Farm Wedding…

When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are

Anything your heart desires, will come to you….

We attended the beautiful wedding of a long-time family friend this weekend. It was a joy filled, international event at a lovely TN farm location. Guests were from USA, Germany and Brazil! Somehow I missed taking pictures in the garden…sorry about that.

Congratulations to Patrick & Denis!

Luke 2:19 “but Mary kept all these things in her heart…”

Luke2_19b

image from 4catholiceducators.com

In my Bible study this morning, as I was reading through the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke, chapter 2, I was struck by verse 19:

“…but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” ~Luke 2:19b NLT

And then again by verse 51:

“And his mother stored all these things in her heart.” ~Luke 2:51b NLT

My role as a mother has changed as my children have grown into adulthood; however, my concerns and love for them has only deepened through the years…if that’s even possible.

I’ve always prayed for and over my children; for their health, well-being and happiness, for them to grow up strong and confident, for them to be righteous, honest, people of integrity, contributing members of society, for them to realize God’s purpose for their lives, for them to lean on their faith in times of difficulty or trouble and to be grateful in the good times, for them to know that I love them unconditionally and so much more.

So much I have stored and pondered in my heart. So much I will continue to store and ponder in my heart.

So much like Mary.

God has instructed us to pray; I believe this “storing and pondering” is prayer. I love that prayer is my touchstone and conversation with God. And one of the most important jobs I have as a mother.

I’m thankful that while my children are grown and discovering all that life has in store for them, I can continue to pray over them…even though it’s no longer at their bedside each night. It’s my gift as their mother.

YOLO!

Jan

New traditions…

Change. It’s never easy.

christmas tree lot

(photo credit: Steven Dipolo/Flickr)

Today a BIG change in our Christmas tradition happened.

My family will probably think I’m silly and overreacting about such a seemingly minor change. But I don’t care. I’m mourning the change…despite the fact that it’s medically necessary. Yes…I’m still bummed.

Here’s the deal…we’ve always had a REAL Christmas tree. For 32 years. Beginning with the “charlie brown” Christmas tree we had for our very first Christmas in New Orleans. Seriously, it was pitiful…but it was beautiful to me. We were far away from family…in our new home and simply couldn’t afford a big beautiful tree. My sweet husband had to work Christmas Eve; he stopped on the way home and picked up a free, leftover tree. It was small with bare branches. We didn’t even decorate it. It was perfect!

Shopping for our Christmas tree came to symbolize (for me) the beginning of our Christmas celebration. Through the years we shopped at various tree lots, Boy Scout lots, commercially owned lots, “whoever has the best price” lots. We’ve shopped in in the warm and cold, rain and snow, daylight and dark. We used to be a family of 4 scouring the lot for the perfect tree. We’ve had flocked and evergreen. As the kids have grown into adulthood, we’ve transitioned back to just hubby and I on the hunt. Memories of the anticipation, excitement, temperature, sights, smells, sounds, lights, fires in metal drums, sawdust mixed with evergreen boughs on the ground hold a special place in my memory and heart.

Last year we discovered a new reality. Within just a couple of hours of bringing the chosen tree into our home, my hubby came down with what would become a raging sinus infection. He was perfectly healthy prior to the tree entering our home. He has a history of some pretty nasty, seasonal sinus infections often progressing to bronchitis. We had just never noticed it in relation to the Christmas tree before….but it was crystal clear. The tree was definitely a trigger. So out it went! Immediately!

This weekend, after some supportive, comparison shopping with my daughter…we finally decided on an artificial tree. Purchasing it in a big box…bringing it home to the garage…just didn’t have the same “holiday feel” as picking out the perfect tree on a tree lot. My son helped get it out of the jeep and into the garage; so technically, we ALL were involved in picking THIS tree and bringing it into our home.

tree_jeep

 

New traditions. I sense there are memorable new traditions yet to develop. And hopefully, my husband will NOT be sick over the holidays this year or into the future. Healthy holidays are the plan!

