Wild Wild Wyoming

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Whew!  What a wild wild week getting to Wyoming and starting work! I am just going to be real and honest and throw it all out there. It was devastatingly difficult to leave my family and head west to start this- my first travel assignment. There were many tears shed by me, but I loaded up the car and headed west all on my own.

Jana in New Mexico

I saw beautiful skies, visited with sweet friends who took me in for the night.

I kept driving farther and farther away from the people I love more than anything.

I learned I do enjoy audio books.

I sat in the quiet of just driving and nothing else and it was peaceful.

I finally arrived and was overwhelmed with the thought of “what have I done?”.

I made it to the grocery store with no GPS because I have no cell service here just roaming so no google, and back to my hotel all by myself.

I feel confident and so alone all at the same time.

I arrived at work for my first day the very next morning. It was overwhelming in so many ways because I couldn’t keep thinking of leaving my family behind, but the people are super nice and I know God has a huge purpose for me being here. I went home and facetimed with the family and was once again burdened with the thought of “What am I doing here?”.

But here is the deal. My family is safe and sound.

I am safe and sound.

I am here to help meet huge financial needs for them. I am sacrificing for a short amount of time so that we will be better off in the long term. That is hard to process but it is truth. I have also had some incredible times with the Lord already and I know He wants to meet me here and do a great thing. Tomorrow is my first day off and I get to go spend a few days with some of my favorite people. I know God is going to use this time to fill me with that love of family I so desperately need.

Thanks to everyone who has been praying for me and sending me encouraging messages. They have helped tons. I am enjoying all the people here and my job will be rewarding and necessary. Trying to focus on the parts I am thankful for and not the parts that make me miss Jay and the kids. That is a difficult thing to overcome. I am a blessed lady with a wonderful family. I can’t wait to get back to them but until then, I hang out with people who are pretty amazing and I’ll be sharing more about them in the days to come!  Wyoming Sky

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Behind the Lens|Awakening — Behind the Lens

For the past month, Liberty University students have been gathering every Wednesday night to pray for Spiritual Awakening on our campus. We have defined awakening as this: “Resurrection of Spiritual Death and/or Waking from Spiritual Slumber.” So far, we have discussed repentance, God’s divine intervention, and hunger for the Manifest Presence of God. Tonight, […]

via Behind the Lens|Awakening — Behind the Lens

It’s the Climb

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Did you totally just start singing Miley Cyrus’s song from The Hannah Montana movie when you read that title?  I totally wouldn’t blame you. It’s a classic in our house. I may have been humming it a little in my head as I had the weekend off and got to spend it with my favorite Montana family but not Hannah’s. (See what I did there?) We went on an amazing adventure to the top of the world. I could not stop saying, “Wow” and “Oh my goodness” and “this is insane”! It was breathtaking and awe inspiring.

Gorgeous view.jpg

While we were climbing and hiking, my Montana bestie said something profound, “it’s definitely hard, but it’s totally worth it when you get to the top.” This stuck with me for so many reasons.

First of all, the hike we were on didn’t look that hard. It looked like we were walking up a hill to a pile of rocks. I’m not in the best shape but I do walk about 2 miles a day at least 4 times a week. I do some weights and muscle toning stuff. But y’all. Seriously, I could not breathe. I could not get my heart rate down to a normal range for what we were doing. It was sad and scary and embarrassing. The lack of oxygen and my lack of experience was blatantly obvious. I wanted to make it to the snow. I hated being at the very very back of the pack. Everyone had to stop and wait on me. But when G said that and we crested the hill- in that moment, I knew God was working on my heart. Life has been really difficult these past three weeks in a lot of ways. Besides missing my family, there have been some other drastic, devastating life changes and I’ve been away from the people that needed me in that. I had some hard things to deal with in some friendships where Satan was really attacking us and trying to divide us when we most needed one another. Difficult things. Painful things. Lonely things. But then with prayer and choosing to trust God with them, I made it past the pain; I was able to see the view that God was creating for us and it was beautiful. We were blessed with answers to prayers in ways I never dreamed or imagined. My relationship was restored with grace and mercy. The difficult was hard but the view at the top was so worth it. Totally worth it.

The Rocks

Secondly, her words spoke to my heart. Not my wife heart. Not my mom heart. But my Jana heart. The one that dreamed so big when I was younger.  The heart that traveled the world with my precious Daddy sharing Jesus across this planet. The heart that has been blessed to travel across the country many times with my DeKelSki fam. The heart that has taken my girls across the planet to India to work with human trafficking victims. The heart that has raised my kids not to fear the difficult but to chase after the life God has for us. The heart that says to do what is right no matter the consequences in the world’s viewpoint. None of those dreams or choices are easy but I keep doing them. I keep making them. I crave them. Why? Because it’s totally worth it when you get to the top.

