Friday, May 28, 2010


In the last days of my father's life, he seemed particularly concerned about being forgotten...the human mind is a mystery, and there were a lot of medications involved, but still - he wanted us to remember him. So, on the white board in his room, we wrote "A tree is know by its fruit". Indeed, my father was a fruitful man in many ways - but what came to my mind were his children. I will continue to lead my life in a way that honors him - the values he instilled in me, the trust he placed in me and the faith he had in me. Oh, and the pride he had in me and my children. Because he was such a good example, I have tried to graft those same values and expectations into my own "fruits". He lives on!!

And so, today, my daughter, Carol Anne is graduating from high school. I am very proud of her for her many accomplishments - the "things" she has achieved, awards, recognitions - but I am especially proud of her soul. She has been steadfast, trustworthy, brave, loyal and well....good. Not perfect, but good. She has always had a big heart, never been mean-spirited, and gosh, I love her. She is bossy. She is dramatic. She is stubborn. She is smart. She is caring. She is giving. She is my fruit and I am ever grateful for the blessing of being her mother.

The love of a parent is a sacrificial love - I have lost parts of "me" in the loving and caring of Carol Anne - but what I have gained is immeasurably better. We are defined by those who love us, and I am blessed to be Lanier's daughter and Carol Anne's mother.

Carol Anne, while you will be leaving me, our home, our daily lives, you are forever in my heart and always my daughter. Thank you.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Good Grief!

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my father's death. He spent the last three weeks of his life in a Hospice House - a wonderful, peaceful place, as I look back on it, but not so wonderful at the time it was all happening. It was hard to imagine that he would never go home again. As nice a place as the Robin Johnson house is, it still says "I am here because I am dying". I kept a journal while I was there...waiting. Some of these thoughts come from those musings. When Daddy was able to talk, he was as precious as always. He sang! On three separate occasions, he looked at me and started singing...."Remember me, I'm the one who loves you"....."Since you've been gone, My buddy"...."Me and My Shadow". All the while, trying to comfort those around him as he barely hung on to consciousness. Oh, I wanted to reminisce with him, to say "thank you" for some of the (many) important things he did for me, to laugh, to cry - but his ability to carry on a conversation was difficult. Lesson: don't wait to say it and when you say it - say it over and over again. It is a cliche, life is short - but so true! Even when we have a chance for a long goodbye, we are limited by time. Sadly, knowing this doesn't change the way I live: in a hurry, in a worry, precious time slipping away. What would I give to hold his hand? How can I live without his smile? He was my biggest fan, my encourager, the one and only man who I know loved me unconditionally and he was/is a great and everlasting blessing! Thank you, God, for giving me an earthly father of such value.
This is Daddy in his overalls and cowboy boots! Probably taken in about 1989.This is photo was taken probably 15 years later, as his health was really beginning to fail....but still, I can smell his after-shave and feel the warmth of his hand. I miss you, Daddy.

I will end with these words of comfort that a friend offered me -for all of us have loved and lost and as we each face daily struggles:

"My prayer is that the joy of the Lord will be your strength as you walk in the work that He has given you to do".

Amen. ~J

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Half Full

A note about blogging. It is a public journal. For me, it is a fun way to examine, report and preserve the daily blessings of my life. Not just one, but several, of my friends, after having read my posts, commented that it seemed a little one sided....maybe a little "rose-colored"? YES! Exactly! I want to take time, hopefully everyday, to look at the good stuff in my life. I am writing about what makes my glass "half full". Sure, if you must know, there are worries, disappointments, failures, loss, extra pounds, lies, demands, illness, depressions and mistakes wedged in and around every word that is printed in this public domain - but I have no intention of giving it any press time! I think for most of us, it is a constant battle trying to keep our human nature from tying up our Christian spirit and holding it hostage! So, if you want to know the dirt that does exist in my temporal life - come steal my book of PRIVATE musings and weep away....but this spot is for joys and jubilation! And soooooo, today was Youth Sunday at Pawleys Island Presbyterian Church! My daughter, Carol Anne, and 3 other high school seniors were honored by their church family. Also, it is tradition that they preach the sermon....their theme was "perseverance" and they each did a fantastic job. I am very proud of their accomplishments both at school and church. Carol Anne is a beautiful, young woman with a tender heart and a deep understanding of what it is like to persevere through trials and tribulation and she eloquently shared her faith experience from the pulpit today. Thank you, Lord, for giving me the honor of raising makes all the hard stuff seem insignificant when you look at it that way - that is the "half full" doctrine!
Pastor Rhett and Pastor Frank were kinda proud too! Finally, no church function would be complete without a dessert table like this:
I think my final words should be from the lyrics of today's Hymn of Preparation, because this verse adequately explains both my "half-full" doctrine and the spirit of today's service at PIPC:
"As we gaze on Your kingly brightness So our faces display your likeness, Ever changing from glory to glory; Mirrored here, may our lives tell Your story; Shine on me, Shine on me. Shine Jesus shine, fill this land with the Father's glory. Blaze Spirit blaze, set our hearts on fire."

