Monday, July 30, 2012

You Are Loved

I had a little birthday a few weeks ago and I got to spend it up at my childhood home with my parents, brother and my children.  Sadly, Daddy Bear was back down in LA working!  But when we returned, he had a little celebration planned for us!  I felt so loved.
This was one of the fabulous gifts he gave me!


 And... My husband is an amazing artist and has made these large wood signs that we hang over our fireplace. I love them! 
For summer, I had asked him to make one that speaks of the verse:
Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Shine.  Shine out your light.  Shine like the summer sun.
Here is what he came up with!
My birthday kinda marks the middle of the summer and at this point I start to worry that it’s going too quickly and there is still so much more that I wanted to do and haven’t yet!  I feel a sense of urgency to get it all in before school starts!  Last summer I was prepared.  I had a wonderful time memorizing scripture with my children, doing our chore charts and prize baskets, making crafts, going to the beach every Tuesday  I felt very prepared and we did so many fun things while being relaxed and casual.  It was one of the first times in my life that I felt on my game as a mom and it was awesome!
 This summer came while I was already on the ground, sucking for air.  My girls’ first year in school left me exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed.  Sounds dramatic, but in many ways, it was a dramatic year (for reasons that will not be shared here!).  We’ve already had some wonderful summer fun from VBS, dance recitals, Grammie Camp, Uncle Camp and lots of visitors, but as school is just 4 short weeks away, I’ve been thinking about how I can be intentional with the rest of our summer. 
We're going to memorize a verse a week until school starts.
 I sat and thought, “What do I want my girls to know before they start 1st grade?  What is most important for them to grab hold of and know deep down?”
And it hit me -
They are loved!
What could be more important than that?  They must know that they are dearly loved by their family, but more importantly, by God.  So the verse we are memorizing this week is:
The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save. 
He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17
Isn’t this a great verse that tells how much we are loved by God?
How are you being intentional with the rest of your summer?

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Redeeming Love - Chapter 5

A summer romance series, chronicling my love story

After the holidays Roger and I spent more and more time together.  On Tuesday nights, after the college group, we’d stay in his office talking for hours – I knew I had to be at work early the next morning, but I didn’t care!  I didn’t want our conversations to end.  He was kind, funny, loved Jesus, and irresistibly handsome.

 As I continued to volunteer in the college ministry, it wasn’t just Roger that I was falling in love with.  I was also falling in love with college students and college ministry.  I quickly felt that I was created to minister to college students.  With an opportunity to co-lead a mission trip to Thailand and my growing love for college ministry, in Spring of 1998, I decided to leave my job at E! and pursue ministry opportunities.  Shortly after I quit my job I was on an airplane with Roger and 9 college students, bound for an adventure of a lifetime!

 Aside from being overwhelmed by the experience of traveling to Thailand and Burma, I was also thrilled to be sharing this experience with Roger.  Up until this point, we had never discussed our feelings for one another – for all I knew, he just considered me a good friend.  Roger was always a man of strong integrity and he would have never asked me to co-lead this trip with him if we were dating.  It wouldn’t be appropriate.  If he had any real feelings for me, he did a really good job of keeping them hidden.

 After a phenomenal trip, I returned to Southern California where I had packed up all my belongings, quit my job, and accepted a summer position as the head of female staff at a Christian camp just outside of Yosemite.  I had been a water ski instructor at this camp when I first graduated from college and was excited to return and minister to all the college women who would be on staff.  This would give me a real hands on experience ministering to college students more than just once a week.  It would also mean leaving Southern California and Roger, not knowing when or if I’d return.  I wondered if this big move would kill any slight chance of potential with this handsome man that took my breath away the first time I saw him, but now without a job and no concrete ties in Los Angeles, there was no reason for me to stay. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


On our trip to Nor Cal I wanted to take the children on a hike in the mountains I grew up hiking in.  It’s a quick 10 minute drive to the top of Big Basin and the hiking trails are amazing and beautiful.  Once I could drive, I would go up into the mountains behind my parent’s house all the time to journal, pray, set goals, and just be.  Those mountains are very special to me and hold significance to some pretty poignant moments in my life.

As we started winding up the mountain, it was evident that the marine layer from the ocean on the other side was not going to burn off, so we’d spend a very chilly July morning in the mountains.   Almost to our destination, a little voice from the back of the car said, “Mommy, will there be other people there?”  “On the trails?,” I asked to clarify.  “Well, in the mountains.  Will there be other people up there?  Or will we be alone?”  I could tell from her tone that she was nervous for some reason about our little adventure.

