Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Moving on.....

~The whole family!~
~Jordan and his little buds..Joseph and Royce~
~The Hill family in a rare family portrait~
~Showing our love for our favorite grad~
~The proud grandparents~
~Presley and PawPaw~
~Best friends/cousins Royce and Joseph~
~Best friends/cousins Presley and Anna-Joy~
~Look at our boy!~
~12 years of school under your belt.....congratulations Jordan Levi Crowe~

My oldest nephew Jordan Levi graduated from High School this past weekend. I was 16 when he was born. He has almost been like a sibling rather than a nephew at times. My heart will burst and the tears will flood my keyboard if I start writing my favorite memories about him growing up. I don't think I can do that, yet. I am still so overwhelmed by him graduating high school and moving away to college this Summer.

Jordan is an exceptionally well-rounded kid. He excelled in football AND wrestling this year, which is almost unheard of. Most guys are good at either one or the other, but he proved differently. We went to countless games and matches to cheer him on. I can't believe we will not be cheering on the Titans this Fall. Okay, I really can't go there in my throat is developing a lump. Moving on...

I am proud of my nephew for the young man that he has become. He has made wise choices and I know that he will continue to. He has such character for such a young age, undeniable character. He is a gentleman with impeccable courtesy and manners. That's my Jordy.

I will be wearing his college colors rooting him on this Fall as he plays for Delta State University in Mississippi. I will be one of his biggest fans. Praying for his safety and his surroundings. Praying that he will continue to walk the narrow path, even when at times the wider path seems more enticing. Praying that He will always look to the Lord for guidance, in the good times and the hard times.

Jordan has made me a proud Aunt. Not because of his football and wrestling accomplishments. Nor because of his football scholarship. Jordan has made me proud because of knowing who he is and what he believes. Nothing could make an Aunt beam with pride more than this.

My heart will continue to swell and my throat get lumpy when I think of him leaving. However, I know that this is just the beginning of the beautiful life that God has in store for him. This gives me joy unspeakable.

a fan for life,

Aunt Jilly

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Truth hurts....

Presley and I were resting on my bed today and an infomercial came on. It was the one with the wet/dry straight iron..the one that can turn your hair from "frizz to fabulous". Surely you all have seen it. It's truly amazing!! (tongue in cheek, of course)

Well, anyway...Presley looks over at me with those striking blue eyes...the eyes that don't miss a beat, the eyes that say "i know i'm four, but i'm smarter than you" know, those eyes. You have heard many a story about her comments and sayings, ones that are beyond believable coming from a 4 year old. In fact, many of the stories came straight from her then 3 year old mouth.

Okay, so we are on the same page. You get it.

Well, Presley begins to study me intently for a second and begins to speak.

P: Mommy, you could REALLY use that thingy on t.v.

Me: Darlin, I have a flat iron already....remember? The one that I always tell you not to touch because it's hot?

P: Yes, but Mommy, your flat iron doesn't work. You need that one...that one right there. (pointing the the t.v.)

Me: You don't like my hair???

P: No, it's terrible.

Me: Terrible??? Let me get this straight...You think Mommy's hair is bad?

P: Yes, Mommy. Yes! That's what I am saying. It looks like a rat's hair sometimes. I just really don't like it.

Me: Wow...and who do you think has pretty hair?

P: Well, me. Everyone says so, Mommy. Don't you ever listen?

Yes. This is what she said....word for excruciating word.

I thought today that I may start carrying around a small tape recorder in my pocket. The things that come out of this precious baby's just would not believe. I have a hard time believing them myself.

I love that brutally honest girl...with all my heart. She puts a smile on my face, despite her "yet to be tamed" little tongue. We're working on it, though. Slowly, but surely.

a potent conditioning treatment is in my near future,


All in this together....

~My Love Dare girls! Courtney, Collette and Kelly~
~Kelly and Chad~

~Courtney and Thomas~

~Kirk and Collette~

~Me and my Love "Challenge"...heehee~

Today marks day 14 of the Love Dare. It is going pretty well so far. However, I must admit that it is VERY hard at times to stay true to the days challenge. My old tongue wants to come out and play at times, and I have to wrangle her back down. I find my flesh screaming with agony when it wants to be "unlovely" with my thoughts or words.