Cheers to "half full"! ~J

PS Thanks, Jenny, for knowing about the emptiness and loving me anyway!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Food for the Soul

On Mother's Day, we took some nice photos of me and the kids. It was a great afternoon, so we headed out to Creek Ratz for a "sea breeze" on the inlet....then we had dinner at Texas Roadhouse where my sweet Carol Anne was working her shift! Somehow, we managed to all be together, even if that meant we were simply all in the same location! I can't believe how wonderfully grown up they are getting - I would rather spend time with them than with anyone else, anywhere, anytime! Thanks, kids, for a wonderful day.

When Monday rolled around, it was strawberry picking time! I helped chaperon the 1st grade field trip to Thompson Farms. Now, I am no "Super Mom"....this is the ONLY field trip that I have attended all year - but I "picked" a good one (no pun intended). Thompson Farms is awesome and we had so much fun.
Michael learned so much about "picking" and was very careful about it. We ended up with a gallon bucket and turned that into 2 pies and a cake. YUM! There is nothing more fulfilling than spending time in and around God's creation and then literally eating it up! THAT is what I call food for the soul! That said, it is well with my soul! Blessings abound in everyday life. ~J

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Feet Still Hurt, But It's Mother's Day and I'm Sitting Down!

The party was wonderful and I am so proud of Suzanne. She truly is a blessing to me and to my family. I think that God has an amazing plan for her life and I look forward to watching it unfold. The food was southern and fattening and delicous and the cake was yummy and....all gone, darn! So, it is Mother's Day and it really is fine with me to sit in my chair in a sunny spot of the room and stay in my pajamas all day. BUT, everybody is especially anxious to get me up and moving to go do something "special". Ain't love grand?? I have all the diet coke I could ever want (they are refilling my glass every time I take a sip), lots of chocolate covered pretzels and my trusty slippers. Thank you, kids!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ouch! My Feet Hurt!

So, I am having a party Saturday. A graduation party to be exact. For my sister-in-law. The preacher is coming. My house MUST be in order.....and the yard, the deck and everything else. Really, a party is an excellent motivator for a "get your butt in gear and clean house" mode! I have a new precious toy - gas operated pressure washer. Oh, yeah! Whew!! I am old and boring, huh? Anyhoo, I am in heaven as I type because the containers are planted and the deck is clean and the pine needles are down and the cushions are AMAZING. Yep, I recovered the outdoor cushions and today, I found the perfect accent pillows at Pier 1. Honestly, I didn't recover the outdoor cushions JUST for this party. The old ones were 10 years old and really disgusting and I happened along this really great upholsterer and the rest is history....Now that I have established myself as totally materialistic and superficial, let me tell you what an honor it is to have this party for SUZANNE. She is more like a daughter or niece than a sister-in-law because she is 20 years younger than my husband and 26 years younger than "moi". She is a generous, hard-working, delightful young woman with a level head and a heart of gold. It is an honor to have this party for her. She is graduationg Phi Beta Kappa from The University of South Carolina. Plan to see lots of photos after the big event! One final note....I love my tiki torches, but this one is a hall of fame nominee! TTYL~J

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Awaken the Senses!

Average day, with an above average finale! The errands and obligations of life took up the entire day - oh, 8 full hours worth. By the time I walked in the door at 5:30 pm, I couldn't appreciate the fact that I was still breathing. Except. Except that my family was here and there was laughter and love waiting at the door....we cooked and laughed - Michael brought out the photo albums to impress our guest (JENN! JENN!) and my mind starts sparking and jump-starts a landslide of memories and well, I think I am the only person that got it, but joy bubbled out and ahhhhh! As the salad was tossing and the meat was slicing, the sun was setting and the rain was falling and the steam was rising and the birds were chirping and the smell was like childhood. I tried to take a picture but it disappointed me. Pictures can't capture what the heart feels. No matter what the day brings that weights you down or ties you up, the love of life, the hope of the eternal and the peace of knowing it - that can free us all. ~J

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sundays are for church and naps. I love Sundays for those very two reasons. Even though Easter has come and gone, we are still talking about the resurrection at Pawleys Island Presbyterian Church....the piano was smokin' and we were singin' about the shores of heaven and a new day! Lately, I can barely keep my eyes dry during church - not sure why exactly, except I love the Lord so much and I am reminded of all the promise that rests with Him. Now, like I mentioned, there is one other Sunday activity for me and that is a great, big nap. I wish Sunday was for gardening or reading or a river cruise or a bike ride, but I am too exhausted and in need of rest for anything but sleep. Well, I did begin a painting project and was able to lend a hand to the "hubbie" who has 2 papers due tomorrow for grad of all, my sweet Rob comes home from college tomorrow - that's him in the picture. He is one of my greatest joys and a blessing beyond words - welcome home Rob!~J

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May 1, 2010

As if I have nothing else to do, I have added one more thing to my life . . . blogging! With a little technical help from one of my lovelies, I'm up and running. Speaking of being "up" - it's past my bedtime! Sweet Dreams - Thanks to my daughter for helping me create a great layout.
~ J
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