Friday, December 23, 2016

End of Year 2016! (Update)


2016 has gone by so fast – it’s hard to believe we are entering into a new year! We are running a marathon (it feels like) as we raise a large family, full of littles, lots of responsibilities, and Brandon continuing his schooling. It can be a bit like Christmas, not quite sure how the day might go, yet filled with great expectation. Everyday is full of beauty, full of love, full of wonder. Our children teach us how to live most days. They are so forgiving, so full of joy, so full of freedom. 2016 was filled with those things for us. Being free to be ourselves, free to be involved, free to be fully aware of the beauty around us.

We have taken an assertiveness in our health, doing the best to walk out passionately what we believe. We are living well: exercising (we joined a cross-fit community), eating wholesome, enjoying the eggs from our chickens, raising goats, growing a garden, traveling and learning how to rest when it is needed. We feel truly blessed.

The girls are growing into beautiful little women. Abigail is enjoying ballet, hip hop, jazz, and gymnastics this year! Israel continues to do ballet and tap. Arista is a wild card as she has tried about everything this year and has yet to settle on something she loves. Heidi is your normal crazy toddler who gets into everything, yet she loves to sit for a good book! And Nova is finally walking and talking! Brandon finishes his bachelor’s program this February. He continues to work as a RN and a massage therapist. Crystal is continuing to offer doula services to help post-partum mothers, homeschools the children, is really involved with church, and is going to India this winter to teach at their Hillside music school! And this coming year we will be celebrating 10 YEARS OF MARRIAGE!!!!

Thank you family and friends for riding the waves! with us in 2016.
The Jackel Tribe



Life is one big love story isn’t it? Whether it’s the closest friendships you have in your life, or falling in love with your forever partner, or that feeling of holding your child in your arms. Love is what holds the fabric of our lives together. It is the most powerful force in this earth. We got to partake in officiating our first wedding this year for dear friends of ours. It was an honor to be a part of it. In love, there is no record of wrong. 2016 was simple, “love without conditions”– in this is the reward of life. Here’s to love in 2017!.

Monday, October 24, 2016

I'm going to India!

Burn 24-7 
is a movement 

We are burning hearts all across the globe returning back to their first love and then taking that love to nations. Our core is communities unifying around the Presence of God for "burns" consisting of 12 to 100 hours of nonstop of worship and prayer at least once per month.  We have been doing this together as a family since 2010 and our love only continues to grow!

Our “Global Missions” arm exists carrying His presence and joy to the darkest, hardest and most impossible places on earth. Through short and long term missions teams, sent as carriers of hope, we desire to plant sustained furnaces of worship and prayer, carrying the indigenous sound of the nations. This February I am joining Burn 24-7’s worship school in India! I am hoping to visit Mumbai, New Deli, Agra, and the Punjab region, spreading the love everywhere I go! The first part of my trip consists of teaching, discipling, and encouraging leaders at their worship school. I am so pumped to be a part of this – as this is where I come alive! The second part of my trip will be spent in a local orphanage, doing work projects with indigenous leaders, working in relationship with the community. While I am there, I am planning to make myself available in whatever ways needed. I would love to sow into them and their needs, as well as be an ambassador of love. I feel a deep connection with the children there - spending time with them, showing them how loved and beautiful each of them are as children of God.

There are many nations around the world where we have trained, raised up and launched teams and individuals to carry and impart this sustained fire. Brandon and I have personally joined in many of these trips all over the United States, also including, Ireland, Guatemala, Israel, and India (in 2013). We LOVE being apart of what God is doing in the rest of the world!Every year, we take teams of worshipers, musicians, and intercessors all over the world for trips packed with explosive supernatural outreach as we serve, build, love, and encourage! We believe no nation is too hard, no people group is unreachable, and all things are possible through Jesus and the revelation of His beauty! Help us touch the world! We are a flame of love ready to start a fire! If you would like to support me this year and my trip to India please connect! Whether financially or with time or resources. All is invited! There are many ways to support us! Contact me to find out how! Thank you family and friends for continuing to ride the waves with us!