“You don’t have to be scared.  Mommy grew up in these mountains and I know exactly where we’re going.  I would never put you in danger.  Don’t you trust me?”
I could tell that she wasn’t comforted.  She has no reason not to trust me.  I tried to think of what I could say to ease her mind and just get her to enjoy the beauty around us, but I couldn’t think of a magical phrase to make her trust me.  Shouldn’t a child automatically trust their parents?

How many times have I questioned in a small, shaky voice what God is doing?  There is no reason for me not to trust Him, He’s proven faithful time and again.  Still, I don’t always trust.  When the fog is getting thicker, the road bending from left to right and what lies ahead is unknown, I too get nervous and start to doubt.

There was nothing I could do but to lead on in confidence
and assure her that I knew what I was doing.
I don’t know if it was the park ranger she saw in the parking lot or my assurance that everything was going to be fine, but eventually she had a wonderful time exploring the mountains that I love so dear.

Sometimes I guess we have to see to believe.
God has our best interest in mind.  He is for us.  We can trust Him.
As my daughter began to see that we were safe, Mommy knew the trail and the wonder we saw was worth the risk, she began to trust a little more.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Highlight Reel - Part 1

Since I haven't really posted in a few weeks, I thought I'd share what I've been up to!
With my husband's crazy work schedule these days, I decided to take the children to Northern California for a few weeks to stay with my parents.  We had a wonderful time!

I got to spend a few days away from the children up at my brother's house in San Francisco.  While he was at work, I got myself some "lunch" and sat by the water to enjoy!  That evening we went to dinner with an old friend.
The following day, my brother and I went on a "Lilly Blanchard."  Awhile back my brother dictated a text to a friend, "let's go on a little adventure."  It was translated to his friend, "let's go on a Lilly Blanchard."  And thus, the Lilly Blanchard was born!
We drove north, over the Golden Gate, through the hills, and came to a magical place where we tasted some delightful cheeses,  stopped for some seafood on a bay, and practically froze our buns off!

Upon our return, the children were delivered for "Uncle Camp."

There was lots of coloring.  Check out this site and thank me later!  There were dance parties, and the fabulous formation of the Uncle Camp Band!!

Then onto amazing kite flying.  You didn't just fly these kites... they flew you!!
The kids had a blast!

The Uncle Camp Kite Team
Well, there's lots more to come, but I thought I'd give a little update.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Birthday Love

OK, so I'm still on vacation and today is actually my birthday!  39!  First time in years that I'll be spending my birthday with my parents and brother - but a dear friend I used to work with at E! just sent this to me and I laughed so hard that I just had to share it with you!  SO worth the watch - enjoy!
PS - I don't know this guy, but now I love him - and if you didn't know, my name is Raeanne.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Redeeming Love - Chapter 4

    It was a beautiful wedding. Deer Valley Resort in Utah provided the deck and God provided the majestic mountains that ushered us all into His presence for this holy occasion. I had met the groom while I was in college - a phenomenal man who embodied a love for Jesus and a love for bacon! The bride did not become a close friend until we lived together after college and over our buttered toast in the morning before work, we'd share life and prayer requests and become fast friends. The wedding was in her home state, I was singing in the ceremony, and he, Roger Newquist, was officiating. Many of my college friends were present for the weekend festivities, so I was busy visiting with them while admiring Mr. Newquist from afar.
       As the ceremony began the bride started walking down the aisle alone. It was her choice to walk down alone and it was a bold and powerful statement. Her groom was waiting at the end of the aisle, but as she walked about half way, he ran to meet her. It was an image I'll never forget. His excitement to be her husband was great, but his love for her was even greater. He had to run to get her.
       As the wedding weekend wrapped up, I found out that Roger and I were flying out of Salt Lake around the same time and he offered to take me to the airport. At last, I would have time alone with him to talk and get to know a little bit more about this mysterious, handsome man. I was thrilled.
       On the long car ride to the airport I asked Roger all kinds of questions about what led him into full time ministry.  We had wonderful conversation together and I was trying to keep my imagination from running wild.   After all, we had just spent a weekend in Utah witnessing a romantic wedding!
       Roger knew that I was active in our church and as he talked about the college and young adult ministries he led, he asked if I were interested in helping out in the college ministry.  I was never involved in a college ministry as a student, so I didn't really know what it entailed.  All I knew was that the man who caught my eye and took my breath away 2 years ago was now essentially asking me if I wanted to spend one evening a week with him (and several college students).  I said I'd think about it, but in my heart I already knew I would say yes.  Little did I know that his offer would radically change my life in more ways than one.
       A few weeks later Pepperdine was starting up which meant that the church would soon be flooded with college students and the college ministry would be in full swing.  I agreed to be an adult volunteer and I quickly discovered what I was created to do.  Even though I continued to work at E!, I couldn't wait for Tuesday nights when I got to mentor college students and spend a little extra time with Roger.  Soon our conversations after Tuesday nights would turn into conversations on Wednesday nights and my heart was falling deeper and deeper in love with this man.
       In December Roger asked me to go to Disneyland with him.  It wasn't really a date, we just went as friends.  But if you've ever been to Disneyland at Christmas time, it's even more magical than normal and date or not, it was a magical day together!  We walked over to Snow White's Wishing Well and I said that we had  to make wishes.  We threw quarters into the well and made our wishes.  Immediately after, Roger asked me what I wished for.  "I can't tell you or it won't come true," I said.  He didn't believe that, but since I wouldn't tell, neither would he.  It was December 20th 1997; he'd have to wait 6 more years before I'd tell him what I wished for.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Vacation

