Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Website!!!

I finally have my new website ready! I'll be updating it constantly to keep it current.

Please visit my new site at www.SimplyJenelle.com
You'll find the latest posts, recipes, my handbag store, arts and crafts and more, all in one place.

I'd love your feedback and your support in forwarding it to your friends!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The End of my 25th Year.

I always wanted my 25th year to be a big deal because it's the big "25", a quarter of a century old. Now a few days before my 26th birthday, I started wondering what was so great about this year. After last weekend at the marriage retreat, several things surfaced that helped me analyze just that.

As a wife, I had been praying for several of my weaknesses that were affecting my marriage and my husband. It was on the undercurrent for quite some time, because since I felt it was second nature, I never truly noticed how it was truly affecting everyone around me, especially my husband. It wasn't until about 1 1/2 years ago that I consciously made the decision to change. It was hard!!!

You may be curious as to what weaknesses I'm taking about. Well, in one word: anger. I gave in to fits of rage or get angry quicker than anyone. It was terrible and as I felt the anger rising, instead of stopping it, I would feed it and let it loose to create destruction knowing I would feel remorse afterwards. It was terrible and even writing it is hard to admit. But I wouldn't be writing it if things hadn't changed. This is a mini-testimony of what the Lord has done for me this year.

After making that decision to allow the Lord to work in me I saw meekness, kindness, mercy, gentleness, patience and love more than ever in my life and marriage. It was subtle and definitely didn't happen over night. It took time, swallowing my tongue, truly living out patience as opposed to just praying for it and then exploding, AND lots of prayer!!! It took Christ in my life and FULL surrender to the fact that though I've prayed for this change for years, I couldn't do it on my own.

What happened last weekend? My husband told me how hard it was for him when I would explode and how amazing our marriage has been the past 1 1/2 years. I didn't realize the hurt it was causing him until I saw the change in my life reflected in our marriage.

What's most interesting is I tell people all the time, without noticing, that our marriage is better now than ever before. I feel like we're still honeymooners. We're not infatuated, we're truly in love with one another and with Jesus Christ.

My 25th year has been a turning point for the better. There were other wonderful things that I noticed happen, but this was by far the most important to me. I still continue to pray for meekness, kindness, mercy, gentleness, and patience. I have too, because I need Jesus everyday in my life and marriage and I can't do it on my own.

I welcome my 26th birthday and can't wait to see where I'll be next year in my spiritual walk, my marriage and my life =)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Calm after the Storm.

There's something so absolutely beautiful about the calm after the storm. After it rains, you know there's a rainbow somewhere. Today, I was able to see it clearly (so did my camera).

What a sight!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Engagement Pictures Take-two

I didn't really like my engagement pictures, so I had decided we needed to have another session even though we've been married 3 1/2 years. Well, a really good friend, Dee Stecco, shot our photos and they came out great.

My favorite part was noticing how much more in love I am with my husband . I felt like we were newlyweds all over again! What a wonderful feeling to be in love!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Solid Foundation

Recently heard a great message about marriage and creating a solid foundation that I wanted to share.

In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus tells the story of the Wise and Foolish Builders. The wise builder built his house on a rock. When the rain came down, the streams rose, the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall because it's foundation: rock. Now the foolish builder built his house on the sand. When the rain came down, the streams rose, and winds blew and beat against that house, it fell with a great crash.

Similarly, this is what happens with marriage. When we build marriage with Jesus Christ as our foundation, it is as the wise builder. When we build marriage on "us", we are foolish and have built on the shakiest ground that can't resist the slightest tremor.

Unfortunately, most people build their marriage on the latter. They are built on the "me" factor. What is good for "me"? What can "I" get out of this? Will this make "me" happy? He or she doesn't understand "me". "I" am in love. "I" have fallen out of love.

When a relationship is built on "me", it's predominately built on feeling. Feelings can be deceiving. The word of God clearly states in Proverbs 28:26 "He who trusts in himself (KJV says "in his own heart") is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe."

Clearly, trusting yourself or your heart to make decisions is unwise. Our feelings change everyday and every hour. Some days your happy and in love, the next you miserable and you can't stand anyone, the next your fine but not great and so on and so forth. It's not wrong, it's just the way we are. Which is why we cannot base one of the most important decisions on our feelings.

Marriage is not to be taken lightly. It is a covenant, not created by man, but by God. It is a promise, not a contract. It is about trust, not mistrust. Just as the rings placed on those fingers, marriage is to be for life. A circle with no end.

