The Crooked Garden House


Gather ’round everyone, Auntie Jen is going to tell you a story. A story about a crooked garden house.

Once a upon a time…. Ah, who am I kidding, I suck at story telling. But I will tell you about my garden house and how much it means to me.

Several months ago, I’m talking dead of winter, maybe even early fall, because I can be a stupid, ridiculous planner when I want to be, I presented Joe with an idea. An idea about how to keep those thieving rats out of my garden during the upcoming growing season (Oooo! I sound like a novice farmer! *Ahem* Gardener, my bad.) I told him that I got the idea from Pinterest, blah blah blah, and he said “I have a better idea!” I interpreted that as “Your idea sucks, basically because Pinterest sucks, and you’re a girl.” But that’s definitely not what Joe meant. I just had to trust him, more on that later.

As we start getting closer and closer to spring I start getting really antsy about what Joe has planned. He never really reveals his plans to me, not even a sketch, just a “I’ve got it all in my head, I placed an order at Lowe’s, it’ll be ready for pickup tomorrow. Can you go get it?” Uhhhhh??? Sure? Why not! So off to Lowe’s I go, with Neighbor Julie and Beau, and we pick up the order. Now there are a ridiculous amount of building materials and I’m thinking “What in the heck is he building me? An ark? A panic room in my garden? A bomb shelter?! What the heck dude! Whatever it is, its going to be good and nothing’s getting in…or out!”

About a month later, Joe starts building the garden house. Did I mention he ordered more supplies off Amazon too!? Yeah that was an interesting week of shipments. He gets one wall built and then a few weeks go by before he gets another up. Then another few weeks and another wall. Eventually all the walls get put up, all the while I’m helping as much as I can, trying to be a good wifey. Beau tries to help too but is more interested in running off with daddy’s tools or flinging the dirt out of momma’s beds. Well today we framed out the roof line and later we’ll cover it with the last of the chicken wire. And as usual I thanked him 50 times for working so hard on this even though he’s frustrated with it, and himself, because its crooked. But today the garden house meant something more to me than protecting my veggies and the hard work (and worry) I put into caring for them.

Today the garden house made me see my marriage in a new light. A much deeper shade of love, commitment, and trust. 

You see the crooked garden house is just like our marriage. It’s two people coming together to build something to protect what’s important and precious on the inside, from all the predators on the outside. And I’m not just talking temptation, I’m talking about building a protection around your whole marriage from everything! 

So many different things went into building the garden house. The right tools and materials, the time, the energy, even the basic WANT to build it in the first place. Joe may see this as just something on the “honey do” list but it’s really much more than that. There first had to be a plan, then the foundation was laid, the walls went up, a protective barrier was secured around them, and finally the roof. 

For a few weeks, maybe even a month or two, some of the walls didn’t have their protective barrier so I went out every day to check on garden to make sure it wasn’t under attack. I even checked the areas around the garden for any sign of intrusion, and there was nothing. Although, I did see evidence elsewhere on some flowers that weren’t protected but I wasn’t as concerned as I have been about what’s actually in the garden.


Today Joe struggled with getting the first beam secured into the top cross beam. As a matter of fact, the wood split in a couple places and at one point the beam he was working on popped off and hit him in the mouth. Maybe he was rushing through his work or wasn’t totally sure how to go about securing it. Then he remembered some kind of metal anchor that holds two pieces of wood together in such a build. So off to Lowe’s he went. (Now Joe, I know you’re probably reading this and you will smirk and roll your eyes at what I’m about to say, so just go with it.) When he came home he was in a slightly better mood than when he left and he kept telling me about this really nice man he met in the store who helped him. He wasn’t an employee, he was just a regular guy who happened to be building a shed of his own, and I think was even looking for the same part. Joe said they talked for a while, and that “he was just a really nice man”. I’m not saying this man was God, I’m just saying that if I were looking for a metaphor to relate to in this story he would kind of be like God. Only in the sense he was in the right place at the right time. This man helped Joe find the exact pieces he needed to finish building the garden house. Sometimes we have to seek counsel to help us through uncertain situations. (Sure some Lowe’s employee could have been the one to save the day but that doesn’t make for a good story now does it?)

