Thursday, February 26, 2009

Read it

I am on a reading frenzy:) This is normal for me, but hasn't been for the last several months. I have finally made a concerted effort to find time to read stuff that is other than entertainment (which, by the way, I have been reading an AWESOME fiction series. Dave is ahead of me by a few books and we joke that we're both having an affair with the lead character.)

I usually have one non-fiction book going all the time, if not a few at a time. But lately - probably since school began and I've been babysitting - I haven't made an effort to read any non-fiction growth type books. I've come across a few that have peaked my interest and have found a new energy to make time for it... in addition to the fact that the baby has become much easier and much more predictable over the last month.

Tuesday night I decided to start getting up even earlier than I already do in order to fit some devotional reading/work time in. My girls get up between 7-7:30am... I was getting up at 6, working out and then shower and ready to get the morning routine going... it left me with NO alone time. Nick (the baby) is awake while the girls are at school, so on the days that he is here I get no time to myself. None. Not that I'm chained to everyone, but when the girls are awake or around I can't think about anything important - I can't concentrate. So Tuesday, (after having a mini meltdown in the morning) I decided to start getting up at 5am. Its brutal, but so far it has been worth it.

I've also made myself a monthly book schedule. This gives me a goal for finishing my books rather than having a million going at the same time.
February: Words Kids Need To Hear by David Staal
March: Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
April: Designing a Woman's Life
May: Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas

I haven't gotten further in scheduling, but I do have more books to read. I kind of want to alternate between parenting, personal, and marriage related books. Right now my list is basically parenting so I need to find some of the others. Additional books on the list: The 10 Greatest Gifts I Give To My Children (something like that), Parenting: Going from Surviving to Thriving by Chuck Swindoll, Raising Self-Reliant Children in A Self-Indulgent World.

In addition to Words Kids Need to Hear, I just began a 40 day (coinciding with Lent) study with a group of online friends: The Love Dare. This book, apparently, is inspired by or written as a companion to the movie Fireproof (which we have not seen). Every day you are given a love dare - a challenge action that will show your love to your spouse. We are on day 2.

Day 1: Patience - Say nothing negative
Day 2: Kindness - Do an unexpected gesture of kindness

I am doing both days today since I didn't buy the book until last night. And I'm trying to do it for the girls as well as Dave. I'm kind of working through the no negative thing and trying to define that for myself (given Dave's and my propensity for discussions about current events). The challenge for me with the girls is the patience part:) As for day 2... I (unexpectedly) made Dave's lunch this morning and was rewarded with a kiss, a hug, and a sincere thank you.

It feels good to be intentional again. To be reading good stuff again. To be working on myself.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Words Kids Need to Hear - Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - You Can Count On Me

God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

Basically this chapter is about letting our kids know that we will be beside them through the good and the bad. That we will love them and support them through anything. In addition, we are committed to following through on our commitments to them.

From the book:
"Kids handle tough situations better when they kow that in good times and bad, they can count on a parent or other close adult. But count on them for what?"

* To care
* To be present
* To support
* To understand
* To keep commitments

Two practical strategies to communicate "You can count on me":

* Make commitments and keep them
* Partner with kids in activities

"When parental reliability exists, the leap to trusting God becomes an easier step for kids to make."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Words Kids Need To Hear - Chapter 1

Every so often I find a book that articulates me so well that I kind of get mad about it. Mad because I should have written it:) As I read it, I'm thinking, "Holy crap! Someone else out there in the world thinks like me. Why didn't I write this?"

I'll tell you why I didn't write it - because I'm not confident that anyone would care...

I also get mad because as I'm reading it, I realize how reactionary my life has been for the last little while and its the kick in the butt that I need to turn around and become intentional again.

At any rate, I've only read the first chapter of this book, but it is one of those books.

Chapter 1: I believe in you

In a nutshell, communicating to my children that I believe in them instills confidence and belief in themselves. "If my mom believes in me, then I should believe in myself."

Letting my daughters know that I believe in them is different than giving them positive reinforcement. Saying "good job" or "you're a good girl" gives her positive feelings temporarily, however, expressing my belief in the child gives her confidence in the endeavor or adventure that she is embarking on. It means allowing her to try things - even difficult things, even things that will make my life less convenient or put together - and allowing her to do it in her own way to achieve the desired outcome. I believe in you is more about the process than it is about the outcome - and it is more influential than a congratulations, job well done; it is about character rather than shallow praise of an accomplishment.

I believe in you gives her courage when she is scared; gives her confidence to keep trying or try again after she's failed.

I believe in you means being intentional about observing her character rather than reactionary in observing the results. It answers the question: What just happened that is worth noticing?

I believe in you is displayed when I articulate my feelings for her and my observations of her character to other people while she is around and can hear me. It is displayed when I convey my faith in her for the future (ex: I believe you're going to be a good driver instead of ugh, I'm dreading drivers training because you are going to be such a terrible driver). It is displayed by giving her a goal to grow into. It is displayed by allowing her to reach the desired goal by her method rather than dictating to her how it should be done and correcting her when she doesn't do it my way. It is asking for her opinion/input in life and family matters (not everything) and truly taking it into consideration and allowing her to be part of the decision making process.