Crystal Jackel 

Your tax deductible gift can also be given online at ELIM FELLOWSHIP.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

spiritual journey

By Brandon Jackel

I have been alive on the earth for thirty-two years.  The last fifteen of those years I have been on a faith walk.  When  I was seventeen, I had an encounter with God that marked my life.  Since that time I have been on a spiritual journey, trekking through life, learning valuable principles.  During this time, some of the most valuable principles I have learned, are to delight in God, travel to be refreshed, and give generously. This post is only about my journey in delighting in God, while I will share later on the other two ideas.
I remember a time, shortly after I graduated from high school, when I had a strong desire to be social.  Every weekend I would meet up with friends and I would smoke, drink, and party.  It was fun initially, but later it seemed like it began to take over my life.  What started off as a social outlet turned into an unhealthy lifestyle.  I went from partying on the weekends to almost every day.  I was out of control. 
            One weekend my friend was having a house party.  His parents were out of town, and the party was huge.  It was fun at first, but then it got out of control.  People began to engage in inappropriate behavior.  Too much alcohol was consumed.  Illegal drugs were used, and many of my friend’s personal belongings were either broken or stolen.  When the party ended the next morning I had nowhere to go.  My breath smelled like alcohol, and my pupils were dilated.  I needed somewhere to go, so I decided to go to church. 
            I arrived, I walked in, and took a seat in the front row. (I didn't think much about it at the time.) The people who surrounded me were friendly.  They greeted me and welcomed me to the service.  As soon as the worship team began to lead in music, the presence of God came upon me.  All of a sudden, I was filled with sobriety as tears of joy streamed down my face.  In that moment, I was able to think clearly.  For the first time I was able to make sense of my life, and I was able to recognize the reasons behind the bad choices I had made. 
            As I reflected on what had happened to me, I felt liberated.  I felt like a thousand pounds had been lifted off my shoulders.  All my fears, worries, and anxieties disappeared.  It felt like I had received a new heart, and I had been transformed into a new person.  I had never in my life experienced anything like this.  The emotions I experienced in that moment were joy and peace.  As tears came down my face, all the negative emotions I had harbored over the years were lifted.  It appeared that my perspective in life had changed, and I was viewing myself and others through a new lens. 
            “Is this really happening?” I asked myself.  “Is this a dream?” I wondered.  What I experienced felt like a dream; it all happened so fast, and so unexpectedly.  I never experienced anything like this before.  It was so uplifting and so refreshing.  I could experience the love and pleasure of God over my life, and it sent chills down my spine.   I knew from that moment on my life would be forever changed.  I then realized I had been searching for this type of pleasure all my life, but I was looking for it in the wrong places.  I realized I had a desire in my heart for God and I could delight in Him, where I had previously only delighted in  parties and drugs.  My delight now became taking pleasure in Him, rather than in temporal gratifications.
            We are all on a spiritual journey. Someone else's walk may look different than mine, but this still remains- There is nothing more pleasurable than delighting in God and who He is.  It’s good for us to delight in Him.  People are created for pleasure.  When people don’t delight themselves in Him, we may find ourselves delighting in other things (drugs, alcohol, sex, food, pornography, gambling, forms of entertainment, etc.), things that do not last.  When people don’t take pleasure in the presence of God, people find pleasure in worldly desires.  Worldly desires are things that bring pleasure to our soul, but not necessarily to our spirits. Eternal pleasures touch both the soul and spirit. , and create lasting fruit and manifesting goodness in our lives.  We all want to find pleasure in something and we have the power to choose what that will be.
            However, when we delight ourselves in God, we experience heavenly pleasures.  These pleasures include emotions such as love, joy, and peace.  Pleasures from heaven may also consist of dreams, visions, and angelic visitations.  These experiences happen to encourage, exhort, and affirm who you are as a person with purpose.  Pleasure from God instills courage, builds confidence, and ignites passion.  Desiring God also develops faith, deepens hope, and stirs love towards others.  If people delight themselves in the Lord, they will be more prone to accomplish goals, fulfill their destinies, and live full, satisfied lives.
            There is a passage of scripture that states, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desire of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass.” (Psalms 37:4-5, NKJ) This is a promise in the scriptures stating if we take pleasure in God, then He will fulfill the dreams within our hearts.  People are able to fulfill the dreams within their hearts because the pleasure of God is enabling.  This enablement comes when people delight themselves in God, receiving all the good things He has prepared for those who desire Him. There are many pleasures in life, the ones that last forever are those of the spirit. I have learned if I am only feeding the desires of the heart, and not feeding the hunger of the spirit, I would be spiritually dead. In turn this makes me feel unsatisfied in life. We all are on a spiritual journey waiting to feed on that which eternally satisfies both the body, soul and spirit. This is a need only God can meet.
           My life has been a roller coaster of things, all which I found great pleasure in since God was my delight in it all.  I received fresh vision for my life.  I had more clarity pertaining to my purpose in life, and I had more definition of how to fulfill that purpose.  I felt purpose in going to Bible school, where I also met my wife.  I have been very blessed in life. He gave me a beautiful bride and five incredible children. 
            As I continued to delight in God, I had dreams in my heart to learn different skill sets and travel the world.  He opened up opportunities for me to travel domestically and abroad.  I traveled to Israel, India, Ireland, and Guatemala.  I have fulfilled several desires of my heart and I truly believe its because my delight and pleasure is in Him. There is a Proverb that says, "man makes the plan, but He orders his steps." Delighting in the goodness of God, and all that is wonderful around you, gives us the ability to see beyond human means to dream big. We can dream and he can put those dreams to flight.
              This is just one man's story. We each have a story being written of our lives. The pleasures of God are innumerable. What does your heart delight in?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