For me, the hardest part is keeping my mouth shut when I want to say something back to Lem, or argue with him about a "comment" that he may have made. UGGGHHH!!! This Love Dare can be REALLY hard at times!!! It is forcing me to take the reins on my emotions and be "quick to listen, and slow to speak".

The greatest challenges are yet to come, I am sure of it. However, I will keep trucking along with the knowledge that all of this will strengthen our marriage, and help me to keep my overflowing emotions and hormones in check. Daily, I am finding myself thinking back to the previous lessons, and how I need to utilize them in any given situation. It's like I don't have an excuse to act a certain way anymore, because if I didn't already know before reading this book, I certainly do now. It's highly convicting, but in a good way.

I am so grateful for my sweet little LOV girls who are on this journey with me. I am blessed beyond measure to have you in my life for your encouragement and wisdom. You all mean more to me than you will ever know. May we be victorious in our marriages and in all of our relationships. I love you ladies!

If any of you reading this want to join us in improving our marriages, by all means go get a book...TODAY!!! Let's do this thing together!!

won't you join us?


Monday, May 18, 2009

The Dare of a Lifetime....

What a journey that I am embarking on. I can't even begin to describe these last 10 days of being on the Love Dare. Actually, it has been more like 2 weeks, but I am not reading the book on the weekends, I like savoring it for my mundane weekdays.

For those of you who may not be too familiar with the Love Dare book, it originated from the movie, Fireproof. I had been wanting to watch that movie since the day it hit theaters, but never did. So, finally, I rented the movie. Lem reluctantly sat down with me with some popcorn and we watched it together. I couldn't help but sheepishly grin as we were sitting on the couch together, watching a Christian love story unfold. It was the purest form of quality time for me.

He ended up really taking a liking to the i knew he would. We talked about how God is always with us, but we don't always seek Him. It's hard. I admit it. 1 husband, 2 kids, 2 dogs and 1 cat later, it's hard to take time to really spend time with God these days. It almost feels like something I have to schedule in, and then it still may not happen. Yikes...that hurts to say, but it is true for me.

As God's perfect timing would have it, a few of my friends and I had recently decided to give our little bible study another go. We call ourselves LOV, ladies of virtue. NOT because we are all that virtuous, but because the first book that we read together as a group was, "The Virtuous Woman". Hence, the name of our little group.

Well, me and the girls, walked into Lifeway 2 weeks ago looking for a new book to start together. As God would have it, The Fireproof movie and Love Dare Books were on a huge and overwhelming display at the front door as soon as we entered. We walked straight over to them and picked up the Love Dare Book.

We weren't sure if this would make a good group study, because it was so personal and more marriage oriented. Boy, were we wrong. This book has shown me more things about my love walk than any other book that I have read in my 34 years of living. And, I am only on Day 10.

Our first meeting to discuss the first week of the book was last week. We had so many stories to tell. Many remarkable things to say about our experience with the book so far. God is so perfect in His timing. We could not believe how He had lead us to this book in such a precise and timely manner.

I shared with the group my own personal experiences with each days lesson, and told them that the most surprising part was how it was helping me in not only my marriage, but the other relationships in my life. Seeing how selfish that I can be, focusing only on my own desires, wants and needs has been pretty humbling and eye opening to say the least.

After reading this and seeing my faults over the years in my marriage, God gently and so lovingly showed me how all of the things that I thought Lem needed to change, really had everything to do with what I needed to change. Whoa. To be able to see Lem through new eyes and more importantly through God's eyes, has made all the difference in our communication with each other. Now, don't get me wrong, we will still have our "times", but walking in unconditional love as God calls us to do, sure makes it easier during these "times".

Today, as I was reading this book in my oh-too-short morning quiet time, these words shot through my soul and pierced my heart. I had to read them again and again to make sure they would sink in. I don't want to ever forget this and pray that if I do forget, that God will pull me back in line and straighten me back up. It was this that I read..."The only way love can last a lifetime is if it's unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love."

Oh, how many heartaches I could have saved myself if I had only chose to love like this. My mistakes with my husband, my children, my parents, my friends. These mistakes, too many times rear their ugly heads, and I find myself repulsed for making bad choices and choosing poor words. But, freedom comes when I can know that God has forgiven me, and that it's never too late to walk in unconditional love for others.