Great quote: "We all want our children to put their best foot forward. But in childhood and adolescence, sometimes the best foot is the one that is stumble on, providing an opportunity for the child to learn how to regain balance, and right himself." Madeline Levine, PhD.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I have a good friend who is in the process of adopting a girl from Ethiopia. While going through the process she and her husband have had to really examine their family and what they want it to be like. They have become very intentional in the way that they live.

She inspired me last week. Truly inspired me. She and her husband have made some rather difficult decisions in order to protect their family and become even more family oriented.

Dave and I sat down and talked about our family for 2 hours on Sunday morning. We created a vision statement, some goals and a list of traditions that we want to continue or begin. It was an incredible exercise. We now have a plumbline on which to base many of our decisions... for example, Nora had gotten invitations to two birthday parties - one on Friday night and one on Sunday. We now have a way of making a decision on whether or not she can go. Obviously, things are not completely rigid and may go through changes over the years, but it is a good starting point.

We also made a list of core values for our family. Values that we want to instill in our children - to teach them and live them ourselves. Again, another plumbline that will help in decision making... does this line up with our core values?

Mission/Vision Statement:
We are a family that is focused on love: Love for God, love for eachother, love for others and love for ourselves.

Our Core Values:
* to be missional - looking outward, focused on serving others
* to be compassionate - look at others in terms of their stories rather than judging outward appearances, feel for them, love them
* to be God-centered - actively pursue together who God is in our lives
* to have integrity - do the right thing even when it is painful or difficult and even when no one is looking; make grown-up decisions, not necessarily the easy ones
* to have self-love and confidence - realize self worth & that its okay to do something for yourself, live confidently in love
* to be loyal to family - defend your family, be protective of your sisters, enjoy each other and desire to spend time together

Goals for our family:
* Have family dinners on Tuesday night & Friday or Saturday night
* Do devotions at family dinners & be intentional about our conversations at dinner (no more conversations over top of the girls' heads resulting in frustration at their interruptions, intentionally focus on family conversations)
* Participate in mission/community outreach projects as a family
* Honor our family traditions
* Cultivate relationships with the 12 people/families we've identified - once/month
* One date night with each girl + 1 parent once/year
* Breakfast dates - 1 parent + 1 girl, each parent goes 1/month alternating girls
* One vacation each year as a family
* One vacation each year as just Dave and Jana
* Manage our money and time with a Big Rock First attitude
* One date night each month
* Protect Sunday as our family day
* Provide experiences rather than things

* Advent wreath & adore-naments
* Santa & reindeer
* Lent - establish this
* Easter brunch with the Fulmers
* 13th birthday: trip alone with mom & dad
* Golden birthday: family getaway
* Labor Day weekend at Gramps & Gram's trailor
* Dykstra campout
* Church each week

Friday, February 13, 2009


Last night in counseling we discussed the biggest wound that I have been able to identify in my life: feeling as if I have never been chosen.

I identified this as my big wound when our small group was reading Waking the Dead by John Eldridge. And as I think back through life I can think of many, many times where I felt that someone chose someone or something else instead of me. I continue to feel that in my adult life at times.

Although I can identify this as my wound and I can identify many situations where this has been reinforced in my life, I've also learned that it is okay for people to choose someone else. When you're a kid, you don't get it. As an adult who is getting to know myself I understand why I wasn't chosen very often as a kid, but the pain and the results remain.

What I found interesting in our conversation last night, is that my fear of rejection makes me hesitate in relationships. Wow - when my counselor started explaining this concept to me, it hit me like a ton of bricks - he is so right on. I totally do hesitate in relationships out of fear that the other person will not choose me like I've chosen her. I can go back and identify specific relationships where I've hesitated for that reason. I also can identify relationships that I'm currently hesitating on... for example, I've had the opportunity to meet some of you, but out of fear that I won't live up to expectations and you won't choose to get to know me, I have backed out.

While I claim to want to live intentionally and focus on relationships, my fear of rejection holds me back.

I live in constant second guess mode when I actually put myself out there. Blogging is a really good thing for me, however, when I put myself on the screen and bare myself I go back and reread it several times and then struggle when there are very few comments - Did I share too much? Am I too intense? Too real? Are people laughing at me? Rolling their eyes? Do they think that I'm an idiot?

I guess it all comes down to the fact that because of situations in my childhood and the fact that I'm introverted in a predominantly extroverted world, I feel like people won't like the real Jana and will always choose the party over spending time getting to know her. Will always choose to hang out with the group rather than get to know her. And in all honesty, that is the truth - maybe not always, but a majority of the time.

