A Brand New Blog … For YOU!

February 6, 2013 | 119 comments

We repainted our guest room a while back.

We hauled in a refurbished buffet and set the antique typewriter at an angle, right next to Granny T’s tattered hymnal. I opened the hymnal to my favorite song of all: “I Love to Tell the Story,” because as a writer who is a disciple for Christ, that one song has been my anthem.

The hymnal is always open.

We hung grandparents’ hats on the wall and found spots for a dozen or more yellowing photographs of our ancestors.

When it was all finished, I stood in the doorway, with my arms crossed over my chest, and nodded contentedly.


But there was a part of me that was a little sad, a smidge sentimental. Because let’s face it: a lot of important life happened within these four walls for many years. This was the place where we raised our babies. This new guest room formerly served as the nursery, the place where our girls’ discovered a tiny gray mouse  in the “Goodnight Moon” book. This was where I sung lullabies, and nursed little fevers, and swaddled and swayed and tried to tuck every Johnson&Johnson lavender-scented moment in a glass jar.

This is where I learned how to be a mom.

But babies grow up, and they move out of cribs. So, we sent those two girls to new rooms. And we brought new life into the nursery. We turned it into a guest room.

We made a place to welcome our house guests — the people whom we love to the moon and back. People like you…

And that’s what is happening here today. We’ve repainted and rearranged. We  we loosened our grip on some things we loved, allowing them to grow up and change.

Yep. The blog outgrew the nursery. 

This blog was born in 2008 as “Getting Down With Jesus,” a place that got its name through a very scientific process called … um … random selection. 🙂 I sort of liked the name, and it stuck, but after a while it didn’t fit anymore.

(IMPORTANT NOTE for subscribers: If things work correctly, you will NOT need to resubscribe.) 

My little blog started as a way for me–a former news reporter who moved back to the farm–to have a writing outlet far away from the newsroom.

I kept writing stories, and while each story was most assuredly a part of my personal narrative, the story became less about me, and more about you.  About God in all of us

You came by, and I was changed.

That old nursery of a blog needed to become a guest room. The baby grew up, you see. 

So this… A brand-new blog, with a fresh coat of paint and some special things for you. This space is for you, friend. It is a guest room. (Email subscribers, click here to take a peek. The door is open for you!)

Here on our farm, we have guests now and then. They are dear friends and family who show up at the back door with suitcases in their hands. Before they arrive, I tap out a message for them on that antique typewriter. I want them to know that they matter.

And I want YOU to know that YOU matter…

So, today, I typed up one of those messages for you as well:

 

I pray that I might repeat that message here every time I post — which is usually Monday, Wednesday and Friday (with an occasional weekend post).

We’ll add a couple more pieces of furniture over the next few days, including a brand new community called #TellHisStory every Wednesday. You can find out more about that over here. In short, the new #TellHisStory link-up is about the importance of YOUR story. You don’t have to be a gifted writer to participate; you only need to appreciate the gift of a unique story that God has placed right within you!

I have gathered a bunch of my writing friends to offer writing tips each week for those of us who are into that sort of thing… Won’t that be fun?

AND … I will feature one of your stories, from your blog, each week on my sidebar. (Today you’ll find my dear friend Michelle DeRusha in that space.)

I’m thrilled you’ve come by. This new blog looks a lot like my guest room, and that’s because I want you to know that you are a welcome guest here. Until Heaven, we might not meet each other face-to-face. So, until then, I’ll be tapping out messages, God-willing, intended just for you. And I’ll be lingering to hear your stories, too.

Because you matter to God, and you matter to me.

Welcome.
 

Our sincere thanks to Ted Barnett of Contemplate Designs for his work on this site. I highly recommend Ted. Five-stars!

by | February 6, 2013 | 119 comments

119 Comments

  1. Michelle DeRusha

    Cheering hurray hurray for the beauty of this place…and you, my friend. So glad for you. It’s just beautiful and will be the perfect place to tell your story, which has been His story all along!

    {and thank you for the sidebar feature!!}

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      My pleasure, Michelle! I look forward to featuring you as one of our “writing instructors” in the coming months. I love how God works through your words.

      We’ve been blogging friends for a lot of years, you know that? Since, what, 2009?

      Reply
    • dukeslee

      So fun! I love a new look. Thanks for you advice along the way.

      Reply
  2. Ann Voskamp

    LOVE! You and Ted made art here….
    Flashes of crazy grace….

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      That Ted? Amazing!

