Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful Thoughts

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”- Colossians 3:15

It is always at this time of year that I look back and reflect on all that I have to be thankful for. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the day-to-day that we don't recognize our blessings, but if we can get in a quiet place, close our eyes, and exhale...

  • to the Lord for his abundunt love and forgiveness.
  • to Jesus Christ, He died on the cross for ME...and you, and you, and you....
  • for salvation and eternal life.
  • for my husband Juan, he still shows me he loves me even though I don't look like the girl I was 36 years ago.
  • for my beautiful daughter Jeniese who a survivor!
  • for my handsome son Butchie, he always makes me smile when he calls.
  • for my grandSON Junior, for changing my life and keeping me young!
  • for my other grand-children; Anthony, Trevon, Angel, Jaelyn, Alexi and Trinity...I miss my babies so much!
  • for my brothers and sister and their love and friendship.
  • for Skyway Church, the pastors and my new friends; my life will forever be changed because of them.
  • for my BF Pam, for her unconditional friendship.
  • for my BF Judy and the history we share.
  • for my Aunt Becky that was always there for my mother.
  • for Janette and Joceille and their hilarious stories.
  • for new friends Cindy, Leslie and Brandi and their friendship.
  • for my FaithSisters and having a place to openly share my Faith.
  • for my Bible Study ladies group and the education they are providing.
  • for my hairdresser, because, well, come on...surely you know WHY we're thanful for someone that can do our hair!

There are many, many more but these stand out immediately to me. So today as you share time with family and/or friends take a moment and reflect on your blessings; and BE THANKFUL.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


October 20, 2005 my mother died. Mother had strong opinions on how things should be done (do you all see I come by this naturally?), and she was insistent on that up to the end; she left us HER way, in her home, in her bed, with her six kids holding her in their arms. Five of us kids were with her all day, when the sixth one was finally there, she smiled and left us. The saddest moment of my life has also become my most cherished memory!

This is a picture of us taken December 2003. Mother lived in Nashville and she came to California to spend Christmas with us as it had been about 10 years since she shared a holiday with her kids on the West Coast.

Mother was born Bettye Jean Jacobs on September 5th, 1930 in Chattanoga, Tennessee. She was the oldest of three daughters. Mother attended Howard School up to the 6th grade then asked her parents if she could quit school and they said yes! Can you even IMAGINE letting your kids quit school after elementary? But she was very smart! That always amazed me and I think at times she amazed herself!!! Mother went to school when there was still prayer in school. She would often comment about the sad state of affairs since prayer was taken out of school. Makes you go h-m-m-m!

She was a great dancer! In her late teens she taught jitter-bug at a dance studio! If she was at a party or dance she was asked to dance all night! Even up through her 50's!!! I think we all got our love of music from her. I remember a day in 1965 I came home from school to find Mother crying. WHOA, my heart jumped in my throat, I ran to her, Mother, what's happened? Please tell me! She was sobbing...Nat King Cole died! HUH? Nat King Cole! she said. Do you mean the guy whose albums you play all the time? Yes, she said. I'm like...did you know him???? She was NOT amused. But seriously, I didn't know at the time how much she cared for this guy and at just 14, I didn't know anything about caring for an entertainer so strongly.

Mother had moved to California in 1953 when I was two years old. By 1965 she was left alone to raise six kids, and she did it well! Of course she had to do it on welfare because there was no support coming in, but she managed to keep a roof over our heads, see that we always had food on the table and were clothed. Were we perfect? Were we angels? NO! Did we ever make her angry at us, YES! But there was not one day that went by that we didn't know how much we were LOVED! When we came home from school she would listen to our silly stories of what happened that day and she would laugh and/or cry right along with us! If we had trouble at school, she would walk to the school (yeah, we didn't have a car either) to talk with the teacher and/or principal about steps to take to resolve it. She was always in our corner, even when we were wrong and were punished, she would still let us know that she was there for us. When Mother found out she was sick July of 2005 we would often talk on the phone and she told me, I'm not afraid to die, I just don't want to say good-bye to my babies! There we all were in our 40's and 50's and she still thought of us as her babies! Growing up she would always tell us to love each other and always be there for each other. We would say, yes Mother, sure Mother. But do you want to know something? We six all get along, all love each other, and are always there for each other. Her legacy lives on!

My Mother never complained about her circumstances. She played the hand she was delt and made the best of it. I often wonder if I have that same strength, it's hard to imagine that I wouldn't complain! I complain when we're out of coffee!

