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1,000 years

Here I am again. Back to sending off a kindergartener, one of my boys who will never be home all day with me again. Perhaps you remember this post from 3 years ago…

I really, really, really didn’t think I would be emotional this time, and honestly I’m not (well, mostly:) ). However, I decided to go in and look at Elliott after he went to sleep on Kindergarten Eve like I did with Trevor. All these images of him flooded my memory like that Father of the Bride scene (which, by the way, my dad swears he still sees when he looks at my sisters and me. :) ) I remember when Elliott was three and I would say, “you’re my boy Elliott!” and he would reply, “you’re my girl Mommy!” I thought about all the times when he all out punches and attacks Michael when he pretends to “get” me. Elliott is my defender, my Knight in shining armor, my true little superhero. He’s passionate, which when he is angry means he is my little ticking time bomb. But I love that about Elliott, and I know God will shape that passion into great things for his future.

There is something bittersweet about Kindergarten. Elliott is an old five- he turns six in a couple weeks, so he and I both have been ready for Kindergarten for a while now. :) But as excited as we both are, there’s still a heart wrenching ache knowing that this is it. He never again will be home with me all day every day. I nurtured him, prepared him, taught him, and helped him grow for nearly six years, and now I send him off with a piece of me.

I am so thankful for the three souls I have been given to nurture. And in all honesty, I find that THEY nurture MY soul. They have made me less selfish. They have made me learn to embrace God’s plan for life instead of my own. They have taught me that life is designed to move along, not stand still, but to run with joy in each new step.

Whenever the song, A Thousand Years, comes on I tell the boys, “This is my song to you! I have loved you for 1,000 years!” To which Trevor replies, “Mom, you haven’t lived 1,000 years.” :)

But it’s true. The love I have for them gives me even just a glimpse of God’s great love for me. It feels like there was no beginning to it and there will be no end.

So here’s to you my Elliott, my kindergartener, my middle medium boy- may you know God’s love deeply and convey His love to others. May you be a light on a lamp stand, and the salt of the earth bringing out the God flavors of this world.

I have loved you for 1,000 years and will love you for 1,000 more. :)


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P.S.  These videos might be the death of me someday.  Two computers, 1,000 cables, and my blog host helping me with server issues later- video is up. This is where my stubborn determinedness comes in handy! Plus, it means so much to Christina who kept asking me when I’d have a video made.  Just kidding, I love the finished product too :)



Oh man, I’ve let a lot of time slide on here.  Here’s a quick summary of the past half a year:

-Simon turned one (and what a cute christmas cookie/hot chocolate themed party he had)

-Michael started to shave his head.

-The tooth fairy came to visit (and sometimes forgot to come to visit) several times in one month.

-my sweet nephew, little Cayden, (if that isn’t an oxymoron I don’t know what is.  The kid is 6 months old and 25 lbs) was born.  My sister Christina and I have very realistic hopes of him forming a band with my boys somewhat along the lines of The Jonas Brothers.  Or at the very least their own super Glee club.

-we hosted our 4th annual Birkeneder Brunch on Christmas Eve

-the boys helped Grandma Lanie tell her traditional story of the 3 kings and their gifts to Jesus

-the boys obsession with building forts started

-I lost 20 lbs.  Albeit, most of it was due to having meningitis.  But if I can put any positive spin on that wretched disease I will, so therefore I’m thankful for the weight-loss plan.  And that having it may have saved my close friend’s mom’s life.  (Her story: http://copelandcraziness.blogspot.com/2012/03/hope.html )

-our good friends from Texas came to visit and our boys were smitten

-Grandpa Bob came to visit

-the boys got all spiffed out for Easter

-we regularly practiced for our own glee club. (see reference above)

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-we were given an awesome Bible book.    If you’re looking for a good Bible summary book for children look no further.  The Jesus Storybook Bible is awesome. A friend of ours gave this to us a while back and we started reading it to the boys every so often.  I love it! Each story is a part of God’s rescue plan- each character pointing towards the Great Rescuer.  I’m not kidding, I don’t think I ended a single chapter without my eyes (and heart) welling up with tears of joy as we imparted these truths of God’s love for them into our children’s hearts. The stories came to life to me (the adult!) through this children’s version.  And the boys love reading it!  Each story is a piece of the Great Rescue- and being so into good guys/bad guys, sword fights and battles-the setup is very appealing to them.

Tonight we finished the final chapter, and this page struck me:

(from Revelation)  “I see a sparkling city shimmering in the sky: glittering, glowing- coming down!

From heaven.  And from the sky.  Heaven is coming down to earth!

God’s city is beautiful.  Walls of topaz, jasper, sapphire.  Wide streets paved with gold. Gleaming pearl gates that are never locked shut. 

Where is the sun?  Where is the moon?  They aren’t needed anymore.  God is all the Light people need.  No more darkness!  No more night!

And the King says, “Look!  God and his children are together again.  No more running away.  Or hiding.  No more crying or being lonely or afraid.  No more being sick or dying.  Because all those things are gone.  Yes, they’re gone forever.  Everything sad has come unture.  And see- I have wiped away every tear from every eye!’

