Sunday, March 29, 2009

Food & Care Coalition

I received this email recently and it really touched me. Maybe it was because this undertaking is being initiated by a friend/ward member/neighbor/and woman that Dave hometeaches; or maybe it is because the woman she mentions with a daughter who is homeless is also a friend/ward member/neighbor of ours; or maybe it is because I do feel like our family is incredibly blessed - especially during this time of economic struggle - to have a job, to have food, to have a house, to have each other.... Regardless of the reason, this email touched me. And I want to help.

And in case you want to help too, here's the email she sent:


I have been thinking a great deal about the huge difference that a group of people can make when they come together. These thought have come because of an article I read in the newspaper recently. You see the Food and Care Coalition of Utah Valley is in the process of building a new facility. The Food and Care is known for providing meals for the homeless and poor. But they provide so much more than that. They have a work program where people can learn new skills and get experience and job training. They help clients find affordable housing. They have laundry facilities, showers and provide hair cuts. They partner with Lens Crafters, Share a Smile and the BYU Nursing Program to provide eye glasses, dental work and health services. They don't just give a hand out. They have a program set up where clients are required to "earn" these services by giving community service hours. They are out to change lives and lift people. And lives have been changed!

I have had the privilege of working closely with the Food and Care Coalition for more than 6 years. What they do is unique. It has been an honor for me to be a part of what they do. I have come to realize that the homeless are real people with real stories. Some have made poor choices that have gotten them where they are, I can't judge--I have made poor choices myself . Some have suffered things in life that have brought them to this place. Others suffer from mental illness they can not control and would not have chosen.

I was in church a few Sundays ago and a lady talked about her daughter who had ended up on the street despite her family's effort to help her. It made me realize just how close to home this can hit. Any of us may one day have someone we love in this situation. As I have worked with the clients of the Food and Care I have come to see the homeless not as a problem but as people, even friends.

The Food and Care has out grown their current building. They have undertaken to build a new facility that would make it possible to continue to provide their current services along with new services including: help with mental health, computer access for job hunting, resume writing and increasing computer skills, an on sight permanent medical and dental clinic, a larger dining room to serve the needs of more clients and on site residential housing. It is going to be an amazing facility where the homeless and poor can find help and hope.

They are currently short on the funds needed to make this happen. Grants have been written, moneys have been given--but it just isn't enough. I have had a few conversations with Brent Crane, the director of the Food and Care, about raising funds. It keeps coming to my mind that this should not be just one person's responsibility to make this a reality. One foundation should not provide all the funds to this project. The homeless are part of our community (no matter where we live) and we as a community should come together to help care for their needs.

So, what if each of us decides to help? What if each person who receives this e-mail sends $5 or $10 to the Food and Care? What if a few people decide that they are being especially blessed and can send $50 or $100 or much more. What if each business gave $1,000. Then what if each person forwards this to everyone they know and they forward it and they forward it. If we all did something, no matter how small, then I believe a miracle would happen and this building would be fully funded and completed on schedule--before the first frost hits the ground in the fall. And our homeless would finally have a home, a place to call their own. And the best part would be that it would happen because of the efforts of everyone, coming together as a community to help those in need. How cool would that be? We could make a miracle happen!

(Some of you may be thinking, "that's nice but I don't live in Utah County or even in Utah. One thing I have learned in my humanitarian trips around the world is that community is not defined by borders. Community is about people. That means we can all get involved.)

I know these are tough economic times . But maybe we could each sacrifice a little. Skip going to a movie, or eating out--even eating more simply for a week so that we could send in our $10 or $20 dollars (or more!). We CAN do this!

I know we have all seen the homeless. Perhaps you have felt guilty when they have asked for a hand out, or you may have felt helpless to really make a difference, some of us have felt fearful or even angry. Most the time we don't know quite what to do. Now today you do!

So, go right now--get out your checkbook, write a check and mail it to: The Food and Care Coalition 60 N 300 W Provo, UT 84601 ATTN: Brent Crane. under the for: write in "hope". Lets see just how much good we can do together. (You can also send cash). I promise to keep you updated on how much we have raised. By the way, this is not one of those scam e-mails. This a legitimate cause. In fact you can e-mail questions to Brent Crane at at learn more about the Food and Care and see the progress on then new building on their web site at

Thanks! I won't tell you that if you don't forward this you will be cursed with warts, but I will tell you that if you DO send this e-mail on (and it may be the first really valuable forward you have ever sent) you will be part of doing something really good, something amazing and wonderful.

Thanks again!
Eileen B.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


It really is a miracle, with all the craziness in our house (and the recent introduction of scissors to a certain almost-4-year-old) that we haven't had a scissor "incident" until today...
Today, McKenna got bangs...

We tried to make them look as intentional as possible.
McKenna is now officially the first Jensen daughter with bangs and she doesn't seem to mind too much! I guess now Mom & Dad are the ones that need to get used to them...
And of course Katie is now asking for bangs too :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

First Week Home, Birthday, & Lights

Our first week home has been great. Brooke seems to be adjusting to our home very well and the older girls are also adjusting very well to having a baby around. It really feels like Brooke has always been here - except maybe that we got a little more sleep before :)
At least one of us around her is getting sleep though...