I can’t help but see God’s lesson in all of this. I try to wear those “learning glasses” all the time now. God helped us with this simple project by providing the pieces we didn’t think to get. He provided the way. He took two people who were willing to work together and built a house to protect what mattered to them, even on uneven ground. Sure its crooked and uneven, but so are we. Nobody is perfect but He uses us anyway, and gives us purpose. I was also reminded that often times God doesn’t reveal his plans for us upfront like we always want. Instead, He asks that we just trust in Him and have faith that He will provide the way, much like Joe did in the beginning. I had to trust Joe’s plan without even knowing what it was. I’m sure glad I did because it came out way better than my original plan. Pretty much like when we finally let go and trust God to lead us. It’s always better than we imagined! It’s been hard but I’ve learned to relax and let Joe do the leading. He’s really good at seeing and planning the whole picture, from start to finish. I usually just see the beginning and the dreamy ending, never knowing what the middle will look like.

I really enjoyed building the crooked garden house with Joe. It made me appreciate not only his manliness (someone is definitely getting a tool belt for Father’s Day!) but his brain too! The math that man can do in his head is impressive! I’m more of a cut THEN measure kind of person! And I’m sure I annoyed the heck out Joe today, and every day we’ve worked on it, by flirting with him the whole time. Every time I go outside or even just see it through the back window I’m reminded how much he loves and honors me. Joe loved me enough to build a garden house so that I could enjoy my hobby and not be upset every time the rats ate my veggies. They are the most expensive veggies we’ve ever eaten by the way. I think 1 tomato is worth about $50 by now! First time gardeners know exactly what I’m talking about.

I know that Joe and I will build another garden house one day, it will be bigger, better, and level! 


(Thank you babe, again, for all your hard work in the yard, and just in all that you do for us. I love you so much. You have been my greatest blessing and my favorite answered prayer!)



Rolling Stones Quotes and a book giveaway! What?!

   Once again while washing the dishes I had a light bulb moment. (Sorry Joe, I promise to get the dishes done as soon as I finish hammering out this post! Love ya!) Well I had several light bulb moments and I’m going to try and put them all down here in one big fancy post!

                                                   Light Bulb 1: “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!”

I always thought that saying was cute, specially for kids, but I’d like to feed it some Flintstone chewables and watch it grow up and mature into a quote that is appropriate for adults. “You get what HE (God) gives and you don’t throw a fit!” Basically shut up you big whimp and quit complaining! You’re in a funky chapter of your life right now because thats exactly where God planned for you to be! So wake up, clean those crusty eye boogers out of your eyes and pay attention! What’s that? God is mean because he’s not answering your prayers instantly, or not answering them the way you wanted… or even at all? Well I hate to tell you this, but guess what! Again, its all part of His plan! He allows us to suffer for a reason. That reason being, so that we will drop everything and give all our troubles to him, so that HE can work it out for us and through us. “Oh but Jen, what about the murders and the crimes and blah blah blah”. Now I’m no expert, I’m actually just a simple housewife who is speaking purely from what I’ve experienced in my own life and the wonderful bitch Jesus slap in the face I’ve received numerous times. But I’d be willing to bet, God has allowed those terrible things to happen because, as a world, we don’t rely on him daily. We’re human, we’re supposed to be free willed, thats how he created us. He created us to think for ourselves and to choose to follow or not follow him. Anyway, point of the matter is, you don’t like what’s going on in your life? Good! Give up! Give up and give EVERYTHING over to God! Even the little stuff! Actually if you have a hard time giving up control of your life, start small, he’ll show up even for the little stuff.

Point 2: The Closer to God you are the craftier the devil becomes!


Are your eyes still open? I sure hope so because now that you’re wide awake and giving God your all (and the glory for what he’s done and ABOUT TO DO) you need to be on the look out for the devils trip ups! They come in the most inconspicuous packages! I’m going to use my husband Joe as an example because again I’m just a simple housewife and the only time the devil gets my goat is when he tells Krewe to poop in my garden or chew up my patio furniture!

