JEL FAMILY

Building a Family of Faith
Faith in our family begins with trusting our Heavenly Father and His promises. We press forward despite challenges, never giving up on ourselves or our children. We teach our family to have faith in Christ by living what we know to be true. Our children learn their most powerful lessons from our faithfulness.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Choir

(Back row, second from the right)
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I am so proud of Emma and her singing ability. She has grown into a beautiful young woman and I am awed at the person she has become. I am so glad that I am able to share her accomplishments with the rest of my family. They all have had a part in creating the woman she is today. I love you Emma and good job!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Guys and Dolls (Emma Felton) 2009

November 12, 13, 14 at 7:p.m.
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Sit Down Youre Rockin The Boat


Follow The Fold
Follow The Fold

Happy After!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Holiday Hauntings

It's that time of year again. Emma went to a party Friday night. She has chosen ghoulish over glamor this year. There will be more photos to follow as the season "Creeps" closer...




Bwa-ha-ha-haaa!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

He Was My Baby, Who Is That Young Man?

I knew it was something every mother went through. I knew it was coming. But I tried to forget about it. Then, last night, the first of many tearful moments happened. The realization that this is the beginning of many endings. He is growing up and moving on into adulthood.
It was at the Senior Soccer Recognition Night where this epiphany hit me. I felt the tears well up and forced them back. I looked at that amazing young man and for the life of me, I couldn't remember the sweet little baby face that once looked up at me thinking I was his whole world.
I miss the cuddles and muddy feet. I miss the little one that I held in my arms. I have to, in a way, mourn the loss of that child, as each year passes. I will never hold that newborn, toddler, or child ever again. Sure, bit's and pieces of each of those years exist in him now, but he is in almost every aspect a different person.
Now, he towers over me and as he is looking down at me, his eyes say that he can't wait to experience the whole world for himself. Sure there is a bit of apprehension at the big new world he will be a part of and surely conquer. But he is almost ready.
I look at him and wonder where I went right. Despite all the parenting mistakes I surely made, he amazes me. He is genuinely a good and honest person. He has learned the value of hard work and knows he is a child of God. He is an kind and generous big brother, and I wonder too, how Emma will handle his moving on to the next stages of his life. I am sure she and I will do it together with many tears.
I fear that this (school) year will bring many more tearful moments as I watch him do many things for the "Last Time". I knew this was coming, I didn't expect it this soon and I didn't realize until today that there will be many more of these moments in the weeks and months to come.
But OH, the joy I feel at the many wonderful things awaiting his future. It is that thought, that hope, that brings a little peace to my fluttering heart. Because as he experiences many "Lasts", he will surely experience many more "Firsts". I only hope that he will still continue to include me in many of those firsts. He has so much life yet to live, that in recognizing these endings, I am also greatly aware of the beginnings that are already happening. I love him and I am as proud of him as I can possibly be. I know that if he keeps God close to him, his life will always be blessed.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Adventures of Charles "Sawyer" and Jonathon "Finn"

First of all, I have to express my appreciation for having The Lord, family, and friends step in and fill in the blanks where a father should have been. I know, that I am not perfect and no matter how much I try, there is no way I, all by myself, can take the place of a father to my kids. There are so many instances where there has been someone to take my daughter to a "Father / Daughter night at church, or gone on a Father / Son camp-out. In many ways, my children have more fathers / parents than they can count! For this I am truly grateful. The following is a story of one of those moments that I am grateful for, to the point words often fail me.

My Grandpa grew up in Missouri. He talks about it often and I have a feeling, he would be there right now if he could. I love to hear the stories he tells about his childhood. I think he must have given his mother fits! But then, maybe that's where my daughter gets her impishness. Grandpa has had his share of experiences and will tell anyone about them, if they just take time to listen.

I was talking with my grandpa at work, telling him about the white water rafting trip my daughter had gone on (post to follow). Joking with him that my son was VERY upset that he didn't get to go on a river trip. I think this is what started the ball rolling. There are many rivers in Missouri and one of my fellow co-workers had recently gone on a river trip in Missouri too. He had brought in pictures of his trip, maps, and pamphlets to share with us.

Grandpa got on the computer and did a little searching and turned to me and said, "Do you think Jonathon would like to take a canoe trip down the river with me?" I thought to myself, "What a silly question because it's all he has been talking about since Emma got back from hers!" But I only said, "Absolutely! He would LOVE that!" I called Jon at home and asked him what he thought and he basically asked if he could pack right then and there! Grandpa made plans and The two of them took off on a Friday morning.