Disclaimer: Christmas is clearly NOT about the tree. I know that. I value that the celebration of Christmas is about the birth of Christ. The Christmas tree in our home is merely a seasonal symbol. I value the traditions which encourage us to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Thanks for “listening”…I’m feeling better already! That was a fun trip down memory lane. Perhaps some new ornaments and holiday decor will help with the transition…

YOLO!

Jan

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Coffee Date…

One of my favorite things is to have a good cup of coffee and visit with friends & family. It’s wonderful to take the time to slow down (you can’t drink hot coffee quickly) and be present, in the moment, sharing all the good in our lives.

I’d love to have a virtual cup of coffee with you! Venti pumpkin spice latte’s (with an extra shot) are my favorite fall splurge. The cost of one pumpkin spice latte (approx $4.86) will provide 18 MEALS for AT-RISK CHILDREN! Just 27 cents will provide a nutritious meal for a hungry child.

Our church – Highland Park Church is sponsoring a Feed the Hunger Pack-a-Thon on October 17th and 18th. Our goal is to pack 60,000 meals; half of the meals packed are being designated for FREM orphanage in Haiti…8 members of our church visited them last spring and discovered that they currently receive ZERO outside support and they were praying for food. HPC Haiti Relief was born.

Here’s where you come in…we NEED donations to meet our goal of 60,000 meals!

We need donations IMMEDIATELY! 

Will you please meet me for a virtual coffee date and buy me my favorite fall splurge – or two – or even three?! My life, and  most importantly, the lives of the children at FREM, will be enriched and blessed by YOUR generosity!

Donations are easy peasy: go to https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/fthdonate and donate with credit card or pay pal. Scroll down and select “Nashville Pack-a-Thon” as the special purpose to designate the funds.

I’ve already bought YOUR cup of coffee…will you please buy me one?

Haiti Relief Bucket Cover

Blessings to you!

Yolo!

Jan

Memorial Day 2014…honoring the intent of the holiday…

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the US Armed Forces men and women who have died in service of the United States of America. The holiday, celebrated on the last Monday of May, was originally called Decoration Day and began after the Civil War to commemorate they Union and Confederate soldiers who died during the war. This has since been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in military service.

Today, in honor of Memorial Day, my husband (US Army veteran) and I visited the Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery. It is a beautiful cemetery, surrounded by the rolling hills of middle TN. There were many people visiting graves, driving through the cemetery, walking through the graves, even a group holding a memorial service by the grave of their loved one. It was a touching visit.

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. ~General George S. Patton

Happy Memorial Day and may God continue to bless the United States of America and those who serve to keep us free!

Yolo!

-Jan

Mother’s Day…

IMG_6091

Mom & I with our buddy Jack!

It’s Mother’s Day afternoon and I’ve enjoyed a beautiful day already: mother/daughter night at the ballet last week, church today, brunch at our favorite after-church-breakfast spot (free box of candy for all Mom’s – too bad I’m not eating sugar…my office will benefit tomorrow!), sweet texts from family & friends near and far, phone call with MIL, a tear-jerking, heart tugging, loving email from my son who is traveling and plans for dinner cooked by hubby, daughter & SIL! My life is full of love indeed.

I’m so very grateful for my mother, who among many other things, raised me to love God; to be kind towards others & treat others as I would want them to treat me; to be a woman of integrity; to serve others; and she instilled in me her love of travel, big cities and sandy beaches! I hope that when I grow up I can be a small measure of the woman my mother is! I love you Mom!!

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of Woodrow Wilson proclaiming Mother’s Day a national celebration in the United States, I thought I’d share some of my favorite Mother’s Day quotes.

  • “Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” ~Robert Browning
  • “If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been.” ~Robert Brault
  • “Children are a great comfort in your old age – and they help you reach it faster too.” ~Lionel Kauffman
  • “A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest.” ~Irish Proverb
  • “Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.” ~Marilyn Penland
  • “There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.” ~Chinese Proverb
  • “A Mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” ~Author Unknown
  • “Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.” ~Meryl Streep
  • “Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease.” ~Lisa Alther
  • “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” ~Rudyard Kipling

I am a mother only because God chose to give me the blessing of raising two beautiful children. I truly believe that is my main purpose in this dance called life. I am learning as I enter this next phase of motherhood…as my children are grown and living out their life’s purpose…that while the role of being their mother changes…the love I have for them only deepens. I can only imagine the love my mother feels for me and my siblings. Wow!

