Friday, December 19, 2014

Branches, Christmas Parties and Dr. Seuss OH MY!

For the past two days, along with closing ceremonies for school, I have been at work for various things.  Yesterday I was at an all staff meeting and today I was in attendance for the staff Christmas Party.  Sounds simple enough but I am a bit of a deep thinker.  So the entire time I was at the all staff meeting I was thinking that I would not attend the Christmas party because I really am not much of a worker at the Blue Hair's Facility.  Yes, I worked a lot during 2/3 of the year last year, but not anymore.  I am working one to two days per month just to stay on the payroll in case the new full time bus driver is sick or needs time off.  I praise God for the fact that they found a great full time bus driver.  There was a time that I wondered if I ever would be able to be a stay at home mom again.  In the meeting, the interim director went over the Christmas gifts we would receive from the company and the raffle prizes that would be given out.  The entire time I listened to this confirmed that I did not need to attend.  I don't need to take what I didn't earn.  

Then the light dawned on me.  Maybe because of something the director said in his ramblings during the meeting or maybe something I thought of myself, or maybe something The Lord put on my heart at that time, the light dawned. These verses came to mind while I was in the meeting. 

John 15…4"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.5"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

Mark 4:17
But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.


We are told that God is the vine and we are the branches.  Together we can bear much fruit.  But apart from the vine, we dry up.  If we are dried up then we are useless.  Likewise, if we have no root then we wither and die.  I am clearly not the vine or the root of the company I work for.  But I AM a branch.  And branches produce leaves which provide life for many other creations.  I realized that even though I now only work one to two days per month, that I am still a blessing to the company.  I am sure it would be hard to find someone to basically just "hang out" on the payroll in case someone gets sick and they need some help.  

I said all of that to say this:  May we never feel like we are not important in life.  May we never spend a moment thinking we should not be a part of something because we play such a small role.  No matter how small our role in anything, we are important.  We all play a role in society and work together to form a whole.  Our entire staff at the Blue Hair Facility, from the executive director all the way down to the fill in bus driver, each fill a role to form a whole.  Likewise, each individual in society works together with our own talents, along with God the vine to make a whole. 

I went to the Christmas party today and I had a great time.  I was never so proud and happy to be a part of something.  A very small part, but a part nonetheless.  Maybe my role is the peaceful part.  The little tiny thought in the back of my boss's head that thinks "If someone doesn't show up for work, I can call Jennifer.  She will come help."  That is an incredibly big role.  To be the peaceful thought in your boss's mind.  The comforter.   

At the end of the party, I thought of our individual jobs, big and little and I thought of Dr. Seuss.

Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small,
Would stand close together, with Christmas bells ringing.
They'd stand hand-in-hand. And the Whos would start singing!


We didn't hold hands at the end of the Christmas party, but we did sing songs together and it was really fun.  The tall and the small of our company sang together in celebration of Christmas.  May we all realize just how important we are.  

Jennifer




Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fun Idea for Porch Urns

Today we are going to get in touch with our inner groovy.  Necessity is the mother of invention they say, and that was true for me today.  I have been in a pickle with my porch urns for a while.  Anything I put in them dies because I forget to water them.  A couple of years ago I purchased some fake topiaries for my urns and they were great for two years but didn't hold up well in direct weather since my porch is not covered.  I threw them away a couple of days ago and have been trying to think of something to put in them that won't die.  Think, think, think.

The main criteria for my urn creation is that it must not cost a lot of money.  I decided to buy a dowel rod for each pot, stick it in the drain hole in the bottom of the urns and zip tie deco mesh around the dowel.  Then, I zip tied a peppermint candy that I made last year.
 The peppermint candies were cut with a jig saw from plywood and they painted in a candy pattern.  I looked at peppermint candy and copied the pattern on my wood.  Then I screwed a stake to each one and hammered them into my flower bed.  Tadaa!!  A great whimsical look for almost no money.  I had the mesh in my attic.


The holidays have always been a happy time for me and my family throughout my life.  It has come more and more obvious to me that not everyone is happy for the holiday time of the year.  Many have experienced devastation or death or a host of things during the past holiday seasons and it makes it hard for them.  Some people don't have family to be with.  If this is you, I want you to know that I am thinking of you.  May we all be more aware that not all holidays are happy for everyone.