Now here the details get a little fuzzy because I did not go on this trip but here are a few tidbits I got from them. First, My grandpa is almost 83 years old! My son is 17. So this little band is a bit odd looking and very generational-ly challenged. But for some reason, they get along, and often, (had it not been for their obvious age difference) act like two brothers off on an adventure.

On the way there they stopped at Lambert's. This restaurant has been featured on Food Network. They are known for throwing rolls at their customers. According to Grandpa, Jonathon is a great catch and they don't mess around when they throw the rolls either. From this meal, the only thing I can be sure of is that Jonathon must have eaten his weight in food because I could hear him moaning in the background saying he ate too much while I talked to grandpa on the cell phone. Then they drove off to their destination.

I am not sure where they stayed. I do know it was very much like a cabin and here is a photo.

On Saturday they were driven from their truck to a place up river where they were to start. There was a twist when they got there... They were not given a canoe but rather a kayak! I know they were on the river for hours but I don't know how many. AND they were IN the river a couple of times too! The first time they tipped Jonathon, who was in front, (and if I understand correctly in charge of steering) taking pictures. He took a great picture of a tree that was in the water. Then they crashed right into it! Down into the river they went and Jonathon learned that summer sausage does NOT float. All the contents of their lunch either sank, or floated away! Grandpa swam to the bank and Jon proceeded to get the kayak, waterproof camera (yea me!), and cooler to the edge of the river. Then he swam after his flip-flops, and the paddles. (I don't know what order but got all of them).
They rested for a bit and then got back in to the kayak and continued their trip down river. I am sure they had a great time and shared many stories. I wish I could seen and heard everything that happened on that entire trip.
Later, a little farther down the river, there was a place where the water moved faster. There were people on the bank just watching. Here is why. As soon as they hit the faster water, it took the kayak right into a wall of rocks and PLOP! They were back in the river! Grandpa held onto one paddle, and was doing his best to keep his britches up. Jon, AGAIN, swam after his paddle, camera and flip-flops. The water was too fast and one of those flip-flops stayed in that Missouri river. He never got it back. I don't know if they went any farther after that or not but they surely enjoyed their adventure. They got back to the truck and changed into dry clothes. Then, rather than stay another night, they drove right back home that evening! I am sure there are other things that happened on this trip however, I won't make any changes to this entry. It feels finished and then there will always be a few details that only I know about and even more that only Charles "Sawyer" and Jonathon "Finn" actually know about!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Little Fun Always Leads to Sunburn

It's a tradition in these here parts, to go to Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in Santa Clause Land, IN. I don't know why but it seems to be in our blood. The urge to go to Holiday World pulses through our veins and we are ridden with guilt if we miss the season. So, I packed up the kids and we went. It was a uneventful Saturday and I was surprised that I didn't have the stress in me as usual (getting the kids anywhere), instead I was excited. But there was a casualness to our going. I LOVED IT! There was no stress, we weren't worried about getting there before the gates opened, and no one was cranky! This led us to a beautiful day where we spent quality time together, walking, talking, and laughing. Free drinks and free sunscreen, (the latter we forgot to use) and a clean park. Who could ask for more?
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Most lines were good and any that were long, went quickly. All but ONE! There is a new ride called the Pilgrims Plunge. I waited in line for 45 min and left the kids for the Lazy River. They waited at least another hour! Was it worth it? They said YES! (but didn't want to get in line again until later when the line seemed to be much quicker)
All in all, We had a fun time and only I burned and looked like Santa's red suit! I love spending time with my kids. They are beautiful and wonderful!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My First Prom As a Mother

WELL! It's official, I am OLD! When did my children grow up???It seems like just yesterday Jonathon was bringing me piles of dandelions from the yard because the primary song says"I often go walking in meadows of clover. And I gather arms full of blossoms of blue" so my son made a point to bring me every kind of anything, that looked to him, a beautiful flower. Now he would rather buy flowers for PROM and they aren't for me!!!

Jon decided to ask Casey Schafer to prom. Most people would see this as a small challenge but our situation was slightly different. While Casey lived here in town for many years, she now lives about 3 hours away. So there was a lot of things that could make his asking a HUGE disappointment.


Well, she said yes and I am truly thankful to her brother who drove her here, helping eliminating one of those hurdles. I am sure he had better things to do, I think there may have been a monetary bribe, but he still rose to the occasion and I dub Corban, AMAZING BIG BROTHER!

My grandfather let us take some pictures at his beautiful house. These kids are so funny! Casey is a ball of energy and I think that Jonathon enjoys not knowing what she might do next. They had a great start to a fun evening.