      I was a bit nervous about such a drastic change, and my word … just a bit sentimental. (Embarrassing but true). Getting Down With Jesus has been around for a lot of years, but the time was right to move along. Thanks for being a part of this journey, Ann. You’ve been so good to me. Love you around a hog’s hind leg, down this dusty country lane, and straight up to Canada! ~smooch~

      Reply
  3. Kerry Allor

    Oh Jennifer…Love that you have shared your now space with us!! Love it!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Kerry! I’m so glad you’ve stopped by. It’s a joy being in community with you!

      Reply
  4. 3dLessons4Life

    Love your new spot. Excited about what lies ahead as you tell His story! Congratulations. 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hi friend! I hope you’ll participate in our upcoming #TellHisStory community. I appreciate your heart and your voice out here on the World Wide Web.

      Reply
    • dukeslee

      Yay! Thank you for being here, ((Kris)). Loving that thumbnail of you, holding your Holey, Wholly, Holy book. Your words are weaving a beautiful story!

      Reply
  5. Kerry Allor

    Oh my I meant to type *new!* Fat fingers…:) xxx

    Reply
  6. ro elliott

    Beautiful new space…I love your heart for others. Blessings on your expanding journey.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Right back at ya, friend. Love that beautiful heart of yours. xo

      Reply
  7. Jean Wise

    Beautiful new site. Blessings on your continued journey!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Jean. It’s been a joy to journey with you. I hope you’ll be a part of our #TellHisStory community, as you were such a blessing during the God-Bumps/God-Incidences series.

      Reply
  8. Jeff Braun (@JeffDBraun)

    The new blog site (and room!) look great, Jennifer. Very sharp. And if you ever need the typewriter repaired, I just read about a shop here in the Cities that is still going strong!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thanks, Jeff. It needs repairs. Would love to meet you sometime. Susie Larson’s book “Beautiful Prupose” looks amazing, by the way. You edited that one, yes? I’m looking forward to reading and promoting. That woman inspires me.

      Reply
      • Jeff Braun (@JeffDBraun)

        Yes, it would be great to meet. And thanks for sharing your excitement about Your Beautiful Purpose. Susie made it one of my favorite projects ever, and it’s gratifying to hear so many stories from readers already.

        Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, friend. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Lisa-Jo Baker (@lisajobaker)

    Oh it’s gorgeous! Just gorgeous! Love this space and your heart, Jennifer. Kudos to you and the fabulous Ted!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Yay! I love it, too, Lisa-Jo. Ted was a joy. And do you see that little Featured #TellHisStory post over on the sidebar? That was inspired by you and your #FMF featured post. It’s so fun having friends with great ideas that encourage others.

      Reply
  10. Megan @ Tidbits From My World

    I found your blog recently…I don’t really remember how, but I just wanted to thank you for sharing your heart here. Your writing draws me in and has a warmth about it that only Jesus could give it. Love your new blog design. Looks great!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Megan … I’m so glad you’re here. I hope you continue to find warmth and Jesus-love wrapped up in my sometimes-awkward words and thoughts. And yes … I love the new design. Ted of Contemplate Designs is a genuis!

      Reply
  11. monicasharman

    I learned to type on a typewriter like that. Seventh grade. 🙂

    LOVE your new place! And your story.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Really? How cool is that, Monica. Thanks for being here.

      Reply
  12. katerih

    I love that your spreading your wings online and sharing your sacred space. Can’t wait to read all the stories of everlasting hope and faith! Blessings..

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Katerih. It’s so much more fun building something beautiful in community. I can’t wait to introduce you to #TellHisStory next week!

      Reply
  13. simplystriving

    Enjoyed my visit here today! I felt right at home. Thank you!
    looking forward to the new link up!
    All for Him with hugs to you (and Ted:)),
    Nikki

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Nikki … I am so glad you feel at home. I’ve got a comfy chair by the fire for you, my friend!

      Reply
  14. sethhaines

    Good good look’n. Can’t wait to see what you do with this space! (Although I’m pretty sure I already know it’ll be great!)

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Seth. I’m excited to share your words in this space in the coming weeks.

      Reply
  15. Kel Rohlf

    Love a good story…and how you love to tell THE story…looking forward to the new stories and storytelling community that will spring up around your “living well of water life.” Congratulations!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Kel … I’m glad you’re here. Do you want a cuppa somethin’ warm? I’ve got one just for you. 🙂 So glad you’re come by.