Thank you so much for reading my blog.
Jennifer

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Holding a Rainbow

Have you ever held a rainbow?  I have.  I did yesterday.  In the Bible, the rainbow is God's symbol that He will not destroy the world after 40 days of rain and storms.  The rainbow I held was a gift to his parents for not giving up when times were tough in years past.


If you missed the story of Rainbow's parents, here is the link to that post.  

Holding a newborn baby is a gift.  I soaked it up yesterday.  They are newborn for such a short time and yet so incredibly sweet.  You can't spoil them when they are newborn.  You just can't.  They are so fresh and new and they have only basic needs.  Those little smiles you get so early on when you talk to them is so special.  
Gas pains some say, but I believe they are true acknowledgements of happiness from a tiny little gift.  As I held this gift and talked to him I wondered if he realized how special he was.
  Does he realize how cherished he is?  Does he know how wanted he is?  Does he know what a true treasure he is? 
 Of course he doesn't, but he will be able to live life finding out just how treasured he is.  

Rainbow's brother knows how special he is.  During the pregnancy, random commentary came from time to time about how life will change after the baby arrives.  Naturally, the parents made provisions and preparations to make sure Brother still knew he was the first.  How loved and special he is.  That there is love to share.  Once Rainbow arrived, Brother learned that love grows exponentially.  
The love was instant.  It was strong.  It was unwavering.  For Brother, it instantly became a sacrificing love.  Because of the age difference, there was no adjustment phase.  It was just immediate care and concern for another human being that is his brother.  Oh the fun these two will share.  The legos they will build.  The thought of a brother teaching a brother to walk.  To talk, to sing, to dig in dirt, to climb a jungle gym.  The built in protection big brother will provide selflessly.  They have a lifetime to be best friends.  Brothers. 

As a mother of older children, I would like to remind moms of small children that the days are long but the years are short.  You won't understand this until your children are teens or leaving home.  I didn't.  But now there are days that I cry for my oldest daughter.  She is in college.  It isn't the big things that you miss.  It is the day to day.  Your child being there on the couch to watch a tv show.  Your child being there to throw their clothes on the floor or leave their toys out all over the bonus room.  There was a time that I had toys strewn all over the house.  Pieces of toys everywhere.  Now, this Christmas, we will not purchase a single toy.  We don't have a single toy in the house.  Not one.  Not one little lego sitting on a chest.  Not one toy box with plastic action figures and barbies in it.  Not one.  There was a time I would have given anything for a clean house.  My house is clean now.  But I miss my children.  Now granted, they aren't all gone, and I still have clothes on the floor but because my oldest is now out of the house, I appreciate clothes all over the place.  It means my children are home.  I shut the door to my daughter's room because it is so clean that it makes me sad.  A clean room means my child isn't at home.  

To mothers of small children, appreciate the toys all over the floor.  For it means your children are home.  The days are long when they are little, but the years are very very short.  In a flash they will be gone.  So hold your rainbow today.  Just like real rainbows in the sky, our children are gone in a flash so look while they are there.

Have a great day!  Thanks for reading my blog.  And don't forget to grab a rainbow today.  
Jennifer 

Friday, October 17, 2014

In Sickness and In Health

I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part. 

When we marry, we may take our vows very seriously, I know I did, but do we really think about what that may mean?  Taking care of your military husband who is now legless due to a roadside bomb?  Caring for your wife as she dies of cancer?  Living in poverty?  Having more money than you know what to do with and the problems that can come from that?  Dealing with a child with a learning disability?  Day to day taxing work of taking care of a special needs child?  Do we really consider these scenarios as we say these vows in our wedding?  I am suggesting that we don't truly consider the magnitude of what may be coming our way down the road.  

When we marry we have dreams.  Dreams to have children, to travel, to retire with enough money to enjoy life and our elder years.  Sometimes life throws us a curveball.  Sometimes we have to readjust our plans for better or worse.  