It is impossible to experience full joy in marriage without having an intimate relationship with God. When He is involved, His love will hold marriages together because unlike our love, His is eternal and unconditional.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Holistic Living

Instead of combining my passion for Holistic living into my regular blog, I've created a blog called just that: Holistic Living.

I'd love for you to follow at http://holisticwayoflife.blogspot.com/


Monday, April 19, 2010

New Blog!

I started a new craft recently: handmade cards and invitations! I started a new blog that I'd love for you to follow! Check it out here. For all of you that have ordered cards, I'd love your feedback on the blog =)

Thanks for your support!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Happy Couple

Last weekend I had my first photo shoot. Luckily, it was for my sister, Cassandra, and her fiance. I had so much fun shooting it and even more choosing my favorite shots. These are some of my favs...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Love Defined - Part Two

This "Love Defined" blog is geared more towards married couples. In my blogs I reiterate often what the media feeds us about love and relationships is so wrong only because I am so passionate about it. I hope you can feel my passion burning as I write this.

I want to see marriages succeed, in love, happy, growing, learning, and seeking God. That's so important to me and I know it's important to the Lord as well.

In Matthew 19:5 it says "'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (i.e. Divorce)

God hates divorce. If you don't believe me look up Malachi 2:16. Divorce is such a normal part of life in the U.S. that now we're in shock or in awe when we see couples that have lasted 25+ years and are happy. Is that not true?

If Jesus Christ is not the foundation of your marriage, it will fail. He should be your rock, your strength. My husband and I include the Lord in every decision we make, large or small, because we understand it takes three to make our marriage work. While we were dating, we laid the foundation of our relationship. We prayed together and allowed the Lord to guide our steps if we were intended to step into the sanctity of marriage together. It wasn't a decision taken lightly.

Who you marry is who you will spend the REST of your life with, who you'll grow old with, who, Lord permitting, you have children with, who will know you better than anyone else on this earth. If you go into marriage thinking about divorce, or without the thought of permanence or bailing out when things get hard, it will fail.

Like I said in Part One, this is not going to be without its difficulties. In 2 Corinthians 6:4-5 Paul talks about how we are to commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance, in troubles, hardships and distresses. It's a natural part of life...not a cop out to get out of a union as powerful as marriage.

When you become married, two become one. That's not just a Spice Girl song, it's Biblical. So when you divorce, you are tearing a piece of you that will forever be gone. The Lord does heal wounds and does restore lives, but I don't know one person who has forgotten their previous marriage or how they felt when they were married. Although it may feel like another life, it's never completely forgotten, why? It was a part of them that has been torn and left behind.

I can only compare marriage to two colors of Play-doh combined and made into one large dough. No one, no matter how meticulous you are, can pull those two pieces together and make them look the exact same they did before becoming one. That's exactly what marriage is.

There are several things you can do to help boost your marriage. First off, go on dates. If you're on a budget, be creative. There's plenty of good ideas that don't cost money. A friend of mine made a huge tent in the family room and watched movies in there with her sweetheart for Valentine's day. I saw a picture of it and it was so cute and romantic and cost $0. Secondly, don't forget to say "I love you". Thirdly, communicate, even about the small things.

Don't slack off in marriage. Don't give up. Love perseveres. It hopes. It NEVER FAILS. When it gets hard, pray harder. Love deeply!!! 1 Peter 4:8 says "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."

Love with a love that is constant. There should be no room for separation or divorce, only for unity. When in doubt of what true love is...go back to the basics: 1 Corinthians 13:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

Love Defined - Part One

The past two weeks there has been a series called "Love Defined" at church in light of Valentine's Day. I thought it not only appropriate, but necessary to discuss what REAL love is.

With society always telling us their opinion on what love is, movies telling you what it looks like, the judicial system agreeing that it's over through divorce, it's no wonder we're a disaster!!! Divorce is at it's highest ever! Why? Because people "fall out of love" or due to "irreconcilable differences" or "we're just not the same anymore, we've changed".

What a bunch a crap!!! Excuse my lack of propriety, but that is absolutely true. Why would you expect to be the same??? The great thing about marriage is the fact that you get to GROW and mature together through this wonderful thing called life. Is it always perfect? Absolutely not...but it's fun, especially when you're both working on it daily.

I've only been married three years, but it's been an amazing journey that has only just begun. Most importantly though, we communicate....EVERY DAY. Even when I'm not in the mood. Why? Because when communication dwindles, it ultimately can disappear and so can the relationship.

Back to this thing called LOVE. "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice got out sins" 1 John 4:10. Breaking it down: we only love because God loved us first (1 John 4:19)!!! WOW! Please soak that in a bit.