As you already know, Joe and I have started attending a new church and we are in the process of becoming members. (Is the whole member process/class a new thing because I don’t remember doing this as a kid, oh well, it is what it is.) And during the process we knew we’d hit a road block on some of the beliefs of the church because of the way Joe was raised. I’m not going to get into all the detail because that would make this blog stupid long. But Joe just had some questions and concerns. On top of weighing that stuff out, his boss died last week of a massive heart attack at 39 yrs old! That right there opened Joes eyes to the fact that he may need to start taking better care of himself, he’s 37! So he came home and told me he was going to quit dipping (chewing tobacco). YAY FOR JOE! Hold on to your hats for the rest of human kind while he goes through withdrawls! *** TMI Warning: I don’t think I’ve ever been more compelled to kiss and make out with my husband until now since he’s given up Skoal! Yay for us!***

So all this was going on in the span of a 2 week period and then it hit me. (And some of you may think I’m nuts or even disagree, and thats ok, you know what they say about opinions!) The devil is really doing all he can to trip Joe up and steal his joy! The joy that we had both been experiencing since going back to church! The devil was trying to twist and alter blessings and silver linings in a way that would take the focus of us giving our all to God! (And I say silver lining because even at the viewing last night, his boss’s wife said “If anything can be taken away from this, its that maybe more people will stop and take better care of their health!” And she was right! Joe and one of his colleagues got the Jesus slap across the face and are taking steps to better themselves!) The devil is very good at what he does, I’ll give him that. But he’s not good enough to fly under the radar forever! He eventually gets sniffed out and things get back on the right path! Joe and I verbalized this realization last night in the truck and as the words were coming out of our mouths we felt things start to return to normal. For me anyway, Joe is still going through withdrawals! (Gods speed!)

Point 3: Stop comparing your life to others!


Your life is going the way it is because thats the way God wrote it for you! Sure at some point we’d love to trade places with someone but what you don’t realize is that what one persons desired heaven is another persons personal hell! Some of you may think I have it easy, and for the most part I do. And I’m not going to hold my tongue on the matter either! God has truly blessed me by answering my ultimate prayer, and that was to be a stay at home mom! So thank you Lord! You’re awesome! ::: air high five ::::

Now would I like to trade places with someone? Some days yes! Some days I really miss socializing with adults, some days I really miss collecting a pay check, because I feel like these 4 walls are closing in on me or I feel like I’m about to rip out all my hair and shoot the dog if he digs up my tomatoes one more time! Or for the love of all things holy “BEAU GET OUT OF THE DISHWASHER!” Or how most days I feel like a total failure because the house may be totally clean for no more than 30 minutes before it looks like Hurricane Beau hit it with gusto! See thats MY personal hell! And I know that others have it 10xs worse than me, I get it. Thats not my point, that’s again comparing someone else’s life to mine.  But at the end of the day, when Joe comes home to tell me that he was elbow deep in colonoscopies all day, I don’t seem to mind that Krewe pooped in the garden, that the squirrels and birds have eaten everything I’ve grown or that Beau refused to take a nap or keep his diaper on! In fact, I’m reminded again (insert Jesus slap) just how truly blessed I am and that God did indeed answer my prayers!

I got what He gave, and I’m thankful for it!

I’ve learned this through reading an amazing book! “Shattered Dreams: Gods unexpected pathway to joy!” by Larry Crabb. I know I’ve referred to this book several times but it truly opened my eyes to a lot of things and I’ve been able to really enjoy my life a lot more! I’m not nearly as negative as I once was, and thats because I have a better understanding of things.

Again, I’m not claiming to know everything there is to know about God and his infinite wonder, I’m just sharing with you my simple, cajun housewife viewpoint and stories! I encourage every one to seek out peace and happiness the best way you can!

 I will be giving a way a copy of Shattered Dreams to one lucky winner! Comment below to enter! I will contact the winner via email! Winner to be announced Sunday! Thanks for reading!