And then a deep, beautiful voice that sounded like thunder in the sky says, “Look, I am making everything new!”

You know the part in movies where there’s a big crescendo of music and the good guy wins and everyone celebrates and your whole soul just cheers while watching it?  I told Michael recently that I think that is what heaven is like all the time.  Always that sense of victory, that everything is finally as it should be.

When I read this to my children my heart swelled and tears filled my eyes and hope engulfed me.  Whenever I have those moments, they’re my God moments.  Its like the Lord is washing over me and I sense His presence and I trust Him.  I don’t really understand heaven and I certainly don’t understand the mysteries of God, the infinite Creator.  But I do trust Him and believe Him to be faithful to do what He says He will do.  And each time I have one of these “moments”- where my while body gets goosebumps and my soul feels inexplicably overwhelmed- its a tangible reminder to me of His presence.

I love how this book ends.

“And he knew then that the ending of The Story was going to be so great, it would make all the sadness and tears and everything seem like just a shadow that is chased away by the morning sun.

‘I’m on my way’, said Jesus. ‘I’ll be there soon!’

John came to the end of his book.  But he didn’t write ‘The End’. Because, of course, that’s how stories finish. (and this one’s not over yet.)

So instead , he wrote: ‘Come quickly, Jesus!’

Which, perhaps, is really just another way of saying…



Dr. Chuck

I’ve prepped myself for days to write this post, and fresh with tears still I sit here at a loss for words.

Chuck and Linda Musfeldt came into my life over 10 years ago, and soon became affectionately known as “Dr. Chuck and Nana Nu”.  The first time I met Dr. Chuck was when I was a member of the BSF Senior High class in Lombard.  Whenever I would walk by and say, “Hi, Dr. Chuck! How are you?”  he would always reply with a huge, gentle smile, “Like a million, great to be alive!”  I would giggle and keep walking to my class.

Shortly after my family moved to Texas for my dad’s job, the Musfeldts followed when God called Dr. Chuck to BSF headquarters as well.  It is then that God blossomed our friendship into the deep-heartstrings-connected relationship that it is today.  The Musfeldt/Birkeneder union quickly became the Musfledt/Birkeneder/Zielke/Walker/Hobbs union as God blessed our parents with descendant after descendant!  Our lives were and are forever intertwined.

Dr. Chuck lived a “larger than life” life.  He impacted SO many during his life, and will continue to do so in his death.  As proven by the over 104,000 views of the live streaming of his memorial service and over 196,000 views of it since then.  As Michael and I read through his obituary we were in awe of all he did.  He knew life was a blessing and he lived it fully!

I had the privilege of being mentored by Linda during the early years of my marriage and young motherhood.  She is an amazing, wise, God honoring woman that I have so much respect, love, and admiration for.  She lives life with such grace, elegance, and humility.  As is obvious with her response since Chuck’s death.  She is the perfect helpmate to Dr. Chuck.  I will be blessed if I can be half the wife and mother that Nana Nu is.  Linda is one of the most encouraging people in my life, always cheering me on and nudging me to be more like Christ.  I love her with all my heart.

I made this video in memory of Dr. Chuck’s life, and in honor of Nana Nu his helpmate.  It chronicles our time together, and then the time we celebrated his life and rallied together having joy in knowing that because of Christ’s perfect blood sacrifice we know with certain hope that we will spend eternity with Him.

The first song, You Are Good, has a double meaning for me.  God is SO good to me and He alone sustains me, enables me, and gives me life.  But God has used Chuck and Linda’s presence in my life and my family’s life as such blessing! I have no material thing to thank them for ALL they have done for me-spiritually, emotionally, or physically.  They are irreplaceable and I will be forever grateful for them.




Christina and Tyler

I can’t get enough of Mandi Mapes!  She has 4 songs on iTunes that were inspired by the Old Testament book of Ruth, and honestly they are my lifesong this year!  I must listen to them at least 5,000 times a day.  I used “I Already Know” in Trevor’s video ,and I used “Under the Wings of God” for Christina’s part in this video and “Story of Love” for the Christina & Tyler section. I only haven’t used “So Long Familiar” because it is sort of a melancholy song for a video slideshow.  But still very applicable to life…

My favorite lyric today is:

Can’t you see you are My clay;  I’m the Potter and you’re carrying My fingerprints…

Ahhh, I love it! :)

Anyways, this the beautiful Christina and Tyler Hobbs- they are so precious to me and I was honored to make this for them:)

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Sweet Pea is Three!

We did a joint birthday party at a bounce place for the boys’ birthdays.  Best idea ever! :)

Tonight marks the eve of Elliott’s birthday. Three years ago tomorrow our second little love joined our lives! We have been so blessed with Elliott and for him we are incredibly thankful!

I can’t believe it but I actually have a video montage made for him BEFORE his birthday. I shocked myself! :)

I chose this song because I love it and know God makes all things new.  But I also chose this song because I feel like He has especially been making me new and using my children as tools in His craftsmanship.