      Reply
  16. Lynn Morrissey

    Jennifer, what an elegant, classy exterior you’ve designed for your new site. It’s gorgeous! I love the rich, deep tones and the emphasis on story. Moreover, I love your personal, rich *interior*—your precious heart that beats in sync with the Savior’s heart. He’s given you the gifts of eloquence and transparency to share *His* story with the world—yes, the *world* via your beautifully written blog … and soon your books (there will be more than just one)! I can’t wait to read them! Your joy in the Lord is palpable. One can tell how much you love to tell THE story, because you show how much He satisfies you as nothing else can, because He’s done so much for you. You love to tell His story, for those who’ve never heard. And you love to tell the story for those of us who have heard, because you know that we continue hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest. The old, old story is ever new. And that’s the message I take from this new web site. You are fulfilling a sacred call to make *His* story ever new and to help the world realize that it is ever fresh and relevant, because Jesus makes all things new! I wish you such joy and godspeed as you continue to write His wonderful story, one beautiful story at a time!
    Love,
    Lynn

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      What beautiful words, Lynn! You’ve captured the essence. This has been my prayer, that (as you say) HIS story would be ever new, and that we would see Him at work around us, one story at a time. Yes, and amen, my friend. You say it well.

      Reply
  17. rcubes

    Congratulations sister Jennifer! Your new place feels cozy and inviting! I know a lot of us, weary sojourners, would want to come here for a refreshment! God bless.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I’m so glad you’re here! Yay! Now, I’ve got an ottoman for you. Kick up for feet and stay awhile, m’kay? 🙂

      Reply
  18. wendypainemiller

    What a beautiful place! I feel at home here.
    ~ Wendy

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I’m so glad, Wendy. So very glad. Sit by my here on the couch a while, and let’s chat. I love hearing your stories, friend!

      Reply
  19. cwcad

    I wonder of His ways more often than not? I am wondering why of a sudden I am drawn to a post to a person of which I know nothing about but do know the name? Turns out this person(you Jennifer) has a blog with a message. A message that apparently was most definitely meant for me.Your topics have been most relevant to me. I look forward to your tips as I am a closet blogger wanna be writer that never felt good enough. I am going to keep reading your blog it is setting a steady course for me so far.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      cwcad … I’m really, really glad you’ve come by. And I want to encourage you in your writing and blogging. I’m sending you an email shortly … Grace and peace to you ~ Jennifer

      Reply
  20. Lisa

    Silly-giddy at the beautiful change. Also excited about #TellHisStory!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Yay! (Does little happy dance because you just came in the front door.) I hope you come back each week for #TellHisStory. Or, better yet, SLUMBER PARTY! Stay! I’ve got Peanut M&Ms. 🙂

      Reply
  21. Lynn Morrissey

    cwcad,
    God has given every person a voice. Whether you blog, pick up your journal, writer a letter, write a book, you have a voice that God wants to use. You will love Jennifer’s voice, and yes, God (our divine networker) led you here for a reason! May He bless the words He gives you to write!
    Lynn

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      God as “divine networker…” Yes. (Love your heart, Lynn.)

      Reply
  22. mgillgrist

    Love your new space- thank you for the warm welcome into it!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hey friend! So glad you dropped by. (~Does little happy jig at the front door; waves you right on in, so you might sit a spell~) … Seeing your happy smile in my comment box always does my heart good.

      Reply
  23. Dayna DeLaVergne

    Jennifer, LOVE your new site and new name! Exciting changes…your words continue to be beautiful! (I’m glad we don’t have to wait until we get to Heaven to meet face-to-face!) Please keep up the wonderful work–you have no idea how much I look forward to reading your messages!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hey Danya! I agree… so glad we don’t have to wait for face-to-face meetings. I look forward to another with you, perhaps in November! Take care, sweet friend.

      Reply
  24. Dolores E. Torres/Green

    Gorgeous Jennifer! Thank YOU! God’s grace just sings from every word and harmonizes with all the highlights, guest blogs, and beautiful arrangements! God’s creativity at it’s best! Thank YOu for blessing us everyday and all the support of your writing friends who inspire us ALL. Love and Hugz from Dee ♥ 😀

    Reply
    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      I love your musical metaphor. It has me wanting to dance a little jig. Thanks for stopping by, dear Dolores. You make me heart happy! xo

      Reply
      • Dolores E. Torres/Green

        Thank YOU, Sweet Friend for inviting me and my songs along..:D. I am so ready to sance this little jig with you! My Pleasure. Thank you for inspiring smiles from my heart and happy tears everyday! xo ((HUGZ))

        Reply
  25. Denise J. Hughes

    Oh, I love it. The colors. The layout. Everything.

    As an e-mail subscriber, I always read your beautiful words, but I don’t stop by often enough to say how much your words encourage. Please know you are much appreciated.