God and love go hand in hand. He created love. If you don't know God, then you can't love others.

I imagine that's why so many people are confused and "fall out of love". They were never in love to begin with. I'll take it a little further...they probably don't know what love is.

We hear love mentioned in 95% of songs (I made up that stat), we watch it in the same amount of movies...but in all that, I've only seen true love portrayed a handful of times. Very sad, but it makes sense. They don't know what love is...

Love is more than a feeling (despite what movies tell you - P.S. DON'T FOLLOW YOUR HEART....that's the worst advice ever. The heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9))

What is love: God. God is love. Plain and simple...know him and you'll know love. (1 John 4:8)
Love is: patient, kind, does not boast, does not envy, is not proud, not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps NO record of wrong, does not delight in evil, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perserveres, NEVER FAILS.

So if love never fails, why are there so many failed marriages? Because there is no knowledge of what true love. That's a long list of what love is, and none of which I see society promote. We are a rude, self-seeking, pleasure abiding, vengeful society. We look out for number one whenever possible. None of that resembles love according to the Word of God, which is inspired by God, the Creator of love.

Pray for love. It is more important than ALL else. Our first commandment involves love..."Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind." Then it goes on to say "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Which one is it?

So lately my mind has been on overdrive when it comes to the Christian walk. I've been studying Acts for the past month during my own quiet time and through some studying (and venting) with a friend, I've been able to contemplate some things that have really been bothering me and others that just perplex me.

First off, why are there so many denominations? This is mostly rhetorical. I know the origin of most denominations, but as the Body of Christ we are supposed to be united and I see very little of that. There's hardly unity within denominations and their respective "churches". I understand choosing one church over another because of preference; the worship or the way the Pastor preaches....etc. However, when you really look at it, it's usually bigger things that separate "Christian churches". It's usually doctrinal issues, many being salvation issues. This is where I'm completely torn.

If I feel confused about this, how much more unbelievers looking in at us?

One main issue I've been confronted with, at least in my heart, is where and when did water baptism become separated from salvation? In Matthew 28:18-20, the Great Commission, known to all believers, clearly states to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". This was the last command Jesus gave us before ascended to Heaven. Then on the day of Pentecost, in Acts 2:37 people were "cut to the heart" and asked what to do. Peter replied in verse 38, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin.

As you read on in Acts, when people believed they were immediately baptized. It seems they went hand in hand. Reasonably, if you think about what water baptism is...the old self dying and the new self coming alive...then just by saying words and confessing without baptism logically seems as if you'd still be your old self (This is just me thinking out loud).

Again, when did water baptism become separated from salvation? The Word of God has not changed, why have we? It's like in our mass produced society, we like everything fast and easy and we've made out salvation to be the same. I know that in Romans 10:9 it says "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved," but this was said to believers that already had been baptized in water (Please look it up if you don't believe me).

What I've noticed for probably my entire life in the Christian church (several different denominations) there is very little, if any, importance given to water baptism. It's something done maybe once or twice in the year, but definitely not when someone receives Jesus Christ as their Savior.

All I'm saying is that if you're sold out for Christ, which is what should happen when you give your life over to Him (not going back to your old ways), whether or not you believe you need to be baptized to be saved, why not just do it out of obedience...especially since it's mentioned so many times in the New Testatment? Better safe than sorry, right?

So now my brothers and sisters in Christ, "let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repenatance from acts that lead to death and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement." (Hebrews 6:1-3)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Beginning a new chapter...2010

Every year since I was in high school (maybe before), my mom would sit with my sisters and I on or around New Year's Eve and begin the goals for the following year. Not really resolutions, rather goals that we sought to attain.

First, we would actually review the previous year's goals and see how many we accomplished. If it wasn't accomplished, we'd roll it over to the following year's goals if it was something important that we felt needed to be completed.

You can say it's become somewhat of a tradition in our family. Many have joined us in this endeavor and have enjoyed it. The main difference between "resolutions" and what we do, is that we pray over our list all year long and refer to it throughout the year to see if we're on target with our goals. I'm proud to say the average percentage of goals I complete annually are around 90%. I don't always write goals that necessarily will be met, but I try to focus on those things important to me that I feel may be aligned with where I think the Lord wants me.

This is one of the most exciting things about starting a new year for me. It's gives me a new start and motivation to see where I'd like to be at the end of the year physically, spiritually and emotionally. It's wonderful to track what the Lord has done in my life as well.

So, here we go 2010...