Suffice it to say, I am still learning. I have many challenges ahead that will soon come beckoning at my door. I will want to take the easy road and self-protect, but unconditional love will be gently knocking at the back door, whispering to me that there is another way....God's way.

Thank you Lord for pruning me daily. I have so far to go, but how beautiful is the journey at times.

I have found a quote that I never want to forget, it is now taped to my computer screen.."Indifference makes an excuse, but love finds a way."

learning that it's never too late,


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just for Kicks....

~Don't mess with this!~~Serious soccer skills~
~Momma and her Soccer stars~

~Go Joseph!!~
~That boy has some lift!!~
>~Break time in Momma's lap with some water to sip on~
~Nana Terri, Presley and PaPa~
~Sweet Daddy putting on Presley's shin guards and cleats~
~That's my girl!!~
~She takes her soccer seriously~
Posted by Picasa
~Soccer Siblings~

This Spring marked Presley's first time playing Soccer. I think this may be her niche. All of her aggression, strong-will, and competitiveness, came out on that Soccer field! She was truly a natural. Quite the little athlete is she.

Joseph shined on the field as well, and scored several goals for his team. We had a lot of fun cheering them on to victory this season. Thank goodness their fields were side by side, because some of their games overlapped. It was a very busy time this year, but well worth it.

We are so proud of you little Soccer Stars!!

your biggest fan,


Monday, May 11, 2009

The Letter....

The story that I am about to tell you is surreal in a sense. My heart is still misty with the tears of complete and overwhelming joy that it cried after yesterdays events.

I awaken to Mother's Day. This day begins with my cup of decaf coffee and a hug from my children. The hugs could have easily been my gift, nothing else needed. Love those soft kisses and hugs, is there anything better, really?

After we all eat breakfast, I ask Lem for a few minutes to have quiet time in my bedroom, just me and God. He politely obliges. For the next few minutes, I soak in the glory of time alone with my thoughts and alone with Jesus. I can't help the smile that forms on my lips as I just soak in His magnitude and glory.

Ten minutes later, I hear footsteps, and I smile again. Here they come. The most beloved sound to my ears...their sweet voices and footsteps coming my way. I sit up straight in the bed, awaiting their arrival. Much like a princess awaits her prince. (of course, with no make-up and my gown still on. i was far from princess material..let me tell you.)

They each are carrying gifts and sheets of paper, unfolded. I take each piece of paper and read them out voice getting raspier and raspier as my heart inhales the aroma of such love.

Lem had asked the children 5 of their favorite things about having me as their mommy...this is what they said...


1) She makes good dinners (bless him)
2) She makes us eat healthy foods. (if chicken fingers are considered healthy..okay then)
3) She makes us lemonade. (it's the little things, i guess)
4) She is the most lovable mommy.
5) She has a lot of friends. (?????)

He then drew a picture of me with a crown on my head and put "Two Lives...A Queen and a Mom...make that the best Mom."

Could you just die??? Oh my goodness, it was all I could do not to take him in my arms and ravish him with one gulp. I'm in love, can you tell??

Now for my baby girl...Presley's card..

1) She takes me to movies.
2) She gives me breakfast. (like any mother should)
3) She takes me out to eat with Maw-Maw (selfish on my part, i love being with Maw-Maw too!)
4) She lets me have some of her money. (if pennies and nickels count, okay.)
5) She gives me a hug. (probably smothering her with the hugs, i'm sure of it. )

If that didn't send me straight to heaven, Lem handed me a piece of paper with the five things that he loves about me as well. Wow. Put a fork in me. I'm done!!

After many hugs and thank yous, we head to church. We had a wonderful lunch with my parents and then headed to the grocery store. This is one of my favorite, yet not done often enough, things to do. I LOVE being with my husband and kids at the grocery store.

We then head home and I hurriedly brush my teeth and head out the door to meet Mom and Angela in Oconee County. My niece was having her Spring Musical and it's been a tradition to go for the past 2 years. Just us girls. (except for this year, Dad and Jordan came along..which was just fine with us. )

After the show, we head to dinner, then I head home. I call Lem and tell him I am on my way. I thought he was asleep because he sounded so drowsy. Oh well, guess he's not waiting up I thought to myself.

