The  Family

This is us, the Jones Family 6... it isn't hard to "keep up with [the Joneses]" us (if you're the keeping-up kind) because we aren't that kind of Joneses!  We are simple, live-by-the-leading-of-the-Lord, sell everything just to travel the states as His missionaries and then re-settle and just.live.missionally.... yup, that is us. 

The above picture was a 40th birthday gift where I was blessed to have our oldest home from college for the occasion... a rare, worth a group picture-taking session kind of occasion. We aren't really "studio portrait" people... more of a gather-in-the-dirt and SMILE in our best worst outfits!  But.... I figured - it isn't every day a gal turns 40 AND gets to have all the people she loves most in the world excited to spend the day with her :)  So we commemorated it with a portrait studio sitting.  Much time has passed since and, as of 2019, all but the youngest, Brooke, have graduated and moved on in life!  I think a good, updated, family photo is long over-do!

The Faith and Home
When God called our family to serve him full-time in missions we expected that to be it: a life as traveling missionaries.  We launched out of Northwestern Montana, leaving behind the Crown of the Continent and traveled the United States serving churches and towns with community development and church plant support projects. "Home" started as a tent, then our car, next with family members and finally in a small, old RV. After a year on wheels, God called us to settle back down and transition to full-time main-stream work and part-time missions (but do we ever stop living missionally in ALL situations??)  As Paul would call it in his Epistles: we became tent makers.

This lifestyle transition settled us in south-central Montana, an 8-hour drive from the Crown and family.  Our new position and location has allowed us to launch into international missions with vacation time and serve our local community with all the rest of the time! Our home is open to traveling ministry workers as a place to rest and we always look for ways to provide hospitality to anyone who needs a taste of home.

The faith in our family is just that... faith.  When we traveled and served full time missions, the message we were called to share was, "It's not about religion, it's about relationship".  We aren't necessarily 'charismatic' in the institutional sense of the word nor are we pew warmers... we are simply Christ-followers living each day to declare His glory and follow His Lead because of His truly Amazing Grace.  My youngest son said it best while seeking to minister to some inner city youth in Phoenix, Arizona, and one young man stated "You got a little too much Jesus kid."  My son replied, "There is no such thing as "too much" Jesus."  Amen.

Me and my hubby!
I homeschool as a response to a call I felt God laid on my heart for my children's education... and because I LOVE to teach!  Next to serving our Lord, I find no greater purpose than to serve my husband and children.
In my dreams I am the owner of a large farm with a menagerie of animals, a vegetable garden that consumes at least 2 acres, a pumpkin patch and an immense fruit orchard I spend all fall baking and canning from!  In reality I work hard to keep any garden surviving all summer in pots and small plots and I purchase fruit at a local produce stand so I can fulfill my love of canning when the season is right! 

I am a collector of inspirational quotes.  One of my greatest passions is writing.  Vintage is my aim of style and decor`.  I believe "Home" is not only where the heart is - but also wherever you make it.  The greatest compliment I can hope to receive is for a guest in my house to confide "I feel 'at home' here" because then I know God's comfort was able to pour through me (may HE receive all the glory!).  I would rather sing and dance down the sidewalk then walk... to my family's chagrin!  Most often I simply sock-skate in my kitchen or twirl and sing to Big-Band tunes or KLove/Air-one... whatever my mood may be! (I'm a firm believer of 'age is just a number')

I read every chance I get, historical Christian romance, missionary biography, inspirational and history are some of my favorites when I don't have my nose deep into a good Bible study or commentary.  On the occasions I can relax, knitting needles, crochet hooks or embroidery are often in my hands (since my kids are too big for cuddling now!).  When movies are in mind, good oldies and Rogers and Hammerstein musicals rank at the top of my list!

If you wonder about the random content on this blog from time-to-time, then you should know I was raised by an eclectic family and have since worn many hats in my life both personally and professionally.  A non-exhaustive list thus-far.... Newspaper Reporter, Receptionist, Administrative Assistant, Business Owner, Poet, Writer, Art Teacher, Craft Fair Booth Holder, Newsletter Editor-in-Chief, Project Coordinator, PTA Go-to-Girl, Pre-school Teacher, Sunday School Teacher, Bible Teacher (did I mention I love teaching??), Bible Study and Devotion writer, Women's Ministry Coordinator and Missionary.  I have studied Early Childhood Education with an emphasis on Developmental Psychology and I spent a few terms with YWAM's online School of Biblical Studies course learning Inductive Bible Study.  I soaked up missions training through Mission Builders International and Rural Shepherds Network with an emphasis on Community Development, Intercessory Prayer and Sermon Writing. You can imagine how my collective experiences enhance our homeschool and give my writing and speaking a perspective often unique and diverse.