we are not enemies - a call to love

My faith may be different than yours. But we have something in common that runs thicker than what we may believe. We both have blood running through our veins. We both have a heart that pumps that blood to nourish the rest of the body. Our spirits are like that. The heart is in need of something to believe in so it nourishes our soul. I'm not telling you what to believe - I'm merely saying go after something beyond human means. Faith is the thing that keeps the spirit pumping blood to our spiritual hearts when life just isn't turning out the way we'd expect it. Faith actually creates substance in our lives. We're not enemies because we believe differently. Is it not Love that binds our wounds, heals the broken-hearted and sets us free from life's burdens? It is also LOVE that binds us together as the human race. YOU ARE NOT MY ENEMY. We need to stop fighting because we believe differently than one another. Whether you believe God is real or not, does not excuse our behavior or animosity we have shown to one another. It's time to change the filter on which we view our neighbor. It's time to change how we respond to someone who thinks differently than me. It's time to wash each other's feet and leave behind all we find offensive. It's time to put on love. Because above every purpose, above every calling, is the call to love. Can we all agree on this? It's doesn't matter if you're christian, jewish, agnostic, atheist, muslim, taoist, buddish, hinduist, a naturalist, or a tree hugger! We have more in common as human beings than we don't. We all crave love. We all crave acceptance. We all crave purpose. We don't have to agree to live the same way to love one another. We are not birds who only flock together with those who look and act like us. We are not compromising who we are by loving each other. We are not even compromising who we are to be friends with someone who thinks different than me. Because when you live in the truth that you are FIRST called to love - you are set free from all other obligations. Love doesn't mean you have to compromise who you are to be a good friend. While in fact, it is the opposite. Love allows us to accept one another, and serve each other's heart, despite our differences.

The media is calling this year's election "the year of the angry voter". Is that how we want to be viewed? I find our intolerance towards each other's faiths, has now become intolerance toward one another completely. We are intolerant of those who think differently than us. And its happening on all sides. I'm not saying you shouldn't stand up for what you believe in . But if what you believe in becomes more important than seeing the person in front of you feel loved, we have a bigger problem than political, dogmatic, moral, or religious differences. We have lost sight of all that brings about joy in this life - all that heals and all that mends us together as men and women on this beautiful earth. "A house divided against itself can not stand" - both in the book of Mark, and quoted on different occasions by Abraham Lincoln, shows us of the end if we can not learn the art of love. We are not designed for division. The heart of the human race depends on love. If we can't learn it, we will continue to dig a endless pit of animosity. We must view each other through this lens, and in return we can learn how to truly appreciate our commonalities as well as those treasures in our differences. Love forgives. Love is sincere. Love is not conditioned on how you live or act. Love is enduring and patient. Love waits for the best. Love responds gently. Love sets dreams in motion and puts others to flight. Love is unfailing in every way, every situation, every circumstance. Love is the most difficult thing you may choose to do with your life - but its the way, the truth, and the life. Love brings us out of darkness into the light.

