Sunday, June 28, 2009

Grand Teton and Yellowstone

These are a couple of the pictures I took the last time I was at Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.   I'm hoping to have similar success on the Journey For Jess this year so I can use the beautiful scenery of the national parks to raise awareness for seizure disorders.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


15 days until the Journey For Jess begins.

All the reservations have been made. The routes have been planned. (click here to view)

I'm still in the process of determining where the best places to photograph at sunrise and sunset are at each of our destinations. I have some ideas but will wait and talk to locals and see for myself when we arrive at each location.

I've been talking to businesses and trying to get in contact with media outlets, and although it hasn't gone great I do feel like we are making progress.

We will be updating periodically the next two weeks and then will update multiple times daily once the Journey For Jess has begun.

Please bookmark us and check back on our progress as we try to raise money and awareness for people affected by seizure disorders.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Sponsors

Thanks to our new sponsors:

Brad and Sara Anderson
Ona May Brunsvold

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jess Marie

Please remember to check Jess' blog where you can see and share memories of Jess. You can also post your memories by emailing or texting

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Held - Part 2

It's been two years since we said goodbye to Jess. It has been a long 2 years. Good days aren't as good. Bad days are worse. Days that we used to look forward to are now faced with trepidation. Birthdays, holidays and celebrations are all reminders that Jess is gone.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the song Held, written by Christa Wells and performed by Natalie Grant. I wrote about how the song, a subsequent conversation with Christa Wells and a sermon by Pastor Cory helped me to have a revelation of sorts. (Click here to read about it in the first Held post)

I wrote Christa to ask if she had a video of her singing Held that I could post on this blog. She responded that she had just recently started on the singing part of her singer/songwriter career and that she didn't have anything of her singing Held yet. Then she sent me another email that included this:

Christa has such a beautiful voice, and we feel so honored that she would do this "for Jess". Please visit her at and check out her new album. I especially like the songs 'weightless', 'on the mountain' and 'a thousand things'.

As always, thanks for checking in on us. Especially today, Jess' second Angel day.

We miss you Jess. We love you. And we can't wait to see you again.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Sponsors

I wanted to take a minute to thank our newest sponsors:

Lorrin and Linda Beecher
Craig and Ann Anderson
Larry and Linda Manges

Thank you so much for your support.

Monday, June 8, 2009

T-Shirt Order

We are going to be ordering new T-Shirts on Friday June, 12th. They will be white with JFJ in purple on the front and in black and purple on the back as seen below. The shirt will be an Anvil Dri Release T-Shirt which is a high performance tagless poly/cotton blend. They will be much more comfortable in the summer sun than our current, black, heavy cotton JFJ shirts. They are $20 and available in adult sizes only. We will not be ordering any extras so if you want one please email me at by Thursday night, June 11th.

Donating - If You Feel Moved To Do So

Thank you for visiting us and following the Journey For Jess.

If you are considering donating, there are a number of ways to do so.

To donate to the Journey For Jess please visit:

To donate to the Epilepsy Foundation please visit:

To donate to the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance please visit:

Monday, June 1, 2009

This is what it means - to be "Held"

Lyrics to the song Held written by Christa Wells performed by Natalie Grant

Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling
Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held

This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow

After Jess died, we were given a Natalie Grant CD with the song “Held” on it. Along with “Homesick” by Mercy Me, “Grace” by Michael W Smith, “Untitled Hymn” by Chris Rice and “You Raise Me Up” and “To Where You Are” by Josh Groban, “Held” became one of the songs that gave us the most comfort in those dark days. I tend to be a bit obsessive, so to say that I listened to the song hundreds of times is not an exaggeration. In time I began to focus my obsession on a single phrase from the song:

To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling

What did it mean? Was it appalling that God would take a child from their mother while she prays, or that we would think that God chose to do so? I obsessed over the question, I had to know what it meant. I researched the song and found that it was written by Christa Wells a singer/songwriter from North Carolina. It turns out that she has a website,, and on it there was an email address. So I emailed her and got the following response:

Funny that you ask about that particular line, since it was that line (among others) that kept the song from being cut by other artists sooner. Natalie was the first one not to ask us to rewrite! It is a tough lyric, though, and I do understand that.

I write without a lot of self-censorship--in other words, it's important to me when I write to say what is honest, rather than what is pleasant. For better or worse. When I wrote that verse, considering my dear friend who was/is one of the strongest women of faith I've ever encountered and who had suffered so much loss, I could only think that this is true for us as we observe: it seems to us appalling that a sovereign, loving God could "do that" to "someone like that." I do believe fervently in God's sovereignty, but I also believe there are things that he --as with Job--allows rather than initiates. It is indeed appalling (to our human minds) to think He would choose or allow a child to be taken from his mother, while she's on her knees begging him not to.

Of course, that's not the end of the story, as you are more aware than I. The great "but this is what it means" MUST follow!

Finally, the answer I had been looking for. So why did I not feel satisfied?

Because I now realized that the question I had was not really with the song or with the lyrics. It is about me and how I am dealing with Jess’ death. We prayed. We prayed often and hard. And there was no miracle for us. But some people do get their miracles. Did they pray harder or better than we did? I want someone to blame, so the emotional part of me blames God. How could he let this happen? But then there is another part of me. A seemingly smaller part that says you can’t really believe that God wanted Jess to die. So the real question is how do I resolve that inner conflict between the two?

I think as Christians we want to believe that God has a plan and that everything that happens is part of God’s plan. But as Pastor Corey told us at Jess’ funeral, Jess dying was not God’s plan. There is evil, and pain, and suffering in this world.

But why? Why does there have to be pain and suffering and death in a world created by a loving God?

I’m not sure I knew the answer until last Sunday in church as I listened to Pastor Corey reminding us that we do not belong in this world.

And then something clicked. I think I understand.

We do not belong to this world.

This life, this world is just the beginning of our Journey.

And the best is yet to come.

See you soon Jess. (but not soon enough)

We love you.