It's been two years and I still grab the phone to call her and tell her somthing interesting (at least to me) about what's going on with us here at home or with my brothers and sister. I miss talking to her, I miss hearing her voice, I miss the jokes she used to tell and the stories she shared with us about her family and growing up. I miss her hugs and kisses. But I don't have to miss her LOVE because it will always be in my heart and I will always receive it from my brothers and sister and always give it right back to them! Yes, her legacy of love will live on in us and through our children and grandchildren. THANKS FOR EVERYTHING MOTHER!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Matthew 28:19

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

September 16, 2007, can you imagine how special it was for me to be baptised with my grandSon, Junior? He and I have been on this new journey together since February 2006. Pastor Sam baptised both of us. I went to the membership class that Pastor Sam taught and knew it had to be him to baptise us! It was an amazing day, GOD IS GOOD....ALL THE TIME!

I believe that full immersion baptism symbolizes "burial" and a "new person" being born. It's a commitment Junior and I willingly took to demonstrate visually the changes going on within us.

There are some countries that fervently prohibit Christianity and anything associated with it. For instance, in some countries people are baptised in secret so as not to be murdered for what is seen as renouncing their culture religion or belief. But their belief in God is so strong, they don't care where they are baptised; including rivers swimming with snakes, etc.

How strong is your belief? What are you willing to do in faith? Do you walk in the "world" or in the Word of God? None of us are perfect. Being baptised didn't make me perfect! It didn't make it easier to tune out the world. For me this was a show of obedience and my belief in the Word of God; the Son, Jesus; and the Holy Spirit. Will I still encounter problems? Will I have complaints? Will I have worries? Yes to all but I now know WHO to Trust, WHO to Thank, and WHO to Ask when any of it occurs! THANK YOU LORD!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's Not a Diet, It's a Lifestyle Change!

How many times have you tried to lose weight? Two, 10? More? And what's the first thing they tell you...."this is not a's a lifestyle change!" Don't you just want to punch them when they say this? And the person telling you this is always thin, right?

I have been on so many diets, I bet some of them are not even on the market anymore! No, I'm serious! Is the Pritikin diet still around? If I remember correctly, it was a high fiber diet. Then there was the Scarsdale diet (I believe he was the one that was murdered by his girlfriend! coincidence? you decide!), high protein if I remember correctly. I also tried the grapefruit diet, the boiled egg diet, the 1200 calorie diet and when that didn't work, the 1500 calorie, of course that didn't work, so I'll try the 1800...need I say more? Somewhere in there was the cabbage soup diet...OH, I CAN'T BEAR TO GO ON! Somebody, somewhere is driving the Mercedes I bought them when I bought all of their books, etc.!

The program that worked the best for me was Weight Watchers (WW). I ALWAYS lost weight and did so well, then....what's that song, "Never Can Say Good-bye" (Jackson 5), I was NEVER able to say good-bye forever to the pounds I lost. So I was up and down for years and years. I consistently had, and I AM TOTALLY EMBARRASSED to admit this, 4 sizes of clothes in my closet! Now you KNOW that's just WRONG! Worse yet, I've only been in Arizona 20 months and I ALREADY have TWO sizes of clothes in my closet!

Now, I don't know how, I don't know when, but I'm starting to get this "lifestyle" thing. My friend Leslie and I have been doing WW by ourselves. We started 4 weeks ago and it's been going very well, slow, but better this time. I really have Leslie to thank for that, she said something to me that no one had ever said; "Jackie, you don't need to face this alone, God wants to help you, ask Him for help whenever you get to feeling you can't make it." I thought, come on Leslie, surely God has more important things to address than helping me lose weight!

But THAT is just what I did, every morning I pray for help in making the right food choices. And here I am, for the first time EVER, not feeling deprived, hungry, or angry! Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm still overweight, but I'm 9 lbs lighter than I was 4 weeks ago! I can live with that! Slow and easy wins the race, right?

I am putting this in writing so that I can FINALLY get rid of those big sizes of clothes I keep in the back of the closet and that I ultimately bring out before too long; but also to get healthier. Being heavy and having arthritis just doesn't go hand-in-hand! But I also want to share with you in case anything I've written sounds familiar maybe it will get you to start thinking about where you're at. Listen, it doesn't matter which program you prefer there is only one way to lose weight and get healthy and we all know less, period dot com! And if you're able to exercise, you KNOW that REALLY helps. After all, it's not a diet.....

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My Life with "Arthur"

Yes, I've been married to Juan for 36 years but I've lived with "Arthur" for 27 of those years! Okay, okay, don't start calling all of your friends! "Arthur" is what I call my rheumatoid arthritis. It may sound silly to name it, but it's been around so long I don't think it will mind the informality!