If we know love, we know God because God is love. God is not justice, though He will fight for you. God is not morality, although He will teach you how to live. God is not a politician, although He will lead you. There are many things we may do in the name of God, but loving should be the first. Any other mission then comes under love and doesn't get tainted by human effort. So essence, love calls us out from our humanity and into our divinity. You are called. You are chosen. You are made alive to love. Now lets go out and live in it.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

calling the dreamer

We were receiving our foster care interview over the phone, where you are asked some real basic questions about your family. The lady was real sweet, inquiring about different things that would directly affect a foster care child in our home. We have 5 of our own children, so I think it's totally reasonable to question our motives, our values, and overall assess our reasons taking on foster care in this season. I mean, really....all the reasons in the world tell me right now is not the right time. But my heart can't stop beating for the dream that is inside.

When the interview was over, the women kindly asked if she could ask something personal. I wasn't sure what to expect, but her question was certainly sincere - and I'm sure everyone would wonder the same thing as we move forward in such endeavors. "As a mother to such little ones, why foster now? Why do you feel led to do this?"

I paused in that moment. So many thoughts rushing through my mind. So many different ways I could answer. It's always been in my heart to adopt or foster - even before I had my own children. There's always been this dream in my heart to mother the motherless. I didn't always know what face that would take, nor how it would come about, but I knew it was a God-dream that He would make straight when the right time came. I was even willing to go half way around the world, if that's what it took, in order to do it. I knew I was called. I knew I was called to love the fatherless, to embrace the broken, to heal the abused, to disciple the next generation. It's only by having my own children that I have come to realize this at even a deeper level - how much I want to mother all whom would be put in my arms.

"I believe every child is deserving of love," I said. "It is because I am a mother that I see that more clearly."

"I see," the woman replied. "You seem to have the right idea..."

I wasn't sure my answer was the one she wanted to hear. I knew she may not understand my reasons. I had to trust that I was being faithful to my own heart and the dreams we have embraced for our future. What words can not express is how deeply my heart burns to see this dream come alive. Our MAPP training began last week and my heart is pumping with anticipation. Just as I know each and every one of my children were hand picked for us as parents, I also believe there are orphans awaiting the right parent(s). Though my own biological children grew in my womb, there are others growing in my heart.

I didn't always want a big family. In fact, if you had known me 10 years ago, I may have told you I wasn't sure if I even wanted children. It's an evolving story of healing and dreaming with God that has been pivotal to my life walk. Part of the reservation of being a mother was simply based in fear- fear of failure, fear of being an unloving mother, fear of losing myself, fear of what others would think. As I worked through the deep torment of fear on my life and found deep healing waters in my faith and pursuit of God, I was able to dream bigger. I was no longer haunted with the fear of the future. I was able to dream bigger than reason itself, and allow something heavenly take place in my heart. And here's the best part of all - I actually LOVE being a mother. More than the ability to give life, I feel it is a calling. Giving birth doesn't make a mother - its what you do after - when life is being lived. I feel called to love un-relentlessly with my life. Children have this remarkable way of reaching to the depths of your soul and bringing out what you never knew was there. They are a gift. They are the next leaders to rule the world. If there are things we don't like in this world, its easier to train a child than it is to change the mind of an adult. Children are created as conduits of LOVE. They can not help but want it. And when they get it, they will give it back. It may not seem that way at first - but as we faithfully sow the seed of love, our children grow to give it as well - and we reap a great harvest for everyone else in the world to feast on. I am not naïve. I don't think it will be an easy road. (It hasn't been). I am simply an optimist who believes one person can make a difference in the world by simply loving extravagantly. Think about if every child I choose to love would also impact others with that same belief? I am willing to at least try.

Are you  dreamer? Is there something so radical in your heart that you hesitate to share it at all? Is there a labor of love, a dream of desire, awaiting the day it may birth forth? Are finding your heart stricken with possibility when you gaze into your tomorrow?

So forget the nay-sayers. I know there's some dreamers out there! Your dream may not be my dream, but I want to encourage you. Don't let anyone steal from you. Take that dream and plant it in some good soil. Water it daily. Pray over it. Hold it close to your heart. Meditate on it. Protect it. Stay away from casting those pearls to others who may not see eye to eye. It's your dream. Own it. Even if pessimistic questions triy to quench what's in your heart, smile big, and know dreamers don't imagine in the world of possibility. Dreamers imagine the impossible in   a world of reason. We live outside the natural to see the supernatural. We stop to see the miracles of everyday life, and we don't allow the mundane to steal from our present joy. Sometimes we all need to stop thinking and just faithfully move forward. Our mind can be our biggest battlefield. And as you dream and imagine, may you be ascended into a realm where dreams DO come true. They can. They will. 