He goes by AJ and his story is simply amazing.  I will let him tell it sometime though.  My side of his story is how we were both fallen, broken people when we met.  I was barely a year out of divorce with 3 year old Zach in tow and he was still recovering over a deep-heart hurt from a broken engagement.  He was ignoring God, I was running from Him.  Two years after we became "we" I re-dedicated my life to Christ with one of those all-in sold-out-for-Jesus faiths because I realized how amazing His grace certainly was.  Hubby didn't share my view though.  He was walking out all kinds of wrong... and he didn't see the need to change it.  For ten years I prayed daily for his salvation to come and then, just.like.that, God answered... pressed down and poured out.  Not only did hubby surrender after 40 years of running but he got one of those all-in kind of faiths too.  Within a year his faith had jumped so far beyond what most people accomplish in a lifetime - even seasoned missionary friends couldn't believe their eyes!  You've heard of rags to riches?  It is kind of like that but in the concept of faith.  So if you are afraid to comment or "be real" with me here at Faith and Home.... trust me.... NOTHING is a shocker here!


left to right Front: Ashley, Brooke... Back: Zach, Brenden... Ashley's High School Graduation 6/16!!

“Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  - Matthew 19:14.  

We work diligently through Christ to teach our children to take each step of life through their Redeemer.  WDJD (What Did Jesus Do) is a phrase they have learned to ask in all situations of life.  The children are still your average tumble-bumble kiddos, but we feel truly blessed that they all have a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and the works that God has in store for them.

We chose to begin homeschooling in 2007.  Zach is the only one of my children to attend public school through graduation.  He was 8th grade at the time and already integrated into the system. Switching would have been complicated.

2018/19 School year:

Zach graduated public school with honors class of 2012.  He started his college career at Lake Washington Tech in Seattle but when he heard God's call to switch his degree focus from Physical Therapy to Business, he switched colleges too.  The following fall he was blessed with acceptance to Seattle Pacific University. He worked and studied hard to graduate Cum Laud Class of 2017 with a double major: Business Management and Economics.  At 24 now, he is working as the financial advisor for a hospital and trying to navigate the waters of post-grad-adult life!

 Ashley  graduated in 2016.  She spent the following fall semester at a local Bible College before deciding to simply focus on work and her gifts.  At 20 now, she continues to be an over-comer... most days... of the challenges of moderate to severe ADHD!  She also leans on God for strength as she battles what doctors suspect could be temporal seizures.  But that doesn't stop her from sharing her faith and seeking to encourage others as God provides opportunity.  She loves to share about our mission journey which God used to draw her not only into deeper relationship with Him but also into the world of worship music! She writes, sings, and plays at home and on stage during occasional service fillers. Her artistic talents are not limited to music.  She is a natural in almost any medium she dabbles in from computer graphics to drawing and painting to writing adventure novels; all are blossoming and we are blessed as a result. 

Brenden achieved his high school diploma this past school year.  Set on beating the challenges of dyslexia, dysgraphia, and a speech impediment, he pushes himself to work hard in any area God lays before him.  He is currently working for a local sole-proprietor in the Lego industry and preparing to try and launch a career doing voice-over work.  He dabbles with making stop-motion videos and with the world at his doorstep as a new graduate, we are excited to see where he goes!  I am going to miss having him in our school day routines but I am so proud of all he has done and all he is doing!

Brooke is the baby of the family, though not much of a 'baby' anymore.  This year she begins Junior level work. Her favorite subjects are art, science and math.  As a matter of fact, she loves math so much she is determined to take EVERY high school level math class she can before she graduates!  This year that means she has THREE. She is already looking towards college and actively considers various options.  Currently she is intrigued by the idea of some sort of degree in ministry work, particularly Biblical Counseling after spending her second summer as a Christian Youth in Action missionary.  Whatever she decides, she has time and we encourage her to enjoy her youthfulness while she can! When it comes to family, nothing can compare.  She loves spending time with siblings and parents alike. She also loves to read, draw, craft, and cook.  Anything outdoors is a win for her as well and she is delighted to blend style and her own touch to ALL things she does!  Her gentle nature and shining smile win the hearts of all those she encounters. Her pet Holland Lop-eared bunny inspired her to declare that hope is always easily renewed if you just "Think of Bunnies"!

Seattle Pacific University Graduation 6/17

So that is us... in a nutshell, so-to-speak.  Perhaps the background will shed light as we walk this adventure of sharing God's Word, inspirations, and family insight on everything from marriage to parenting to homeschooling here at Faith and Home.  We are not perfect, by any measure.  We are all sinners, screw-ups, and mis-fits on a path to follow after Jesus, messing up often, seeking forgiveness, and growing each step of the way.  Perfection won't come until that Glory Day when we sing Glory glory glory!

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