    Reply
    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      Oh Denise! You make me smile. I am so encouraged by you. Thanks for this tonight. Truly. The door is always open for you here. ((Denise))

      Reply
  26. Lynn Mosher

    Beau-ti-ful…just like you! I love your new room (here,too!)! Plenty of space to welcome visitors!

    Reply
    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      Thank you, Lynn. The door is wide open. Just come on in and make yourself comfortable. I know I can do the same over at your place. 🙂

      Reply
  27. lschontos

    It is a lovely reflection of you Jennifer – warm and welcoming. I always feel at home with you, and this makes it all the more lovely.
    I’m looking forward to all of it. Your hospitality is perfect. You’ve thought of everything. I’m standing at the door all ready to come in!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      And I, with you, Linda. Always at home with you. Grateful for your friendship.

      Reply
  28. wynnegraceappears

    Jennifer, how perfect is your new place….perfectly wonderful in every way. I feel so welcome here and some how I think that is what you tried to create, sweet one. Beauty here and warmth.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I am so glad you feel welcome, my friend. I’ve always got a special for you. Someday, I’m-a-gonna hug you, for real!

      Reply
  29. Charity Singleton Craig

    Yep, it looks just like you! I love it, Jennifer! I think the type writer and the guest room and the special notes sound just like the hospitality I imagined, the same hospitality you share everywhere you go. Can’t wait to see all the goes on here!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Maybe Laity Lodge is rubbing off. 🙂 … I have a long way to go to figure out that kind of #outrageoushospitality. But man, I’m gonna have some fun trying. 🙂

      Love you, Charity. Got you on my mind tonight.

      Reply
  30. Diane W. Bailey

    Oh, Jennifer, It is beautiful! And my parents still have a typewriter that looks very much like yours. Ribbon and all! I’m looking forward to being a regular in the guest room!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Diane, Don’t you just love old typewriters? About a year ago, I went searching for an old one, and found this in a store that upscales a lot of old furniture. It was a bargain, and I really couldn’t resist. 🙂

      Reply
  31. Kristi

    Love, love, love!!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Yay! Glad you’re here. 🙂

      Reply
  32. Floyd

    The times they are a changin’… Yeah, I stole it from Bob Dylan, but thought it fit… The best part is that the memories never go away and more are in the works. Congratulations, looks great. Enjoy. I know I will!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Trust me, Floyd. New digs; same ol’ me. 🙂

      Reply
  33. marty

    So looking forward to what’s ahead!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thanks Marty! It’s been a joy getting to know you more. I’m a big fan of your photos!

      Reply
      • marty

        I take that as a big compliment 🙂

        Reply
  34. Laura Lee Groves

    Just love your new digs, Jennifer! This looks like a very welcoming spot…

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hi sweet Laura! You’re always welcome here. And I know you’ve got the same come-over-anytime policy at your place. You’re a great hostess, my friend.

      Reply
  35. Lisa Shaw

    Beautiful!!! Just like you Jennifer!!! Excited to see what God is going to do through you next!!!! Praise Him!

    Love you!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Oh Lisa! You always light up a room! So glad you walked through the door.

      Reply
  36. Sue

    Rich, compelling look – love it! It’s suited for your pilgrimage – and a welcoming place for us to visit – Sending love to Juliann too –

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Sue! Will do. I’ll gives Juliann some lovin’ from you. She’s in Maui now, with Mom and Dad. Take care, and thank you for stepping inside for a spell. It’s always an honor to have you here.

      Reply
  37. Jan

    Love the new look and your new guest room!

    Jan
    Fellowship of Christian Bloggers

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Jan — A joy to have you here. Thank you for your kind words.

      Reply
  38. Megan Willome

    I’m so happy for you, Jennifer! And I love the way you introduced the new blog by talking about your new guest room. I feel warm and invited.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I would love to have you in the ACTUAL guest room. But you knew that. 🙂 xo

      Reply
  39. Diana Trautwein

    What a lovely introduction to your new space, Jennifer. Very classy and inviting – and glad to see there’ll be a new link-up series. If I can get caught up on life and writing, I’d love to contribute at some point. Sigh.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      And we’d love to have you, Diana. You’re a great storyteller. Looking forward to seeing you in April.

      Reply
  40. kendalprivette

    love. mixed with the teensiest bit of jealousy….

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Ted is a designing genius. The kind of guy who can take some random ideas and bring it all together. Glad you’ve stopped by to see the remodel! 🙂

      Reply
    • dukeslee

      And I love that you’re here!

      Reply
  41. Sharon O

    I love the look. I thoroughly enjoy the writing inside too. You are a gift we can all appreciate. Good job.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Sharon! What a sweet thing to say. You’re dear to me.