If we all become what we believe,
than its time to believe in your dreams.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Quality Time as Dad

By Brandon Jackel
Life is busy. 

I presently work over forty hours a week.  I maintain a large property and home, while going to school full-time.  On top of all of my responsibilities my wife and I have five children, aged seven and younger. It is a challenge to spend quality time together.  At times, I work twelve hour shifts.  Most days I go to work before my children wake up and my children are in bed before I get home.  This presents some challenges when I work several consecutive days in a row. 

It wasn’t long ago when I worked four consecutive twelve hour shifts in a row.  I hadn’t seen my children in four days!  When I finally had a day off, I found myself being busy around the house, getting caught up on chores and projects.  My children were ecstatic to see me on my day off, but my mind was easily in task mode.  Before I knew it, the day had passed and my children were already getting ready for bed. 

When I was going through the bed time routine, my oldest daughter seemed incredibly sad.  She expressed how much she missed me and didn’t understand why I had to work so much.  She mentioned she couldn’t remember the last time we did something fun together and how much she missed me.  She even mentioned how she wished we didn’t move to a larger house because of how much time I had to spend working on projects.  My other children expressed similar comments.  One of them even said I made promises I didn’t keep because of working so much. 

As I thought about my children’s remarks my heart was crushed.  I was filled with brokenness.  It was really challenging to digest every word my little girls were expressing.  They really missed me.  For the first time I could clearly see how busy I had become.  Why do I work so much?  When I am home why do I spend my time on projects instead of with my family?  All these questions filled my mind.  I let my children down and I didn’t even realize it. 

            I began to reflect upon the last month and I could remember times when I didn’t engage with my children.  I recalled a time when they wanted me to watch a movie with them and I responded,  “not now.”  I remembered my younger children showing me pictures they had drawn for me and I simply replied, “that’s nice”.  I even recalled my oldest child inquiring if she could help me with projects and I replied, “you’re too young”.  I then realized that I had neglected to spend quality time with my children and I could see the negative impact it made on me as a parent.  I realized that quality time was my children's #1 need, and as their parent I was responsible to meet that need.

            Children crave attention and look up to their parents as role-models.  They genuinely desire to spend quality time with their parents. One parent can not meet this need - they crave both what Dad and Mom offer, because what they offer is different and unique in comparison.  They desire to be encouraged and recognized for their accomplishments.  They want to be noticed and included in their parents' lives.  When parents give their children the attention they desire, it meets an emotional need within them.  When this need is met, children express gratitude and thankfulness.  When this need goes unmet, children can become hurt and disappointed; even acting out behaviorally to get what they want. 

            There are many benefits from parents spending undivided attention and time with their children.  Children feel more secure in your love for them. This security gives them courage to experience and explore the world around them.  They try new things, and there will be a willingness within them to learn.  When parents spend time with their children, children also express their gratitude and love toward their parents.  They expound on their feelings of love that they have toward us.  There is no greater feeling than for me to hear how much my children love me.  And, surprisingly, a child will be more apt to listening and obeying, if they feel secure and loved along the way.

            However, if parents don’t spend time with their children, parents can really hurt their children without even recognizing it.  Children may begin to feel insecure and afraid.  This could even impair their desire to formulate thoughts and explore the world around them.  Children can become defiant, having temper tantrums because this need for quality time isn’t being met.  Parents should seize the moment and make it their priority to connect with their children.  As Rogers (2007) explains, in the Daily Details of Family Life, "filled with seemingly mundane events, we [parents] can choose to generously share our time with our children and capture those cherished moments."  As children there are many memories being made, the ones we share with one another make its greatest print in our hearts.

            I was able to apply this concept recently on New Year’s Eve.  Rather than ushering in the new year with friends, I spent it with my children.  We cuddled on the couch watching movies and laid on the floor playing board games.  As midnight approached, we were celebrating the moment by listening to music while feasting on snacks.  As the countdown began, we eagerly and cheerfully counted down the year entering into a new one. 