We're on vacation for 2 weeks and I thought I'd be able to keep up on the trip,
 but my body is telling me to just rest!
I will have posts on Fridays, continuing the Summer Romance Series.
Then back to normal on July 23rd with lots of yummy updates.
Happy Summer!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Redeeming Love - Chapter 3

I think that every story of romance is worth telling.  As I recall my own, I myself am amazed at the woven tapestry of love, heartbreak, tough lessons learned and bliss.
I hope you’ll join me every Friday this Summer for my Summer Romance Series:
A Redeeming Love

Chapter 3
In April 1995 I graduated from Pepperdine and left Malibu.  It would be about a year before I would return to Southern California and once again attend Malibu Presbyterian Church.  From the time I first saw the handsome man in the navy blue suit in church, to the time I returned to Malibu, I hadn’t thought about him.  I had no idea who he was and I was preoccupied with trying to figure out life after college.  Because I once thought I’d meet someone in college and marry shortly thereafter, I didn’t have any career passions or goals and was waiting for God to give me some vision.  Romance and dating were far from my mind.  Looking back now, I guess I did meet that man in my last 2 months of college.  But it would be another 9 years before he’d become my husband, so I needed to pursuing some kind of career!

 I was embarking on the new adventure of living in Los Angeles as a single, young woman and looking for a job!  Luckily my brother was dating a Recruiter at the time and she helped me find a job.  All the while I was very active at Malibu Presbyterian Church.   I finally was introduced to the handsome man in the navy blue suit.  His name was Roger Newquist and he was the Associate Pastor of College and Young Adult Ministries at the church.  I was smitten.  He was handsome and a pastor – what could be better?!

I sang on the worship team and at Thursday night rehearsals he would drop in sometimes.  I could barely contain myself.  We were introduced several times, “Roger, this is Raeanne Jones.”  He’d nod and shake my hand, I’d be thinking, “yea, I met you last week, and the week before.  Don’t you remember my name?”  Now I know that he did know my name and thought I had a boyfriend so he acted disinterested!

Through a few crazy temp jobs, I finally landed a job at E! Entertainment Television and a whole new set of adventures began!  I was living with 3 amazing girlfriends in a fabulous penthouse apartment overlooking the ocean, I was working at a “low budget cable network” where I met interesting people and got to make a few TV appearances myself!, and I was loving my church family and all the ministry opportunities there – life was full and rich.  All of the newness was a wave I rode as long as it kept coming.  I still didn’t really know Roger, but my heart skipped a beat every time I saw him.  I had never been so attracted to a man.  Because I was shy around men, I didn’t know how to get to know him.  I was not bold enough to approach him and our circles didn’t cross much.  For now, just seeing him on Sundays and the occasional Thursday rehearsal would give me a little something to dream about… until we ended up in Utah together the following summer.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Make Out Monday - Waterfront Date

It's Make Out Monday!

July's date theme is The Waterfront 
A fun date by the water.

Our littles have been in Vacation Bible School all week, so one morning I packed a little breakfast pic nic and took my husband to the beach for a morning date.

Fresh fruit, hot tea, and a little Enya to accompany the crashing waves.

We sat together and made a list of summertime dreams.
It was a wonderful time together.

Now it's your turn!  Plan a date for your loved one around the water.  Any water will do - a lake, river, ocean, even a bathtub!  If you want to tell us about your date, please leave a comment :)
Happy Dating!


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