But what I've learned and am continuing to learn is that its okay. I'm not going to be chosen most of the time - and its not because people think I'm an idiot, but more due to chemstry, intensity of personality, viewpoints, opinions, an ability to have real discussions, etc. Just like I don't choose certain people because they just don't flow with me. I don't choose certain people because I can't do the whole "what did your baby's diaper look like this morning" conversation, or "what is the latest fashion trend" conversation. Its okay. I don't choose people and those people aren't likely to choose me.

What I need to work on is figuring out when I'm feeling rejection and when I'm feeling like there is a possibility of rejection and get through it and stop hesitating. I have friendships right now that I have had for 8 or 9 years, but for the first 6-7 years I held back because I felt like I liked him/her better than he/she liked me. Those friendships, right now, are very fullfilling and very promising and are exactly what I need. I hate it, though, that it took 7 years to get there. Imagine if I could have gotten past that whole feeling a lot earlier!


On a different note...
* I colored my hair last night because I had about 3 inches of outgrowth (roots) and it is now kind of a strawberry blonde color - with more emphasis on the strawberry. Not real pleased with it. Not what I was going for. I'm a little scared, though, that if I highlight it, it will break off or fall out.

* I have had the week off from babysitting so I have been obssessing about getting my staple wardrobe pieces into place. I have the black ribbed turtleneck sweater - Ann Taylor, bought off of ebay. Yesterday I bought the good black trousers - Ann Taylor Loft. I also bought a bright pink cable knit sweater - only because it was $6 at Ann Taylor Loft. I already have decent khaki pants and a white button down shirt. So the only things I have left are: Good dressy jeans, possibly denim trousers, White sweater and black heeled loafers.

I have gone to every store and website in the area looking for the PERFECT shoe (for a good price - wouldn't you know that I can find the perfect shoe for $70-$100?) I'm so picky about shoes. It has to be a certain height and look a certain way. So I'm obsessing. Thinking about just being satisfied with my black boots for now and working on the shoes next fall.

I have also been obsessing about the jeans. I have tried on tons of jeans in every high end store and outlet store. I have such problems with this. Filene's Basement has Lucky jeans and Seven for All Mankind jeans on sale for $23 (they are normally $100-$120). I am bound and determined to find a pair that fit or can be tailored to fit... but they're too long and if I get them hemmed it will ruin the boot cut. UGH.

One more trip to Filene's Basement this afternoon and then I may give up.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Words on the Wall

This one wasn't posted on Doug's wall because he was there... but I HAVE to record it, because it is so Ryann:)

My favorite jokes of all times are Man-with-no-arms-and-no-legs jokes. Seriously, I can rattle them off one after another and I'll be crying by the end and barely able to finish the punchline... even though I know them all.

Somehow these jokes came up at Christmas Eve dinner with Doug's family and our family. So I asked, "What do you call 2 men with no arms and no legs hanging on the wall?"

Ryann, without missing a beat: "Stuck guys?"

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Words On the Wall

Originally posted on January 22, 2009

Scene: Jana playing piano. R & G fightin over a toy right next to her. Out of the corner of her eye, Jana sees R grab the toy in G's hand, but G is not letting go. As Jana turns her head from her music she finds G is now in a headlock, courtesy of R.

J: Ryann! You cannot take things out of other peoples hands. You know that.
R: But I want Cinderella and she said I could play with her.
J: I understand, but just because YOU want something and she has it doesn't mean that you can just take it.

Jana goes back to playing piano. As she's doing so, G runs away with the toy. R, frustrated with G and her unsympathetic mom runs after her...

R: Do I have to pull your hair????!!


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Words On the Wall

Originally posted on January 20, 2009
Georgia has recently expressed concern that we are missing lyrics from one of our songs at church. She enlightened us that the TRUE lyrics are:
Oh No, you never let go, through the calm and through your stinky feet.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Words On the Wall

Originally posted on January 5, 2009

When someone asked Nora what she would like for her birthday, she replied "I really, really, really want a magnifying glass." And like good parents we had not gotten her one. Dave went out and bought one tonight on the way home from work and brought it into our bedroom to show me. Ryann was told at least 5 times that she was not allowed to enter the room because she was not so good at keeping secrets. As I was wrapping it she walked in, looked at it and said, "You got Nora a magnifying glass for her birthday?" We told her that there was a gift for her from Great Grandma and if she told Nora anything about the magnifying glass then she would not be getting her gift tomorrow.

Nora walks in the room after we've given her the okay. You know where this is going:

R to N: "You are NOT getting a magnifying glass for your birthday."

After Nora left, I say: "Ryann, I thought we told you not to tell her about the magnifying glass."
R: "I told her she was NOT getting one." Duh.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Words On the Wall

Originally posted on Decmber 3, 2008

Georgia (on the potty): The poop is not coming out.
Jana (uh, not very amused by subject of conversation): Okay, there isn't really anything I can do to help you with that. I can't make it come out.
Georgia (in a sing-songy voice): But Iiiiii can!

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