I come from a long line of love.  I realize how unusual my life is and I thank God daily that I live in the somewhat of a utopia that I live in.  Both sets of our parents(my husband and mine) have been married a total of over 100 years.  Our sibling is happily married and so is our sister in law's parents.  Even my children realize that this much love in one family is unusual since many of their friends come from broken homes.  We have great family all the way around.  Today I would like to focus on one part of the family and the love that they share.

My husband's parents are wonderful, God fearing people.  They, like most, took their vows and made their plans and dreams.  From the time I came on the scene in 1989, I have heard them discuss their plans for retirement and plans to travel and enjoy their life together.  Their plans never did really pan out the way they planned.  From the time of their retirement, my mother in law had health problems that prevented them from really taking any trips or doing anything outside of ordinary life.  Ultimately, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.  Although the Alzheimer's was not the cause of the lack of ability to travel early on, it is our life now.  She went to the hospital last November 2013 with chest pains.  She walked into the hospital of her own free will and abilities and yet, she never returned home.  This hospital stay gave my father in law the poetic license to really be honest about the fact that he no longer could care for her they way that he wanted to.  He needed help.  She went to assisted living from the hospital and is now in a skilled nursing facility.  She is quite happy in spite of the fact that we can't really recall the last coherent thing she said or the last time she actually knew who we were.  Many people are in this situation and I would like to address the topic of the caregiver.  It is harder on the caregiver than the patient.  Enter, my father in law.  I love him.  

I love him for the example that he shows us daily of taking care of your spouse in sickness and in health.  For being with them even when they have no idea who you are after 55 years of marriage.  For talking to them in spite of the fact that she doesn't have any recollection of their life together.  When she lived in assisted living, he stayed with her around the clock.  He made sure she had what she needed and that the nurses were taking care of her they way he would.  He sacrificed everything because this was the life that they were dealt.  While some were traveling and seeing the world during their retirement, they were in an assisted living facility going through photo albums to try to jog some memory of a life well lived.  My father in law took care of them financially and now in addition to that, he takes care of his wife physically.  Now that she is in a skilled nursing facility, she has to be fed.  He feeds her three meals a day.  He wipes her mouth.  He adjusts her bed.  He combs her hair.  He strokes her hand.  He adjusts her clothes.  He loves her.  And I love him for it.  What an amazing example he is to all of us.  Tirelessly, he cares for her, sacrificing his time and energy to care for her.  Yes, the nurses could feed her but he wants to.  In sickness and in health.  In memory and not.  I know it makes him sad if he were to think long about the fact that although she may call his name, she doesn't know him or their life together.  But he continues to serve.  Serving God through his vows.  I see what he does.  I respect him for his devotion and example.  I love him.  I love him for showing us what true love really is.  What sacrifice means.  What devotion looks like.  In our home, we don't have to watch the movie The Notebook.  We live it.  
                                 Image result for image of caregiver
                                                 (stock photo)
May we all be cognizant of the caregivers and their tireless efforts to care for their spouses and families.  Diagnoses are not just for the patient, the entire family is diagnosed and affected.  Do something nice for a caregiver in your circle today.  Send them a note of appreciation.  Let them know that you see what they do.  I know it will give them strength for another day.

Hug a caregiver today!
Jennifer

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Seize the Moment


I find that when I talk with young people, teens, children, young adults, they are always looking forward to something.  Looking forward to the next grade, middle school, high school, getting into a bigger car seat, booster, getting married, being able to get a phone, having a baby, when the kids are out of the house, etc.  Always looking forward to something, having their life ahead of them.  I have the honor of being around many elderly people also and when I speak with them, they are always looking back to times past.  Their childhood, their early years of marriage, their kids being little, etc.

What have we lost somewhere in the middle?  As a person who is rapidly considered middle aged, I wonder what we can learn from talking to both young people and old people.  I believe we can glean many things from both perspectives and be better people for considering the options.  We can learn contentment in the current state we are in.  Young people looking forward, old people looking back, possibly we all need to be living in the present more often than in the future or past.  From surveying young and old, we find no one embracing the moment.  Maybe the moment is the secret to life.  One day at a time.  For mistakes of the past, remember it was what you wanted at the time and learn from bad decisions and good decisions alike.  Your decisions are what has molded you into the person of today.  

