Friday, December 30, 2011

Second chances....

and we thought this was the hardest part of  parenthood....boy, were we wrong.

Being a Momma is the hardest job in the whole wide world.  Don't get me is absolutely the  best job, but also the hardest.

Lately my children have been fussing a whole heck of a lot. It drives me crazy.

No, it drives me insane.

I want my kids to be friends, the best of friends. I want peace in my house. I want loving words and kind acts of generosity.

Is that too much to ask?

Maybe I have aimed my sights too high.

After much prayer about this...I have decided to try a new approach.

On Tuesday of this week, my kids were back and forth, back and forth..arguing and tattle telling.

I was at my wits end with it all.

So, what's Momma to do?

I called them both into the den to have a "talk" with them.

They walked in with their little tails between their legs. They knew I had "had it".

"Joseph, I want you to go and clean your sisters room. Presley, I want you to go and clean your brothers room."

What??  They looked at me with complete disbelief.

They were not expecting this.

They both looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and went off to do the task at hand.

After about 20  minutes, I peaked in on them and they were both still cleaning the others room. Joseph told me that he wasn't quite finished, he wanted to make it really special for Presley.

Presley had organized all of Joseph's books and had his room looking better than ever.

I was shocked.

This plan had actually worked.

When they finished, they couldn't wait to show each other what they had done.

My heart was about to burst with joy!

They were learning that it really was more fun to give than to receive. It was fun to put a smile on someones face.

Praise Jesus. My work was done. (for that afternoon anyway).

The moral of this story is that each time my children show selfish, rotten behavior...they must serve someone else in some way to make up for their behavior.

The million times that I have sent them to their rooms, or spanked their little bottoms for crude behavior....was not really teaching them what to do instead. They were just "punished".

I want to show them a better way.

This lesson applies to yours truly as well. I really want to make more of an effort in putting others before myself. I need to be a daily example of this to my children. I have failed miserably a lot of days.

Today is a new day, though. I will do the opposite of what my selfish flesh wants to do, and serve others...on purpose. 

I will continue to fail most days, but I will get up, shake off the dirt and try again.

Thank goodness we serve a God who believes in second chances.

Yes, being a parent is difficult, exhausting, overwhelming and just plain hard.

But, oh the joy of seeing the fruit of our hard work.

It's beyond exhilarating.

Wonder if that's how God feels about us?

I am betting it is.

thanking Him for second chances...and third and fourth...,


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just ask your Momma....

What is it about the end of the year that makes you want to clean your house from top to bottom and throw away everything and anything?

I have been on a rampage around here. Getting rid of things, organizing,'s crazy.

Sometimes I get my greatest revelations from the Lord while cleaning. Seriously, it's true.

Today I have been thinking about this past year. Whew. It's been a roller coaster ride.

A whole lot of ups and a whole lot of downs. Crazy turns, white-knuckled dips, and close-your-eyes and hang on for dear life drops.

Through it all, Jesus has been right beside me. Always.

He has taught me so much this past year. I have grown.

Growing pains are painful. However, it was worth every ache.

He has taught me to have grace. This was a hard lesson. In order to have grace, you must experience something that makes it impossible to show grace.

It's excruciating.

However, grace cannot be received unless it is freely given.

He has also taught me to appreciate and foster the gifts that He has given me. This has been an area that I have often struggled with.

What in the world are my gifts? I can easily point out your gifts...but I can never seem to find mine.

Last year, I vividly remember my Mom and I sitting at my kitchen table. I was asking her if she thought I should go to cosmetology school.

You see, my sister is extremely gifted in this area. She can take anyone off the street and turn them into a super model. I am not exaggerating here. It's ridiculous.

She has this gift. I wanted this gift.

So, when I asked my Mom about cosmetology school, I was fully expecting her to be thrilled and hug me and say, "YES! that's it! that's your gift, Jill!"

This wasn't exactly what happened. She looked at me from across the table and was silent for a minute.

Ummm, hello? Why aren't you encouraging me, Mom?

She then said.."Jill, I know you love make-up and hair and all that fun stuff. However, your greatest gift is in your writing."

I was stunned. She may as well had slapped me in the face.

Writing? That's so boring.

There's nothing special about being able to say a few words on  paper. Nothing glamorous about this. At all.

I was disappointed in her response and she knew it.

She then said, "I think you would be good at whatever you choose. However, your God-given gift is in your writing, Jill."

This didn't make me feel better. My balloon was deflated.

Visions of hair spray, bobby pins, and curling irons were quickly gone from my head.

So, what do I do with my so-called gift, Momma? I can't go just write a book and get it published. I am a stay-at-home momma with little time and little money.

She then said to me, "No, but you can blog. It's free. Just sit down and take the time to blog more."

