Saturday, December 17, 2016

''Tis The Season

Honesty isn't pretty..… It's just honest. I'm not much on New Year's resolutions and come the first of the year I probably won't be again, but at this time of year at -7 days and counting, I've become a little OCD, ADHD, depressed, overwhelmed, inpatient, panicked… Well you know, a psychiatrist dream while they laugh all the way to the bank with all the money it would probably take for them to diagnose me if I went to one. Some people would say "Jill, don't be so honest", but I got over that along time ago. You know the feeling, "Why did I end up buying them a gift card again? I should've gotten to know them better this year and then I could've got them the present they wanted." Mental note, do more things with that person this year. Then I start thinking about the fact that I didn't even make it to my own church Christmas program this year and began to wonder if maybe there is something wrong with me spiritually since I didn't make it there. In reality I just forgot to get the tickets to go. I then start thinking that maybe I didn't buy enough but then I remember that presents are not the reason for the season ....but then my brain goes back to....yeah maybe I didn't buy enough. And then I go into verse of that maybe my tree is not home interior pretty. I went to so-and-so's house and there's was all wrapped and perfect picture like Norman Rockwell. And don't get me started on the cards ....not a one..... I didn't send a one and I probably have 10 boxes sitting here. Failure… Again Oh, wait I only made one batch of candy. My mother would've made enough for all of the family and then some I need to be better at baking and cookie making and candy stuff like that. (I'm just saying it the way I think it in my brain when in reality I really want to fix every, quotation mark, quotation, capitalization and everything else that I think I need to do to make me perfect.) A little while ago I realized that I had not put my manger scene up yet. My sweet husband bought it for me when we were in Israel years back and I promised him I would put it up every year because of well you know it wasn't cheap. As I begin to put it up, I began to think about what that night must have really been like. The manger looks so simple...just wood and normal people and no perfection really anywhere around except for the baby lying in the center of the scene. There were not 15 batches of cookies made by Mary that day, and there was no Martha Stewart Christmas tree. There were no last-minute shopping trips. There was no, "Did I bring the right wardrobe?" There were no Christmas cards sent out because it all began that night. If you've reached the end of your rope at Christmas, take time and look at a manger. Read the real Christmas story in Luke. Forget everyone's expectations except for the Lord Jesus. Merry Christmas! The Lord Has Come! This has been a public service announcemen. 😊

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thirty years ago today, I headed off to work like any normal day. I was moving a little slower due to being VERY pregnant at nine months and counting. I remember being terrified! Not because she was sitting Indian style straight up breech
and a C-section (major surgery back then) would be the only way to get her out, but what in the world would I do with her after that? I prayed and read all the "in" books on parenting. NOTHING prepares you for the real thing! After work that day we went to a new burger place, 'Wendy's' that had just opened on Davis. It was a Wednesday and we went to church after dinner. I didn't know it would be my last few moments of.....not wondering where she was all of the time. Pastor Meloy must have preached quite the sermon that night and that tiny baby responded by deciding I should go into labor right there at church! We had quite the fan club following us to Baptist Hospital. I still have the note that was passed from the waiting room to me. For someone who still doesn't like the attention put on her, she had a lot of attention THAT night!
What I remembered from the years to follow were words that could drive me crazy at that moment, but now I cherish them... "Just ONE MORE dwink of watta, Mama." "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy can you bring me just ONE Mwa dwink of watta."
"Let's pretend I'm a teacher, David, and you be the student." (David always had to be the student.) "Let's make a craft today", she said to her 'uncrafty' mom. The eyes, those beautiful eyes started ROLLING when the sweet little girl was put out about something. Did I mention this started at about 1 1/2 years old? Her dad and I were strict to her when she was like that, but when she wasn't looking......we looked at each other just a little terrified of what this strong-willed little being would turn out like! Life happened, and it was not easy for this independent, "I do it myself" little girl. Challenges encouraged her stay close to the Lord.
Today, on the eve of her 30th birthday, I'm here to say she is EVERYTHING a mother could ever hope and pray for. Thank you to all of those who gave of themselves to teach, mold, love, and pray for her. Thank you, Tiffany, for all of the things you have been to me. I love you!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day or as my children call it, “Single Awareness Day” is just a little over two weeks away. While the holiday is about love for that special sweetheart, it’s also the perfect time to reach out to others needing a little love shown to them.