Yesterday I ran the Murfreesboro Half Marathon.  Somewhere around mile 9 I ended up beside a man and we struck up a conversation as we ran.  He said, "Every street we run on reminds me of the past mistakes I made while I was in college." We were running around Middle Tennessee State University which is where this man graduated from.  We discussed how those memories are what made him into the man he is today.  He is happily married with children and has a nice life it seemed.  Contentment is something that is not easily achieved here in our society as it exists these days.  Bigger better more expensive seems to be our philosophy.  

My husband and I were just discussing how content we are with life the way it is at this moment.  We live an ordinary life, finding joy in the little things.  Our kids are not over involved in things, we are not running all over creation to provide taxi service,  our weekends are uneventful filled with things we want to do and not things we have to do.  It is a good life.  A content life.  

I think many times in our younger years up until elderly years, we live in a whirlwind, feeling like we need to keep up with other people who are vacationing here or going there or their kids do this or that.  With the addition of social media to our lives, we are more aware of what others are doing and it only makes it worse on some people feeling like they must be inadequate if their kids aren't in karate or they are missing out if their kids aren't in dance.  Some feel less important if they are "late" getting married when their friends are all getting married.  Then suddenly, we are married, have kids, the kids grew up, we are retired, then we are elderly and all we have are memories.  If you are young and reading this you may not understand.  What I am saying is we constantly look forward to the next phase of life and all of a sudden we are elderly.  Life is but a vapor.  Here and gone in a breath.  Let us learn from the elderly that we should embrace the current phase of life and not worry about the next phase for in a snap it will all be gone.


Carpe Diem.  Seize the Day.  Grab life by the horns and love it.  Love every little thing along the way.  I recently read a book that interviewed hospice patients about what was their definition of the meaning of life.  Their answers were all the same whether they were children dying of cancer or elderly people who were gravely ill-family and friends were most important.  No one said they wished they worked extra days or more overtime, none said they wished they had more money.  What they all wanted was to spend every moment with their friends and family while they were still here.  Content.  Living in the moment.  Embracing the present.  

May we all live in the present.  For before we know it, all we will have is the past.  

Thank you for reading my blog.  Be sure and leave your comments here or on my Facebook page.  I love to read them.

Jennifer 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Frosting


I love frosting. In fact, I could do without the cake and just eat the frosting. The sweeter the better. Frosting goes on last when making a cake. It is the best part, the sweetest, it is the part that completes the cake and makes it pretty. My youngest daughter is our Frosting. She is the sweetest, the part that completes our family, and the part that makes us pretty. 

Tomorrow is Frosting's birthday. Today we made her cake together. She asked me how I learned to decorate cakes and I told her that her Nannie taught me. I told her that Nannie made my birthday cakes and when I grew up she gave me her bag of cake decorating stuff and now I am making our birthday cakes. Frosting was dazzled and said we had been making cakes for generations :) Yes, Precious, we have. Then she said she would be able to make cakes for her children one day with the bag of stuff handed down. 

When we were discussing which decorating tip makes what shape for a cake, it was pointed out by Frosting that most of the tips don't look like what they are intended to produce when frosting is squirted through them. We are like God's decorating tips. We are walking around here on earth looking like one thing when we were made to make another when God squirts His frosting through us. Do we lay dormant in the bag because we don't know what we make?  Or do we take a leap of faith and realize that if we allow God to make us uncomfortable and squeeze His frosting through us that we will make beautiful things in His time and His plan. 

Happy Birthday Frosting!  You are my sweet!  The Icing on our family cake!


Thank you so much for reading my blog! Don't forget to hire me to speak at your next event!  I would love to be there!

Jennifer

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Body Image

I haven't blogged in a while.  That doesn't mean I haven't had any thoughts, it means that I have been spending the summer with my children being home.  It was a wonderful summer.  I thoroughly enjoyed my college girl being home for the summer as well as no schedules and lots of fun.  Anywho, the kids are back in school and my thoughts will be back on paper.

I love to thrift shop.  My youngest and I were at Goodwill Saturday when a random woman walked up to me and said, "I don't mean to be weird, but you have the prettiest legs of anyone I have ever seen. They are the prettiest shade of brown and they have a gorgeous shape."