I still was not happy with her answer. I wanted to have another gift. I wanted to be like my sister and transform people with the brush of my wand. It sure was a lot more glamorous than.....writing.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because, I want to encourage you to foster your gifts. Your God-given gifts and talents.

We have a purpose here on this Earth. We have a call to fulfill.

If you are not sure what your gift is...ask someone. They can probably tell you without hesitation. Ask your momma...she knows you best.

Take your gifts and give them to the Lord. Honor Him with the gifts He has given you.

In saying this, I am telling myself the same thing.

I want to honor Him. I want to honor Him in the way he designed me to honor him.

What about you? What are your gifts?

My challenge for you is  to discover those gifts. Trust me, you have them. You may not want to acknowledge them (like me)  but you have them.

I truly believe that when we nurture those gifts and foster them, He will grow those gifts for His glory.

His glory is the very reason He gave us these gifts! Not for YOU, but for HIM!

I will be praying for you. Praying that you will heed the call and use the unique gifts that He has designed for you.

You are special. You are His.

I still have visions of cosmetology and make-up and fashion in my head...but I know for now, He just wants my obedience. Obedience in giving Him my best in the areas that He created me for.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ that you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24.

sharpening my pencils,


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Getting to know Him...

I sent this email out to some friends today, and thought I would extend to my few and faithful blog readers. I would love for you to join me in this...the more the merrier.

If you are interested, you can leave a comment or email me at

Hi, friends! Hoping that all of you had the merriest Christmas! It always seems to fly by doesn't it?

OK, well I will get to straight to the point of this email.

Here goes.

I feel like the Lord has laid it on my heart to host a weekly bible reading plan. Trust me, I argued with Him and told Him (as if He didn't know) my commitment phobia.

He didn't seem to care about that. He just told me to do it anyway.


So, hence this email.

If you are interested...I will send via email a bible reading plan for the week. Of course, you can read it at your own pace.

Along with that, I will try (let me repeat, try) to include a small little lesson or something to go along with the reading if applicable.

Sometimes, I wake up and go straight to the Lord, but feel unfocused. I need direction and hopefully this will keep me focused and on the path to knowing Him better and more intimately.

By the end of the year, we will have completed the Bible! How cool is that?

This challenge is mainly for yours truly. I have never read the Bible all the way through.

I need to.

If we truly want to be wiser, love more, and be armed with His protection and His favor...we MUST know Him.

How do we know Him?

We read His word.

If you want to be a part of this, please respond back to me.

Trust me, you will not hurt my feelings if your answer is a big fat NO.

It may just be me, myself and I doing this....and that's okay. :-)

Or, if you know anyone else who may be interested in joining in this, please forward this to them and have them contact me so that I can add them to the list.

If you are one of the interested ones, we will start January 1st. I will send the email out sometime that week for you to start reading.

In the meantime, I will be searching online for a one year bible reading plan.

I love you girls and am praying for all of you to be filled with God's BEST this upcoming year!

Love and more love,


Monday, December 26, 2011

I've been shellacked.....

day 4 of my shellac manicure. look past the wrinkly fingers. focus on the nails, people.
or look at presley in the background sleeping.

a much prettier sight than my 36 year old fingers. 

this is what time it was..7:46 pm..and she's out. 

i am still trying to figure out my new camera.
 please disregard my Christmas gown.
 trust me, this is one of the better pieces of my night time wardrobe.
hey, at least my nails are looking good.

Last Friday, I received my first Shellac manicure. If you are not familiar with this word, "shellac"...basically, it makes your polish last for like years. 

Well, not really years...that's me exaggerating. 

More like a couple of weeks. 

Shelley, my nail tech friend, promised me that my manicure would last at least two weeks. 

I have my doubts. I told her that obviously she had never come across fingernails like mine. 

My polish usually peels off by the time I get in my car to leave the shop. My cell phone rings, and I go digging for it in my purse....and BAM. Manicure ruined.

So, I put her to the test.

I paid my $25.00 and told her the bet was on.

Shockingly, I am on day four of my newly shellacked nails.

There will probably be a price to pay for this sometime down the road. Like, cancer of the nail beds. Or some kind of shellac induced disease.  

Oh well, I am taking my chances. At least I will go down with well manicured nails.

It feels good to have pretty nails again. It's been like....years.....since I have had pretty nails.Not exaggerating on that one.

 It's just one of the million things I have let go of since turning 30 last year.

  (okay, well i didn't exactly turn 30 last year.....but you knew that already.)

First goes your nails, then your toe nails, then pretty much any and all other high maintenance activities. I mean, most days I am lucky if my underwear is on (and clean) and my teeth are brushed. 

By the time I reach afternoon carpool, I try not to catch a glimpse of myself in the rear-view mirror.

Okay, don't even get me started on REAR views. Sheesh.