I had love songs playing in the background this morning and these lyrics indicated that “love” is a hurricane, a candle. Bryan Adams sings that, “it makes you do all the crazy things you can’t explain” (I ‘love’ this song) Others indicate that it hurts, it burns, it’s everything, it’s a lie, it’s, makes you sacrifice, it’s amazing, Garth says, “he’d go hungry, he’d go blind, he’d crawl down an avenue”. (Wow, sounds painful)

Extreme states, “it’s more than words”.

To be honest I love listening to love songs, but they make me cry, so it’s not a good thing to keep it on very long. Most of the words don’t really make any sense, and we chuckle at the songs we thought were so cool in high school. Do any of these singers even have a clue what love is? I’m sure some of them do.

My daddy was one of my best valentines ever. Today I will go to place flowers on his grave and thank him for teaching me about true love. It’s working a 40 hour week to support those you love. It’s taking time to drop you off at the skating rink every Friday night in that bumper to bumper Olive Road traffic. He exemplified that staying with one person for life is God’s plan. It’s making sure you understood what it takes to make it out in the real world, and giving you the wings and quiet confidence needed. It’s taking you to church every week whether you wanted to go or not, because he knew that one day all of those Godly principles would save my soul and my life. I love and miss you Daddy.

While I DO NOT claim to be an authority on love, I have been taught this and will state it again….Love is a self sacrificing desire to meet the other’s needs. When you have found the one who will give up their own wants, needs, and desires to give you yours…you have found a true gem.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Preparing for 2013

Another Christmas has come and gone.  There are three days left in 2012. For most of the friends that I graduated with from high school, this will be the “Big 50” birthday year. A few weeks back, about a dozen of us met for dinner to reunite with those out of town that we hadn’t seen in years. We had fun and joked about who would turn 50 first. We realized that some sitting with us had already turned that special age and were thankful they were there to prove that you can indeed survive “the big one”!

Last night I was reminded how blessed I should be to be seeing 2013. One of our friends from school didn’t make it to his 50th. He passed away six years ago, and his family posted a cake on Facebook in honor of his birthday. It was a stark reminder that we are not guaranteed tomorrow to see those we love.  Whether we take them for granted, are too busy for them, or they are just too difficult to deal with at times, we need to remind them what they mean to us.

We will all deal with challenges and blessings in this next year. It’s just a fact of life. God will be there each step with us if we trust in Him.

Happy Birthday Mark.
We miss you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Adventures At The Bank

I needed to retrieve something yesterday from my safe deposit box at a bank that I hadn’t been to in a while. (This will be an important fact in a moment.) It was a rainy day and mom was driving, and she asked if I needed any help. I said no because as long as I’m a little familiar with my surroundings, I can ‘fake’ being legally blind very well.

I entered the bank, and stepped in line. I always watch closely when I’m next so I can tell which teller’s counter becomes available. I can’t see the teller, just the customer walking away and the empty spot and no one is usually the wiser about my sight. Well, my mind wondered for a moment, and…..yep, SOMEONE..... SOMEWHERE said, “Next”. Ever had that moment when you feel like a deer in headlights? That was my look I guess. I’m now squinting….which if you have ever seen me do this; it looks like I’m MAD! She says again, “Next”, I then start walking….I don’t know WHERE mind you, but I figure I should at least head toward the teller’s counter. First little cubby- no lady, I’m then a little flustered. (Ok, a lot flustered!) I step over to the next cubby and that is the winner, but instead of looking pleased to see me…umm…she looked a little bewildered and frightened of me. You know the moment when you think that they have probably pushed the silent alarm under the counter for the police? No? You need to come with me sometime then.

I deposit a check and tell her that I need to get into my safe deposit box. As I’m telling her this, I look to my left and the guard that you hardly ever see is standing next to me. She then announces that I need to get to my box, and another person walks up now to “help” me. LOL! I knew what they must be thinking, but kept to the task at hand. I just wanted a piece of paper, NOT to rob the bank! I walked into the vault while feeling several sets of eyes glued to me. When I returned to the main floor, a friend that works at the bank saw me and came to give me a hug. I wanted to say, “SEE, I have friends, and am NOT A THIEF!” I'm sure all of you are getting a little laugh just sitting there and trying to imagine this blind as a bat blonde even attempting such a thing.