Well I handled that comment by thanking her and smiling but it plagued my mind for the rest of the day.  These are things that went through my head:
Did she notice the cellulite I am getting on my thighs?
Did she see how fat my upper legs have gotten in the past year?
Did she notice how flabby my belly is and the brown spots that are forming on my face from age?

And then I realized something very important.  I should quit picking myself apart in the mirror and start appreciating God's creation.  God made me just the way I am and I take care of myself and I feel good and am healthy.  Each age spot appearing on my face is a mark of a life well lived.  Each dimple of cellulite is a beacon of time well spent with kids, with family, with friends.  I should get off the scale and do my best to eat and exercise in moderation and stop micromanaging my appearance in the mirror.  Acceptance.  Appreciation of who I am and what I look like.


By no stretch of the imagination am I stating that I feel bad about myself regularly.  I don't.  I have enough self esteem to share with the free world.  But I do get aggravated with my reflection from time to time especially now that each day it seems a new mark of age has shown up somewhere on my body.
Here is the bottom line for me and you.  We need to be happy with who we are.  Accept ourselves for the shape and frame God gave us.  He created us to be salt to the earth and a city that is set on a hill.  Salt and cities come in all shapes and sizes just like we do.  New York City is big and bold and Woodbury Tennessee is small and rural.  Kosher salt is big and iodized salt is small.  All have great purpose and have their own special qualities to bring to our world.  People also have all shapes and sizes and all have a great individual purpose.  May we all focus more on our purpose than our shape.  To the lady who complimented my legs and Goodwill, Thank you.  Thank you more for the lesson than the compliment.

Have a fabulous day and thanks for reading my blog!
Jennifer

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Life of Purpose, Even in the Elderly Years


Don't let aging get you down.  It's too hard to get back up.-John Wagner

As you get older, three things happen.  The first is your memory goes, and I can't remember the other two...-Sir Norman Wisdom

The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.-Lucille Ball

You know you are old when you don't pinch an inch on your waist anymore, you can pinch it on your forehead.-Unknown

I'm so old they cancelled my blood type.-Bob Hope

Oh to be 70 again!-Unknown

A stockbroker told me to buy a stock that pays dividends every year.  I said at my age I don't even buy green bananas.-Unknown

Doesn't pay to get old.-Unknown


As you age, you feel like everything is falling apart, you can't do what you used to, and you are slow.  What is your purpose in the fall and winter of your life?  If you look at the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus starts out speaking of the Beatitudes.  He then speaks of us being the salt of the earth, a candle on a candlestick, and a city that is set on a hill.

What does it mean to be the salt of the earth?  Salt on our food gives it flavor and saves us from bland tastes.  In the same way, we are commanded to be the flavor to those around us.  Jesus says we would not light a candle and put it under a bushel.  But on a candlestick and it gives light to all who are in the house.  We are that candle.  We should be on a candlestick, not hidden for no one to see.  A city on a hill can not be hidden.  We are to be that city.  I am suggesting that in all phases of our lives we have purpose.

This life isn't about us.  It isn't about whether we can walk or clean our homes or remember what we did yesterday.  It is about being salt of the Earth giving it flavor and glorifying God even in our elderly years.

Elderly people bring light to my life.  They help me keep focus as I raise my children.  They keep me on track as I strive to serve God.  They give me an opportunity to serve God through my job at the old folks home by helping them walk, helping them get things they need, or taking them to the doctor.  If there were not elderly people who need help then we younger people would be deprived of the opportunity to serve.

As you grow older you have unique ability to be a light to those around you.  To be a city that is set on a hill.  You do this with declining health.  You become someone who teaches young people how to be humble and kind.  You have purpose.

Titus 2:2-6

English Standard Version (ESV)
Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.

We are all actors in God's screenplay.  He has a purpose for all of us in every phase of our lives.  But what about my mother-in-law?  She is in a skilled nursing facility with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Disease, and has had a stroke.  The doctors said she would most likely not walk again.  She has not known who we are in quite some time.  She is bedridden and doesn't speak coherently any more.  What is her purpose? She gives others the opportunity to serve God and minister by caring for her basic needs.  