      Reply
  42. HisFireFly

    Looks beautiful Jennifer – welcome home!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thanks, Karen! Love your firefly light in the room. xo

      Reply
  43. Annie Barnett

    Celebrating with you, Jennifer! So excited to follow along on this sweet journey.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Annie! Wow. This has been such a fun and amazing transformation, and your husband is a designing genius. He’s so thoughtful and attentive and able to cull something meaningful out of all the babble that I toss his way. I’m really grateful for the work done here. And now … having you stop by for a little visit? Icing on the cake, sweet one.

      Reply
  44. Mike Franey

    The new site looks great Jennifer. Your words describe things in such a way that they soak right in.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Why thank you, Mr. Franey sir! 😉 … And I see you made deft use of the #TellHisStory hashtag on Twitter. Atta-boy. 🙂

      Reply
  45. Michelle Eichner

    Great job! I love the new guest room & the new blog. I already got my His Story button 🙂 Looking forward to it. 🙂
    Hugs,
    Michelle

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Aw! Thanks friend! I can’t wait to hear your God stories!

      Reply
  46. Sandra Heska King

    Oh my goodness. This place is awesome! You’re awesome. I love all the “newsy” touches.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      So glad you like all the newsy stuff, Sandra. I was kind of excited about that. 🙂 xo

      Reply
  47. Ann Kroeker

    Wonderful, all of it. Love this space and that space and you!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      So glad you like it, Ann. It’s been a fun transition, but a bit sad to leave Getting Down With Jesus behind.

      Reply
  48. spaghettipie

    🙂 We’ve been bloggy friends a long time, you and me. It’s been a joy to see you grow.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      A long time is right! I do remember you being one of my very first blogging contacts. I cherish our friendship. I really, really do.

      Reply
  49. Stacy

    What a beautiful new space for you to share your stories! Congratulations on the smooth transition and many blessings to you in this onward journey.

    Reply
  50. Dolly@Soulstops

    What a lovely remodel, and the Wednesday Link up sounds exciting…I look forward to it, and to reading other writer’s tips…Congrats, and may God continue to guide and bless your writing 🙂

    Reply
  51. Nancy Franson (@nancyfranson)

    Wow, wow, wow, wow, WOW! Saw the link go live yesterday, but didn’t want to try checking in on my phone. I knew I would want to pour myself a cup of coffee, sit down and wander about a bit. Your site is just beautiful, Jennifer! I can’t wait to see/read/hear you tell His story from here!

    Reply
  52. Allyson Siwajian

    I love your blog’s new look! Also my jaw dropped when I saw the inspiring message you leave for guests with the typewriter. What an absolutely beautiful idea!

    Reply
  53. Nancy Ruegg

    Must add my congratulations to those of others–plentiful as they may be! Your new setting draws a person in with its coziness and warmth. No doubt God will redeem many times over the time and effort you put into this endeavor. Your web site is par excellence!

    Reply
  54. Kay

    It’s just lovely, Jennifer…just like you…fresh and simple and classy and genuine. Love it!

    Reply
  55. Nancy Kourmoulis

    Your words are always encouraging. This space so beautiful, growing and changing because of His grace!

    Reply
  56. Daniel Farrow

    Love the new site Jennifer! I’m looking forward to the new things God does in and through you here. I’ve been praying for you & your family during your trip to Simonette, Haiti. I’m so excited that your girls hearts are being connected to God’s heart for the orphan. May He bless and favor you and yours during this new journey! 😀

    Reply
  57. Harriett

    Okay, dang. I had to scroll a long way to comment. What a crowd you got here.

    I love it all — the new look, the guestroom, the comments about your girls *wipes tear*, and the little tidbit I learned about you.

    I love the photograph. I have my aunt’s old typewriter sitting in my office, but it used to my guestroom until it gathered so much dust from the litter box. Ha. So, I moved it to my office. You know what though — there is something about looking at a typewriter. It’s not that it’s a nostalgic piece of equipment, but to me it’s about the hands that touched it. My Aunt Harriett, who owned the typewriter, was one of the writers in our family, and my dad’s typewriter, my sister has ….

    I dunno why I told you that.

    Anyway. Love it. All of it.

    Reply
  58. Stephani

    Love it Jennifer! I’d love to be a guest here anytime! I’ve been praying about changing my own blog as I have confirmation from the Lord that I am to make it a safe haven for people. A place where I can lend my gift of mercy. Your words about growing up are words I can relate to. I’m ready to embrace a change but terrified. My blog is small, but God is using it and I want to embrace that. Congratulations on the new site!

    Reply

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