I pull in the driveway and walk in the door. The smell of air freshener hits me like a wave, and you know me, I am instantly happy. Clean, Clean, Clean! I know this smell, and I like it very much.

He greets me at the door and tells me to come inside and look around. The house is spotless, the kids are in bed. Is there any better feeling?? Clean house, kids in bed, happy hubby= pure bliss!

Nonchalantly, he tells me that my bath is ready and waiting for me. I smile a big and toothsome smile, and head to my bathing quarters.

I walk to the dresser to get out a gown to slip on after my bath. I glance over at my desk, and a letter is sitting on the desk with "Jill" inscribed on it. Being the only "Jill" in the house-hold, I immediately go to open the letter.

5 pages and 5 million tears later, I finish. In this letter were the most tender words ever uttered to me in written or verbal fashion. I re-read it, hanging on to every morsel.

Without going into any personal detail, I will just share some of the words so that you can get an idea of the heart that lies in my husband.

" just seems that lately you have been questioning if you are doing things right. If you are a good mother, daughter, and wife. I don't know how others feel or how you feel about those things. However, I can give you my feelings on how you are doing in those aspects of your life."

He then goes on to list 5 areas and expounds into some deep waters with his gentle words . Nothing was amiss with his list and his words. Nothing. He touched on every area that encompasses my life. Everything that is important to me, everything that matters. The list of 5 was as follows...

~Being a Mother
~Being a Christian
~Being a daughter
~Being a friend
~Being a wife

After reading his words, I have never felt more loved, more understood, more taken care of, more cared for, more affirmed, more encouraged, more noticed. He gets me. He really gets me. All of these things that I question about insecurities, my second guessing, he sees all of them. Even when I think he isn't paying attention. He sees my heart as much as I try to keep it under wraps at times to protect myself from hurt or disappointment. He sees through my mask that I often wear. He sees right down to the marrow of my bones. And he loves me still.

I have no problem being submissive to this man. He has proven his wisdom and his strength time and time again. I would be lost without him.

All I have to say is that my children could not have a better role model in their lives than their Daddy. He is a good, no not good, a great man.

Lem's love for me is undeniable, unmistakable, and uncommon. If I didn't know this before last night, I do now.

I also know that only God can produce a love like this. It doesn't come from nature, or from instinct. It is a gift from the Lord that must be cherished and sometimes pruned in order to grow. I am thankful for a husband that seeks the Lord in this area. He knows he can't love me like I need to be loved without the Lord leading him and guiding him.

I'm loving my "fives".

my prince awaits,


p.s...I am reading a book that you must start reading as soon as you can get to the nearest book store. It is "The Love Dare". I will post about it this's been quite a journey and I am only on Day 5!! If you are married, whether happily or not so happily, you need this book. More to come...stay tuned! xoxo

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My center of gravity....

Happy Mother's Day, Momma!! I love you so much and I cherish every moment that we spend together. My children are blessed to have you as their "Maw Maw". Thank you for everything that you do for all of us, you are truly our "center".

thankful for being your daughter,


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oh the smell....

~hellooooo and my freshly bleached hair...pardon the style, I just clipped it back out of my eyes..but you get the idea..~

Sometimes it's the littlest things that lift our spirits and make us feel like we can make it through another day. Well, this week I want to give credit where credit us due....

BLEACH!!! Yes, bleach. Oh, how I love the rolls off my tongue like honey from a honeycomb. It trickles through my mouth and produces the most glorious sound...bleeeeeeachhhhh. Mmmm....what a sound.

Before I expound, I must let you in on a little secret. Every 6 months or so, I like to change up my laundry detergent. Why, you ask? Well, I hate doing laundry. It is the worst of all chores in my book. The folding, the ironing, the putting away...ughhh! (who am i kidding? like I really iron..haha!)

When I just can't take the arduous laundry task any longer, I rush to the nearest Target or Wal-Mart and buy a brand new bottle of laundry detergent. Just the new smell alone, gets me in the groove again. I LOVE the way a brand new bottle of laundry detergent smells. I think we get desensitized to our old detergent smell, and therefore loose all love for it.

Well, last Sunday I brought home a bottle of Tide with Bleach Alternative. This came highly recommended from several friends. I almost choked on my chewing gum when I saw the price for this product. $11.99??? Are you kidding me??? Who buys this stuff? It must be liquid gold!