Matthew 25:31-46

New International Version (NIV)
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fireprepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

In the above passage, we learn that Jesus wants us to minister to those who are hungry, thirsty, need clothing, sick or in prison.  In other words, take care of basic needs for those who can't care for themselves.  So if there were not elderly people in beds or any person who is in need, then the younger folks would have no one to learn from, minister to, or ability to do something for God.

So if you are elderly, may you  never sit and wonder why you are still here.  You are here for God's purpose.  God wants us all to be servants and also to give other servants opportunity to serve.

Thank you so much for reading my blog.  Subscribe in the box to the right by putting in your email address.  You will receive an email each time there is a blog update.  Also, please visit my website and have me come speak live at your next event!

Have a great day!
Jennifer

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Day I Wanted to Strangle Someone

I work at an assisted living facility. I drive the bus to transport residents to doctor's appointments, Walmart, etc. As I have grown accustomed to be transportation extroidenair, I have learned that I am an advocate for those who sometimes can't advocate for themselves. Which brings me to today's blog post. I had a situation this past week that made me want to strangle someone.  I will change the names and some of the content as not to violate any HIPPA regulations. The point is still the same. 

I arrived at work to check the transportation schedule for the day. I had to take a resident to the doctor. The resident has an injury that causes them to have memory issues and wander. They can't be left alone. 20 minutes before it's time to leave I try to find the resident to no avail. I got help to find them. Finally, I found the resident who had no recollection of an appointment that day and got them to the bus. By the time we drove to the doctor's office, we were 20 minutes late. (I left out a large part of what I went through to round up the resident). I walked them up to the desk, signed them in, only to have the receptionist say to us, "Oh I am sorry. You are late and we can't see you today."  

Now I have sat in almost every waiting room in Hendersonville, Gallatin, and Goodlettsville and I have waited with residents for up to 2 hours to see a doctor but I am late and this doctor won't see them?!  They have NO IDEA what we went through to get there 20 minutes late. It wasn't planned. We did the best we could to get there. I WANTED TO STRANGLE THE DOCTOR.  How has our society become to insensitive to the plight of others?!

To the rude waitress, maybe she is having marital problems. To the inattentive child, maybe they are watching their mother battle cancer. To the boy who is in special education, maybe he is the best electrician you could ever know. The list goes on and on. Tolerate others and have compassion on them. We all have a story. 

I would like you all to know that the doctor's office that turned us away for being late was Dr. Cruz, a neurologist in Hendersonville at Hendersonville Medical Center. DO NOT go to this doctor. They have no patience with neurological problems because they turned away a resident who had neurological problems because they were late due to their neurological problem. 

I stayed mad about this the rest of the day. The poor resident had no idea why we rode over there and right back. 

May we all be more tolerant of others. Most people are not intentionally late, mean, disconnected or rude. Everyone has a story. Try to understand even if you don't have the facts. 

Thank you for reading my blog!!  And don't forget to hire me to speak at your next event! Visit my website at www.funthoughtsonlife.com

Be Kind to Others,
Jennifer 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fun Things to Do with Little or No Money

This year has been a whirlwind.  I am so glad that today is the last day of school.  I love summer.  I love every season, but I love summer because my children are home.  I am especially excited this summer because my oldest is home from college.  It is a treat to have her around.  I missed her.  I am also excited because I am not working 5 days a week.  I love my "job" at the old folks home, but I am a stay at home mom.  Someone asked me what I do the other day and I said, "I am a stay at home mom."  Then someone else who was with us said, "You drive a bus."  Well, yes I do, and I am also a teacher by degree, but I am a stay at home mom.  It is all I ever wanted to be.  You see, my priority is my children.  If you think about priorities as balls, Family is a glass ball.  Work, Time to Myself, Friends, Activities, Demands, They are all rubber balls.  They bounce when they are dropped.  Family is a glass ball and it breaks when you drop it.

