Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Today is Christmas Eve and I am finally feeling excited about Christmas. The ground is covered with a fresh blanket of snow and the sun is shining. What a blessed day. I am celebrating Jesus Christ. How wonderful of a gift. He walked as I do, he was tempted as I am, he overcame... I try. :) I am perfectly imperfect and HE is so very fond of ME! Again, how wonderful a gift.

This year the gifts beneath my tree are scarce, but the gifts of love and life are plentiful. I am among the richest and most blessed!

Merry Christmas to you. I hope that you find joy in this season and that your heart is full.

Grace and Peace!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's been so long

since I've been able to access my blog. My computer has been difficult for months. What has been going on these past two months?

October: Chris and I celebrated our 14th anniversary. Grace and Hannah turned 10. Aime and Nick's baby girl, Clara, entered the world on October 3. I took a road trip to South Dakota. I was diagnosed with a hormone imbalance, sluggish thyroid, and poor digestion. Dr. Khosh put me on some helpful meds.

November: Trevor turned 18! Wow. A friend of ours had a baby boy. Erin delivered Isaiah on Nov. 21. She is a single mom and I was blessed to coach her during labor and delivery. It was pretty amazing!

Now here we are. December already! 2008 is almost over. Have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS. Make the most of this month. What memories do you want to make?

(Doesn't the title of this post remind you of a movie? Think Parent Trap... Mitch, it's been so long, so very long.) HA

Monday, September 15, 2008

Journaling Heart

A friend recently made a comment that has me pondering.

"Kids are using facebook to share with the world the things they should be journaling to God."

It is so easy to type out a 'note' or to update our facebook 'status' with exactly what we are feeling... sharing with all who read. I wonder, are the notes and the status updates and the wall posts things that are being prayed about? Or are they just being tossed out there forgetting that God wants to be involved?

I'm guilty of that very thing. It is good to get our thoughts out... to release what is pent up... to confide in friends. It is REALLY good to talk to God about it. I'm all for sharing our hearts with our friends and being real... I just know that for ME... I want to remember to hang out with the Lord... to seek His counsel and His truth. Sometimes, just talking to Him clears up cloudy thoughts. Sometimes, talking to Him releases anger. Sometimes, talking to Him gives vision and purpose. Sometimes, life is big and hard and it takes LOTS of talking to Him to find the smallest piece of peace.

What about you? Where does your journaling heart go with all of its thoughts?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

From tree to table!

Today I canned my first dozen quarts of pears. Our tree is bursting with ripe fruit that tastes wonderful! Next week we are going to make some pear jam and pear pie! Yum-O!

Nature...a love of mine ~

Rose of Sharon, in my back yard, on a rainy day ~ love it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Am I real??? Even here... to the whole world of blog readers?

Yes. I choose to be real... at least here... on my Jumping Puddles-journal space.

It has been a long time since I have blogged. Life is just crazy busy... and, well... just crazy. I am struggling with a hormone imbalance and it is really knocking me flat. Life is a constant spin. I move in slow motion while my insides are rushing. Tears are a constant companion. Frustration and anger are always hovering, trying to overtake me.

I am currently reading Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. It is a good book for me in this season. The book takes its title from Habakkuk 3:19, "The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places."

Yes! Amen! I trust Papa... my Lord... to see me through.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The song of my 11 year old

Elijah wrote this song yesterday and gave me permission to post it here. I found this on his bed.

Jesus, God, The Holy Spirit

Jesus died for me.
He died on the cross,
then he rose again.
Jesus loves you and me,
the Holy Spirit lives in your heart
to make everything easier.
God made everything,
even you and me and
everything we can see.
I have six brothers and sisters
and it is hard to deal with so
the Holy Spirit makes it easier.

He told me that he has 'music' to it in his head but he doesn't like to sing so I haven't heard it. It amazes me that he has an understanding of the Holy Spirit AND that this is what is coming out of his heart.

I asked him about having "six" brothers and sisters as he is one of six. "Should the six be a five?"
He said, "I have a brother or sister in heaven."

I had a miscarriage when Trevor was one...16 years ago! Five years before Elijah was given to us.

Wow. I am continually blown away by my children...their minds and hearts have so many facets.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Suggestible? Expectation? Hope!

Am I suggestible? Do I accept and act on the suggestions of others? Would it be accurate to say that suggestions could be considered expectations?

I think I have been suggestible.

I think that the suggestions of others are often expectations.

Isn't an expectation a preconceived idea of how things should be 'it' is supposed to be? That sounds like stress; a problem in waiting. It is time to let go of expectations and stop trying to force life into a predetermined mold.

I choose to NOT be suggestible when the suggestion is really an expectation.

As I sit and ponder these things, I realize what I want; have hope for me, not expectation of me.