Blessings to all the Mom’s out there! Happy Mother’s Day!

YOLO,

Jan

 

 

Thankful…another level…

My husband and I spent the evening with a dear friend who has been battling cancer for 4 years. We talked about things we never dreamed we’d talk about. And yet the house was full of life, unconditional love, happiness and joy. We are not promised another day…he is thankful for each day he wakes up.

That statement alone took my gratitude project this month to a whole new level.

It’s not about the “stuff” I have or don’t have. Life is about the people in my life. It’s about my relationships with those people. It’s about the legacy I leave when my time on earth is done. What do I want people saying about me? Have you ever thought about that?

20131102-224401.jpg

Don’t leave important things unsaid. Ever.

YOLO!
Jan

He’s the Birthday Boy…

…and he’s my Dad!

With my Dad on his birthday last year

With my Dad on his birthday last year

Dad…on this day I want to especially thank you for the foundation of strength, wisdom and hope you provide for our family. I’m forever grateful that God chose YOU to be MY dad.

May God bless you richly in this new year of YOU.

I love you,

Jan

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

happy-birthday-2

If you want something…

“If you want something, go get it. Period.”

I absolutely love this video clip. Don’t let anyone steal your dreams.

In honor of Father’s Day – I’m sharing this clip of this wonderful advice given by a father to his young son.

We had an amazing Father’s Day here! First church, then lunch with our son, a wonderful phone call to my Dad, followed by dinner with our son, daughter and her fiancee. Our children claim they did NOT collaborate on gifts for their Dad; yet the gifts were perfect compliments to each other. An amazing coincidence? Or children who actually KNOW their dad? I choose to believe the latter. No matter what, the house was filled with smiles, laughter and love.

Richard has always been a dreamer and has followed his dreams without regret. I hope our children have learned the ability to do the same. Life is to short to do anything less. Enjoy.

YOLO!

Jan

 

Memorial Day soapbox…

For those of you that don’t know…I am an “Army Brat”…my dad was a career “lifer” and retired from the US Army when I was about to graduate from high school. I’ve always said my blood runs OD green. That’s “olive drab” for those of you not in the know. My brother followed in my father’s footsteps and became a career soldier himself – he retired in 2010.

I am very proud of both of them…but this post is not about honoring them…the picture is simply to provide you with my personal military lineage. The manner in which I grew up, living on military posts, moving with my father’s change in assignments, living through my father’s deployments and tdy’s, all are woven into the fabric of “me”. I spent many a military holiday on parade fields witnessing how our military honors it’s members.

I love to see posts on facebook and twitter honoring our military members. They have and do collectively provide great service and sacrifice for our country and our freedoms; however, I become dismayed when it is apparent that the general American public does not understand our military related holidays.

This weekend, is “Memorial Weekend”, Monday, May 28th of this year is the federally recognized “Memorial Day”.

While the general populace embraces Memorial Weekend as the “official start of summer”, I find it disheartening that the majority of posts and comments supporting our military clearly do not understand the true meaning of Memorial Day.

So…I’ve dedicated my facebook and twitter posts this weekend to educating about Memorial Day…if even one person learns what the holiday is all about…then I will have been successful.

Simply put, Memorial Day is about honoring and remembering the FALLEN. Those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, their LIFE, while serving our country.

I encourage you to read the information about the meaning of Memorial Day here.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May.[1] Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. (Southern ladies organizations and southern schoolchildren had decorated Confederate graves in Richmond and other cities during the Civil War, but each region had its own date. Most dates were in May.) By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.[2]    ~wikipedia

There is also great information and history here: http://usmemorialday.org/

I challenge you to take a few minutes out of this splendid weekend that “opens” summer…and learn just a little bit about what Monday’s holiday is all about. Then share the information. There are many, many families who are dealing with the neverending grief of losing a loved one who was serving this wonderful country known as the USA.

As American’s we owe it to them to never, ever forget that sacrifice.

Yolo,

Jan