Hey, at least my nails are done.

shiny and shellacked,


Sunday, December 25, 2011

The case for the Best Christmas....

This could be the best Christmas ever.

Yes, I say this every year, but I really mean it this time.

I do, I really do.

However, since we live in a democracy, let's let you decide.

Here's some picture evidence of our last 48 hours....see for yourself.

The Evidence....

Presley and me practicing on my new Nikon camera. ignore my wrinkles and focus on the beauty to the left. 

the silliest kids on the planet--Joseph, Ashley, Danny, William, Presley, and Graham

Nana and Papa and their grands!

William and Joseph fist pumping--boys will  be boys

one of Joseph's favorite gifts--ticket to the Hawks/Heat game...oh yeah!

my favorite gift

Danny and William discuss something serious-
-i think it was something about Lego's.

modeling our our annual Christmas shoe shopping trip purchases--courtesy of Papa Danny and Nana Terri
from left to right...Jessica, Me, Andrea.
be jealous. be very, very jealous.
(on a serious note--i appalls me to spend that much money on one pair of took everything i had to not ask them to take me to Target so that i could get about 5 pairs for the price of those boots. oh the sacrifices to keep the peace.

here's the full effect....yes, i will take all three please.

visions of "a Christmas story" run through my head..
.Joseph gets his first bebe gun.
oh boy.

Papa Danny and Jess (Lem's twin sis)

caught ya William!

wishing Granny Hill a very merry this lady.
 if you want to meet the sweetest woman who ever lived...
go pay her a visit. you won't be the same.

Mommy Jane and her girls

Presley and me...
notice the boots-  hoping they will look good with my daily stay -at- home momma attire...
spandex and baggy t-shirts.
let's hope so.

naughty or nice...
you decide.

yes, Joseph has on short sleeves (and navy blue).
 shoot me. 

have you ever??
 (thank you, mommy Jane!)

Santa's sweetest helper

my beautiful niece, Ashley

 i feel the same way, buddy.

my Joseph

yes, i do see your tonsils, Danny. they look very healthy.

William gives us his best smolder...and it's a good one

and Danny is still showing us his tonsils again....much to Joseph's chagrin

Jess and me....i love this girl...and not because i have to because she's Lem's twin...but because  you just can't help but love this one.

why, hello again, sweet Ashley.

somebody's been a good boy--or is he holding Andrea's gifts? hmmm.
 (Jason, Lem's brother)

mommy Jane and me....the best MIL in the world.

twins. in every possible way.
Jess and Pres.

mommy Jane love!

visions of sugar plums (or more like Skittles) danced in their heads...

well, well, well...look who came to see us!

Presley gets a guitar!!

Joseph was a really good boy-- an x-box was on his list

no words.
 just smiling over here at this one..

my Presley discovers more Santa gifts

a happy boy

even doggies know it's Christmas!
holly gives aspen a little ear licking love. 

isn't she beautiful?
my niece, amberlee

my handsome nephew Jordan..
who will be going into the navy soon.
 ok, i will stop there or i just may not be able to finish the post.  :( 

2 peas in a pod...

2 crazy little peas in a pod

maw maw makes everything fun.
she is dancing in this pic..
how cute is she?
did i mention that she cooks the best Christmas breakfast ever?
yes, she does.

note to self...never let anyone take a picture from underneath your face.
 i only post this because i love my nephew and i wanted a pic of him on here with me.
see the sacrifices i make for y'all?

my beautiful anna-joy!

and i quote..."let's go shopping aunt Jilly!" 

Joseph gives his fans (family) his first novel.
his second is coming out in late January...oh the demands of a writer. 

the reason we celebrate...JESUS! 

happy birthday, Jesus!

my sweet Royce loves to have his picture taken...can't you tell? 

oh sweetness.

now this picture just took my breath away.

love this one.
pure sweetness, this girl.

my cousin Hal showed up at Mom's house...great surprise!
Lee  (on left) is Angela's husband...barely got a pic of him because he was fishing at the lake every second he could sneak out. 

again, here i go sacrificing for the sake of my loved ones.
no, i am not pregnant...i just overeat.
this is me and my dad....
and of course, no picture is complete without Presley's famous signature face.

me and my love...he even loves me without make-up.
by golly, he's a keeper.

my favorite girl
(notice, i am STILL in the kitchen...somebody get me out of there)

who's taller? 

for some reason my niece, amberlee, thinks it's funny that she is taller than I am.
 i say, one more tease on my crown and we are dead even.
(who's got a pick and some hair spray?)

Closing argument:

As you can see--love, laughter and fun filled the air. 

The best part---Jesus was the reason for it all!

So, do you think it was the BEST Christmas?

Deliberate for a bit and let me know.  No rush.

waiting for the verdict,