Hope is non-specific. It gives grace and space...freeing.
Expectation is specific and well defined...controlling.

Today I will choose to have hope for MYSELF and not expectation.

It will be a good day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It is so good...

parenting...I love it. Years ago I had theories on parenting.

This is how you do it

this is how you don't do it

this is how you certainly never do it and

this sometimes might be OK.

Well, my amazing children are now 17, 12 (almost 13), 11, 9, 9, and 8. All of my 'theories' have been blown out of the water. I have learned that my ideas about how to parent were often judgements of other parents shortcomings. I am learning that how I thought "it would go" and how it really is are two very different things. I have learned that one way of parenting may only fit one of my children.

Being a parent is the greatest joy. My kiddos make me laugh like no one else.

Being a parent is, at the same time, SO difficult. My heart aches, and breaks, over their hurts, their fears, their struggles, their lessons learned from mistakes, etc.

I know that I'll continue learning. Maybe when Ben (8 year old) is 20...I'll understand how to parent. But then again, I'll probably be learning how to GRANDparent.

Monday, June 16, 2008

How far?

Jesus, you know just how far
The East is from the West
I don’t have to see the man I’ve been
Come rising up in me again
In the arms of your mercy I find rest

Cause you know just how far the East is from the West
From one scarred hand to the other.

Yesterday is over. Today is new.

New mercy...fresh grace...sufficient for ME, for MY TODAY.

I AM NOT, and I DO NOT, have to be who I was yesterday or last month or last year. Everyday I learn more about who I am and everyday I practice being that person... I don't do it perfectly and that is OK.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

How are you?

"I'm not answering that question today."

What a great, bold answer to an all too common question.

Married for 35 years and in the midst of a divorce...

"How are you?"

A best friend dies...

"How are you?"

It is completely understandable to "not answer" that question OR to get frustrated. Is it society...have we all just trained each other that we really don't care? Is it that we just don't want to share our heart...possibly cry or say something "wrong?" Do we want others to "have a brain" and realize how we are without asking?

What's up with "how are you?" Do you really want to know? Do I really want to know?

Yes, I do. are you?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

from the heart of a wonderful, aching young man...our Trevor

There are trials in life......all around us.

What do we do during those times?
Well there are two things we could do. What we feel like doing... and what we should do.
What's easier? Well when something hard is going's easier to break down and get depressed and scared and angry and hurt and worried and and and and and.

Since July of last year...I've been going through some pretty hard things. Things that have weakened my relationships at home. Things that have weakened a few relationships with friends. Things that have been 'unhealthy' for me. I want to share a little bit about the two things that have effected me in a negative way more than anything.

First, in July, work started to have a bad effect on my dad. He was getting highly stressed and it was very unhealthy for him. It started getting so bad that he needed to go to the doctor to see what was wrong. The doctor came to the conclusion that my dad was depressed. So he put him on a medicine called Paxil. That's when things got really bad.
Over time, Paxil started to have severe side effects on my dad.
To make a long story short. Paxil severely hurt my dad...and it lasted 6-7months.
Over this period of time...the whole situation hurt me really bad. Mainly because I wanted to know why God was letting everything that was happening....happen. I got angry. Extremely angry. And I started closing myself off from people. I kept everything in. I didn't let anything out. Except maybe to a very few select people. My relationships at home started dwindling. I secluded myself from my family. I would be gone a lot and when I would get home...I'd shut myself in my room. I started doubting myself...and God.
Because of that...I haven't really been the same person that I used to be a year ago.

The other thing is something that's happened very recently. As in, the past 17 days. A friend of mine, also a best friend/sister to some of my very close friends, was in a horrible four-wheeler accident. I'd rather not pull out all of the facts because it's hard enough just typing this up. If you want to know about it, and haven't, you can go to
For the 16 days she was alive in the hospital, people prayed. Literally thousands of people prayed for her...people all over the United States...and even people in other countries. We were praying for a miracle...I was praying for a miracle. I had so much faith. I was believing. I believed that God was going to provide a miracle. Cause that's what He does. He takes care of us. He provides for us. He gives us happiness. So of course He was going to heal her. Go against IMPOSSIBLE odds...and heal her. People all over the U.S. and the world were praying for her. Having faith...yeah, she was going to come out of it.
She didn't.
Thursday - June 15th - 2008 - 3:15pm - Lauren died in the hospital bed.
She was 15 years old.
When I heard the news that she had passed away. I had an ocean of emotions come over me. Sadness, confusion, passion, anger, rage, even hatred.
She was not supposed to die. She had too much to accomplish. She had so much yet to do.
I started to feel like God just didn't care.
God doesn't listen to us. If He did...then He just isn't a loving god. So either He doesn't listen...or He doesn't care. I just knew it was one of the two. God let Lauren die. He let her go through everything at the hospital...and then just let her die. That sure sounds like a loving, caring, providing, healing god.
Yeah right.
It sounded to me like He didn't care at all. I started feeling like there was no great, healing, caring god.