Jana Heart.jpg

I’ve been through difficult circumstances and sometimes that captures all my focus and attention but I was overwhelmed with gratitude at the things I’ve been blessed to see as I stood at the top of those piles of rocks. Standing at the top of the Bear’s Tooth Pass seeing things so many people will never get to see reminded me of all the good, exciting, life changing experiences I’ve been blessed with. Experiences that I prayed and fought to make happen. Experiences that I have shared with some of my favorite people on earth. God created me to go and to do and to experience and I don’t want to ever waste that. I don’t ever want the difficult to keep me from making it to the top where it is always worth it.

The Top of the World

Finally, these words motivated me because I want to inspire others who miss out on so many experiences and blessings that God has for them because they don’t want to go through the difficult. Maybe it is fear. Maybe it is grief. Maybe it is lack of opportunity. Maybe it is a lack of support. Maybe you don’t even know what name to put on whatever it is keeping you from trying. If I can do it, huffing, puffing, and fighting to catch up to the the pack, you can do it too. I want you to figure out how to push through the difficult so you can experience the view from the top. So go for it. It will be difficult. But it will totally be worth it.

Hear my cry, O God,
    listen to my prayer;
 from the end of the earth I call to you
    when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the enemy. Psalm 61:1-3

 

 

 

 

A Part and Apart

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I am often teased for being a bit of a grammar fanatic. My kids send me texts and I often send them back edited versions. I read menus and take pictures of the typos and send them to Jason. He returns the favor. When we were searching for our first church as a newly married couple, we would eliminate or endorse options based on whether or not their handouts or mailings were grammatically up to par. I try not to impose it on others but sometimes, I might find like minded people who support me and egg me on (This is your shout out Grammar Group). My daughter is not one of those people, although she is an excellent speller and I depend on that. She has one recurring typo (she might do it on purpose now just to annoy me) where she uses “apart” in the place of “a part”. I now find myself in a similar position in my day to day life. Those words have become one and the same. I am a part of one of the most awesome families ever but we are apart. I am a part of an amazing, supportive community but now we are apart. I am blessed with amazing friends and I miss being a part of those day to day relationships while we are apart.

BUT….

I am also loving getting to be a part of the community here in Wyoming. I have a very knowledgeable, hard working and considerate co-workers. I have seen amazing sunrises and sunsets. I am meeting friendly helpful people out and about. I know that in 13 more weeks, I will dislike being apart from here too.

AND…..

I am loving getting to be with my Montana family and being a part of their day to day lives. They have 5 amazing kids and it is such a joy to get to hang out with them and get to know them in their natural habitat. I have hated being apart from them for the last 4 years, so this is such a blessing. They have laughed with me and cried with me and made this such an exciting time in so many ways.

SO…..

I am going to continue to soak up all I can here while I am a part of this time and place and this experience. I am going to strive to endure being apart from those I love the most on this planet just as they are doing the same for me. We only get one go at this life. If you are a part of a family or community and you are keeping yourself apart from them for whatever reason, stop. Reconnect. Forgive. Prioritize. Choose to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Take the risks, do the hard stuff. Good will always come from the difficult if you let it.

Psalm 16:2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

Disclaimer: This is my first time blogging from my tablet so if there are any errors, just laugh at me. That’s what I’ll be doing.

On The Road Again

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So often this time of year, I blog on our family’s blog site 5 Kids in a Car, but this time, I am heading out on my own adventure. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve accepted a travel nursing assignment in the beautiful state of Wyoming.

Welcome to WyomingWyoming is the 44th State in the Union and was admitted on this very day in 1890! Known as the Equality State, it was the very first state to give women the right to vote! I am looking forward to getting to know my new temporary home!

I am so excited. I am so scared. And I have deep sorrow at the thought of leaving my precious family for the next 15 weeks. But I serve a faithful God and I know that I am hearing His voice clearly as He tells me to go. I am super excited to see all He and I are going to discover about me, my faith, my walk and my purpose on this assignment.

I am hoping to post at least once a week, sometimes more, sometimes less.  If you are interested in staying connected with me and being my online community for the next 15 weeks, I invite you to join in my journey here.

Nurse Bevo just might turn into Nurse Bison when my time is up!

Wyoming Buffalo

Beverly Cleary Turns 100.Why it Matters to Me.

The Way I See It

quote-i-hope-children-will-be-happy-with-the-books-i-ve-written-and-go-on-to-be-readers-all-beverly-cleary-106-99-33As Beverly Cleary celebrates 100 years, I reflect not only on how much the world has changed over the last century, but also on how much it has remained the same. The characters she created so many years ago still resonate strongly with children today, and hold a special place for many of us who grew up reading about them.

The first ‘chapter book’ I ever read was Henry Huggins. In fact, I still remember every minute detail surrounding my reading of it…

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Behind the Lens|Serendipity

Such wisdom! Great read for all ages.

Behind the Lens

Life can feel like a struggle when it is cool to hang out at coffee shops and you do not drink coffee.

Life can feel like a struggle when you only get 39 likes on an Instagram post instead of 40.