            That evening as I put my children to bed they had huge grins on their faces.  Their eyes were full of awe and wonder.  They giggled and laughed as we said our prayers.  Those moments were precious kissing their foreheads and embracing them with hugs.  Each child verbally expressed how much they loved me and how this new year would be the best year ever.  In that moment my heart was full of joy.  I knew my children knew they were loved, and it all came by spending quality time with them on New Year’s Eve.  

            In conclusion, I have learned the real art of spending time with children and what that means for them. Their young ages make them like sponges in the world - and its so important that they know they are accepted; they are loved; they have me as their biggest cheerleader. Spending time with them means I'm reassuring them of those things - and creating a safe and non-judgmental environment for them to grow and make mistakes in. I let them know that I am there whenever they need me. How will they know that if I'm not really available? This is something I am learning and practicing. I tithe time to my children, because they need it and they desire it. It's because I love them I give them what they need. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

the sacred and the social

I have ended my FB fast, and I’ve been wanting to write down some of the some thoughts I have that have really helped me pertaining to the social media world. For a while now there have been things about facebook, and other avenues of cyber communities, that have bothered me. But if you asked why, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. I was still sorting through so much of my own tension between my own involvement and why certain things unsettled me so much. The truth is, I also found great delight in some of the things the social media world offers, such as: staying in contact with long distance family and friends, keeping record of all my cell phone pictures, and seeing friends blossoming in their own growing families. I also found it a great starting point to meeting other moms when I first moved to the area we live in. I joined groups of like-minded people, and found it uplifting, catalyzing my own spiritual and emotional growth to those particular groups and the things that were said. With that in mind, I never thought the cyber community was lost. I never thought I would throw in the towel all together. I merely began to see certain flaws, that in my opinion, lead to big obstacles, in our real world lives.

The first is simply the flaw of intimate connection. Intimate connection comes by means of touch, expression, and heart to heart honest conversation. Heart to heart conversations are actually very hard in the social media world. Ever had a text misunderstood? How about a story misinterpreted? We all have filters in which we perceive our world, and communicating how we see things (being that we all see through that lens very differently) becomes more challenging in having effective communication. Take into consideration that 75% of communication is non-verbal, we miss so much when we are not given the ability to see one another face to face. BUT even if we are able to have a heart to heart honest conversation on the internet (because it does happen….I’ve done so), we miss the ability to convey with our expression. There is only so much an emoji can express before we actually need a real person seeing in front of us to see and feel the language which we speak. And forget touch – a kiss, a hug, an embrace, crying, laughing, free expression, feeling the energy of the person sitting beside you – none of which can be produced with the person in front of their smart device. There is nothing that can replace intimate connection without being with one another face to face. But that’s not even its greatest flaw. It’s greatest flaw is as a society we are beginning to believe that social media can replace what it can not give- intimate connection. We are forgetting how to connect with one another outide the social media world. You may not believe me. You may not agree with me. But take a moment, where you remove yourself completely from it, and you quickly find how true this is. Ever been in a room full of people, but everyone is starring at their phone? Ever gone to a restaurant where a couple are looking at their phones rather into the eyes of the one they love? Ever had a photo snapped of yourself and dreaded the thought of someone posting it before you have a chance to approve it? Have you caught yourself thinking of the next thing you want to say or post on FB, only to check it an hour later to see how many likes you have? Caught yourself retaking selfie after selfie because its not looking the way you want it to? Because before FB we're we really even snapping selfies? Listen, this is not to point any fingers. I am seeing it everywhere. The time I was off FB I found myself completely removed from a sub-culture that I had some how given a piece of my life too. It may seem extreme. It may seem like irrational thinking. But I haven’t thought more clearly than I do now.
You see, life is sacred. Every part of it. From the moment I get up I am serving – I am mothering. I’m and optimist and I’m an opportunist – this is a big part of who I am. But FB took that from me. Actually I gave it indirectly, yet willfully. There are many things FB can not convey about my life, yet we would like to believe it can. The cyber world doesn’t see the time taken teaching my children life skills. It doesn’t see the tension of breastfeeding my baby, while homeschooling my 7 year old, while trying to wipe the runny nose of my 22 month old. It doesn’t take the time to get to know why I believe my children are a big part of what makes the world great. It can’t convey that though I am a person of faith, I would prefer to listen, rather than speak. In the FB world we all look like opinionated motivational speakers, anticipating an applause with every like we receive. The social interrupts the sacred. It’s not suppose to be that way.
Here’s a little story about my 4 year old. One night I was spending alone time with her and I told her we could do anything she wanted to do since she had me all to herself. She chose to do building blocks. So we were building blocks together and having a grand time. I was mesmerized by her. She was building these elaborate buildings and was so proud of how high she could get them. I was amazed too. Then a great thought hit me. I’m gonna take a picture of this and post this to FB – so everyone can see how amazing this little girls is! And that’s exactly what I did. But as I was doing so my 4 year old turns to me and says,

