Saturday, March 28, 2009

spring clean up, time outdoors and card making

making spring cards! And this little Close to My Heart flower stamp set is a winner. My sister Natasha sells Close to My Heart and I am crazy about their products!

Hanging with a friend

Willem loving the outdoors

Vance removed some large stumps down by the cabin -- Willem works at filling in the holes

Spring Break has officially started! I am so excited to have Merit home for this next week! Soccer will still be in session -- but our days will be less busy, especially Monday and Tuesday. It is raining right now, so our spring clean up is held off till tomorrow. I need to go get my nose in a textbook. More soon, Michele

Friday, March 27, 2009

From the Heart

I had been working on a draft with a HEART message. I posted it today... but it showed up a couple of posts down. And I couldn't seem to copy and paste it for my most recent post. SO, if you have the time...scroll down a bit and read my HEART message. Thanks to all of you for your sweet comments, prayers and support!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Missing Mom and Grandpa Ken

My mom and her dad. Both of these dear people were wonderful examples of honest, loving, Christian people. I am thankful for what they taught us and for the love they showed us. My grandpa was the most influential, Christian man in my life when I was a young girl. They both passed away on this date, March 25. We have the sweet comfort of knowing they are enjoying perfect peace in heaven. They are both missed in so many ways.
Birch Bay Memories!! We loved going to Birch Bay! We often met my grandma and grandpa there. When we met them, we'd pack a picnic lunch and then enjoy a sweet treat at the C-SHOP after soaking up the sun. And with my dad's side of the family we would meet at the state park for a good ol' weenie roast. The day I took this picture of my mom, just I met her at Birch Bay after my college classes. The rest of my brothers and sisters were in school. My mom and I enjoyed some fun conversation and time on the beach on a warm September day.

My mom's flowers were always beautiful, as was she!! Her she is on the front porch with some of her flowers. I treasure this picture.
My sister Natasha is linked to my blog. Today, she has also shared some sweet memories and treasured photos.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My mom's sweet influence

This week I am flooded with memories and thoughts of my dear mom. I am thinking so much of my siblings too, of my dad, of my grandma... as we all remember, cherish and miss my mom. The first picture I posted, I took of her in Target. My sisters and I LOVED shopping with our mom. We were the queen bargain shoppers. One of the last times I saw my mom, I met her and my sisters in Seattle and we did a day of shopping and ended it with dinner at the Keg. It was sort of a last minute plan we made for a cold January day and the time together and memories made have a very special place in my heart! None of us knew we would only have mom for another two months.
This is my youngest brother Phil and my mom. Those two had a very special bond. Phillip was in 8th grade when my mom passed away. As the years progressed, it became very evident how important a mother is in a teen boy's life. He once shared he doesn't remember a lot about that time and even the few years before losing her, because he blocked a lot out. Another huge challenge is having a support system when you are fourteen. Fourteen year old boys don't want to show a lot of emotion and feel uncomfortable with the sadness, his peers felt sad and awkward around him and Phil kind of shut down. What a tough time for Phillip. I love this picture of the two of them.

About ten years ago, my mom, dad and two brothers made the drive from Lynden to Moses Lake and cooked Thanksgiving dinner with me! Vance and I were newly married. Vance had to work Thanksgiving Day but was going to be home about 6 o'clock that evening. I enjoyed being in the kitchen with my mom and dad and so appreciated them making that drive to share Thanksgiving with us. My mom and I made placecards, we laughed a lot and just had a wonderful time being together.
The two turkeys.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Heart Message

Guard your hearts in Christ Jesus.

Only God can completely soothe, love and repair us. Let's look to God to heal our hearts.

I have a dear friend who has a brother and a sister who haven't spoken in a very long time. Their anger and differences caused them to decide they would no longer communicate. They may or may not admit that their hearts are burdened but it does burden the hearts of their parents. Their mother's heart hurts because her son and daughter haven't come together in a very long time. Her heart is aching. But I believe because of prayer and because of one sweet, peace making sister... God is seeing to it that things are repaired. We need to "take care of" our mother's hearts.

I have a friend who has a heart baby, a baby who was born with a CHD. Although this sweet baby girl is doing well, one year ago she seemed almost lifeless. Her 5lb. body being pumped full of meds as she recovered from her first open heart surgery. They knew the road ahead could be long. They have mourned the loss of other heart babies whose journey didn't allow them to carry on. But Maddie has thrived. God is healing her heart. She turned one just this month and is crawling everywhere, trying to keep up with her two older brothers and usually wears a huge grin on her face. Her mom's faith is strong and her attitude grateful. Let's look to God to heal these hearts.

