey and Mawmaw, Aunt Jess and Uncle Chris and your cousins and bio siblings, Grammy and Pa, Aunt Doe and Uncle Dave, Hank and Lucy, Uncle Adam and Aunt Ashlie, Grandpa Bob) all came to love on you on your special day. You had the perfect cakes made by Ms. Kate and cookies made by Ms. Robin. Grammy made your vases and did the flowers. Aunt Doe and Grammy helped Mommy decorate.

Happy birthday to our precious angel! Here is to many, many more! 

May 24, 2019

The Hardest Thing About 4

Here is something funny... When I dated Bryan in Jr High we had high hopes and dreams for ourselves.... and one of those things was having four kids. The first would be Brooklyn and then Carter.... and we'd live on a mountain. (Which we then proceeded to have THREE boys, and Bryan has a nephew named Carter... and we've never lived on a mountain... also I am not sure Bryan ever knew these plans... but I totally wrote them in my diary.)

I digress...

So... we had Hudson, then we had Rhett... and almost stopped there. It took four years for us to feel like we could handle another kid. Then I had a miscarriage, and right after surprisingly got pregnant with Sawyer- ie 5 weeks pregnant on our All Inclusive Trip to the Bahamas.

Four kids was kind of out of the picture. I have horrible pregnancies and after the miscarriage my anxiety was high for a lot of my pregnancy with Sawyer... Bryan got the snip last July. No more babies for us.

Weirdly enough I had another what I think now must have been an early chemical pregnancy that we found out about 2 days after the snip-snip. I was terrified and under no circumstances knew how we could handle four kids. With so many weird maybe positive tests over a week or so, I ended up going for blood work that turned out to be negative.

I was okay, I hadn't let my mind REALLY go there... but it had KIND of went there... and what IF we did have another baby?

...And then the phone call came in October that a 3 month old baby girl needed a home. She's been our baby #4 for the last 7 months.

Which leads me to....

The hardest thing about having four kids... it's feeling like I can't be everywhere or do everything.

When Hudson was a baby I didn't take him ANYWHERE with me. And I laugh at myself now because I literally take our big bus of a double stroller with Sawyer and Remi with me EVERYwhere. I rarely am alone- until they both start MDO 2x a week this fall- holla, but that's another story for another day, Dr Appts, DMV, Dentist, School plays and school parties... they come along for the ride but it's true that with four kids I can't be everywhere at once.

Today Hudson and Rhett had their end of year parties. I had both babies, out during nap time, in the bus, of course, because containment is my FRIEND with a 10 mo old and 2 year old. I had to go back and forth between class rooms, with said bus. I just kept feeding Sawyer donuts. And the world didn't end. The babies did great, and the big boys were so happy I was there.  But I had to miss their Easter parties because the babies were sick, And I missed a few field trips this year. And the Mom Guilt hit hard...

I'm working through this with my counselor, and she's brilliant, but I often hear her voice in my head when I feel obligated (or bad about not being able) to do something, saying, "But what if you don't? What happens if you don't?'... and usually my answer is "nothing". I am the one putting pressure on myself.

Some have asked me if I feel like Hudson and Rhett get less attention now with the little two being so needy. And of course the answer is yes. BUT what Hudson and Rhett (and Sawyer eventually) ARE getting... is the experience of a lifetime. The boys will always know that we (our whole family) sacrificed a little to love A LOT- just like the Bible calls us to. If you asked them, neither of them would change a thing.

So while the hardest thing about 4 is trying to be everywhere for everyone at once, the BEST thing about 4 is all the love we share  and the close bond they have as siblings...

...And once again God has proven that even when I doubt myself and make my own plans, if it's His will, He won't let me get in the way. I am not going to stop His plan for me and for our family. And I am oh-so-thankful for that.

May 22, 2019

What We've Been Up to Lately...

It has been a bit since I've updated on what we've been up to...

The big boys started Kindergarten and Second grade at a local private Christian school in January. It has been a PERFECT fit for our family and we couldn't be happier. They have two days left until summer and I am amazed at how much they've learned. We've decided to hold Rhett back so he'll be repeating Kindergarten next year, and Hudson will be on to third grade!

They've both been playing baseball since March. It has been very interesting with two kids playing but they've both done so well and I am a proud mama! 

Hudson made the All-Stars team so he'll get to play several tournaments over the summer! Can't wait to watch him play some more!

Sawyer bug got tubes a month ago. He had been having recurrent ear infections and is behind in his speech. We've seen significant improvement already!