I have many fun things planned for my family this summer.  If you spend your life looking forward to the big vacation then you will spend 51 weeks of your life disappointed.  I choose to savor the little things.  Last year I wrote a blog on fun things to do with the family on little or no money.  I deserves a reread this year as summer is here.  Here is a link to it.

http://funthoughtsonlife.blogspot.com/2013/06/fun-things-to-do-with-little-or-no.html

I would like to add a few things to that list for this year.  I am going to take my children to Burgess Falls in Sparta, Tennessee.  I have heard great things about it.  Here is a link to check it out.http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/burgess-falls

A trip to Rock City is a quick drive from Nashville and is something any age child would love.
http://seerockcity.com/

The Frist Art Museum is free on Mondays and I plan to take my children there this summer.  Even if you go on another day besides Monday, youth aged 18 and under are always free.
http://fristcenter.org/

Regardless of what you do with your family this summer, remember that the family ball is glass.  Treat is accordingly.  I wish you all the best summer ever!  I know I plan to have that with my family.

Don't forget me when you need a speaker for your next event!  Check out my website at http://www.funthoughtsonlife.com/ for more information and how to contact me!


Enjoy!
Jennifer

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Best Advice I Ever Received

I have been working on a book for close to a year now. At this point, I am not convinced that I am a book writer. Life gets in the way of long term writing. If God wants me to finish the book then it will happen. If not, then my children will have a nice memoir of their mother someday and her musings. It takes a lot of time to sit down and write a book. And the problem for me is I feel like my thoughts are all random. To put them into a book seems more like a toilet book or a coffee table book that would be something people would read while on the toilet or sitting for a moment. 

And then there is the topic of what to name the book. Fun Thoughts on Life?  Uniquely Genius?  Everyday Extraordinary?  These are things that keep me up at night. I feel that if I had a title, it would all flow. I think that God doesn't require a name right now. I think he says, "write it and don't worry about what it will be called. I will let you know when it's time. It will all make sense soon."  

My "job" is what is getting in the way of finishing the book right now. I don't have enough time to keep it flowing and the chapters coming when I am focused on driving Blue Hairs to doctor's appointments and Walmart. It's where God has me right now and I like it. So I feel like He doesn't need me to finish the book right now. He needs me to feed those who can't feed themselves. I'm ok with that. 

The best advice I ever got was from an elderly lady in a fabric store. I wish I could remember who she was but I can't. What I do remember was what she told me. She was looking for fabric for a quilt. I stated to her that someday I wanted to make a quilt. I said I would wait until my children are grown because now I can make clothing for them and want to focus on that and not worry about a quilt. She said, "Honey, if you want to make a quilt, make one now. Look at my hands. I said the same thing when I was young like you and now that I have time to make a quilt, I can't because my hands are crippled with arthritis. Whatever you want to do along the way, do it then. For tomorrow may never come, and if it does, you may not be able to do it."

I have never forgotten that advice, made a quilt at that time and now have no desire whatsoever to make a quilt. So I am glad I took her advice and did it when I wanted to. There are quite a few other things I have done when I had the chance. I'm still working on the book, but it is slower going than I ever wanted it to be. I am going to be like Nike and Just Do It when I want to because I may not be able to later when I have more time. 

Seize the day today and do something you always wanted to do. Let me know what you do!

Thanks for reading my blog. Please subscribe in the box at the right. If you are on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom and click on "view web version". Then you will see the box at the right. 

Also, don't forget to hire me to speak at your next event!  I can speak on your topic of mine. Visit my website at www.funthoughtsonlife.com for more information!  

Jennifer

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tattoos

I love tattoos. I don't have a single one and I would not get one. There are several reasons why I would't get one. First is that I never could decide what I would want to have for the rest of my life. I think if I like to rearrange my furniture I would decide that I don't like my tattoo anymore and it would be permanent. I also would never get one out of respect for my mother. She would flip if I got one. 

But I really like certain tattoos and people who are covered up in them don't scare me. I like their company. Some of the nicest people I know are covered in tattoos. If you turned my skin inside out I am covered in tattoos too. I think they are cool. Something that bothers me lately is that I think we are judgemental towards those who have a lot of tattoos. This trendy look of 2000 will be what the generation of war veterans who are now in their 70's-90's who have the pin up girl on their forearm or the Marine Coat of Arms on their bicep. It's normal to see an elderly man with their military tattoo. So many have them. The same will be true of the tattoo styles of today. It will be normal to see a heavily tattooed elderly person because many folks will be in that catagory in 30-50 years. 