Praying for my husband (side note)

As I mentioned earlier, I have prayed for my husband but I wanted to share this story as well.

As most of you already know, both Joe and I were previously married. And divorce can be a real S.O.B, I don’t care which side your on, it sucks.

Joe and I both went through our own personal hells after our divorces and choose two completely different paths when it came to dealing w the reality of it all.

I’m going to tell you a little bit about my side.

My REAL life began when my divorce started. That probably sounds strange but it’s true. I was forced to finally grow up and be an adult. I only had myself to rely on. Sure I had family to help and they were there for me, but it was all up to me to pick myself up and start over again. And that I did.

I moved in with my sister and was an absolute hot mess for weeks. Just cried and threw up everyday! I don’t think I even want to know what was going through my sisters head at the time, but I’m thankful she helped keep me on the right track. She asked questions that made me think. She also gave me a book to read, “Shattered Dreams: Gods unexpected pathway to joy”. Total life changer! I also began to pray, probably because it’s all I knew how to do at the time.

I prayed that God would restore my marriage but I quickly began feeling like that wasn’t going I happen so I changed my prayers. I prayed that God would give me peace about my marriage not being restored. And once I started feeling that peace, I prayed for God to heal my heart. I started feeling that as well. Then I started praying for God to prepare my heart for my future husband bc I knew without a doubt I wanted to marry again one day and have the family I had always dreamed of. Once I started really feeling like I could love again I started praying that God begin to prepare my future husbands heart and to keep him safe. I prayed about many other things but I’ll stop there because I want to share with you something so great, probably even as great as the birth of my son!

You see when I was praying through my divorce for all those things, Joe was going through his divorce as well. He’ll even tell you he wasn’t dealing with it too well! I won’t go into detail because its not my place but God was answering my prayers. He was preparing our hearts to receive each other.

On one of our dates, Joe and I were talking very candidly about how we handled going through our divorces. I told him how I quickly turned everything over to God and he told me how he pretty much drank to forget. He told me how he was even so drunk that he was mad that he woke up the next day! When he said that I immediately started crying!!! He kind of freaked out and asked what was wrong, I said, sobbing, “I have been praying for you! I didn’t know who you were but I have been praying for you! For your safety! For your heart! For you!!” I swear in that moment Gods awesomeness and power became so crystal clear and so real! I can’t even fully describe to you the feeling I had then, it was too incredible.

Every once in a while we reflect back and talk about how terrible all that was but both agree that in the end it was worth it. I know, for me, I’d go through it a thousand times if I had to, if it meant I would be with Joe and have the life and security that I have now.

I’m telling you, prayer works! Don’t believe me, try it! Prove me wrong!


Werrrrd to ya Father!


(Probably one of the most stressful times for him. I was pregnant, we had just bought a new house and he was still pretty new at his current job!)


Earlier this year I decided to read a book called Praying God’s Word for Your Husband by Kathi Lipp because I could sense that Joe was having some struggles, internally and externally. And it was really starting to stress him out, which was also stressing me out. The saying “If momma ain’t happy, no body’s happy!” applies to husbands as well, particularly if they are the ones bringing home the bacon (and its a single income household)! There is a lot of pressure and weight on our husbands shoulders, along with worldly their own expectations and personal goals! I also learned quickly that the more I offered suggestions, or bitched about his negative behavior, the less he listened and the further apart we grew. 

No bueno! And not the way I want my marriage to go! Then it clicked! Of course I can’t “change” him, and I don’t like using that term because I wasn’t really trying to change him necessarily, but more like wanting to help “fix” his problems. And of course, everything he was dealing with was way beyond my control or ability. So I called on the one person I knew who is in the fixing business. God. He led me to this book, through Pinterest of all places! (I seriously find the coolest God stuff there!) I bought it the next day and began reading it immediately! 


Hold on to your hats ladies because I started seeing a positive change in Joe that week!!! He came home feeling a little lighter and lighter each day, began smiling more, complained less, and started saying things like “I’m just giving it to God!” I did mention to Joe that I had started reading the book and he said he could feel the power of prayer and it actually gave him a special peace through out his day. 