When I was 12 my mom had some heart trouble. She spent about two weeks at Harborview Medical Center with five children back at home. I remember when we went to visit her she told us how badly she just wanted to come HOME. I was SO afraid that I might lose my mom. Thankfully my mom came home and her heart issue was something I never fully understood, also it was something that didn't keep her from doing anything. She was beautiful and healthy. My mom had the patience and energy to LOVINGLY raise five children. She was the BEST.

13 years later, while at home on a Sunday evening, her heart STOPPED. She died peacefully in her home.

Although I trust God took her when He knew He needed to... I wonder why as a young adult I never encouraged her to see a Dr and follow up on those issues from her past. I knew she was on medication when I was in junior high and later stopped taking it. I didn't know her heart was in the physical sense. What I did know is that she loved Jesus and she walked with Him. There was no worry or wonder about the spiritual state of her heart.

When we experience a deep loss or hurt, our hearts can feel broken. And some are even born with a broken heart. But, God hears all prayers and he is capable of healing our hearts whatever the situation may be.

Friday, March 20, 2009

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Doesn't Mackenzie LOOK like spring!? This BRIGHT, growing girl enjoyed the sunshine and a mini Mackenzie photo shoot today... it truly felt like SPRING!
I am just wanting to sit out on our cabin deck this weekend in this comfy orange chair with a good book... but I know I SHOULD be sitting down with a textbook! How am I ever going to get these classes completed now that the weather is getting nice?!
Between soccer practice and soccer games (which both Merit and I love), walking the dogs, yardwork, housework, cooking and photography.... I feel like there isn't enough time in my day for my college course work. But I know I simply have to carve out the time... and I will. I work best under pressure. :)
I have been thinking of my mom so much too... just remembering her constant support, kindness, love... I experience days where I feel it is really hard to raise my children without her. We never outgrow our need for a mother. I need to soak up these boys. God blessed me with the best mother I could have ever hoped for and now he has blessed me with two wonderful children. They keep me smiling. Happy Spring!

This one's my favorite!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Nature Walk

Yesterday morning, the sun was shining bright and I decided to take our two labs for a walk. I was thrilled with the beautiful sights and creatures I saw! All in our "backyard"! Gotta run, I am headed out again!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gardening, out of town visiting, card making, baking and enjoying life

What the JANSEN's have been up to:


Lynden Visiting
my bros

fun little shed, seen from my in-laws

Vance and our sweet niece Brielle



Enjoying life!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My how puppies grow...

The first picture here is of Betty and Willem. I can't believe how much a lab can grow in 6 months!! Now look at the picture below! awwww, right?? She went from being an ADORABLE, cuddly puppy to a good looking, energetic dog!! I am feeling bad for her lately because I have NOT taken the time for long walks, walks she needs. She is my motivator though, and even though it is still only about 35 degrees outside - I need to bundle up and take her for those walks, we could both use them.

I had to include this picture. I am looking so forward to having some COLOR in our yard!!

Friday, March 6, 2009


March is a difficult month for me. Although I have tried to tell myself it is just another month, it is a month of sadness and a month that I allow myself to feel the hole I have in my heart.
March is the month I lost my mom.
I allow myself to go through piles of pictures in March along with old albums and sometimes home videos. I allow myself to read a few precious cards she wrote me and.... I let the sadness surface.
March had always been to me a month of new life... before losing my mom. Here in Washington March provides so many beautiful signs of spring and new growth. Daffodils are blooming, tulips are coming up, there is new green on lilac bushes... the baby chicks and ducks are delivered to the feed stores. It is a month of LIFE.
But one month it became a month with a very painful death.
For a number of years I believe I still thought of March more as a month of death than new life... but in this recent year I had to remind myself, although my mom left this earth and at the young age of 45 none of us were ready to see her beautiful spirit go... it was also in March that she began her NEW LIFE. She had Jesus in her heart and her faith was strong, her new life began on March 25th... several years ago.
I will let the sadness surface... I believe that is healthy and ok.
But this March I am ready to be thankful for new LIFE.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Our Boys!


Some fun pictures of these GROWING, adorable BOYS~~ As I trip over monster trucks and race cars this weekend while my boys and husband watch the NASCAR race... I think wow, ten years ago would I have ever imagined this fun, busy, loud life with BOYS!?
Last night Vance and Merit camped out in the cabin. Willem and I stayed at the house... we, or I should really say I, wanted some bonding time for Vance and Merit, but Willem asked 20 times if he could join them down at the cabin. He can be quite the persistent child too. When I told him it was way to cold to walk down there, he said " I will get my socks, shoes and sweatshirt on. " Also, when he is trying to convince me of something he will say something like "I was really counting on you to help me get down to the cabin." This little boy was just three in January and his vocabulary is remarkable. His desire to want to control situations is at times exhausting!
Merit went to a friends house Friday night and then another friends birthday party yesterday... these social engagements make me that much more thankful for his time at home and our time as a family!
I am thankful today for my life with boys!