"Arthur" has been treated with many medicines over the years. Some were extremely effective in the beginning. During the last couple of years the medicine I was on just wasn't doing the trick; meaning I had intense pain every day. A few months ago I found a GREAT doctor here in Arizona. He met with me a few times, took plenty of tests, then met with me to discuss my medicine options. He felt strongly that although I would always have "Arthur" in my life, he would be A LOT easier to live with! Cool, I'm all for that! So what are my options doc? Option one, I can self inject medicine A once a week...not liking the sound of that one; what's option 2? I can self inject medicine B every other're getting closer doc, what else do you have for me? Option 3, I can come into the doctor's office once a month for a THREE HOUR IV drip of medicine C!!! Are you serious doc? THESE are my only options? If you want your pain to gradually, practically be gone and get on with your daily activities, YES, these are the options for you. Well let's see here, sound's like a no brainer...I'll take option 2, self inject once every 2 weeks. This medicine is called Humira, you may have heard the commercial for it, the dumb song plays in my head every other Thursday! (I won't even get into the fact here that my California health plan carrier would rather pay UPS to deliver this "special" medicine rather than allow me to pick it up at the local pharmacy 5 minutes from my house!)

The next step in this journey was to be trained by the nurse on how to give myself this injection. WHOA! I'm not really even afraid of shots, but to give them to myself?! I tried and tried but just couldn't do it. She ended up doing it for me and my sweet, kind, adorable husband, who has been on insulin injections for 10 years, volunteered to give me the shots; and when I say "volunteered", practically before the nurse was even finished with my injection he was like, I'll do it, I can do it, Let me do it! Gee, isn't that sweet?

Did I say sweet, kind and adorable? I'll let you judge for yourself. So every other Thursday I have to have this Humira injection. On Wednesday night my husband is like, tomorrow's your you want your shot before you leave for work...what time do you want your you want it after would be easier first thing in the morning...

Do you all see where I'm going here? So every Thursday morning when I step out of the shower (I don't mean I only shower on Thursdays!) my husband is standing in the bedroom with the needle in his hand. Are you ready? Are you ready now? When will you be ready?

I am REALLY not trying to read anything into his actions...but I ask you, is it normal to be so gosh darn HAPPY to be injecting your wife????

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

To Be or Not To Be...In Control

Do you have to be in control of situations? A very interesting thing happened to me, in my bible study group we are going through some "life training" material. Last week we discussed the need to be in control. I took a simple survey: does it bother you when you're not in control?; does it bother you when things don't go your way?; do you try to change people?; do you get impatient when people don't do things right?; you get the point. And I thought, well YES, to all, but is that wrong?

I thought I'm not the type that needs to be in "control", I just offer "advice" on how to do things "right". Is that controlling? When my daughter or son calls to tell me what's going on and I say, well if you did this, or go there, or.... Now I ask you, is that being in control? Oh, My!

I was almost able to convince myself that this was not a form of control; then I thought about the time, it happened several years ago; I was working 40+ hours a week, coming home, being the wife, mom, housekeeper, etc. And I was tired but I made nachos for dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, put everything away, and went to bed. I got up in the morning and found a bowl on the counter. My husband had a nacho "snack" after playing basketball and left the bowl sitting on the counter, with dried cheese all inside of it! I cannot begin to write how much this upset me! I couldn't stop talking about it at work, I was THAT upset. After work, I go home, bowl still on the counter. I cook dinner, wash the dishes (I didn't have a dishwasher and only just got my first one 2 years ago after 35 years of marriage!); anyway, I left the bowl on the counter. I'll show him I thought. In the morning, the bowl was still there; after work it was still there; same dinner/wash dishes routine, and the bowl was still there. I left that bowl sitting there for 2 WEEKS! And do you want to know something? I was the ONLY one being affected by that dirty/cheesey bowl. I had an upset stomach every night waiting for my husband to do something about it, but he never did. I let a BOWL make me "sick"! Isn't that just wrong? Of course I washed the bowl and immediately felt better. Now who or what was I trying to be in control of? A bowl? My husband? It's funny now but it's just SAD that I ever let it go that far! Sometimes looking at yourself can be painful! But enlightening! And now, I honestly don't think my husband even realized that I was upset!

Okay, so now I know there is only ONE in control and I need to accept that and stop trying to run my children's lives and taking charge when it appears to ME that someone needs to.

So I ask you again, do you always need to be in control?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Friday, August 3, 2007

My Busy Schedule

So what else is new?! EVERYONE is busy. But I was supposed to be RETIRED and staying home doing NOTHING! RIGHT! I found that wasn't for me. So now I'm working full time for my church and I'm LOVIN' IT! I am interacting with truly great people each and every day. But why am I so busy?

Well, let's see; besides working a 40 hour week at the church, I am on the decorating committee for our ladies church retreat, which begins August 16th. I have bible study, no, Devotional Life Study, once a week. Thank you God for bringing these wonderful ladies into my life!

I also have classes in my home each month for Stampin' Up! which requires a lot of preparation. Making samples, doing some cards for my self and scrapbooking some of my own family photos (I'm getting way behind!). I also meet with my down-line once a month. Have I forgotten anything?

Do I need to mention wife, housekeeper, and full-time grandPARENT to Junior? WHEW! I'm tired just WRITING it! But do you want to know something? I wouldn't trade ANY OF IT for ANYTHING!

Isaiah 40:31Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up [with] wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.