Life can feel like a struggle when you only get a B+ instead of an A.

What is it about a cup of coffee, a number, or a letter, that can control our lives in such a defining way? Why do we allow such things to mark us as relevant or irrelevant, popular or invisible, genius or stupid? How come we give them a say?

In this day and age it is very easy to get carried away and forget who we are; to forget who or what defines us.

As I reflect on 2015 in anticipation for the new year, I can see all the things I have allowed to define…

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The Last Week of the Year

The Way I See It

2016-new-yearChristmas is a time of remembrance. The season guides us to reminisce about the joys and sorrows of years past, our days filled with favorite movies, thoughts of cherished loved ones and stories of old, all swiftly swirling around an ancient story of a baby born in Bethlehem on a silent night. Those defining moments of past bring us clarity and comfort. But while the Christmas lights still glow from rooftops and town squares, the calendar marches on to the 26th, then the 27th, then the 28th until we find ourselves shifting gears, moving in a new direction at a different pace.

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Still Going…..

Jana Phone Sync 2014 266

It’s been almost 3 months since the New Year. Every year time seems to pick up speed.  I made my goals and I made my declarations and I resolved to do it better this year.  I even shared my sin, worry, doubts, fears, hope and dreams with all of you here in the blogoshpere.

In the last three months time,  I think I might have blogged a time maybe two.  Not quite what I had in mind at the start of the year.  Despite my biweekly calendar reminder to blog, I haven’t been blogging regularly. Which might lead you to believe, that I haven’t been keeping up with my other goals either.  Well, aren’t you in for a surprise.

I’ve been rocking it.  I haven’t been perfect but I haven’t quit either.  I haven’t given up.  I haven’t lost my focus, my drive or my determination to become all those things I shared.  What’s different?  What made this happen?

I don’t know exactly and I can tell you exactly why at the same time.  I didn’t take a magic pill or drink any magic water.  I simply admitted I was messed up.  I confessed to God and my family and friends and you that I lacked discipline, hadn’t been obeying God in every area of my life and then I changed my priorities and my behaviors.

I’m still not 100 pounds lighter, but I am down 40.  The house still isn’t perfect, but you can stop by and not be grossed out or see me stressed to the breaking point that you are seeing my house in chaos.  The kids don’t have a perfect homeschool teacher but they are loved, learning and making progress (we even graduated the oldest and people seem to think she turned out okay).  We aren’t rich yet, but we are living disciplined, with purpose and God is getting His share first so I have no guilt or shame despite anything we lack.  I feel safe and secure and am finding true peace.

While you probably could care less about any of the particulars, I’m excited. I am refreshed.   I am embracing Mark 12:30 as much today as I did January 1.  I am loving the Lord my God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind and with all my strength.  He is loving me back.  My heart has found peace with circumstances that I don’t quite understand, enjoy or want to continue on in.  My soul is growing in His word and in my relationships in ways I could never ask or imagine.  My mind is learning new things, practicing skills in old things and adapting to be better based on what He is teaching me.  My strength, well, my strength is getting better, faster, stronger and whatever else Justin Bieber sang about…. AND, I am super excited to be signed up for my first ever 5K in 8 weeks with Jason and as many family and friends I can get to join with me.

So take that New Year Resolutions!  You know, those resolutions that never make it into February with me on normal years.  But this is the new normal. This is the new me.

As March rolls into April, and I’m looking forward to celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus, I can’t help but think about how my life has been resurrected with His.  Because He died on the cross for all the areas I fall short in, because that is what sin is, falling short of the mark God has set, He paid the price that I have spent the last 37 years saving up for trying to pay back.  I never came close.  I don’t think I even made a dent. But this year, my #im38 year, I’m letting Him just frame the receipt for me for what He paid in full. I’m living my life now paying things forward instead of trying to pay Him back.  It’s much better this way.

I’m loving being in a healthy, Godly church that challenges me to reach beyond my comfort zone and share with others who Jesus is in my life.  I’m loving being in a marriage that is nowhere near perfect but we love each other like crazy and we’re going to spend our whole lives working to get it right.  I have 5 priceless kids who amaze me with their insight and love of this beautiful life. I love knowing that I get to pour into them and watch them grow into beautiful humans who love big.

Things can change.  People can change.  I’m proof.  I can’t change things for you but I can introduce you to the one who can.  Thanks for being on this journey with me.  While I promised my blogs wouldn’t all be this cathartic it has been that way.  Look forward to more joy, opinions and of course, therapeutic confessions!  Have a great Resurrection Celebration and bring those resolutions back to life if you buried them 3 months ago.

Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength

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devo

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” -Mark 12:30

Like always, the New Year came in with all the buzz of fresh chances, diets and health, resolutions and redos.  We’ve never been that family that starts the year with black-eyed peas and ham for prosperity.  We don’t do big over the top New Year’s Eve parties. We don’t even usually remember to catch the parade. We do football games and goals.

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