What an idiot I am.

Yes, Lauren went through a lot.
Yes, Lauren died.
No, it wasn't God's fault.

A horrible accident happened. Lauren was severely hurt.
If Lauren would have lived. She would have continued life...struggling. It would have been very hard for her. In a sense...she probably would have suffered.

Lauren went home. She went to the greatest place she could. She got to go be with her heavenly father. The King of kings, the Lord of lords. Her daddy. She's in heaven rejoicing. Dancing. Singing. Experiencing more than she could have ever imagined. She won. Nothing better could have happened for her. The only negative now...we hurt.

We're the ones hurting...because...we miss her. We loved, and continue to love her. But she's not here with us...not in a physical sense. We don't get the pleasure of seeing her. Of hearing her. We don't get any of that. We're the ones that are at a loss.

It's ok to be sad. To hurt. To mourn. But not for her sake. Because she's got so much more now. And it hurts to say that. Because after all...she was a friend, a daughter, a sister. 15 years old....
But she's better off now than we are.
Since the moment I got the news, to now. I don't think I've ever cried as much as I have in this time period. It hurts so much.... but that's ok. It's ok to hurt. But I can't be mad at God. I can't lose my faith. Because after all...I was praying for God to heal Lauren physically.

He healed her in every way possible and impossible.
She's perfect now.
That's healing.

So I say all of that to say....there are trials. We constantly go through a trial. What do we do?
Do we freak out and challenge our faith?
Or do we trust that God will take care?

That's all.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Nim's Island tagline

'Be the hero of your own story.'

We all have a life story...isn't it time to take care of you and be your own hero?

Friday, May 30, 2008

summer fun

Wednesday is 'ferPenBaPins' swim day at our house. The Shea'fer', 'Pen'nel, 'Ba'y, 'Pi'ne, and Steve'ns' all get together to play in the pool.

Ben the fish! He is a great swimmer.

Caden has learned that the pool is so fun!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Who I Am...truth!

When I called to the Lord, He answered me;
He made me bold and stouthearted. Psalm 138: 3
(Jen's paraphrase)

Bold: confident, adventurous, free!

Stouthearted: having a stout heart or spirit: courageous!
Stout: strong of character
Heart: one's innermost character, feelings, or inclinations

I am confident, adventurous, free, courageous, and strong in my innermost character, feelings, and inclinations!

The Life and Times....

of the Sheafer Eight!

My husband and I have six children and we home school all of them. It is the season for the pool and play but I want to keep the momentum going! Thus, school does continue. The goal? Complete school work before noon, including reading. This keeps the entire afternoon free for swimming, playing, lounging, etc. We have a pool in our back yard and this is a great motivator for getting 'stuff' done. I look forward to listening to my kiddos read, watching the light bulbs go off in their heads when they 'get' the new math problem, and shuffling through all the teacher papers to grade their worksheets. How great is my life!!!


I am in the season of RE-ARRANGE, RE-ORGANIZE, and RE-ADJUST. I'm working on my 'Life Notebook' and becoming a diligent homemaker/wife/mother. School planning, menu planning, grocery planning, household chores, laundry, errands, library...clean the front porch, clean the back porch...brush my teeth?!?!?! Are you kidding? How am I supposed to get all of this done?

Life Notebook!


Schatzie got into the trash last night. Ugh. She hasn't done this is a long time. My friend, Tracy, told me to put Schatzie IN the trashcan and then laugh at her. Tracy said the humiliation would keep her from doing it again. Well, I did that. It worked! But the tiny chicken scraps (that should have been taken out LAST NIGHT!) were more than little poochy could handle. I'm wondering if another trashcan laugh is in order???


The birds are singing. The house is quiet. The children are all sleeping. Chris has gone to work. It is a quiet time. I'm off to chat with Papa. Have a blessed day!


There ya go. I look into The Life and Times....

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


The newest addition to our family...Crush the bearded dragon. Our friends, Chris and Shawn Bay, were his previous owners and they passed him on to us. Very cool!


Our dear friend, Carrol, took this picture of our little pooch. Schatzie is our spoiled dachshund. She is one and a half and we hope to breed her in October. She is a tiny thing, only about seven pounds, and we will be breeding her with a chihuahua to create precious chiweenies (aka Mexican Hot Dogs).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Daily Examen

St. Ignatius Loyola consistently spoke of the value of this spiritual exercise for all believers everywhere. He believed that he received a gift from God that not only enriched his own Christian life but was meant to be shared with others. The gift was a "method," a way to seek and find God in all things and to gain the freedom to let God's will be done on earth. This way of praying allowed Ignatius to discover the voice of God within his own heart and to experience a growth in familiarity with God's will. Jesuits call this prayer their daily examen of consciousness.