As you can see, They enjoyed playing with the camera while waiting for their dinner reservations to be ready. They even stopped by the youth church dance to say hi to all their friends. All decked out for prom and everyone else in jeans! The kids all loved seeing them.
(Side note... I have never been so lost as I was the day we went to pick out a tux. I thought picking out a dress was the hardest thing about prom but we were both thoroughly lost and confused at the sight of all the different tuxes. As you can see... we did alright!)
They met up with Jon's friends at the prom. Every one of his friends, thoroughly enjoyed meeting and getting to know Casey. They have all decided that when she comes to town in the summer, they all have to get together.
The dance was fun and they had a great time. They stopped by the house and changed into comfortable jeans and went to a friends house for about an hour. They wanted to stay out later, but I said he had a lot of fun, she needs to go home, and you have to wake up early for church in the morning. He agreed, mostly.
So, yes, I am old. I miss my babies, and sometimes I miss my youth. I don't want to relive my youth but I would love to hold my babies just one more time. They grow up so fast and I can't believe it. I feel like I missed EVERYTHING! Life doesn't slow down and watching my kids live it with so much energy and enthusiasm is wonderful. It is becoming their time. What a blessing it is to be able to watch it happen!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mississippi Maddness 2009 (Day 1)

Friday: 3-20-09 (Pre-Day 1)
The day before we left, I cleaned out the car and we packed but did not load the car which slowed down my morning plans, just a little.

Saturday: 3-21-09 (Day 1)
We left for Mississippi on Saturday the 21 of March. I wanted to head out at 4a.m. but that did NOT happen. We packed up the car, checked our list twice, (What? Do I look like Santa?)We did get out the door and down the highway by about 5a.m. Not bad!

The drive was long and tedious but Jonathon was a HUGE help! We were pleased to see the sign that said we were in Mississippi and stopped at the best Rest Stop/Visitor's Center I have ever been to. It was CLEAN! Not just clean but REALLY CLEAN! They give everyone free soda or coffee! (I will be a regular in the future.) Then we trucked it on down to my parents home. That was only about 1 1/2 more hrs of driving. About 8-9 hours total, one way.

(Side Note) When we got to Madison, MS We stopped at a Wal-Mart. No big deal right? Well this was the prettiest darn Wal-Mart I have ever seen. Even the parking lot was fancy. Come to find out the mayor of this town made a rule that any new buildings had to be built with specific bricks and had to look a certain way or bye-bye business! As a result, Wal-Mart not only changed their design for this town but redesigned many of their new Wal-Mart's to be like this one.

We arrived at my parents house. Hugs and kisses were distributed. (sloppy ones from their sweet dog Maggie)

My kids were Exhausted!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mississippi Maddness 2009 (Day 2)

Sunday: 3-22-09
The day of worship and rest. How wonderful that in Madison, MS church starts at 10am rather than 9am! I awoke around 6:45am. I took a quick shower and proceeded to wake up my kids around 7am. My dad reminded me that church wasn't until 10am. I know my kids, and they can take a LONG time to get ready. Sure enough when it was time to leave they were still trying to find their shoes, brush their teeth, and have that one last check in the mirror to make sure they are the right level of "hottness". It doesn't matter that they hardly ever see these people. When you are a teen, "hottness" is "hottness"! Church was wonderful and we had a nice afternoon just visiting. Then we were off packing up our suitcases for our trip in the morning. The following picture was 1 of 2 taken that day that had both kids in it. "Nice photo bombing, Jon!" "Emma, you are as beautiful as always!"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mississippi Maddness 2009 (Day 3)

Monday: 3-23-09
I think we left the house around 9:00am to drive Down to Biloxi, MS. Dad, (Grandpa) drove most of the way. Mom, (Granna) drove part of the way too. Jon, Em, and I were in the back seats. Car trips are not one of my favorite things. I can't decide if its better to sleep when I am not driving, stay awake when I am not driving, OR just drive myself. Either way you slice it, its a big chunk of your day strapped to a 3000 lb machine hurtling down a highway at 60-75 MPH. We finally arrived in Biloxi and checked into our hotel. Now this I kind of like. There is always an excited feeling when I get to stay in a hotel. Maybe it's just that someone other than myself is going to make my bed and clean my room that makes my toes tingle.

After a quick stop, We went down to the beach and hopped on a Shrimping Tour Boat. Emma and my mom were able to feed the seagulls from their hands! We learned a lot and were fascinated by the different things the guide caught in his net.
The seagulls went crazy for the leftover catch!
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When that was over we drove down to the beach. We got our toes wet and walked in the sand. Jon and Em flew kites and had a blast!

Later that night, they swam at the hotel.

Day: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)