Bryan and I flew to Virginia in April and got permanent custody of sweet Remi.
She's an absolute doll. 10 months old now and we've got a great relationship with her birth parents. She is so loved by many! She's standing and trying to start walking- I AM NOT READY! ha!

Bryan got a new Jeep a few weeks ago after driving a Prius for the last few years. We all love it so much and can't wait to take family jeep rides once we get the third row installed! 

....And I started a new business venture of sorts....

I became a stylist for Color Street nails in January. I have always loved having my nails done but with four kids and two littles at home with me all the time, I just couldn't get my nails done anymore. Color Street is SO simple and gives me the same manicured look without the time or price tag! I'd love to share more with you about them if you're interested. You can check out Jenna's Nail Joy on facebook or my Color Street Website for more info!

That's a VERY brief rendition of what we've been up to. I have been missing blogging and am hoping to be back here more this summer! So I leave you with this adorable Easter pic of our 4 cuties!

Have a blessed Wednesday!!

May 21, 2019


In January I claimed Joy as my word for 2019.

I was diagnosed with depression in February.

.... I started this blog post several months ago. But I didn't feel like I had the reason for writing it in my grasp yet, nothing beyond what I saw as extreme irony in those first two sentences.

The second half of 2018 was crazy but I was in the center of my walk with the Lord, I heard Him, I felt Him. I knew He was with my every step. The beginning of 2019 started a new journey... filled with primarily overwhelm and the idea that everything had to be perfect or I couldn't exist. I tried to micromanage every detail to the point where I was running myself rampant.

How can "Joy" be my word when I am battling anxiety and depression? How can I reach for something that feels completely unattainable?

I've been meeting with a counselor weekly since February. I started medication. I am feeling much better and feeling like the fog has lifted a ton. But I knew God wanted me to write on this topic, I just wasn't sure what the message was supposed to be.

Until last week.

Bryan reached out to a Hebrew tattoo designer to have a "Joy" tattoo designed for me. Bryan and I have been talking about getting tattoos since Janet died, he wants one to commemorate her, and I have always wanted on one my wrist but never knew what exactly I wanted that to be.

I didn't know that Bryan had reached out to anyone, and we hadn't talked about me getting a Hebrew tattoo. But when I read the email from the artist about the meanings of the Hebrew words for Joy, I knew this wasn't a chance encounter.

There are two words in Hebrew that translate to our English word for "Joy". I went to two years of Bible college and learned all about word studies so you better believe I geeked out and broke out the concordance and the google to study this deeper.

Simchah is the first word. It literally translates into the English word Joy- Happiness, giddiness... an emotional feeling.

That's the one that I've been struggling with. I often don't FEEL joyous. I've been "choosing joy"... choosing to be glass half full, see the silver lining... but that joy evades me.

The second word is Chedva.

I don't think there is an accurate word in the English language that conveys what Chedva means. This Hebrew word is only used twice in the Bible. Once in 1 Chronicles 16:27. The second time in Nehemiah. What? Please see the tag line for my blog. The verse I claimed after Janet died in 2013. 

"And do not be grieved for the Joy of the Lord is my Strength." Nehemiah 8:10

That's the Chedva Joy. This joy doesn't mean the giddy feeling of happiness. Chedva joy shows a direct connection to God. It doesn't require anything of me. It's nothing I can earn and it's not something I feel. Chedva joy is the ability to have a direct connection and fellowship with the Lord. In reading more about context and root word studies, this literally means an open door, a way in, this joy exists because HE made a way- through Jesus - to have fellowship with ME.

So if we digest this Nehemiah verse in our understanding of the English words... in Jenna's understanding at least...

"And do not be grieved, for the ability come into the presence of the Lord is my strength."

Perfectionist Type A Jenna. Enneagram 3 "Achiever" Jenna. She was grasping at a way to feel like she wasn't being overwhelmed by the world. She was trying to perform and achieve and doing it pretty miserably, While God was saying... Jenna, I don't want just Simchah for you. I want Chedva for and with you. I want fellowship with you and I have already provided the way.


So my prayer for you today is that you'll sit with that. You'll digest that. You'll find your true meaning and purpose in that ability to enter into that fellowship with the Lord. That's where He gathers us as His children and says something along the lines of-- You are loved, You are mine, You are perfect just the way I made you. This world needs you to point others to me.

Be blessed my friends.

(I took a lot of info from my Strong's concordance and this website if you want to read farther. I am not a Bible scholar but I felt like this is what God showed me and He wanted me to share with you, so please be kind if I got something slightly wrong. :))
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