I washed my first load that night. As the load finished the rinse cycle, I slowly opened the lid to the washer. The most aromatic smell rose to my nostrils, as I ever so gently inhaled. Ahhhh....bleach...fresh bleachy soap smell. Is there anything better?

Well, 8 loads of laundry later, I am still enjoying this providential product. I know, I know, it will soon get old and I will move on to another detergent. But, in the meantime I will enjoy my little bottle of liquid gold.

Did I mention that today was my "hair day"? Only my favorite day of the whole entire month!! As I am sitting in the chair watching Allison artfully and skillfully put each piece of foil in my hair, I breathe that sweet smell again.

"I LOVE that smell...i LOVE it", I tell her.

"Oh, I am so sorry, it is so strong. I apologize for the smell." Allison says.

"Oh, Allison, sweetie, I was serious. I LOVE that smell. It makes me very happy," I grin like a Cheshire cat as I tell her.

"You're serious??" asks Allison.

"Yes, and Yes!" I exclaim..probably a little to excitedly.

So, my hair girl thinks I am a nut case. Oh well. Maybe I am.

still high on bleach,


Monday, May 4, 2009

Especially for You....

This verse was laid on my heart last week, and I know someone in particular that needs the freshness and clarity of these words. Let these words guide you and give you peace and comfort. Nothing makes since right now, but God sees the outcome and is smiling all the while.

God's mercies are new every morning and He will show you and lead you if you let Him. Know that He loves you, know that I love you.

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. [a]

2 I will say [b] of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-

10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Alert: Detox in progress....

Today marks the second day that I am living caffeine-free. Yes, I said it...caffeine free. For those of you that know me, you are laughing out loud by these words. Not only laughing, but scoffing probably.

My head is killing me, yet my nerves are somehow intact. The reasons for this suddenly caffeine-free lifestyle are many.

For months, possibly even a year...I haven't quite felt the same. My nerves seem to be on overload, my thoughts are scattered and highly random most days, and my heart is always skipping or beating in a very uncomfortable fashion.

Ignoring these symptoms, in hopes that they would disappear, hasn't worked very well. After reading several books on healthier eating and healthier lifestyles, I have discovered what caffeine is doing to by body, and it's not pretty. This is what I read that kicked my butt in caffeine-free gear:

~Caffeine is a toxic poison that will damage the lining to your stomach and cause damage to your liver and kidneys. It will constrict arteries and contribute to heart attack and stroke, and it is also suspected of causing various kinds of cancer.

Ummm, okay that sealed the deal for me.

Please don't misunderstand, I am not saying that coffee is bad for everyone. I was on a 3-4 cups a morning, plus 2 cups in the afternoon routine. Not only was I on caffeine overload, but I was singularly responsible for the rise in Starbucks stocks. (just kidding) I am not able to just "cut-back", I am way too far gone for that.

So, if you catch me grumpy in the next few days, chalk it up to a caffeine-detox. Forgive me, I will be back to my normal self within a week.......or so they say.
If you come by my house and smell the coffee brewing, don't fret, it is only my new organic decaf, high anti-oxidant coffee from Kroger. (did i mention that it was $10.00??) Better health comes with a higher price, I suppose.

missing the spring in my step...but not the skip in my heart beat,


Friday, May 1, 2009

A heart in repair....

My Aunt NiEata had a triple bypass heart surgery yesterday morning. It was a very long and tedious surgery. 4 1/2 hours later, the doctor comes out. They had to add another bypass, making it a quadruple bypass.

This is a setback, but we are all praying for a speedy recovery for her. I know that God is overseeing all of this, and pretty soon she will feel better than ever.

My Aunt is one of the most special people in my life, and always has been. She has always taken to me as if I were her very own daughter. I always felt beautiful and loved around her. She always made it a point to tell me how pretty I looked, and how I was her very "favorite".

You don't forget those kinds of things,ever. Especially hearing them as a little girl. Wreaking with insecurity and low self esteem as a teenager, her words always lifted my spirits and encouraged my soul.

I love you, Aunt NiEata. My children love you. You are one exceptional lady.

Your heart needed a little repair because of all of the giving and loving that it has poured out over these past 60 years. It will be better than ever now.

forever your girl,