“Yes???” I responded.
“You’re suppose to be playing blocks with me! You said!”
“I am honey. Just give me one moment”,  as I continued to write a caption under my post.
She was so understanding, but afterward I was so broken. What dawned on me next was really heart quenching for me. I had come to realize that I completely interrupted a beautiful moment, a sacred moment, a memorable moment, with my daughter. Those moments are few, and though it only took a second to do it, she took notice. And I noticed I did this through out my day often. It only took a couple seconds, but it interrupted the flow. There was a frequency on which our day would flow, and when I allowed the social media world to interrupt that, it took away from the present moment. What I realize is that I want to be fully aware, fully alive, fully engaged in whatever moment I am in – because that’s reality. Facebook is not reality. Have you ever watched a reality TV show? It’s suppose to be us watching people live their real lives on tv, but how much of that is actually real? How much of that is performance, or only for the one who is watching? Most people posting are doing the same. They’re posting for their audience.
I am not saying we should all end social media as we know it. I’m not even permenantly removing my own carbon print to this world, but what I am becoming is more present in what is real, and less present in what is not. What I have found, though FB, Instagram, snapchat, twitter has its perks, nothing can replace what is sacred….life itself. We must never forget how to connect with one another face to face. We should go into the social media world with a bit of conviction – with some sort of vision, so we don’t full prey into meeting some need that should be met by a real person in front of you. And we should never look for affirmation or validation from a world that is not based in authentic heart to heart connection. FB can be a great place to connect, but intimate connection happens outside of FB. For some, FB has become an outlet of digression, a personal diary of thoughts, a voice where you have not been able to speak….and that is not wrong. But I do think we may all need to address our hearts and find where our banks meet our boundaries. For me, I can not share with the world all that I find sacred – it means too much to me. You will not hear every detail of my life. You will not always see where I’m going, or what I’m doing. I will be absent some days, while others there is more opportunity to connect. I will not share my thoughts relentlessly. There will be much thought into every post, because I don’t find value in allowing FB represent the person of who I am to the audience I am connected to. Whether we like it or not, some of us have no other connection with one another outside that world, so we form our own ideas about a person simply by what they say or post on FB. Is that what you want soley representing who you are? This changes things a bit for me. We should not be naïve about this sub-reality that this next generation (my children and so on) will never know a world without. My children were born into the world where FB always existed. We should be thinking about how we want to rightly represent this as well for the next generation.
Life is precious. Life is sacred. Dates with my husband, loving words exchanged, beautiful moments that will forever take memory in my heart, are meant to be kept close. And how nice it is to share with someone, at the opportune time, a story that they have never heard, face to face.

Monday, February 1, 2016

the happy runner

Something many don't know about me is that I love to run.
Some of my family know this about me.
But I don't talk about it a lot, because I don't always have the time for it.
I've been running on and off now for the past 10 years because of various things.
I've had to start over many times from pregnancy, and recovering post-partum.
I also had to take a long break in 2011 because I broke my ankle.
It was a long recovery.
But I'm back at it and its been a real joy.

Can you believe I got to run outside yesterday....the last day of January???

The sun was out.
The breeze was cooling,
yet, the air was warm.
It was the perfect day for a run.

We live on a fast-pace road in the middle of the country.
Cars drive fast, but are few.
The scenery makes for a breath-taking run.
You not only feel good about your run....
you feel good about life.

Here is a gorgeous view of Lake Canandaigua.
Just snapped with my phone while running to one of my turn-around points.

Runs on these type of days remind me of how blessed I am.
I meditate on the goodness of God.
I melt in the refreshing blow of the wind on my face.
I fly to the beat of the music playing.
And I can't help but be happy.