Instead of worrying so much about what current quadruple digit size I fit into, I look at my silver stretch marks as battle scars on a body that grew and gave my children life. Rather then sleeping in (what’s that?) I wake 300 times a night if needed to each child’s squeal or cry. I know with out a doubt I would give my life for my children.

My heart physically aches when their hearts are broken. They humble me because I DON’T know it all. They inspire me when I feel like giving up. I am filled with indescribable joy when they ask me questions about God or hear them talk to Jesus.

Through them God is shaping me and making me patient, kind, selfless, humble, and hopeful. He is making me new!

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I already know

“One of the hardest parts of being a mother or a mentor is watching our children face a battle we can’t fight for them. If God is going to raise our children to be mighty warriors of the faith, He must be free to teach them to fight . As hard as the process can be to watch, how can a person experience the exhilaration of victory in a battle they never had to fight?”
-Beth Moore

Trevor turned 5 this month!  Along with age 5 comes the beginning of school.  Now I must say, as we approached the first day of kindergarten and as I read without much emotion all the Facebook status changes about going back to school, I thought to myself man, I’m so strong!  I figured this day would come and go and I would be unscathed.  Maybe because of the draining week of constant redirection and discipline that filled our daily routine, I don’t know, but I really wasn’t feeling much about the start of school.

For the past week or so, this song has been playing over and over in my head.  I really love the words, and I felt God speaking to me.  I thought I identified with it, that God was reiterating the promise that He would never leave me.  It was nice…

I Already Know by Mandi Mapes

I'm closer than you can see
My love is greater than you know
Feel the weight of my mercy
My arms are open

I already know who's gonna save you
I already wrote the end of the story
You were made for me and I'll never leave you
and in the end it's all for my glory

Your life is my melody
Part a song that I am singing
in the dark it's hard to see
but there will be redemption in the morning.

Cling to me and wait
As I cover you with my garments
Can't you see you are my clay
and I'm the potter and you're carryin' my fingerprints

I already know who's gonna save you
I already wrote the end of the story
You were made for me and I'll never leave you
and in the end you will be happy
and in the end you will be with me
and in the end it's all for my glory

Last night, or Kindergarten Eve, I was walking in our loft and my eye caught a picture on the wall.  It’s a close up of Trevor’s profile, at age 2, and all our family and friends had written him notes of love and encouragement on the mat surrounding it. His little face was a chubbier, much younger version than I see today, but he had the same joy in his eyes.  I’ve been with him every day of his life for the past 5 years, so these little changes aren’t as noticeable to me.  But pictures don’t lie, and as I studied his obvious physical changes I couldn’t help but think of all the fond memories we have together.  I’ve been Trevor’s primary caretaker, protector, defender, trainer, affection-giver, praiser, everything- every day for 5 years.  And now I pass some of him on…to teachers, administrators, coaches, and peers.  He’s never again going to be home with just me all day long.  This is it.

As that began to overwhelm my heart, I walked into Trevor’s room.  As he slept peacefully, he seemed so much longer than I remember.  His features seemed so much more boy like than baby like.  His hands were stronger and he even smelled more boyish than before.  I started to run my fingers through his long shaggy teen boy like hair and the floodgates opened.

Somewhere during the snot flying and tears pooling on the bedsheets, I felt two strong arms embrace me.  “You’re a good mom”, Michael said.  No greater words could have been spoken to me at that time.  Having Michael hold me, and just let me cry did wonders for my soul.  In that moment I  thought about how Michael and I were the foundation of this family, it was just us in the beginning and it will be just us in the end.  We nurture our children for a short time, but in time they will go off to be foundations of their own families.  And just Michael and I remain.  Deep for just the night before Kindergarten I know, but I felt God needing to remind my heart of how important my relationship with Michael is and how I need to keep that of upmost importance.  Because he and I remain…

As I cleaned up the remains from my cry fest, I thought of my song again.  And it hit me- this isn’t for me, this is for Trevor!  God has kept this running through my head to be ready to impart His promise that He carries Trevor, that He is with Trevor, and that “Jenni, I already know what is ahead for Trevor!”   It was perfect.  Of course after this revelation more tears ensued, but I felt God holding my heart and His peace covering my mind.  He already wrote the end of the story, He made Trevor for His pleasure, He’ll never leave him…and in the end it’s all for His glory.

So I release him to you God.  I trust that, somehow, You love him even more than I do and even more wholly than I do.  Thank you for the gift of his life and for choosing me to mother him.  Thank you that Your ways are higher than my ways, Your thoughts higher than my thoughts, and that You are SO much bigger than me.

I love you Trevor, Happy 5th Birthday.  I’m so proud of all that you are.

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And so we took our annual trip up to the Zielke cabins in northern Wisconsin.

Both boys tubed, and really loved the water.  They have been asking for days to go back to Corny.  The night we left Trevor said, “I want to live in Corny forever with Grandpa!” and prayed that night that we wouldn’t have to leave and God would make us forget in the morning that we were supposed to leave.  :)

Michael really did everything on this vacation.  He swam with the boys, got up with the boys, put the boys to bed, bathed the boys, everything.  He really is the greatest dad I could have for my children!

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