1. Thanksgiving: Lord, I realize that all, even myself, is a gift from you.
- Today, for what things am I most grateful?

2. Intention: Lord, open my eyes and ears to be more honest with myself.
- Today, what do I really want for myself?

3. Examination: Lord, show me what has been happening to me and in me this day.
- Today, in what ways have I experienced your love?

4. Contrition: Lord, I am still learning to grow in your love.
- Today, what choices have been inadequate responses to your love?

5. Hope: Lord, let me look with longing toward the future.
- Today, how will I let you lead me to a brighter tomorrow?

What surprised me today?
What inspired me today?
What was life-giving today?
What was life-taking today?
What did I learn about myself today?
What did I discover about God's grace today?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Family Fun

We are a family who loves nature and being outside. My husband and I have hiked in the Appalachian Mountains, the Rocky Mountains, and my ideal vacation isn't a fancy resort or a cruise ship... it is a cabin in the woods and hiking trails close by.

That ideal vacation is not reality for us right now, but we have a great home and lots of walking trails. Something we have discovered to really utilize the walking trails and parks in our area is letterboxing.

Letterboxing is an intriguing “treasure hunt” style outdoor activity. Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible places (like parks) and post clues to finding the box online on one of several Web sites. However, clues to finding some of the most highly-sought boxes are passed around by word of mouth. There are about 20,000 letterboxes hidden in North America alone. Individual letterboxes usually contain a log book, an often hand-carved rubber stamp and may contain an ink pad. Finders make an imprint of the letterbox's stamp on their personal log book, and leave an imprint of their personal stamp on the letterbox's logbook . (from

We are getting ready to begin our season of letterboxing and, for the first time, we are going to hide one of our own. Why don't you join us? Visit for more info.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Rest of God

~ Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath ~

"If I only had more time," is the mantra of our age. But is this the real problem? Author Mark Buchanan states that what we really need is "the rest of God - the rest God bestows and, with it, that part of Himself we can know only through stillness."

This book seeks to help us receive anew the gift of Sabbath, this day of rest and play and replenishment.

This is what I am currently reading. I'll let you know all about it!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Don't Forget to Play

We're talking about real play: the kind that's spontaneous, unscripted, and has no purpose other than pure enjoyment. "When you play spontaneously, you begin to discover that there's a whole other dimension to life that has nothing to do with tasks or being right or wrong."

~ from an article in Family Fun magazine

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Today is...

the day that the Lord has made.

Emotions are on high, the house is a wreck, the humid air makes everything feel damp to match my mental state.

Yet I will praise my God...Papa. He is in my midst. I choose to live by the truth of who I am in Him and not by my emotions.

Just typing that makes my heart feel lighter and the damp not quite so damp. Amazing how a truth can free you in less than a minute.

It is joy unspeakable and full of glory!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


"I love how God has been changing me one small bit at a time. Sometimes I don't even notice He's doing that until I'm in a situation and I watch myself respond in ways I never would have before. I'm enjoying immensely the {Jen} He is allowing to emerge."

~ from So You Don't Want to go to Church Anymore by Jake Colsen

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Prayer

Papa God, help us to comprehend your love - it surpasses, GOES BEYOND, our knowledge! Without a revelation from You, we won't get it... we won't understand it. I'm excited! I trust You and I know You hear me and You act on my behalf. You want us to know and experience Your love. Thank you!

Friday, April 18, 2008


The truth shall set you free and the truth has a name: Jesus. Everything is about Him and freedom is a process that happens inside a relationship with Him...

~ from The Shack by William P. Young

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thoughts and a prayer ~ Friends

Friendship should never be taken for granted. Jesus calls you His friend, and He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother. Throughout your life He sends different people to you. Some are friends for a season. God sends them to meet a special need, or for you to meet a special need for them, and then you move off in different directions. Others remain friends throughout life. God sends friends who share your disappointments, your hopes, your highs your lows. They see your faults and love you anyway. You learn to resolve conflict, trust one another. You become iron sharpening iron; helping each other grow in character, and in the love of God. God uses friendship to shape and mold us: If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

Father, I thank You for my friends. We are kind to one another, speaking words of grace into each other’s lives. We are there to laugh and cry together; we trust each other, encouraging one another in the Lord. We confess our faults to one another and pray for one another that we may be healed and restored to a spiritual tone of mind and heart. Thank You Jesus for teaching me how to be a good friend. Amen.

Scripture Reading
Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 18:24; John 17:13-14; James 5:16

~ daily prayer by Germaine Copeland