I am the #happyrunner

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Happy Birthday Israel Rose!

Israel Rose was born today, 6 years ago...

and now she has grown into a beautiful young girl.

Israel is extremely creative.
She dances, paints, draws, and finds deep joy in her art.
I am always amazed at her mind.
She is truly beautiful both outwardly and inwardly.

I am amazed at who she is becoming,

I don't get it. She tells me she doesn't like ballet, but then I catch her in her own world doing stuff like this. I'm thinking I need to put her in some sort of contemporary or modern dance instead. Maybe she would enjoy more?
Posted by Crystal Poirier Jackel on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My 5 year old ministers to my soul. She carries herself so gracefully and walking in a room with her doing this absolutely ruins me (in a good way)!
Posted by Crystal Poirier Jackel on Monday, September 14, 2015

This is what worshipped looked like this morning
Posted by Crystal Poirier Jackel on Sunday, September 7, 2014


Monday, January 25, 2016

The baby

I randomly took some photos of my [almost] 8 month old, Nova. She's been making lots of new faces. There's one particular that gets us all cracking up. Literally when she smiles she torts and sqinches her whole face to smile back at you. It's pure joy!

Miss Nova Violet 
7 months old

Sunday, January 24, 2016

worship warrior

Abigail is my first born daughter. She is extremely special. The Lord has marked her at a very early age. I remember when I was pregnant with her. I would speak to my womb about her greatness. I would tell her that she would be like King Josiah, who only by the age 8 ruled over a nation, and was known for righteousness. We would sing to her and baptize her in worship and love. I have grown from teaching her, to her teaching me. God has met with her, loved on her, and speaks to her. Personally, this is new territory for me. I have never seen a child so young have faith that is so real. She doesn't know fear. She doesn't question or doubt. She doesn't reason His existence. She is lost in Him and its the delight of my heart. She feels deeply in her relationship with the Lord. She's not a child giving me all the right answers because she's been trained to do so. No, her response and her worship is pure, genuine, and full of radiant love. She is in complete surrender.

It has been an interesting road for Abigail. She is unlike most children. For fun she has tea parties with Jesus, worships with flags, and writes in her prayer journal. She comes alive when she does so. But many are not use to such things in children, and though her heart is full of joy, full of affection, she has undergone persecution as well. She has been told not to worship certain ways, or that she has to be older to do certain things, or insinuated that her worship and fire was not genuine but to draw attention to herself. And though it is far from the truth, Abigail has not let nay-saying influence her negatively. In fact, she has used it to fan the flame. I remember one night as we sat and talked before bed - Abigail began to passionately speak,

"Mommy! Listen, I want to tell you something."
"Yes, Abigail."
"You know Mommy, some people may tell me to worship a certain way or to not worship a certain way. I don't really know why someone would tell me that. But what I know is I have to do what God tells me to do."
"Your right Abby."
"Yeah...and I can't care what others say or think. Because I care more about what God thinks."
"I agree Abby. The Holy Spirit guides you and is in you."
"Yeah, and I'm not gonna care I'm just gonna worship..."

The fire in her eyes I'll never forget. She was marked. Her heart was passionate with the zeal of the Lord. Her words were like life to my bones. Her speech put the fear of God in me. And I knew it really didn't matter. She was called to greatness.

You see, were all praying and waiting for God to do something new. But what if it comes through a child? When the Jews were waiting for their Messiah, they thought He would come as King with earthly rule and riches. But they missed him because the King who showed up was marred, humble, and without an earthly scepter. We are waiting for God to move in our homes, in our churches, in our streets, yet we struggle to release control on how a child worships. This picture seems far from the Kingdom. What if its the pure form of a child relentlessly worshipping that will break open heaven? That will command the angelic? That will heal the dying? What if its the genuine love of a child who has no fear or broken spirit that will release the captives? We must not see with our earthly eyes. We must see with the eyes of faith.

Abigail is my worship warrior. She will worship long after I have grown tired. Her Spirit is strong and full of adoration. Her strength comes from the depth of her being and comes out of her through her flags. She is not "seasoned". She is not a theologian. She is not an expert of the Bible. She is not a leader in the church. But what she is, only the King, the angels, and the cloud of witnesses know - because she's in the glory everyday.

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