No, I wasn’t angry with them. I’m sure in this day and time that you can never be too careful. I just need to learn to SMILE when I squint.

Many people who read this have children with eye conditions or you yourself have one. I’m not writing this to depress you or make you want to stay home instead of going out in public. Sometimes things just happen, and it's much better if you learn to laugh at yourself and go on with life.

Monday, November 26, 2012


November is what? Almost GONE? ALREADY? I’ve just begun to write 2012 correctly. One great gift this month was the prompting of my friend, Laurel, to count my blessing in a unique way each day on Facebook. I tried to be faithful in doing this until I left on vacation and returned to get ready for Thanksgiving company. Thank you for the idea!

I’m learning that holidays will never be the same after losing family members. Last year I was pretty self-absorbed in my pity without Daddy or Papa being there with us. This year my goal was to look outside of myself and took the plunge to have dinner at OUR home instead of moms.
At 14 people and counting….A few days before Thanksgiving, I was on a short vacation to the beach courtesy of my daughter (isn’t it fun when they have a career and money to take YOU on vacation) when my son called and said,”Our UWF international group needs a few more homes for Thanksgiving dinner….” (There was silence on both ends as I’m counting up people in my head and thinking YIKES) He continues, “ we have anymore room for a couple more? I said yes, and so thankful that I did!

If you’ve never hosted foreign exchange students in your home, you have missed out! This was our second time, and what fun we had learning about each other's culture. We learned that the word ‘cranberry’ was hard to translate in mandarin. Football took on a different perspective for the guys in our family as they tried to explain to our new friends how it was played. Something all of the guys had in common was the discussion of ‘cars’! Mashed potatoes were a big hit as they had never tasted them before. All I could think about was, “These guys are so use to eating healthy and the only healthy food on the buffet was turkey and some fresh vegetables.” Everything else was oh so yummy, but I’m guessing not on a heart healthy diet.  We so enjoyed having our guests from China!

All this to say that God is so good and He knows what we need before we even have a clue.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Old Shoe Box

You know that old shoe box you have in the top of your closet- the one with all those old notes and letters from middle, high school, and college days? Yeah, THOSE notes! I’ve looked up there for years and said to myself:

“Self, you need to go through those and see what’s in there. Do you really want your kids reading all of those when you die? There may be a few you and your friends may want  thrown away!”

Self said, “There are tons of notes in there and I don’t really want to have to sit and read all of those.”

Well, 'self' lost and a few days ago I began the task.

It was fun at first to read all those silly notes we would pass between class and maybe even IN class. (Never me though because I was perfect) lol!

You know the notes…She likes him THIS week and the following week or DAY, she likes the one sitting next to him. After reading a few, I realized most of us were real ‘drama queens’ and can’t say much to our kids or grandkids about being one. Others talked about who would show up for skating on Friday night. That was the “in” thing in Pensacola in the ‘70s. Yes, every Friday night this crazy 'blind' girl took her life in her hands and joined hundreds of others on Mr. Vic’s speedway, and waited for that magical “couples skate” time.

Of course there were the very important notes asking, “What are you wearing?” or SOME even talked about how cute certain teachers were!

One or two had tear stains still imprinted on the paper from dear friends whose families were in turmoil and they just needed a friend to talk to about it. Others had made mistakes they would carry with them for the rest of their lives, but were making fresh starts and asking the Lord to forgive the past. Just like today, there was also the pressure of drugs and alcohol.

Hey, that was just the “middle school” notes! We hadn’t even reached the much deeper issues that hit in the high school years. I wish I could say that I’m kidding.  I have lost touch with many of those friends, but I have also kept in touch with quite a few of them, and know they still have my back as I do theirs.

By the time I finished high school notes and continued on the college letters, I was feeling ill about all of the broken promises I had made to God, family, and friends. (I have some of ‘my’ letters I wrote to others)

It truly did depress me beyond words. God’s forgiveness had been given, but the memories were still there, and I’m sure it’s that way for many of you also. I had to remind myself once more that God’s grace is bigger than any sin we can ever imagine and when the past is thrown in your face, just remember to run to Him because He defeated your past and future sins at the cross.