Tattooing is also keeping our artists employed and making money. Artists have difficulty finding steady work and income. Their canvas is skin. Some tattoo artists may have been starving artists if not for the trend of tattoos. 
I am suggesting that we refrain from passing judgement on people who have tattoos nowadays. Most of them are the nicest people out there. And some of the most judgemental people fill our church pews on Sunday. If Jesus came back today I am convinced he would not darken the door of the church building. He would be in the tattoo parlors and on the streets mingling with the people, the lost. Not suggesting tattooed people are lost, just saying that I think Jesus would be out among the people instead of filling the church pews. Maybe we should be more like Jesus and mingle among the people in addition to worshipping with the congregation. 

May we all be less judgemental today.  Thank you for reading my blog. Please subscribe in the box to the right to receive updates when I write a new blog. 

Jennifer

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I'm Not Valerie

I was going through the checkout and noticed the front page of a magazine. It showed Valerie Bettinelli now and a year or so ago. She was a spokesperson for Jenni Craig and did commercials for them for a few years. Yes, she looked great in the bikini picture. But I am suggesting she looks great now. 
That picture of now is not the most flattering picture that was ever taken. But I have been thin and fat and in both conditions I have had photos taken that were flattering and ones that weren't. 

I am certainly glad that I am not Valerie. I have gained some weight back this past year and I am so glad that my picture isn't plastered in the checkout reading "Jennifer Gained 50 Pounds".  The truth is that last year when I was so thin I felt horrible. I liked the way I looked but I was feeling poorly because I didn't have enough nutrients and fat to sustain that thin weight. When I started eating normally again, I felt so much better. And I gained weight. Just like Valerie. 

I saw Valerie on a daytime television show a couple of days ago and she addressed her weight gain with the host. She talked about how much better she felt and how her age played a role in her size at this juncture in her life. Me too. She said that she felt like her new role would be to be a spokesperson or a voice to women who are middle aged and happy with their bodies. Me too. 

Everyone, no matter what the age or body size can find clothing that is flattering and looks good on them. Some styles just don't work for tall people. Some styles don't work for short people. Some styles don't work for overweight or thin people. 

I am Valerie. I am the person who is happy with who she is today. Making healthy eating choices and exercising regularly. If I am heavier with that lifestyle then I can embrace it and be happy with myself. Truth is, no one really looks stellar in a bathing suit. Not normal people anyway. Sure, there are some attractive people who look good in a swimsuit but the majority of regular people look better with clothes on. Flattering clothes. My opinion, doesn't have to be yours. 

Let's embrace the body we have. Love ourselves for who God made us to be. Let us make healthy choices and move more. Let us embrace healthy. Healthy is the new thin. I have made the mistake of thinking "Oh if I could wear size 6 jeans I would be happy". Truth is I am just as happy now as I was wearing size 6 jeans. Happiness is not attached to numbers. It is from within. An attitude of people who focus on God and not man's standards. 

Have a fabulous day!  Please consider me to speak at your next event and thanks so much or reading my blog!

Jennifer

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A New Recipe and a New Title

I looked up the qualifications for the coveted Wife of the Year award and one of the criteria is "make homemade pimento cheese salad while your husband recovers from surgery". 


Well my husband loves pimento cheese and I do not share his adoration for the spread. Me and Mrs. Grissom are not friends. But, I made him some homemade spread today and he loves it. So if you were in the running for wife of the year, the race is over. I got it in one quick swoop with a recipe for some stuff to spread on bread. If you are a pimento cheese fan, try this one:

2 cups extra sharp grated cheddar cheese(I bought block and grated it myself)
1 block softened cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise 
1   4 oz jar pimentos drained
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
Salt and paper to taste

Mix all together with a mixer on low speed until blended.  Spread on bread or crackers and enjoy!
Now this is how I feel about pimento cheese:
But my husband was quite happy about it. Try my recipe and let me know what you think!

Jennifer
Wife of the Year