In the words of Clint, she is a "Dave-baby" - we sure think she looks like her Dad.
Brooke didn't love her first bath so much...
she liked the towel a little more...

our new precious girl:

Sunday was McKenna's 2nd Birthday. It was so fun watching her. It was obvious that she really did feel special on her birthday and was loving having all the attention on her.

Grandma Hopkin made McKenna this Ariel cupcake-cake.
Impressive, huh?!

McKenna LOVED it and even burst out in Ariel songs a few times.

Birthday cake was definitely what McKenna was looking forward to on her birthday. She was asking for it all week and was so excited when it was finally time to eat it! Whenever we would mention anything about her birthday she would say "my cake!" And for the days following she asked for her Ariel cake every chance she had until it was gone.

McKenna also scored in the present department. Her grandma's knew her well and got her the two favorite presents - backpack from Grandma Jensen and Little Einstein's baton from Grandma Hopkin.

Thank you Grandmas!!!

Brooke & McKenna sporting the birthday hats we made:

Birthday Girl!

The girls woke up on McKenna's birthday and found tutus and dressup shoes so they would dress up for the special occasion (and everyone could have something special. We still struggle in the sharing department...)

Our three tutu princesses:

My favorite part about newborns...

All weekend Brooke's bilirubin levels were testing high. Sunday morning we went back to the hospital again for her to be tested. Her levels had jumped from 15 (Sat. results) to 19. Right before McKenna's birthday party started the doctor called and wanted to see Brooke right away. I brought her in and the doctor said he wanted to admit Brooke in the hospital for the night to lay under the bili-lights. He wanted her there right away. Me, being the hormonal post-pregnant woman I am right now, burst into tears. He was trying to calm me down and reassure me that her condition wasn't serious and that everything was going to be ok. I told him I wasn't crying because my baby was going to the hospital, I was crying because I was missing my other baby's birthday party. Oh goodness - I am emotional.
Anyway, he let us go home for a few hours to celebrate McKenna's birthday before checking into the hospital. Thankfully, my mom is here which allowed Dave to come with me to get settled and help me keep it together. He went home later that night to be with the girls.
Here are some shots from the hospital:

It broke my heart seeing my brand newborn baby lying in only her diaper all night. I "wrapped" her in her blankie as best I could so she could have some sort of comfort.

Her levels went down low enough by Monday morning that we could go home and continue treatments at home. We got to bring this suitcase home and have her lay in it for the rest of Monday and through Monday night.

Luckily Tuesday morning when Brooke was tested again, her levels were low enough (11) to be done with the lights. This morning we brought her in for another test to see how she was doing off the lights. Her levels went back up to 14, but she doesn't have to go back under lights. We have ONE MORE (hopefully) test tomorrow to make sure her levels aren't continuing to go up. This poor girl - she had SO MANY pricks on her heels. Today when I took off her sock at the hospital she started crying. She knew what was coming. Poor girl :(
We're just glad that she is doing well and home with us. Hospital stays are never fun, even just for one night.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Brooklyn Dawn

Welcome Brooklyn Dawn Jensen!!!
Our sweet little baby is here!
excited sisters!

ready to go to the hospital
At my doctor's apointment on Tuesday morning, the doctor told me that I was ready to be induced if we wanted and that we could have our baby whenever we were ready. After thinking about it and discussing it all day, we decided Tuesday night that we were going to be induced first thing Wednesday morning. We just couldn't wait to meet our baby girl!

After a long day, Brooke finally arrived at 5:57 pm.

7 lbs. 10.8 oz.
19 1/2 inches long

After a lot of waiting, a fantastic epidural, a few pushes, and the doctor working his magic (she was posterior, but he was able to turn her during one of the pushes - what a miracle!), she is here! We couldn't be happier and we couldn't be more blessed.
Brooke had quite a bit of fluid in her lungs when she was born. The respiratory specialist was able to get it all out right away (another miracle) and she was fine. Just a short little cry when she was born and that was it. What a sweetheart.

Dr. Judd - our hero

Brooke had her eyes wide open right away and just stared up at us. Dave took the opportunity, while he had her undivided attention, to teach her about the important things in life.

About an hour after the delivery, Dave left to go pick up Katie & McKenna from my cousins house where they stayed Tuesday night and all day Wednesday. They stopped by the hospital on their way home to meet their new sister and to have some dinner. I missed them so much and was so excited to see them!

happy sisters having Happy Meals :)

Katie was SO EXCITED! I'm not sure McKenna really knew what was going on - she was more excited about the hospital room than the baby. She was pretty difficult to get a picture of, but not Katie!

so tired, and SO happy!
Mom & baby had a quiet night together at the hospital.
Dave & the girls came back first thing in the morning to hang out and keep us company.

the Jensen girls! Isn't Dad so lucky?! :)

our veteran big sister, checking out the baby

I love this picture - Brooke is so loved!

Brooklyn Dawn

wide-eyed girl

I love new babies!!!

proud Great-Grandparents came to visit

she already loves her binkie - what a blessing!

doesn't love getting changed so much....
We decided to come home Thursday night after Katie & McKenna were asleep. My brother Brian came and stayed with the girls at our house so Dave could come get Brooke & I from the hospital and we could come home when it was calm and quiet. We were able to get settled, get some food, and get some sleep.

We were all very excited to go home.

And of course, we brought our newest princess home in style.
We are all doing great and really are so happy to have baby Brooke here. Like I said, we are so incredibly blessed!