Now, I don’t know if anyone actually follows my blog, and I’m cool if they don’t, because I’m doing this more for me anyway, but I thought I’d post some things from the book for those that do follow. It’ll also benefit Joe for me to start praying these things again for him.

And I’m sorry if future posts aren’t super formal or are just a quick line or two from the book, I just like to keep things super simple between God and I, cause I feel like thats how it should be. I don’t feel like I need to put my pearls on just for a 2 minute prayer. But I do pray often, even while I’m doing other things. I don’t really know how to describe it but if you were in my head you’d probably hear a low, constant hum. Thats me praying. I think I keep a “pot of prayers” simmering on my mental stove all day. Hey, it keeps things feeling fresh!

On to the book….

Here’s just a few key points from the book on how and when to pray.

Everyday Prayer: Have a time, a routine, a spot, and some stuff! 

What that means is, make it a point to pray the same time, same place everyday. If you have time do it while you’re drinking your coffee, do it then, and bring some stuff. Like pen and paper. I kept a prayer journal while doing this and it was so awesome to go back and see how God answered the prayers… or didn’t! It’s also an awesome reminder to have when you find yourself in a funk, you can go back and see how God showed up and carried you through that particular time. Its also an easy reminder of his unconditional love for us! Thats my favorite! So whatever time is a good time that you can devote just a few minutes of quiet time is perfect! It could be while you’re making that stupid ugly mascara face when you’re putting on your make up, it could even be in the shower or while you’re taking your kids to school. And again, don’t feel like you have to get all crazy formal with it. It about starting a conversation. You could just start by thanking him for one more day on this earth! Or thanking him for even willing to listen to your hot mess of a life! (We’ve all been there!)

Simple Prayer

That speaks for itself I think, and I think I just covered that in the previous paragraph! Oops! Oh well! K.I.S.S it! Keep It Short and Simple or my favorite, Keep It Simple, Stupid! I think often times we complicate our personal relationships with God because we over think it. We also get in the way of our own happiness and accomplishments for that very same reason, we other think it. Praying to God is just as simple as cereal and milk. All you need is 2 main ingredients, you and God. I talk to God like I talk to any other person I interact with on a daily basis. I even get mad and cuss. **GASP** But guess what, he still loves me and he still desires a relationship with me! He still wants me to come to him for everything, big or small! I love that about him! I love how easy it is! I love that I don’t have to fill out some 20 page form or know some secret handshake to hang out with him. I can do it anywhere, anytime, day or night. “God is not looking for us to impress him with our prayers, but he does want us to be open to letting him impress our hearts. He delights in simple prayer”

So my prayer today, for myself, you can pray it with me, is that God begin to prepare our hearts for prayer. Let him free up any unused space in our hearts for him to use as a place to come and be with us. And to open up any unused space in our husband/spouse’s heart as well.

Credits: Praying God’s Word for Your Husband by Kathi Lipp


And here it begins…

Lately I’ve been feeling a new shift in my life, a good one. One that has brought on an intense feeling of peace within myself and where I’m supposed to be.

I’m quickly approaching my 32nd birthday and I finally feel I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in life. I have ARRIVED!

My son is a little over 1yo (I try not to speak in months, its annoying!), my home barbershop is here and there but I feel good about everything else. The world within my home anyway. The outside world, yeah not so much… I’ll save that for another post.

My marriage is solid. My core family had gotten a lot tighter, maybe to do with some outside disturbances. But in general, all is well. It truly is.

I can’t take all the credit to all my awesomeness though. God is the one who’s constantly been the one providing the avenue to my dreams. I can’t deal with life for even a nano second without checking in with him. Its not even an option at this stage in the game (of life).

He’s blessed me beyond my wildest dreams and I hope to share it all here with you!

Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog. Its nothing exciting but I love the idea of having a way to write down special memories or deep thoughts so that I won’t forget them!

Riding around with the windows down.

Riding around with the windows down.